FLUSHING, NEW YORK—After dozing off between innings in front of more than 41,000 cheering fans Monday night, an exhausted Mr. Met informed team officials that he has not slept since the Mets moved from Shea Stadium to Citi Field.
According to Mets GM Omar Minaya, Mr. Met entered his office and used a series of pantomimes to indicate that his sleep disorder is caused by brighter stadium lights, uncomfortable temperatures, and Darryl Strawberry's snoring. Minaya, who spent two hours meeting with the 47-year-old mascot, said Mr. Met conveyed the degree of his fatigue by holding his hands several feet apart.
"Obviously, Mr. Met is integral to this organization, and we are quite concerned with his well-being" said Minaya, adding that the Mets are committed to making the longest-serving member of their team comfortable. "After assuring him that the late-night noises he heard were most likely concrete settling, I promised we would get animal control to remove Darryl."
"It often takes a little time to adjust to living in a new place," Minaya added. "Personally, I don't think the inside of the new home run apple smells that weird."
Despite the raucous throng of fans eager to celebrate the opening of the new ballpark as the Mets took on San Diego, the listless Mr. Met shuffled onto the field during pregame warm-ups and lethargically attempted to pump up the crowd with a few halfhearted waves and hand-claps. Not even third baseman David Wright's game-tying three-run homer in the fifth inning inspired the weary mascot, who was seen sitting atop the dugout clutching his oversized baseball head and massaging the seams at his temples in gentle circles.
Explaining that Mr. Met's usual fun-loving antics have taken a dark turn lately, Jose Reyes recalled how the mascot pushed an eight-year-old fan to the ground last week and flipped off Luis Castillo after he struck out on Opening Day. In addition, Reyes said he has seen Mr. Met take out his T-shirt gun, place it in his mouth, and repeatedly squeeze the trigger.
"When I asked if he was feeling okay, he didn't say a word. He just shook his giant head," Reyes said. "Poor guy. He used to be so upbeat. These days his smile just looks painted on."
"I'd say he drinks too much coffee, but he flings most of it at people," Reyes added. "Maybe his hat is too small or something."
According to manager Jerry Manuel, Mr. Met has privately admitted difficulty in maintaining regular bedtimes due to the swelling crowds, which tend to stick around after games, making it hard for him to unwind while watching the JumboTron. Manuel also divulged that the mascot tosses and turns all night long, finding sleep elusive without Shea Stadium's familiar stench of popcorn, garbage, and urine.
"Mr. Met has tried sleeping on pretty much every seat, the dugout benches, all three bases, and even the escalator in the Jackie Robinson Rotunda," Manuel said. "Last week he managed to get a few hours of shut-eye while curled up under the tarp, but even there he slept so restlessly that when the groundskeepers arrived the next morning they found he'd kicked it into a corner of the field."
While Mr. Met has admitted that he is not yet accustomed to Citi Field, team members have said they are already feeling very much at home in the new ballpark after losing their first game to the Padres.