NEW YORK – As it turns out, blasting a home run in his first at-bat with the Mets was the least crazy part of Rajai Davis’ Wednesday.“Well,” Davis says, “it was a normal day when it started.”Over the next few hours, it became one of the wildest baseball days you’ll hear about.Davis, then a member of the Triple-A Syracuse Mets, was taking batting practice in the cages at Lehigh Valley (Pa.). At about 5 p.m., manager Tony DeFrancesco pulled him aside and delivered the news every minor leaguer hopes to hear.Davis was headed to the big leagues.
Mets outfielder Rajai Davis took a strange journey on Wednesday. Justin Toscano, Staff Writer
The catch: Not tomorrow. Not the next day.The New York Mets needed him that night, and their game was set to begin in about two hours. “Thought the manager was playing a little joke, but I’m here,” Davis said.Coca-Cola Park, where the IronPigs play, is about 109 miles from Citi Field. The drive takes around two hours.Davis showered and hopped in an Uber with Jason, who probably drove his most lucrative ride on this day. As of midnight on Thursday, an Uber from Citi Field to Coca-Cola Park was $309.46. Davis, however, couldn’t remember the exact fare.“Not sure,” he said, “but I’m not going to foot that bill.”Jason and Davis talked the entire way. They got along well and both were excited about Davis’ call-up.“Me and Jason, we got to know each other,” Davis said.Davis arrived at Citi Field around the third inning, but Mets manager Mickey Callaway didn’t remember seeing him until the fifth or sixth. At one point, Callaway said, Davis got lost and needed help navigating the clubhouse quarters.“I think I got lost for a month and a half, maybe two months,” Davis said, referring to his time in the minors this season. “But now I’m fine with it.”On Wednesday night, he found himself back in the on-deck circle at a big-league ballpark. He came off the bench right after Juan Lagares cleared the bases with a double to put the Mets ahead.Facing Nationals closer Sean Doolittle in the eighth, Davis hammered a four-seam fastball and sent it an estimated 382 feet into the seats. The three-run homer re-ignited the crowd and gave the Mets a 6-1 lead.“A lot of it is just Raj and who he is,” Callaway said. “This guy is a winning player and he’s infectious to everyone around him. That’s evident when you’ve been on his team, it was evident in spring training to the guys in the clubhouse. Everybody loves Raj. He’s the man.“He’s been doing this awhile, so he has confidence in himself; he’s very, very prepared. This guy works harder than anybody.”The Mets on Wednesday placed Brandon Nimmo on the injured list. Jeff McNeil was out of the lineup. Michael Conforto is still sidelined. New York is searching for outfield options, meaning Davis has an immediate chance to contribute.He became the 11th player in Mets history to homer in his first at-bat with the team. Robinson Canó did it on opening day.In 2016, Callaway watched Davis launch another big home run. That one came in Game 7 of the World Series, and it tied the game. A reporter that asked Callaway about Wednesday's home run led with: "Obviously not the same stakes as tonight ...""It felt like it!" Callaway responded. Before this, Davis hit .277 with four doubles, a triple, three home runs and seven RBI over 37 games for Triple-A Syracuse.The only unfortunate part of Wednesday was that Jason didn’t see the home run in person. He had to head back to Pennsylvania after playing a crucial role in the team’s victory.After the 38-year-old Davis trotted around the bases happy as could be, he received an extra ovation from the crowd.“Thank you, New York,” he said. “I love you.”