Lots and love and support for Shannon Forde at the fundraising dinner last night. 1000 people that have crossed her path in the 18 years she’s worked for the Mets showed up to show their support, and not least among them Sandy Alderson and Jeff Wilpon.
Perhaps that’s why the news of David Wright’s re-signing didn’t come down and get finalized until the middle of the night; they were busy with something more important. It doesn’t matter which day of the offseason it gets done, and now that it’s seemingly done we can rejoice and celebrate what’s likely to be one of the Mets best players, perhaps the best, ever.
I’ve been calling for them to name Wright captain for years, and while it’s never been a thing of huge importance it’d be nice to see Wright’s new blue jersey come with a ‘C’. (I’m not at home right now, but we’ll get Wright photoshopped in a blue jersey with a ‘C’, I promise) I’m not asking him to take on a new role, or give him new responsibilities. Naming him captain is simply another way to celebrate him, and we should make a point to celebrate our best players when they’re on the field performing for us.
Wright is a Met. He’s always been a Met. He will always be a Met. 60 years from now Wright will be showing up at Alumni events and our kids and grandkids and beyond will be there to cheer him. They’ll compare him to their new heroes, and the third basemen that come after him. Players that likely haven’t even been born yet. Wright will recount stories about playing with Cliff Floyd, Mike Piazza, Carlos Delgado and others. He’ll reminisce about at bats against legends like Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez and all the superstars in the league now plus the ones that will emerge over the next eight years. No other Mets player will ever wear the number five again. He’s destined for the left field wall, and maybe one day the Hall of Fame and even a statue. There could be a Wright plaza at the next stadium.
What we have here in front of us is one of the Mets all-time greats, in his prime, to root for for years to come. This is greater than wins and losses, greater than owners and uniform colors and ticket prices. We’re going to talk about these times, this next legendary Met, for decades and decades. Enjoy it. Believe it.
The first truly great moment, of many to come, at Citi Field. The first Mets moment in history in a while that instantly became a “Where were you when?” moment. The last one was probably also Johan Santana‘s. His amazin’ domination of the Florida Marlins on the second to last game of 2008.
I was at a restaurant for my mother-in-law’s birthday. A Hibachi steakhouse in Valley Stream, NY. Much like Johan Santana, this restaurant had recently been damaged and shut-down, only recently reopening. My wife, among others, joke that I’m addicted to my phone and this bit of positive reinforcement certainly won’t help with that. I fully intended to detach from baseball for a night. I’d seen Carlos Beltran‘s first at-bat before we went to dinner, and figured I’d read the recap and watch the highlights later. I didn’t. I finished my onion soup and peeked at the score. After all, Johan Santana was pitching and we’d been there to see his last dominating start as a mere mortal last Saturday. Game day told me of Duda’s 3-run home run and I smiled. I did notice that there were no hits. Of course I noticed. We always noticed. It was early though, and we’ve seen that before. My salad came and I started eating, and I drank my beer and ate some edamame. All the while that nagging feeling in the back of my brain was tingling. Internet addiction? Mets magic? I checked the score. I checked the pitch count. I got worried. These checks got more and more frequent, with a brief reprieve while the Mets were coming to bat. They had a big lead and I was just hoping they wouldn’t prolong the time Santana had to sit and wait to continue. I fretted briefly over the ‘injury delay’. As we got to the 7th inning I started seriously checking the pace of dinner.
Would the guy behind the bar flip the tiny screen to the game instead of whatever race they were showing? Was anyone really watching that? Maybe I would step out to the parking lot and use MLB’s At-Bat app for a live look-in. Would 3G service be enough for that? Probably not. The audio feed would probably be the way to go. We’d finished ice cream and our waiter had disappeared. Where was he? Run my credit card already! Bottom of the 8th. Someone finally showed up and processed it, and we could leave. I got to the car in time for the 9th. Instantly I was transported into the game. It’s amazing how these events manage to do that. I’d mentally pushed baseball down on my list of important things for the night, but it wasn’t having any of that. Tonight was about Mets baseball. I turned on the radio and Howie’s voice instantly filled me with all the jitters and emotions that we all know so well. He called the game while I drove, which I don’t recommend in such situations..not that there will ever be a situation quite like that, and he called each ball in play with the urgency it demanded but also with a hint of terror that it was going to fall in. Your brains, like mine, like Howie’s, probably ran through each of the billion ways it could’ve gone wrong. It didn’t. It so didn’t.
I parked, and everyone else went in. I listened to the recap and interviews, grateful that they didn’t go to commercial and say “Back to talk about it in a moment”. It was a great night. It was a Mets night. Baseball took over, and it was glorious.
Congratulations to Johan Santana, and Happy National Donut Day everyone!
The Mets Hall of Fame game is Sunday. Before the game they’re having a ceremony and inducting Frank Cashen, Dwight Gooden, Davey Johnson, and Darryl Strawberry into the Mets Hall of Fame. There are still tickets available. There are still TOO MANY tickets available. Shannon over at Mets Police has been all over this, and rightfully so. It’s one thing if the mid-level seats that are priced above what’s affordable for many people don’t sell out. It’s quite another if the Promenade section doesn’t.
The lack of Mets history in Citi Field was one of the biggest complaints about the place last year. More so than even Pelfrey letting Jody Gerut hit the first home run in the place. Even if you only go to a few games this year, this should be near the top of the list of options. It’s honoring one of our greatest teams. Great players who we enjoyed rooting for for many years and the leaders who helped get them there. True Mets. It doesn’t matter what they did off the field or later in their careers in lesser leagues. They did something for Mets fans that can never be erased, and to miss out on that for petty reasons like inflation, personal feelings about current players or administrators, or the organization or park not being precisely how you like it is just sad. It’s one thing if it doesn’t fit into your schedule, your personal finances, or you’re flat out busy that day, but it’s quite another to make a specific effort NOT to go. If you’re going to stop celebrating the best parts of the Mets history, what are you going to celebrate?