Taking a Water Taxi to See the Mets With Mike Piazza, Jim Breuer and the Team's Most Die-Hard Fans

Amazin' Mets Express
The Amazin' Mets Express, ready to ferry fans from downtown Manhattan to Citi Field for Game 3 of the World Series. Delta

On Friday night, the Mets tasted World Series victory for the first time in 15 years. After losing the first two games of the series in Kansas City, they put up nine runs to reinvigorate a fanbase that was understandably a little nervous after their most reliable pitcher got shelled in Game 2.

The win wasn't surprising to comedian Jim Breuer, the Long Island native who predicted victory hours before the game started, standing in front of a small crowd of diehard fans standing on Pier 11 in downtown Manhattan. Breuer, who has been chronicling the Mets' unexpected run through the playoffs on his Facebook page, said he felt calm throughout the first-round Dodgers series, which the Mets won in five games, as well as during the team's subsequent sweep of the Cubs in the National League Championship Series. He was anxious about the first two Royals games in Kansas City, but with the team back in New York, his nerves had once again settled.

"On my children's lives, I woke up yesterday and I went, 'Oh my god, the calm feeling is back,'" Breuer told the crowd. "We've been here before and, mark my words, we're sweeping them at home. Kansas City brought it, but we're going to bring it louder. We're going to win all three games, and we're going to go back and show them that we are the New York Mets!"

This caused the crowd to start chanting "Let's go Mets!" in unison. For the past few weeks, this has been a familiar refrain among like-minded New Yorkers.

Fans were congregated on the pier because a water taxi provided by Delta, an official Mets sponsor, was about to ferry them around the southern tip of Manhattan and up the East River to Citi Field to watch Game 3. Breuer was along for the ride, as was Mets legend Mike Piazza, who was scheduled to throw out the first pitch. The fans on board were giddy at the chance to mingle with the catcher who starred for the team from 1998 to 2005. There were selfies, there were autograph requests, there were FaceTime calls to friends who couldn't be there. An open bar serving cocktails like the "Home Run Hitter," which featured champagne and peach vodka, only heightened the excitement. It also heightened the frequency of the "Let's go Mets!" chants, which broke out sporadically as the boat crusied under bridge after bridge, the sky orange behind a silhouetted Manhattan skyline.

The Mets fans on board spanned generations and backgrounds. Most of them had some variation of a New York accent; all of them wore some variation of blue and orange. Just as a group of jersey-wearing bros drunkenly professed their love for the team on the upstairs deck, older diehards nursed cocktails down in the cabin. One of them was Cathy Rapple of Middle Village, Queens, who has been a fan since the team's inception in the '60s. "We expected it in 1986," she said, smiling, of the Mets' last World Series title. "But we didn't expect this."

A few rows of seats away was Louis Melendez of Brooklyn, who remembers being at a Sweet 16 party when the Mets won Game 6 in '86. "The DJ announced at one in the morning that the Mets just won," he said. "It was at a community center. The whole place went crazy. I watched [Game 7] with my dad. My fingernails were chopped off. When Sid Fernandez came in, I said, 'We're going to win.' My dad said, 'We're going to win.' And we celebrated from there."

This year Melendez already knows what he's going to do if the Mets win it all. "I got a bottle of Jack Daniel's Frank Sinatra edition," he said. "Cost me $200. I bought it three years ago. Right before the World Series started I posted that I hope to open this baby. I posted to a bunch of friends who are Jack Daniel's fans and they said let's all make sure we're together. I have a brother in Baltimore that I need to send some to. I need to find some way to sneak it in the mail."

Scott Chester of Staten Island, whose mother put posters of the former Met Lenny Dysktra up in his bedroom when his was a 4-year-old, was too young to remember the Mets winning it all in 1986. All he's known is the pain and heartbreak of the team's recent failures. "If they can even get into a situation where they can clinch the World Series, we've been talking about flying out to Kansas City and being a part of it," he said, surrounded by his friends, all of them wearing jerseys. "If that doesn't happen, I'm for sure putting in my day off at work the next day."

As Citi Field came into view, the boat slowed. The view of the illuminated ballpark, about to host its first World Series game, was too breathtaking not to savor. In the cabin, Breuer picked up a mic and told a story about watching the 2001 World Series between the Yankees and the Diamondbacks, the year after the Yankees callously dispatched the Mets in the Series in five games. There was pressure to root for the Yankees. September 11 had just happened, and the prevailing sentiment was that New Yorkers should root for one another. But Breuer just couldn't do it. No true Mets fans could. Not the Yankees.

Fifteen years later, no one is talking about the Yankees. Blue and orange predominate on the city's streets, and unlike the menacing Yankees teams of previous years, this year's Mets are infinitely lovable. "I feel like the fanbase is just riding the wave," Breuer told me. "We're not expecting to win. We want to win. But we're really enjoying every stage as it goes along."

As we finished talking the boat began to pull up to the dock, Citi Field and Game 3 awaiting its passengers a few hundred yards ahead. Upstairs on the deck, they announced their arrival with a familiar, three-word chant.