In my mail yesterday I got the Mets newsletter. And it always talks about happenings around Shea and what not, but this one had an ad for the opportunity to meet to rising Mets stars, Jose Reyes and Jason Phillips. Unfortunately the two events were at the same time and nowhere near each other, so I sent Ani to the Sports Authority in Forest Hills to find Jason Phillips, while I ventured to Long Island City to find Jose Reyes.
I arrived at the Sports Authority, major league baseball in my backpack at about 5:30. And the line snaked through the store. As it turned out there were exactly 153 people ahead of me. There was a woman handing out tickets, when it got to 150 a security dude told people that only the people with tickets were getting autographs. At this point there was a good 40-50 people behind me in line. The crowd dispersed. Me and this other dude, found a manager to complain, she said that he would be signing until 7pm and at the very least will get to the first 150, but after 150 could still get stuff signed if he got to them before 7. So she brought us back onto the line, numbers 151 and 152. The line starts moving a little, right after six, when my phone rings.
It was Ani in Forest Hills. Jason Phillips still not there yet. Her line wasn't nearly as big. At about 6:08 Jason Phillips arrived, by 6:20 Ani had gotten my helmet signed and a neat 8x10. And began to think Jason Phillips is very sexy. She said he was really nice to everyone and made some small talk. That really wasn't the case in LIC.
Jose Reyes was flying through the line like he flies along the base paths after he laces a well-placed shot into the gap. No small talk, one item per person, no personalization etc etc. That turned out well for me as I approached the table at 6:30. Store security decided that they would extend the signing to at least another 100 people past me. Jose was very small and wore a non-descript off white hat. I handed him the ball he turned it right to the sweet spot and signed it. As he handed it back to me I said thanks and he nodded slightly (he kind of looked very tired -- earlier that day he had played his first game since a minor injury sidelined him for about a week). I guess he wasn't rude, but not as overly friendly like others, in particular Gary Carter who when I met him last year spent a few minutes chatting with me and even let me try on his World Series ring. I'm sure in 20 something years, when Jose has been there and done that he'll be letting people try on one of his multiple Mets World Championship rings.
In conclusion, my Mets memorabilia collection is over flowing and I need some more shelves in here. And a big whoop-whoop to Ani! Who incidentally the guys I was near on line thought was very cool, for waiting online in the other store for me.