In a small and unofficial way, Mets baseball is back.
They are now among the teams that are making their facility available to players, and at least one of them — catcher Wilson Ramos — took them up on that offer Tuesday by visiting Clover Park in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
“Our [Florida] facility is available for players who reside locally,” a team spokesman said Tuesday.
In a video posted to his Instagram account, a smiling, sweaty Ramos seemed pleased to be back in the expansive Clover Park weight room, part of the facility’s $57 million remodeling.
“Finally, finally we’re here,” Ramos said. “Port St. Lucie, doing what we love to do.”
Logistically, only a handful of Mets live close enough to benefit from the facility’s partial reopening.
Infielder Jeff McNeil, centerfielder Brandon Nimmo and righthander Michael Wacha have stayed in the area for at least most of baseball’s hiatus. Ramos and infielder Luis Guillorme have stayed in South Florida. The rehabbing Noah Syndergaard and Yoenis Cespedes have nearby living spaces. And ace Jacob deGrom lives two-plus hours away in DeLand, close enough that he sometimes commutes a couple of times per week for bullpen sessions before spring trainings officially begin in February.
The Yankees, Marlins, Rays are among the other teams that have also made their Florida facilities open to players in limited, small-group ways as the sport plots its return amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Clover Park soon might be way more crowded. If and when MLB and the Players Association agree to a plan to start the season, the Mets intend to stage their second spring training in Port St. Lucie.
The owners and the union still have to agree on matters including player pay, length of season and health and safety protocols, but there is optimism that they can reach a deal. This week is a critical part of that process, with MLB hoping to begin the season in early July.