The Diamondbacks’ 11-4 win on Friday night was eclipsed by a frightening moment in the seventh inning, when Pittsburgh reliever Johnny Barbato lobbed a 93 m.p.h. fastball that hit Chris Iannetta square in the face.
Iannetta immediately collapsed at the plate and appeared to have blood on his face and head as he exited the field. He was transferred to a local hospital for further evaluation and treated for a split lip, though it doesn’t look like he sustained anything more serious.
While the two teams have a history of plunking each other, postgame comments made by Barbato and Diamondbacks’ skipper Torey Lovullo revealed that neither side felt the hit by pitch was intentional. Both claimed that the pitch had simply “gotten away” from the reliever:
Prior to the incident, Iannetta went 1-for-3 at the plate with a 441-foot solo home run. Barring any underlying damage, he won’t miss much playing time, if any, but the Diamondbacks are expected to issue a full report on his status before Saturday’s game.
It’s can’t be easy being a Mets fan. Your team plays in the biggest city in America and should, theoretically, have big payrolls and always be in contention. They aren’t, however, partially because of horrendous luck and ill-timed injuries, partially because of poor baseball decisions and partially because the team’s ownership got taken down by a Ponzi scheme that, one would think anyway, sophisticated businessmen would recognize as a Ponzi scheme. We’ll leave that go, though.
What Mets fans are left with are (a) occasional windows of contention, such as we saw in 2014-16; (b) times of frustrating austerity on the part of ownership when, one would hope anyway, some money would be spent; (c) an inordinate focus on tabloidy and scandalous nonsense which just always seems to surround the club; and (c) a lot of disappointment.
You can file this latest bit under any of or many of the above categories, but it is uniquely Mets.
Team president Jeff Wilpon spoke to the press this afternoon about team payroll. In talking about payroll, David Wright‘s salary was included despite the fact that he may never play again and despite the fact that insurance is picking up most of the tab. Wilpon’s comment:
I’m guessing every team has a line item, someplace, about the costs of insurance. They’re businesses after all, and all businesses have to deal with that. They do not talk about it as a barrier to spending more money on players to the press, however, as they likely know that fans want to be told a story of hope and baseball-driven decisions heading into a new season and do not want to hear about all of the reasons the club will not spend any money despite sitting in a huge market.
This doesn’t change a thing about what the Mets were going to do or not do, but it does have the added bonus of making Mets fans roll their eyes and ask themselves what they did to deserve these owners. And that, more than almost anything, is the essence of Mets fandom these days.