Yankees reliever has no hard feelings with new Mets’ manager Buck Showalter after 2016 playoff game

Andres Chavez
Jun 12, 2018; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles pitcher Zach Britton (53) prepares to throw a pitch in the seventh inning against the Boston Red Sox at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

After weeks of speculation, the New York Mets finally decided on their new skipper for the 2022 season: it will be veteran Buck Showalter, who has been leading MLB teams since 1992 and was out of baseball’s dugouts since 2018.

Showalter’s last stint as a major league skipper was with the Baltimore Orioles, from 2012 to 2018. There, he managed one of the league’s best relievers of the mid-2010s, one who currently plays with the New York Yankees: Zack Britton.

In the 2016 American League Wild Card game between the Orioles and the Toronto Blue Jays, Showalter did not use Britton, MLB’s most dominant relief arm back then, in a close game that ended up going to extras. The Blue Jays won 5-2 in 11 innings, and Britton didn’t see the mound. The Mets know this, but are convinced he has learned from his mistake.

Britton has no problems with the new Mets’ skipper

Britton, in a conversation with The Athletic (link to NJ Advance Media here), said very good things about Showalter and wished him good luck with the Mets. And he told the story of what happened after that controversial game.

“We always had this spring training thing, which I thought was cool — off-site, get together in a movie theater, kind of show you the highlights of the previous season, just a bonding moment for the team,” Britton said. “During that meeting, he got up there and said, ‘Before we start, I just want to address the elephant in the room.’ He apologized to me, which I didn’t think he needed to do. I think there were some guys on the team that were frustrated by the move. He just said: ‘That’s my bad. I messed up.’ And it was done with.”

Britton approves the Mets’ hiring of Showalter and says he is the right man for the job for the crosstown rivals.

“He’s going to want more control than a typical manager. I know nothing about the Mets. But if you want an organizational change, he’s probably your guy. He’s going to change your whole philosophy, not just from the major-league side but also the minors. He wanted to know what was happening in Triple A and Double A in Baltimore. He’s going to have a new, whole, ‘This is how we play baseball,’ from top to bottom. If that’s what you’re looking for, I’m not sure there’s anyone better.”