While the Rangers’ season got off with a hiccup, dropping their first game to the defending World Series champs Houston Astros, a Rangers fan had a much better opening day. Mets ace — and Mansfield’s own — Noah Syndergaard struck out ten, provided a critical bunt, and led the New York Metropolitans over the St. Louis Cardinals to their MLB-best 36th opening day victory.
In the lead-up to the start of the season, the Player’s Tribune published an article by Syndergaard about his attitude heading into the new season. That attitude, he writes, is in part shaped by his formative years growing up in Mansfield and playing a sport — baseball — that he didn’t want to play, but that his mom forced him into. The piece is nicely written and charming. Here’s a taste:
My mom was that mom at my Little League games — always yelling.
One time, when I was eight years old and playing coach pitch, I was standing in the on-deck circle waiting to hit, and my mom was calling my name. And she wasn’t just yelling from the bleachers. She was like two feet away from me, banging on the fence, screaming.
But I didn’t even hear her. I was locked in. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had tunnel vision, especially when it comes to sports. It wasn’t until my mom was practically screaming right in my ear that I noticed she was there, and that’s when I yelled back at her.
Now, I’m not proud of what I said, but I just kind of blurted it out.
“Mom,” I snapped.
I knew it was a mistake as soon as I said it because … man, the way my mom looked at me — her face changed, like, Did he really just say that?
It was probably just a case of me being a punk kid and copping an attitude with my mom. But it also could have been that maybe I was still a little mad at her for making me play baseball in the first place. It was all her idea. When I was seven and she first asked me if I wanted to play, I told her no. I didn’t think baseball looked all that fun. I wanted to play soccer.
She signed me up anyway.
Then she and my dad took me to Walmart to buy me baseball gear. We were standing in one of the aisles looking at cups — you know, like jockstraps and whatever — and my parents were talking really loud about the different kinds of … protection. Everybody in the aisle could hear them.
I was so embarrassed that I threw the biggest fit you can imagine. I mean like a full-on, seven-year-old kid screaming, stomping and crying his eyes out fit. It was ridiculous.
And the whole time, my parents were just laughing.
They thought it was hilarious.
But now, after I had just told her to shut up, my mom wasn’t laughing. She was mad. She pointed down at me and gave me her best “serious mom” voice.
“You’re grounded, mister!”
On the spot. No hesitation. No questions asked.
When it was my turn to hit, my tunnel vision kicked back in. My mom went back to yelling, and I forgot about the fact that I was grounded.
Then I went up to the plate …
And I hit a home run.
My mom went crazy.
When I got back to the dugout, she was so excited that she actually un-grounded me.