Mets spring training brought some different buzz Wednesday at Clover Park in Port St. Lucie, Florida, where New York's 4-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals came with an all-access broadcast by ESPN.
Players wore earpieces during the game and communicated with the ESPN broadcast crew up in the booth, providing an in-depth perspective into a professional game as the action unfolded.
With the Mets, there were light moments -- a lot of them -- too. Below is a sampling of the Mets' all-access ESPN broadcast.
Pete Alonso jokes with Eduardo Perez
In the hole for the Mets during the first inning, 1B Pete Alonso stood on the dugout steps and talked to ESPN analyst Eduardo Perez. Prior to becoming the Mets' second-round pick in the 2016 MLB June Amateur Draft, Alonso attended the University of Florida from 2014-16. Perez, meanwhile, played at Florida State University from 1989-91 under longtime head coach Mike Martin (1980-19). Alonso joked with Perez about the Gators-Seminoles rivalry, insinuating that Martin made a mistake by not recruiting the Tampa (Fla.) Henry B. Plant product.
"I know you're a Florida State alum, so I'm sorry," Alonso said with a smile. "But also, that means not necessarily completely my fault because Mike Martin -- he didn't really think I was good enough, so joke's on him."
Alonso dabbles in play-by-play
Just as candid in the field, Alonso was holding Cardinals baserunner Tommy Edman on first when RHP Marcus Stroman delivered home for the pitch to the second batter of the game. After calling out "running" as Stroman stepped towards the plate, C Rene Rivera hopped up and fired to second, throwing Edman out by a step.
"Gun 'em, baby," Alonso said as Rivera pulled up and then fired down to 2B Jeff McNeil. "Good throw, oh. Got 'em."
Alonso's commentary to recap the process was award-worthy. He changed his voiced to mimic a broadcaster.
"The pitch, the relay, Rene Rivera -- cut down Tommy Edman," Alonso said in a higher-pitched voice while walking back to first. "Top of the first, one out."
Dominic Smith pokes fun at JD Davis
In the top of the fourth inning with Dominic Smith manning the outfield and J.D. Davis to the infield, ESPN interviewed the two at the same time. ESPN analyst Tim Kurkjian was curious about how Davis is able to balance playing infield and outfield for the Mets.
"J.D., since you're an infielder who now plays the outfield occasionally, you use a little cheat sheet also, correct?" Kurkjian said.
Davis, who came up through the Houston Astros organization during the 2017 season, in which the club was later found out to be using a live camera feed from center field to relay signs in real time to hitters at the plate, answered the question directly.
"Yes, yes I do," Davis said.
After Davis responded, Smith interjected and made a timely joke about the Astros. Davis recently expressed remorse about Houston's sign-stealing scandal, albeit as a low-level player, saying he was "ashamed" of his involvement.
"J.D. has a ton of cheat sheets," Smith said as the others on the broadcast could be heard laughing. "You know what I'm saying?"
"JD has a ton of cheat sheets... you know what I'm saying?"- Starting 9 (@Starting9) March 4, 2020
- Dom Smith on his teammate/2017 World Series Champion, JD Davis 😂💀💀
Mets react to Eduardo Nunez triple
Several players overheard taking in the action with the broadcast crew when 3B Eduardo Nunez stepped to the plate in the bottom of the fourth inning. In an 0-2 count, Nunez smoked a line drive down the right-field line. As he legged out a triple, his teammates' reactions from the bench were priceless.
Smith keeps trolling Davis
The quip alluding Astros was not the last of Smith messing with Davis. In the top of the fifth inning, with Davis in the dugout, Smith decided to interject.
"You know, I think--," Davis said.
"I can't hear anything," Smith said.
"I'm talking," Davis said with a smile. "Quit interrupting."
"You guys can still hear me?" Smith said. "I can't hear you guys."
"I think he can hear us," Davis said. "I think he just wants to keep interrupting me, of course."