The New York Post describes him as a "Mets nut" who says he "couldn't help" running on the field to celebrate with players after Johan Santana finished the first no-hitter in franchise history on Friday night.
But the Gary Carter-jersey, jorts-wearing man from Long Island named Rafael Diaz paid a big price for trespassing at Citi Field. After Diaz spent two nights in a Queens jail, a judge ordered him released Sunday — a day too late for him to attend his son's first birthday party.
"That's the bad part," Diaz said of missing his son's bash.
The Mets also have banned him — for life — from Citi Field. Diaz also could face a year in jail and a $25,000 fine related to the city's unruly fan law. Harsh, but that's the going rate for offenses that include "entering the field of a New York sporting event." Of course, Diaz's actions were stupid, selfish and a little bit dangerous.
So, man. Was it worth it?
"You'll have to ask my wife that."
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Here's the thing: The kid isn't going to remember that his dad stood him up on his first birthday because he loved Johan Santana (and the late Gary Carter) more. The junior Diaz hopefully will have many more birthdays to come where his dad won't be locked up. (Divorce is another matter.) There's more than enough time for Diaz to make it up to him.
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In exchange, Diaz got the experience of a lifetime, running onto the field and rubbing elbows with the likes of R.A. Dickey, Mike Nickeas and others for a few brief seconds before security tackled him to the turf. As long as that fine doesn't kick in, and his previous record is clean and it eventually slips the Mets' collective mind that Diaz isn't allowed inside the home ballpark, this isn't a bad trade. Besides, he and his son will get to watch that highlight and tell anecdotes like this one:
One jailer even showed him YouTube footage of the Friday-night antics that landed Diaz on yesterday's Post front page.
We might only remember this guy for 15 minutes, but memories like that will last him a lifetime. What's a son's birthday? One of 50 or 60 you'll live to see? Big whoop.
What Diaz really must answer for, however: Those jorts.
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