Long-tortured fans of the sporadic New York Mets franchise are often frustrated with fans of other teams joking around about their perennial letdowns. Queens native Ilan Grapel was imprisoned in an Egyptian jail for five months and received the cruelest tease when his Representative Gary Ackerman pranked him on an otherwise joyous release day with the news that the New York Mets had won the World Series. The New York Post reports on the law student's bittersweet awakening after his release from a five-month stint in jail following Egypt's uprising:
“'There’s so many people to thank,” he said, “and after being cut off for the past five months ...'
Ackerman quickly interjected, 'We told him the Mets won the World Series.'
Grapel, a sports fan, shot Ackerman a big smile -- only to quickly feel the let-down most Mets fans are all too familiar with when he quickly figured out that the team had tanked -- again.
When Grapel was arrested in Egypt on dubious spying charges on June 12, the Mets’ won-lost record was 32-33 and the Amazin’s still had dreams of playing in October."
Grapel is a 27-year-old U.S.-Israeli citizen, was freed Thursday in a prisoner swap between Israel and Egypt. He denied spying accusations against him, and the Post writes that Grapel was in Egypt working with a legal- aid group in the aftermath of the popular uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak.
After being held for months without formal charges or a trial while U.S. and Israeli officials worked to gain his release, Grapel told AP that he has a new respect for the American legal system. "All of a sudden, the Bill of Rights is not something for the history books," he told reporters gathered in the terminal. The Emory University law student met with his mother, Rep. Ackerman, and held a press conference in Tel Aviv Friday, then arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport Saturday morning.