Call Him Gladiator

(Neil Miller/Sportsday Wire)

There’s the Dark Knight and Thor in the rotation and in about a week, Captain America will be back in the Mets lineup.

But no matter how many super heroes the Mets put on the field, it’s the new beacon on light in the outfield that is leading the Mets to their best season since Citi Field opened.

And for Yoenis Cespedes, it’s just another day at the office.

“He’s going to hit,” said manager Terry Collins. “Everyone I talk to tells us that we have some kind of player on our hands. He’s going to carry us some night.”

With his warrior mentality and showman personality and even a name that sounds kind of Roman, you may have to go away from the comics and back to a time of antiquity.

Just call him Gladiator.

Not since Mike Piazza came to Shea Stadium in 1998 was the Met fan base ignited by an in-season acquisition. He has turned Citi Field not just into old Shea Stadium, but a modern day Roman Coliseum, where the warrior is cheered lustfully by the home crowd.

Even with his violent swings allowing the ball to jump off his bat, Cespedes is quick to use humor when it comes to his performance. He credited a stray parakeet that was loose in Citi Field for inspiring his first home run and for the next few days wore a neon yellow sleeve and neckless matching the bird.

“I knew there was a bird on the field and I wanted to look like the bird,” Cespedes joked.

After a slow start, Cespedes has hit .306 with 2 homers and 8 RBI in 14 games. But it’s his presence in his lineup that made the Mets around him better.

And when he’s not at the plate, he dazzles in the field with fantastic fielding and an arm that reminds some of Roberto Clemente.

Last night we saw that arm in action when he turned a bad bounce off the wall to a seed-like throw to third base and an out on Sean Rodriguez.

“You know, in truth, I know he’s got that kind of arm strength,” Rodriguez told the Daily News “I didn’t know he’d be that accurate from that far away, though.

“That’s probably one in a lifetime right there.”

Added Cespedes: “Just going out and getting the ball and throwing it where I’m supposed to throw it. It works out that I get the out.”

Violent bats, rally parakeets and a killer arm, are you not entertained?

Much like the gladiators of old, Cespedes’s life as a Met might be short lived. A clause in his contract forces the club to release him five days after the World Series and when they do, he can’t sign in Queens until next May.

With so much money on the table, you can’t blame the outfielder for testing the market. Sure, he says he loves it here, but it will be very difficult to keep him.

Until then however, enjoy the gladiator, fighting in his pit.

It just may take the Mets to their first October run in nine years and possibly to the World Series.

Are you not entertained?

About the Author

Joe McDonald

Joe McDonald is the founder and former publisher of NY Sports Day. After selling to i15Media in 2020, he serves as the Editor-in-Chief and responsible for the editorial side of the publication. In the past, Joe was the managing editor of NY Sportscene magazine and assistant editor of Mets Inside Pitch. He has covered the Mets since 2004.

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