Listening to Mets left fielder Michael Conforto explain the botched play that led to an inside-the-park home run by Alcides Escobar to give the Royals an early first inning lead, showed how willing he was to take accountability – an admirable quality for one so young.
“We were both going towards the gap and thought I heard something that sounded like ‘I got it,'” Conforto said after the 5-4 loss. “So I pulled up.”
“I really don’t want to make excuses. I had a shot to catch that ball. That ball can’t get down. We’re in the World Series and it’s got to get caught.”
I was a little taken back by how manager Terry Collins characterized the play.
“Michael could have caught it. He thought Cespedes called it,” Collins said. “Yeah, it should have been caught, but wasn’t caught.”
I’ve watched that play a dozen times and in my opinion, that catch was all on center fielder Yoenis Cespedes and not on Conforto. That’s a catch any center fielder takes charge of and makes the play. Juan Lagares makes that play.
I respect Conforto for taking the blame, but honestly he has nothing to apologize for.
Meanwhile, I went to sleep and didn’t stick around to hear what Cespedes had to say. However it sounds from most reporters that he didn’t want to discuss it at all.
Joel Sherman put it rather bluntly in the New York Post this morning.
“Cespedes, a veteran who wants long-term riches, stalled and stalled before begrudgingly answering questions and never being accountable about the play.”
“The rule is on a 50-50 ball the center fielder has priority, but Cespedes spoke vaguely of a shift taking him out of position. Nevertheless, one Mets official said bluntly, “That is the center fielder’s ball.”
Cespedes also did not come out for the pre-game introductions, a team official said he was in the bathroom.
This isn’t a Cespedes hatchet piece, but let’s just say I expected more from him this postseason. He went 1-for-6 in last night’s game and struck out twice. That’s now 13 strikeouts in 40 plate appearances this postseason. He should have caught that ball.
Come on, Yo… Now is the time for accountability, leadership and bringing your five tools to the forefront. We need you.