TODAY'S PAPER
Good Morning
Good Morning
SportsColumnistsNeil Best

Mets manager Luis Rojas has sunny attitude to deal with April showers

The tarp is on the field before an

The tarp is on the field before an MLB game between the Mets and the Phillies on Jackie Robinson Day at Citi Field on Thursday. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Luis Rojas is the ultimate baseball lifer — the kind who has been around the game since, well, birth.

So it was with the benefit of abundant experience that the Mets manager on Thursday took the following approach to the team’s disjointed opening month: Shrug.

To put it another way: It’s April. What did you expect?

"The month of April in history, I mean, there have been some disruptions in playing," he said after a noon game against the Phillies at Citi Field was postponed by rain shortly after it was scheduled to begin

 

"The first series of the season [postponed by the Nationals’ COVID-19 protocols] was the odd one from going back in time, something that we’ve been living with in the last year for what’s going on in the world.

"But as far as the weather, the one-day, two-day [postponement], if it comes our way I think we can find a way to be prepared."

What about the inability to establish any momentum?

Rojas noted that after having a game suspended in the first inning on Sunday, then another postponed on Monday, the Mets responded by beating the Phillies three times in two days.

Next up: A trip to Denver, where snow was forecast for Thursday night and frigid temperatures are forecast for Friday night. Cold enough to postpone a major- league game? We shall see.

"We didn’t play today," Rojas said. "We wanted to play, but what else can we do?"

He looked at the bright side, which was that by leaving earlier than scheduled on Thursday, the Mets might beat the weather problems in Colorado and give themselves another hour or two to acclimate to the thin air.

Plus, he did not have to subject Jacob deGrom to a long, misty afternoon at Citi Field.

The Mets have played eight of their 14 scheduled games this season. The Padres played their 14th game on Thursday. (OK, comparing April in the Northeast to April in San Diego is a tad unfair, but the Padres did visit Pittsburgh this week!)

There will be a price to pay for all this down the road, of course, in the form of canceled off days and added doubleheaders, including on June 25 for Thursday’s Phillies-Mets makeup.

The good news for the Mets is that perhaps by then Carlos Carrasco and Noah Syndergaard will be back to add depth to the pitching rotation. Also, seven-inning doubleheaders make doubleheaders less onerous than they used to be.

But that’s summer. This is April, and baseball pro that he is, Rojas — a son and nephew of major leaguers — kept trying to reel reporters (and by extension Mets fans) back into the present rather than worrying about the future.

"We want to be where our feet are," he said, "and we want to be able to play the most we can this month."

An hour after the first pitch was scheduled, it still was raining steadily at Citi Field, validating the decision not to waste time — and deGrom —– on a lost cause.

The tarp came off the field around 1:20 p.m., because the Mets are gone until next Friday.

It only was April 15, leaving another 5 1/2 regular-season months to sort out this mess.

The Mets seem to be in good hands with Rojas as their navigator. He is only 39 but has seen it all — even if he does not remember it all.

In the first baseball spring of his life, in 1982, a massive spring snowstorm caused six openers to be postponed, including the Yankees’, whose home field was buried under more than a foot of snow.

Stuff happens, especially in April.

New York Sports