Michael Conforto, who hit two home runs for the Mets Friday in his return to Seattle, is having one of the best seasons for an in-state product, but he’s not the only who’s been productive.
Sitting in the visitor’s dugout, clad in the royal blue and orange of the New York Mets and surrounded by reporters asking about his return to the Pacific Northwest, Michael Conforto couldn’t help but smile as he reminisced about the first time he stepped onto the wondrous playing surface of Safeco Field.
He was 16 and a precocious baseball prospect at Redmond High School, standing amid a passel of other players his age to compete in a showcase for scouts.
“It looked so big,” he said. “I thought it was huge. Now, it looks kind of small.”
Conforto made it look really small on Friday night. With more than 30 family members and friends in attendance, he blasted a pair of homers in the Mets’ 7-5 win over the Mariners.
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He hit homer No. 20 on the season off a fastball from lefty Ariel Miranda to lead off the third inning, giving the Mets a 3-0 lead. With his team down a run in the eighth, he tied the game with a leadoff homer off lefty specialist Marc Rzepczynski.
“The last time I was here on the field, I was 16 years old and taking batting practice and wasn’t getting anywhere close to hitting balls out of this park,” Conforto told reporters postgame. “Now it feels a little smaller; so it definitely was surreal.”
It was Conforto’s fourth multihomer game of the season and his 21 homers are a career high. Since the All-Star break, he’s batting .317 with a .984 on-base plus slugging percentage, seven homers, 13 RBI.
Growing up in the area, Conforto was like so many other kids his age, imitating Ken Griffey Jr.’s swing, marveling at the hits and speed of Ichiro and admiring the consistency of Edgar Martinez.
“This is the place where I kind of fell in love with the game,” he said. “I grew up coming to the stadium and watching those classic Mariners teams, the ’01 team and so many teams along the way. I was a huge fan of these guys. So for me to be able to come back here and play in an MLB uniform is pretty awesome.”
The Seattle area and the state of Washington has produced a fair amount of professional baseball players, with several playing in the big leagues. But it’s smaller when compared to places such as Texas or California. And…