Sunday, September 18, 2011

My first Mets memory

Editor's note: This is a preview for an off-season series that I am planning for my blog which covers my 25 years as a Mets fan (exactly half of their existence). This preview blog entry is meant to coincide with my first game.

I have exactly 3 memories from the Mets 1986 World Championship season. I will post about 2 of them later, maybe in late October. But my first memory of the Mets, a beginning of sorts, occured on this date 25 years ago (September 18, 1986). My father had actually pulled me out of school to take me to a Thursday afternoon game just a week or so after I had started the 3rd grade. I have no idea why he picked this game (and why not a weekend game or a summer game). I probably knew the basics of baseball from playing kickball in gym class and during recess at school. But I didn't know Major League Baseball or the New York Mets. I don't think I had any concept of what a magical season it had been or what "A September To Remember" was all about. And I don't think I had any knowledge or interest in the game the night before (at that madhouse called Shea). I really had a clean slate.

I don't remember much about this game. Rick Anderson pitched for the Mets (I had to look it up, years later, after the internet had been invented and populated with mass amounts of data that he went 5 innings to get the win, and a rookie pitcher by the name of Greg Maddux went 4 to take the loss). Howard Johnson hit a HR. 5 years ago, the great writer/blogger Greg Prince wrote about it as part of his Flashback Friday series that looked back on the 1986 season. He's older than I, has a better memory (certainly not the memory of an 8 1/2 year old from that season), and writes much better than I do, so please go read his recap of the game.

And the field looked like patch-work. Or as my dad called it, "green band-aids". I don't have pictures of this. I've seen the video highlight of HoJo's HR, and I honestly don't remember if my memory of the game is from the Mezzanine level near 1B because that's where I sat, or because that's which TV camera shot that HR in the lone highlight I've seen thus far.

I did find the video on YouTube this morning, as part of a larger collection of 1986 footage, and saw a few other highlights of the game. I really can say that I don't remember much about the game other than Anderson getting the win, HoJo hitting a HR, and the 5-0 score over the Cubs. And it was the day after they had clinched the division, which made it easy for me to find the game in the archives later on.

Just like in my new offseason series looking back at 25 years as a Mets fan, this game was sort of a start for me. I don't remember anything else from September. It's not like I recall watching the next game in which the Mets played. I don't remember any of NLCS against Houston as it happened. I have seen some of those games on DVD, Mets Classics, ESPN Classic, and MLB Network over the years. I don't remember most of the World Series either. None of the hype, nor watching any of the games. Until one Saturday night in late October...but that's for next time.

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