Aiming to send a message to the Royals about not being too comfortable in the batter's box, Syndergaard had thrown the first pitch of Game 3 of the World Series to the backstop. After that game, Syndergaard told reporters that he was standing 60 feet, six inches from the plate if any Royals batter had a problem with him.
"I don't think they're too fond of me, but as far as retaliation goes, I really don't know what they're going to retaliate against," Syndergaard said after his final Grapefruit League appearance for spring training. "All I did was establish the inner part of the plate. So I don't know what this whole retaliation talk is all about. But it's going to be an interesting time. ... I simply threw a pitch on the inside corner. Elevated. A purpose pitch. I don't really see how any retaliation could be made."
Royals manager Ned Yost refuted the report about forthcoming retribution, telling the Kansas City Star, "Our retribution was winning the World Series."
Syndergaard said he heard plenty about the opening pitch of Game 3 of the World Series from Mets fans during the winter.
"All the time," he said. "I spent a little time in the offseason in New York, just kind of roaming the streets. People saw me on the streets there and they really applauded that pitch."
Although Syndergaard knows he will not be warmly received in Kansas City, he does not expect to be intimidated when he takes the mound for the second game of the season.
"I do a pretty good job at canceling excess noises out and just going out there and focusing on me and the catcher," Syndergaard said.
Syndergaard said he will enjoy the atmosphere of a World Series rematch to open the season. The Mets-Royals matchup to kick off the year originally was scheduled last summer, before the teams even reached the postseason.
"I'm really looking forward to it, and all the guys are looking forward to it," Syndergaard said. "It's going to be an extremely high-energy game as soon as we get to Kansas City. It's pedal to the metal from there."