As an educator, particularly as one of the social studies variety, part of my responsibility is to make sure students are corroborating evidence from multiple sources in order to form an educated and unbiased opinion of certain historical events. This is a valuable skill, as it encourages them to seek various point of views and infer the truth for themselves.
I believe it is time for us as Met fans to do the same for a certain encounter that occurred on Tuesday March 3rd, 2015 between Noah Syndergaard, David Wright, and Bobby Parnell. The alleged ‘lunch police’ incident occurred nearly fifteen months ago, and it was only last night that I was able to formulate my truth from that event.
To refresh your memory, let me review the story that was covered by every beat writer under the Florida sun last Spring. During an intrasquad scrimmage, David Wright strolled into the clubhouse and noticed the then highly touted pitching prospect, now turned New York superhero, taking his lunch alone most likely reflecting on one of his adventures in a netherworld us mortals can not begin to fathom.
The Captain, David Wright, confronted Noah on the issue and gave him some ‘advice’ to join the rest of the team instead of rolling solo to ponder the fate of the human race. Bobby Parnell, who was rehabbing from Tommy John surgery at the time, joined in the fun by tossing young Noah’s tray of nourishment in the trash. Parnell later told Marc Carig of Newsday, “If a kid’s not playing nice, you take his toys away”.
It was not until last night that I came to the realization of the 100% authentic truth. On the forgettable Tuesday in March in question, it was not Noah Syndergaard who chose to eat in the clubhouse during the scrimmage. No, not even close. It was his silly teammates that chose to play a meaningless game while this elite specimen was eating. The team may have been better served watching his methodical mastication than practicing fundamentals on the field. Because frankly, this guy is not like everyone else, he is something special. Something to watch.
Why last night? Well, it was a combination of things. Sure, his seven terrific innings pitched where he yielded just five hits and walked none were great. His ten strikeouts were picturesque. I enjoy watching them on replay to not only see the masterful diversity of high nineties heat, fall off the table curves, and unhittable sliders, but to hear the reactions of Keith Hernandez in the booth. His oohs, ahs, and uhs, give you a little taste of the mindset of a hitter when this absolutely filthy (in a good way) repertoire is unleashed upon them.
His 32 regular season starts since he was robbed of his food have resulted in 203 1/3 innings pitched with 231 strikeouts. You also may remember he got the only World Series win for the Mets last year, a win in the NLCS, and though he was credited with a loss in the NLDS vs the Dodgers, you also may recall his seventh inning relief appearance in the clinching game five where he struck out two.
And the Lunch Police? Lets start with the one who layed waste to the food: Parnell. What did he do in 2015? Oh, I’m sure you remember. He allowed more hits than innings pitched and contributed a 6.31 ERA. He never really recovered from the surgery and was not even kept as a reserve for the post season roster. As I was pondering writing this, I decided to check in on Parnell. He is currently pitching with the Detroit Tigers’ AAA affiliate, the Toledo Mud Hens, and has shown some improvement. Sporting a 4.73 ERA , he walked two and yielded three earned runs while recording just one out in this last appearance.
As for the one who started the ruckus? The Captain? Yes he holds a special place in our hearts as fans. Yes he has put up some great numbers in his time with the club and was always available to the media. However, he could not answer the bell last night. He was physically unable to contribute in the Mets’ biggest game of 2016. Relegated to a spectator due to his degenerative spinal condition, Wrights absence created a hole in the infield that could only be filled by a player, Matt Reynolds, who was making his MLB debut at a position that was not his natural spot. Reynolds went 0-3 but recorded a putout and two assists. He even threw overhand to first for the final out of the game, a play that would have made Mets fans hold their breath if Wright was out there.
The lesson here? Thor can eat wherever he wants, whenever he wants. If he chooses to order Shake Shack while on the mound in his next start vs the Brewers, Wright should stand at his side with a napkin at the ready. We can even get Parnell to serve it to him.
Sit back, relax, and let Thor ride…