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Sketching the Mets’ Season (in Color When They Win)

An entry from the Mets' 14-3 victory on Tuesday night.

Joe Petruccio has covered the Mets the last two seasons — in watercolors, black markers and ballpoint pens.

Petruccio, a 52-year-old creative art director at a Manhattan advertising agency, is a dyed-in-the-wool Mets fan who wears his heart on his blog My Mets Journal, a daily splash of cartoons and commentary on all players living in The House That Madoff Bilked.

“This Year, We’re Goin’ for Broke!” was Petruccio’s journal cover for this season, referring to the Bernard L. Madoff Ponzi scheme that has created financial distress for the Mets.

“The blog has become a little community for Mets fans,” Petruccio said. “It’s like a page-by-page journey of the highs and lows, or the heaven and hell, of the Mets season.”

Petruccio’s blog is visited by 4,000 people a day, most of them Mets fans eager to learn which hero, or goat, will be depicted the day after a game. Petruccio’s work has received responses from far beyond Flushing Bay.

“I’ve gotten notes from Mets fans in Australia, Italy, Spain, Greece and many other countries — we’re everywhere,” he said.

On June 23, Petruccio gave Justin Turner a fair share of his ink. The night before, Turner was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, forcing in the winning run against the Oakland Athletics.

A Turner of Events!” Petruccio penned just above a portrait of Turner being plunked. In the frame, Petruccio wrote of the Mets’ 3-2 victory: “This is usually how we lose games. Remember last Thursday in Atlanta? Well, not tonight. Though K-Rod blew the save in the 9th, Turner up in bottom of 13th, bases loaded ... takes one for the team! Dickey started and was Dickey — 8 innings, 3 hits, 1 run. K-Rod took this win away from him! Reyes hits 13th triple of the season.”

Petruccio, who grew up in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn mesmerized by the artistry of LeRoy Neiman and Tom Seaver, now lives in Manalapan, N.J., with his wife and two sons. Much like the Mets themselves, he returns to the drawing board after every game, taking roughly a half-hour to sketch each summary before the start of his workday at Avrett Free Ginsberg.

“I paint all victories in color, all losses in black and white,” Petruccio said. “I don’t like wasting my time on the losses.”

Coincidentally, Petruccio has contributed to the Mets before. As a young art director in the 1980s, he was chosen by the team to create a new uniform design.

“They looked old and fat in those pinstriped uniforms they were wearing,” he said. “I created a uniform that was more tapered and had a racing stripe down the side that gave it more of a sleek look.”

Wearing that uniform, the Mets won the 1986 World Series.

“I felt like I had a little piece of that championship,” Petruccio said with a wide smile. “Growing up as a huge Mets fan, contributing to the team in my own little way was a dream come true.”

On Monday morning, Petruccio sat in his office and went about the business of drawing his own conclusions from the Mets’ 8-5 victory over the Texas Rangers on Sunday. With the smooth stroke of a black lead pencil followed by the whisks of bright colors that signified victory, he began painting yet another portrait from the Mets’ season.

Within 15 minutes, Petruccio had put together a cartoon panel that featured Jose Reyes making a difficult stab of a hot smash to thwart a rally.

“Jose gets the save, as Gee gets us back to .500,” wrote Petruccio, referring to Mets starter Dillon Gee. “Even though Jose had 4 hits and scored 3 runs, it was his terrific play with his glove, with bases loaded & 2 out in the 1st, that kept this game from getting out of hand & put back in the hands of Gee! Gee pitched well the rest of the way for his 8th win! K-Rod almost gave it away in 9th. L.G.M.! (Let’s Go Mets!).

Petruccio, who is also the official artist of the Elvis Presley and Muhammad Ali estates — he also works for the Frank Sinatra estate — began keeping a Mets journal (in a sketchpad) 15 years ago, but he had never completed a full season of coverage before last year, when he first decided to put his work online. After his first full season of painting word pictures for the Mets, he decided to do the same for his other favorite sports teams, the Knicks and the Jets.

“The football season is so short, it just doesn’t have the personality of a baseball or basketball season,” Petruccio said. “The length of the baseball and basketball seasons creates more story lines, much more drama.”

Petruccio, who sometimes freezes frames on his television screen to perfectly capture a moment he is trying to convey, visits Citi Field roughly 10 times a year. He never misses a Mets game, watching most games on television and listening to others on the radio.

“I guess I’m kind of like a baseball columnist and sports cartoonist all rolled into one,” Petruccio said. “It’s not a paying job, but the real reward comes with sharing my love of the Mets with fellow fans.”


A version of this article appears in print on June 29, 2011, on Page B10 of the New York edition with the headline: Cartoons, Commentary And a Mets Community. Article in full may be read at The New York Times online edition. Originally posted on June 28, 2011.

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