NY Daily News - September 11, 2007by CHRISTIAN RED
The baby-faced firefighter, a member of Engine 24/Ladder 5 in Greenwich Village and a diehard Mets fan, was moments from meeting third baseman David Wright and Mets hitting coach Howard Johnson. One problem, though.
"I left my Mets jersey at home," Maynard said yesterday. "I can't believe it."
Maynard did not go home unhappy. Upon Wright's and Johnson's arrival at the firehouse on the corner of Houston St. and Sixth Ave. yesterday, Maynard picked up an extra Mets cap that both the coach and player signed. Maynard also caught a fair amount of ribbing for being the unofficial Mets spokesman of the Yankee-leaning firehouse.
"Jeter's coming by later," one of the firefighters joked as Wright shook hands and posed for photographs.
The visit brought some much-needed levity to the firehouse, which lost two of its Bravest - firefighters Robert Beddia and Joe Graffagnino - in last month's Deutsche Bank building blaze near Ground Zero. "God Bless Bobby & Joey" is scribbled in chalk on one of the walls and mementos and makeshift memorials are scattered outside the building.
And of course today marks the sixth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in which 11 firefighters from Engine 24/Ladder 5 were among the 343 FDNY members who perished.
"It's important that the Mets are a big part of the recognition of that day," said Johnson, a 1986 World Series champion who was in New York six years ago as the hitting coach for the Brooklyn Cyclones.
Wright, who had signed with the Mets two months prior to the attacks, remembers watching the television coverage that day at home in Norfolk, Va., having just completed his first month in the minors.
"I woke up and was just kind of glued to the TV. You just keep telling yourself, 'Maybe it's not what it seems.' You're in shock. You're angry," Wright said. He added that each 9/11 anniversary resonates that much more deeply because of his father Rhon's career in law enforcement. Rhon Wright is the current assistant police chief in Norfolk.
"Especially with my father, I have a great appreciation for everything firefighters and police officers do," said Wright. "It's cool to come here and hang out with these guys awhile. The majority of the fire departments and police departments are huge sports fans. I like to talk about their jobs and they like to ask me about what I do. I like to visit as many firehouses as I can and this one is extra special because of what happened recently."