Some teams and players might consider it an honor to be spotlighted by ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, but not the New York Mets.
After their series sweep of the Cleveland Guardians culminated with a win on Sunday Night Baseball, ESPN sought out Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor for a postgame interview. Lindor was coming off a big weekend, walking off his former team on Friday and hitting a game-tying home run in the sixth inning Sunday night. The accomplishments garnered him the honor of donning a headset and talking to ESPN’s Nicole Briscoe immediately after the Mets’ Sunday night win.
About two and a half minutes into the interview, a shriek of “F*ck ESPN, leave him alone, let him go!” bled into the broadcast. Five seconds after firing off the request, Justin Verlander stormed the interview and dismissed Lindor from ESPN.
Justin Verlander called for the hook on Francisco Lindor’s ESPN postgame interview. pic.twitter.com/QRJNRKUSEg
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) May 22, 2023
“We gotta do player of the game, let’s go! My god, stop asking so many questions, let’s go!” Verlander said, imploring Lindor to follow him back into the clubhouse. Verlander’s ESPN slight comes just a few days after Mets broadcaster Keith Hernandez flippantly said he would be watching the Sunday Night Baseball broadcast on mute.
“If he wants to join you, it’s fine,” Briscoe said, inviting Verlander onto the broadcast. But answering any questions from ESPN seemed like the last thing Verlander wanted to do.
In Verlander’s defense, it was a long Sunday for the Mets, who played a day-night doubleheader against Cleveland. And after pitching eight dominant innings in the nightcap, Verlander was probably eager to start enjoying Monday’s off day before beginning a series against the Cubs in Chicago on Tuesday.
In ESPN’s defense, Briscoe’s interview with Lindor didn’t even reach the three-minute mark. It’s not like they kept the Mets shortstop for an exorbitant amount of time. But if Verlander’s dominant effort didn’t help ingratiate himself to Mets fans Sunday night, his trolling of ESPN might. Mets fans hate any broadcast that takes them away from getting to hear Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling on the call on SportsNet New York, so “f*ck ESPN” is a mantra they might be willing to support.