MR. MET SMELLS REALLY PRETTY TODAY.
I have a deep, dark secret to confess:
I did not always love Mr. Met.
My main exposure to baseball began in Seattle, with the Mariners. I moved out there in 1995 (I know, good timing.) I had plenty of “baseball friends” out there who gladly shared their tickets with me – to the Kingdome, and later, to Safeco Field.
I loved the Mariner Moose the first time I saw him. “You mean — the mascot is a big, fuzzy, adorable moose?!” How could you not love that? Combined with the fact that I had a running joke for years about a stuffed moose companion called the Majestik Moose, it was true love.
The Mariner Moose danced.
He rode an ATV.
He popped up everywhere during the game.
He appeared in one of a great series of Mariner pre-season commercials, where he was the road roommate of the unfortunate Jamie Moyer, in which he clogged the bathtub with moose hair, partied too loudly, and then sat on the edge of the bed in his moose boxer shorts and watched moose porn (the wildlife channel) while Jamie tried to sleep.
So the Mariner Moose loomed large in my legend. I was a big fan.
While I definitely came to Shea years ago as a kid (a lot of trips with various Jewish youth organizations), I don’t remember Mr. Met. So I didn’t really have an opinion on his ability as a mascot until 2005, when I first started really going to games.
I ragged on Mr. Met senselessly last summer. “He’s never around. He only comes out for the 7th inning stretch. He’s way too staid and emotionless,” I said.
TBF, predictably, took great offense at these statements, affirming Mr. Met’s dignity and history as a mascot.
He spent way too much time in the Mr. Met section of mets.com, so he could educate me on the history of Mr. Met.
He emailed me photographs of Mr. Met’s birthday party to show me how the other Major League mascots –including the Mariner Moose — paid homage to Mr. Met.
How could I not love such a resourceful, witty fellow?
Slowly, I got used to the skinny guy with the BIG head. He was more elegant, more suave, more — Metropolitan — than a furry moose. His approach and attitude were more suited to the big city. I grew to appreciate his approach to the business of mascot-ing as more dignified: would Mr. Met would ride an ATV in the outfield so the bullpen could pour water on him?
Not on your life.
Now, once I was obsessed with Mr. Met, I wanted my picture taken with him. TBF would promise me we would get to the game in time to go to Fan Fest, but on Fridays that never happened with work, and last year I had to work weekends. So I would bemoan my inability to get a photograph with the big guy.
Earlier this year, I had a day off, and took myself to the Friday game in time to see BP. As I was packing up the camera, I heard an announcement:
“Mr. Met will be posing for photographs with fans in the Dream Seats in right field until 6:15!”
I couldn’t believe there wasn’t a line. I was almost, well, nervous. As I walked up to him, I somehow felt the need to confess: “Mr. Met, I used to love the Mariner Moose…”
Head shaking. Hands to his eyes. You know that look.
“But you have won my heart and you are now my favorite mascot.”
He takes my hand, kisses it, and gives me a big hug. I am smitten.
“He’s quite the charmer, isn’t he?” says the woman from Guest Services who was babysitting him.
Photographs are taken.
When I get home that night, I email my baseball friends back in Seattle the link to the photo, with the subject line: a milestone is achieved.
You could say I’m a big fan.
TBF keeps promising to take me to breakfast with Mr. Met. I think he’s not arranging it because he’s jealous.
THANK GOD THERE IS BASEBALL AGAIN THIS AFTERNOON.
TBF warned me before the All-Star break: “It’ll get really unbearable toward the end of the week.”