NEW YORK -- Vic Black stopped at a sporting goods store on his way to Citi Field Thursday.
His goal: Find a Team USA soccer jersey, in time for the start of the World Cup.
Black knew that his New York Mets bullpen mate Carlos Torres had already ordered a Mexico jersey (and sure enough, Torres showed up Thursday wearing it). On the multicultural Mets, he knew there would be various players supporting various other teams.
It's not fair to say that World Cup fever has taken over the Mets clubhouse, but there is a strong contingent of soccer fans.
"I wore my [Michael] Bradley jersey today," said second baseman Daniel Murphy, probably the Mets' biggest Team USA fan. "I had the Jozy Altidore one the other day, and I've got a [Clint] Dempsey one, too."
Meanwhile, outfielder Bobby Abreu is supporting the Netherlands ("I've been a fan for a long time," he said). Pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, of course, supports Japan. He doesn't own a Japan jersey yet, he said through his interpreter.
"But I'm going to get one before their first game," he said.
And then there's Torres, who was born and raised in California but has Mexican heritage. His iPad is adorned with a Mexican flag, and he said he has Mexico shirts from each World Cup.
He was the only Met wearing a World Cup jersey in the clubhouse Thursday afternoon, and he couldn't understand why.
"Don't be afraid to represent," he said to every teammate who walked by.
Don't be surprised if they do.