They say that somewhere in the world there is someone who looks just like you, and it just so happens that Max Scherzer’s doppelgänger resides five miles from Nationals Park.
“I was at a grocery store [in 2015] going down the aisle and a random guy was yelling at me, ‘Hey Max, Max,’ and I thought it was mistaken identity, like this guy has a friend named Max,” Kevin Kramer told The Post on Monday.
The man believed he was shopping for milk alongside the star pitcher the Nationals had just signed to a seven-year, $210 million contract, and invited him to throw out the first pitch at his baseball league.
“That’s when it hit me,” Kramer said (and no, Kramer did not throw out that first pitch).
Since then Kramer, a Washington Heights native who grew up idolizing Mets pitching great Doc Gooden, has received plenty of free drinks at D.C. bars, cheers on the Metro-North following Nationals wins, a police escort around the World Series parade, and yes, even a few interested women have showed interest thanks to the uncanny resemblance.
So, one can expect a few Nationals fans to be confused on Opening Day when they see a man they think is Scherzer sipping a brew moments before the ace takes the mound against the Yankees.
At first glance, the 46-year-old Kramer and 35-year-old Scherzer appear identical. They are separated by only two inches — Kramer is 6-foot-1 while Scherzer is listed at 6-foot-3. The lone, apparent difference is all in the eyes. Scherzer, likely a first-ballot Hall of Famer, has a rare condition called heterochromia iridis, which causes one’s eyes to be two different colors.
Scherzer’s left eye is brown while his right is blue.
Kramer has brown eyes, but often uses a blue contact lens to add to the fun. He picked up an extra supply of blue contact lenses for Thursday, when he and Nationals fans — not allowed to enter their stadium for the foreseeable future because of MLB and local government coronavirus guidelines — will gather at pubs outside the ballpark to watch the team begin its title defense in a shortened 60-game season.
On Sunday, Kramer went to Nationals Park to record a video for his Tik Tok social media account, where he posts side by side images and videos of himself posing like Scherzer just for laughs. It is all a hobby for Kramer, who heads his own search firm full-time in Arlington, Va.
“One woman came up to me and she said, ‘I hate to bother you but it’s my husband’s birthday, would you mind taking a social-distancing picture,’ and I said, ‘I’m happy to take a picture with you but I think you’re going to be disappointed because I’m not who you think I am.’”
“They’re very confused,” Kramer said of the fans’ reactions when he comes clean.
Others think he’s lying when he says he isn’t Scherzer, that he is in fact the three-time Cy Young winner, but is just trying to avoid all of the commotion that comes with being one of the area’s most famous athletes.
Before last year’s World Series, Kramer, whose popularity began to take off during the playoffs, went to Nationals Park to film a segment with a local Fox affiliate.
“I’ve got my Nats hat on, I’ve got my Nats jacket on, I’ve got a black glove on [a Scherzer staple] and I’ve got a blue contact lens in my right eye. I’m basically Max,” Kramer said. “And I was not prepared at all to be Max.
“This guy hands me his Nationals hat,” Kramer said, and not knowing what to do, “I took his hat and signed his name on his hat.”
After a brief conversation it became obvious that the man they thought to be Scherzer wasn’t so.
“These guys were obviously starting to question what was going on here and I started to get a little uncomfortable,” Kramer said, offering to buy the fan a new hat when the mix-up was realized, only to be told it wasn’t a problem.
Then came the World Series parade. While Scherzer and the rest of the Nationals stars partied on floats during the World Series celebration — D.C.’s first World Series title since 1924 — down below Kramer was mobbed by Nationals fans, some hoping to have their babies held up for a photo with the Fall Classic hero. There was no time, Kramer said, to explain to these folks that he wasn’t who they thought he was. Eventually it became so hectic, Kramer said, that he received a police escort, though the officers knew that he was not in fact the real Scherzer.
It is unclear if Scherzer knows of Kramer’s existence, though Kramer did send him a letter explaining the phenomenon.
At one point in his life, Kramer thought he was on his way to have more in common with Scherzer than looks.
Kramer was a righty hurler growing up, like Scherzer, wore No. 32 (Scherzer wears No. 31) and played against Red Sox legend Manny Ramirez, former Mets (and current New York Post Mets podcast host) Nelson Figueroa and former MLB pitcher Francisco Rodriguez in the Parade Grounds summer league, which has seen many other professional baseball players come through it. Kramer was a reliever at Pitt, where he won a Big East championship, but a professional career wasn’t in the cards because of his velocity being stuck in the 80s, he said.
Kramer has still found fame, albeit not the way he would have imagined, and it even led to him being connected to a long lost cousin in California who saw him featured in the media.
And of course there are the women, as Kramer — who has an 8-year-old son — is an eligible bachelor these days.
“Let’s just say this,” Kramer said. “For people to think you look like Max Scherzer. It certainly doesn’t hurt.
“The ladies like Max Scherzer.”