With Spring Training getting closer and closer, how about another roundtable from writers of MetsJunkies. Today we are going more into the personal questions about us as Mets fans!
– How and why did you become a Mets fan?
Michael: I became a Mets fan because they were the first professional sports team I ever saw live. I had never been to a Yankees game, or any other sport for that matter. I was about eight or nine years old and loved the game. I also was on the Mets in my very first year in Little League, so that helped. I knew the Yankees were the better team, but I already felt the connection to the Mets from the very beginning.
Del: I grew up watching baseball with my grandfather who used to always watch the Red Sox and Mets play. My family is from Dominican Republic so baseball is in our blood. I became a bigger fan of the sport after I joined the Army in 2005. Originally, I was watching the games to remind me of home and my family but my love for the Mets and baseball took a huge step forward during this time. Now I’m obsessed with the sport.
Corne: Visiting the US and going to Shea Stadium with my family in 2006. That’s were all the madness began. It was the first time I ever saw baseball and loved it from the start. I wanted to learn more and started to watch the games a year later. The Mets lost the game I went to in 06, but gained a fan for life that day.
Gem: I must’ve been about 6 or 7 years old and my cousin asked me who my favorite team was… so I was like “well, who’s yours?” He answered Mets. So I said Mets. He quickly then said “wait, I mean Yankees”. So then I told him I was a Yankee fan. He said Mets, so then I said Mets again. He finally switched back over to the Yankees and I then informed him I wasn’t playing his games anymore, stuck with the Mets.
– Most memorable encounter with a player you have had?
Michael: I have had many encounters with players. The one that stands out to me first is the first time a player ever gave me a ball. I was at Citi Field in the beginning of the 2010’s decade some time. I was sitting right behind the away on deck circle, and David Ross (on the Braves at the time), flipped me a ball. It was the first ball I’d ever gotten at a game at it felt special.
Del: Okay, I have to brag here because I have had several encounters. I think the coolest one I had was when I went to Fenway two years ago to see the Mets play in Boston. After a game, I met up with some of my friends who were also into town. We ended up walking into Brandon Nimmo and his wife. We had a long conversation with him on our way back to the hotel. He was so cool about it and walked with us like were all friends.
Gem: I briefly worked for the 51’s in Vegas and I would joke with some of the players and tell them that we’re co-workers (just like Joe Rogan on Spotify). deGrom was a very laid back kid and I don’t even think he knew what was in store. However, Dilson Herrera was tremendous to me and I’ll forever hold a special place for that dude.
Corne: I didn’t have much encounters in person with Mets players. I did have breakfast with Mets minor leaguer Paul Paez in 2016 in St. Lucie. However, my favorite encounter with a major leaguer, has to be the respect I get from Anthony Recker for the writing I do and being a great fan of the sport. I also want to mention me doing a Skype interview with Dallas Braden was a really cool experience.
– Favorite Mets item in your collection?
Michael: Way too many. I am always fond of the signed David Wright ball, but I have so many it’s really difficult to pick just one. I have so many bobbleheads, signed balls, baseball cards, uniforms. If I had to choose one it would be the signed David Wright ball.
Del: I went to see Mike Piazza during the Hall of Fame ceremony in Cooperstown. Here’s a fun fact, my wife and I were the very first fans to take a pictures with the Mike Piazza plaque in the Hall of Fame. If you watch the DVD for that ceremony, you’ll see us in the DVD. Anyways, my favorite item is the actual ticket stub to sit and watch Piazza and Griffey get inducted. We got it signed by Piazza and certified!
Gem: Game used Jacob deGrom autographed baseball. Definitely one of the perks of working for the 51’s.
Corne: I have had grown quite a collection here in the Netherlands. I have a David Wright signed bat, Jon Niese NLCS game used jersey and a homerun bat from Wilmer Flores. A lot of items I am very proud of as well. Matt Harvey cleats and Johan Santana helmet are also in my top 10. But the number one is my lineup cards for a Mets game at the Marlins on July 22nd, 2016. The game I went to with my girlfriend, dad, 2 uncles and my friends from the US. To have such an unique item for an unique game in my life makes it the most important item I have.
– Favorite Met off all time?
Michael: David Wright. No question. There are many runner-ups, like Pedro Martinez and Pete Alonso, but David Wright has certainly taken that spot for me. Always loved the way he played, the attitude he had towards the fans, and the love for the game he displayed. I always would attempt to replicate his batting stance when I would play, although I wasn’t very good. I will always cherish the moments of being at his final game.
Del: This is a tough one. It used to be Jose Reyes, but that was before he did what he did to his wife. I am going to have to say Bartolo Colon was the my favorite Mets to watch ever since. He always smiled, was fun to watch pitch and hit. He also was way more athletic than his appearance made him out to be and has made some defense plays that completely shocked me. Also, let’s not forget that HR he hit vs Shields in SD.
Gem: This question isn’t fair, I’d have to break off into era’s… even then it’s still so hard. I can say this much, Todd Hundley was my first favorite player.
Corne: Johan Santana. I’m a pitching dude and who didn’t love Santana his change-up. Santana was one of the first pitchers outside the Mets I started to follow and watch games from. When the Mets traded for him, I couldn’t believe it. Thrilled to be able to have seen Santana pitch a complete game shutout in person.