Fan Friday is a special selection of posts written by Mets fans and readers of MetsBlog. This post was written by comedian Steve Hofstetter...


I remember the moment my heart broke. It was December of 1991 and I’d recently turned 12. I was in my bed, about to stay home from school with a cold. My sister burst in to my room to give me the bad news. The Mets just got two-time Cy Young Award winner Brett Saberhagen and player to be forgotten later Bill Pecota. But to do so, they gave up Keith Miller, Kevin McReynolds and my favorite player, Gregg Jefferies.

I’d been a Jefferies fan since his almost-rookie-season rookie season (he didn’t have the plate appearances needed to technically be a rookie).

Jefferies was a late call-up in 1988. In his first 13 games, Jefferies hit .462 and slugged .962, helping the Mets clinch the NL East. Maybe it’s because I was 9 years old and he wore No. 9. Or maybe it was because he hit five home runs in 13 games. But Jefferies was my guy.

1988 was the season that cemented my Mets fandom. While I remember actively trying to watch the Mets as early as 1983, and I remember being excited throughout the 1986 season, by 1988 I was old enough to start forming my own opinions, instead of echoing those of my older brother. He wasn’t a big fan of Jefferies – but I was. Gregg Jefferies beat out David Cone for my favorite player, and I began wearing number 9 in little league.

But just three years later, Jefferies was gone. If I wasn’t already feeling sick, that news would have been enough to keep me home from school.

Jefferies’ time on the Mets was not easy. While I didn’t understand it back then, Jefferies’ poor fielding led to behind-the-scenes (and occasionally, in front of the mic) arguments with teammates. Add in the subsequent media scrutiny, and the future king was no longer considered royalty, unless you count the trade to Kansas City.

The early '90s were a difficult time for Mets fans on the whole. Sure, there’s always been an element of circus in our lives. But the early '90s were the pinnacle of ridiculous.

Vince Coleman threw a lit firecracker into a group of fans, injuring three children. Bret Saberhagen sprayed bleach at reporters. Dwight Gooden failed a drug test, before failing another. Anthony Young racked up 27 consecutive losses. Bobby Bonilla existed. I trace it all back to 1991 – to that moment my heart broke. For me, that trade was the beginning of the end.

Cone was jettisoned less than a season later. And while I dabbled with the idea of rooting for the Yankees, I couldn't do it. The Mets may have broken my heart, but they were still my team. My frustrating, frustrating team. It was good to grow up in the early '90s as a Mets fan – every child should learn to deal with loss.

Meanwhile, I kept tabs on Jefferies. I watched him go to the Cardinals, a team smart enough to take a guy plagued by throwing errors and move him to first base. And then I watched, like a proud parent, as he not only made the All-Star Game, but started it. Everything I’d been telling my friends (and my brother) about Jefferies came true. He hit .342, competed for the batting title, stole 46 bases, and was an MVP candidate. This was the Gregg Jefferies I’d been rooting for more than half of my cognizant life.

By the time injuries began shortening Jefferies’ career, the Mets were competitive again, even playing in the World Series the year Jefferies retired. I lost track of him – I read he was coaching high school baseball somewhere in California, but that’s all I knew. He was retired, and I had grown into an adult. The moment had passed.

For the next 14 years, I worked on my career as a standup comedian. Baseball was still a big part of my life – like in 2006, when I would race to watch the playoffs as soon as my shows ended. I wrote for Sports Illustrated, and contributed to Maxim and the New York Times. But I barely thought of Gregg Jefferies. Occasionally I’d move, and find the pin I bought of him at a game in 1990. Or I’d look through my old writing, and find a parody poem of Casey At The Bat I wrote with him beating the Mets in the NLCS in 1994. (It’s as dreadfully bad as it sounds.) But, aside from those fleeting moments, the man responsible for my uniform number was gone from my consciousness.

These days, my comedy career is going pretty well, and it’s led to some neat baseball-related perks. Next week, I throw out a first pitch for the first time, and I get to write this very column for a Mets blog I’ve been reading for 10 years. And, recently, David Cone followed me on Twitter. I sent him a thank you tweet, and when I got no response, I forgot about it. It was cool, sure – but perhaps he was just returning my follow and not actually paying attention.

But when Cone favorited something I wrote a few days ago, the 9-year-old in me came flooding back. Did one of my childhood heroes like something I wrote? I suddenly remembered watching Ron Darling roll over the Phillies for the clincher, the Mets winning their 100th game and Jay Howell getting ejected for using pine tar in the NLCS. I remembered five ace starting pitchers, two MVP candidates, and a dominant closer before we knew what dominant closers were. And I remembered Gregg Jefferies.

On a whim, I checked to see if Jefferies had a Twitter account. His son coincidentally helped him start one just days earlier, and Jefferies had just 62 followers. I followed him, and sent him a note. He wrote a nice one back, and I assumed that would be the end of our exchange.

I remember the moment my heart soared. It was June of 2014 and I was a few months shy of 35. I was sitting with a friend when my phone buzzed, and there it was right in front of me. “Gregg Jefferies has followed you.” Gregg Jefferies followed me – just 25 years after I started following him.

It seems strange to get excited that a 46-year-old high school baseball coach may or may not be reading 140 characters of my narcissism. But that is what being a fan means. It’s a series of moments – of strikeouts and clutch hits, of throwing errors and diving catches. Some moments break your heart, and some moments send it soaring. But those moments stick with you. Those moments are what you live for.

I wonder if he’ll like my poem.


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Tags: avsny, matthewcerrone, MetsBlog, Matthew Cerrone

Sandy Alderson is surrounded by reporters during the 2013 MLB Winter Meetings (Credit: Manning-USA TODAY Sports)
Sandy Alderson is surrounded by reporters during the 2013 MLB Winter Meetings (Credit: Manning-USA TODAY Sports)

The Mets are not yet willing to pay some of Curtis Granderson's $15 million salary or Jay Bruce's $13 million salary to help trade them during this week's Winter Meetings.

"Not at this point," Alderson said Monday, when specifically asked about the scenario.

Alderson is not usually this vague, though, which makes me think he'll eventually give in. However, right now, it's early enough in the off season that he isn't feeling desperate. Instead, I'm hearing they're more likely to give up a prospect or two in the deal, so the acquiring team is incentivized to absorb Bruce's $13 million.

Remember, the goal here is to a acquire as many relief pitchers as possible before the start of spring training, and I see Alderson eventually getting his men one of the following ways...

Tags: Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce, Matthew Cerrone
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Aug 4, 2016; Bruce (19) celebrates a three run home run with Granderson (3) (Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
Aug 4, 2016; Bruce (19) celebrates a three run home run with Granderson (3) (Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Dec 6 | 8:00 AM

FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal reported on Dec. 5 that the Orioles have expressed interest in Mets outfielders Jay Bruce and Curtis GrandersonHowever, "there doesn't appear to be much traction," according to Baltimore reporter Roch Kubatko.

The Mets are unwilling to pay any portion of Granderson's $15 million salary, and the O's are not looking to take on payroll this winter, Kubatko expains. 

Tags: Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce
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In this week's second episode, Robert Brender does his best to convince MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone that the Mets should trade Michael Conforto for Pirates OF Andrew McCutchen.

Later in the show, Cerrone and Brender discuss Monday's news and rumors from D.C., including more on Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson, O's reliever Brad Brach, and if the Mets should trade with the Royals.

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Alderson answers fans' questions 00:05:56
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson answers fan-submitted questions on Mets Hot Stove.

New York Mets GM Sandy Alderson talks David Wright's health, Jose Reyes' position in the lineup and what he thinks of Travis d'Arnaud when he answers fan-submitted questions on Mets Hot Stove.

Tags: David Wright, Jose Reyes, Travis d'Arnaud
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New York Mets' Jose Reyes (7) reacts after hitting a game-tying, two-run home run in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) (Kathy Willens/AP)
New York Mets' Jose Reyes (7) reacts after hitting a game-tying, two-run home run in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) (Kathy Willens/AP)

The Mets will work out Jose Reyes in the outfield during Spring Training, Mets GM Sandy Alderson told reporters Monday at the MLB Winter Meetings.

"We didn't want to do it last year, because we didn't want him working out at multiple new positions," Alderson explained about when the Mets acquired Reyes last summer.

Tags: Jose Reyes
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David Wright waits during batting practice before facing the San Diego Padres. (AP)
David Wright waits during batting practice before facing the San Diego Padres. (AP)

David Wright will be the team's primary third baseman entering spring training, Mets GM Sandy Alderson told reporters Monday during the Winter Meetings.

According to Alderson, Wright is on track to start baseball activities during December.

Last month, Alderson told WOR 710 AM radio that, while he's hopeful that Wright will return, the Mets need to be realistic about what to expect from him in 2017.

"I think that we're very hopeful he's gonna be able to come back and be productive," Alderson said. However, "I think we have to be realistic about how many games we can expect him to perform."

Tags: David Wright
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Free-agent relievers Fernando Salas, Brad Ziegler, Joaquin Benoit and Joe Smith (Credit: USA Today Images)
Free-agent relievers Fernando Salas, Brad Ziegler, Joaquin Benoit and Joe Smith (Credit: USA Today Images)

Dec 5 | 3:50PM

The Mets are also in contact with the Orioles about a potential trade of Curtis Granderson or Jay Bruce, reports Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, who says the Mets have interest in O's reliever Brad Brach. Adam Rubin of ESPN recently reported that the Orioles rejected the Mets' initial asking price of a high-end reliever.

Brach, 30, had two saves and a 2.05 ERA (2.92 FIP), while striking out 92 batters during 74 innings with the Orioles last season. He has thrown 288 innings during his six-year career, including five straight seasons with an ERA under 4.00.

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McCutchen (22) at bat at PNC Park (Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
McCutchen (22) at bat at PNC Park (Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

The Rangers, Dodgers, Nationals, Mariners and a 'mystery team' have all recently asked about trading for Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen, according to reports on MLB Trade Rumors.

The Nationals have pursuing him since July, Jayson Stark of ESPN recently said to Twitter. However, in addition to the above teams, the Mets, Orioles, Blue Jays, Giants, Phillies and Cardinals have all reportedly expressed interest in acquiring a center fielder this off season.

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SNY at MLB Winter Meetings 00:19:03
Andy Martino and Steve Gelbs discuss all the up-to-date topics with the Mets and everything else in the league at the Winter Meetings.

Earlier today, also on Facebook, MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone answered questions during a Live Q&A about the overall hot stove, and what's next for the Mets >> To watch Cerrone's Q&A, click here!

Cerrone will be doing another Facebook Live Q&A for SNY tomorrow around 11 AM ET, after which Gelbs and Martino will return at 1:30 PM ET with another Winter Meetings Live from Washington, DC.

SNY will be live streaming Sandy Alderson's mid-day talk with reporters on their Facebook page each day at 3:30 PM during the Winter Meetings, which you can follow here.

Lastly, later tonight, Cerrone and co-host Robert Brender will be recording their second Winter Meetings Podcast, recapping the day and looking forward to what's on tap for Tuesday. 

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Photo: Chris McShane
Photo: Chris McShane

The Mets' top prospect for 2017 is 21-year-old SS Amed Rosario, according an organizational Top 10 list by Baseball America..

The team recently added Rosario, RHP Marcos Molina, OF Wuilmer Becerra, RHP Chris Flexen, and Nido to their 40-man roster, which will protect them from December's Rule 5 Draft.

According to TPG Mets, no other players on BA's top 10 list are eligible.

Tags: Gabriel Ynoa, Gavin Cecchini, Robert Gsellman
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Travis d'Arnaud catches at Chase Field (Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Travis d'Arnaud catches at Chase Field (Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

"The Mets are fully planning to go with Travis d'Arnaud as the primary catcher in 2017 and don't foresee going the external route," ESPN.com's Adam Rubin wrote late Sunday.

According to Rubin, the Mets do not intend on pursuing free-agent C Welington Castillo, who was non-tendered by the Diamondbacks this past weekend.

Tags: Kevin Plawecki, Rene Rivera, Travis d'Arnaud
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While the Mets have reportedly been trying to shop one of their outfielders for a relief pitcher, here's what the rest of the NL East has been doing at MLB's Winter Meetings...

Washington Nationals

The Nationals could be looking to make two blockbuster trades -- targeting White Sox ace Chris Sale and Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchenfor whom they might be willing to part with several top prospects, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale.

However, Washington could end up passing on a trade and, instead, go after free-agent outfielders Dexter FowlerIan DesmondCarlos Gomez and closer Mark Melancon...

Tags: Atlanta Braves, Miami Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies, Washington Nationals, Matthew Cerrone
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MLB's 2016 Winter Meetings will begin today at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center outside Washington, D.C. The Meetings conclude Thursday morning after the Rule 5 Draft.

The buzz around the game points to more trade talk than free-agent rumors. The Mets will be among them, since multiple reports indicate they're trying to swap Jay Bruce or Curtis Granderson for an upgrade in their bullpen >> To read more about their plans, click here!

Later today on SNY's Facebook page, I will be doing a Live Q&A around 11 am, followed by a Hot Stove check-in from our guys in D.C.. We'll also be Live streaming Sandy Alderson's talk with reporters at 3:30 pm, after which Rob Brender and I will post a podcast here recapping the day's events >> To follow SNY on Facebook, click here!

In the meantime, to keep you warm until rumors, updates and news begin flowing later this morning, check out the following audio and video... Happy Hot Stove!

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 (Andy Marlin)
(Andy Marlin)

Mets INF Asdrubal Cabrera will play for Venezuela during the World Baseball Classic, reports Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.

The WBC begins on March 6 and ends with the championship on March 22.

Cabrera, 31, played through a left knee injury for the majority of the second half of last season.

Tags: Asdrubal Cabrera, Noah Syndergaard
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 (Jeff Curry)
(Jeff Curry)

The Mets have avoided arbitration with C Rene Rivera, agreeing with him on a one-year deal worth $1.75 million, the team announced Friday.


Today is the deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players. Head here to see the other Mets who are eligible >> Read more!


Rivera, 33, hit .222 with a .291 OBP and .341 SLG with six HR and 26 RBI in 65 games last season.

He threw out 30 percent of would-be base-stealers.

Tags: Rene Rivera
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Steven Matz joins Mets Hot Stove 00:04:08
Steven Matz joins Steve Gelbs on Mets Hot Stove to examine his injury history and moving forward with his career.

Mets LHP Steven Matz has been cleared by the Mets and team doctors to proceed with his normal offseason routine, he told WOR radio Thursday.

"The doctors said, 'You're good to go,'" he told WOR's Pete McCarthy.

Matz had surgery in late September to remove a large bone spur from his pitching elbow. He ended his season early due to a rotator cuff impingement, which Sandy Alderson said in November did not require surgery. Instead, Matz received a platelet-rich plasma injection in his left shoulder.

Tags: Steven Matz
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Apr 20, 2016; Duda (21), Cabrera (13), Wright (5) and Walker (20) during a pitching change (Credit: USA TODAY Sports)
Apr 20, 2016; Duda (21), Cabrera (13), Wright (5) and Walker (20) during a pitching change (Credit: USA TODAY Sports)

After years of injuries and ineffectiveness leading to a middle-infield-merry-go-round, the Mets find themselves entering the 2017 season with a stable tandem of shortstop and second base. Asdrubal Cabrera and Neil Walker are both coming off strong performances in 2016 and - ideally - they will provide a stable presence to an infield with question marks in the corners.

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Mets Hot Stove: Matt Harvey 00:04:12
The Mets Hot Stove panel discusses Matt Harvey's injury rehab and their expectations from the right-handed hurler in 2017.

In July, 2016, Mets RHP Matt Harvey had season-ending surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome, which was done to restore feeling in his pitching arm and fingers.

According to former Mets GM and SNY analyst Jim Duquette, Harvey is not yet throwing off a mound, but he's feeling strong, on schedule with his post-surgery, off-season throwing program and will be 100% ready for spring training.

"He's had a great deal of time to work out and focus on his body and strength. We expect him to come back and be the Matt Harvey of old," his agent, Scott Boras, told reporters in early November at MLB's GM Meetings. "He's throwing free and easy and he's strong."

Tags: Matt Harvey, Matthew Cerrone
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Mets relievers Jeurys Familia and Addison Reed (Credit: USA Today Sports Images)
Mets relievers Jeurys Familia and Addison Reed (Credit: USA Today Sports Images)

Sandy Alderson has repeatedly said this offseason that he'd like to add at least one reliever to his bullpen before the start of spring training.

"There are some questions in the bullpen that we are going to have to answer, either internally or from external sources," he reiterated during Wednesday's press conference to announce the signing of Yoenis Cespedes.

Alderson said in early November that he has no interest in signing free-agent closers Aroldis Chapman, Mark Melancon or Kenley Jansen, who similarly have little interest in the Mets because Jeurys Familia is already the team's closer.

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Wheels in motion 00:02:52
Jon Hein and Marc Malusis discuss the Mets' plan of action for Zack Wheeler, including his possible use out of the bullpen.

The Mets have discussed using RHP Zack Wheeler in the bullpen to start the season, according to MLB.com's Anthony DiComo.

Wheeler, who had Tommy John surgery during March, 2015, was shut down in early September after being examined by Dr. James Andrew and diagnosed with a mild flexor strain in his pitching arm.

Wheeler went 11-11 with a 3.54 ERA for the Mets in 2014. In addition to the flexor strain, his return to action was also delayed in 2016 after having an undissolved stitch surgically removed. He also had an anti-inflammatory injection to treat nerve pain...

Tags: Zack Wheeler
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