IT WAS THE WORST OF TIMES AND THE BEST OF TIMES

Okay I’m thinking a little clearer this morning and after digesting a lot of news from the previous home of the New York Mets I still can’t get over the run of emotions that fell over me and my fellow Mets fans yesterday, so let’s look at the what the day and the season brought us.

 

Really, were you shocked that the Mets lost yesterday? It very easy to kill Scott Schonewise and Luis Ayala but we know what they are, not very good journeymen pitchers and the result yesterday was as expected. No one in the bullpen stepped up after Billy Wagner went down with injury. You can questioned Omar Minaya for not making some magic deal to get a closer but who did you want him to get and at what price? You think teams a ready to help the Mets win? Most teams are like those classless Marlins who couldn’t find the decentcy to leave the field quickly ago the Mets could begin their closing ceremony. That is a direct reflection on manager Freddi Gonzalez who is in charge of a team that if it were disbanded today, no one would give a rat’s ass about.  What Freddi and his little band of douchebags need to remember is at some point the Marlins will be dumping them as they make too much money especially Freddi Gonzalez who will be fired eventually and I bet he will calling Omar Minaya for a job.

 

Maybe the NYPD and the Skill Sets Rent a Cops should have harrased the Marlins off the field the way they were treating Mets fans yesterday. One thing the Skill Sets have to do is work on having the security force treat the customers with respect. Of all the ballparks and arenas I have gone to none are as rude and nasty as the people who work at Shea Stadium, especially the ushers and rent a cops. What is quite amazing is the Skill Sets own the Brooklyn Cyclones and there is no better place to go to watch a game than Keyspan Park where the people who work there are very fan friendly.

 

No need to go over all the scenarios about what the Mets need to do to improve the team even the little privilege prick Jeffey Wilpon knows that the bullpen has to has to be demolished and built from back to front starting with signing K-Rod by any means necessary. I usually hate giveing big money to relievers but with a half decent closer the Mets would have been NL East Champs. With a healthy Billy Wagner, we are making plans for October baseball that’s not a losers lament over injuries it’s just a stone cold fact.

 

Of course Heilman, Schoenweis, Castillo need to go but as I said a week ago if Omar Minaya does not put Carlos Beltran‘s name out there and I think I’d bait another pole with Jose Reyes name on it as well. Again it doesn’t mean you have to or want to move these players but you have to see who grabs the bait.

 

Bring back Carlos Delgado has Mosies Alou written all over it. But it makes sense in that you’d have to give him $4mil to leave and $12mil to stay so for the $8mil difference so it’s worth the risk to keep him.

 

Petey I love you but bye-bye.

 

Even though I’m ok with J-Man coming back to manage the Mets, watching Wally Backman walk the field at Shea has me wondering why not Wally? In fact why not any ex-Met. Look at the coaching staff, not an ex Metsie on it. As much as Old School Dan Warthen did a good job I wouldn’t mind having Bobby Ojeda in the dugout next year.

 

(EDIT: Holy shite, how could I forget HOJO Bad Job outta me )

 

Enough with the negativity and angst and sorrow of the 2008 season let talk about the closing ceremony. Yes, it should have been done before the game as no one was in the mood for celebrating. In fact many people were leaving in the 8th inning THE 8th INNING ARE YOU KIDDING!!!!!!!! (I know I said no more angst) Be that as it may the ceremony was fantastic. As every player was introduced I had a story for each guy because everyone who passed through those bullpen gates I saw in person which led my son to say “Dad, you are really old” Yes, yes I am and yesterday was the only time I was glad to be an old timer.

 

There is no excuse for not mentioning Bobby Valentine’s name and for not including Nelson Doubleday, the Payson-de Roulet Family and even M.Donald Scumbag. They are all vital parts of Mets and Shea Stadium history.

 

Poor George Foster still can get any love at Shea 

 

Of course seeing Tom Seaver, Mike Piazza, and my guy Eddie Kranepool was special and brought me to my feet but the guys who touched me the most were guys like Cleon Jones, who when he was introduced I jumped out of my seat clapping like a trained seal yelling out “Yeah baby, .340 in 1969 that’s what I’m talking about” and having my wife and kids hang their heads like oh God here he goes. When George “The Stork” Theodore came out I felt a rush go though my body because if any player sums up the Mets and the history of this franchise it’s The Stork, gangly, wore glasses, not very good but always tried hard. My son asked me how good the Stork was as a player and I told him he is most remembered as being part of the worst collision of outfielders in baseball history when he and Don Hahn slammed into each other face first. I think that says it all right there.

 

When Doc Gooden came out I felt very emotional. Not just because of the pain and sorrow he has suffered and brought on his family with his addictions problem or for the fact that he threw away a brilliant career. I welled up because I was happy he was home and the fact that I always have the memory of watching him pitch back in the 80’s when Shea was Shea. When a Doc Gooden start was must see baseball. When I had a pony tail ahhhhhh great times.

 

I think it is safe to say that not only is it a lock that the first great event at the Skill Set Pleasure Palace will be the retiring of number 31 and also we can assume that Mike Piazza will be wearing a Mets cap on his HOF plaque.

 

I was glad to see my man Eddie Kranepool get such a nice ovation as he is a forgotten man in Mets history just look at the record books and he still is at the top or in the top 5 or7 in many lifetime offensive categories.

 

The biggest moment though for me yesterday (besides talking with Steve Sommers of WFAN before the game) was talking to Tom Seaver. Yes that’s right I got to talk to The Franchise. It wasn’t a one on one but I‘ll explain.

 

I didn’t want to leave as I said last night so before we got to the exit I stopped at the Lodge section and told my family “one more time please one more time” so they said fine and we went back in. I see a handful of people looking up to the press level and who is leaning out but Tom Seaver and he was having the time of his life. He was joking and smiling and not living up to his reputation as a hard ass. He was talking about Shea and I said to him “Tom I don’t want to leave in fact I’m thinking of becoming a squatter” Seaver laughed and said “I know how you feel it is hard leaving this place but I’ve seen the new park and you won’t be disappointed” Now I didn’t want to have a debate with the Franchise over cost of tickets and food and other stuff as this was not the time for that this was Tom Seaver talking to the flock. I then told Seaver how hard it is to leave here as I spent 44 summers here and it’s tough to let go. Seaver then asks me what my favorite memory was. I told him besides the World Series games I will never forget the Imperfect Game and how I’d love to ring Jimmy Qualls neck. Seaver gave a big hearty laugh and said “You want to ring his neck? How do you think I feel? With that I waved to Seaver and thanked him and said “Will we see you at $iti Field”? “You bet, replied Seaver so with that I turned and left Shea with the thought that the last moment I spent at Shea Stadium was saying so long to Tom Seaver.  On the ride home I thought of what he said and I pictured Seaver in his vineyard working the land and I picture him contemplating the night of July 9th 1969 and the single to LF that broke up the Perfect Game.  

 

Who the hell am I kidding, I’ll be at $iti Field by hook or by crook on opening day beacuase of my addiction to this team and what makes it worse is that they know it too. They know I can’t stay away even when they try to price me out they know I’ll find a way to get to the games. I’m a lost cause. No hope. How many days until pitchers and catchers? 

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Comments

  1. Hey – Thanks for a great blog…which I only discovered a week ago! And a really nice summary of the events at Shea yesterday for those of us who could not be there. I was there the first time in 1964 but don’t live near NY anymore so don’t get there much. When I was 9 (64) my mom said I wanted to be buried under 2nd base at Shea. Guess it’ll be a parking lot now. Thought after the Seaver deal that I would never be a Mets fan again…but orange and blue always wins out. Bye and see ya next year!

  2. Great post! How I envy you and your convo with Seaver.

    But there is an ex-Metsie in the dugout–Howard Johnson! Don’t forget HoJo.

  3. “In fact why not any ex-Met. Look at the coaching staff, not an ex Metsie on it.”

    Uh. Howard Johnson, Beavis.

  4. In a strange way, it was almost appropriate that the Mets lost yesterday and then they had the celebration. Because I thought it was like a funeral. Couldn’t shake that all day even watching the game. Gotta hand it to the Mets that they sure know how to provide the mood music for a funeral, don’t they?

    I listened to the post-game ceremonies on radio – no t.v. for that (and we had TBS coverage, so radio only for the sound) – and couldn’t believe it when I heard Howie say “George Foster”. I thought I was hearing things. I thought, “Maybe he said Dan Norman”? But, no. It was Foster, huh? Wow. Never expected that.

    The teams I knew best were those from the late 70s and early 80s. I know, I know, but I was in high school then and I just devoured baseball, especially the Mets then. I was sort of surprised Doug Flynn wasn’t there. I always liked him even though he was part of the Seaver trade. Henderson wasn’t there either, was he? I heard Brooks, Stearns, Mazzilli & Swan. Were there any others from those teams? Kobel? Hausman? Neil Allen? (always liked Allen)

  5. Eagle, Flynn was there Hubbie Brooks was named but he wasn’t there WOW Kevin Kobel and Tom Haussman, Haussman was the first free agent signed by the Mets when the reserve claus was overturned I was shocked to see Dave Kingman and Sid Fernandez was fit and trim go figure!

    It took for-ev-er to get the cermony under way but it was well worth it I kind of felt bad for old George as there were boos and grumbles when his name was called. Also no mention of Frank Cashen.

  6. Yeah, I felt bad when I heard the boos after Foster’s name was read out. He was a total disappointment, but still can’t we let bygones be bygones? It’s 22 years since he was gotten rid of, no?

    Glad Flynn was there.

    Can’t believe no Frank Cashen. Not even a mention? He was the key front office guy of the rebirth, wasn’t he? Am I misremembering?

    I was surprised to hear Kingman’s name. He was never my favorite.

    Was there someone there from Donn Clendenon’s family? I heard McGraw’s and Agee’s relatives’ names.

  7. No mention of “Clink” sad since he was the 1969 WS MVP

    I know Cashen is not well but mu GOd a mention at least

    Yes two of Tug’s kids were there.

    Kong got a big hand mostly from us “mature fans”

  8. Steve,

    Was Willie Montanez there? Strange that I remember him so fondly, but lent a bit of flair when we badly needed it. Plus he hit what was probably the longest HR I ever saw at Shea, over the back wall of the Mets bullpen and into the parking lot.

    Gary

  9. Oh, Gary, and the way he caught pop-ups or flipped his bat at the plate. Like thousands of other kids, I tried to emulate him on the field and at the plate.

  10. By the way, do you think the Wilpons are going to ask the Feds to take Castillo & the bullpen off their hands as “toxic assets”?

  11. Frank from Jersey says:

    Honestly guys, I was so upset and disappointed about the Mets loss / Brewers win over the Iowa Cubs that I couldn’t bear to watch it. I know there is a DVD out so maybe I’ll get that for my birthday or something. No fan deserves to have a 162 game season end on the last day, 2 years in a row. Some might argue that it is awesome to be in the race until the last day but I beg to differ.

  12. Sheagoodbye says:

    Wally Backman is a wife-beating drunk. He’s not the answer. Please – don’t anyone say Lee Mazzilli – is there a dumber ex-Met? Did anyone see Mazz monopolizing the interviews in the pregame?

    George Theodore was a huge surprise. I met him in 1973 – he was so nice to us. We chased his car thru the Shea lot and he stopped to chat.

    Kingman was a shocker. He was surly back in the day. Faux pas by Howie Rose – Kingman hated the nickname “Kong”. That’s why Murph came up with “Sky King” as an alterative.

    Anyone know what the beef between the Mets and Mookie is? No Mookie at Shea? Another flub by the Skill Sets. I can’t imagine a fallout being Mookie’s fault. Everything you hear about him is that he’s a great person.

  13. I thought they did the cermony with class and I was happy for that. Steve, you were there, so let me tell you what Darling said. “Shea has some great memories, 69, 86, 99, 2000, the first game post 9/11. But there have been a lot more bad memories.” I agree 100%. I grew up there, too. Full season tix, now a Saturday plan. I was at all 7 post-season games in 1986, through a connection in the Mets scouting dept. It was the time of my life. But, let’s face facts. That place is more associated with losing than anything. It was our home, yes. But maybe we can wipe it off the face of the earth, treasure the memories, and start a WINNING tradition somewhere else. I’m fucking sick of being loveable losers, then a team that teams love to beat and laugh at. Time for a karma change, first the stadium, then the team on the field, if you ask me. Maybe Citi will be the start of our Braves-like run. I’m ready for it.

  14. not lovable losers says:

    “I’m fucking sick of being loveable losers, then a team that teams love to beat and laugh at. Time for a karma change, first the stadium, then the team on the field, if you ask me. Maybe Citi will be the start of our Braves-like run. I’m ready for it.”

    Ummm…NOTHING loveable about these losers. They are very hatable losers. Not individually. There’s no Timo Perez (ie, easilty hatable) guy in this bunch. Collectively, I detest them and their gutlessness.

    Re Citi Field changing our luck: don’t kid yourself. This is not yet rock bottom. An alcoholic has to hit rock bottom before he quits for good. Fred’s addiction to humiliation and failure has not peaked. When it does, he will sell and then we can think about recovery.

  15. BTW–Great blog, I still have the full size Ed Kranepool poster that was in my room as a youth.

    Some thoughts about the funeral/tribute to Shea following yesterday’s game:

    Final pitch–Seaver to Piazza….great touch, fitting exit

    Nice to see Willie Mays and Yogi Berra on hand…why couldn’t Howie refer to Willie as baseball’s greatest living player? (something I hear Joe DiMaggio insisted upon for Old Timer’s appearances) Many of us believe he was THE greatest player (living or dead).

    Sad they could not get to come back: Jerry Grote, Nolan Ryan, Ray Knight, Mookie Wilson, Davey Johnson, Jon Matlack

    Puzzled to see they did invite back: Doug Flynn, George Foster, Jim McAndrew (wasn’t Doug Sisk available?)

    Personal Faves: Eddie Kranepool, Felix Millan, Jerry Koosman

    Still looked great: Cleon Jones, John Stearns, Bud Harrelson

    Where was Doc Gooden’s parole officer?

    Returning Alumni I want to hear more about his post baseball career: George Theodore (doesn’t he look like a Seinfeld character?)

    Why no mention of Bobby V?

    Imagine what this ceremony had been like if 56,059+ fans had not just gotten their hearts ripped from their chests less than 30 minutes before.

    Just my $.02

  16. You are spot on about the ushers and security guards at shea, worst in major league baseball.

    I remember being at a rain-out make up game against the Brewers in July of 2003. There were literally 3-4 thousand people in the place and the Mets were losing 6-2. Their were a couple of kids who moved down to the lodge next to me. You would have thought the kids stole a thousand dollars the way the ushers were yelling at them. They shoud have pinned a medal on those kids for coming to that game in 2003.

    Also, no mention of John Milner?? one of my all time favorite Mets.

  17. My “loveable losers” comment referred to the 62-68 Mets. There is nothing loveable now, I agree.

  18. John “The Hammer” Milner should have been mentioned and I’d have loved to have seen Willie Mon-ten-ezz there as well. Even better would have been Richie Hebner to come out and give the fans the finger for old time sake

  19. Jack Heidemann says:

    John Q – I have a similar story.

    I was at the last home game of the 1993 season, when the Stems lost 103 games. We won that night – Eddie Murray hit a huge bomb to dead center.

    We tried to go down to the field level for the final inning and they still had that chain link gate there. They wouldn’t let us (2 of a crowd of 2,000) sit in the good seats for one inning. Imagine – the people who pay to see a 103 loss team in late September in Grant’s Tomb and they wouldn’t let us in.

  20. One thing that bugs me about SNY or the Mets oraganization in general is the way they “Gloss Over” “White Wash” or simply ignore certain periods in their history i.e, The Pre-championship Mets or 1965-1968, The Disco Mets of 1977-1983, The Worst Team Money could buy teams of 1991-1994, The Generation K teams of 1995-1997, or the Fred Coupon teams of 2001-2004.

    I know those weren’t the best of times but it’s OUR history and OUR memories, good or bad it’s still our history.

    Also, there is more to the “Good” times than just 1969 & 1986.

    The 1973 team is woefully, under-represented as is the 1970-1976 period in general.

    Also, there is more to the 80′s than just 1986. How about the 1985 team or the 1988 team. or 87 or 84 for that matter.

    And there’s more to the 99 and 2000 than just a grand slam single and Clemens throwing a bat.

    Besides if we wanted to follow a team that considers anything less than world championships a failure we would be Yankees fans.

    According to SNY and Mets organization our history consists of:

    1-The loveable losers of 1962 & Casey Stengel
    2-Shea Stadium opening in 1964
    3-1969 Mets
    4-1969 Mets
    5-1969 Mets
    6-1970-Tom Seaver & Jimmy Qualls
    7-1973-Tug Mcgraw saying “You gotta believe”
    8-1977-Tom Seaver getting traded
    9-1983-Tom Seaver coming Back
    10-1983-Keith Hernandez coming over in a trade.
    11-1985-Gary Carter coming over in a trade.
    12-1986 Mets
    13-1986 Mets
    14-1986 Mets & Bill Buckner
    15-1998-Mike Piazza coming from the Marlins
    16-1999-Grand Slam Single
    17-2000-Clemens throwing the bat a Piazza
    18-2001-Piazza 9/11 home run
    19-2006-N.L. east champs
    20-Endy Chavez catch

  21. Also, there should have been some mention of Bobby Jones and his 1 hitter to clinch the NLDS in 2000.

    I was at that game and it’s my favorite Mets memory. Also, I think it’s the most under-rated moment in Mets history.

    The most over-rated was the Grand Slam Single.

  22. kranepool says:

    John Q you are so right the Mets just go over the same stories over and over again never is the name Wes Westrum or Dallas Green talked about how about Bernard Gillkey and Lance Johnson? Why not do stories on what went wrong in the 90′s with this franchise We all know about the 86 team and the 69 team it would help to educated the fans on all the lean years as well

  23. I think this is a by-product of teams having their own networks. They want to present their/OUR teams with no worts, no blemishes, no conflicts. What your left with is a very bland and sanitized version of their/OUR history.

    According to Sny/Mets organization:

    1-The Mets never made a bad trade except for Tom Seaver.

    2-No mention of Nolan Ryan, Amos Otis, Ken Singleton, Staub/Lolitch, David Cone, Jeff Kent, Scott Kazmir, Heath Bell, Brian Banister, Matt Lindstrom.

    3-The Mets never made a bad free-agent signing.

    4-The Mets never fired a manager or a general manager.

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