Every morning, New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard gets in a cold tub, the water temperature just barely above freezing, for a minimum of three minutes. But that’s just the beginning of an extensive wellness routine that includes everything from time in hyperbaric chambers to simply turning off the wifi when he goes to sleep. It’s all built to keep his body in peak physical condition. That’s never been more important for the 28-year-old who throws 97 mph and has spent the last fourteen months rehabbing (most of it in Florida) from a Tommy John surgery he had last March to replace a ligament in his throwing arm.
Faced with that long recovery—and looking to improve his mind, as well as his body—Syndergaard decided near the beginning of the pandemic to add reading books to his self-betterment routine. Recently, he started posting those reads on his Instagram under the hashtag #NoahsBookClub, and even shared a phone number where followers could text him with thoughts on current titles or recommendations for future ones. (817-953-2575, if you’re interested.) So will all of this work translate to on field success when Syndergaard returns to the Mets rotation sometime later this summer? “I hope so,” he says. “I like to think all this stuff is really helping out.” (Reports from a recent outing suggest Syndergaard’s routine certainly isn’t hurting.)
If Syndergaard’s routine sounds decidedly new school, that’s in line with his approach to baseball more generally, a sport that, perhaps more so than any other, has a long tradition of unwritten rules and standards about player conduct. (Like: don’t talk trash, or show up your opponent.) Syndergaard, though, is not afraid to mix it up on Twitter. In February, for instance, he tweeted a not-at-all-veiled shot at reigning NL Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer, after Bauer, a free agent, seemed to hint that he was joining New York by including Mets references on his website. Bauer signed with the Dodgers instead, later apologizing to Mets fans for the mishap, and pledged to donate money to NY-based charities—which Syndergaard then mocked with his tweet.