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How the Mets have made their fans smile during the absence of sports

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 29: Dominic Smith #22 of the New York Mets celebrates after hitting a walk-off 3-run home run in the bottom of the eleventh inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field on September 29, 2019 in New York City. New York Mets defeated the Atlanta Braves 7-6. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 29: Dominic Smith #22 of the New York Mets celebrates after hitting a walk-off 3-run home run in the bottom of the eleventh inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field on September 29, 2019 in New York City. New York Mets defeated the Atlanta Braves 7-6. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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In these uncertain times, the New York Mets staff and players have still found ways to bring a smile to our face.

Just as it appeared that a promising 2020 season was on the way for the New York Mets, the world was upended by the COVID-19 pandemic. Though sports as live events have been completely shut down for the time being, the Mets have done a fantastic job of lifting their fans’ spirits with many heartwarming acts of outreach. They have also been consistently generating online content to satisfy their fans’ baseball cravings.

As has become common, Pete Alonso was among the first Mets players to express his thoughts and feelings in the wake of the sports stoppage.  He has made headlines over the past few weeks for sending personalized messages to medical professionals and other essential employees across the New York area. In these messages, Alonso expresses sincere gratitude for their hard work and bravery.

Alonso and Luis Rojas also did another kind gesture of outreach a few weeks ago. Ally, an 18-year-old Mets fan, reached out to the Mets on Twitter asking if they could do something for her grandmother Kathleen, who had recently been diagnosed with cancer. Alonso and Rojas delivered a fabulous surprise for this 82-year-old lifelong Mets fan by each reaching out to her individually.

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Alonso sent her a personalized video with words of support and appreciation, and Rojas spoke to her on the phone thanking her for her years of fandom.

In the accompanying video, Kathleen is reduced to tears by both interactions. It is clear that even in times of crisis, when sports might seem to be the farthest thing from anyone’s mind, a small gesture by a beloved athlete can truly mean the world to a devoted fan.

Aside from Alonso and Rojas, many other Mets have been doing their part to help during this pandemic. Steven Matz and his wife have posted on social media about donating $32,000 to the Mets’ COVID-19 Disaster Assistance Fund. Marcus Stroman‘s “Height Doesn’t Measure Heart” foundation has also provided support to two major tri-state area hunger relief causes, the Food Bank For New York City and Long Island Cares.

But beyond the monetary donations and personalized messages, the Mets have also been making their fans smile with fun online content. SNY and field reporter Steve Gelbs have led the way in this department, debuting two new online shows in the past month that have been a big hit with Mets fans so far.

The first is “The Cookie Club,” starring J.D. Davis and Dominic Smith. It is posted on SNY.tv every Wednesday at 5 pm. Each week, Gelbs interviews Smith and Davis via Zoom, asking questions about how they’ve been coping with the pandemic and what their favorite memories are from last year. The show has steadily increased in production value each week it’s been on and has even featured guests such as fellow “Cookie Club” member Jeff McNeil and his dog, Willow.

The show’s name originated from last year’s postgame tradition of ordering Insomnia Cookies, and its spirit reflects the fun-loving attitude that began this tradition in the first place. Davis and Smith dissolve into giggles at least once per show, especially when Gelbs brings up embarrassing moments in the Simpsons-inspired “Cookie D’OH” segment of the program. Fans’ reactions have been extremely positive, with many saying on social media that they look forward to this show every week and love every minute of it.

The SNY crew has also recognized that Mets fans are also clamoring to see and hear more from their beloved TV announcers: Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, and Ron Darling. Gelbs has responded to this by hosting a second weekly show, “Beyond The Booth with GKR.”

This program, airing live on Thursdays at 4 pm, has been an absolute delight. Gelbs has been asking GKR questions on various subjects, such as how they’re coping with the pandemic, fielding questions from fans, and inquiring about how Keith’s puzzle is coming along. The fun, lighthearted banter between the four of them is incredibly refreshing and helps maintain some sense of normalcy even with no live baseball games on TV.

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Even in the absence of new Mets games, the Amazins have been creatively finding ways to help brighten their fans’ days. Online videos a couple of times per week are no replacement for three-hour games every night, but it’s certainly better than nothing. The better that the Mets connect with their fans now, the louder Citi Field will be when live baseball finally returns.

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