Mets' resident world traveler checks London off list

June 7th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Anthony DiComo’s Mets Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

LONDON -- Remarkably, the United Kingdom is not among the 15 or so countries has visited -- or at least it wasn’t, until the Mets touched down at Stansted Airport late Thursday morning. Manaea, the Mets’ resident world traveler, had previously visited places as far afield as Antarctica and American Samoa.

Now, he’s been to England as well, set to start the London Series opener against the Phillies on Saturday. In many ways, Manaea is the perfect man for the job, given his international proclivities. Last year, the left-hander started a Mexico Series game for the Giants against the Padres. Both events are part of the MLB World Tour designed to export the game of baseball to fans around the globe.

“It’s a global game at this point,” Manaea said. “Being able to start in new places -- for me, I’m always down for an adventure and exploring and stuff like that. So, to be able to start in London is super special for me.”

Heading into his Mexico City start, Manaea recalls being concerned about what the altitude -- that city sits more than 7,300 feet above sea level, thousands of feet higher than even Coors Field in Denver -- would do to his pitches. London, with its barely-above-sea-level elevation, offered no such worries.

Instead, Manaea has focused some of his energies on taking advantage of sightseeing opportunities, including plans to visit Big Ben, the London Bridge and the London Eye. He hoped to put London’s reputation as an excellent locale for Indian food to the test. And, of course, he wanted to find a classic pub for a (warm?) pint of beer.

“I hear that’s pretty iconic,” Manaea said.

“Then obviously Saturday [and] Sunday are the business side of things. I think it’s a good mix. I’ll just try to enjoy as much as I can, and then when it’s time to lock in, I’ll lock in.”

Because this is the Mets’ annual family trip, many other players, such as and , brought their wives and/or children along for it. Lindor toured the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club -- better known as Wimbledon -- on Friday as part of his partnership with New Balance. Alonso intended to check off many of the same sightseeing highlights as Manaea, with perhaps one other destination in mind.

“I think yelling at the fuzzy-hat guards would be fun,” Alonso said, referring to the famously stoic King’s Guard outside Buckingham and St James’s Palaces.

Before departing for England on Wednesday evening, the Mets made all sorts of preparations, instructing their players on proper nutrition for the transatlantic redeye flight and lining up a taxi squad of three extra players to join them across the pond. In the clubhouse before their series finale against the Nationals, Manaea and Adrian Houser hit shuffle on an all-UK playlist, featuring artists like Oasis, The Cure, George Harrison, Lily Allen and Adele.

“I love traveling,” Manaea said. “It’s definitely one of my favorite things to do. [London] was definitely on the bucket list, so I’m very excited to go there and collect another sticker.”