Tuesday, April 10, 2007

REFLECTING ON OPENING DAY AT SHEA

The Daily News had an advertisement all week leading up to Opening Day at Shea Stadium, "What's your favorite Opening Day memory?" I have one, but I didn't think it was worth sending to
them, when I have my own forum for writing it. So, since Tuesday is an off day, here is my "favorite Opening Day memory", followed by some Opening Days I attended that are worth mentioning:

I think this happened in 1996. It was definitely one of my high school years, and I think this was the one. The game was great (more on that later), but I had to get to the game first.

The characters involved are me, my dad, the nun in the dean's office, and the dean, let's call him Mr. G. I went to a Catholic all-boys high school in Flushing, and the dean was the type of guy who, whenever there was a Mets afternoon home game, would patrol the stands at Shea, looking for the guys who cut school to go to the game. I don't know if he did this so he could watch the games himself, or if he was really that anti-truancy. I think a little of both. Regardless, I was a good student, so I didn't think it was a problem that my dad would pull me out of school to go to the game.

Things haven't changed much in the past 11 years. Sure I'm married now, and a dad, and working full-time, but Monday, Opening Day at Shea 2007, and Opening Day at Shea 1996 were similar in my life because only one thing occupies my mind: Mets, Mets, Mets, Mets. In 1996, I watched the clock, knowing that when 12 noon hit, my dad would be pulling me out of Mr. Sullivan's Global Studies class.

At noon, I got the note to go to the dean's office. "Yes!" I thought. I stopped at my locker, packed up my books, put on my Mets hat, and walked to the office. The nun was sitting there.

"Your dad is here to pick you up," she said, not looking up from her papers.
"OK," I said, grinning from ear to ear.
"This wouldn't be to go to the Mets game, would it?" She asked, suddenly staring me down.
"Yes, it would, as a matter of fact," I replied, still smiling.
"Mr. G. is not going to be very happy about this," the nun said.
I didn't know what to say, so I signed out, and walked out of the building, still pretty darn happy. My dad was outside the door, waiting for me. He didn't look as happy as I was.
"Hi Dad!"
"Look serious," my dad said.
"Why?" I asked.
"I just told the nun we had a family emergency we had to tend to."

I hope that story translates as funny as it unfolded 11 years ago. (And I know it sounds like a punch line, but I swear it's true.) My dad still feels awful when we tease him about lying to a nun. I didn't get into trouble...I was a nerd. I think Mr. G. realized that. But the 1996 game was one of the better Opening Days I attended.
  • 1996 - The Mets were playing the Cardinals and fell behind 6-0. It was a cold and misty-rainy day, and all I wore was a windbreaker (I had a stupid idea that if we were going to a Mets game, I shouldn't be wearing a heavy jacket. When we left that morning, I remember my mom and dad both insisting I wear something heavier, and I told them I was fine. I wish I had worn a heavier jacket. This is always the game I think of when I think, "Am I dressed appropriately for this baseball game?"). So I was pretty miserable. But the game turned out well - the Mets scored 7 unanswered to win the game, 7-6, and this was the game that Rey Ordonez made one of the better plays I've seen - taking a relay from Bernard Gilkey in left field and firing a strike to Todd Hundley to nail a runner at the plate. Ordonez's relay was FROM HIS KNEES - and it happened in front of us (we were not in the bottom section, but we were sitting along the third base line).
  • 1993 - I insisted we HAD to go to this game, because it was the first ever for the Colorado Rockies. The game was pretty boring - but Dwight Gooden pitched a shutout and the Mets won 3-0.
  • 2001 - I went to this game with Steve from NYC, his fiancee, Lauren from NYC, and The Wife (before she was even The Fiancee). We saw the Mets raise the National League championship banner in front of the Atlanta Braves. It was pretty sweet. The Mets won. I think Mike Piazza had a big game.

I'm sure there were other home openers, but those are the ones that stand out in my mind. The next home opener I plan on attending, no matter what I have to do to get there, is when the Mets open CitiField. I HAVE to be at that game.

BOOF: Boof Bonser is pitching for the Twins on Tuesday night, against the Yankees. He's already given up a homer to A-Rod, and three runs in two innings.

BROADCASTING: I keep forgetting to mention this. I've never been a big fan of the Red Sox radio booth. But I might start listening more. The Sox still have Joe Castiglione calling their games on the radio, but he is now joined most games (and I'm not sure how the rotation works) by Dave O'Brien, formerly of ESPN, who is very good. The guy O'Brien splits time with is one of those guys who has no experience, and it makes me mad that he has the job and I don't. So I'm not going to listen to games he does, unless I'm listening for him to make a mistake. But O'Brien is good, so that's much more tolerable than Castiglione and Jerry Trupiano.

BEAT THE STREAK: I JUST this second logged onto espn.com to check on Andruw Jones, and as I was looking at the scoreboard, Jones homered. Yay. So I have a one-gamer. I'm going with Moises Alou on Wednesday - he has good numbers against Adam Eaton, and has been swinging the bat well.

I won't be watching much of Wednesday's Mets game, but I'll do my best to update after the game.

2 comments:

Dave in Brighton said...

Wait a minute. You dad, a FREAKIN' DEACON, lied to a nun? A nun? I suddenly feel much better about myself.

southern bureau said...

That story actually made me laugh out loud. That's awesome.