You couldn’t really see out of that big head, so you’d feel someone on your leg but you couldn’t see it, and I’d have to turn my whole body and hold the head to look down—it was a little rough. Later on, I often wondered what happened to Mrs. Met, and maybe they just thought it was easier not to have to deal with all that stuff that I dealt with.
The secret lives of mascots are always interesting, inasmuch as the job involves subjugating all ego in the service of a city’s id. That’s why Mr. Met rated a documentary on ESPN. But the quote above comes from an interview with one Lynn Farrell, who played Mr. Met’s wife—or his mother, depending on whom you ask. This was Mrs. Met, née Lady Met, a mascot born early in the franchise’s life. Farrell played the mascot in her seventies-era glory years.
After some time away, Mrs. Met was reintroduced two years ago in a more modern form, which makes her story a kind of Christ narrative. It’s what every mascot yearns for: the added drama of death at the hands of Mets management in the 1980s and modern resurrection.
Although now she’s ponytailed and generically clad, Lady Met used to look incredible: in addition to a biologically improbable red bouffant, she wore a Mets bolero. And presumably her chemistry with Mr. Met was off the charts. Reader, she married him.
She was chic and, as her tale of sexual harassment at the hands of grabby Shea fans attests, she attracted the basest of lechers. But the affection we feel for our mascots is more (one hopes!) than just a fleeting physical attraction. When I think of the Mets, it’s the way the ancients must have felt towards their nicer gods: they are all-powerful, yes, but essentially human in their desires and feelings—and still completely benign. And they live only to—well, not win, so much as rejoice. They are the secret part of us that thinks rooting really hard can truly help. And they smile either way.
In a poignant excerpt from the interview, the interlocutor asks Farrell if fans ever proposed marriage to her when she was in costume. “No,” she says, “but some older men would say they were in love with me.”
Sadie Stein is contributing editor of The Paris Review, and the Daily’s correspondent.