by Ray Bergman
Game 23 - Mets vs Giants at Shea Stadium
August 31, 1996Once again, I'm in New York. This time for the "marvelous" Mets and Dusty Baker's Giants. It was a short drive (90 miles) down the New Jersey Turnpike from Philadelphia to Shea Stadium.
The Mets came into the National League in 1962 along with the Houston franchise. This was the first time National League baseball returned to the "Big Apple" since the departure of the Dodgers and Giants back in 1957. New York was hungry for a National League presence and now they had their darling Mets. This was a team that was primarily made up of former league stars now in the twilight of their careers. They were even managed by the colorful Casey Stengel. They became the laughing stock of baseball with their haphazard play and antics. The Mets' loyal fans were very strong hearted as the Mets would always find a new way to lose a winning or close game in the last innings. My Father was one of those die hard Mets fans. He would actually get sick watching them throw away a game in the late innings. I have never seen him get more aggravated over anything in his life.
However, just eight years after their beginning, the "Miracle" Mets suprised the world by winning the pennant and the World Series in 1969. They did it with a superb pitching staff that had two future Hall of Famers, Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan (yes, that Nolan Ryan) they were complemented with Jerry Koozman and Jim Kaat. Shea Stadium was filled to capacity for the return visits of the Dodgers and Giants.
It just happens to work out that this game will also be against the Giants. After the game I will be spending a week in New York with my brother and his wife. I do not have another game scheduled until September 8th. When you get this deep into the dream the challenge gets a lot tougher to coordinate. I'm expecting my "significant other" of 18 years, to fly out of San Francisco and meet me here in New York. Together, we will complete the final 90 foot run to home and the last leg of "My Dream."
I stopped by to visit, and take with me to the game, my Dear Aunt Evelyn who lives just five minutes from Shea Stadium. There was a lot going on in the area today. The U.S. Open tennis matches were being played in Flushing, NY, just a short fly ball from Shea Stadium.
Shea is a three-tiered stadium with sky boxes between the first and second levels. There is a very small bleacher area in left-center field, and a huge scoreboard in right center, otherwise the outfield is open for views of New York City. The open part of the outfield is an appealing feature that we don't see at most Stadiums. It breaks up the monotony of seeing seats and stands all around you. If you feel you are getting bored you can always watch the large jets taking off from nearby La Guardia every five minutes.
The Mets sent Robert Person to the mound to start and the Giants countered with Osvaldo Fernandez. The Mets drew first blood with a run in the third but the Giants came right back with their own run in the fourth to tie the game at one. An injury forced Fernandez to leave the game in the fifth. The Mets took advantage of the Giants relievers and scored six runs in the last four innings and went on to win 7-2.
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© 1996 by Ray Bergman. Reproduction of all or any part of "My Baseball Dream" without the written permission of Ray Bergman is prohibited.
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