I don’t remember much about the summer of 2004, other than the fact that I was nervous about to starting high school in September, but I do remember you; a a baby face rookie. I think fans could tell you were going to be something special pretty quickly, but I don’t think any of us truly knew just how special, you would be.From your clutch and boom-tastic offense, to your sparkling defense, especially that barehanded catch in San Diego in 2005, it was clear rather quickly that you were a great ball player. But, it was your personality and charisma, that truly made us recognize that you are also an amazing human being.
As if your charitable efforts, and trips to FDNY firehouses around 9/11 each year weren’t an indication that you are compassionate man, then it would have to be the countless stories I’ve heard or read from friends and fans who have had the opportunity to meet you. You always take the time to say hi, take a picture and autograph something. I’ve never had the opportunity to meet you, but getting to learn about the experiences other people have had when they met you, has put just as big of a smile on my face. You’ve changed a lot of people’s lives.
Your excitement and passion in 2015, is something that really sticks out in my mind. Yes, more so than 2006. I think that’s due to knowing what you had to go through to get back to the team and in the lineup in Philly. That fist pump against the Nationals and my personal favorite moment, your home run in the WORLD SERIES, is just too good to forget.
I know that things didn’t turn out the way you had hoped, but at the end of the day, you should be proud of how hard you fought to overcome adversity. The dedication, hard work, time, and energy you put in these last two years is nothing short of admirable and inspiring. You are resilient in every sense of the word. You could’ve left the Mets all those years ago, but you didn’t. You stayed. You choose us. You showed Mets fans what loyalty looked like.
Thank you for being a role model, on and off the field. Thank you for being an inspiration and symbol of perseverance. When I think of you, I think of how important it is to never give up; to always believe that the impossible is possible. Ya Gotta Believe, right? I, along with every Mets fan at Citi Field, will savor the opportunity to see you take the field one more time. Thank you for all of the amazin’ memories, Captain.