NY Mets’ Game 8,020 – And My 1963 Flashback
I was a Mets’ fan back when they sucked!
Some will say they still suck; and there has been much “suck” in the intervening years.
However there’ve been some memorable moments along with way!
Last night was one of them.
But before I recount that, let me take you back to my first “in-person” Mets game.
It was in June of ’63. The Catholic Church was instilling a new Pope to take the place of John XXIII…(why I remember this, I don’t know!)
My dad used to bowl with Gil Hodges at the bowling alley named after him in Mill Basin, and he (my dad) was able to get Mets tickets (those days very easy to get) from Dr. Terranova, who’s practice was in the neighborhood, and I think used to be one of the doctors on the Brooklyn Dodgers staff.)
Anyway, it was a Friday. I remember my father, my uncle Frankie, and I going into the Diamond Club, or what passed for it at the Polo Grounds. My dad wanted to have a steak, but I remember saying that it was Friday, and we couldn’t eat meat.
It just so happened that there was a priest sitting nearby…and while my dad was never one to suffer pangs of conscience…he decided to give in and have the fish instead!
Anybody who remembers seeing their first ballgame up close, especially in those years of black and white television, has to remember how remarkable it looked.
Even the drab Polo Grounds!
I vividly remember the shades of green grass, the bright red Rhinegold Beer sign in center field, and the blue pinstripes on the Mets’ uniforms.
Nothing else mattered that night. The Mets probably lost; but that began a journey that would continue as they eventually moved to Shea; and my friends and I would jump on the 7 train out to Willets Point…listening to the Mets every summer night during the 1969 season….hearing the final out of the ’69 series on my boom box on the Nostrand Ave bus…watching the 16 inning playoff game and getting updates from the F train conductor on the way home; and on and on!
Not to mention the heartbreak!
So last night…we watch as Carlos Beltran hits what should have been a double; what should have been a double by Yadier Molina taken away by a gritty Queens kid named Mike Baxter.
At that point, my wife and mother in law wanted to watch whatever the hell was on Channel 13.
I said, “…frig this, it looks like we’re on the verge of history!”; descended into the basement; and froze my ass off watching what turned out to be history!
Nobody or nothing was going to take that away from me!
I never get emotional over ball games; but I started getting misty last night.
Yankees’ and Phillies’ fans have had those moments too.
I feel like a member of the club.