Mariners’ Jesse Winker says what he and Mets fans have is ‘special’

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Mariners Jesse Winker single off mets
Mariners Jesse Winker single off mets

Mariners outfielder Jesse Winker and the Mets faithful are becoming a budding rivalry, and Saturday night's near-heroics only added to it.

After hitting a three-run home run off of Chasen Shreve to tie the game at four in the seventh inning, it seemed the Buffalo-native would get the last laugh, once again, against the Mets. The Mets would eventually pull out the victory, but the home run was just another chapter in their story.

"I'm gonna be honest with you, I love them. They are an amazing group of people. They are very passionate about their team and their city,” Winker said of the fans after Saturday’s game via MLB.com’s Daniel Kramer. “I can understand the passion and I respect it. This thing we've got going on is special."

Winker’s special “thing” with the Mets fans began in 2019 when he was a member of the Cincinnati Reds. In the top of the ninth of their April 29 game, Winker hit a home run off of Edwin Diaz to put the Reds up 5-4.

Once the Reds got the final out in the bottom of the inning, Winker infamously waved goodbye to the Mets fans as he jogged off the field.

A day later, with the Reds up just 1-0, Winker made a sliding catch down the left field line to end the game. Again, Winker waved goodbye to the Mets fans. In the series finale, the fans jeered when Winker was ejected for arguing balls and strikes.

Mets fans have a wicked memory and have not let Winker forget it. In 2021, when the Reds returned to Queens, signs bashing Winker were ever present. Now as a part of the Mariners, Winker’s late-game heroics have put him and his rivalry with the fans center stage once again.

When the 28-year-old hit his game-tying home run Saturday, Shreve took exception to Winker milking the homer, yelling at the 28-year-old as he rounded the bases, adding fuel to the fire.

However, what could have been a back breaking defeat turned into a gutsy victory for the Mets as Patrick Mazeika gave New York the lead with his own home run and the bullpen shut the door on the Mariners.

But what was especially poetic was Diaz striking out Winker for the final out, giving the Mets faithful the last wave goodbye.

“You’ve got to love baseball. It's poetry. It's beautiful. And for that little game in May, that was perfect for their side,” Winker said. “That’s probably exactly how they wanted to close it.”

The Mets will have one last chance to interact with Winker when they take on the Mariners in the final game of their three-game set Sunday at 1:40 p.m. on SNY.