For Al Leiter, joining the Mets as a baseball operations advisor for the club and general manager Brodie Van Wagenen was a no-brainer.
The 53-year-old met with reporters in Port St. Lucie, where he was attending spring training, on Sunday and said he simply felt like it was time for him to return to the organization he grew up rooting for.
"There's no other organization that would make sense," Leiter said. "There's no B.S. I loved playing here. I had the majority of my success here, as a Met. It's the right thing. There's no other option."
Leiter and Van Wagenen crossed paths a while ago, thanks to Van Wagenen's prominence in the game as the co-head of Creative Arts Agency's (CAA) baseball division. Leiter reached out to him shortly after he was hired to lead the Mets front office in November. The conversation progressed from there, Leiter said, and resulted him coming aboard officially on March 4.
"Truthfully, I'd been kind of yearning to get back to where I spent seven great years," Leiter added. "Those of you who know me, you know my story. I grew up a Mets fan. I got to live a dream after nine, 10 years in the big leagues and get back to New York and play for the team you rooted for.
Since retiring in 2006, Leiter moved into the media side of the game, doing color commentary for Yankees games on YES Network and also serving as an analyst for MLB Network.
"I think, more than anything else, the TV stuff has been fun but I'd been itching toward kind of to get more involved with baseball operations stuff," he admitted. "Brodie has given me that opportunity. Here I am."