Yoenis Cespedes and Noah Syndergaard rode horses into Spring Training
It was not long after the Mets acquired Yoenis Cespedes last summer that Noah Syndergaard was lying in bed, scrolling through his new teammate's Instagram account, when he came across a picture of his teammate with a horse.
"That's another reason why this guy's so cool," Syndergaard recalled thinking at the time.
Then he mostly forgot about Cespedes' equine hobby -- he owns two of the animals, Candy and (literally) a horse with no name -- until the outfielder began rolling into Mets camp last month in customized cars and bikes. Syndergaard saw the attention that Cespedes' automobile collection was receiving. He hatched a plan.
So it came to be that Cespedes and Syndergaard clopped into Mets camp early Tuesday morning on horseback, as part of a surprise SNY shoot on Mets photo day. Dressed in full cowboy gear -- similar to how he looked while purchasing a blue-ribbon hog over the weekend -- Cespedes trotted into the players' lot and posed for pictures. The two cantered around the Minor League complex for a bit, before heading over to the players' lot and offering rides to teammates. Even longtime PR man Jay Horwitz climbed atop one of the horses, nearly falling off it.
"Overall, I think it went well," Syndergaard said. "I didn't get bucked off, so that was nice."
Though Syndergaard's father, Brad, trains horses outside Dallas, Syndergaard was never exposed to it much as a child. He estimated that he had ridden only about a half-dozen times before Friday, feeding fear that his 242 pounds would be a bit much for the horse to handle. But all ended well.
Keeping the air of mystery alive, Cespedes declined to talk about his horses; no word on whether a spaceship, an elephant or a teleportation device might be next.
"I haven't come up with anything yet, but I'll let you guys know," Syndergaard said. "Stay tuned."
Seriously!!! pic.twitter.com/7zwb9okOCH— New York Mets (@Mets) March 1, 2016
Just don't count on it happening anytime soon. After his team's intrasquad game Tuesday at Tradition Field, manager Terry Collins said he spoke to Cespedes about toning down the off-field antics.
"Fun time's over. It's time to get after it. It's time to get ready for baseball," Collins said, before adding: "I have no problem with it. … He does his drills. He works hard. He's getting ready to play. He's having a little bit of fun for the time being. But it's time to get ready for baseball now.
Explained Syndergaard: "We play a game for a living. It's supposed to be fun. We keep it light and relaxed. Spring Training into the season can be grueling. It's a grind. So it's always fun to keep things loose."
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.