By Merle Exit
Pop into any Citibank around noon time these days, and you may encounter the beloved mascot Mr. Met as well as Mets Alumni and SNY Broadcasters Ron Darling or Keith Hernandez.
More than 100 fans had the line at the Forest Hill branch heading out the door onto 71st Avenue and around the corner onto Austin Street last Friday.
Rob Gorman, an Astoria resident, is such an avid Mets fan that he was first on line at 8:45 a.m. to meet one of his favorite players, Keith Hernandez. Gorman collects autographs of the team players, past or present.
“I’m excited to meet him and would have come even earlier,” Gorman said. “I was surprised that there were not more people before me.”
It certainly paid off when a trivia contest came about as his answer got him a signed bat.
Other correct answers were rewarded with a signed baseball and tickets to a game.
Each fan had the opportunity to have Hernandez autograph an item that he or she had brought in. Otherwise Keith placed his name on a photo of himself as a player.
One couple, Kathleen Izo and Bill Donahue, arrived early from Lindenhurst, L. I.
“I’m the driver but also a Met fan” said Izo.
Donahue admitted that he would not have come for just any Mets player.
“Keith is an all-time great Met from the ’86 championship team,” Donahue said. “I like the older Mets and enjoy listening to Keith on television.”
“I’m pleased to be a former New York player for the Mets,” said Hernandez after being introduced. “Now I am an employee of the Mets and employee of SNY.”
Citibank provided food and refreshments for both the fans and Citibank customers with a spread of fresh fruit, bottled water and “Mr. and Mrs. Met” cookies.
Although no future appearances are slated for the former Mets at a Queens Citibank, Mr. Met will appear July 19, at the Busy Mall located at 37-12 Main St. in Flushing just after noon.
A full schedule of the Mr. Met Fan Tour is available at: www.mets.com/citi.