Mets fan regrets storming onto grass at Citi Field
Rafael Diaz, a married father of two, spent two nights in jail after he sprinted past security guards to the pitcher's mound to celebrate the milestone with his favorite team.
Diaz, 32, said he didn't even think about the consequences and was so overcome with emotion he just wanted to rejoice alongside the Amazins.
"I'm extremely remorseful for running on the field because I'm banned from Citi Field," Diaz said Sunday after his arraignment on criminal trespassing charges in Queens County Criminal Court in Kew Gardens. "I regret that."
A Mets spokesman, Jay Horwitz, said the team doesn't comment on security matters.
Diaz said one of the jail guards showed him footage of himself on YouTube, one of many on the site that labels him as "the fan." The clips show Mets players rushing to the pitcher's mound to congratulate Santana after his no-hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Diaz, wearing a replica of the late Mets Hall of Famer Gary Carter's No. 8 jersey and a pair of jeans shorts, can be seen bounding across the field and joining the celebration at the mound.
Mets players Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Andres Torres put their arms around or on Diaz during the frenzy before Diaz was pulled away and tackled by two security guards.
"When they got me, I told them 'You got me, you got me,' " he said outside his home Sunday, where he was sporting a Santana jersey.
Diaz said he was with about 25 friends who usually go together about twice a year to watch the team play.
Among that group was friend John Ries, 25, of Ronkonkoma, who also was arrested after following Diaz over the railing.
Ries, however, didn't get far enough to hug the players like Diaz did. Security nabbed him before he could make it onto the diamond.
"We were overcome with emotion," Ries said in a telephone interview yesterday. "We spent two nights in Queens Central Booking."
Ries was released after being arraigned on the same charges as Diaz Sunday.
Was it worth it?
"We were excited; that's all I can say. It's one of the most exciting days at Citi Field. The crowd was electric," Ries said. "I am very happy for Johan, the Mets -- the first one in history. I guess we were a little too excited."
Diaz and Ries face up to a year in jail and a fine of $1,000 if convicted.