Mets’ Travis Jankowski sees part of himself in St. Peter’s Basilica

PORT ST. LUCIE — Travis Jankowski watched with the rest of the country as Saint Peter’s punched his ticket to the Sweet 16 on Saturday night when the flashbacks began to hit him.

“Gosh, man, that’s just like us,” Jankowski told his wife.

Perhaps better than anyone in the Mets clubhouse this spring, Jankowski can understand some of what the Peacocks are going through as March’s Cinderella.

Ten years ago, Jankowski was on the Stony Brook baseball team that stunned the country with excitement after excitement when he reached the first College World Series in school history.

“We weren’t supposed to win, kind of a no-name team, nobody knew where Stony Brook was. I don’t know where St. Peter is,” Jankowski, who recently signed a minor league contract with an invite to big league camp, said Sunday. “It’s one of those things that it’s cool to put a school on a map by doing something through athletics and being the underdog.”

Travis Jankowski
Travis Jankowski

Jankowski was the top hitter on the 2012 Stony Brook team, which accepted America East’s automatic bid and became the unexpected darling of the tournament, fueled by its motto “Shock the World”.

In his region, unseeded Stony Brook defeated hosts Miami, Missouri State (led by ex-Yankee Luke Voit) and UCF (twice) to advance to a Super Regional hosted by LSU (the No. 7 overall). The Wolverines dropped the first game of the series but then won the next two to beat LSU and advance to the College World Series.

Stony Brooks’ wild run finally ended in Omaha, but not before catching the attention of those far beyond Long Island and forging a bond between teammates that continues to this day.

“Personally, I think I left the College World Series — I wanted to win so badly I couldn’t enjoy it,” Jankowski said. “So you gotta enjoy it, man. They will continue to have fun, the nation will have their backs.”

    Travis Jankowski
Travis Jankowski

Now Jankowski is trying to land a job as an additional outfielder with the Mets — a role that could take on additional prominence if Starling Marte (oblique) isn’t ready in time for Opening Day. Jankowski, 30, can play all three outfield spots and offers a combination of speed and defense, the latter flashing with a jump catch in the right midfield gap against the Cardinals on Sunday.

After spending last year with the Phillies, his seventh season as a Big League, Jankowski saw the Mets as “best suited” for him this year.

“I’ve gotten to a point where I want to win in my career,” said Jankowski. “For me too … there has to be an opening for at least a fourth outfield spot. I think there is a way for that here.” Mets’ Travis Jankowski sees part of himself in St. Peter’s Basilica


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