One of my favorite New York Mets is down in Triple A, working on his swing with my hometown Syracuse Mets.
I cheered on first baseman Dominic Smith every turn at bat during our last visit to NBT Bank Stadium.
It’s been a tough two years for Dom. His batting average plummeted. His playing time dwindled, despite time in left field last year and now with the adoption of the designated hitter. New big Mets manager Buck Showalter placed him into the lineup as much as possible, hoping he’d find the pop and smoothness that made him a valuable component to complement Pete Alonso, his contemporary who drives the Mets’ offensive engine.
On the night in May when the roster had to be trimmed by one, Dom went 4-for-4 and the Mets won. Management let go Robinson Cano instead.
Since then, not so much.
So I rooted here in Syracuse. Dom made good contact, but as often was the case up at Citi Field and around the National League, his liners went right at the opposition.
It seems he’s trying to keep his famously good disposition.
Behind us on the third-base side sat a group of dozen or so younger fans also cheering for Dom. As he returned to the dugout after one inning, they rallied in full voice. I admired their pluck. He noticed, and waved, with a thumb’s-up for good measure.
The next inning, he carried a ball in his glove from the final out. Transferred it to his throwing hand. Tossed it over the net. Up, up, up it arced toward us. I reached, reached, reached. Just past my straining fingers. The young folks had themselves a Dom-tossed baseball.
I’ve been hoping he’d again become a big Met and helps our drive to big things again. Watching the game I’d recorded and watched upon return from work Monday, who pops up on the dugout upon recall to the big Mets but … Dominic Smith. I hope he stays this time.