Mets’ Mark Canha working his way to good fortune at plate after month-long malaise

Note: if you purchase something through one of our affiliate links, Schneps Media may earn a commission.
Mark Canha Mets
Mark Canha (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

QUEENS — Mark Canha has always considered himself “a cat person” after growing up in San Jose with numerous of feline friends. So when the New York Mets’ veteran outfielder was getting a pedicure during the offseason with his wife, a golden figurine of the waving household pet immediately caught his eye.

“I asked the ladies, who had one at the front desk. I said, ‘Hey, I’ve seen this cat in other places, what’s this all about?'” Canha recounted. “And she said, ‘That brings the money in.’ I liked that.”

It’s called a maneki-neko, which in Japanese translates to “beckoning cat,” and it has been a fixture in Asian homes and businesses for centuries in the hopes of bringing prosperity and good fortune. And now there is one sitting on the top shelf of Canha’s locker within the Mets clubhouse.

“I got it from Amazon,” Canha said, a smile flashing across his face as he looked up at it. “I just love everything about it. It makes me happy.”

Mark Canha Mets
Mark Canha at his locker with the maneki-neko cat in view.

He had plenty of reasons to be happy during the series against the Phillies after finding some good fortune at the plate after a month-long malaise. He drove in six runs in the last two games, including all of the Mets’ runs in a 4-1 win on Wednesday night, first by belting a two-run home run in the third inning and following it up in the fourth with a two-RBI single with the Citi Field stands filled to the brim with dogs for “Bark at the Park Night.”

Consider that a win for the cats.

The 34-year-old had more RBI in those two innings against Phillies ace Aaron Nola than he had in his previous 23 games dating back to April 28 — a span in which he batted .239 with one home run, two RBI, and a .663 OPS while at-bats have been made somewhat scarcer following the call-up of Mark Vientos.

“Sometimes, it clicks and it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have two hits and have a great night,” Canha said. “Sometimes it clicks and you have some bad luck and the pitcher makes really good pitches and you go 0-for-4. That’s the thing when we chase results, you have a good night and it doesn’t show… I’m trying to grab onto something that’s real and something that’s tangible and sustainable throughout the course of the year and I think I’ve been working toward that.”

There should be an extra emphasis on the notion of “working” in his sentiments. Manager Buck Showalter bragged that Canha has been a mainstay in the batting cage after games as he’s searched to make the necessary adjustments to break out of his slump

“Mark cares. He just wants to win,” Showalter said. “I was talking to him the other day and he said, ‘I just want to be a part of something special. I want to contribute any way I can.’ And he’s sincere about that. It makes it easy to trust guys like that.”

Mark Canha Mets Phillies
New York Mets’ Mark Canha hits a two-run home run against the Philadelphia Phillies during the third inning of a baseball game Wednesday, May 31, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

The Mets appear to be flush with team-first veterans, which only makes a manager’s job easier. Not only has Canha maintained that mindset, but third baseman Eduardo Escobar has thrived in a part-time role as a utility infielder behind Brett Baty. He will, however, make Showalter’s job of filling out a lineup card a bit more difficult if he continues to build on the last two games against the Phillies. 

“I feel like the intentions, the mindset, the process is there,” Canha said. “It’s just a matter of executing in the game when the lights are on and when it matters. Some nights it’s going to click and some nights it’s not. It’s been a little bit tougher for me. Hopefully, the law of averages says I’ll get a little better.”

So, perhaps all of Canha’s good fortune won’t be coming solely from the gold-plated cat sitting in his locker.

“I trust myself. I trust the process,” he said. “We work hard every day and it shows up like this.”

For more on Mark Canha and the Mets, visit AMNY.com