Saturday, July 14, 2007

A Present for My Parents & A Few Memories of Shea

Tonight, my wife and I will be taking my parents to the game – sort of a Father’s Day/Mother’s Day combo present. They’ll get to eat all the food and drink they want, and maybe even take home a shirt if they’re good. Heck, Ralph Kiner’s in da house tonight! So it’s the perfect present for my parents who have always supported my obsession with the Mets.

For years, they put up with my yelling and screaming at the TV from my upstairs bedroom. There were times when I would wake them up after a walk off homer, or a dramatic, late inning come back. Yet, my parents never complained. They knew the Mets had just won.

A guest post was written a few days ago about memories of Shea Stadium. Taking my parents to the game tonight certainly evokes some of those memories for me.

One time, in the early nineties, we took my parents to a game against the Phillies. While schlepping up the stairs in the upper deck, my brother and I realized something was wrong with my dad. We asked him what was wrong as we were on the steps, now half way up, and he told us he was afraid of heights. Afraid of heights? In all these years, no one ever knew he had a fear of heights, not even my mother. So we asked the attendant if they could seat us somewhere else because my dad was going to pass out. They set us up down in the field level section and we watched the Mets get blown out.

Another time I took my dad to Opening Day in 1996. That’s when Bernard Gilkey was their best player and Rico Brogna was a surprise hit. But what I remembered most about that day was when Rey Ordonez, in his first game as a Met, threw out a Cardinals player at home – from his knees, down the line, from the outfield! It was an extraordinary play.

But perhaps the most memorable game I took my parents to was late September, 1998. With one week left in the season, the Mets were in the wild card race with the Chicago Cubs, who had just lost their game that afternoon when incredibly, their outfielder, Tyler Houston, dropped what appeared to be a game-ending, routine fly ball with the bases loaded. All 3 runs scored and the Cubs lost by one run. The drive to the game was fantastic; listening to WFAN and all of the Mets fans calling in; seeing the people wearing their jerseys as we got closer to the stadium – everyone looking at each other with that look, like, we’re finally getting back to the post season. Anticipation at the stadium was at an apex as it had been 10 years since the last time the Mets were in the playoffs. A win would have pulled us into a tie for the wild card spot. And the place was juiced. But, with a 2 run lead in the ninth inning, against the lowly Florida Marlins, John Franco blew it, as he usually did in big games. He gave up like 4 or 5 runs and the Mest lost that game and ultimately the wild card by one game. I’ll never forget all of us driving home, feeling so dejected, so disappointed.

Tonight, with my parents once again in attendance, I fully expect to come away with a victory; this time, while sitting in the good seats.

1 comment:

dave said...

Fantastic post. I hope the Mets do win for your parents sake. I remember my mom and dad both following the Mets because I liked them. My dad grew up a Yankees fan but turned into a Mets fan because of his son.

The great thing is my mom and dad still wear their Mets t-shirts on the beach and now I'm the one who gets tickets and calls them up to see if they want to go. It's nice to be able to reverse roles on this.