Mets manager Buck Showalter walks to the dugout in the...

Mets manager Buck Showalter walks to the dugout in the ninth inning against the Pirates at Citi Field on Sept. 17. Credit: Jim McIsaac

The Mets are planning to fly to Atlanta after Wednesday night’s game at Citi Field to begin a crucial three-game series on Friday night that could decide the NL East. 

That flight and the pivotal series was still scheduled as of Tuesday night. But with Hurricane Ian a looming threat to Georgia, discussions were ongoing about altering the dates, times or even location of the Mets-Atlanta series. 

“Those type of things, weather, obviously, it’s been talked about,” manager Buck Showalter said before the Mets hosted the Marlins on Tuesday night. “It has to be. It started on the plane [Sunday] on the way home [from Oakland]. But nothing that gets in the way of what we have to do tonight. And then when we get through it tonight – tomorrow, I think there’s going to be some moving things. I think my concern . . . is making sure we position ourselves to go in as many directions as we can.” 

Showalter meant with his pitching staff, not the Wednesday night flight. 

“You need at some point to tell the pitchers days and all those other things,” Showalter said. "I guarantee you something will happen over the course of tonight that will change the way we look at it. It’s happened every day.” 

The Mets and Atlanta are both off on Thursday. As of Tuesday night, the storm was supposed to hit Georgia on Friday with heavy rain and winds Friday and Saturday. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency that will go into effect on Thursday. 

Major League Baseball could attempt to play the series in Atlanta as scheduled; could play one game in Atlanta on Thursday and hope to get two more games in over the weekend; could move the series to a neutral site; or could move the series to Citi Field with Atlanta as the home team. 

 

The regular season ends on Oct. 5. The loser of the Mets-Atlanta NL East race will have to open a three-game wild card series on Oct. 7, so extending the regular season seems unlikely. 

Mattingly, Buck reunite 

Marlins manager Don Mattingly, a former player under Showalter with the Yankees, announced on Sunday that he would not be returning to the position in 2023 in a mutual decision with the club. 

Mattingly, 61, managed Miami at Citi Field on Tuesday and will finish the season, his seventh with the Marlins.  

“I talked to Donnie a little bit before the season,” Showalter said. “I thought this
[might happen]. But the game’s better with him in it. I hope he continues. He’s as good a human being as he is a player and coach and manager, and that’s saying a lot. He’s in a good place in his life, too. He’s got a lot of things coming back to him that have been a challenge. I’m really happy for him and I think he wouldn’t be down this avenue unless he was happy with it. I should say, ‘At peace with it.’ I know Donnie’d like to be the last team standing this year. Don’t ever underestimate his competitive fire. Kind of sad in a way because the game needs people like Donnie in it.” 

The Mets don’t have any openings on their coaching staff. But if they did, Mattingly has been a batting coach before, and he obviously has a fan in Showalter. The feeling is mutual. 

“I learned a lot from Buck,” said Mattingly, who played with Showalter in the Yankees minor league system. “His organization and the guys he picks and how he builds culture. He’s sharp.”