Mets manager Terry Collins has been known to fall on the sword for his players when they screw up. He’s done it for Matt Harvey and he did it again Thursday for Yoenis Cespedes after he misplayed A.J. Reed‘s drive into an inside-the-park home run.
Cespedes has been known to give up on plays and go through the motions. Yes, I know it was only an exhibition game, a “practice game,” if you will. But, don’t you practice to get it right?
“Yes, I guess I could grab it,” Cespedes told reporters what his thought process was as the play unfolded.
“He thought it got stuck,” Collins said. “The umpire [C.B. Bucknor] went out and swiped the ball and said it wasn’t stuck. It’s one of those things we could talk about a ground rule, [but] we don’t talk about that much in spring training. … It was just a misunderstanding more than anything.”
Misunderstanding? Huh, that’s an odd choice of words. Cespedes would have had a better chance of selling it had he bothered to bend down and reach for the ball. It’s not really a novel thought.
“The ball fell under the fence,” Cespedes said. “It got wedged in there. For me, I couldn’t grab that. I thought that should have followed the ground rule and should have just been the double.”
Bucknor easily swiped the ball from under the fence, so it clearly did not get wedged. And, as far as not being able to grab it, well, that could be because he never reached for it. The ball isn’t going to come to him, after all.
It will take some doing to beat this out as the dumbest quote of the year.
“[The umpire] said, ‘You should be able to grab that,’ ” Cespedes said. “I said, ‘Of course I could grab that – if I stick my hand in there and pull it out, yes, I guess I could grab it.’ He stuck his hand in there and pulled it out. I could have done that as well. I just didn’t think that was what I needed to do.”
Translation: “Yeah, I could have gotten the ball had I bothered.”
Cespedes has been known to mailing it in and assuming the play. He got away with it Thursday because the game didn’t matter. That’s his free one. Here’s hoping he learned something and doesn’t do the same thing when the games count.
They will in a little over a week, and that’s when the Mets start paying him $27.5 million.