- Adam Rubin, ESPN Staff Writer
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NEW YORK -- Celebrity fan Kevin James took batting practice Tuesday afternoon with the New York Mets at Citi Field. The actor, whose movie "Paul Blart Mall Cop 2" is in theaters Friday, then spoke about his beloved team. Here's a brief Q&A:
You got hooked being a Mets fan while growing up on Long Island?
"I did. My father introduced me to the Mets way back when. I've been a fan ever since, since I was a little kid. I was 4 when we won the '69 World Series. I was in college for the '86 Series. It's been an incredible ride. I've loved them all the years. I've been here during the lean years. And we're coming back strong, and I love it."
What do you think about this year's team?
"This year's team is insane. I feel great. A lot of people say it's kind of a rebuilding year for next year, but I think we're a team to be reckoned with this year. I'm excited about it. Everybody is starting to play well. Of course, Matt Harvey was a big concern, and everybody was worried about that -- to see how that came out. And that looked pretty awesome, I've got to say. And what about Paul "Blartolo" Colon? What about him, making it happen? I'm happy, man. I'm very happy. It's going to be a fun season."
How did batting practice go?
"Every muscle is pulled. The back went out on the first pitch, I think. I think a hamstring pulled on the third pitch. But that's every kid's dream. To be able to take swings in the cage there is incredible. At Shea Stadium I put two out. So I've got to get back in shape. I'm going to do it again. I got close here, but I didn't do it this time. I've got to get ready and come back and do it for real."
You brought up Bartolo Colon. Do you admire with his physique what he does?
"Of course. His physique, he's obviously in better shape than me. He's an unsung hero. That's what my movie is about. That's a guy who shows you he can get it done. He's 41, I believe, and he's crushing it. Never give up, man. Never give up."
You did the "Let's Go Mets!" chant on the scoreboard with a lot of energy. Is energy how you would describe it?
"That, slash annoying. It annoyed me. I'd see it at games here. I'm like, 'Why are they playing that?' We just did another one. I tried to calm it down a little bit. But I want to keep everybody fired up. I love our Mets this year and I think we're going to do damage. I really do."
Ever meet Steven Matz, another Ward Melville High School product?
"My boy. I'm psyched. I met him working out at a local gym. He was working out. Let's rephrase that. I was probably eating some chili. But it was good to see him. He was a great kid. And I'm excited about him being up."