Travis Jankowski wasn’t trying to garner sympathy when he said a week and a half ago, speaking of taking his role off the bench, that “nobody’s going to buy my jersey.”
But his Mets teammates took notice, and white Jankowski-Shirseys hung over every chair in the clubhouse late Friday night after a loss to the Mariners at Citi Field. On Saturday afternoon, most players wore them as they prepared for another game.
“I didn’t want it to be a pity party like nobody would wear my jersey,” Jankowski, the Mets’ fast outfielder, said Saturday before starting in left field. “It was more like I understand my role and I’m happy to be in that role. But it speaks volumes for the clubhouse. I’ve never been part of such a group of guys in the clubhouse where they really care about everyone and know that every role is important to the team. It is great.”
Manager Buck Showalter told Jankowski Friday afternoon that he was in for a surprise at the pre-game briefing. It came when third baseman Eduardo Escobar opened a box and pulled out the t-shirts with Jankowski’s name and No. 16 on the back.
“I think my face was as red as a tomato,” Jankowski said, laughing.
For Showalter, it was “more than just a t-shirt.”
“I think it’s just the respect they show him,” Showalter said. “He’s just a humble guy. … Believe me, he has that inner fire. He would like some rest and be a regular player again and could and should be. But I think people are rallying [him]. It creates good karma in the clubhouse.”
On Saturday, the 30-year-old Jankowski had appeared in 22 games (13 off the bench) while hitting .321 with three steals after winning a job from spring training. The Stony Brook product’s first jersey comments came on a day when it got off to a good start during a doubleheader and served as the spark plug for the Mets’ win.
Since then, Jankowski said he has also received many messages from fans via social media saying they would buy his jersey.
“It was incredible,” he said. “I feel bad, I think I underestimated the Mets’ fan base.”
On Joey Cora’s 57th birthday, Showalter praised his third base coach, spoke about his preparation and how the players want to make it good for him. He also described a conversation with Red Sox manager Alex Cora during the offseason when the Mets were in the process of interviewing his brother.
“I asked him, ‘If he’s that good, why don’t you have him?’ ‘ Showalter said. “He said, ‘We would kill each other.’ ”
https://nypost.com/2022/05/14/mets-surprise-travis-jankowski-by-wearing-his-shirt/ Mets surprise Travis Jankowski by wearing his shirt