Daniel Vogelbach #32 of the Mets reacts after his first inning...

Daniel Vogelbach #32 of the Mets reacts after his first inning RBI single against Atlanta in the first game of a doubleheader at Citi Field on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022. Credit: Jim McIsaac

It was obvious to Daniel Vogelbach when he got traded from the Pirates to the Mets last month that he was joining a team capable of playing deep into a postseason. He has been with the NL East leaders less than three weeks and now sees some of what makes it a pretty extraordinary team.

“They had already won a ton of games and so you come in and want to do your small part to be a fit,” Vogelbach said Monday before the series opener against the Reds at Citi Field. “But now I’ve been here and seen the things that make this team special. There is a closeness [among] the players in the clubhouse, sure. But these players have a way that they play the game: they play it hard every day.”

Vogelbach has shown that he fits right in, in the way he’s performed at the plate and the way he’s hustled on the field. The Mets won 12 of their first 14 games after he debuted on July 24 and he’s put up a slash line of .314/.478/.554 in 13 of them. And for anyone who saw the sturdily built DH sprint home from first base on Mark Canha’s third-inning double Sunday, he has hustle to go with his muscle.

The folks at Statcast clocked him going over 16 mph to score that run and the video has been a popular view on social media platforms.

To hear Vogelbach explain it, the Mets’ intense brand of play begins with its name-brand superstars.

“You follow the leaders, right? And if you look at our superstars, not one of them feels that they’re above the game or don’t need to play hard on every play or don’t need to do the little things,” Vogelbach said. “From the position-player side, Frankie [Lindor] and Pete [Alonso] bring the energy and play with intensity every night. You can’t tell if they’re 0-for-4 or 4-for-4 because they’re always the same, consistent.”

“Then you have the pitching side, with Jake [deGrom] and Max [Scherzer] and, really, a bunch of other guys,” he continued. “Watch how they are on the mound. See the way they compete, the way they carry themselves. That’s contagious.”

 

Manager Buck Showalter likes to use the term ‘posting up’ to describe what the Mets stars bring to the clubhouse culture “and it isn't necessarily playing – ‘posting up’ is bringing the sense of concentration and intensity every day wherever the need is,” he said.

Showalter recalled that when he was hired to manage the Orioles, he went to Baltimore star outfielder Adam Jones with a message.

“I remember telling Adam Jones when I first got to Baltimore that ‘your best players have to play the game right. If not, I'm wasting my time. . . . If you don’t play the game right, we’re going to have a problem,’” Showalter said.

He has a team that plays the game right. As he explained of Alonso, “Pete’s very durable and plays this game hard. . . . When your best players play the game right, it makes it a lot easier to develop that ‘posting up’ [culture].”

Playing the game with passion and effort can be exhilaratin to a fan base. And whether he realizes it or not – and Vogelbach claims not to notice – those following the Mets have taken quickly to him.

“I feel excitement in our fans but I just think it’s an exciting time right now,” he said. “You want to win and we have been. You want to be playing meaningful baseball in the last month and a half and that’s what we’re doing.”