The man at the Mets game last weekend who just could not get that water bottle open wants to set the record straight. First of all, it wasn’t his water, and something must have been wrong with it. Second, he’s really not that buff; the TV cameras make him look massive, but he’s no gym rat. And no, he’s not a Mets fan. (Keith Hernandez, he’s coming for you.) Christopher Bonante, a 38-year-old attorney from Yonkers, spoke to Daily Intelligencer about the embarrassing video that he swears isn’t as bad as that one time in high school.
Okay, Chris, so what happened?
This is exactly what happened: The tickets were given to me by a friend. It was raining at the time, so there weren’t many people seated yet. I figured, hey, these seats are right by the dugout, I don’t care about a little rain. I’m just sitting there minding my business by the Royals bench, and the security guard in the dugout — that guy handed me a water bottle. It wasn’t my water bottle! The guard who handed it to me, he asked me for assistance. He was a really big guy, too, and he couldn’t get it! That guy probably had 75 pounds on me. He was messing with it and asked if I could give him a hand.
I tried my hardest. I had a water blister on my hand the next day! I don’t know if the thing was glued shut and somebody played a prank, or if it was a defective bottle. I was messing with that thing for a good minute even before the camera caught me. We were all laughing! It was funny. My girlfriend came down the stairs and looked at me like, What the hell are you doing? After a while I just handed it back to the guy, and I never saw the bottle again. I have no idea if it got opened.
When did you realize that the video was a hit?
You know what the craziest thing was? I had no idea that this thing was even being filmed. It wasn’t on the Jumbotron. One of my friends called me and was like, “Are you at the Mets game?” I started getting texts, and then it exploded within minutes.
It’s been wild. When I walked into the gym, the whole place came up to me and said, “Bro, you’re famous.” I didn’t cure cancer! The camera just decided to be on me because the game was boring.
What did you think when you first watched the clip yourself?
I saw myself laughing and smiling. I was thinking: They had a Spartan Race [obstacle course] at Citi Field in April, and I did that. I was climbing eight-foot walls and carrying sandbags, like, four months earlier, and here I can’t even open up a freakin’ water bottle. I was jumping over walls, crawling under wires in the same exact spot!
A Spartan Race sounds pretty intense. What’s your workout routine?
I do a lot of circuit training. I do a program called Rushfit. It’s not CrossFit, but it’s like that. Pull-ups, body weights … On-camera I look like a huge dude, but I’m five-foot-eight, 190 or 195. The camera made me look like a huge guy. I’m not! I looked 230 pounds.
When I heard [announcer and former Met] Keith Hernandez say I needed a new workout plan, I just laughed. I’m not a meathead or a body-building type! I do circuit training and obstacle courses. I don’t bench three times a week. It bothered me that [Hernandez] left the impression that I’m some meathead in the gym. That’s not what I’m about. I don’t do steroids. I’m not a juicehead! Are people crazy?
How much can you bench?
My best ever was 405 [pounds]. I could probably do 315 for, like, seven reps, which is good for my body weight. I was a track-and-field athlete.
Would you like to prove your strength to Keith Hernandez?
I would love to do a charity event of his choosing, right at Citi Field. Absolutely. Arm wrestling? Another Spartan Race? We’ll see who wins.
Is this the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you?
I wasn’t embarrassed! I was, like, 50 pounds fatter last year. I would’ve been mortified to see myself on-camera then. I passed out in high school once when I pricked my finger in biology class to check my blood type. To me, that was far more embarrassing.
Are you a Mets fan?
I’m a New York fan, but I probably lean to the Yankees.