Brandon Nimmo can make a major-league game feel like all the best aspects of a Little League contest.
From his sprints down the first baseline after getting hit by a pitch or drawing a walk, to a beaming smile that seems to last the entire game, Nimmo has endeared himself with Mets fans through his hustle and enjoyment of baseball.
And as if hitting a walk-off home run in the 10th inning to give the Mets a 3-0 victory over the Phillies Wednesday evening wasn’t enough, the first words out of his mouth during his on-the-field interview was thanking the fans for staying all 10 innings. The 25-year-old has displayed the uncanny ability of bringing positive feelings to a fanbase that hasn’t experienced much of it this season.
“It’s fun to get wins like this,” Nimmo said. “Just to keep some positivity going forward and try to create some momentum going forward.”
Nimmo pinch-hit for reliever Robert Gsellman following a two-out double by Amed Rosario and a walk by Jose Reyes. He then drove a first-pitch curveball 433 feet over the right-centerfield fence to give the Mets the victory. It was his first major-league walk-off home run and RBI.
“You’re just floating, it’s hard to describe,” Nimmo said. “I mean, all the hairs on the back of your neck are standing up and I was just extremely elated.”
Mets manager Mickey Callaway joked postgame that the excitement Nimmo showed following the walk-off homer was the same as he shows after a walk. But it’s an important vigor for a Mets team, which trails the Phillies and Braves by 13.5 games for first place in the National League East, at 36-54.
“He obviously brings energy everywhere he goes and that was great to see,” Callaway said. “And he kind of needed that, where he was at.”
Nimmo had slowed since being hit by a pitch on his right pinkie June 25. Despite posting an OPS of .894 for the season — top 10 in the National League — the outfielder entered Wednesday with a slashline of .156/.325/.219 in July.
“It’s no secret I’ve been struggling the past couple weeks,” Nimmo said. “So to be able to putting in all this hard work that we’re putting in and then come in off the bench and be able to help this team win, it was a really good feeling.”
But when it was Nimmo’s time to come through for the Mets, he was ready, saying he had a feeling he may be called upon in the 10th inning.
“Even more special to be able to do it coming of the bench,” Nimmo said, “because as I’ve found out through experience, that’s a really hard role.”
And with the patented Nimmo smile both on and off the field Wednesday, the outfielder will always remember his first major league walk-off homer.
“It’s surreal,” he said. “It’s definitely a night I’ll never forget.”