Hangin’ with Mr. Met

mr. met upside down.jpgDear readers, let me tell ya: Phillies fans definitely know how to party.

I had the good fortune of spending this past weekend in South Jersey with some of the hardest of hard core Phillies fans one will ever meet; and I have a barrage of UDIs* to prove it.  My host, Bill, CEO of MyTeamRivals.com and co-author of the Phightin’ Phils Phorum has one of the coolest baseball man-caves I have ever seen, touting a full bar alongside every Phillie autograph you could imagine plus stunning memorabilia including a Mickey Mantle signed bat hanging proudly on the wall. 

Like Chico Escuela, “Beisol been a bery, bery good to me.”

No doubt.

Without the interwebs and blogging baseball for the last two years, I would have never met Bill.  In fact, through writing about my obsession, I have become good friends with so many cool, interesting, like-minded baseball fans that sometimes I just have to pinch myself at how neat it all is — that I could become good friends with people I have never met who live all over the world, from Tokyo to London to New York to L.A. to Denver to Houston to Boston to Philadelphia and everywhere in between.

And on Saturday night, while the Phillie faction was deep into a heated discussion about Ruben Amaro’s sanity, I was drawn to the poor Mr. Met effigy hanging upside down at the end of the bar, and more importantly to the fella sitting in front of it.  His name was (still is) Mike.  Mike, the lone Mets fan.  We got to talking about baseball (what else?) and before long it was revealed that Mike was at Game 6 of the 1986 World Series — perhaps the greatest World Series game ever played.

EVER.

I explained to Mike how that game (and that World Series) was the key component to my baseball fanaticism going from casual to die-hard at the speed of a first base-side groundball through the wickets.  And the St. Louis Cardinals weren’t even involved.

Of course, I was only 7 years old, but I remember the hype, the hoopla, the buzz about the Red Sox finally one game away from a title and the unruly and wildly charming bad boyz from Queens standing in their way.  I sat alongside my father and my grandmother, watching every pitch.  And as the game approached the bottom of the 9th, I clearly remember thinking that this was finally going to be the Red Sox’ moment, that they would finally reach the top after years of disappointment.

In those days, if the Cardinals weren’t in the World Series, I took my dad’s side in rooting for the National League team, no matter who it was, for according to him, the National League’s was the better game — the way it was supposed to be played. 

And I remember, as the Mets’ magic unfolded and Ray Knight crossed home plate to the tune of Vin Scully’s “And the Mets wiiiiiiin it!”, that I, too, went nuts with excitement.  I jumped up and down and ran around the house with the type of joy that is best defined by youth — a little boy’s bliss brought on by the simple idea that you can do anything if you work hard and never give up.

At that exact moment I decided that that was what baseball was all about — and that life was a game of baseball: full of drama, full of hope, full of solace, full of emotion.

Mike was there.

He knew what I was talkin’ about.

Anyone who has ever called him or herself a baseball fan knows exactly what we’re talkin’ about.

And that, to me, is power.

So, y’know, don’t hate me.  ‘Cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

*UDI = Unidentified Drunken Injury

holiday party 2009.jpg(From left to right: Bill, Me, Mr. Met, Mike and Christine — a Tigers fan no less! — in Bill’s epic baseball man-cave; more specifically, at the bar in Bill’s epic baseball man-cave)

29 Comments

Awesome looking man-cave, I’m jealous! Game 6 of the ’86 WS was definitely one of those “I remember where I was…” moments for me. I was a 21 year old college student watching at my brother’s apartment in Arlington…we were NOT rooting for the Mets and the archaic NL
:^)
–Jonestein

Jonestein — Archaic? Boooooooooooooooooooooooooooo :-)
–Jeff

Let’s see… 1986 World Series… Heck, I was born in 1990, so yeah, don’t remember. But, my grandpa always talks about that game, and the World Series game Boston played against the Cardinals in 1967. I think he said he was at that game.
-Holly
http://irishsoxkid19.mlblogs.com

Ah, poor Mr. Met.
I think that WS game was what made my dad convert to Mets-Fan-ism after growing up an As and Phillies fan…

Yes…I seem to remember that moment when you were seven except I was 15 and staring in complete disbelief at my television while yelling, “nooooooooooooooooooooo.” The good thing that came out of that moment was watching the Sox 21 years later win it all. 21 years later and 21 years sweeter. Baseball is great no matter who you cheer for. By the way your father was right. The NL is the better league to watch because that is how it is supposed to be. On another note, my grandmother (who I was living with in ’86) never forgave Boston for the way their fans treated Bill Buckner. She passed away a couple of years ago and she still had a strong distaste for my Sox until her final day. Great post.

1986 World Series…I was about three months old hahaha! :) Like you, I’m glad I’ve met some awesome baseball-minded people because of places like MLBlogs. Not only do I have people suffering through the offseason who would love to talk baseball with me, I’ve actually made some of the best friends I could have asked for. And then there’s the fact that it’s because of MLBlogs that I have a favorite YouTube video. I believe you know which one I’m referring to. :)
Jen
http://ajroxmywhitesox.mlblogs.com

Holly — The ’67 series (though I wasn’t alive for it) was also a great one (according to my elders). I’ve gone back and listened to the Harry Caray broadcasts and they’re pretty neat.
Cici — How does one go from a Phillies fan to a Mets fan!?! Sacrilege!
Ez_Mac — Your grandmother would’ve been proud of the Fenway folks when they welcomed Buckner back though, eh? That was a magical moment of its own.
Jen — You bet! Isn’t sweet though? I almost started to list on the MLBloggers I’ve become pals with but it’s too long and I was afraid I’d miss somebody…but you’re right: the relationships we make here definitely hit the spot, esepcially now. Remember when the Rockies were beat out by the Phils in the NLCS this year and we all rallied behind Emily as her support? That was cool. That was very, very cool.
–Jeff

In 1986, I was -9 years old. Haha. Honestly I don’t know much about the ’86 World Series and I fail for that part. My parents.. well, they don’t know baseball very well so why bother asking them ’bout the series, right? :)
http://hyunyoung.mlblogs.com

Hyunyoung — Do yourself a favor and go back and watch the tapes. I would also recommend the ’86 ALCS (what doozy!) and the ’82 WS, ’91 WS, ’93 WS, ’97 WS, 2001 WS, etc… there’s lots and this is the time (winter time) to go back and relive those magical moments.
–Jeff

Thanks, Baba!
–Your boy

Good post Jeffy Glad u had a good time It looks like Bill and I have the same good tastes( hair wise I mean) and having you on his team also Baba

Hey, Jeff, interesting post from an unlikely source, since the Cards weren’t involved. And yes, I remember the game, and that WS, all too well–I was a Jr. in HS, and was getting on Calvin Schiraldi’s case for not being able (suddenly) to strike out anyone. (He is still a curse word in my lexicon. I guess, then, I should not use his name, since we are not supposed to curse on this site). :/ Oh, yes, still very bad recollections from that series, even after winning 2 WS since. I would love to see a Red Sox-Mets “rematch” one day. But I can wish…;)
Good post, Jeff, even if it is of a bad memory! ;) Take care.

I wish I could have seen the 67 WS also. I just missed the 75 WS, and became a Red Sox fan, in part, because they replayed Fisk’s HR rather often! That would have been a memory!

Historic stories of baseball past have definitely made my baseball experiences more well rounded. My grandpa reaching through a barbed wire fence at Forbes Field and nabbing a home run ball. MY dad going to the first ever night game of the World Series. On top of many more moments that have made baseball not only my favorite sport, but my passion as well.

http://pittpeas.mlblogs.com

Sorry I did not make the party :O( Had a previous engagement. Looks like you all had fun though!

Jenn
http://philliesphollowers.mlblogs.com/

Greg — See, that proves that you’re a good baseball mind, that you could put your allegiances aside to appreciate the dramatic masterpiece it was!
Matt — That’s a great story… you should write about that!
Jenn — Would’ve loved to have met you but understood you had other things going on. Next time!
–Jeff

OUTSTANDING BLOG my good man. I think what also made that series was not only the hated Red Sox were in it, but the mets were still a fairly young franchise. I was 19 in ’86. So I experieneced my Yankees in the late 70′s with the Bronx zoo. So the emotion wasn’t as high as yours. But it was up there. Kind of like the joy of shoving a dirty sock into the red sox mouth…….

~Mike
http://evilempire.mlblogs.com

Mike — Thanks, man! Yeah, the Mets were young and reckless… but good back then… similar to the ’04 Red Sox, eh?
–Jeff

Now if the mets would get rid of Omar, they could be good once again.

Sounds like a great party! And what a cool man cave. (Can women have a man cave? I want one!) I remember that series very well and thought it was incredibly exciting. Baseball rocks.

- http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

Mike — I kinda dig Omar. I’d rather have him than Mozeliak.
Jane — Yes, women can have man-caves. I encourage it! Baseball does rock… like nothin’ else.
–Jeff

Jeff,
I am jealous.
First off that you met someone who has a real man-cave (looks like a Philly neighborhood bar, and I like that), plus you got to meet and party with a cool Phillies fan (They are out there, I promise).
I know there are people who do not scream at TV cameras and make obscene gestures behind female broadcasters in Philly, I have seen them and met a few of them myself during the 2008 World Series ( yes, I dressed in Rays gear). But the weekend in S Jersey with Bill and company sounds like the bomb.
Glad you had an awesome time and got to expand your cultural and sports networking circle beyond the central divisions (AL/NL).
While you were there you should have gone to the S Jersey shore and looked for Snooki (lol).

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

RR — I thought about going on an adventure to find Snookie, but the only thing I know about her is that she’s annoying and got punched in the face by some toolbox of dude. I have enough drama in my life, no need to stir up more. LOL.
–Jeff

Jeff,
As I was reading your post, I was remembering Vin Scully famost quote “So the winning run is at second base, with two outs, three and two to Mookie Wilson. (A) little roller up along first… behind the bag! It gets through Buckner! Here comes Knight, and the Mets win it!”

Excellent post!
Emma
http://crzblue.mlblogs.com/

Jeff, in a lot of ways you are right. As I was only 6-7 years old at the time, I appreciated and admired the Red Sox and the Big Red Machine independently–it was a few years later that I figured out that they were the opponents in the 75 WS (and made me wish all the more that I had seen it). I admired A LOT of the Reds players of that era. But it was also a by-product of growing up outside the Boston area–I could appreciate baseball in and of itself–and the fact that I could not play it (yes, I was that guy in RF in the song) ;). So I grew up wishing I could play the game, and loving baseball by watching it (I have been to only 2 MLB games live, though, in my life–one was a Red Sox game). But I was hooked on the Red Sox by 78, and my hatred of the Yankees and Bucky Fn Dent was cemented. (By the way, Dent’s son is in our farm system! How’d THAT happen?!). By then, it was a given that the 86 Mets were sworn enemies, also.
Take care, Jeff and Allen.

Emma — You nailed it! Ah man, that was definitely one of Vin’s finest calls… the jubilation and disbelief in his voice was exactly what we were all (maybe not Red Sox fans) thinking :-)
Greg — Thanks for sharing, man! I think Dent in your organization is the baseball gods way of reminding you it’s important to laugh at how seriously we take ourselves and our game at time. It’ll be all good. Trust that.
–Jeff

Jeff, I have always said that God has a sense of humor (often twisted–witness, Dent’s son). Perfect example was during the ALDS, with Bucknor (!) at 1B blowing a call or 8. We found it ironic that a Buckner/or still could not make a play at 1B! ;)
Yes, I thought it was great the way Buckner was received at Fenway after all those years. As much as that play was a deflater, it was not the end-all. Schiraldi and the rest of our BP had as much to do with our blowing that series as Buckner did, and he took WAY too much grief for it. So it was great to see Buckner get the reception he did after so many years.

If Stanley, Schraldi or Gedman (wild pitches can’t catch themselves) – even McNamara! – had done their jobs properly in Game 6, there’d be no need for tar and feathers for Buckner. Ever. ‘Nuff said.

Jonah
http://jonah77.mlblogs.com

Agreed, Jonah. Agreed.
–Jeff

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