The Mets have been introducing a lot of new traditions this year, Free Shirt Fridays, Family Sundays, Military Mondays and more! One of the best new features that the Mets have introduced are permanent in-game hosts. These guys energize the crowd and make a Mets game 10x more enjoyable! One of the Mets in-game hosts, Branden Wellington was nice enough to answer a few of my questions for Pepper Mets Blog. Enjoy the interview!
1. How long have you been working with the Mets as an in-game host?
Branden Wellington- This is my 1st season with the NY Mets. I got my start in personality/hosting work on Travel Channel.
2.You regularly advertise various promotions for the Mets, which is your personal favorite?
BW- My favorite promotion was the replica batting helmet, but that’s mainly because the commercial shoot day was hilarious! Christina and I had some pretty funny takes and came up with a bunch of quirky stuff that I believe were too silly to make the final cut. However on the fan side of things Free Shirt Friday and Family Sunday I feel are the best. On Friday everyone in the ballpark is sporting their shirt and the whole crowd looks in unison, not to mention the pre-game party on Mets plaza! What makes Sunday great is the focus on families and kids. Mrs.Met makes an appearance, there’s a ton of fun activities pre-game on the plaza, and after the game it’s incredible to see the amount of joy radiating from the kid’s faces as they participate in the Mr. Met dash.
3.Often, during the games, you wear the T-Shirts or cap giveaways, do you keep them?
BW- I might have a T-shirt or two in my stash but most of the promotional items we wear are samples and go back to client before the final ones are given out to the public. The shirts we wear on game day usually come from the Mets Team Store and those are our personal work shirts that we keep.
4.What’s the biggest challenge being an in-game host and the literal 10th man?
BW- One of the biggest challenges I feel we all face in any profession is staying in the moment. Often times after you’ve done something many times it’s easy to fall into a repetitious spirit. That may be good for systematic math but that’s bad for TV and LIVE sporting events. So I coined a phrase I like to call “Day 1 Energy” and that’s where you do your best to show up daily with the same presence, focus, excitement and enthusiasm as if it were your 1st day at work. I do my best to never take working in MLB for granted because it truly is a privilege and an honor; I do my best to reflect that in my interactions with everyone I encounter at the ballpark.
5.What’s the most memorable Mets game you have attended?
BW- It was the April 5th Game against the Reds when Ike Davis delivered the pinch-hit walkoff grand slam! It was the first time I had ever seen a grand slam live and I shared the moment in the stands with fellow Mets fan Paul Tina and his son. The crowd was electric and it felt so surreal, I knew I was witnessing a moment that doesn’t happen everyday in baseball. After the game Paul emailed me a picture of his son and I and wrote some very positive words about my job performance.
6.If you could create a new idea for a promotion, what would it be and why?
BW- This is truly not my department so anything I say here is not indicative of any plans or promotions they may consider or are considering in the future and may not even be remotely possible. Now that disclaimer is out of the way lol….it would be cool to have something like “Meet the Team Tuesday’s”. Throughout the week fans get to vote on which player they’d like to meet (players can only be chosen once a season). The player that received the most fan votes would show up on Mets Plaza 3-4 hrs before the 1st pitch to sign autographs and take pictures. Maybe there would be a blank line on the ticket’s you purchase for that game where the player could sign. It would keep things organized and make the experience easier for the fan and the player. I once saw a fan trying to get a sweater signed but the material wasn’t a good match for the sharpie. lol
7.Between innings, you regularly appear playing trivia games with fans, which is your personal favorite? ( Mine is the Caesar’s Press Your Luck, I like how you give a t-shirt away even if the contestant strikes-out!)
BW- Coming from a film and TV background, I love when we play Mets at the movies. It’s not a game we play often but when we do it usually happens late in the game during a pitching change. A player reenacts a famous line from a popular movie and the fan has to guess which movie. It’s a fun game and even funnier to see the players use some of their acting chops.
8. What’s it like working alongside an esteemed mascot like Mr.Met?
BW- He’s the absolute best! He reminds me that you don’t have to say anything to be effective. Just be friendly and energetic.
9. All-Time, who is your favorite Met?
BW- Let me start by saying that I’m from Indianapolis, IN and we don’t have a professional baseball team. This is my first year being as actively involved with baseball and following a set team. So I can only draw from limited history…So far my favorite players this year have been Juan Lagares, Eric Young Jr, & Jennry Mejia. I can’t say which is my favorite but if there’s something they all have in common, it’s high energy.
10. What is your routine on Gameday at Citi Field? Do you try any of the food options at Citi Field?
BW- My day usually starts the same… I come in blasting music through my headphones, then I hi-five the security guys at the entrance, and say hello to Karen who works in the team store office as I walk past en-route to the locker room. Once I’m in the locker room, I cut off the music, say hey to everyone in party patrol using their last name or a nickname in my game show voice. lol Then I head upstairs to scoreboard to grab my scripts and see what we have in store for everyone that day. I would talk about the food options but this blog would turn into a book because I simply eat everything.
11. And finally, any predictions for the Mets short-term or long-term?
BW- The future will and has always taken care of itself. So I stay optimistic and live in the moment.