Sneaky Mets fan fights banishment
There's a pregame ritual that Craig Coakley — better known in Mets nation as the streaker who slid into second base at a game during Citi Field's inaugural season — likes to follow.
The 32-year-old from Bayside, Queens, checks he's got his baseball cap, his Mets jersey and a fake moustache — then he's ready to go.
The die-hard fan has been officially banned from games since the 2009 spectacle — but has covertly defied a stadium edict in order to root, root, root for the home team in person.
"My streaking days are over now, and I just go to enjoy the games," he said.
The ban did little to slow down Coakley, who now attends games in sunglasses, caps and other costumes — taking a page from former Mets skipper Bobby Valentine, who momentarily sneaked back into the dugout in a sunglasses-and-moustache disguise after an umpire ejected him from a game in 1999.
"I went to games four weeks later," Coakley boasted. "And I was just at a game on Memorial Day!"
Last week, he added a fake beard to his collection, giving him the appearance of a sporty Abe Lincoln.
Back in 2009, when Coakley, a plumber, decided to crack wise, he painted "Let's Go Mets" on his bare back, positioned a stuffed monkey to cover his private parts and darted onto the field during the fifth inning of a game.
A friend videotaped the stunt from the upper deck.
Coakley was arrested, fined $3,000, sentenced to 20 days of community service and, worst of all, banned for life from Citi Field.
"I wanted to become part of Mets history," he said.
That's a sentiment expressed by many of the banned bunch — interlopers, mostly men, who say they're inspired by their peers and rarely concerned that stadium security will catch them.