SARASOTA, Fla. — Only adding to the misery of a trip to Syracuse for the Mets was their delay leaving Florida on Monday.
A chartered flight that was supposed to depart around 5:30 p.m. encountered a mechanical issue that led to a 3 ¹/₂ -hour delay taking off, as part had to be brought in from Tampa, some 45 miles away, according to sources.
So an already weary bunch was expected to descend upon Syracuse around midnight and then hold a workout at Syracuse University’s Carrier Dome later in the day.
The unfolding of events left many members of the traveling party agitated, according to a source, one day after Noah Syndergaard ripped team brass for scheduling the event in the first place.
During the flight delay, Syndergaard engaged fans on Twitter with “Tarmac Q & A” which turned into many respondents bashing WFAN host Mike Francesa for ripping Syndergaard on his show.At least one Mets player privately applauded Syndergaard for “taking one for the team” with his comments about the club’s visit to Syracuse, but publicly players used measured tones Monday to address the subject, hoping to avoid further controversy.
“Obviously we would like to go straight to D.C. and get things going,” Michael Conforto said, referring to Thursday’s season opener in Washington. “But this year the circumstance is different, the [Triple-A] team is moving to Syracuse and it’s something we have got to do along the way.”
The Mets, who played their Grapefruit League finale on Monday against the Orioles after bussing three hours across Florida the previous night, are scheduled to hold a workout at the Carrier Dome on Syracuse University’s campus before flying Tuesday afternoon to Washington.
The trip to Syracuse will prevent manager Mickey Callaway from holding a mandatory workout Wednesday in Washington — that session will instead be voluntary, because players are required to have an off day this week.
Syndergaard on Sunday ripped team brass for the decision to hold the workout in Syracuse. The pitcher also questioned why teammate Jacob deGrom hasn’t yet received a contract extension as Thursday’s negotiating deadline approaches.Jeff McNeil is among those who sees both sides of the equation in the visit to Syracuse.
“I think Noah said, it’s kind of tough to head up there,” McNeil said. “But it’s good for all the Mets fans and it’s going to promote the team as well. We’re going to go up there and do the workout and go to D.C. and be ready.”
Conforto was asked if he agrees with Syndergaard’s assessment that deGrom, who is under club control through 2020, should have locked up a new contract already.
“Noah again showing his honesty,” Conforto said. “Obviously they are very close friends and he wants [deGrom] to get what he’s earned and I think we all feel the same way. We all have his back.”
Syndergaard, who was sporting a big winter coat in the clubhouse after Monday’s game, declined comment.
— Additional reporting by Joel Sherman