The narrative, rooted perhaps in pure coincidence, nevertheless reached the locker of Yoenis Cespedes. When it did, the Mets slugger only scoffed.
He had not reached base since getting plunked in the side Tuesday by Marlins righthander Tom Koehler -- a slump that reached 0-for-17 entering Sunday night's Subway Series finale.
Latest Mets stories
"I know some of you may be thinking there was something to do with when I got hit by the pitch," Cespedes said through an interpreter before the game. "It has nothing to do with that. There's really no specific reason. And the only thing I'm scared of is death . . . I'm not scared of [getting hit]."
Nor does Cespedes harbor any fears of being stuck in the downturn, a thought he justified by showing signs of life.
Cespedes doubled in the fifth inning against the Yankees Sunday night, halting his slide at 0-for-19.
"All I can say is I'll be out of this slump," Cespedes said. "I can't tell you if it's going to be today, I can't tell you if it's going to be tomorrow. But I'm sure it will happen eventually."
In his first slump as a member of the Mets, Cespedes maintained that he would change little to nothing about his preparation.
Watching taped at-bats has long been popular with players looking to straighten out their swings, though Cespedes said he wouldn't be spending much time in the video room.
"I'm feeling good," Cespedes said. "I'm not going to change anything."
Not that manager Terry Collins insisted upon any adjustments. Aside from Cespedes taking a full round of batting practice a few days ago, he hasn't spotted any breaks from routine.
"I compare this guy to Barry Bonds a lot because Barry is the one mega star that I got to see prepare," said Collins, who was the Pirates' bullpen coach during part of Bonds' tenure in Pittsburgh. "You leave him alone. They know what they're doing. Everybody's going to have their rough spell here and there. The greatest pitchers have bad outings. Right now, he's going through a little bit of a rough spell. Do I think he'll get out of it? Absolutely."
Cespedes acknowledged that his production was bound to slow down. Before his slide, Cespedes had hit .309 with 17 homers in just 41 games, a prodigious pace. Entering play Sunday night, he had not homered since Sept. 14.
"I knew that the home run string would eventually die down a little," Cespedes said. "I didn't think what was going to follow it was 0-for-17. But I figured it would probably cool down some."
Still, Cespedes said he wants to remain in the lineup, preferring to hit his way out of his cold streak rather than take time off.
"You can say it's the same thing that can happen to any other ballplayer," he said. "It's just a slump, just like it can happen to anyone. I've had worse slumps."