Mike Mayer, a beat writer covering the New York Mets baseball club, is shown near the 12-foot satellite dish that was used to channel coverage of the Mets games into his boyhood home in Liberty. Mayer said Tuesday that seeing the games fueled his interest in the team and in becoming a writer. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

THORNDIKE — Michael Mayer didn’t see it coming. Seated at DuPont Nutrition USA’s security desk in Rockland Nov. 11, New York Mets standout pitcher Marcus Stroman slid into the Metsmerized Twitter account direct messages with a piece of juicy news.

The right-hander would be accepting an $18.9 million qualifying offer, effective immediately. As Mayer checked in visitors and a UPS driver made a daily delivery, the executive editor of the Mets blog was shocked to have the scoop.

“It’s just a bizarre turn of events as a way to break news,” Mayer said. “You don’t expect the athletes themselves. It’s normally a couple agents that I talk to or people who work in the organization, something like that. It’s very rare that you get the news from the player.”

If you don’t ask, you’d never know, but the 33-year-old Mayer covers the New York Mets from far, far away.

Some 400 miles from where the Mets play at Citi Field in Queens, Mayer serves as the executive editor for Metsmerized, the popular New York Mets coverage outlet which is part of the USA Today Sports Network, and MetsMinors.net, which covers the Mets farm system.

Mayer has a large following, 14,000 on his personal Twitter account and more on the websites.

Mayer and his wife, Britney, reside in Thorndike with their 4-year-old son, Lincoln.

You’d think in a town of fewer than 1,000 residents Mayer would be somewhat of a celebrity. Think again.

However, while the Mets are never the talk of the tiny central Maine town, some of Mayer’s friends get jealous of his experiences, like when he interviewed former Red Sox and current Cleveland manager Terry Francona or Super Bowl XLIX hero and former New England Patriot Malcolm Butler.

“That was pretty awesome. Not too many people from Maine can do that stuff, let alone someone that you know,” said Kyle Harvey, a friend of Mayer’s from Troy. “He takes it pretty seriously, and it’s something he really enjoys doing.”

A member of Thorndike’s Board of Selectmen as the third selectman from March 2019 through August, Mayer opted not to run again for the three-person board at the August Town Meeting.

Mike Mayer, a beat writer covering the New York Mets baseball club, is shown near the 12-foot satellite dish that his father, Edward, right, had installed at their home in Liberty when Mike was a boy. The ability to watch the games and follow the Mets fueled Mayer’s interest in becoming a writer covering the team. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel Buy this Photo

BIG APPLE ROOTS IN SMALL TOWN MAINE 

Edward Mayer, Michael Mayer’s father, grew up on Long Island, New York, and moved to central Maine in the late 1970s. The son of a New York Police Department officer, Edward Mayer was 18 when his family moved to Maine after his father’s retirement. A year later, he met his wife, Lori, a Searsmont native.

Michael Mayer, who grew up in Liberty and graduated from Thorndike’s Mount View High School in 2005, has an older sister, Danielle, and a younger brother, Willy. They all share their father’s baseball allegiances.

“He just kind of brainwashed us as kids to be Mets fans,” Michael Mayer said.

Most of the family’s late ’90s through present day Mets consumption came via television, radio or print. Edward Mayer always wanted the biggest and best televisions, “the one that weighed like 2,000 pounds,” the most powerful satellites “that literally look like what NASA uses now” and top-notch sports cable packages. A few times a year, his family would make the drive down to Shea Stadium, where the Mets played from 1964-2008.

During spring training in 2010, Michael Mayer started the Maine Mets Blog as a passion project. Mayer used to go by Maine Mets on Twitter, which gave away his Maine roots, but he has since changed his username to his more professional @mikemayermmo, which has nearly 14,000 followers.

When he tells people about his 207 roots, Mayer often hears remarks like “You’re from Maine? What are you doing covering the Mets? How are you running this site if you’re a Mainer?”

“There are certainly a few people who find it a big surprise,” Mayer said.

BREAKING THROUGH

At Portland Sea Dogs games, Mayer made his first foray into covering prospects. The Binghamton Mets, now the Rumble Ponies, come to Portland for a handful of three- and four-game series each year. Metsmerized hired him to cover the minor leagues at first.

After a few years of irregular but passionate blogging, Mayer was recruited to Metsmerized through a Twitter connection in November 2014. After a conversation with site owner Joe Decaro, Mayer came on as an unpaid freelancer.

By 2017, he became the executive editor, where he earns a $700 monthly salary, which complements his security guard position.

“It’s basically a secondary job,” Mayer said. “I’m not going to lie about it. It’s enough now that I have to file taxes and everything.”

At Hadlock Field in Portland, Mayer interviewed some of today’s Mets stalwarts such as Dominic Smith Jr., Pete Alonso and Michael Conforto and got a firsthand look at the Tim Tebow circus.

 

GAINING CREDIBILITY 

Michael Mayer gets time to attend three or four Mets games a year, driving to Citi Field in about seven hours, depending on traffic. None of the organization’s minor league teams are any closer, playing in Brooklyn, Syracuse and Binghamton, New York, and Port St. Lucie, Florida.

Mayer oversees a team of 30 writers between the two sites. Some reporters are in college. Others started in high school. A handful of writers are full-time freelance journalists, and others cover the Mets in a part-time capacity and work other jobs or are retired. There are four editors under Mayer.

Reporters also work at the sites as a launching pad for their careers or to get their sports fix.

Jacob Resnick, a junior at Quinnipiac University, works for both Metsmerized and MetsMinors.net. He started writing about the Mets in 2013, as an eighth grader. Resnick took an interest in covering the minor leagues and has worked closely with Mayer for years.

“You realize kind of how much he’s on Twitter and how much he’s doing for Metsmerized. It’s kind of amazing it’s not his main focus in life,” Resnick said. “He’s always been very accommodating to myself and others my age, just giving us an opportunity.”

Tim Ryder, a senior writer at Metsmerized, has worked with Mayer since 2017. A Long Island, New York, native, Ryder is a steamfitter by day, specializing in fire sprinklers in commercial spaces.

“Mike is a terrific leader and extremely intuitive,” Ryder said. “Unlike more mainstream reporting, Mike has a knack for seeing news from a wider point of view, sans outside influences.”

Mayer spends a week at Mets spring training when minor league camp opens in March. ESPN used a video Mayer took of Alonso, the 2019 National League Rookie of the Year, in a documentary.

He also covered the 2018 and 2019 Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada, and San Diego, California. He was going to go to the 2020 meetings in Dallas, Texas, before they were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It just kind of stunk this year with what’s going on,” Mayer said. “It was just a matter of getting credentials. We’re technically a blog, and there aren’t too many bloggers getting all-access credentials.”

Michael Mayer speaking during a 2019 New York and St. Lucie Mets Booster Club meeting. Contributed photo.

The Stroman news was far from a fluke. Earlier this month, Mayer broke news of Chris Flexen signing with the Mariners. After the 2015 season, Mayer stumbled upon Michael Cuddyer’s retirement. Mayer is constantly reporting on minor league transactions. He’s received offers to move to New York to cover the Mets full-time, but declined because the family did not want to move.

MLB Trade Rumors and Rotoworld have picked up his work. The Stroman news, though, brought a new sense of legitimacy to Metsmerized.

“The way that he contacted us, I thought it would be best if I didn’t take full credit and did it from the site itself,” Mayer said. “That was a big one for us, and it kind of added another layer of credibility to us.”

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