Queens Boulevard turned into a sea of blue and orange Monday as thousands Mets fans joined team legends and elected officials for a grand rally before they kicked off their World Series matchup against the Kansas City Royals.
The event, hosted by Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, was meant to give the team a proper send-off since they won't be playing at Citi Field until Friday. Fans crowded Queens Borough Hall and lined up across Queens Boulevard, which was closed westbound between Union Turnpike and 82nd Avenue, with huge cries of "Let's go, Mets!"
"We are here to cheer on our hometown team, the Mets. And we are here to say, 'We're here to bring the World Series back to the world's home, Queens,'" Katz said to a roaring crowd of 5,000.
The rally included a DJ blaring stadium hits such as "Empire State of Mind," "We are the Champions," and of course, "Meet the Mets." Fans took part in trivia contests, small games and some scored more free Amazin's gear.
"This is the first time in 15 years, you got to celebrate," said Cheryl Solomon, 49, of Plainview, Long Island, who was dressed in a Mets shirt, cap, sunglasses and painted the team's logo on her face.
The crowd went particularly wild when Mr. Met showed up. Mrs. Met made a rare public appearance as well handing out high-fives, posing with selfies and revving up the crowd Bill Fitzpatrick, 34, attended with wife Jamie, 30, and their "good luck charm," their 3-month-old daughter Quinn, who had on a Mets onesie.
The Astoria couple said they were amazed at the sheer size of the event.
"It's pretty impressive how many people came out to cheer them on a Monday," Bill Fitzpatrick.
Alexa Datt, the Mets Insider host who was one of the rally's emcees, said the Mets also expected a lower crowd but she wasn't surprised by the strong passion from the fan base.
"Mets fans are the most loyal in the city," she said. "This was terrific."
None of the current Met players were at the rally, but the team was represented by some veterans from the 2000 team that last made the World Series. Former closer John Franco and former second baseman Edgardo Alfonzo, said they were confident that the Mets would make the borough proud.
"Hopefully this year will be different," Franco said, adding that, "the only good thing about KC is their ribs."