PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Pete Alonso was minding his own business in the dugout before the Mets-Nationals game Friday when Mickey Callaway turned to him with a piece of paper and a request: Bring the lineup card to the umpires at home plate.
“He’s never done it before, so I kind of walked him through the process,” Callaway said. “It can’t hurt to learn everything baseball entails. It’s not just going out there and playing defense and hitting. There’s a lot of cool things about baseball. Doing the lineup card the right way is pretty cool.
“There’s a process to it. I told him, hey, learn these guys’ names, know it when you go up there, shake their hand, look them in the eye, call them by their name, tell them it’s nice to meet you. It’s part of respecting the game, so I wanted [him] to go out there and get to experience that.”
Or as Alonso put it: “He just said, go take the card out and win us a ballgame.”
Then Steven Matz gave up four home runs in two innings in an 11-3 Mets loss.
“I know I’m not going to ever do that again,” Alonso said. “Sorry, guys.”
Alonso said he was hoping to tell a joke during the pregame powwow, but it didn’t work out.
“Because it just went by really too fast,” he said. “It was uncharted territory for me . . . I have, like, one joke, but I can’t tell that. It’s not even good.”
OK, but what’s the joke?
“What’s brown, long and sticky?” Alonso said. “A stick.”
Reliever Drew Smith returned to Mets camp after having Tommy John surgery in New York this week. He is out for the year. “He’s having trouble sleeping,” Callaway said. “That’s just part of it. It’s tough to find a comfortable position to sleep in at this point.” . . . Luis Guillorme, who had a double and a pair of smooth plays at second Friday, is among the Mets’ offensive leaders with a .393/.500/.607 slash line. “He’s improved, there’s no doubt about it,” Callaway said. “He can be a valuable piece for us and he’s going to help us win games at some point this year.” . . . Closer Edwin Diaz allowed two homers in his inning against Washington but expressed no concern. He expects to be ready after pitching in back-to-back games sometime next week.