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Newly signed reliever Trevor May soaking up being a Met — and the good New York food

Twins pitcher Trevor May throws against Cleveland on

Twins pitcher Trevor May throws against Cleveland on Aug. 8, 2019, in Minneapolis. Credit: AP/Jim Mone

Trevor May officially was a member of the Mets — passed his physical, signed his contract, excited about his next two years and $15.5 million — and was on his way back to the airport Wednesday when his driver, like any good New Yorker, said he knew a place.

"And I was like, ‘Let’s just stop,’ " May said.

He ended up at Benateri’s Italian Gourmet Deli in College Point, Queens. He got "The Michelangelo," a specialty sandwich with chicken cutlet, avocado, mozzarella, bacon and chipotle mayo, and chatted with the employees, satisfying his stomach and his soul.

Yes, May told himself, signing with the Mets and moving to New York was the right decision.

"I just had a huge smile on my face for, like, hours," he said. "I was just like, ‘This is where I’m meant to be.’ I was super-excited about it, just the feel and the atmosphere. It’s something I’ve kind of been developing myself, and this just fits right into that journey.

"I’m going to throw pickles on it next time. I think that’s the one thing that’s missing for me. It doesn’t naturally go on the sandwich, but I think I’ll get some brownie points for customizing it and making it mine."

May is a big dude — 6-5, 240 pounds — with a big personality who, the Mets hope, will be a big boost to their bullpen. During an introductory video news conference Thursday, he enthusiastically and thoroughly answered questions from reporters for 41 minutes (new owner Steve Cohen did 45 minutes last month).

May, 31, is a man of varied interests. As a young adult, he worked as a DJ, operating under the nicknames "DJ Hey Beef" and "Mayser." These days, his hobby time is used to play video games — especially Fortnite and lately Among Us — and he has 178,000 followers on Twitch, a streaming service. He and his wife, Kate, recently got a second cat, Donnie, who joins Elsie, who had a cardboard cutout at the Twins’ Target Field last season.

That cutout now is attached to the top of the cat tower scratching post in his home outside Seattle. Elsie won’t sleep there, he said, unless the gigantic photo of her face also is there.

"It’s a really weird situation I created," May said. "But now I can’t move it. It’s going to be there forever."

A Phillies draft pick in 2008, May has spent all six of his big-league seasons with Minnesota and this offseason was a free agent for the first time. He said he spoke to about 15 clubs, including the Mets, who called on Day 1 and quickly emerged as his most serious suitor.

"We expected a lot of toes to be dipping in the water but nobody to really jump in," May said. "That’s why we were very pleasantly surprised the Mets went waist-deep faster than a lot of teams."

Money matters, of course, but May offered three reasons for choosing the Mets: the buzz surrounding Cohen, which drew from May an "immediate reaction [of] wanting to be a part of something like that"; a chance to work with pitching coach Jeremy Hefner, who May said was critical to his growth after 2017 Tommy John surgery, and Mets fans.

"My passion is thinking of creative ways to bring people into the game and to engage with fans," May said.

Cohen’s recent Twitter presence struck May, too.

"I couldn’t name another owner that is as big of a fan of the team . . . and has a measure of accessibility and wit to him," he said.

Another tangential Mets connection: In a small way, Dominic Smith helped shape May’s repertoire.

On July 17, 2019, May entered to protect a one-run Twins lead. His first batter, Smith, walloped an 0-and-2 curveball for a go-ahead home run.

After that, May stopped throwing curves, focusing instead on his slider to go with his mid-to-upper-90s fastball.

"It was that curveball that was kind of the straw that broke the camel’s back for just getting rid of it," May said. "It’s just weird and ironic that it was against the Mets."

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