For Mets fan Frank Fleming, the majesty of opening day is about more than seeing the first pitches of a new season or snapping into a $12 hot dog for the first time since September.
It's about the pomp and circumstance, the pre-game ceremonies and the feeling of hope that comes with a 0-0 record.
But Fleming didn't get to experience opening day how he wanted on Monday thanks to a nightmarish morning on New Jersey Transit that made him miss the first pitch. "I got there and there were one or two outs in the first inning," he told Maxim.
That awful morning also turned Fleming him into a viral video star.
His interview with a local TV station, which you can watch above, began rocketing around the web as soon as it aired. It's easy to see why. Fleming is full of energy and emotion, dressed like a 12-year-old, and delivering one-liners like a Chris Farley character.
"That’s how I am," Fleming said. "I’m passionate. I’m going to express how I feel. I’m not going to hold back."
And he didn't during our interview either. In a 15 minute discussion Wednesday night, Fleming spent half the time lighting into New Jersey Transit, which he depends on to get from to the 7 train, which takes him to Citi Field in Queens. I could hardly follow his recap of the morning that led to the televised rant, that led to his brush with fame, that led to our conversation, but suffice it to say that it sounded terrible.
Still, his demeanor was markedly better during our chat than in the video that turned him in a viral star. A little bit of fame has a way of mellowing a guy.
The day after his viral rant, Fleming said he woke up to his own voice on the radio. And then he started doing interviews. "I talked to Barstool. I talked to The Post and The Daily News," he said. "I went out and did MLB network. I was on the preview show for Fox Sports 1 with A-Rod and Frank Thomas. The only thing that’s a little disappointing is that I was going to on Jimmy Kimmel Live! but somehow the equipment didn’t get to me."
In addition to the media attention, Fleming said he's become a minor celebrity at the New Jersey courthouse where he works as a clerk. And how does he expect to be received the next time he's at Citi Field? "I'll get recognized," he said matter of factly.
He'll find out if he's right on Friday, thanks to the quick thinkers at Excedrin. Representatives for the pain pill company reached out to Fleming after his video went viral and offered him a few tickets to Friday's game.
In addition to the tickets, Excedrin has given Fleming the gift of not having to navigate the headache of public transit (get it?). "I don’t have to deal with the transfer that day. They’re arranging a driver for me," he said.
Fleming added that he hasn't yet decided how to use the extra tickets. But interested parties should make their case to him on Twitter. He's @NJTank99 and, unsurprisingly, he tweets a lot about the Mets.