By Pamela Silvestri | firstname.lastname@example.org
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Flatscreens blared and Fireball shots flowed as Play Sports Bar patrons awaited the arrival of baseball legend Lenny Dykstra.
“It’s a great night for Mets fans,” enthused bar owner Carmine Gualtieri around 8 p.m. in Annadale.
For a Thursday night, business proved especially brisk while staff readied photographs and Mets bric-a-brac for the purchase and signing.
Gualtieri says he hired Dykstra directly through his agent. He assured: There won’t be anything like the Dwight Gooden matter of last week where the baseball great showed up over four hours late for his paid public appearance.
“No, no,” said Gualtieri.
And, with that, as sure as the Mets swept the Cubs Wednesday night, Dykstra arrived. He parted the crowd around 8:30 p.m. The humble figure dressed in slacks and a rumpled polo shirt strolled through Play, sweat beading his face. He cleared a spot in a corner and set himself up at a folding table.
New York Times reporter Richard Sandomir described Dykstra after an interview in 2014: “A conversation with Dykstra, especially one that stretches for more than two hours, is a rare and peculiar experience. He is foul-mouthed and funny, juvenile and intelligent, intense and prone to mumbling.”
Yes, the former Mets and Phillies player has had his ups and downs financially, to make a long story short. But he smiled and charmed, served up some snark with deadpan delivery.
Dykstra smiled and charmed, served up some snark with deadpan delivery.
“It’s like we’re in some kinda porno movie or something,” said Dykstra, as he posed with a fan for a photo booth-style shot.
Well, this crowd seemed pleased as they waited on line for a few words with the great who, by the way, chooses Monster-brand beverage.
A sleepy Makayla Housman, 6, accompanied by her mom, Jasmin Rodriguez scored two signed baseballs.
While the night rolled on, Gualtieri spoke about his upcoming North Shore bar, The Hop Shop, with a glimmer in his eye.
“It should be open, hopefully, within a month,” he said.
“There’s a full kitchen but the concept first and foremost will be about the beer,” he said. Plus, he hopes for a really good burgers at 372 Van Duzer Street.
“That place was originally Hugo’s, so we want to bring it back to the original neighborhood feel. We’re going to name a burger after him,” he said.
Will he name a burger after Lenny Dykstra?
“Nah, no way — I’m a Yankee fan, not a Met fan!” laughed Gualtieri. Although he would consider a Jeter Burger.
Thank you to Rolf Luberoff for this story. Rolf is the CEO & Founder of Enhanced Events LLC. He can be reached at 646-773-9571 or please visiti www.enhancedeventsny.com.