"It gets the season going, it means it's here. You get yourself going," said Matt Herbert, 23, starting his second season as a Mets clubhouse attendant. "Everything that you could think of that they need is going down -- socks to uniforms to everything."
Everything is right. A quick glance inside the Atlas Van Lines big-wheeled behemoth showed weights, exercise equipment, carts full of bats and boxes labeled "helmets," "jerseys" and "golf shirts."
There wasn't much room to breathe, either, as every inch of the truck was being filled.
This wasn't even the first truck the Mets sent to Florida. The first one left Shea Stadium right after the postseason, when the Mets sent all leftover game-used equipment to Port St. Lucie for Minor Leaguers and anyone else working out there to use.
Frozen on Monday, Herbert will get a chance to warm up Wednesday when he and the rest of the Mets' staffers arrive in Florida to meet the truck.
Tom Cercena, the Mets' clubhouse manager for umpires, won't be so lucky. He's staying in New York while the boxes he's carrying are ticketed for the Treasure Coast. Still, the sight of a moving truck in February stirs up thoughts of a new season.
"It says it's really here," explained the 37-year-old Cercena, who has worked for the Mets since 1986, when the team won its last World Series. "What is it, a couple of weeks away?"
Sooner. Pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 16, with full-squad workouts scheduled to start on Feb. 21.
Yet even the happiest of thoughts and the presence of Mr. Met couldn't ease the pain of carrying equipment with numb hands and trying to talk with frozen faces.
"It's horrible. You have to keep moving around trying to stay warm," Herbert said. "It's hard."