There is no doubt that a full ballpark (or at least close to it) will be on hand to see the first game of this weekend's Mets-Yankees Subway Series Friday night. But one man, Bill Monahan, will undoubtedly have a slightly different experience at the ballpark Friday than most, as he was the winner of a recent contest put on by Citi to throw out the game's first pitch.
A now retired New York City cop from the 46th precinct, located just north of Yankee Stadium, Monahan was born in the Bronx in 1964. Though originally growing up as a Yankees fan, it was not so long before he made the switch to the blue and orange: "The day they traded Bobby Murcer, I was done. I swore I would never root for the Yankees again, and I immediately made the change to the Mets." In the near 40 years since Murcer was traded to the San Francisco Giants, the Mets, for better or for worse, have been a significant part of Monahan's life.
While Monahan was fortunate enough to see great live moments such as Robin Ventura's grand-slam-single and Todd Pratt's game winning home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks, it was also at Shea Stadium where Monahan realized his life would be changed forever. On a Sunday afternoon in 1998, Monahan attended a game at Shea and took a hard fall as he was approaching the old picnic area. While he initially felt fine, a later visit to the doctor revealed that he had contracted a rare form of cancer known as Chordoma, one that affects between two and three hundred people every year.
Fourteen years later, Monahan is thankfully recovered and still maintains an incredible allegiance to his favorite sports team. Often retreating to his blue-and-orange painted basement with an impressive autograph collection, Monahan is extremely hopeful and optimistic about the 2012 Mets: "I really think they have a shot. Just get another right-handed bat and they'll be there." As for those that are heading out to Friday night's game, when Bill takes the mound, give him a clap and a cheer, as standing on the mound of his favorite baseball team has been a lifelong dream.