LOS ANGELES - Along with the many Mets fans who enjoyed watching Jacob deGrom outduel Clayton Kershaw in Game 1 of the NLDS on Friday night was a very interested observer who sat on the edge of his seat with every pitch, just like any die-hard fan.
Except this fan is former Mets pitcher Dillon Gee.
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"It's fun," Gee said Saturday in a telephone interview. "The thing that makes it special to me is I know these guys so well. I like watching them succeed and it's been a lot of fun to see them get this far and play on this stage."
Gee, who declared free agency on Tuesday after spending most of the season with Triple-A Las Vegas, was the Mets' Opening Day starter in 2014 and won 40 games in six seasons with the club.
He didn't win any this year as the Mets' hard-throwing young starters overtook the control artist for rotation spots. Gee went 0-3 with a 5.90 ERA in eight games (seven starts). He was designated for assignment on June 15 and then banished to the minors after the Mets didn't trade him and no other team wanted to pick up what was left on his $5.3-million contract.
"I'm healthy and looking forward to my next opportunity," Gee said. "As of now, I'm enjoying time at home and really enjoying watching my buddies play."
The Mets' seemingly harsh treatment of Gee -- the longtime Terry Collins favorite didn't even merit a September call-up -- has never been fully explained. Gee did publicly bristle in spring training when the Mets yo-yoed him from the rotation to the bullpen and back again, but his comments were not all that inflammatory.
In early June, Gee posed with teammates and Mets employees in orange T-shirts as part of a campaign against gun violence, which some in the public took as a stance for increased gun control. Gee, an avid hunter, posted on Twitter that he does not support gun control and had posed for the photo to support an end to "senseless gun violence."
Whatever the reason, Gee was persona non grata around Citi Field once he went to Las Vegas. But that hasn't stopped him from rooting for his former teammates on Twitter and during games from his home in Fort Worth, Texas.
"I'm not going to get into my year with the Mets right now," Gee said. "This is all about the guys who are playing right now. I don't really want to get too much into what my feelings were the whole year. I enjoying watching these guys right now. I'm happy for them. Hopefully, one day I can pitch on the same stage."
As for deGrom, who struck out 13 in seven shutout innings in the Mets' 3-1 victory in Game 1, Gee said: "He's unbelievable. You hate to say that's what you expect of him these days, but you knew it was going to be an awesome pitchers' duel. DeGrom just does what he does. He's a special talent."