But one moment at Shea will always stick out in my mind. It's the day I got my first foul ball.
It was a Saturday afternoon game with a 1 pm start and was one of those gorgeous days in May where it was cool enough in the shade and comfortable in the sun. I was 9 years old and my friend Gary and I were headed to Shea with my parents to see the Cardinals and Mets play back in 1987. Gary was a Pirates fan, but he was willing to see the Mets play the hated Cardinals at that time. Both Gary & I brought our baseball gloves to the game, had our baseball hats on and were psyched about the snacks my mom was packing for the game (mmmm, Twizzlers).
My dad got us seats in the lower level about 20+ rows from the first baseline. They were great seats and I always love sitting along the first base side. The view just seems to be better from there. In any case we got to the game early to watch batting practice and enjoy the day.
The four of us were sitting all in one row when a woman approached us and said my mom was sitting in her seat. We checked our tickets and sure enough my dad didn't buy 4 seats sitting together. One of the tickets was for a seat in the row directly in front of us.
Since the woman was by herself, my parents asked if she would mind sitting in the seat that was in the row in front of us so that we could all sit together. This crazy lady wouldn't have it. She put up a stink and demanded that she sit in the seat she paid for. So my mom got up and sat by herself next to some other folks in the row directly in front of us. Mom wasn't pleased, but she wasn't going to let some annoying woman ruin the game.
The Mets got behind early (surprise) and in the 4th or 5th inning Kevin McReynolds stepped up to the plate and fouled off a pitch. Amazingly the foul ball was headed right toward us. I felt this sense of excitement and fright as this ball appeared to be heading right towards me. My dad, Gary and I stood up and anticipated the ball's arrival.
At the last moment the ball appeared to be tailing off to the right of me and I stretched my glove as far as I could but the ball was just out of my reach. I heard this loud smack as the ball hit the hand of a man about 2 seats to the right of me. The ball fell to the ground and there was a scramble as folks in the area all looked for the foul ball.
While this was happening, my mom also saw the foul ball coming our way, but reacted in the exact opposite way of everyone else. She ducked down, covered her head and was bracing for impact.
As the crowd scoured for the ball, lo and behold, my mom removes her hands from covering her head, turns around, and hands me the foul ball. The ball ricocheted off the man's hands to the right of me, rolled around on the ground, and plopped down right at her feet. While mom was tucking her head inbetween her knees, the ball rolled right to her.
I was stunned that there was my mom, holding a foul ball, and it was mine to have. I grabbed the ball and began waving it around and showing it off in total amazement. Meanwhile, the pain in the neck woman who had refused to switch seats with us turned to me and said, "Oh. I guess if I had switched seats, I would have gotten it."
I desperately wanted to start a little dance of joy in her face with my tongue sticking out and sticking my nose up, but I resisted. I was very mature for a 9 year old.
The Mets ended up losing that game, but it didn't matter. I had my first foul ball and a memorable story to tell about it. And how many kids can say that their mom caught a foul ball?