It is totally irrelevant, 100 percent, replays showed Blake Swihart’s drive off the wall that resulted in an inside-the-park home run would have been ruled a conventional homer had it been reviewed.
Also irrelevant, and unacceptable, is Juan Lagares’ explanation that he saw the ball go over the line.
“One hundred percent,’’ Lagares told reporters. “It hit over the line. That’s why the ball came back that hard.’’
LAGARES: Didn’t make the play. (AP)
Yes, it did, but that doesn’t matter. More important were his actions during the play. I don’t want to say Lagares is lying, but I’m not buying what he said.
If Lagares really thought the ball struck over the line, then why did he run after it? Actually, he jogged after it, which is also not acceptable.
OK, Lagares misplayed the drive and indicates he’s continually plays too shallow. He won the Gold Glove last season, but he’s not good enough to play that shallow. He’s not Paul Blair, not Curt Flood, not Willie Mays, not Andruw Jones, and not Andrew McCutcheon. Not even close. A lot of balls have gone over his head this season. (Sorry for the side rant, but that has been building up for awhile.)
The only ones who handled the play properly were Swihart, who never stopped running; the umpires, who never gave the home run call because they didn’t see that; and Ruben Tejada, who ran into the outfield to get the ball.
“I thought it had gotten over because of the way it bounced back, but I just kept my head down running,’’ Swihart said. “I kind of watched the center fielder jogging after it, but I didn’t hear anything so I kept running.’’
Notice how Swihart said Lagares jogged after the ball. He kept running out the play; Lagares did not.
And, give left fielder Yoenis Cespedes a bag of popcorn for the way he watched the play. It hasn’t been the first time he hasn’t hustled.
Lagares needs to hustle after the ball because you never know until the umpires make the call. As a player, you never assume anything, out or safe, fair or foul, until the call is made.
Lagares’ judgment and Cespedes’ lack of hustle can’t be tolerated, not in spring training and especially not during a pennant race.
After the game, manager Terry Collins conceded Cespedes and right fielder Curtis Granderson didn’t do their jobs, saying: “Somebody’s got to back him up.’’
However, Collins was not quoted regarding Lagares’ part other than to say the ball went over the line. Here’s wrung him out in his office after the game. The Mets are in a race, so this stuff needs to be cleaned up now.
Last night doesn’t cut it in October.