Fans of a professional sports team are always curious to see which celebrities and personalities are also devotees of their favorite team. Whether it’s Jack Nicholson sitting courtside at Los Angeles Lakers games, Spike Lee with the New York Knicks, or Billy Crystal with the New York Yankees, fans are delighted to see some of their favorite celebrities attached to their teams. In a way, it brings fans and celebs on equal landing for a change; where their goal is your goal, win.
For the New York Mets, no other celebrity embodies the word ‘fanatic’ more so than comedian and actor, Jim Breuer.
Breuer, 49, grew up in Long Island, a die-hard Mets fan since he was a young boy. His passion and fandom grew for the Mets over the years, during the good times and bad.
Along the way Breuer gained fame and notoriety from Uptown Comedy Club, Saturday Night Live, and the 1998 hit comedy film, Half Baked, starring Dave Chappelle. With over 20 years of stand-up comedy experience, Breuer was named one of Comedy Central’s “100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time”, and can be regularly heard on his weekly podcast, “The Metal in Me” available on iTunes.
Even with his busy schedule, Breuer is never far from the orange and blue, the team he’s loved since the early-seventies. Many fans now know him from his post-game Facebook video recaps, a brief ninety seconds of him reliving the game from a fan’s perspective. The videos took off instantly, where he’ll generate tens of thousands of views.
One of the elements Breuer enjoys about posting the videos is the hope he offers up to fans, by keeping the videos relatively light and not trying to get too doom and gloom. The passion, intensity, and adoration Breuer emotes in his videos are real, this man lives and breathes everything New York Mets.
I had the extreme privilege of speaking to Breuer early last week, where we discussed topics ranging from how he became a Mets fan, some of his favorite moments in team history, and of course, a question on Half Baked.
MMO: Who introduced you to the Mets as a kid and how did you become a fan?
Jim: You know what, I’m going to have to say it was 1973 and I loved baseball. I’m trying to figure out how I went full blown Mets because I remember the Yankees, watching the Yankees and the Mets. I was a little kid, I was only four-years-old and I remember Mickey Rivers and Roy White and I would imitate Mickey Rivers.
But there was something about the Mets, and I know this sounds crazy, but as I go back I had a darker feeling, as crazy as that sounds, with the Yankees. I’m trying to think, was it Lindsey Nelson, Bob Murphy, and Ralph Kiner? Was it the way they announced? They always sounded upbeat! No matter what, it seemed like a better atmosphere, if that makes sense?
All I remember is that year, ’73, as a little boy. I turned five in June and I fell in love with the Mets. My first love was Tom Seaver and Jon Matlack, and then it was Koosman and Wayne Garrett, and Félix Millán. There clearly was a lot of Met fans around me; my father was a Mets fan, my mom, so it had to have been kind of built. I remember on my own, I kind of decided that (being a Mets fan) on my own.
I remember watching Pete Rose beat up Buddy (Harrelson) and that really traumatized me. Because you’re a little boy and that was a real fight and when you see real violence and real fighting, I saw blood on his face and that really… I had anger and I wanted revenge! By ’76 or ’77 my dad brought me to games so we started going to Met games. They were horrible so it was great, you buy terrible tickets, my dad gave them (ushers) five bucks and we’re sitting three railings away from the field.
MMO: Who were some of your favorite players growing up?
Jim: I loved John Milner. The Hammer, the Hammer! I loved Ed Kranepool, I loved Jerry Grote, Tom Seaver, Jon Matlack. And then, I loved John Stearns, I was a big fan of John Stearns. Then as time went on I liked Hubie Brooks, Brooks was a favorite. There was a guy named Steve Henderson that I liked for a while. Lee Mazzilli, and then of course I loved, and still do, Mookie (Wilson). Gooden and Strawberry, and Gary Carter! I remember the first game he (Carter) showed up and he hit that home run, the winning home run and I just knew from that moment I went this is a game changer, there’s just something different here. This is a game changer right here.
I remember Strawberry’s first at-bat. I told him this too, and he was blown away that I remembered this because a lot of people don’t know his first at-bat. That’s all we talked about; wait until you see this Darryl Strawberry. Strawberry should be up this year!
They finally brought him up and he was up against Mario Soto. And Mario Soto made him look silly in his first at-bat. I don’t think he even foul tipped the ball, just whiffed him, BANG, BANG, BANG you’re out! Second at-bat, same thing, BANG, BANG, BANG, sit down! Third at-bat, final at-bat, I think he foul tipped it, and then all of a sudden he hit a BOMB, I mean a BOMB in the upper deck … FOUL! Foul ball. I remember hearing Bob Murphy going, “It is deep, if it’s fair, it is a… foul ball! Oh my, oh my! Now we see what this kid is made of.” And then he struck out. But that ball that he hit that was maybe a couple feet foul I knew from that moment, and all my Met fans on my street said you saw that right? He’s going to be an animal, an animal! It was a bomb, it was like a Willie Stargell bomb. At that moment I knew that this kid was going to be a savage. I get goosebumps thinking about it.
And then as time moved on Piazza, and I loved Al Leiter, loved Edgardo Alfonzo. You did not want Edgardo up (at-bat) with two strikes, he’s going to beat you. What a great ballplayer, what a clutch hitter. You know who reminds me of him a little bit? (Asdrubal) Cabrera. Cabrera is really underrated. Since mid-season last year, he’s probably been the most consistent, clutch, best hitter on the Mets, in my opinion. Of course, Cespedes don’t count but as far as I want a guy up in a green moment and he can slap the ball, he can read the field, he can go for a home run. I’m kind of hoping for next year they move him to second base. Bring up the kid (Rosario) and let him play shortstop, and please don’t lose Cabrera. Put him on second base. He can play second and then you got a solid guy there.
MMO: Did you play baseball as a kid? What positions did you play?
Jim: I did, I played first base and that’s really it. I always wanted to pitch so I only pitched one game. I was too nervous and I was really disappointed in myself that I didn’t stick with it, to the point where my whole life I wished I had that opportunity to throw a ball and pitch again. I didn’t get to do it until this last Mets fantasy camp. And it still is one of the greatest days I’ve had in my life.
MMO: Do you have an all-time favorite Mets moment that stands out for you?
Jim: Oh gosh, it’s got to be 1986, Game 6. I remember every single moment. I was in tears! I was so angry and frustrated, and to watch that moment go down step-by-step it stands out even more than when they actually won the Series. I remember winning and I remember also Game 6 against the Astros, which was so exhausting and scary.
That Game 6 against the Red Sox, to me, I can relive that moment now and start crying. I had an annoying girlfriend who said, “It’s not over.” I said, ‘It’s two outs and nobody on (base)! And they’re down by two, what do you not get?’ (And she said), “Alright don’t get so angry, why do you have to get so angry?” Then the first runners on, but it’s still two outs. Then when Mookie had two strikes I said, ‘You don’t understand, he strikes out every time he has two strikes and swings at everything!’
And then people forget the wild pitch that scored the tying run, that alone, I was like, oh my God, what just happened?! People always blame Buckner, but you can’t blame Buckner. It was that wild pitch that stunned the world. That wild pitch that brought in the tying run was a nuclear explosion and if you’re on the field when that happens, you’re sitting there and already drinking champagne in your head. You’re like, alright, let’s just end this. And then you’re there like what happened? You’re numb, you’re numb! That ground ball could’ve went to anyone and no one was fielding that. They (Red Sox) were in shock.
MMO: Most fans knew you were a celebrity Mets fan, a diehard. But now, with the post game video recaps you post on Facebook, you’ve become in a way, the celebrity face of the Mets. So how did the concept for your post game Facebook videos come to be?
Jim: It was a dark, dark time in our life. I had a social media manager that said, “Listen, you’ve got to post videos every day. Your fans are on Facebook, you’ve got to post videos.” I went, ‘I’m not doing it, it’s stupid.’ They said, “You don’t understand, it’s very important.” I said, ‘I’m not posting videos. I don’t have enough energy to try to be funny every day. I don’t want to be funny every day.’ They’re like, you don’t have to, people just want to see the real you.
So she convinced me to start making videos, and this was in March 2014. I made a couple of videos and it stressed me out. I didn’t know what I was doing and I would see certain people comment hey you suck and your career’s over, or, this was the funniest thing in the world.
Now at the time my wife was going through her second round of cancer, she was going through chemo. And it’s Opening Day and I’m watching it in my living room. And this was the year that the Nationals just signed Max Scherzer and they’re going to win the World Series and no one’s ever going to beat the Nationals! We had Bartolo Colon as our starting pitcher. Max Scherzer had a no-hitter against the Mets, I’m going to say until about the 6th inning but, but, but, Bartolo had a shutout going (into the fourth), so they were going toe for toe.
I believe the Mets, I can’t remember if it was the seventh or eighth inning, but the Mets scored, one or two runs. And now it’s the ninth inning and they’re about to win, and I’m a lunatic in my house, I’m going, ‘Yeah Max Scherzer, big bad Max Scherzer!’ I’m yelling like a maniac in my living room like I always do, and I turned and my wife who’s literally sitting there, back from chemo, and she’s got this little shine and this little grin on her face. I said, ‘What’s so funny? What are you laughing at?’ She went, “This is what you should be doing videos of.” And I went, oh my God! And she said, “You’ve got to be a fan, don’t try to edit it or make it look cool, just do it the way you are as a fan. Don’t be like Jim Breuer the guy, do Jim the fan.”
And I did it. I went, oh my God, that’s freaking brilliant! It’s a no-brainer, I don’t even have to think about this, I can just be myself. So I made the video and I post it, and I don’t sit there and wait and see how many people looked at it, I said that’s it, I’m done for the day. And then she said, “You need to do every game.” I said, ‘Are you kidding? Nah, I’ll do one maybe when they play the Yankees.’ She said, “No, no, no, you have to do every single game.”
That night people are calling me going, “Hey man, you’re on ESPN.” What?! “Hey man, MLB wants to contact you.” What?! “Hey, you’re on the Mets website.” It’s funny, I went on the Mets website and I noticed they edited out… they put 80 percent of it but they left out me going, ‘Yeah, big, bad Max Scherzer. $200 million dollar man, yeah Bartolo Colon took you out!’ They edited all that out.
So now I’m doing the Mets recaps every game, now I think they were 2-3, and it was getting real boring to do, not boring, but clearly they’re not as exciting after game one. They just got their ass kicked by the Braves, and now they’re 2-3 and all of a sudden they went on an eleven game winning streak. And as each game went on, the higher the viewership went. The true Met fans that were watching it, you knew I’d do things like, ‘Hey, go to Philadelphia because it’s the cleanest city in the world because they just got swept!”
I would do things like that and I would do it throughout the season, and the next thing you know I became the Mets video guy. I owe it all to my wife who was going through her second round, and she’s always said, “Listen, you should get involved more, you have such passion for the Mets and baseball you should get way more involved in that.” I said yeah but the money. She said, “Screw the money, screw the money. You light up when you’re in that world.”
MMO: You’re so passionate in these videos, people feed off that and love the energy you bring.
Jim: Yeah, to the point where this year I’m going to call, I want to call a couple of games. I’d love to sit with certain Met fans and call a game. The big thing is, now I get copycat recaps out there which you’re starting to see, and that’s exciting and fun and all that good stuff. And I know there’s going to be other guys a lot more crucial, I don’t want to make it a hate thing.
I also noticed there was a couple times during the season where I would go, ‘You know what, this sucks and blah blah blah,’ and I’d get this whole backlash going Jim, we watch you because you give us hope and you always find the positive and the funny, don’t go this route. And that really touched me and moved me. As much as sometimes I’d like to go, why would you take this guy out? So stupid! Trade this guy! Because a lot of the time that’s what I’m really saying, but I’ve noticed the real recap fans turn to me for hope, and that is so honorable and I’m really moved by that.
I try really hard everyday to not get too frustrated, too angry, I try to find some little funny to keep us going. It’s weird, I started going to the Met games and little kids are looking at me going, “That’s the Mets video guy!” I’m like hey, whatever you know me as is fine by me. (laughs)
MMO: You started a website called batsballsandbreu.com, where fans can post their own recaps, is that right? Tell me about that.
Jim: Yes! So here’s the point of Bats, Balls, and Breu, you go on the site and you post your own videos. Now, clearly I do the Mets, but if you want to do a Mets one, knock it out! I’m trying to encourage other teams and other people. The real end goal is I want this site to become the ESPN for fans run strictly by the fans. Phase one is, let’s all do recaps. So literally in two weeks I’m meeting up with a guy who’s doing Braves recaps. And we became friends two years ago from me doing recaps. We would banter back and forth and then bust each other’s chops and then he came to see me at a show and then we became friends. Now I book shows around the Mets in Atlanta so I can go see the Mets in Atlanta, we’re going together, it’s so freaking cool! And then I’m doing another one with a girl in Seattle.
So first it’s a recap, and I want to do maybe the best of recaps every month. Now I want to get it where hey, let’s analyze the team as fans. Lets talk to Mary who’s 75-years-old and we’re going to talk from her kitchen. And she’s a grandma, and now let’s talk to the 15-year-old who’s the Cubs kid, and he knows everything and what does he think about the series? To me, that is so appealing and I hope it becomes something, but that’s what I’m shooting for eventually.
MMO: When did you launch the site?
Jim: I technically launched it over a year ago, but all the technical things weren’t ready, so there was a lot of technical things to download a video, to sign up for it, to post a video, it has to be certain megabytes and only a certain length. It was a little over a year ago but now it seems it’s working and doing well, and so now I’m really pushing it and hopefully by the end of the season it turns into something pretty cool.
MMO: How has the response been so far?
Jim: Huge! The response is amazing. We’ll find out what it’s like when I call a game, and again, I’m going on my wife who said you should’ve always been an announcer. Now of course, I’m no Gary, Keith, and Ron! I’m not going to come at you with stats, but I think there’s something appealing about a real fan calling the game the way it is. So I’m going to give it a shot, but definitely going to hit that up before the month is over.
MMO: Speaking of calling a game, I remember watching this live when it happened during the game. You were in the booth for a May 6, 2015 game against the Baltimore Orioles, and you got to call Curtis Granderson‘s (or Candy as Breuer calls him) home run. What was that moment like for you and had you ever been in the broadcast booth before that time?
Jim: (Laughs) I had never been in the booth and again, this was all part of the magic that year. The only reason I was there was because of the recaps and what was going on. So they said would you come up and do an inning with us?
I went up there and even then I was meeting people in the military and kids who had cancer, I was meeting so many people through these Facebook videos. And I go up there and I couldn’t believe how small the booth was and I couldn’t believe how high up they were. I went how do you watch the game from up here?
So I get up there and I put on the headphones and Granderson comes to the plate and hits it and I just naturally go, “OH THERE IT GOES!” And I called it and the funniest part was in my ear all I hear is, “Jim, Jim, Jim! Let Gary do the calling. Let Gary do the calling for the rest of the shots please.” They’re like Gary has to call the home run, but it was too late, I was in the moment man! I was waiting for it too, everyone does it at home. That was a moment I’ll never forget.
MMO: Of all the video recaps you’ve done, do you have a favorite that stands out to you?
Jim: There’s two of them: there’s one when they clinched against the Cubs to go to the World Series and we start doing the champagne with our goggles on and all that. That was a hands down favorite one.
The other one was, and this is when I realized how broad these videos were, I was playing in Denver the day they were going to clinch against the Reds. My wife again was like, “Why don’t you ask fans to come watch the game with you?” I was like, ‘God no! What if no one shows up?’ How embarrassing!
So I said, ‘Hey, I’m in Colorado. I’m in Denver if anyone would like to watch the game with me today.’ I just remember thinking, Oh God, this could be really bad. This could be so embarrassing.
I walked through the door and I get goosebumps thinking about it, the part that blew me away was that before the game started already about 75 Mets fans were there with Mets shirts on in this little wings place in Colorado, in Denver, during the day! It was families, it was brothers, it was black, white, male, female, all different ethnicities, I was blown out of my mind!
There was this older guy and he was talking to the younger people because he was a fan since 1962 when they played their first games. Everyone was listening to him. There was a father and a son, and three different families there with little kids, it completely blew me away. That’s when I realized, again, that it’s almost like an extended family. We all do really have something pretty awesome in common.
MMO: That’s awesome! Your videos really do bring people together, it’s incredible what under two minutes of video can do.
Jim: Yeah, and it’s funny. I would post longer videos but anytime I go over a minute it takes so long for it to post, it pisses me off because I live out in the woods. So once in a while people are like, where is your video? I’m like, ‘I’m working on it!’
MMO: I remember watching a YouTube video from one of your stand-up routines where you go off on Yoenis Cespedes during spring training in ’16, when he wouldn’t pick up the ball that was stuck under the outfield wall, he kept signaling that it was an automatic double. Do you bring up the Mets much in your stand-up?
Jim: No, the only time I’ll bring them up is if it’s overrun with Met fans. I was in San Diego and the 7 Line Army was out there, there was about 300 of them in the crowd. So we talked about it then. I was in South Carolina and there was a lot of Met fans for some reason.
Every show I do now, no matter where I am, Boston, Ohio, Florida, Arizona, Colorado, Mets fans always come, and they let me know they’re Mets fans because they wear Met shirts. I was in Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi, Met shirts all over the place! All over the place! Every place I go to now they wear the Mets shirts, it’s so cool.
MMO: Who were some of your comedic influences growing up?
Jim: Die hard Richard Pryor fan, die hard! Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, Sam Kinison, those were my three guys. The first one was Steve Martin, and the Let’s Get Small album in the ‘70s. That was my first stand up comedy experience. My brother-in-law handed me that album and I begged my parents if I could listen to it, and I was blown away that a guy was just telling jokes in front of a crowd. And on an album, he had a balloon raft around his head, a fake nose, and I still can recite the whole album.
Then I saw Richard Pryor and I went, this is exactly who I am. I am this guy. I tell stories, I make everything come to life, and he talks about everything. Everything! Whether you want to hear it or not. And then Eddie Murphy, I loved Eddie Murphy, and Kinison. And of course George Carlin, but those were my top go-to guys.
MMO: Did you have that aha moment when you knew that you wanted to be a comedian for your career?
Jim: Oh God, yeah! My friend begged me to be in sketch night, or skit night in school. It’s 1985, and I remember I said I’m not doing that, and he said, “Come on, man, you’ve got to do it! I have this part and you’re going to be so funny in it!” I didn’t hang out with actors, I thought it was silly. He went, “No, no, no! You’ve got to do it, everyone’s cool there.”
He got me to do this play and during that week, the skits were based on I think the theme was the bible? And it wasn’t a religious school or anything, so it was sophomores vs. juniors vs. seniors.
I played Noah in Noah’s Ark, and I did it talking like Eddie Murphy. And I think if I did that today, I may be hung because people could see it as, is he talking like a black guy? Oh my God he’s so racist (laughs)! And I totally did Eddie Murphy and I murdered the place, to the point where the next day in school, because we had to do two nights in a row, the next day in school my whole life was different.
I remember showing up at school and everybody was looking at me. Every guy that I thought was the coolest guy was like, Breuer! I was a rock star, every female was like, you’re so funny and can’t wait to see you again tonight! I was an overnight star, and that night, the second night they were chanting for me to come out in the middle of the sketch before. And when I came out the place erupted, and I get goosebumps thinking about it! I knew this is it, this is the moment that I knew that’s what I want to do the rest of my life.
MMO: Wow! They were already chanting for you the scene before?
Jim: Yes, yes, it was unbelievable, I’ll never forget that. “Noah! Noah! Noah!”
MMO: Oh man, I wish there was video of that somewhere.
Jim: It was 1985, Valley Stream Central High, so put it out there! If anyone’s got that when I came out as Noah from Noah’s Ark, and they’re chanting, “Noah! Noah!” It was unbelievable.
MMO: I’d be remiss not to ask you about one of my all-time favorite comedies, Half Baked. Is there a story or two that stands out to you about when you were filming with Dave Chappelle?
Jim: Dave showed up with a dog and all I remember the whole shoot was this dog named Monk. Before he called him Monk, he named him Whitey, because he was all white. And he thought it was funny to go out into the streets and yell, “Whitey, sit down!” People were looking and were like what? And he’d go, “Whitey, play dead! Ha Ha!”
We stayed in the most gorgeous hotel in Toronto and he crapped in it, he ate the furniture, he would bark, he was a menace this dog! We went to the guy that owns Roots, which is huge up in Canada, huge! He’s like, come in my store. This dog ripped up like four leather coats worth a thousand dollars, and Dave just had no control of this thing, he had no right owning a dog! It was hilarious.
He almost got thrown out of the hotel even though there was about 50 people there staying just because of him. I remember, I forgot her name from (the show) Good Times, the mother from Good Times. I’m in Dave’s room and she knocked on the door and I opened up and I was starstruck because I loved Good Times. She goes, “Is this your room?” I said, ‘No, this is Dave’s.’ She said, “You got to do something with that dog! It smells up here, you got to get rid of that dog! He barks all day, that ain’t right, that ain’t right!” (I said), ‘It’s not my room, it’s not my room!’ “I don’t care whose room it is, you got to take care of that dog!” That dog was a menace.
MMO: You’ve been touring for the past several months now and have a full schedule going forward. How’s the tour been going for you, and will you be coming back to the tri-state area anytime soon?
Jim: I don’t plan on hitting Long Island or New York until the fall and winter. Tour’s going great, it’s called the Family Warrior Tour. And it’s good, I plan on doing recaps every day, and who knows? I just filmed a commercial at Citi Field so that should be out next month with the 7 Line Army and a bunch of guys. Life is good, touring is good, and hopefully the Mets will start waking up in May and June.
MMO: Thank you so much for your generous time today, Mr. Breuer. It was great to talk with you and I really enjoyed the conversation!
Jim: Me too. Take care, have a good one.
Check out all things Jim Breuer, including his tour dates on: http://officialjimbreuer.com
And upload your fan recaps at Jim’s site: http://batsballsandbreu.com
You can follow Jim Breuer @JimBreuer