This coming Monday, March 31st, is the holiest day of the year for me. That’s when Major League Baseball gets into full swing. From 1 pm, the starting time of the East Coast Games, until 1 am, the ending time of the West Coast games, it’s baseball, baseball, baseball.
I never played in any organized leagues, just pick up games with my friends. I can only hit a curve ball in my imagination.
My favorite team growing up was the Brooklyn Dodgers, Da’ Bums as they were affectionately know to us fans. My favorite player was Edwin “Duke” Snider. The Yanks had Mickey Mantle. The New York Giants had Willie Mays. The Duke was #1 in my eyes.
It was tough growing up a Dodger fan in a family of NY Yankeee rooters. Every October the Yanks beat up my Dodgers in the World Series, until that glorious year 1955. An old pitcher, Johnny Podres, shut down the Yanks in the seventh game and a part time player, Sandy Amoros, made a game saving catch. I got to do my victory dance for the first time.
Tragedy struck in 1957. My beloved Dodgers left New York for Los Angeles, and left me broken hearted. 😦 The Brooklyn owner, W—– O’M—–, He-who-must-not-be-named, will live in Brooklyn infamy forever.
In 1962 a new team came to New York, the Mets. They were a team in name only and lost 120 games that year, a record. As their manager, Casey Stangel said, “Can’t anybody here play this game?”
I wasn’t a fan of the Mets at first. Then I went to a double header between the Mets and my old team the Dodgers. In the first game the Mets were losing something like 10-0 in the last inning. The first Mets batter, Marvelous Marv Throneberry, came to the plate. Throneberry had once hit a triple but was called out because he missed touching 2nd base. As Stengal was about to come out and argue the call the first base umpire motioned to him that Throneberry had also missed first base. This time Throneberry hit a home run and the fans went wild, cheering, “Let’s Go Mets! Let’s Go Mets!” I got caught up with the crowd and have been a Mets fan ever since. They did lose the game 10-1 of course.
In 1969 a miracle happened. After losing game after game manager Stangel was reported to have said, “There will be a man on the moon before the Mets win a championship.” On July 21, 1969 Neil Armstrong took that historical first step on the moon. In October the Mets beat the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles in the World Series. For the second time I got to do my happy dance.
Once every decade the Mets have a winning team. I have high hopes for this years team. So for the next seven months my mantra is baseball, baseball, baseball.
What is your favorite sports team. Do you remember when you became a fan?