Fans show love for Mets on Rally Day

Fans show love for Mets on Rally Day

NEW YORK -- This year's slogan out of Flushing has been: "The Team. The Time. The Mets."

On Tuesday, though, the organization demonstrated that it's also about the fans.

On a picture-perfect, 80-degree early fall day, a rally was held outside the SNY studios on 51st St. between Sixth and Seventh avenues in Manhattan. An estimated 8,000 people attended to root on the Mets in their first postseason appearance since 2000. The throng of people, many of whom were on their lunch break from work, lined alongside 51st St. in front of a stage that was set up just towards the end of the road near Sixth Ave., and the crowd stretched all the way to Seventh Ave.

"I love it, this is a great event," said Mets fan Greg Raymond, an art director who works in the MetLife building, who has been a season ticket holder for 13 years. "I knew this would be a different year in the third game. I just noticed the attitude and the spirit they had. You just had that feeling they were a tight ballclub and they had the bats to do something special."

SNY's Gary Cohen and WFAN's Howie Rose served as emcees, along with John Muller of the CW11 Morning News team and Juan Alicea of WADO 1280 AM. Cohen started the rally by urging the crowd to chant its age-old rally cry, "Let's go Mets!" Then the SNY play-by-play anchor introduced New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to the crowd.

At first, the Mets faithful jeered the mayor, who's often been seen at Yankees games throughout his tenure, but they quickly warmed up to Bloomberg when he acknowledged the success of the ballclub and quickly shouted into the microphone, "Let's go Mets! Let's go Mets!"

The rally celebrated the success of the team in 2006 with video tributes and songs, including the traditional "Let's go Mets!" and the 2006 hit song, "And We Say, 'Let's Go Mets!'" by Lucas Prata. "The Pepsi Patrol" crew circled the crowd and tossed out Mets T-shirts. In addition, raffles were held to select random people to go attend the National League Division Series between the Mets and the Dodgers.

Tom Glavine, Shawn Green and general manager Omar Minaya addressed the crowd from Shea Stadium via a live feed, while several others, including Paul Lo Duca, Jose Valentin, Carlos Delgado and Jose Reyes, thanked the fans with taped tributes.

The highlight of the day, though, came when lefty Jerry Koosman, from the 1969 Mets World Series team, and Mookie Wilson, from the 1986 championship squad, appeared on stage. Koosman stepped onto the platform with the 1969 Series trophy and spoke about how Mets fans keep the memory of the championship season alive and well.

"Whenever I visit New York, the fans remind you of certain plays in that season and those playoffs where it seems like yesterday that it happened," said Koosman, who won two games in the '69 Series against the Orioles, including a complete-game victory in Game 5 that ended it. "The amazing part of playing here in New York is how the fans are so much a part of the stadium. They bring such energy to the park that it really helps the team."

Wilson then made an appearance to the loudest applause of the hour-long celebration.

"Just like old times, huh?" shouted Wilson as he raised the '86 Series trophy in the air.

After answering a few questions about the comparisons of the '86 version and this year's team, Wilson ended the rally with the "Let's go Mets!" chant.

Fans exiting reveled in the festive atmosphere, which celebrated the stellar season of the 2006 Mets.

"This is beyond exciting," said Reed Schmidt, a professional dancer wearing a green Dwight Gooden jersey, who attended the rally with his best friend Gordon Stevenson, who sported a blue Keith Hernandez uniform. "It feels great having the Mets in the playoffs with the Yankees. This is a great day."

Chris Girandola is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.