Mark Sanchez throws out first pitch at Citi Field 4/27/09 (photos by Marc Levine, Mets.com)
The Mark Sanchez East-Side-West-Side-All-Around-the-Town Post-Draft Victory Parade continued tonight in Flushing, Queens. And the Jets' new quarterback immediately won new fans in the Mets' dugout and in the Citi Field stands with what, you could argue, was the first throw of his pro career.
Sanchez was geeked about the chance to throw out the first pitch of the Mets-Marlins game and the Mets fans were pumped to see him, giving him a huge ovation. Wearing a white Mets jersey with his already recognizable No. 6 on the back and a Jets baseball cap, the rookie fired a soft strike to another rookie, Mets catcher Omir Santos, then pumped his hands in the air, perhaps practicing for his first pro touchdown pass to, say, Jerricho Cotchery, in five months.
"Just threw out first pitch," Sanchez tweeted to his Twitter followers. "Mets fans were awesome!"
They may be even more appreciative since Santos came to the plate minutes later in the first inning and stroke his first major league home run. In fact, it was a grand slam, not only the first of his career but the first hit by a Met at their new Citi park. And that big blow along with the pitching of John Maine "in relief of" Sanchez held up all game as the Mets posted a 7-1 win over the NL East-leading but fading Marlins.
Sanchez, too, was awesome both before and after throwing the first pitch. He signed autographs for 20 minutes, then later he did yet another interview, this one during SNY's telecast of the second inning.
"Mark was polite, engaging and has a tremendous personality," Mets media relations manager Ethan Wilson told us. "It' will obviously serve him well in New York."
Perhaps the only downside to the night was that the Jets really couldn't be in evidence. Rules formulated by the NFL and NCAA prevent any newly drafted player from spending more than 24 hours doing team and league work immediately after the draft, even in the area of fulfilling media requests.
Sanchez and his family flew in from California on redeye flights to do a full day of interviews Sunday at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center in Florham Park, N.J., and at Radio City Music Hall in the latter stages of the second day of the draft.
In other words, Monday Mark was on his own. The Jets didn't have a presence at Citi Field. But head coach Rex Ryan and his staff will get to lay their hands on their new signalcaller beginning Thursday when he and the rest of the Jets' rookie class reports for meetings before taking the field Friday through Sunday at the Jets' rookie minicamp.