Kathleen Selig had recently been diagnosed with small cell lung cancer. On Tuesday, she was told she had only weeks to live.
"She turned 82 in September [and] is a diehard Mets fan and has been since the start," her granddaughter, Ally Henglein, wrote in a Twitter post. "Since the mid-1960s, she has lived and breathed everything Mets."
So it was perhaps not as shocking to Henglein as it may have been for others when her grandmother expressed more concern about the Mets' season being postponed by the coronavirus outbreak than her own prognosis.
A heartfelt surprise for a very special fan. 🧡💙@Pete_Alonso20 and Luis Rojas gave a call to @allyhenglein’s grandmother, Kathleen, who has been a die-hard #Mets fan her entire life and was recently diagnosed with cancer. https://t.co/J5kEKn8IB4 pic.twitter.com/AAp7Svgp8R
— New York Mets (@Mets) March 18, 2020
Henglein went on to detail her grandmother's devotion — how Selig grew up in Brooklyn and would go to ballgames with her father, how she wore the same Mets necklace every day of the 18 years Henglein has known her, how she paints her fingernails blue and orange every day, and how photos of her with several Mets players having dinner after she had traveled across the country to California to see them play hang on the walls of her apartment.
Henglein's Twitter post ended with a request of the Mets — a letter, a tweet, a FaceTime call, anything that would show Selig the club's love and appreciation for her during this time.
Enter Mets slugger Pete Alonso and manager Luis Rojas.
Both called Selig on Wednesday and expressed to her their gratitude and affection on behalf of the club. Selig immediately began to cry, saying, "You have no idea what this is doing for me," and, " … I love you. You have no idea, I love you."
Sending my love to your grandma. It’s stories like these that make me extra proud to be a Met. Check your DM, I’d love to send her something special https://t.co/GYvgmTbo74
— Pete Alonso (@Pete_Alonso20) March 18, 2020
She thanked them and handed the phone to Henglein as she began sobbing.
Alonso had posted a video for Selig prior to the call, saying how much the Mets appreciate Selig's "lifelong support" and ending with, "Let's go Mets," which Selig repeated as she continued to wipe tears away from her face with a tissue.
"We're touched to be in touch with fans like you," Rojas told her on the call. "Your granddaughter did a great job in a post and it touched all of us."
In her Twitter post, Henglein wrote that "the one thing that would comfort [Selig] in this hard time has been put on hold," referring to the baseball season.
While it's not the same as watching her heroes take the diamond at Citi Field, where she has told her family she would like her ashes to be spread, it was clearly an overwhelming thrill for Selig to hear from the Mets' star first baseman and skipper.
But Alonso said the pleasure was all theirs.
"We're thankful for you," he told Selig. " … We're here. You're in our thoughts and prayers for sure."