More from:

Ken Davidoff

The risk Mets are taking with Francisco Lindor's $341 million contract

Francisco Lindor is worth $341 million — and all the drama

Mets, Francisco Lindor have set themselves up for contract disaster

Francisco Lindor aiming high with 'new money' Mets asking price

Inside Gerrit Cole's complex baseball mind: 'Always forward-thinking'

WASHINGTON — You can get sold to a big-time billionaire who acquires an All-Star shortstop and turns him into a centimillionaire. You can declare it a new era, a new day, a new franchise.

You cannot, however, outmaneuver a pandemic.

Hence the 2021 Mets spent opening night at their hotel here in our nation’s capital, after holding a mere afternoon workout at Nationals Park rather than officially launching Steve Cohen’s stewardship. Then capitalizing on the ultra-positive energy generated by Cohen’s $341 million commitment to Francisco Lindor.

Because we all still are trying to navigate through the novel coronavirus, and the Nationals, after learning of one player testing positive on Wednesday, received the news of two more players testing positive and a third “likely” doing so, as per their general manager Mike Rizzo, on Thursday, prompting Major League Baseball to postpone Thursday’s game and rule out a makeup on Friday’s scheduled off day, with no guarantee of a Saturday opener, either, despite the confidence professed by Mets manager Luis Rojas.

“It’s not really a surprise,” Rojas said in a Zoom news conference, of the delay. “We’ve been in situations like this since last year. The health is the number one thing still in the world.”

Said Lindor, sitting in the Zoom room primarily to discuss his ginormous contract: “I wanted to see some jets flying over me today, I wanted to see some flags on the field, I want to see some fans, man. … Yeah, I was bummed out, for sure.”

Not as bummed out as the Nationals, who found themselves dealing with a mini-outbreak that evoked the early days of the 2020 campaign when the Marlins and Cardinals nearly torpedoed the entire sport with bigger spreads. When they’re sure they’ve contained the disease within the clubhouse, they’ll begin their season with a diminished roster, although we don’t know yet the identities of the infected players, and of course anxiety over their fallen teammates.

“We’re still in the midst of a pandemic,” said Washington manager Dave Martinez, who has consistently shared his concerns over the disease that has killed over 550,000 Americans in the last year-plus. “People still need to take this seriously.”

The country’s overall encouraging news, with over 50 million of us getting vaccinated so far, provides optimism that MLB can get through a 162-game season for all clubs. Said Rojas: “This thing is moving to the end of the goal line here.”

It took less than a day, though, to scream that won’t be a cakewalk. Rizzo, asked if he knew how his players had contracted COVID-19, said he didn’t know, attributed it to an “isolated incident” and stressed, “This is nothing to joke about, nothing to point fingers over.”

Nevertheless, it is something to remind us to keep proceeding cautiously.

On Wednesday, Rojas said, with his team quarantined at the hotel, “[We] were sharing the excitement we have. Everyone kept saying it, how excited they were to get going [Thursday]. Some of the guys were saying, ‘It’s the first Opening Day that I’m playing a night game.’

“This game teaches us there’s just a lot of [uncertainties] and at the same time, what we’ve gone through since last year, I think that we’re pretty open-minded that things like this can happen. Right now our sympathy is with the team on the other side that things are contained and everyone’s safe.”

Rather than soar, Rojas’ group stands in a holding pattern. 0-0 still with Cohen and Lindor aboard. Fingers crossed that they can get going soon, that 2021 will present smoother sailing off the field (and better play on it, for these Mets) than 2020, that this delay will wind up as an isolated incident.

Share this article:

Source: Read Full Article