— Joe La Rocca (@joerock101) May 19, 2016
The Mets and the Nationals are two of the best teams in baseball, and they share a division. By rights, they’re deadly rivals, the kind that invite the lustiest boos when they walk into the park, but even Mets fans appreciate greatness in rivals like Max Scherzer, who became the third pitcher ever to strike out 20 batters in a game on May 11. That’s a superhuman feat, and yet not even a week later, Scherzer had an exceedingly human moment when he had a pregame catch with a young Mets fan before Wednesday’s game at Citi Field.
Sports are never as real to a fan as they are to kids, and though that kid might spend quite a few nights yet cursing the Nats’ name, none of that matters when you can share a moment like having a catch with one of the best pitchers in baseball. It’s better than any autograph, because it carries the spark of human connection amplified by the wonder of youth, and it will be a lifelong memory for the child, which will buy that dad about an hour of whining about getting an ice cream in a souvenir mini-helmet.