I went to visit my cousin Mike Erikson, who works the scoreboard at Citi Field. He makes the apple rise when a Mets player hits a home run. He also plays announcements to keep the fans pumped during the game. To do his job, he has loaded video on a computer, and the producers tell him when to play each video.
Mike started working at Citi Field in August 2015. His first game was the Mets vs. the Washington Nationals. He got his job, my cousin told me, after someone asked him. “I said yes,” Mike says.
My cousin works with many other people. Mike doesn’t work every Mets game but will work any games when he is available. I know it’s kind of silly to ask if you are a Mets fan if you work at Citi Field, but you never assume in the reporting game, so yes, he is a Mets fan, and has been one since the day he was born.
Mike loves his job when the Mets win and doesn’t like his job as much when the Mets lose or when there is a rain delay. Mike has met two former Mets, Doc Gooden and Mike Piazza, but his favorite player of all time is David Wright.
The biggest game Mike ever worked the scoreboard was Game 5 of the 2015 World Series. “Devastating loss, but great experience,” he said. Unfortunately, Mike doesn’t get free food, but he gets his food discounted. Mike has access to the field but has never been on the field.
Unfortunately for the Mets fans out there, Mike can’t change the score when they are losing, even though he may want to. Mike also makes the apple behind the centerfield fence rise after every Met home run. The apple is raised the same amount of time for every home run, but if there are back-to-back home runs, it takes a little longer to pop up.
Yes, everyone makes mistakes, including my cousin Mike. He once hit the wrong button because he has so many buttons to push, and he prayed no one saw his mistake. (He didn’t say what it was.)
I know a lot of people think the control room is high up, but it’s actually on the press level; it’s also the best seat in the house. The room Mike works in is called the scoreboard control room. Many other things besides the scoreboard are controlled in that room, like the music, balls and strikes and replay TV. And for anyone who wants to do this job in the future, watch as much baseball as possible. You have to know the rules of baseball to know what goes on the scoreboard.
Hey, Cousin Mike, I think this interview was a home run — you better go hit the button and bring up the apple!