Francisco Lindor claims Jeff McNeil dugout confrontation was over identity of animal in Citi Field tunnel

·3 min read

The New York Mets may have a new owner, a new star shortstop and a new outlook, but there are still some stories that seem only possible with them.

Take, for example, an odd situation in the seventh inning of Friday's game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. As the Mets left the field, a commotion appeared to break out in the tunnel behind the Mets dugout. Something clearly attracted the attention of Michael Conforto and Dominic Smith, who could be seen running into the tunnel.

Speculation soon began that shortstop Francisco Lindor and second baseman Jeff McNeil had gotten into some kind of confrontation in the tunnel and their teammates rushed to break it up.

You can judge the video for youself:

A confrontation between teammates wouldn't be new ground for the Mets, but neither Lindor nor McNeil really have a combative reputation, so the two facing off would be a bit of a shock.

All Mets fans and reporters could do was hold their breath and see what the pair had to say after the game, a 5-4 win in extra innings. Lindor stepped up to plate first, and his explanation (or cover-up) was somehow even more bizarre than what fans had feared:

Lindor's full answer:

"It was funny, I told him, I was like 'Hey, I had never seen a New York rat. So we went down sprinting, I wanted to go see a New York rat. He got mad at me and said 'No, that's not a rat, it's a raccoon.' I'm like "Hell no, man, it's a damn rat. It's a New York rat.' It was just crazy, we were going back and forth debating if it was a rat or a raccoon. Crazy, man. Insane."

McNeil stuck to the story in his subsequent news conference, shrugging off the idea that some will not believe him.

Mets manager Luis Rojas also weighed in on the situation, claiming he knew nothing of a rat-raccoon situation but saying he was satisfied that whatever did happen was over by the time he left the dugout steps, per's Anthony DiComo.

That means we are left with the following possibilities:

  • Francisco Lindor does not know what a raccoon looks like.

  • Jeff McNeil does not know what a rat looks like.

  • There is a terrifying rat/raccoon hybrid running around under Citi Field.

  • Lindor and McNeil came up with a story bizarre enough to distract us from a possible fight.

It's hard to say which answer reflects best on the Mets. It was a big day for Lindor on the field at least, going 2-for-5 with a game-tying home run in the seventh inning.

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