In the words of Mets COO Jeff Wilpon, “It doesn’t matter who reached out to who.”
The end result of the rekindled relationship between Wilpon and iconic Met Ed Kranepool is that the 73-year-old former first baseman, who is battling kidney failure, threw out the first pitch before Monday night’s game against the Reds. He was greeted by raucous applause.
It’s all part of the plan to raise awareness of Kranepool’s condition, Wilpon said.
The two had a falling out after Kranepool was upset that the Wilpons didn’t check in after he underwent three surgeries in 2017. According to the 18-year veteran, who spent his entire career with the Mets and played for the 1969 World Series championship team, that’s all in the past now.
“I’m glad to be here,” he said. “I’m glad to be involved a little bit. Anything I can do to help the Wilpons along the way, I mean, it’s my pleasure. Things in the past are in the past, and let’s go forward.”
Kranepool said “the most important thing right now” is finding a kidney donor. He’s in a holding period but is “down to about 18 percent capacity on both of them. Both of them are failing, and it’s just a matter of time.”
The career .261 hitter walked into the dugout without assistance and spent several minutes talking with Wilpon and outfielder Michael Conforto. He said he recently lost all of the toes on his left foot because of an infection caused by diabetes.
Those interested in helping Kranepool can contact email@example.com or Stephen Knapik at the Stony Brook Transplant Hospital.
Kranepool also praised the Wilpons for doing everything possible to put a winning product on the field in 2018.
“Ownership is doing what they can,” he said. “You can’t do anything about injuries. That’s part of the game. They’ve had some freak injuries; that’s bad luck. They spent a lot of money.”
Mets manager Mickey Callaway said lefthander Steven Matz (forearm strain) threw off a mound Monday and “it seems like he’s progressing well.” . . . Jay Bruce (hip) has been on the shelf since June 17, but the Mets plan to put together a “fairly aggressive” return-to-play program for him . . . Jose Bautista, mired in an 0-for-23 slump, did not start Monday.