life in and around NYC is insane

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

songbird loves the 80's: the 1986 Mets

So it's finally baseball season again.  We have secured tickets for 7 Long Island Ducks games.  We have tickets for at least one trip to Citi Field, and hopefully may add another visit later in the season.

It was painful to watch the Mets' opener.  They played at Kansas City.  the schedule was set before last year's playoffs, so no one could know that the Mets and Kansas City would play in the 2015 World Series.  It was a bit painful to watch the Royals raise the championship banner.  It will be a bit painful to see them receive their rings tonight.

All told, the Mets have played in 5 World Series -- 1969, 1973, 1986, 2000 and 2015.   And on the two occasions when they became world champs, it was positively magical.  I don't remember the '69 series very well.  But 1986....yes, that was wonderful.

Back then, the team still played in Shea Stadium, a bright blue and orange paradise.  Home to the Mets, it had also been home to the Jets before Giants' Stadium was built.  It was also the temporary home of the Yankees and Giants in 1975, while Yankee Stadium was under renovation.  And some of the best concerts took place at Shea -- the Beatles in 1964 comes to mind.

The team?  Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden,  Ron Darling, Keith Hernandez,  Gary Carter, Mookie Wilson...Davey Johnson as manager....Bud Harrelson, a hero from 1969, coaching...

They dominated the National League, beat the Houston Astros for the league championship. 

And then came the World Series, and the Red Sox. 

It was an exciting series.  The first two games, played at Shea, went to the Red Sox.  Then the Mets took the next two at Fenway.  The Red Sox took game 5, and the teams returned to NYC with the Red Sox leading the Mets 3-2. 

And then came game 6.  I remember it well.  It was a Saturday night.  Drew and I had gone out with his friend Marc (yes, that Marc), and we wound up at Drew's parents' house in time to watch the game.  The three of us were down in the basement, talking among ourselves...until the game got very interesting. 

The score was tied at the end of 9, but the Red Sox took a 2 run  lead in the top of the 10th.

And then, in the bottom of the 10th, the magic happened. Backman flied out.  Hernandez flied out.  they were getting ready to pop a cork in the Red Sox' clubhouse.  And then Carter singled.  Mitchell singled.  Knight singled. 

By now, the three of us were standing in front to the TV, yelling and screaming, hoping against hope that our boys could pull this off.

And then Mookie Wilson came to bat.  The count went to 3-2 on Wilson.  And he hit a blooper to first.   A very playable ball.  That rolled right between Bill Buckner's legs.

And the Mets won the game. 

Game 7, played the following Tuesday, was almost anticlimactic.  Almost. 

And I went to the ticker tape parade.  It was easy, all I had to do was step outside my office building and let the confetti fall.


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