Fiery exchange between Jeff McNeil and Rhys Hoskins steals the show in Brewers-Mets matchup!

NEW YORK – Even on a new team in a different division, it took Rhys Hoskins an entire game to irritate the New York Mets.

Tempers flared Friday during the season opener at Citi Field when the Milwaukee Brewers newcomer, who stirred up the Mets during his days with the NL East rival Phillies, slid hard to second baseman Jeff McNeil on a potential double play in the eighth. inning.

“Just a late drop. We've had a little past, so I knew there was a chance it would come like that,” McNeil said after Milwaukee's 3-1 win. “I didn't like his slide. He wasn't trying to turn a double play at all. He was just trying to catch the ball. There was no need to break it up.”

McNeil was visibly angry after the play, gesticulating and yelling at Hoskins while the Milwaukee slugger was on the ground. Hoskins got up and headed to the Brewers dugout, but both the benches and the bullpens invaded the field.

Hoskins said he kept his cleats on the slide and thought McNeil overreacted.

“I'm just trying to play baseball, right?” Hoskins said. “The last thing I want to do is give them a clear lane to make a double play. So, a certain someone took… McNeil took (exception) to my slide, but I didn't really think much of it, to be honest. “I ended up hitting him, but that's what happens with a play that develops slowly.”

The teams stayed apart and there was no pushing or shoving, although Hoskins rubbed his eyes as if calling McNeil a crybaby, and McNeil swore at Hoskins from across the diamond.

“A few choice words. But, you know, I've played in this ballpark a lot, and he just seems to complain when things aren't going well and I think that's one of those times,” Hoskins said. “Maybe I got a little lost in the heat of the game. But again, I think it was just playing hard and playing the game the right way.”

Even before Hoskins hit McNeil's leg, McNeil spun the ball while trying to transfer it to his throwing hand following third baseman Brett Baty's low throw. So there was no relief to first.

“He's certainly had some pretty questionable slides at second base,” McNeil said. “I definitely remember seeing some in the past that definitely weren't right. So I knew there was a chance that could happen. And it did.”

Hoskins said that after the play, he initially stayed on the ground to let McNeil vent.

“I was just laying there afterwards. A couple of guys said, I thought maybe you got hurt. But I was just letting out what McNeil needed, letting him get it out,” Hoskins said. “And after that I just ran off the field and I could see all the team members there.”

Hoskins and the Mets have had problems before. New York reliever Jacob Rhame vomited on Hoskins a couple of times in 2019, and it took the slugger 34 seconds to jog around the bases for a home run against the Mets.

Hoskins missed last season with Philadelphia due to a knee injury, then signed a two-year, $34 million contract with Milwaukee in January to become the team's new first baseman.

“You have a guy who misses a year and that's horrible to see. And then you come back and try to put a nail in someone's leg. It's tough,” McNeil said. “I don't want to wish an injury on anyone. It's hard to see him miss a year. I felt extremely bad when I saw him go down. It was just a difficult circumstance.”

The Mets challenged the play for a sliding violation, but the call stood after a replay review.

“It's a late drop. Obviously, we didn't like it, Jeff didn't like it, but it's legal,” Mets manager Carlos Mendoza said. “He held on to the base and is considered legal. Apparently there's some history between them too, and that's what made Jeff angry there.”

When asked if he thought the slide was clean or dirty, McNeil said, “It was a legal slide, so I want to leave it that way.”

McNeil also said he is not seeking retaliation for the rest of the weekend.

“I hope not. I don't want this to be something,” he said. “I just want to go out and play good baseball and try to win the series.”

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