By Chris Colton
Sports Editor, CBSNewYork.com
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Lenny Dykstra. Doc Gooden. Kevin Mitchell.
Brooklyn filmmaker Heather Quinlan wants to explore the Mets’ 1986 championship in a new way: by telling the story of the team, its fans and how the “blue-collar dirty, gritty” Scum Bunch mirrored New York of the same era.
But she needs help from the fan base to complete “’86 Mets: The Movie.” Quinlan recently launched a kickstarter campaign to raise $50,000, which would help fund equipment, travel for follow-up interviews and, of course, rights to game tape.
“The rights to the footage is going to be a huge financial hurdle,” Quinlan told CBSNewYork.com. “Honestly, without the footage, there’s no film. You can’t do a film about the Mets and not show Game 6.”
The 39-year-old has raised just over $10,000, and has until August 22 to hit the goal. Ya gotta believe, right?
“I think having the fans get behind it really, really pushes it to another level,” Quinlan said. “Especially, I think, it allows the Mets organization and Major League Baseball to be that much more inclined to be a part of it.”
Quinlan said there wasn’t a bad interview in the bunch, and she praised Mitchell, known for being the baddest of the bad boys, as her favorite subject. His chat, and many others, are available on YouTube.
“The one who had, ironically, the reputation for being this bad guy from San Diego was the most giving, honest guy,” she said of Mitchell. “He was coaching kids for no money. … It’s that kind of thing that you don’t know necessarily about the team or the players.”
Mets fans also probably had no idea that Dykstra considered baseball to be part show business. In his interview, Dykstra admitted “Nails” was a character he played for the fans.
“I did my best Barbara Walters, I guess, because I asked him, ‘Are Nails and Lenny Dykstra the same person?’ ” said Quinlan, who grew up a Mets fan. “And he was like, ‘Huh, no one’s ever asked me that before.’”
Then there’s the friendship between Mookie Wilson and Bill Buckner, whose error on Wilson’s ground ball completed the Mets’ improbable comeback in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.
“They do the autograph circuit. And Buckner was saying that when he doesn’t hear from Mookie or he doesn’t hang out with Mookie for a while, he kind of misses him,” said Quinlan. “And he’s a guy, so he’s not going to call him up and be like, ‘Hey Mookie, I miss you.’ But he’ll be like, ‘Hey Mookie, how’s your lawn looking?’ ”
As the film’s director, Quinlan has also interviewed teammate Darryl Strawberry and a number of Mets fans, including some notable names: actor Charles Grodin and writer Paul Auster among them. King of Queens creator Michael J. Weithorn, a former Shea Stadium vendor, is executive producer.
Quinlan said she wants to turn the project into a feature-length documentary, and would like to bring some former players to the Sundance and Tribeca film festivals.
The kickstarter would give those plans a boost. And it would send a message to a franchise with a reputation — fairly or not — of distancing itself from the ’86 club.
“It shows the organization that the fans really do want to hear this story, and that this team still looms large in their memories,” Quinlan said.
“There is poetry in baseball. That includes the ‘86 Mets, warts and all.”
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