Did Grimace help the Mets Rediscover Their Why?

27 Jun 2024
3 min read
Author – Vedika Jogani & Ryan Miller

A recent graduate from Ithaca College with a Master’s degree in Sports and Exercise Science, specializing in Mental Performance, Vedika Jogani is OMP’s Product and Content Manager. During her studies, Vedika worked closely with Ithaca’s Men’s and Women’s Tennis Teams and Women’s Volleyball Team as their Mental Performance Consultant. Vedika is currently completing her Certified Mental Performance Consultant Certification.

Ryan Miller is an award-winning Journalist, Broadcaster and Photographer, and OMP’s Head of Content.

If you watched the New York Mets sweep the New York Yankees during the Subway series this week, you would have seen many effigies of a familiar fast-food character amongst the long-suffering Mets fans.

McDonald’s mascot Grimace – yes, the bright purple semi-humanoid blob – has become entrenched in the Mets’ fan folklore.

Fans could be seen wearing home-made Grimace costumes and are carrying signs heralding the “Grimace Mets” and the “Grimace Era”.

Why? Well, it’s all because of the Mets’ remarkable turnaround in form since Grimace threw the ceremonial first pitch at Citifield on June 12.

Before we start saying that a mascot has had a tangible impact on the Mets’ mental performance, we need to dig a little deeper.

Grimace’s gracing of the plate may have just come at the right time as Mets’ players were already shifting their mindset.

Let’s take a step back to May 29 when they took on the LA Dodgers at home.

The Mets had a record of 21-29 heading into the game and despite having a roster filled with talented players and the highest payroll in the MLB, they found themselves amongst the worst ranked teams in all of Major League Baseball.

That evening they’d lose to the Dodgers 3-10, and the night got so bad that pitcher Jorge López was ejected from a game, threw his glove into the stands, called the team the “probably the worst team in the MLB” and was then DFA’d by the Mets.

Immediately after the loss – their eight defeat in nine games – the players, led by four-time All-Star Francisco Lindor, held a team meeting during which they vented their frustrations.

It’s understood that the meeting was about a potential shift in mindset for both the veterans and the newcomers.

“I felt like it was the right time for us to, as a group collectively, to sit down and look each other eye to eye and hold each other accountable,” hindor told reporters afterwards.

This is where the fortunes of the Mets truly started to turn.

They would win six of their next ten games. Not perfect, but a great improvement.

Then, like manna from heaven, came Grimace.

As part of a marketing stunt to celebrate Grimace’s ‘Birthday’ the McDonalds’ mascor threw the first pitch ahead of the Met’s home game against the Miami Marlins.

The Mets won 10-4.

Including that night, the Mets have gone on a tear since Grimace’s loopy pitch, winning 11 of their next 13 games.

If we throw it back further, they have lost just six games since the team meeting. Thier season record now stands at 39-39.

From what we can tell from what the Mets players have said to reporters, part of the conversation during the team meeting must have been around simply enjoying the game.

Following the meeting pitcher Adam Ottavino said:

“I always think about the little kid inside me, I mean, it doesn’t matter what my results are, I would’ve killed to be here. My whole life, this is what you work for. So, keeping that in perspective, it really helps you show up the next day with the right attitude and to put in the hard work that is necessary.”

Grimace’s opening pitch brought a much-needed element of fun to the field.

While the Mets players weren’t aware of Grimace on that fateful evening, in the coming days the clubhouse has also embraced the Grimace legend.

“We need to come out here and have fun… we all grew up with this being a kid’s game. I think it’s a lot of fun adding Grimace to this, so I’m all for it.” outfielder Brandon Nimmo said.

Let’s get serious now.

The team meeting and Grimace’s visit (and the impact it’s had on the entire organization) appears to have served as a catalyst for the Mets to remember why they started playing baseball in the first place.

The pressures and expectations of professional sports can sometimes overshadow the joy that comes with playing the game.

Grimace’s presence was a playful reminder that at its core, baseball is a game meant to be enjoyed.

This shift in mindset is clear in the way the Mets have played since the team meeting and Grimace’s visit.

They have approached the game with renewed enthusiasm and a lighter attitude. It’s been evident in all facets of their game, but particularly their offense.

The Mets chalked up 21 runs against the Yankies in their two-game series. Prior to the series the Yankies were ranked either first or second in MLB Power Rankings.

Instead of brushing aside the talk of Grimace having an impact on the team, they’ve embraced it and played into the narrative that a milkshake loving monster is the sole reason that a wildcard berth is within reach.

Mic’d up during a game first baseman Pete Alonso played up Grimace’s effect on their fortunes: “Grimace got us hot.”

This experience serves as a valuable reminder for all athletes: always remember your “why.”

Reflect on why you started playing the sport you love and strive to keep that joy alive.

Embrace the fun and passion that first drew you to the game, just as the Mets have with a little help from Grimace.



Read more related blogs below


To start your journey to an improved mental game and to get access to hours of content from some of the best minds in sport, download the Optimize Mind Performance App now.


For the Organization

Get in touch with our sales team to get your organization involved today.


For the Athlete

Download the Optimize Mind Performance
app today.