LET’S RAISE A GLASS TO THE ’86 METS

Man, 25 years ago. So where was I 25 years ago tonight when the most famous ground ball in baseball history went through the wickets of Bill Buckner?

I wasn’t at the game, I was home watching with my wife as we were in month seven of our marriage. The only game of the series I attend was Game 1, the game that turned on a ball getting through the legs of Tim Teufel, a play that gets lost in the Buckner Blunder, ruining a beautifully pitched game by Ron Darling with help from Roger McDowell.  

One of the issues with watching Mets games on TV back in ’86 was Bay Ridge Brooklyn was NOT wired for cable television back then. There was a whole quagmire with franchise rights by the cable companies, if you wanted the lucrative Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights account you had to take the less desirable East New York, Flatbush area as well. So after all the graft and bribes were dished out, I think it wasn’t until 1988 when we Bay Ridgeites  got  hooked up to Time-Warner Cable, so back in ’86 I spent most of my time in the numerous bars of Bay Ridge that were equipped with these enormous satellite dishes on their roofs to watch Mets game televised on SportsChannel.  So when games were on “free TV” I’d give my wallet and liver a break and stay home.

Game 6 was on a Saturday night, I remember we went for an unusually early dinner (my kids have a hard time believing that the same couple who fall asleep on the couch at 9PM used to go out until 4 or 5 the next morning on a regular basis. It’s the same way their stare at our wedding picture in which I have this incredible crop of curly brown hair. The tilt their heads from side to side like it’s some abstract painting in a gallery trying to figure out who the guy is with their mom. Lovely.) and then came home. Before getting home I stopped at the deli on 5th Ave to pick up some Molson Golden for my game libation. My wife sat with me for the first few innings (she is not big on watching Baseball or any sport on TV, she’ll go a games in person and enjoy it but to sit and watch on TV? Ain’t happening) then decided she go to the bedroom and watch something else. Of course she fell asleep, so it was just me, Vin Scully (Mets fans were very upset with Scully’s critiques of the Mets during this series)  Joe Garagiola and my six bottles of Molson.

Everyone knows about the bottom of the 10th inning of this game but the inning that gets lost in history is the bottom of the 8th where the Mets were down a run. Former Met, Calvin Schiraldi comes in for the Red Sox to help preserve the lead and bridge to Bob Stanley, the Boston closer. After a Lee Mazzilli (pinch hitting for Jesse Orosco) leadoff single, Davey Johnson went against the Earl Weaver book he was weaned on, to play small ball. Lenny Dykstra comes up (by the way after six Molson on top of the cocktails I had at dinner, I’m now talking to the TV like I’m sitting with Scully and Garagiola. I wish there was Twitter back then, my drunked Tweets would have been memorable) and lays down a sac bunt that he beats out, so now the Mets have 1st and 2nd no outs.  Wally Backman comes up and he lays down a sac bunt that moves Maz to 3rd and Nails to 2nd after an Intentional Walk to Keith Hernandez to set up a double play at any base, up stepped Gary Carter.

Here is why Mets fans love Gary Carter, nobody loves a pressure situation and came through in those situations like Kid.  That’s why when you sit in Citi Field and the Get Well Soon video comes on the screen, everyone stops and watches. That’s why when I see Ron Darling in the Stand Up For Cancer PSA, with his I Stand Up For My Catcher sign, I get a lump in my throat. Gary Carter was a great Met, retire his #8 PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I digress, Kid comes though with a Sac Fly scoring Maz and we are tied at 3.

After the top of the 10th where Rick Aguilera gave up 2 runs, all I need is a hand gun as I’ve turned into Elvis Presley , looking to shoot my TV. After two quick outs in the bottom of the 10th I am one ornery intoxicated Mets fan, with my TV remote in my hand I was ready to turn off the set as there was no way I was watching the Red Sox celebrate this World Series (the pain of 1973 was flashing through my mind) but then, he comes that man again, Gary Carter with the base hit but here I was pissed at Kid for that hit. Please put me out of my misery already but my misery turned to ecstasy.

“HONEY, WAKE UP! WAKE UP! THEY WON!!! THEY WON!!! THE METS WON!!!! YYYYYYEEEEAAAAHHHHHH!!!! GAME FUCKIN’SEVEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!WWWWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO”

My wife thought I’d lost my mind, I told get up and get dressed we got to go out. She looked at me like I was nuts but then she heard all the commotion coming from 5th Ave and then the phone started ringing as friends and family wanting to talk about the most improbable win in Mets history. There was no sleep that night/early mornings, bars and clubs of Bay Ridge were hoppin’ till sunrise and so was I.

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Comments

  1. I was the sports director at the college radio, and one of the easiest things to do was get people to work football games. Not that night. Even on the west coast, people wanted to watch this series. It was the rare night where all of the equipment was working properly. The only part of the game I actually saw as it was happening was the top of the tenth inning, it was halftime. When the second half started (game was a blowout to boot) I wanted no part of being there. A half an hour later, I still wanted no part of being there, but for an entirely different reason…by the way, I never knew until the ESPN 30 for 30 on the Cubs that, Buckner, under his fielding glove, was wearing a Cubs batting glove.

  2. I was 4 months into my marriage that night. (married on June 28)When Boston went ahead in that game I started screaming at the TV like a crazy man and my wife had this scared look on her face something like “what the fuck did I get myself into with this guy”.
    I stormed out of the room at that point and went into the living room to sulk…. I couldn’t believe it…How can these guys lose after the season they just had ??? My Grandmother must be spinning in her grave I thought!!!(she was the one that taught me how to scream at the TV during Mets games)…sometime later my new wife came out to the living room to tell me they tied it up…I got back just in time to see Buckners flub.I went to hug her because I was so happy…she told me to get lost and threw me a pillow and blanket and said “now you can go on the couch”…yes were still married.

  3. That glass is 25 years old my friend.

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