I didn’t watch one pitch of yesterday’s Mets-Phillies game. With opening Sunday of the NFL in full swing and the New York Football Giants on Ch. 5 and Tom Brady and the Pats on Ch. 2, there was no reason to move the dial any further. Oh I didn’t blow off baseball altogether, by 4PM I was ready for the Giants-Padres game and the match up of Tim Lincecum and Matt Latos, in fact my baseball viewing from today on will include watching the Giants, Padres, Rockies, Rays, and the on the downward spiraling Highlanders.
It hit me around 7PM last night when I didn’t even know that the Mets lost to the Phillies 3-0, that the NY Mets franchise has collectively climbed in the Mr. Peabody and Sherman’s Way Back machine and have arrived at 1979.
What year 1979 was. I was 21 years old with more hair than I knew what to do with (give me a moment please………………………..sniff! sniff!……………..ok back to the post) hanging out at Max’s Kansas City and CBGB. Going to the Palladium to see The Clash and Graham Parker and the Rumor (The Palladium was a great venue, first time I ever saw Bruce Springsteen ad the E Street Band was there in 1976, YES I SAID 1976!) I spent my winters and spring watching the NY Rangers from Section 432 in my Blue Seat all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals where they lost to Les Habitants but at least the Blueshirts beat the Icelanders as that was the year that no good scumbag Denis Potvin took out Ulf Nilson and the POTVIN SUCKS Chant was born.
More to the point of this post though, 1979 was the year the NY Mets drew 788,905 live bodies to Shea Stadium, less than 10,000 a game (9,621 to be precise) and I can not remember if I were a part of that 788,905-details are very hazy-but I’m sure I was because it was Richie Hebner’s one and only season as a Met and I remember him giving Mets fans the finger. I also remember it was Ed Kranepool’s last year. I remember Bob Murphy telling the tale of Ed Glynn a relief pitcher who also hawked hot dogs at Shea as a youth. The one bright spot of ’79 was that miserable, no good, saboteur of the franchise; M. Donald Grant was no longer around, dumped by Lorinda de Roulet after the 1978 season. But the team still sucked.
Right after the season, de Roulet thankfully sold the team as she had no clue on how to run it, she sold it to the dynamic duo of Nelson Doubleday and Fred Wilpon and the rest as they say is history.
Myself and many Mets fans lived through 1979 and not only was it not fun but it was painful. Painful because of what could have been. What if Tom Seaver was never traded ? What if Joan Payson wasn’t sick and then dying during the advent of free agency with that asshole Grant advising her ? Remember Mrs. Payson had no problem spending money on her team, in fact when the Mets were born in 1962 she told Horace Stoneham that she wanted to buy the contract of Willie Mays and money was no object. What would have happened if Whitey Herzog would have been named manager after the death of Hodges instead of the overmatched Yogi Berra?
As much as I would to re-live 1979 all over again I wouldn’t want to relive the Mets season of that year as the Mets were so bad no one cared. At least we still care, we still have passion for this team, though it’s mostly negative, it’s still passion. Let’s hope the right moves are made for a new GM and manager and that deadwood and players who don’t like it here are sent off, no matter the cost monetarily. It’s time to restore some pride in this organization but I’m not optimistic the people in charge are intelligent enough to pull it off. All Jeffey Skill Sets needs to do is start collect batting practice baseballs, clean them and use them again and he’d be Linda de Roulet all over again.