Adam Rubin

Photo courtesy of Adam Rubin

METSellaneous -- Joey Wahler On The Mets: Ex-Longtime Met Beat Reporter Rubin Enjoys NYIT’s Postseason Trip

June 12, 2019 - 11:01 am
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By Joey Wahler

After covering the 2015 Mets World Series team managed by ex-major leaguer Terry Collins, Adam Rubin was recently up close for the New York Institute of Technology’s baseball team making its own unexpected postseason run, to the Division II College World Series under 14-year big league veteran Frank Catalanotto.

“Making the College World Series in year one of him leading the team was pretty remarkable,” said Rubin, now NYIT’s Assistant Athletic Director for Strategic Communications on the school’s Old Westbury, Long Island campus.

With a school record 37 wins, the Bears won the East Coast Conference Championship, advancing through two rounds of the NCAA Tournament before losing its first two games in the double-elimination College World Series. Those 37 wins were more than the team’s seniors won the three previous years combined, including a five-win season in 2017 when Rubin arrived.

After covering the Mets for 15 years with the New York Daily News and ESPN.com, Rubin was again connected to a team’s memorable postseason, albeit at a much different level.

“Just seeing kids that haven’t been used to winning finally win,” Rubin said. “To see the enjoyment level that those kids had of playing winning baseball, after three years and even beyond that before they arrived of sub-.500 baseball, was just so rewarding.

“The differences are pretty stark (compared to the majors), but you see what happens when you bring in a former major leaguer who’s a great teacher and has the right demeanor. And kind of installs those kind of principles in a Division II team. And you saw the results right away.”

With four daughters college age and younger, and hailing from Smithtown, Long Island, Catalanotto wanted to coach close to home.

“He had significant interest over the last several years to be a professional coach at the major league level,” Rubin said.  

In his position, Rubin generates publicity for NYIT athletics, overseeing content creation for NYITBears.com and the athletic department’s social media accounts. He switched jobs about two years ago when his ESPN contract wasn’t renewed, amid the company sharply downsizing its baseball writing staff. With newspapers continuing to fold, Rubin says it was time to leave beat reporting behind.

“It just wasn’t a sustainable path anymore, I don’t think,” Rubin said. “I admire the people who are staying in it, plugging away. But it’s just a difficult business to have security in right now.”

While covering the Mets, Rubin often tweeted about the boys basketball team at MacArthur High School in Levittown, where his brother, Eric, played. Providing publicity, scouting and taking photos for them was a prelude to his current job. Upon NYIT making the CWS, Rubin reached out to his media contacts, resulting in coverage from several of the city’s major outlets.

“Coming at it from that perspective, being a part of the NYIT team in a kind of peripheral role,” Rubin said. “Which is so enjoyable relative to covering a major league team. And the skill set is very similar. It was also very gratifying the amount of media attention we got.”

His last several years on the Mets beat Rubin embraced Twitter, drawing over 97,000 followers, most of any reporter covering one major league team. He was known for his ‘round the clock coverage, starting with Morning Briefing previews, often written in the wee hours. Rubin reacted to particularly bad Met moments with his all too familiar Tweets saying, “OH NO,” in bold.  

“There are so many ways to build up a following,” Rubin said. “I think I was responsive to fans in terms of, if they had a question I would always try to reply. Sometimes the volume was overwhelming but I did my best.

“The other thing was, I tried to be kind of a one stop shop for information. Quick, accurate information. So as soon as something was said at a press conference, as soon as I got information, we would Tweet it out. The interaction with the fans was actually a lot of fun because you knew exactly what to ask in the clubhouse of players, because you had a pulse of what the fans were thinking.”

His favorite Met to cover was David Wright, Rubin says of the ex-team captain, whose major league career span roughly paralleled his own. Just a few of the other most accessible players Rubin mentioned were Cliff Floyd, Tom Glavine, Marlin Anderson and Nick Evans.

“I could make a list of a hundred people who over the course of 15 years covering the team were just exceedingly nice guys who I enjoyed being around,” Rubin said, noting that Brandon Nimmo’s likability reminds him of Wright’s.

A secondary reason he left baseball reporting, Rubin says, is today’s players are harder to get to know.

“The David Wright-era players didn’t really grow up in that social media era, so they weren’t quite as guarded,” Rubin said. “So I found them to be, just generally across the board, more close to the vest than the players from five, 10 years ago.”

Still, Rubin says he longs for parts of his old beat.

“While I don’t miss being on the road 170 days a year, having the privilege of being able to go into those ballparks, and seeing all the behind-the-scenes machinations and things like that, is something I miss,” he said.

NYIT returns almost its whole roster next year, armed with their coaches having faced better competition in the postseason.

“They now know what they have to recruit to make even more noise once we get to the College World Series,” Rubin said.

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