BY JORDAN GIBBONS
Paul Taeschner raised his family to be diehard Mets fans, even after they moved to Maryland from Upstate New York.
Last Friday, he made the five-hour trip up to Queens with his son and two grandsons to meet Mets legend Keith Hernandez at the Citibank in Forest Hills, and catch the game against the Florida Marlins.
“We blame him,” his son Mark said, referencing the tough times Mets fans have experienced.
“This is the first time I’m taking my boys to Citi Field.”
Mark’s sons Collin, 13, and Caidin, 10, were waiting on a line with around 200 other people sporting their Mets pride with baseballs in hand.
“I’ve been a Mets fan since the start, so I’ve had enough years,” Paul said.
“Mark was born in ’69, so it was a very good year.”
Hernandez was signing autographs at the branch as part of the Mr. Met Tour that Citi is hosting at more than 20 locations in the Tri-State area.
Mr. Met was also on-hand to take photos with fans after they met Hernandez and got their memorabilia signed.
Fans gladly battled the heat and humidity as they lined up along 71st Avenue for the chance to meet the last first basemen to help the Mets win a World Series.
“We’re true Mets fans; we’re diehards,” Barbara Granickas of Howard Beach said. “We appreciate winning more.”
Hernandez signed everything from baseballs, photographs and bats to the Magic Loogie bobblehead that was given out during the Brooklyn Cyclones’ Seinfeld night on July 5.
Sal Isabella of Woodhaven came down with his younger brother and said he tries to make it to all their events.
“I like how Citi teams up to go to all the banks,” he said.
“I was at Seinfeld night and I’m getting my bobblehead signed.”
Before Hernandez lifted up his pen, he asked fans some trivia questions from the SNY special, Battle of the Broadcasters, which aired the previous night and featured a trivia game show battle between the WOR radio broadcast team and the SNY television team, along with the host Kevin Burkhardt.
“Kevin Burkhardt was tremendous in his role, so I got a big laugh out of him as the classic trivia game host, but I really enjoyed the chance to hang out with the radio team,” Hernandez said.
“Howie [Rose], Josh [Lewin] and Seth [Everett] do a great job over at WOR and it was a pleasure to go up against them in this format. It is something that the fans have really wanted to see.”
Fans who answered the questions correctly were rewarded with autographed bats, baseballs and tickets.
Anthony Furia came over from Brooklyn to get his Magic Loogie bobblehead signed as well.
“The passion that the fans have, not only for the Mets, but the Cyclones too is amazing,” he said.
“Anytime there’s an event like this, you want to turn out and show your true orange and blue.”
Reach Jordan Gibbons at (718)357-7400 Ext. 123, firstname.lastname@example.org or @jgibbons2.