New York Mets

Grimace threw out the first pitch at a Mets game. What came next has people going crazy for him

It's become a "Hot Grimace Summer" in the baseball world.

AP Photo/Rich Schultz

If you’d asked New York Mets fans during the winter what their expectations were for the team heading into the 2024 season, they might have said that if everything were to break right, the Mets could sneak into the playoffs as a wild card in the National League.

Those fans might have also told you that oftentimes things do not break right for the Mets. (They can be a glass-half-empty bunch, particularly on social media.) At times the bullpen has blown leads, key hitters have struggled at the plate, and as recently as a week ago, when the Mets were nine games under .500, the team's situation appeared to be relatively bleak.

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That is, until a new and unexpected hero emerged at the Mets' ballpark in Queens: Grimace.

The beloved McDonald’s character, who is celebrating his birthday this monththrew out the ceremonial first pitch at Citi Field prior to a June 12 game against the Miami Marlins. He was introduced as the “ultimate baseball fan, all the way from McDonaldland.”

Standing on the mound and wearing the Mets’ City Connect cap, Grimace bounced a pitch in the dirt but kept the smile on his face.

The pitch in and of itself wasn’t remarkable, though it was pretty impressive for a fast-food mascot. No, what has been remarkable is what has come since for the Mets: a seven-game winning streak.

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The Mets, seemingly out of contention pre-Grimace, are undefeated since his first pitch: two wins against the Marlins, a three-game sweep at home of the San Diego Padres, and two road victories against the World Series champion Texas Rangers. While they’re still 13 1/2 games behind the NL East division leader Philadelphia Phillies, they are now only 1/2 game behind for one of the NL’s wild card spots.

Sure, their record is a still-mediocre 35-37, but let the Mets fans and the media have fun with this moment: They’re fully embracing Grimacemania on X. A photo circulated June 16 of a fan at Citi Field wearing a Grimace Mets jersey. T-shirts have been made of Grimace posing with the Mets’ mascots, Mr. and Mrs. Met. There have been suggestions that Grimace’s jersey number be retired if the Mets make the playoffs this year.

Emma Baccellieri of Sports Illustrated posted, “Without a signature milkshake this year, Grimace had to direct his powers elsewhere, surveying the nation for worthy causes in need and settling on the New York Mets,” referring to the much-ballyhooed shake McDonald's released in celebration of Grimace's birthday at this time last year.

As others have simply summarized it, it has become a “Hot Grimace Summer” in baseball.

McDonald's itself has chimed in, too. On June 17 it posted a digitally altered image of Grimace wearing a Mets hat, and after New York trounced Texas, 14-2, wrote, "The grimacee effectt im flattereddd."

In a postgame interview the same night, Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo was asked how much credit he and his teammates give Grimace for their inspired play.

Laughing, Nimmo answered, "I don't know about coincidences. He definitely correlates with us going on this run. If that's what you want to attribute it to, then I'm all for it. Whatever it is, let's keep it going."

The Mets will try to keep the Grimace magic going June 19 when they continue their series against the Rangers.

This story first appeared on TODAY.com. More from TODAY:

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