mcneil-lindor-mets.jpg

Those who argue that the future is not already predetermined must now contend with this: The New York Mets are enmeshed in an evolving controversy involving star shortstop Francisco Lindor, an animal that may be a rat or a raccoon, and a rumor of fisticuffs. 

During the Mets' eventual 5-4 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks in 10 innings on Friday, some sort of commotion -- purportedly involving Lindor and his double play partner Jeff McNeil -- unfolded in the tunnel leading to the home clubhouse: 

According to the Associated Press, Lindor and McNeil had "an apparently heated exchange" in the tunnel, which as you can see above attracted the urgent attention of several teammates. Lindor later homered for the first time at Citi Field, which came the day after he snapped an 0 for 26 slump at the plate. It's certainly possible some frustrations bubbled up given those recent struggles. 

Lindor, however, has a different version of events. Hear for yourself: 

So according to Lindor, he observed a critter of indistinct taxonomy in the vicinity of the dugout. He insisted it was a rat, but McNeil -- more tenured in the fauna of Queens than Lindor is -- tut-tutted that it was a raccoon and not a rat. They possibly yelled about this matter, which caused other Mets to rush to the scene. 

David Samson broke down the "rat or raccoon" spat on the latest Nothing Personal with David Samson. Listen bleow:

As alibis go, file this one under "maybe too dumb to be true, maybe too dumb to not be true." Mets general manager Zack Scott cast his vote on Saturday, saying that Lindor and McNeil's handling of the apparent confrontation was "probably not ideal," per Tim Healey of Newsday

Scott added, seemingly as a confirmation that the two were heated for non-mammal reasons, and also according to Healey: "Just like a family, sometimes there's disputes and debates and arguments."

Maybe Lindor and McNeil got in a mostly jovial exchange about whether they'd seen a rat or a raccoon. Maybe they got legitimately heated about something else. Maybe they got legitimately heated about whether they'd seen a rat or a raccoon. Lindor's subsequent comments suggest that McNeil was indeed pretty agitated about what he perceived as erasure of the racoon's lived experiences: 

Whatever the truthful specifics, the most inevitable part of all this -- and perhaps the only thing we know for sure -- is that this is the most quintessentially Mets subplot until the next most quintessentially Mets subplot comes along. 

Sum it up for us, Marcus Stroman

If this sort of thing leads to or is even coincident with wins on the field, the Mets may begin placing all manner of not easily identifiable animals in the tunnel so that their middle infielders might engage in galvanizing fights over the nature of them.