It's not that Tim Tebow is a local legend and brings with him an enormous crowd that make his autograph sensations so unique. Mike Piazza drew similar crowds, as did David Wright.
The difference between Piazza and Wright and Tebow is that, when any fan is lucky enough to be chosen by Tebow and gets their item signed, the fan immediately turns around and is visibly giddy.
In the case of Wright or Piazza, obviously fans were pumped to get the autograph, but they'd remain focused looking to see if there was another player coming down the line. In the case of Tebow, the selected glow, become frozen and childlike, looking as if they don't know what to do next...
Speaking of autographs, it's a whole new world for Jeff McNeil, who last year people called for, but would often preface by mumbling to one another, 'Who was that?'
This time around, the same people are begging him to come over, sign and wish him well. He's clearly a people's champion, which is evident online. But, here, face-to-face, seeing it in person, makes his popularity real.
Here's the thing about Brodie Van Wagenen, whose popularity I and others have written a lot about this spring: He clearly enjoys and understands the value of style, swag, personality and energy. And, I just don't think you jog and high five fans along the fence, wearing those pants and $500 sunglasses, iPhone in hand, hair perfectly in place and not put your head on the pillow at night dreaming up scenarios about how you can sign Bryce Harper.
I have no real sense if Harper is still a possibility for the Mets, or if he was ever a possibility (though I do think he was and still is). It's just that watching Brodie -- and seeing how he operates and knowing his professional history -- there is no way he doesn't understand what signing Harper would mean to this organization in terms of physical talent, energy, fame and national attention.
Plus, in two years, when Mike Trout inevitably signs with the Yankees, which he will, because he's Mickey Mantle, Don Mattingly and Derek Jeter rolled in to one person, Harper would provide the perfect counter punch.
I can see it now, posters and billboards with Trout in pinstripes, Harper in blue and orange, face to face like Rocky and Ivan Drago. It would make New York City the focal point of baseball, not just nationally, but worldwide. And, if I can see it with my glasses on, I know Brodie sees it through his Ray Bans.
Steven Matz is working on his craft, and pitching coach Dave Eiland is in his ear a lot. Tuesday, they worked for a solid 10 minutes on only Matz's landing spot, arm slot and repeating his delivery. It was a dry session, during which Matz only swung a towel -- never picking up a baseball. To Matz's credit, he hit his dirt mark every time...
Jeurys Familia may be the happiest player in camp. He is clearly thrilled to be back home after being traded and spending time with the A's last summer.
I talked with him for a few minutes. He's always affable and polite, but he now looks relaxed and relieved in a way that I don't recall seeing during previous springs. He's not here to be 'the closer,' or anything else other than a pitcher for the Mets -- the team he grew up with and clearly never wanted to leave...
I am fascinated by Guy Conti, who has been here ever since Pedro Martinez was signed in 2005 and brought him over from Los Angeles. I've never heard Guy speak.
He rarely talks to any player or coach. He just hangs back, moves slowly (always holding a bat, always) he watches (eyes pierced), whispers, and comes across like the team's Consligiere. In 10 years, I've never really been able to figure out exactly what he does, but -- whatever it is -- he must do it well, because he's a fixture in camp.
Zack Wheeler is into photography, according to team photographer Mark Levine. I watched the two together and could pick up some of the discussion and Zack was asking legit questions about focal points, ISO and other advanced technical skills that go beyond just point, shoot and autofocus.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. He also hosts the MetsBlog Podcast, which you can subscribe to here. His new book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime. To check it out, click here!