It is safe to assume that the vast majority of New York Mets fans will be rooting for the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII on Sunday.
And not just because it is a cardinal sin for any born-and-bred New Yorker to cheer for any Philadelphia sports team. No, Mets fans will be all in on Kansas City during the big game because one of their own will be playing in it.
We’re talking about Patrick Mahomes, of course.
For those unaware of the connection, you may be wondering what we’re talking about. You see, Mahomes’ personal relationship with the New York Mets runs deep. Very deep.
It started back in 1999 when, as a four-year-old, Mahomes would accompany his dad, Pat Mahomes Sr., to the ballpark in order to shag balls in the outfield and play catch with some notable Mets. It was hours and hours spent at Shea Stadium that clearly first sparked Mahomes’ passion for sports, and perhaps laid the foundations for the impressive career he has gone on to carve out for himself.
“I just remember him being so excited to go to the yard every day,” Mahomes Sr. told The New York Post in an interview. “I’d have to hold him back just so I could get in the car before we left because he was ready to get out there. And he’d get there to the clubhouse, get his uniform on, and he’d be one of the first guys out on the field, and of course I had to play catch and all that.”
Pat Mahomes Sr. enjoyed a solid career in the bigs, including two years with the Mets where he posted a 4.74 ERA as a trusted long reliever. It isn’t unfair to state, however, that his son has already scaled new heights and then some. Mahomes is one of the best players in the NFL and if he wins on Sunday, he will have two Super Bowl rings and two league MVP awards at just 27-years-old.
Mahomes’ brilliance comes down to his ability to do things with the pigskin that most other football players could only dream of doing, let alone mere mortals. His arm strength is something to behold, as is his superhero, highlight-reel, game-changing throws that never fails to leave the jaw on the ground. And, for those who watched Mahomes toss the baseball around as a kid, watching him dominate the NFL now hasn’t come as a surprise.
“He would throw line drives to the infield,” Mike Hampton told Mets PR guru Jay Horwitz. “I don’t want to tell you that I predicted what Patrick would turn into, but I am really not shocked. You could see the young man had talent. I am so proud of what he has done. He is the best of the best now and I am proud to say I was there when it started.”
Mahomes became close with a host of Mets players and he certainly made an impression on then manager Bobby Valentine, who will be cheering on the younger Mahomes on Sunday. And, according to Valentine, all that time spent in a major league clubhouse with the Mets certainly hasn’t hurt Mahomes in navigating life as a high-profile professional athlete.
“Patrick was always around the locker room,” Valentine told Horwitz. “There is no doubt in my mind that growing up in a Major League clubhouse has made things so much easier for him when he became a pro.”
We’re all aware of how it works by now. Athletes as talented as Mahomes are born with that supernatural ability, and they show off those majestic skills from a young age. That was the case for Mahomes who displayed a rare gift for playing sports in his very first practice as a shortstop, while he would also be mentored by Alex Rodriguez after Mahomes Sr. signed for the Texas Rangers in 2001.
“His first practice he was playing shortstop, he threw the ball across the diamond and hit the first baseman right between the eyes, broke his glasses,” Mahomes Sr. said on ‘The Show’ – a New York Post baseball podcast with Joel Sherman and Jon Heyman. “They told him to start throwing the ball three-quarters of the way and then it rolled there. But I wouldn’t let him do that, so I just told ’em just to move him to first base, so he became a big fan of all first basemen.
Patrick Mahomes showing up to Arrowhead in a Mets jersey — a salute to his father, Pat, who played Major League Baseball from 1992 to 2003. His career included a season with the Mets in 1999. pic.twitter.com/lYyuGzRamf
— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) October 21, 2018
“A-Rod would take him down after shagging balls and stuff, he’d take him down to the cages and get him on a tee and soft toss to him and then he would break it down with him, take him into the film room and show him what he was doing wrong and show him what he was doing right, and he loved that.”
It is clear that Mahomes’ early experiences with the Mets helped shape him into the all-conquering, superstar QB that he has become. It is also crystal clear that Mahomes cherishes those memories given that he regularly wears a Mets jersey at press conferences and arriving at games. Complete with his dad’s No. 23 on the back and front. The Mets played a small role in Mahomes’ transformation into one of the most talented quarterbacks we’ve ever seen grace the NFL. Now, as he goes in search of his second Super Bowl championship, he’ll have the whole of Mets land behind him and there’s no doubt that those early days with his dad in the Mets clubhouse will have him prepared for one of the biggest games of his life.
“That comes from being in the clubhouse, being at the World Series with me, seeing 60,000 people in the stands, and want to perform in front of people,” Mahomes Sr. told The Post. “I don’t think the stage really gets too big for him.”
Best of luck, Pat!