Mets pitcher leaves bullpen, watches game from secret location

Lefty reliever works one pitch, one out appearance in win

May 22nd, 2022

DENVER -- Sometimes, a man just wants to drink his Red Bull in peace.

Such was the plight of Mets reliever Joely Rodríguez, who was watching Sunday’s 2-0 win over the Rockies from the Coors Field bullpen when he decided he wanted a better vantage point to take in the proceedings. So Rodríguez grabbed a chair, a massage gun, a bottle of water, some sunflower seeds and, of course, his trusty energy drink, then climbed atop the rockpile that adorns the batter’s eye in center field.

With a hoodie keeping him insulated against the chilly Denver wind, Rodríguez found his Zen -- until a Coors Field security guard kicked him off his perch.

“It was just something that I wanted to do,” Rodríguez said through an interpreter. “I didn’t think it was going to be, like, a big deal that I was sitting out there. I just went out there pretty much to relax. It was a good view.”

The Coors Field batter’s eye, which includes both the rockpile and a forested area, has intrigued visiting relief pitchers for years. In 2015, television cameras caught Mariners reliever Fernando Rodney trying to find a shady spot between the pine trees on a hot August afternoon. Rodney looked the part of a spy that day, peering out from behind an evergreen.

Rodríguez, in contrast, didn’t desire shade or protection from the elements -- he was simply searching for that elusive Sunday vibe, which he very much enjoyed until “somebody kicked me out.”

“They said you can’t stay over there,” Rodríguez recalled, laughing.

Whatever relaxation Rodríguez did achieve seemed to do him good. The lefty specialist was back in the bullpen by the time the phone rang for him in the eighth inning, with slugger Ryan McMahon due to bat in a two-run game. On his first and only pitch of the afternoon, Rodríguez jammed McMahon with a fastball to get the out and strand the potential tying runs on base.

“I’m always relaxed whenever I go into a situation,” Rodríguez said. “Luckily, everything went well in that outing.”