In The Army Now:
s the granddaddy of baseball mascots and through the years he has seen some
tough times but Mr. Met is back and better than before after spending 40
years of leading cheers, beating out bandits, keeping our country safe and
winning a place in the hearts of Mets fans.
He’s serving in the U.S. Army now and has gone from wearing a baseball as a head to keeping the ball rolling at a prison camp for terrorists.
name is Lee Reynolds and over the course of the last three years he has been
a man behind the mask of New York Mets mascot Mr. Met.
Reynolds is currently stationed in the Army public affairs office at Camp
X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to Army officials.
X-Ray is the name of the military compound where al Qaeda and Taliban
detainees captured in Afghanistan are being held.
to Mets officials, Reynolds’ role as the Mets mascot is one shared with a
“couple of people.”
officials said that they hope he is safe and that they are grateful for
Reynolds’ service to his country.
to published reports Reynolds, 38, will be stationed in Cuba for the next
told a reporter for the New York Post, “Reserve soldiers come from
all walks of life, and right now I’m serving my country and serving my
state after 9/11. I am very proud to be here, in spite of having to miss the
entire baseball season and the Mets have always been 100 percent supportive.
They’ve said the door is open for me.”
officials confirmed what Reynolds said adding that the decision for his
return to Shea was “up to him.”
Being Mr. Met is a labor of love according to Reynolds and Mets officials who said that all potential applicants wishing to fill the big head of the Mets mascot usually do a lot of clowning around before being hired.
Mr. Met who made the cut and spoke to the Tribune on the condition of
anonymity explained how he attended Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey
Clown College where he learned juggling, unicycling, stilt walking and
animation before being hired for the job.
there he went on to audition for Paramount’s King Island where he got a
full time job as a clown.
read an article in People Magazine about a school for aspiring mascots
called Mascot Mania. On my own I got information about the school and
attended the next weekend session,” he said. “It was there that I heard
about the opening with the Mets. This job has really been a dream come true.
It’s unusual for a performer to be able to have a year-round steady job,
let alone a chance to be a character that is nationally known and loved. In
this character I can perform all the skills that I love – juggling,
unicycling, stilt walking, magic, dancing and balloon art. The best part of
the job is the kids. To them he really is a celebrity.”
the San Diego Chicken or the Philly Phanatic there was Mr. Met – the first
live character Major League Baseball Mascot.
to Mets lore Mr. Met was born on April 11, 1962 – the date of the
Amazin’s first game at the former Polo Grounds where the team played its
home games for its first two years.
a citywide and nationally known fan favorite, he was initially introduced as
a drawing on the cover of the 1963 Mets yearbook.
made his first live appearance in front of a home crowd at Shea Stadium when
the venue opened in Flushing Meadows in 1964.
Met continued to rally home crowds until the late 1970s when his Shea
a while Mr. Met made no appearances at all.
the 1980s Mets fans would sometimes show up at the stadium donning their own
self-constructed paper maché heads in an effort to revive the mascot’s
Mr. Met returned to Shea in the early 1990’s as part of a special kids
promotion with the cable-television network Nickelodeon, Mets officials
then, about five or six people have been behind the ball in the role of the
May of 1998, a group of cold-hearted bandits broke hearts in Metsville.
Stadium officials reported that a thief or thieves broke into the Shea Stadium office of Mr. Met and made off with his oversized baseball head, unicycle and uniform.
thieves also took baseball bats, 200 t-shirts, a radio, baseballs and other
said the heartless crooks lifted a metal gate to gain access to the office
and fled with the goods by climbing over a fence in the rear of Shea
a team’s mascot uniform is not stealing from the team – it’s stealing
from the fans – from the kids who enjoy seeing the mascot at every
game,” said one Mets fan following the theft.
officials said that Mr. Met was devastated when he walked into his office
and found his uniform gone.
officials acted quickly to replace the stolen articles.
the bandits were never apprehended Mr. Met has made a full recovery and has
been cheering on his favorite team ever since.
from across Major League Baseball joined Mr. Met on April 14, 2002 to
celebrate the character’s birthday.
his birthday was celebrated on April 14, Mets officials contend he was born
when the Mets’ played their first game.
hand to celebrate the 40-year milestone were mascots from around the majors
including the Seattle Mariners Moose, the Pittsburgh Pirates Parrot, the San
Diego Padres Friar, the Toronto Blue Jays Ace and the Brooklyn Cyclones
Sandy the Seagull.
was Mr. Mets’ special day at Shea .
to Mets officials, Mr. Met can visit you.
Mets official mascot is available for appearances at birthdays, weddings
bar/bat mitzvahs, fundraisers, parades and community events.
special kids birthday package includes a photo session with Mr. Met and his
specially designed truck, autographed postcards and special prizes.
more information about having Mr. Met visit you, call 507-METS ext 4602.
had the same spirit as Mr. Met, but he was king for only a day it seems.
name was Elvis and he was the mascot of the former local minor league team
the Queens Kings.
Kings played for only one season in 2000.
2000, the Queens boys of summer were gone.
one’s certain what became of Elvis.
you know, give us a call.
Liz Goff contributed to this story
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