Considering he didn’t file a single column all year, Oscar Madison had a pretty good 2020. You might even say he showed up ready to play more often than Jed Lowrie did…but who among us in a Mets cap didn’t?
Oscar and his milieu enjoyed a recurring role across the pages of The New York Mets in Popular Culture , a recently published buffet of eclectic “critical essays” edited by the diligent David Krell. Leaning on the academic side of the street, a little up the block from what we do in this space , the book explores the margins of the Mets baseball experience. The more ephemeral it goes, the better it gets. The essays in which the Mets-loving reader learns more about Rheingold; Joan Payson; Bob Murphy’s beginnings; the truly original Mets of the American Association; calling Sports Phone, winning the Mayor’s Trophy; and one man’s adoration of Dave Kingman make this, as Murph might have put it, an excellent addition to your baseball library. The Mets-curious reader receives as well a bit of an anthropological explanation for what makes the Mets the Mets in movies and other media. Krell and his collaborators make a thoughtful case for the Mets mattering in every corner of the universe they touch — and The Odd Couple indeed gets its due in its various incarnations.
The fiftieth anniversary of The Odd Couple series was celebrated by that living, breathing Smithsonian Institution of show business, Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast  when Gilbert and his co-host Frank Santopadre (a devoted if inevitably disgusted Mets fan I’m delighted to call my friend) invited on the sons of Jack Klugman, Adam and David, to recall how their dad and Tony Randall made television history as Oscar and his reluctantly tolerated roommate Felix Unger.
In an even more specific district of the podcast universe, diehard OC fans like myself were introduced to 1049 Park Avenue , in which Ted Linhart and Garrett Eisler began to painstakingly break down every episode of the ABC sitcom. Well, not every episode. They have little use for the first, laughtracked season, and they’re a little choosy about the second season. Also, they’re not at all into sports, which I find odd since Oscar’s a sportswriter who we revere for wearing a Mets cap, but to each podcast its own. Though the title — taken from Oscar’s fancy Manhattan address — is quite clever, my wife expressed surprise they don’t call their show The Pod Couple. (I did a search. The title was already taken.)
As you can see, regardless of what’s on the air in a given year, Oscar lives, whether a person likes baseball or not, just as Felix lives, opera buffdom optional. Still, it never hurts to idealize Oscar. Take it from one of his press box successors, so-called real-life division, Sports Illustrated all-timer Steve Rushin, whose second coming-of-age memoir, Nights in White Castle  came to paperback in 2020 and therefore into my price range. “Marriage,” Steve recalls through the filter of his college-age thinking, “seems inevitable and impossible. Even my literary hero, the divorced sportswriter Oscar Madison on The Odd Couple, had to get married before he became single, free to roam — in his Mets cap and sweatshirt, sandwich in hand — through his eight-room apartment in Manhattan.”
A little subtler sighting, but a sighting is a sighting: In The Happy Days of Garry Marshall, a tribute aired on ABC, May 12, 2020, a publicity shot from The Odd Couple features Oscar Madison in his Mets cap. (Another still photo shows Marshall — who wore a lot of baseball caps — wearing a 2000 Subway Series cap, which included the Mets NY logo.)
An Oscar named de la Renta was world-renowned in the realm of fashion, but it’s Oscar Madison’s headwear choice that remains eternal. We wouldn’t let a year go by, even a year such as 2020, without grabbing a sandwich for ourselves and rewinding to all the times we sighted the New York Mets in the popular culture. When we do, whether it’s from art produced in the year just past or from art from a ways back that became evident to us over the preceding twelve months, we tip Oscar’s Cap.
The 2020 Oscar’s Cap Awards, our ninth such annual salute, got the earliest possible start, on a New Year’s Eve that seemed like it was ushering in just any other year. It was then, at Barclays Center, that the Strokes rung out 2019 by debuting a song called “Ode to the Mets”. It would soon appear on their 2020 albumThe New Abnormal, produced by Rick Rubin (known far and wide as a musical icon, known to me in second grade as new kid in the class Ricky, who borrowed and diligently returned my copy of Kosher Comics). The Mets aren’t actually mentioned in the lyrics, but lead singer Julian Casablancas said he wrote the song on the Mets-Willets Point subway platform after what The Athletic termed “a disheartening trip to Citi Field”. The motivator was eventually revealed to be the 3-0 loss inflicted by Madison Bumgarner in the 2016 Wild Card Game. “I’ve had my heart broken many times, obviously, as a Mets fan,” Casablancas told mlb.com .
More evidence that people used to routinely take trips to Citi Field, or at least on the 7 train to somewhere, emerged in January when commuters had the chance to hear the following over MTA-approved speakers: “This is Mets-Willets Point — HOME OF THE METS! I love the Mets, ’cause I’m from Queens, and you’re riding the 7 train.” That was Awkwafina, promoting her very funny Comedy Central show Awkwafina is Nora From Queens. You can tell it’s from January because nowhere in her announcement does she remind you to wear a mask . On the show itself, in the fifth episode of the first season (February 19, 2020), one of the dads at the Elmhurst Community Center laid this bit of emotion on its viewers:
“He’s got his little Mets cap on, and he just pulls away from me, darts across the street, runs right at me, jumps in my arms. So that was the first time Timmy hugged me after the divorce.”
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert senior producer Jake Plunkett wore a Mets cap while he drove his mother Bootsie to meet Dr. James Hamblin to learn more about the coronavirus on March 16, 2020. To be sure, by March we learned 2020 was a good time to, if you weren’t deemed essential to others’ well-being, stay home, catch up on one’s streaming or, better yet, reading. Sure, you couldn’t take a cruise, but thanks to Friend of FAFIF Kevin Chapman, you could definitely be a passenger on Lethal Voyage , the third book in the Mike Stoneman detective series. And as long as you’re setting a course for adventure with Det. Stoneman, you might as well sit in on board for a hand of poker with 1986 world champion New York Met Lenny Dykstra — wearing his championship ring as he sails the high seas, no less. Mike, addressing Lenny as Nails, tells him, “I just want to say that I always appreciated your hustle on the field. When you hit that home run off Houston in game 3, I jumped three feet off my bar stool.” Gosh, who didn’t?
Just as there was no cruising to a game in Flushing this summer, there were no jaunts to the U.S. Open across the boardwalk. Yet that doesn’t mean there wasn’t Two For Tennis (The Adventures of Mark)  by Michael Elias, another author we’re proud to count in our community of readers and commenters. In Michael’s book, protagonist Mark seeks solace and distraction in the doings of the Mets before and after the last days of Shea. Mark follows his favorite ballclub’s pursuit of playoff berth redemption behind Johan Santana and Carlos Delgado in September of 2008; sees the Mets fall short in their Wild Card bid on Shea’s last day and realizes while doing a crossword realizes that the 41-down clue for “Stadium in Queens” is ASHE rather than SHEA. Nelson Figueroa also gets a shoutout.
We’ll give a shoutout to Steve Cohen for maybe sparing us lines like these in the future: “Married a Mets fan. He’s a glutton for punishment.” That view of the world was stated by Jerry Orbach as Lennie Briscoe on Law & Order, referring to Rafael Celaya (who “loves the Mets, always listening to their games in the summer”). That’s from “Couples,” Season 13, Episode 23, May 21, 2003, just as the Fred & Jeff Wilpon ownership cabal was making its presence truly felt. Its vibe was still being felt on May 7, 2020, when Seth Myers devoted his “A Closer Look” segment on Late Night to baseball’s pandemic-fueled absence:
“Who are we supposed to root for when baseball comes back, the Mets? I mean, they’re the only team that’s doing better during quarantine. I’m pretty sure the last president they met with was William Henry Harrison, and then he died ten days later. That was the year Mr. Met caught typhoid.”
This endorsement of the way Wilpon things were followed directly on the heels of the finale of the brilliant Brockmire, which aired May 6, 2020, in which title character Jim Brockmire (portrayed by Mets fan Hank Azaria) begged protégé-turned-tycoon Charles, “Oh please buy the New York Mets. Somebody should. Those people have suffered for long enough.” (“The Long Offseason,” Season 4, Episode 8). It didn’t take a sharp eye to notice a large portrait of Shea Stadium’s upper deck hangs in a conference room during the final season of Brockmire.
“Can you buy the Yankees?
“Can you buy the Mets?”
—Dell Scott (Kevin Hart) determining just how rich his fabulously wealthy employer Philip Lacasse (Bryan Cranston) is in 2017’s The Upside
On Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj (Volume 2, Episode 2, released May 24, 2020), the host explains the dollar value of the legal marijuana marketplace in the US as such: “With that much money, you could buy the Mets thirteen times.”
Yet for all the grief the Mets took right up until Cohen took over, contemporary creative types can’t resist paying homage.
On Netflix’s Big Mouth, Andrew has a Mets poster in his room featuring the ’80s racing stripe.
Rapper Tobe Nwigwe posted a picture of himself wearing a black Mets jersey to his Facebook page in October 2019.
In the 2020 documentary Miss Americana, Taylor Swift is spotted with Jack Antonoff in a Mets cap about 42 minutes in.
A framed blue Mets jersey appears in the background when Fred (Seth Rogen) visits the office of his friend Lance (O’Shea Jackson) in the 2019 comedy Long Shot.
In the Netflix series Unorthodox (2020), a character with the unfortunate name Yanky wears what can be best described as a weird Mets cap.
In 2020’s interactive Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt interactive special Kimmy vs. the Reverend, Mikey appears to tell the viewer that a wrong decision was made, and adds, “the Mets don’t suck, you suck!”
In the third episode of the 2020 HBO Max series Love Life, Danny Two Phones (Gus Halper) invites Darby Carter (Anna Kendrick) on a date to Friday night’s Mets game, which is bucket hat night. Darby demurs.
In the Season 32 premiere of The Simpsons (“Undercover Burns”; September 27, 2020), Mr. Burns assumes an incognito persona by the name of Fred Kranepool.
Here’s an exchange from The Outsider, “Dark Uncle,” Episode 3, January 19, 2020 (HBO); while a Cubs game is on at a bar:
ALEC PELLEY: The first game my Dad ever took me to was at Wrigley. 1985, Cubbies-Mets, must’ve been towards the end of the season somewhere. After all these years, who can remember the date?
HOLLY GIBNEY: Did they win or lose?
ALEC: Cubbies lost.
HOLLY: September 26.
ALEC: September 26. I wish I could remember who was pitching.
HOLLY: Johnny Abrego started for the Cubs, but was knocked out in the fourth. He was relieved by Ron Meridith, Steve Engel and Jay Baller. Dwight Gooden, on the other hand, threw a complete game shutout for the Mets.
You’ve heard of a political football? The Mets are sometimes a political baseball.
• Mr. Met was listed as part of the festivities for the opening of Mike Bloomberg’s Bayside field office, February 6, 2020, when the ex-mayor ever so briefly ran for president. Earlier, while campaigning in Oakland, Bloomberg had made a reference to how being the Mets manager — as opposed to the position he’d filled in New York or the one he seemed to want in Washington — is the hardest job in America.
• On June 20, 2020, celebrity Mets fan John Leguizamo sent out a fundraising email for Long Island Congressional candidate Perry Gershon in which both the endorser and the endorsee wore Mets caps. Gershon was seen often on the campaign trail in an orange cap with a blue NY, matching the motif of his signage and Web site. Alas, the candidate most likely to introduce resolutions praising the “valiance and vitality of the New York Mets” in the House of Representatives lost his primary. But Leguizamo’s garb was not incidental; John also wore a Mets cap during a Zoom panel presented by Variety dedicated to Latinx creatives, released October 15, 2020.
• “I couldn’t be a better pitcher for the New York Mets than Jacob deGrom.”
—Chris Christie on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert February 25, 2020
• Paterson, N.J., mayor André Sayegh appeared on MSNBC’s All In With Chris Hayes on May 21, 2020, to discuss his city’s success with COVID-19 contact tracing, wore a Mets hoodie — blue, with a big orange NY — while addressing the topic.
• On Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, September 30, 2020, one day after the first presidential debate, Bee countered Donald Trump’s charge that Joe Biden wears the biggest mask he’s ever seen, offering Mr. Met and his mask as evidence to the contrary.
More real life than politics: The scheduled guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers when NBC News broke in to announce Trump tested positive for COVID-19 at around 1 AM, October 2, 2020, was David Wright, promoting his upcoming book, The Captain. After the initial report, anchored by Brian Williams, the network rejoined Late Night, with the previously recorded Wright interview already in progress.
As if I have to tell you, the Mets and elections interacting is hardly a recent phenomenon. One excavated-in-2020 example comes from the October 14, 2000, Saturday Night Live presidential debate sketch, moderator Jim Lehrer (Chris Parnell) grew so disengaged by Al Gore and George Bush that he tuned into the Mets-Cardinals playoff game on his monitor (that year’s second debate and Game One took place on the same night, October 11).  
Here a few other Mets sightings from the SNL archives, including a couple from very recent times:
In his first appearance as a Saturday Night Live cast member, during host Jack Black’s monologue/musical number on October 4, 2003, Kenan Thompson wears a contemporary Mets road jersey.
“A Manhattan eye surgeon is offering free LASIK Eye Surgery in exchange for a pair of Mets playoff tickets. Here’s some advice: If someone can’t afford baseball tickets, don’t let them operate on your eyes. With lasers.”
—Seth Meyers, Weekend Update, SNL, October 7, 2006 (when Mets swept Dodgers in NLDS); Season 32, Episode 2
“I love the Mets! But every time I suggest a Mets-themed prom, you guys look at me like I’m crazy! Well, here I go — final effort: Let’s do a Mets prom! Blue and orange streamers, hot dogs! My uncle knows Mookie Wilson. He can come! Therefore, my theme is, ‘Remember the Night We Mets?’ Thank you.”
—Fred Armisen (wearing a Mets road jersey and a blue Mets cap) as Billy Zerillo, in a prom committee meeting, Saturday Night Live, May 19, 2007 (Season 32, Episode 20)
On Saturday Night Live, October 6, 2007 (Season 33, Episode 2), Fred Armisen as Omar Minaya and Kenan Thompson as Willie Randolph take to the Weekend Update desk to unsuccessfully explain away the Mets’ late-season collapse (with Thompson in a home Mets uniform and blue cap).
An egg wearing a tiny Mets cap was part of a bumper during the 2019-20 season finale of Saturday Night Live (S. 45, E. 18), May 9, 2020.
On Saturday Night Live, October 31, 2020 (Season 46, Episode 5), in another of the big John Mulaney-led musical sketches celebrating New York’s weirdness, Maya Rudolph appeared as the Statue of Liberty channeling Elaine Stritch by singing, in an updated version of “I’m Still Here”: “Danced for the ’86 Mets and broke my ankle, but I’m still here.”
“I had my first New Year’s Eve kiss with Mr. Met’s daughter. Stacy Met. Sweet girl. Big head.”
—Timothée Chalamet, monologue, hosting Saturday Night Live, Season 46, Episode 8, December 12, 2020
The death of the artist Christo (1935-2020) brings to mind Fred Armisen as Tom Jankeloff visiting The Gates in Central Park on Saturday Night Live, February 19, 2005 (Season 30, Episode 13), while wearing a windbreaker displaying the Mets script logo and the number 31. All that was missing was a blue cap to complement the onslaught of orange fabric.
A couple of other passings in the realm of pop culture and the Mets are worth noting here. Richard Herd (1932-2020) was Matt Wilhelm, George Costanza’s boss with a New York baseball team on Seinfeld. In “The Millennium” (Season 8, Episode 20; May 1, 1997), Mr. Wilhelm departed that organization to take on a new role: head scouting director for the New York Mets — the job George wanted. And Jerry Stiller (1927-2020), when he wasn’t George Costanza’s Festivus-inventing father Frank, played characteristically none too pleased as Arthur Spooner when his son-in-law Doug Heffernan (Kevin James) took him to Shea Stadium on The King of Queens (“Doug Out”; Season 2, Episode 6; October 25, 1999), though he did cheer up when Doug leapt onto the field to attempt to retrieve a foul ball for him. Alas, Doug was thrown in “Mets jail” for his would-be good deed.
Now let’s spend a few moments with Philip Roth’s 1997 novel American Pastoral:
One night in the Summer of 1985, while visiting New York, I went out to see the Mets play the Astros, and while circling the stadium with my friends, looking for the gate to our seats, I saw the Swede, thirty-six years older than when I’d watched him play ball for Upsala. He wore a white shirt, a striped tie, and a charcoal-gray summer suit, and he was still terrifically handsome.
“You’re Zuckerman?”, he replied, vigorously shaking my hand. “The author?”
“These are my friends,” I said, sweeping an arm out to introduce the three people with me. “And this man”, I said to them, “is the greatest athlete in the history of Weequahic High. A real artist in three sports. Played first base like Keith Hernandez — thinking. A line drive doubles hitter. Do you know that?” I said to his son. “Your dad was our Hernandez.”
“Hernandez’s a lefty,” he replied.
The following letter reached me by way of my publisher a couple of weeks before Memorial Day, 1995.
Dear Skip Zuckerman:
I apologize for any inconvenience this letter may cause you. You may not remember our meeting at Shea Stadium. I was with my oldest son (now a first year college student) and you were out with some friends to see the Mets. That was ten years ago, the era of Carter-Gooden-Hernandez, when you could still watch the Mets. You can’t anymore.
Seymour “Swede” Levov, WHS 1945
Need a few more reminders that 1986 is eternal?
In the 2020 Long Island-set film Standing Up, Falling Down, Marty, a dermatologist played by Billy Crystal, watches the 1986 World Series, calls the son from whom he is estranged and mentions that Ron Darling is his son’s favorite player.
“What a great-looking crowd — so many stars, so much cocaine. Is the is the Emmys or the Mets’ locker room?”
—David Letterman, 2020 Emmys (9/20/2020), reading jokes ostensibly left in his tuxedo pocket from when he last wore it, hosting the 1986 Emmys
ESPN announced a multipart documentary delving into the 1986 Mets, their city and the times in which they conquered the world will appear in 2021. It is being crafted by Friend of FAFIF Nick Davis and I have a feeling it will be very much worth watching.
Need another reminder of what life was like ten years after 1986?
From Mystery Science Theater 3000, Episode 704 (February 24, 1996), during the opening scene to the The Incredible Melting Man, amid a countdown to launch:
VOICEOVER: T-minus 25 seconds.
CROW T. ROBOT: The Mets lost today.
The Oakland Mets (whose uniforms looked more softball than baseball) lost to the California Stars when Ralph Hinkley homered for the California Stars in Season 2, Episode 1 of The Greatest American Hero, “The Two-Hundred-Mile-an-Hour Fast Ball,” November 4, 1981. No, we’re not sure what a team called the “Mets” was doing playing as “Oakland”. We are, however, certain the Mets were nowhere near a World Series in the late ’70s, but a stock photo of a Mets game at Shea Stadium (wide angle, probably from the ballpark’s early days) appears in a TV Guide ad for the March 20, 1977, premiere of the ABC movie Murder at the World Series, which itself filmed its baseball sequences at the Astrodome, as the World Series in question pit the Astros versus the A’s. Maybe somewhere in here was the seed of the idea that became Major League Baseball’s 2020 postseason bubble. 
And maybe, had the Mets provided season tickets to one of the leading songstresses of the late ’70s, they would have been invincible, because “of the fifteen New York Met games she’s attended, the Mets have won all fifteen.” The lady in question was Gloria Gaynor, whose great baseball luck was mentioned by Casey Kasem as he introduced “I Will Survive” as the No. 1 song on American Top 40, March 17, 1979. Casey had been telling a story of how Gaynor’s South American tour crossed paths with that of New York Cosmos, and how her pregame concert may have helped the Cosmos break their winless streak (the Cosmos resented the idea they needed an opening act let alone the kind of luck Gloria claimed to bring her teams). Nine years earlier, in his very first AT40 (July 4, 1970, based on the Billboard chart of July 11, 1970), Casey talked up “Everything Is Beautiful” by Ray Stevens at No. 29 this way: “If success contained calories, this guy would outweigh the New York Mets.”
In those days, the Mets were defending world champions, a fact that didn’t escape the showrunners of That Girl at the time:
“There are a lot of great men. There’s the infield of the Mets…”
—Donald Hollinger, That Girl, “Easy Faller,” Season 4, Episode 25, March 19, 1970
“When I can explain why I can miss an entire inning of a Mets baseball game because I’ve been staring at your picture on my television set […] then I’ll be able to explain why I love you.”
—Donald Hollinger’s note to Ann Marie, That Girl, “All’s Well That Ends,” Season 4, Episode 26, March 26, 1970 
The Dick Clark 20 Years of Rock N’ Roll double album from 1973 included the front page of the Post announcing the Mets’ world championship in 1969 part of its gatefold art, indicative of what a surpassing cultural moment, not just pop cultural, the Mets winning it all was. Though they didn’t make it as tracks in the Clark-curated collection, two songs in the aftermath of the 1969 World Series that celebrated the most unlikely championship ever made themselves known to us a mere 51 years later: the Calypso-flavored “Mets” by the San Joe Trio (which namechecked several of the champs); and the garage-rocker “The Mets Special” by Rodd Keith (sounds a little like Eric Burdon and the Animals).  
To understand just how far the Mets came to get where they got as the ’60 ended, here are a couple of instances of how they were portrayed just a few short years earlier:
• The 1963 Off-Broadway revue Put It In Writing included a song, written by Fred Ebb and Norman Martin, that included the following lyrics: “When you run for a ball run right into the stands/Don’t forget, you’re a Met/When a grounder arrives let it slip through your hands/Don’t forget, you’re a Met,” asserting Mets fans preferred their new team lose.
• George Carlin on The Merv Griffin Show in 1965 referred to his character Lyle O. Higley, head of a chapter of the John Birch Society, as “a veteran of two wars, a depression and a Mets doubleheader”.
More recently from the world of big-time talk shows, especially those helmed by Mets fans and/or hosting Mets fans…
• Jerry Seinfeld joined Jimmy Kimmel on May 5, 2020, and compared notes on throwing out first pitches at Citi Field.
• Bill Maher’s suit jacket lining displayed the Mets skyline logo on Real Time, October 23, 2020. Four weeks later, on the eighteenth-season finale of his show (November 20, 2020), Bill’s montage of audiences applauding — a symptom of doing pandemic shows in front of nobody — included a clip from the Polo Grounds of fans behind a LET’S GO METS banner. Maher had been a minority owner under the Wilpons; Steve Cohen had just bought the ballclub when this episode aired.
• And on May 7, 2020, over on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Pete Alonso appeared in the extended (142-part) version of The Last Dance, ESPN’s Michael Jordan documentary, offering this rumination: “I remember him. He played baseball for the Birmingham Barons. He also played basketball? That makes sense. He was pretty tall?”
He was, Pete, he was.
Archie Bunker may have been a Mets fan from Astoria, but nobody could accuse him of having been a particularly progressive Mets fan. One wonders what he might have made of Kim Ng being named Miami Marlins general manager in 2020 after hearing him express disgust to son-in-law and philosophical foil Michael Stivic that neighbor Irene Lorenzo was about to receive pay equal to his own: “Whaddaya gonna say when a woman is managing the Mets?” (All In The Family, “Archie’s Helping Hand,” Season 5, Episode 6; October 19, 1974).
It’s just a guess, but he probably would have said what he said less than a year later:
“I gotta go down to Kelsey’s and watch the Mets play ball.”
That pressing appointment came up on September 15, 1975 (“Alone At Last,” Season 6, Episode 2), on a night when in real life Mike Vail tied the franchise and league rookie hitting record versus the Expos. In TV Land, “I won on a ballgame,” the betting Bunker reports to wife Edith. “The Mets beat them San Diego Padres.”
Think Archie took in a lot of Broadway? Probably not, but to appeal to the widest possible audience, there was this radio ad copy for the explicitly gay-themed production Torch Song Trilogy that ran on the New York airwaves in 1982:
“…which then leaves the rest of us non-gays who will be immediately threatened and say, ‘Torch Song Trilogy? No way, nah, listen, I’m going out to Shea Stadium to catch the Mets and squash beer cans with my bare fists.’”
Once you’ve squashed beer cans with your bare fists, what’s left to do except tick off a bunch more Mets pop culture sightings to close out the year?
In the series finale of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, “Brooklyn,” Season 8, Episode 16, November 5, 2012, there are two Mets sightings: a green Mets cap on a waiter at Pok Pok, a Thai restaurant; and a Mets beer mat in the garage of a collector in Red Hook.
In his 2013 novel Dissident Gardens, set largely in Queens, Mets fan Jonathan Lethem has one of his characters, Lenny Angrush, try to convince Bill Shea to name the Mets the Sunnyside Proletariats.
On Flea Market Flip, Season 8, Episode 11, “Zen and the Art of Flipping” (February 19, 2017), a fella wearing a Mets cap backwards (adorned by upside-down sunglasses, no less) is spotted browsing for bargains.
In the 1988 film Rocket Gibraltar, very young Macaulay Culkin plays Cy Blue Black, a kid who wears a Mets t-shirt and a Mets cap.
In Billy On The Street, Season 2, Episode 4 (January 4, 2013), a bystander named Jonathan is asked to help a contestant answer a question, and Jonathan is wearing a blue Mets t-shirt (Mets script logo on front).
“I’ve watched a Met game from the owner’s box and partied with Gooden and Strawberry afterwards.”
—Matt Bromley (James Van Der Beek), Pose, Season 1, Episode 1, June 3, 2018
Ron Darling made two appearances on Sesame Street in 1985: walking in on Telly (who’s wearing a Mets cap) just as Telly is looking at his Ron Darling baseball card (from the Mets MVP Club series) on April 26, 1985; and teaching Big Bird how to throw a fastball on May 15, 1985. In each instance, Ron is wearing No. 44, which he wore in 1984. By the time these episodes aired, he had switched to No. 12.
The final shootout of 1987’s Deadly Illusion, starring Billy Dee Williams as private detective Hamberger, takes place at Shea Stadium.
Deacon King Kong, a 2020 novel by James McBride, takes place in Brooklyn in September 1969, with the New York Mets embroidered within the story.
On Mad About You, “The Spy Girl Who Loved Me,” Season 1, Episode 20 (May 8, 1993), Ira Buchman (Paul’s cousin) identifies Ron Swoboda and Ed Kranepool as a couple of people he used to worship.
Tom and Nancy Seaver hosted the Detroit (J.L. Hudson’s) portion of The CBS All-American Thanksgiving Day Parades, November 26, 1970
As for Metsian pop culture worth looking forward to, in 2020 it was announced Calico Joe, a John Grisham novel that included a Mets angle, would be made into a motion picture, and photos released from the upcoming Coming 2 America showed Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) will once again don his varsity-style Mets jacket from the 1988 original, replete with a pin announcing, “I’M A METS FAN”.
And because it’s likely everybody who’s read this far is A METS FAN, we’ll conclude on what we process at the end of 2020 as a most optimistic sighting:
In the Law & Order episode “Navy Blues” (Season 8, Episode 3; October 15, 1997), Det. Lenny Briscoe (Jerry Orbach) tells a slow-moving shopkeeper who’s searching for a receipt, “Hurry up. I have Mets tickets next month.”
Imagine having Mets tickets next year and going to a Mets game. Or watching a Mets game that has in-the-flesh, three-dimensional Mets fans like you in attendance. Pretty nice to think about, eh?
But when the Mets aren’t on, in whatever form their games do or don’t take, keep watching, keep reading, keep listening to whatever tickles your fancy and, should you see something Mets-related appear outside a baseball context, let us know what you saw. This annual feature’s depth (to say nothing of its extreme frivolousness) is made possible by a bevy of contributors who are kind enough to drop us a line when they see some show, hear some song or pick up on something that we might have missed despite our trying to see, hear and pick up on everything. Thank you all for feeding us the ball so cleanly and allowing us to make the pivot from there.
Particular thanks are due One SNL A Day  for both its aspirational obsessiveness in recounting and reviewing every single episode of Saturday Night Live and for all the Metsian asides and screen captures the site has posted along the way.