After Syndergaard was ejected, manager Terry Collins lost his cool and got in the face of home plate umpire Adam Hamari, who not only shares initials with Met-hating umpire Angel Hernandez, but was also just three years old when the 1986 Mets were pounding their way to a title. In fact, Hamari had blown out three candles on his birthday cake just two days before when Ray Knight pummeled Dodger pitcher Tom Niedenfuer after Knight was plunked with a pitch in May 1986. For the record, neither Knight nor Niedenfuer lost the right to continue playing in that game, probably because Hamari was too busy wetting his diaper at the time instead of officiating the game behind the plate.
Anyway, I caught up with Syndergaard after the game and offered him some encouragement after he was thrown out of the game for having the nerve to throw a pitch that wasn't in the strike zone to Utley, which was documented by my colleague, Studious Metsimus photographer Ed Leyro.
|Thor still had that surprised look on his face when I caught up with him.|
I told Thor that Hamari has always managed to find himself behind the plate for important events. On June 25, 2014, he was working the plate during Tim Lincecum's second career no-hitter. Three months later, Hamari served as the home plate ump during Derek Jeter's final game at Yankee Stadium and paid his RE2PECTs to the shortstop when Jeter delivered a storybook walk-off single to win the game for the home team. Must have been nice for Michigan native Hamari to see Michigan native Jeter come through in that moment. So I comforted Thor by letting him know that Hamari's presence should have been a sign that this game would become a big story in the majors. And then everyone forgets and we all move on.
I also told Syndergaard that a victory for the Mets was not meant to be, as I spotted Marlins Man sitting behind the plate for the game. It's well known that the Mets never play well when the orange-clad supporter of South Florida's baseball team shows up at their games. (World Series Game Five comes to mind.) At least Marlins Man seemed to think that Hamari's quick trigger finger was uncalled for when Hamari tossed the Norse god out of the game for not hitting Utley.
|Do you see Marlins Man highlighted in the upper left-hand corner? He reacted just like Thor did. (FOX screen shot)|
Between Hamari being the Forrest Gump of umpires by being at important moments in baseball history and Marlins Man's attendance signifying a loss for the Mets, it was never going to be Syndergaard's night to shine at Citi Field. The night belonged to the 1986 Mets and Adam Hamari's poor judgment.
Fortunately, my post-game talk with Thor got him to see why everything happened the way it did last night. In fact, this morning he was on Twitter in better spirits, clearly thanks to my talk with him after the game.
I'm fresh. Can be available from pen. Just saying. #LGM— Noah Syndergaard (@Noahsyndergaard) May 29, 2016
If Bartolo Colon decides to throw a pitch that is deemed too close to Utley's body in tonight's series finale, Syndergaard will be ready to relieve Big Sexy in the event there is another unwarranted ejection (even if manager Terry Collins decides to go with a conventional reliever). And this time, Adam Hamari wouldn't be behind the plate to prevent Syndergaard from finishing what he started on Saturday. It would be the perfect ending to the script that began writing itself the moment Utley threw his body into Ruben Tejada's leg last October. And it would be a great way to honor the 1986 Mets, by standing up for each other even when others are trying to bring the team down.
Chase Utley must be shown that he is not as invincible as the league and the umpires would like him to feel. The Mets must find a way to crack his armor once and for all by sending him and his greasy scalp sprawling on the Citi Field dirt where he belongs.