With Game 3 upon us tonight, Noah Syndergaard has a chance to write a new chapter in his story of redemption.
One of the reasons why the world has fallen in love with professional sports is thanks to the remarkable stories of the players. Overcoming the odds, fighting back from injury, or living a childhood dream are concepts that everyone can relate to, and sports have given us so many memorable stories.
Tonight’s story comes straight from Hollywood, but it’s not the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Phillies will send their version of Thor to the mound in Game 3 and look to take a 2-1 series lead on the Houston Astros. Noah has gone on a hero’s journey, fueled by an injury that left the right-hander searching for a way back to the mountaintop.
A blast from the past for Noah Syndergaard
Nicknamed Thor after the Norse God and Marvel Superhero, Syndergaard was one of the most recognizable figures in the game. His one-hundred-mile-per-hour heaters felt just like he was bringing the thunder to the plate.
Noah was once one of the most dominant pitchers in the game of baseball, and the hard-throwing righty was a force to be reckoned with during his time with the Mets. For years, his arm was one of the best in all of baseball until an untimely injury changed his career trajectory.
In May 2020, Syndergaard would be forced to undergo Tommy John surgery to repair his torn ulnar collateral ligament. He would miss all of 2020 and the majority of the 2021 season. His return in September of 2021 was used to get him back on the mound in a limited capacity.
A Hero’s Journey
At season’s end, Thor’s contract was up, and the Mets made the decision to offer Syndergaard the 1 year $18.4 million dollar qualifying offer. New York was looking forward to getting Noah back and healthy and felt like the one-year prove-it deal was good for both sides. However, Syndergaard thought differently and opted not to re-sign with the club with which he had spent his entire career.
The Mets were stunned when Noah Syndergaard left and opted to sign a 1-year $21 million dollar deal from the Los Angeles Angels. Was 3 million dollars that much of a difference to leave the organization he knew so well?
One of the reasons Noah Syndergaard chose Los Angeles had more to do with himself than with the Mets. Syndergaard knew that coming off the Tommy John surgery; he would not be the same. The once powerful and mighty throwing power he once had would not be an option for him in 2022.
For his mental health and well-being, Thor wanted a chance to just recover at his own pace. He felt that leaving the pressure and bright lights of New York was the best option for him. Heading to Anaheim, where the Angels play, Thor knew that the pressure of an East Coast sports town would not follow him to the relaxed West Coast.
Finding his way
A lot of times in stories, a hero will fail in his quest to overcome a powerful evil. Often, that hero loses the confidence that once fueled them, and after a slow recovery, they finally restore their confidence and return to defeat the enemy. When the Phillies traded for Noah Syndergaard at the August 2nd trade deadline, it was his way of stepping back into battle with the enemy.
Syndergaard would once again have to embrace the pressures of an East Coast fanbase. Philadelphia sports fans are the best in the business, and from his time in New York, Noah knew what to expect. After months of rebuilding his arsenal in LA, in a non-pressure situation, Noah Syndergaard was ready to once again embrace the challenges that come with a winning team.
Thor has done everything that the Phillies have asked of him since dawning the red pinstripes. Whether he has been used as a starter or out of the bullpen, Noah Syndergaard has been a team-first player in this Phillies run.
Syndergaard will be tasked with his greatest challenge as a Phillie in Game 3 of the World Series. He will be asked to go toe-to-toe with one of the best lineups in baseball, and there is no greater pressure than pitching in the World Series. Noah will have the fans behind him and a team full of guys who love to play with one another.
Noah Syndergaard has a chance to show the world he still has what it takes to be a big-game pitcher. Thor will get a chance to bring the thunder on a National stage in his Game 3 start. After being at his lowest following his injury and surgery and heading into the unknown, hoping to find himself, the story has written itself. Game 3 is a lifetime opportunity for Noah Syndergaard, and his story can add a new chapter on Monday night.
Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire