QUEENS — David Stearns grew up in Manhattan, he went to Shea Stadium with his father when his family had a Saturday ticket plan, and as he got older, even found a sympathetic usher that would let the teenager sneak into the old ballpark in Queens back in 1998.
“Now, I appreciate them letting me in without a ticket,” he joked.
Stearns is now running the show at Citi Field, the 38-year-old officially introduced as the Mets’ new president of baseball operations on Monday morning.
“You don’t grow up a rabid fan of a team and then one day get to stand here at a press conference and talk about something like this,” Stearns said. “I understand that doesn’t happen. So the fact that it has happened to me, I recognize how incredible it is.”
After eight years with the Miwaukee Brewers — five as general manager and three as president of baseball operations — Stearns took a step back during the final year of his contract to be a special advisor in 2023 in what became the end of a successful spell that featured four straight playoff berths from 2018-2021, including an NLCS appearance in 2018.
For the last three years, upon the arrival of owner Steve Cohen, Stearns’ name was immediately linked to the Mets as a president of baseball operations candidate and constantly resurfaced throughout those 36 months.
“Every time one of those rumors popped up, either I or my wife would get a call from my mom wondering fi this was true and we’d have to calm her down a little bit,” Stearns said of his mom Susan, who still lives in the Big Apple. “This time, we didn’t need to calm her down, which was nice.”
Of course, the nostalgia is going to wear off quickly for the Harvard graduate, who will begin taking stock in what he has to work with this week before ultimately beginning the search for a new manager after the dismissal of Buck Showalter.
“There has to be a lot of conversations, Stearns said. “So I need to talk with our coaching staff, I need to talk with a number of our players. I need to talk with our entire baseball operations… First of all, I need to just learn about the people.”