It’s one of the age-old questions, like to be or not to be? Where did I leave my keys? Is the dress blue or gold? This past Friday, the New York Mets asked, “Rat or raccoon?”
During the Mets game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil were involved in some commotion in the tunnel leading to the Mets clubhouse. It came after Lindor at shortstop and McNeil at second combined to misplay a ground ball, and moments after the inning ended, Mets players rushed into the tunnel adjacent to their dugout, sensing a commotion (CBS Sports).
When asked about why the pair rushed into the dugout, Lindor and McNeil both shared a story about seeing a critter in the tunnel:
But then, McNeil is quoted as saying, “[it was] a nice debate about a rat or raccoon. To be honest, I thought it was actually a possum. Not a raccoon, but a possum.”
Apparently Mets manager Luis Rojas didn’t back up his players’ claims of a critter in the clubhouse but also seemed oblivious to what had taken place (ESPN):
On Saturday, Rojas told reporters he talked to both players to learn what happened but would not elaborate, saying only that perhaps this could be a turning point for the team.
“Yesterday made us better as a family and as a team,” he said. “Even if we disagree, something [good] comes out of it.”
And if there was a real disagreement, Lindor and McNeil both insisted that it was only about the identity of the mysterious rodent haunting the tunnel behind the Mets’ dugout. Definitely that and nothing about baseball. You cannot make this stuff up.ESPN
Until any further information comes out about this scandal, we may never know the real story. Regardless, that leaves me with some questions:
I know that rats are common in NYC—obviously, pizza rat—but how common are raccoons?
According to Wikipedia, “The original habitats of the raccoon are deciduous and mixed forests, but due to their adaptability, they have extended their range to mountainous areas, coastal marshes, and urban areas, where some homeowners consider them to be pests.” I guess Queens could be considered urban so maybe they have a few raccoons walking around?
Follow up: And how common is it for a raccoon to just wander into the dugout? Did he pay for a ticket at the game, got up to get some food in between at-bats, got lost, and ended up in the dugout?
How were Lindor and McNeil the only ones to spot the critter from the field? If it was in the dugout, wouldn’t other teammates have seen it?
And then you throw in the whole possum thing, and those things are gross. Wouldn’t it have just played dead if it felt threatened when half of the Mets dugout came running down the tunnel?
Is someone going to try to track down this supposed rat or raccoon at all? Maybe talk to the critters that hang out outside of Citi Field?
Will there be any sort of follow up to this story? Will we ever know the real truth behind the rat or raccoon debate? Will the Mets hire an exterminator to do a sweep of Citi Field?
I’ll be keeping a close eye on “Tunnel Gate” and will provide any follow up information as it becomes available. But in reality, this could very well be just a very Mets thing and there may never be a reasonable explanation.