Some are simple, some are silly. Others are wistful and earnest. A few are even profound. But nearly all the 18,000 bricks in front of the main entrance to Citi Field have one thing in common: fans who spent hundreds of dollars to declare their devotion to the Mets in stone.
One reporter’s brick-by-brick tally found that most inscriptions were straightforward: Mets fans claiming to be the most ardent. Many sign off with, “Let’s Go Mets!” and their names or initials. Many refer to departed family and friends, including a few who died in the attacks on Sept. 11, like one of the three bricks that Evelyn and Richard Becker from Bayside bought.
“We jumped on it right away,” Evelyn Becker said one recent afternoon as she and her husband scanned the walkway for their bricks, the sale of which helped the Mets raise $3 million for charity. “We’re so proud to be part of this.”
The Mets did not edit inscriptions, which resulted in occasionally sloppy grammar. But messages that were lewd or uncomplimentary to the baseball team in the Bronx and its players were disqualified.
Some inscriptions proclaim the Mets as the “Best Team in New York,” but no bricks include the word Yankees.
A handful of fans declared their allegiance to the departed New York baseball Giants, and the Jets. Many more said that their road to Flushing began in Flatbush, where the Brooklyn Dodgers played. “CVB” wrote simply, “Dem Bums, Our Amazins.”
Many fans included seminal years in Mets history, like 1962, 1969 and 1986. A few said their love of the team began in 1961, the year before the Mets took the field for the first time. One brick thanks Joan W. Payson, the Mets’ first majority owner. It is signed, “Love, New York National League Baseball Fans.”
Payson’s daughter, Lorinda de Roulet, might have been behind the brick signed by Linda de Roulet, which read: “It Has Always Been Fun to Cheer Together.”
Many of the bricks, which are 4 inches by 8 inches or 8 inches by 8 inches, commemorate days when fans attended their first games, met future wives or started a family. Quite a few inscriptions say that Citi Field was no substitute for Shea Stadium, the last remnants of which are being cleared to make way for a parking lot.
“We were going to get one of the little bricks, but I said it was so cool because now it’s here forever,” said Karin Ritchie, standing with her husband, Brian; their infant daughter, Riley; and their beagle, Shea, near their brick: “1 Life, 1 Love, Let’s Go Mets, the Ritchies, est. 2006.”
Hidden among the hundreds of rows of dark and light brown bricks are gems that elicited a chuckle, a guffaw or a scratch on the head.
Some are clever, others are inside jokes, and a few are so obscure that they are funny.
Liz Freedman and Wendy Ellicott (librarians, perhaps?) wrote, “In Libris Scriptum Sit,” followed by the English translation, “Put It in the Books,” the signature phrase that Howie Rose, a Mets radio announcer, uses after every victory.
Some fans took stabs at poetry, like Vicki Schmidt, who wrote, “Forever a Fan, Love My Mets, Put My Ashes in the Rosin Bag & I’ll Be All Set!”
Other bricks leave readers wondering. Tony Naccarato spent $395 and tax to announce: “I Was at the 69 World Series. Lost My Hot Dog.”
Another brick raises questions: “Sheila Mandel (Mom Trusts Certain Mets).” Which Mets does she trust and why? And what does she trust them to do?
Some bricks paint a larger, perhaps more violent picture. One brick signed “M B&K Kulbacki,” reads: “Mom: Use When Dad Misbehaves.”
There are, of course, references to favorite players and managers. Casey and Gil. Tom and Tug. Cleon and Rusty. Delwyn Perez proclaimed, “Mike Piazza for President,” and Eric Singerman, who “Sold Hot Dogs & Beer in Shea’s Early Years,” said he named his son Mookie.
Another unsigned brick reads, “McDowell Was the Second Spitter,” a reference to pitcher Roger McDowell’s role on an episode of “Seinfeld.”
McDowell’s Mets teams of the 1980s, with all their flash and flair, might have been what prompted the Loshiavo Family to write, “Great Hair Wins Championships!”
P. Wakabayashi seemed to care less about the Mets and more about becoming one with baseball fans. “Me Some Peanuts & Crackerjack, I,” the brick says.
Sitting quietly amid the sea of adoration and exclamation is this understatement: “Richie Oresto. Typical Mets Fan.”
The Nicolaou Family seemed to question the wisdom of their having spent money to help pave a walkway when they wrote, “Why?”
The simplicity award, though, goes to the fan who said it all in a word: “Mine.”
We suspect though, one person did not pay the amount due, left an inscription with the wrong color ink and wrote his message on way too many bricks...
Police are now looking into this very serious matter. One of the suspect's brother is rumored to live in the Bronx and another is said to be on the West Coast. The 4th brother? In the library.