When people look back on the boxscore of this game, and the players who won it for the Mets, there will be no mention of Jason.
Jason is from around here, but found himself in Pennsylvania driving an Uber Wednesday afternoon, Rajai Davis explained. He drove Davis for two hours, and the two made amicable conversation — about what, Davis can’t really remember. “Oh, we got to know each other,” the journeyman outfielder said. “We had a good conversation, me and Jason. We were hanging out.”
Jason, though, couldn’t stick around when Davis finally made it to Citi Field in the third inning to join the Mets — called up for an injured Brandon Nimmo from Triple-A Syracuse, which was playing in Lehigh Valley. Which means that he missed a chance to see the fruits of his labor: Davis launching a pinch-hit, three-run home run in his first at-bat as a Met.
The homer capped a six-run eighth, providing the final margin in the 6-1 win over the Nationals, and was the 11th time a Met has homered in his first at-bat with the team. And though Davis has at least one other very memorable home run — he hit a game-tying homer for the Indians in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, a game they eventually lost to the Cubs — this, he said, was the first curtain call in his 14-year career.
“Thank you, New York,” he said, pointing at the SNY camera — a little peek into a quirky character that Mickey Callaway said immediately endeared Davis to his teammates in spring training (Callaway was also the pitching coach for the Indians when Davis was there).
“A lot of it is just Raj and who he is,” Callaway said. “This guy is a winning player. He’s infectious to everyone around him . . . Everybody loves Raj. He’s the man. He’s been doing this for a while so he has confidence in himself. He’s very, very prepared. He works harder than everybody.”
The Mets right now, though, also present a tantalizing opportunity for Davis, who is 38 and searching to extend his career. With Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto on the injured list, the team only has three regular outfielders — and could, in a pinch, also use Dominic Smith out there.
“We’ll have to wait and see,” how this plays out, Davis said. But, “I’m just really grateful and thankful for the opportunity the front office gave me . . . [I wanted] to make an impact right away and I was fortunate.”
And if anything, Davis’ career — including eight different teams, with two stints apiece with the A’s and the Indians — has taught him how to be adaptable. On Wednesday, that meant trying to stretch a bit in the car while chatting with Jason. It also meant not being flustered when he couldn’t find the clubhouse.
“I think I saw him in the fifth or the sixth for the first time,” Callaway said. “He got here about the third, took an Uber, got ready, came out, hit a homer, came inside, didn’t know where the clubhouse was, how to get back in, he had to ask people.”
Davis took it in stride, parked himself next to Smith in the dugout, and asked for the rundown.
“He’s on the bench helping me out because I don’t know what I’m doing,” Davis said. “He’s guiding me, leading me.”
And when his number was called against Sean Doolittle, he ambled to the plate and kept it simple. “I just want to see the ball, hit the ball,” he said. “Hit that sweet part of the bat, square it up, hit it hard.”
That, at least, doesn’t change, no matter how strange the road is to get there.