There was one moment this season that showed me how special the New York Mets’ young arms are.
In mid-June of this season, I was sitting in the Atlanta Ritz-Carlton bar with fellow pitcher Dana Eveland talking baseball. We chose the Ritz not for any special reason, but because we were both living there at the time. Dana and I signed with the Atlanta Braves one day apart and got called up to the big leagues one day apart, so we instantly connected.
As we were hanging out, we both noticed Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen walk in. Dana and I both know and respect Dan very very much — I played for Dan in 2013 and Dana played for him in 2014 — so we invited him to sit and talk with us.
After a little small talk about the game we had just played, I asked him the question both Dana and I had been wondering for five days:
Why did all the other starters stand in the bullpen and watch that day’s starter throw, then follow him into the dugout before the game?
Dana and I both had noticed the ritual when we were playing the Mets at Citi Field a few days earlier. I personally loved it, as I’m a big proponent of watching other pitchers throw while picking their brains and hearing about their thought processes and routines. But I wanted to know from Dan what the idea behind it was.
Dan got a huge grin on his face the moment I asked him the question, so I expected to hear a cool story about how he had come up with the idea. What he said blew me away.
He looked me right in the eyes and said, “That was completely their idea.”
I knew exactly what Dan’s grin meant. Dan knew these kids were different — he knew these kids were special.
Young players just don’t do things like watch and study each other. Most of the time they are so wrapped up in themselves, or overwhelmed by being in “The Show,” that it takes them years to learn what it takes to excel. That’s why good veteran leadership is always talked about when developing young talent.
Young pitchers taking control of their own careers together like that is something that comes around once in a lifetime. And they are reaping the rewards on baseball’s biggest stage.
Congratulations to this Mets pitching staff for not just sitting back on your talent, but finding out how special you can actually be.