Video: Anthony Recker hits a game-tying grand slam in the ninth inning

3 Comments

The Mets weren’t able to accomplish a whole lot offensively against the Rangers in Saturday’s spring finale against the Rangers at Globe Life Park.  They had been held scoreless through eight innings and entered the top of the ninth down 4-0.

Rangers pitcher Andrew Faulkner got two quick, easy outs. But the Mets weren’t quite ready to face the regular season. Johnny Monell walked, John Mayberry singled, and Matt Reynolds walked to load the bases. Jesus Pirela came out of the bullpen to replace Faulkner. With a 1-1 count on back-up catcher Anthony Recker, Pirela threw a 96 MPH fastball about letters-high, which Recker promptly deposited over the fence in left-center for a game-tying grand slam.

[mlbvideo id=”61516283″ width=”600″ height=”336″ /]

The threat wasn’t over after the salami, as Pirela walked Danny Muno, uncorked a wild pitch, and walked Darrell Ceciliani before getting Alex Castellanos to fly out to left field to end the inning mercifully. Mets pitcher Zach Thornton worked around a two-out single in the bottom of the ninth for a scoreless inning and the two teams settled on a 4-4 tie.

Evan Gattis says he is ‘done playing’ baseball

Evan Gattis
Bob Levey/Getty Images
2 Comments

In a recent appearance on the 755 Is Real Podcast, hosted by The Athletic’s David O’Brien and former Braves reliever Eric O’Flaherty, catcher Evan Gattis confirmed he is “done playing” baseball. Gattis said back in October that he didn’t have any desire to continue playing the game, so this news comes as no surprise.

Gattis, 33, hit .226/.284/.452 with 25 home runs and 78 RBI for the Astros in 2018. The Astros did not extend him a qualifying offer, then $17.9 million. Though reporting on specific offers is scant, it is hard to imagine he received zero offers, or would have received zero offers if he were still interested in playing.

Gattis has one of the more interesting stories out there. He was a well-regarded college baseball prospect, but he battled anxiety and substance abuse. He checked into rehab and, temporarily, abandoned his baseball-related pursuits. Gattis eventually resumed playing college baseball but suffered an injury, prompting him to drop out of college. He went on to take on some not-so-glamorous jobs, including working in a pizza shop, as a parking valet, a ski-lift operator, and a janitor. Gattis battled more mental health issues, suffering from insomnia and depression, resulting in suicidal ideation. He checked into an inpatient psychiatric ward for several days. Afterwards, Gattis roamed around the west coast, going from Colorado to New Mexico to California to Wyoming.

In 2010, Gattis returned to baseball, playing for the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. He performed rather well, resulting in his being drafted by the Braves in the 23rd round that year. He worked his way through the minors quickly, debuting in the majors in 2013. The rest, as they say, is history. Gattis retires with a career .248/.300/.476 batting line along with 139 home runs, 410 RBI, and 299 runs scored over 2,662 trips to the plate.

The story of Gattis is an important one because mental health in general was not taken seriously, especially among men. It still isn’t, to a large degree, but it’s better now than it was 10 years ago. Due to social taboos and gender norms, men are much less likely to seek help for mental health issues. That Gattis — a burly avatar of testosterone — was willing to be vulnerable about his struggles with his mental health was important.