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Monday, June 30, 2014
Documentary in works on 1986 Mets

By Mark Simon

Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesThere will be plenty of celebrating in any sort of 1986 Mets movie.
If you’ve ever thought that the 1986 Mets would make for a great movie, you may just be in luck.

New York filmmaker and Mets fan Heather Quinlan has started a Kickstarter campaign to help fund a documentary on one of New York’s most beloved teams.

For those unfamiliar, Kickstarter is a website that allows consumers to fund business projects, the most notable project of which, the movie "Veronica Mars," raised more than $5 million. Those who make donations receive “rewards” from the project owner, which in this case include DVDs or digital copies of the film.

Quinlan is seeking to raise $50,000 to assist in her project. She’s also working in conjunction with documentary production company 3 Roads Productions, and former "King of Queens" executive producer and "Family Ties" writer Michael Weithorn (a Yankees fan).

Quinlan, who is also a full-time technical writer for Merck, previously did an hour-long documentary on the history of the New York accent, titled “If These Knishes Could Talk” which is available for viewing at Amazon.com. She’s aiming to have her Mets film done by 2016 -- just in time for the 30th anniversary of their World Series winning season.

“I adore the 1986 Mets to this day,” said Quinlan, who has lived at times in all five of the New York boroughs. “When a team captures your imagination, especially as a kid [she was 12], it really stays with you your whole life. They’re your heroes, no matter what. As you get older, you see these guys through the eyes of a kid.”

Having Weithorn as one of her backers should help bring the project some credibility. He’s currently supporting this project while working on a series that is expected to debut on Fox this season.

“[1986] was a grittier time,” said Weithorn, who worked as a souvenir vendor at Shea Stadium during the summer of 1972. “That was a gritty team, one that wore its grit on its sleeve.”

Quinlan started work on the film in January and has so far interviewed Lenny Dykstra, Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Mookie Wilson, Bill Buckner and Kevin Mitchell, among others (video excerpts are available on her blog).

“You get asked, 'What can you bring to the table that hasn’t already been said about the 1986 Mets?'” Quinlan said. “I would say there are plenty of angles that haven’t been pursued. These guys have 30 years of perspective on life and what they’ve done right and wrong. It will be quite fan-heavy, too. Everyone from a guy who filmed a Yoplait commercial with the 1985 team who got them to sing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" in French to Father Daniel Murphy, who was the team chaplain. I talked to Lenny Dykstra about the arc of his life. Dwight Gooden was very open about his rise and fall. I want to tackle it from a lot of angles. It’s a team that fit very well with 1986 New York.”

Quinlan has not yet approached the Mets, noting that she wanted to accumulate footage and show the team a well-in-progress product before doing so.

“The Mets organization will see by the amount of backers that the fans are really invested in the team,” Quinlan said, “and you cannot deny the love they have, especially if they’re going to put money up.”

The risk of contributing to a Kickstarter campaign is that the project does not get completed, but Quinlan is promising to come through for her supporters.

“I’ll put it to you this way: I could not live with myself if I didn’t do this movie,” Quinlan said. “There is art and poetry in the 1986 Mets, and you can have a sports documentary that’s not just about jocks, babes and beers. I would like to elevate the Mets to something that people hadn’t thought possible.”

For more, check out Quinlan's Kickstarter page and the film's website.