Francisco Lindor is definitely telling a true story that half the Mets rushed up the tunnel from the dugout to see him and Jeff McNeil were arguing about whether there was a rat or a raccoon roaming the bowels of Citi Field.
Asked if people would believe his rodent tale, Lindor said, “New Yorkers probably will, because they’ve seen the rats here.”
For his part, McNeil upon further reflection didn’t really think it was a rat or a racoon, but another creature entirely, although he’s definitely wrong, because opossums live in America, while possums are Australian.
It probably would not have been so funny had Lindor not hit a game-tying home run and the Mets not gone on to win on Patrick Mazeika’s dribbler in the 10th inning. But Lindor missed a good chance to really bring the bit home when he said a member of the grounds crew removed the mystery critter. Obviously, it should have been Donnie Stevenson taking that sucker out with Sidd Finch’s old Himalayan walking stick.
The important thing, though, is that the Mets are on the same page. That’s where incidents like whatever happened between Lindor and McNeil can wind up being a team-building moment — because it takes teamwork to pull a good con.
“I heard something about a rat and a raccoon,” Mazeika said. “All I saw was some guys down in the tunnel looking for it. I don’t really know what happened down there. I didn’t get a good look.”
It’s working already, see?
Really, yes, Lindor and McNeil probably did have some kind of beef — and not the Pete Alonso “Polar Burger” that debuted Friday night. Those things happen on many teams. The Mets probably wouldn’t be able to keep the story straight if they were all in a clubhouse doing interviews simultaneously rather than consecutive Zoom sessions, so this is both a funny story and a glaring example of the importance of media access, because in a more serious scenario — say, if someone had been injured — it could be the difference between the truth coming out and the facts being successfully swept under the rug.
At the same time, a ridiculous and completely unbelievable lie is a lot funnier than a simple no-comment. So, sure, let’s just agree, it was a rat and a raccoon. Or an opossum. Actually, there’s a pretty good chance it was an opossum, because they kind of look like rats, but they’re the size of raccoons, are occasionally spotted at night in Queens (not as often as rats, but way more than raccoons), and have been known to frequent ballparks.