Top Five Mets Pop Culture MomentsBy: JKurp
#5. Put Down the Mookie
On a show known for its guest stars, Sesame Street really outdid themselves with “Put Down the Duckie.” Hoots the Owl is trying to convince Ernie that in order to play the saxophone, he needs to let go of his rubber duckie. Also along to assist Ernie is John Candy, Paul Simon, Pete Seeger, Danny DeVito, and Jeremy Irons, among many others. Oh, and Keith Hernandez and Mookie Wilson. The skit first aired in 1986, when the Mets were on top of the world, and it’s pretty hilarious to see Mookie being overly ecstatic in the video, while Keith tries to keep his composure. They both sing the hell out of, “You gotta put down the duckie,” though.
#4. Men in Black Invade Flushing
(head to the 0:18 mark)
Bernard Gilkey was a decent player for the Mets, hitting .273 with 52 HRs over three seasons. But to most people, he’ll always be known as the Met from Men in Black. During the climax of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones’ alien comedy, it’s found out that the Observatory Towers in Queens’ Flushing Meadows Corona Park are actually spaceships that brought extraterrestrials to Earth. The towers were originally built for the 1964 World’s Fair and used as a cover-up; after all, to quote Jones, “Why else would they hold it in Queens?” Anyways, the spaceships eventually become dislodged from the Tower by the former-Private Leonard “Gomer Pyle” Lawrence, a.k.a. Vincent D’Onofrio, and as they’re hovering over Flushing, the Mets are playing the Braves at Shea Stadium. As a Chipper Jones-esque player hits a high fly-out to CF, Gilkey stands memorized at the spaceship, not paying attention to the baseball that bonks him in the head. And we thought Daniel Murphy was a crappy outfielder…
#3. Meet the Evil Mets
Normally when you think of the Mets, you think either underdogs or losers (rightfully so). But in Rookie of the Year, they’re actually the bad guys. In 12-year-old Henry Rowengartner’s first game with the Cubs (if you don’t know the plot: boy breaks arm, boy throws fast, gets signed by the Cubs), the little pitcher that could throw 100 MPH has to face Alejandro “Butch” Heddo and the Mets. Heddo is a pitcher’s worst nightmare: huge, mulleted, and cocky (think Kenny Powers), and he blasts a home run on the first pitch he sees, briefly shattering Henry’s confidence. Fast forward to the final game of the regular season, which once again pits the Cubs against the Mets in Wrigly Field. After Chet Steadman throws six gritty innings, Henry is brought in for the final three innings (those wild ’90s!). He coasts through the seventh and eighth, but while taking the field before the ninth, he “unbreaks” his arm and loses the ability to throw fast. What to do? Use wit. Henry walks the first two batters—and then gets them out thanks to the Hidden Ball Trick and a game of Chicken. Only one batter left: “Butch.” I won’t ruin the ending, but let’s just say El Duque would be proud.
#2. Second Spitter
You know it, I know it, let’s just go to the video:
Remember, kids: never help Keith Hernandez move.
#1. A Real American
After seeing a bear invade their streets, the residents of Springfield are scared and require that the government install a 24/7 Bear Patrol to calm their nerves. It works and everyone’s happy that there’s not a bear in sight, until the town realizes that the Bear Patrol will require their taxes to go up by $5:
Homer: Woo-hoo! A perfect day. Zero bears and one big, fat, hair paycheck. Hey! How come my pay is so low?…Bear patrol tax?!? This is an outrage. It’s the biggest tax increase in history.
Lisa: Actually, Dad, it’s the smallest tax increase in history.
Homer: Let the bears pay the bear tax. I pay the Homer tax!
Lisa: That’s the home-owner’s tax.
Homer: Well, anyways, I’m still outraged.
The town storms back to City Hall, and in order to deflect blame from himself, Mayor Quimby says the reason taxes are so high is because of illegal immigrants, leading to Proposition 24, requiring all illegals to be deported back to their home country—including Apu Nahasapeemapetilon. But Apu is too happy with his life in America and as an employee of the Kwik-E-Mart, so he decides that to prove his patriotism and therefore needs to act like an American. That includes decking the Mart with flags, reading Entertainment Weekly, and asking Homer, “What do you say we take a relaxed attitude towards work and watch the baseball game? The Nye Mets are my favorite squadron.”
Apu doesn’t root for the Yankees to prove he’s an American; he chooses the Mets. And if The Simpsons say it, you know it must be true.