Mets' Kevin Pillar explains change in face mask and 'nervous energy' since returning

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Mets Kevin Pillar scoring face mask
Mets Kevin Pillar scoring face mask

Mets OF Kevin Pillar made his return to the field on May 31 against the Arizona Diamondbacks after missing two weeks with multiple facial fractures from the fastball that hit him.

He made his first start since returning later in that series on June 2, and has started the last two games. After playing a few games with a clear protective mask, Pillar switched to a black mask against the San Diego Padres on June 3. He spoke about the difference between the masks prior to Saturday night's game.

"Well the black one is specifically made for me," Pillar said. "We used a face scanning software that the company had, and it's designed for my specific face. The other one was just bought off Amazon and got us through until this one came. The biggest difference is the black allows me no visual if I'm not looking out of the eye holes. The clear one, if I got a little lazy with my eyes and I could see out of the clear, it wasn't a very clear view. The black has made a really big difference as far as my eyes really being able to pick up what it needs to pick up. It's specifically designed for my face so it fits perfectly, and visually it's a lot easier to see out of."

Pillar went on to talk about the experience he's had receiving a bunch of standing ovations every time he comes up to the plate.

"It's been cool, it's been an honor," Pillar said. "But like I said many times before, I didn't do it for attention. I haven't done anything to get people excited, I've just tried to get back to doing my job. Felt like this team has been devastated by injuries, and wanted to come back and play and be available to help this team in anyway possible.

"It is humbling, it's exciting. I think the first at-bat in Arizona coming back, I was more nervous just about the energy that was in the stadium from the ovation than I was for the actual at-bat. My heart was beating pretty fast... Walking up to the plate getting the ovation was a pretty surreal moment in my career. Something that will go down as a top moment in my career, especially being on the road and just the amount of Mets fans that were there to make that moment special for me."

Pillar continued to discuss the "nervous energy" he's felt every time he takes the field.

"I think after the first game I started, coming in pinch-hitting there's always this nervous energy, you have such a short period of time to kind of feel like you can make an impact on the game," Pillar said. "Obviously not playing a while, first at-bat, there's some nervous energy. I think starting the first time, too, the nervous energy was just excitement for me, I was just excited to be back out there and excited to go through a full game again and be one of the guys.

"In all reality, I still get nervous before every game I go out there and play. I just really care. I have this deep routed care inside of me that I want to go out and perform. I think nerves lets me know that I still have feelings towards this game. I think once those those nervous and exciting feelings inside of me go away, maybe it's time to stay to stay home with the kids and wife and do something else. But the fact that I still get nervous before games, it lets me know that I'm in the right place and I'm gonna do that as long as I have those feelings."