Thursday, October 27, 2016

30 Years As a Mets Fan - Part 3

30 Years As a Mets Fan – Part 3

October 27, 1986

I sat down, probably after doing my homework for 3rd grade, to watch a Mets game for the first time as a fan. I’ve watched so many more in the 30 years since, but the first time always sticks with you. I remember watching in my parents’ bedroom. I couldn’t tell you why I wasn’t watching in the den. But I wanted to watch. I had been hooked 2 nights before.

The events of the game and words of the TV broadcast don’t stand out in my head now. But I will tell you they once did (which is in contrast with Game 6). About 10 years later, I watched the game on ESPN Classic, and it was the first time I watched the game (and not just the ending) since it was happening. And I remember watching that replay, hearing or seeing things, and thinking to myself “I remember that” several times over the first 7 innings. Those memories were unlocked then and have faded away since.

Well, I watched until the point in Game 7 when I had to go to bed. It was played on a Monday night, and being in 3rd grade, I couldn’t stay up late to watch the whole game. It was the bottom of the 7th when I had to go to bed. My dad had the brilliant idea to tape the end of the game. I can tell you that the tape started as Gary Carter was grounding out to end the 7th inning. Honestly, having a tape of the end of the game might have been the best thing to ever happen to me. I watched that tape, maybe an hour long going through the post-game coverage, over and over and over, probably until the tape wore out. I really don’t know what happened to it. I have no idea where it is now. In a way it’s okay, because in the past 30 years, I’ve memorized it. And I have the DVD box set now.

There was one play in the later portion of the game which stands out to me, simply working with my few memories of 1986. Mookie Wilson was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the 8th inning. It was a similar pitch and a similar effort of his to the famous Wild Pitch in the 10th inning of Game 6. NBC showed replays and still frames of the two, speaking like the Wild Pitch was already famous, and it was completely foreign to me. Even after so many times watching that tape of Game 7.

And in that last 1 ½ innings, plus a few post-game words, was my introduction to the great voice of baseball, Vin Scully. “Sharks at feeding time” to describe the scene of the Mets fans celebrating the division clincher, talking about what wouldn’t happen that night when the Mets won because of all the police officers on horseback. “Joe, you just lost your house”, to partner Joe Garagiola, who jokingly bet his house that Jesse Orosco would bunt when Davey Johnson had him swing away for an RBI in the bottom of the 8th. “Got him!” on the final out, with a very long roar from the crowd following, similar to what Vin Scully let me hear after Game 6 two nights before, similar to what hooked Vin Scully as a kid.

It was my 2nd day as a Mets fan, and the Mets won the World Series. I’ve now been waiting 30 years for another one.

“He struck him out! Struck him out! The Mets have WON the World Series!” – Bob Murphy

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

30 Years As a Mets Fan - Part 2

30 years as a Mets fan


I don’t remember the playoffs against Houston. I think I was aware of it at the time, but it wasn’t grabbing my attention. And I don’t remember the first week of games against the Red Sox. It wasn’t tugging at my curiosity.

October 25, 1986

I’m sorry that I can’t share memories of the actual game. Everything that I know about the Red Sox early lead, the Mets comeback and the 10th inning comes from having watched the DVD, tape, or televised replay several times over the past 30 years, or from history lessons, such as the Mets “How to keep score” page in their game day program/scorecard, which featured the bottom of the 10th inning from the time I could remember. I don’t remember the parachuting fan that opened Game 6, or the Red Sox jumping to an early lead, or the Mets making a mid-game comeback, a late-game comeback, and then the epic 10th inning comeback.

What I do remember is that my parents had friends over to watch Game 6. I can almost picture the scene in our den with the TV and the chairs. It’s funny how things like that stick with you. I remember that it was the night we changed the clocks back (ending Daylight Savings Time for 1986). I think that meant more to me at the time than the game did. And as the game kept going, past midnight and then a minute or two past 12:30 am, I was still awake (a novelty for an 8 ½ year old kid), watching the game with everyone else who was over at the house that night.

But something stuck with me about how the game ended. I don’t know what it was about the ball going through Buckner’s legs that drew me in. It’s something I’ve tried to figure out for the last 30 years. But I was hooked. I was a Mets fan from that moment forward.