Jul 22, 2019

50th Anniversary of the 1969 Mets: Mets Head to the All Star Break

50th Anniversary of the 1969 World Champion "Amazing Mets"

The New York Mets headed into the 1969 All Star break at 53-39 just five games behind the Chicago Cubs. It was the best position the Mets had ever been in at that point of a season, since their inception in 1962. Manager Gil Hodges had molded them into true contenders & they were for real in the exciting summer of '69.

The team closed out the first half splitting a four game weekend series in Montreal, with the Expos. On Friday night, Jerry Koosman won his third game in a row, going the distance in a 5-2 Mets win. Kooz struck out seven, walking two in the seven hitter that lowered his ERA to a 1.88, with an 8-5 record. For Koosman it was onto his second All Star Game, this one in Washington D.C.  

Jerry Grote hit his second HR of the year, a two run shot & Art Shamsky hit his eighth HR, a solo shot. Expo pitcher, Jerry Robinson walked in a run & allowed an RBI single to Rookie Wayne Garrett as well.

The Mets lost on Saturday, as Tom Seaver had one of his worst outings of the year. He allowed four runs on seven hits in just two innings of work, including a HR to Coco Laboy. 

There was some concern for Seaver's million dollar arm, as he felt a stiffness.

Quotes- Tom Seaver: "It's not from my teeth, I had them looked at. It's not from sleeping on it, because I try to sleep on my left side or my stomach. Rube (Walker) thinks it could be a cold that settled there. But I wear a pajama top to guard against air conditioning".

He said he first felt it on the night of the "Imperfect Game" in July but it worked itself out. He felt it again in Chicago & this start in Montreal, where it did not work itself out.

He was named to the All Star team but did not pitch due to the stiffness. The doctors checked him out & Seaver was fine, going onto his Cy Young season.

On Sunday July 20th, the Mets played a double header. They lost the first game 3-2 as Gary Waslewski out dueled Gary Gentry.

In the nightcap, Tommie Agee singled & Bud Harrelson walked to lead off the game. Ron Swoboda singled home Agee & Harrelson scored when Wayne Garrett grounded out. 

Mets starter, Don Cardwell took a 2-1 lead to the 8th inning, but gave up the lead when former Met, Kevin Collins doubled in Ty Cline to tie the game. 

In the 9th, another former Met, Don Shaw helped his old club, by walking Cleon Jones with the bases loaded. But Coco Laboy, struck again, hitting his 13th HR of the year to tie it up. This HR came off reliever Ron Taylor, who would only serve up seven HRs all year. It was his fourth blown save as well.
The Amazing's proved once again, how everyone on the team contributes. With two outs, Ron Swoboda doubled. 

Pinch hitter Bobby Pfeil then delivered the single that scored Swoboda with the game winning run. Pfeil would only drive in 10 runs all year (211 at bats).

Jack DiLauro came on to
pitch & earned the victory. It was his first & only victory of the year.

Also joining Seaver & Koosman at the All Star Game would be one of the leagues top hitters, Cleon Jones. At the break Jones was batting .341.

50th Anniversary of the 1969 Mets: The 1969 MLB All Star Game

July 23rd 1969: MLB All Star Game- Robert F. Kennedy Stadium, Washington D.C.

Gil Hodges- Willie Mays & Leo Durocher
The 40th Mid Summer Classic was originally scheduled for the night of July 22nd, but heavy rains caused the game to be postponed. It was then played in the afternoon of the next day, July 23rd. To date it's the last All Star Game to be played in the daytime.

The game was played on the historic day that Apollo 11 was to return to earth & splash down in the Pacific Ocean, fresh off the first United States moon landing. President Richard Nixon was to throw out the first pitch on Tuesday night but after the game was rained out, he had to go west to greet the astronauts & his VP Spiro Agnew tossed out the first pitch.

Koosman & Seaver with Ted Williams
The game featured a talented group of players that produced 20 Hall Of Famers. The game was broadcast on NBC with Curt Gowdy calling the play by play, Tony Kubek & Mickey Mantle served as analyst. 45,259 fans came out to see the game live. The managers were Detroit Tigers' Mayo Smith & the St. Louis Cardinals' Red Schoendienst.

The Mets Cleon Jones, who was one of the leagues leading hitters, got the start in left field batting 6th. Mets pitchers Tom Seaver & Jerry Koosman also represented the Mets. Seaver did not pitch due to stiffness in his arm.

Starting Lineups

    Former Brooklyn & NY Giants Foes
    The Tigers' Denny McLain, who had won 31 games in 1968 & would lead the league again in wins in 1969 (24) was scheduled to start for the AL, but he arrived late for the game. 

    Mel Stottlemyre (future Mets coach) got the start in McLain's absence. McLain would pitch the 4th inning, allowing a McCovey HR, a hit & two walks.

    In the top of the 1st, Matty Alou led off with a base hit. He advanced to second & then third on pitcher Mel Stottlemyre's wild pitch. He scored on Frank Robinson's error. 

    In the 2nd, the Mets Cleon Jones led off with an infield single. The Cincinnati Reds Johnny Bench hit a two run HR making it 3-0. Bench would get robbed of a second HR by Boston's Carl Yastremski later in the game.

    In the home half of the 2nd inning, the local All Star hero, Frank Howard hit a solo HR delighting the fans. Howard hit 44 or more HRs in each season from 1968-1970, leading the AL twice.

    McCovey HRs
    In the 3rd with Oakland's Blue Moon Odom now on the mound, Hank Aaron singled & Willie McCovey blasted a two run shot. McCovey was the 1969 NL MVP leading the league in HRs (45) & RBIs (126) for the second straight year. He also led in On base % & slugging.

    Cleon Jones then reached on an error & Bench singled. Then future 1973 Met, Felix Millan, a member of the 1969 NL Western Champion Atlanta Braves, doubled scoring Cleon & Bench. 

    Jerry Koosman pitches 7th Inning
    Pitcher, Steve Carlton then also doubled bringing in Millan for a commanding 8-1 NL lead.

    In the home 3rd, Tigers catcher Bill Freehan led off with a HR making it 8-3. In the 4th, Willie McCovey hit his second HR of the game, earning him MVP honors.

    In the 6th inning, Cleon Jones got his second hit of the game, a single off a Baltimore Oriole pitcher, he would face in that years World Series, Dave McNally. Jones along with McCovey, Johnny Bench & Matty Alou, all had two hits on the day.

    In the 7th inning, the Mets youngster Jerry Koosman came on to pitch. After allowing a lead off double to Boston's Rico Petrocelli he retired the next three batters, including striking out Baltimore's Brooks Robinson. Brooks would face Kooz again in the World Series.

    In the 8th Koosman got Carl Yastremski & Paul Blair (another Oriole he'd face in the World Series) to both fly out. Phil Niekro came on to close out the 9th for the NL. The NL won it 9-3 with 11 NL hits & 6 AL hits.

    Jul 21, 2019

    Remembering Mets History: (1986) Ray Knight Starts A Classic Brawl In Cincinnati

    Tuesday July 22nd 1986- Davey Johnson's New York Mets were riding high 13 games up in first place, very confident & cocky. Controversy was still surrounding the club after the incident in Houston where four of the Mets had been arrested at a popular night spot. But that just added to the 86 Mets legacy. On the field they were the best team in baseball & also the most rowdy.

    On this road trip to Cincinnati there was yet another on field brawl that once again just added to their legacy.

    On this Tuesday night the Mets (62-28) were at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, facing Pete Rose's fourth place Reds (44-47).

    Starting Lineups

    The game began with Bobby Ojeda going up against Scott Terry in front of 23,707 fans. But this wild game would see eight Mets pitchers take the mound & 22 players overall on the field. The Reds would have six pitchers & 22 players overall as well.

    The game started out with the Reds taking a 2-0 lead in the 3rd inning when Dave Parker hit a two run HR. New York answered in the 5th, as Lenny Dykstra drove in Ojeda with a triple. In the bottom of the inning, the Reds Buddy Bell homered putting the Reds up 3-1. The game stayed that way until the 9th inning.

    With two outs, Dykstra walked & Tim Teufel doubled, bringing up Keith Hernandez. Hernandez hit a fly ball to left field that should have been the third out, but Dave Parker dropped the ball.

    Parker who had admitted his anger toward the '86 Mets, as he would curse out the TV set when he would see their nightly highlights. Now his error allowed Dykstra & Teufel to score tying the game. It was just another routine night for the Mets on their way to another win.

    In the bottom of the 10th, Jesse Orosco came in to pitch for the Mets. He started out by striking out Dave Parker. Then player / manager Pete Rose pinch hit & singled. He brought in Eric Davis to pinch run for him, Davis stole second base & then stole third as Eddie Milner was struckout by Orosco.

    When Davis went into third base he popped up into Mets third baseman; (Ray Knight. Knight had played for the Reds from 1974 to 1981).  Not a good idea, Knight a former Gold Glove Boxer, had already been the center of a few team brawls during the season. He yelled "Whats wrong with you" to Davis, he shoved Davis back, trying to push him off the base. Davis pushed back, Knight then punched Davis in the face, dropped his glove like a hockey player was ready to box. 

    Third base umpire Eric Gregg tried to break it up but that wasn't going to happen. Davis stepped back & then tried to come again but Gary Carter tackled him to the ground. He was pulled away by the umpire & his coach Tommy Helms. Eddie Milner came at Knight & was tackled by Mets, then tossed to the ground. 

    Big Dave Parker came running in pulling Mets players aside shouting at Knight. Another Mets tough guy; former gang member, Kevin Mitchell went after Parker but was stopped when Mario Sotto & Bill Gullickson tackled him. Gullickson was tossed aside as well as Soto but karate expert John Denny managed to keep Mitchell down.

    The area around third base  had a lot of pushing & shoving going on. Ray Knight continued to yell wanting to go after Reds players. Order was finally restored after a long delay, Knight, Mitchell & Davis were all ejected.

    As the Mets returned to the dugout, they saw George Foster (a long time Reds player) sitting there. He was the only player or coach for that matter who had not gotten involved. He would later say he did not want to send the wrong message to the kids. This was the end of George Fosters Mets career. Soon after, Davey Johnson (who enforces team work) would demote Foster from the left field position, giving the job to Kevin Mitchell, Danny Heep, Mookie Wilson & Lee Mazzilli would be signed a few weeks later. Foster was released a few weeks later.

    After all the madness in this wild game, the Mets were short of position players. Davey Johnson thought fast & made the only moves he could. Mets pitcher Roger McDowell went to play right field, Gary Carter went to play third base & Ed Hearn came in to catch. 

    McDowell would switch from right to left field & eventually relieve Orosco on the mound. Orosco would go out to then play the outfield.

    The game went to the 14th inning when Ed Hearn doubled & Jesse Orosco walked. Howard Johnson finally ended it with a three run HR off Ted Power. McDowell closed out the Reds in the bottom of the inning & the Mets won the game.

    2000 NL Champion Mets Short Stop: Mike Bordick (2000)

    Michael Todd Bordick was born July 21, 1965 in Marquette Michigan. His father was in the Air Force & the Bordick family moved around during Mike’s youth. They went from Michigan to upstate New York, finally settling in Maine.

    Bordick attended the University of Maine, playing for the school’s team, the Black Bears. He signed with the Oakland A’s in 1986 spending four seasons in the minor leagues.

    He came up with the 1990 A.L. Champion Athletics, eventually taking over the shortstop position from Walt Weis. He spent the next seven years in Oakland as their main shortstop hitting .300 in 1992 with 151 hits 19 doubles 48 RBIs & 62 runs scored.

    1990 Post Season: In the ALCS against the Toronto Blue Jays he only hit .053 going 1-19 in six games. During those years with the Athletics he twice led the league in put outs, once in games played & assists. He was a consistent player and very solid defensively, always among the tops in the league at shortstop in fielding.

    In 1996 he signed as a free agent with the Baltimore Orioles, taking over at short stop when Cal Ripken moved over to third base. Bordick played in Camden Yards as the main short stop for six seasons, getting to the post season in 1997. As the league’s hitting numbers increased in the late nineties so did Bordick’s. He would hit 13 HRs in 1998 while leading the league in sacrifice hits with 15.

    In 1999 he hit 35 doubles with 77 RBIs having career highs in hits (175) & runs scored (93). That season he also led all AL shortstops in fielding & assists. He also was in the top ten of getting hit by pitches three times, doing it 227 times in his career (#67 all time). 

      He had his best season in 2000 with career highs in HRs (20) RBIs (80) making his only All Star team, batting .285 with 30 doubles.

    That summer, the Mets lost short their stop Rey Ordonez for the remainder of the season & had to make a move. Ordonez was an excellent fielder but was only batting .188 at the time he went down. The only other short stop on the club at the time was the little used Kurt Abbott & the team was not confident enough in him to take over the role.

    Melvin Mora was still being used as an outfielder at the time. On July 28th they traded Melvin Mora, Mike Kinkade, Leslie Brea & minor leaguer Mike Kinkade to the Orioles in exchange for Bordick for the stretch run.

    It was a good move for the Mets, receiving a solid defensive veteran player who was also hitting well to fill the gap, even though it was just for the season. Mike Bordick debuted as a Met on July 29th at Shea Stadium in a game against the St. Louis Cardinals.

    In his first Mets at bat he hit a solo HR off Andy Benes tying up the game, welcome to New York Mike Bordick. The Mets went on to 3-2 win. On August 1st he singled to drive in a run in the 6th inning, the run turned out to be the game winner in the Mets 3-2 win & the eleventh victory of the year for Mike Hampton.

    Bordick contributed to the Mets Wild Card chase with three HRs & 11 RBIs in the month of August keeping his average at .300. His average tailed off in September but he finished the year at .285.

    On the last day of the regular season he had two RBI singles leading the Mets to a 3-2 win over the Montreal Expos. Bordick batted .260 with 4 HRs 8 doubles 18 runs scored & 21 RBIs in 56 games for the 2000 NL Champion Mets.

    2000 Post Season: In the post season, he was 4-33 (.123), never hitting above .200 in any of the three Series. In the Division series against the San Francisco Giants he scored a run in each of the first three games, twice on hits by Timo Perez.

    The following season he went back to Baltimore, signing as a free agent. Bordick played two more seasons in Baltimore having his best defensive season in 2002, when he set the MLB records for fielding% (.998%), fewest errors (one), consecutive errorless games (110) and consecutive errorless chances (543).

    He closed out his career in Toronto with the Blue Jays, hitting .274 in 103 games in 2003.

    In a 13 year career Bordick played in 1720 games hitting .260 with 1500 hits 257 doubles 30 triples 91 HRs 676 runs scored & 626 RBIs. Defensively he made 128 errors with 2606 put outs (64th all time) 4410 assists (65th all time) with a .982 fielding %.

    Retirement: In 2005 he was invited to the White House to honor the Little League Champions from Toms River, NJ. Bordick has worked as a minor league instructor for the Blue Jays & Orioles since his playing days.

    Since 2012 he has worked as a commentator for the MASN network as a color analyst for Orioles games. He alternates that position with O's legend, Jim Palmer

    In 2011 he was elected to the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame.

    Jul 20, 2019

    Remembering Mets History: (2006) Mets Set Club Record With 11 Run Inning

    Sunday July 16th 2006: Willie Randolph's first place Mets (55-37) came to the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field to play Dusty Baker's Chicago Cubs (35-56). A crowd of 40,157 came for the late afternoon start in what was a wild but historic day for the Mets.

    The Cubs starter was Sean Marshall. The Mets starter was Orlando Hernandez & he couldn't get through the second inning, allowing five runs on seven hits with a pair of walks thrown in as well. The Mets would use seven pitchers on the day; Darin Oliver, Pedro Feliciano, Chad Bradford, Aaron Heilman, Heath Bell, Duaner Sanchez.

    In the Mets 4th, Chris Woodward homered & in the 5th, Cliff Floyd also hit one out to put the Mets on the board down 5-2.

    In the top of the 6th, the Mets enjoyed a historic inning in team history. The Mets scored a club record eleven runs in the inning. They hit three HRs had eight hits & sent 15 batters to the plate.

    Chris Woodward started out with a fly out to center field. Carlos Beltran reached on an error, then Carlos Delgado & David Wright both singled to load the bases for Cliff Floyd. Floyd then hit a grand slam HR, his 9th HR of the season & his second of the day, putting the Mets up 6-5. Xavier Nady walked & that was it for Sean Marshall, Roberto Novoa came in to pitch. A Cubs infield error led Ramon Castro to reach base, as Nady went to third.

    Endy Chavez delivered a pinch hit single bringing in Nady & then Chavez stole second. Jose Valentin reached on an infield hit to load the bases once again. Chris Woodward came up and grounded to third, the force was made at home, with Woodward making the only two outs of the inning. It wasn't over yet.

    With the bases loaded, Carlos Beltran blasted a grand slam HR of his own, his 26th HR of the year. The Mets had nine runs in the inning, so far. Carlos Delgado doubled & David Wright finished off the historic Mets inning by hitting his 21st HR of the year. The Mets had set a franchise record scoring eleven runs in the inning and were now ahead 13-5.

    The Cubs brought in Will Ohman to pitch, he walked Floyd & Nady but Ramos Castro flew out to end the inning.

    In the 7th Aaron Heilman gave up a two run HR to Phil Nevin  making it 13-7. That was the final, the Mets had 14 hits & the Cubs 15 hits, also making two errors.

    Remembering Mets History: (1986) Mets Honor "Le Grande Orange" On Rusty Staub Day

    Sunday, July 13th 1986: Rusty Staub Day: The Mets took this chance to honor "Le Grande Orange" Rusty Staub inducting him in the Mets Hall of Fame. 

    Rusty Satub came out from center field riding & waving to the fans in an orange convertible. Bob Murphy was the opening MC for the on field ceremonies, donning a pink jacket & blue pinstripe shirt with blue tie. Rusty's Satub 's family was on hand including his mother, two sisters & brother.

    Ralph Kiner also helped out with the on field ceremonies, where Rusty was honored for his playing days, his restaurant business & charity work with the NYPD. Mets GM Frank Cashen then gave Rusty Staub a check for $25,000 for the Rusty Staub Foundation.

    Even the Archbishop of New York, Cardinal John O'Connor was on hand to make a speech & a few jokes referencing the Pope on Rusty's behalf.

    The highlight of the event was when Keith Hernandez came out honoring Staub with a plaque from his former Mets team mates. Hernandez called for the team & the 1986 Mets came out of the dug out donning long red wigs to congratulate Rusty on his day. 

    Some of the players including Darryl Strawberry, Howard Johnson & Wall Backman also padded their bellies in honor of Rusty's growing waist size.

    After the ceremonies, Davey Johnson's first place Mets (59-25) took on Chuck Tanner's fifth place Atlanta Braves (42-46). Ron Darling (8-2) went up against veteran Doyle Alexander (6-4).

    Alexander only surrendered four hits in the game, the first was a 1st inning triple to Lenny Dykstra, who would score on Wally Backman's ground out. Dykstra returned in the 6th inning with a solo HR giving the Mets all the runs they would need for the win.

    Ron Darling went the distance, shutting out the Braves scattering none hits & striking out seven. Darling did not walk anybody on his way to his ninth win of the year. He closed out the day with a 2.84 ERA as well.

    Former Mets Player / Coach & Manager: Mike Cubbage (1981-1991)

    Michael Lee Cubbage was born July 21, 1950 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The six foot, left handed hitting Cubbage; attended the University of Virginia.

    He was drafted twice by the Washington Senators; first in 1968 but he did not sign. In 1971 he did sign as the club's  second round draft choice in the June secondary draft.

    He was primarily a third baseman who would also play some second base in his pro career. After batting .345 while playing for Geneva in the New York Penn. League he was promoted to A ball Burlington in 1972. In 1973 he hit .312 at AA Pittsfield getting promoted to AAA Spokane.

    Mike Cubbage made his debut against his cousins World Champion A’s in April 1974. He was sent back down to the minors returning in September for a call up. At that time the Texas Rangers had Lenny Randle hitting well at second base. Toby Harrah was settled in at short & Roy Howell was set for taking over the third base position. There was no room on the infield for Mike Cubbage.

     In 1976 he was part of the trade that brought Bert Blyleven to Texas, going to the Minnesota Twins along with Roy Smalley & pitcher Bill Singer.

    Cubbage became the Twins main third baseman for the 1977 & 1978 seasons, having his best year in 1978. That year he batted .282 with 7 HRs 12 doubles & 57 RBIs, playing a solid third base with good range, posting a .971 fielding percentage (4th best in the A.L.). 

    The next season he lost his starting job to John Castino who hit .285 & followed up with a .300 average the next season. Cubbage became the Twins backup third baseman until he was granted free agency in 1980.

    He signed on with the New York Mets as a free agent for the 1981 strike shortened season.  Cubbage made his Mets debut on Opening Day at Wrigley Field in Chicago as a pinch hitter. He would be used in that role in the majority of his playing time going 11-46 in that role.

    On April 12th in the last game of the Opening Series, he hit a sac fly in the top of the 9th inning scoring Hubbie Brooks in what would be the game winning run over the Chicago Cubs.

    He got into 67 games mostly as a pinch hitter, seeing limited action (12 games) at third base, behind Hubie Brooks. Cubbage only hit .213 overall (17 -80) driving in four runs, with five extra base hits. He hit a pinch hit HR, in his last career at bat, on the next to last day of the 1981 season off Montreal’s Jeff Reardon in a 5-4 Mets loss.

    Cubbage would get released the next April (1982) finishing his eight year career batting .258 with 503 hits 34 HRs 74 doubles 20 triples & 251 RBIs in 703 games played. 

     Retirement: After his playing days he became a long time manager in the Mets organization.

    He first managed A ball at Lynchburg (1983-1985) then AA Jackson (1986) & finally, AAA Tidewater (1987-1989). He became highly regarded and seemed destined as a future MLB manager, expecting to one day take over the Mets. In 1990 he was hired as a third base coach under manager Bud Harrelson. 

    During the last week of the 1991 season, Harrelson was fired as the Mets were in third place, 18 ½ games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates.
    Cubbage got a brief chance to manage as he became the 13th manager in Met history. On September 29th 1991 Frank Viola & the Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies at Shea Stadium giving Cubbage his first managerial win. Cubbage would go 3-4 as skipper winning the last game of the season 7-0 at Veterans Stadium.

    After all the years of Cubbage managerial hype, he was replaced by Jeff Torborg for the 1992 season.

    Cubbage has the distinction of managing the fewest games for the Mets in their history, winning & losing the least amount of games. Overall he spent 13 years in the Mets organization, seven of them on the big league level; mostly as a third base coach.

    He moved on to coach the Boston Red Sox, Houston Astros and then scout for the Tampa Rays. Cubbage is a diabetic and in 2003, had a seizure while coaching third base for the Red Sox. The seizure was a result of a hyperglycemic event; he was taken to a hospital then soon released.

    Mike Cubbage had two MLB cousins that were a father son combo, Chris & Larry Haney. 

    Larry Haney born November 19, 1942 was a journey man back up catcher, for twelve seasons playing with four different teams.

    The Baltimore Orioles (1966-1968) The Seattle Pilots (1969) Oakland A’s (1969-1973/ 1974-1976) St. Louis Cardinals (1973) & the Milwaukee Brewers ( 1977-1978).

    He was a member of A’s 1974 World Series team, playing in 76 regular season games, behind Ray Fosse. He also appeared in two World Series games, finishing up both as a defensive replacement.

    Haney hit .215 with 198 hits 30 doubles, one HRs 73 RBIs & a .252 on base % playing in 480 career games.

    As a catcher he threw out 39% of would be base stealers & posted a .985 fielding %. After his playing days he served as a longtime coach in the Milwaukee Brewers
    organization until 2006.

    Chris Haney was born November 16th 1968, & played 11 seasons as an MLB pitcher. He played for the Montreal Expos (1991-1992) Kansas City Royals (1992-1998) Cleveland Indians (1998-2000) & Boston Red Sox (2002).

    In his career he was 38-52 with 442 strike outs & 286 walks posting a 5.07 ERA in 196 games.

    Jul 19, 2019

    Remembering Mets History: (2000) Meeting Mike Mike Piazza On the Night He Hits His 3rd Grand Slam of the Season

    Tuesday July 18th 2000: This was a special Mets day for centefieldmaz. We were in Toronto on a baseball vacation trip to see the Mets play the Blue Jays at Skydome. We chose Skydome as our hotel & it was awesome walking into the lobby everyday, seeing the baseball field in the background as workers did the grounds keeping. 

    On a day trip to the Hockey Hall of Fame, a nice guy was pushing his daughters baby carriage & yelled out "Piazza". I was wearing a #31 Piazza shirt so I thought he was ackowledeging me. He said no the real one is in the store.- No way. But Yes, there he was in a sharp grey suit, behind sun glasses, reading a magazine. I yelled over "Hey Mike" he ignored me at first but I didn't go away, "Hey Mike". He looked up & smiled it was him!

    I was like a kid, he took pictures with me & my girlfriend who all of a sudden was a bigger fan than me. I asked how he was feeling, sincehe was just coming off the DL from the whole Clemens incident.

    He was a gentleman when I asked him about it, saying it was part of the game. The New Yorker & fan in me said otherwise & he just laughed. We actually got to walked out the store with him & he chatted with us & was very polite. We told him we were up from NY & going to the game. I also told him he & Tom Seaver were the only two names I would wear on my back. He said "Thanks, I appreciate that" 

    What a day for a life long Mets fan, after dinner at the Restaurant overlooking centerfield at Skydome, watching batting practice, it was on to the game.

    Starting Lineups

    This wild game saw Bobby Valentines 2nd place Mets (51-41) go against Jim Fregosi's third place Blue Jays (50-45) quite a good match up. With Bobby Jones going up against Chris Carpenter, neither pitcher did too well. Jones allowed five runs on ten hits in six innings, Dennis Cook, Rich Rodriquez & Armando Benitez, closed it out.

    Carpenter gave up seven runs, on five hits, with the biggest blow being Mike Piazza's 5th inning grand slam. Sitting right off third base a few rows off the field I stood proudly as Piazza rounded the bases, wearing my Piazza shirt & knowing I just met the guy a couple of hours ago.

    Wow, what a great baseball day for a life long Mets fan. It was Piazza's third grand slam of the season & his 28th HR of the season. At that point he was batting .348 with 81 RBIs.

    The Mets went on to a 11-7 victory that night, Derek Bell hitting his 13th HR of the year & Lenny Harris his second HR. Edgardo Alfonzo also had two RBI's as did Bell & Harris. Joe McEwing also drove in a run. The Mets took two of three in the series & won three straight that week.

    Grand Slam #1- On Sunday May 14th 2000: The Mets (20-19)  hosted the Florida Marlins (21-18). Mike Hampton & Brad Penny were having a quality pitching duel going into a scoreless 6th inning. Hampton singled & was driven in by Joe McEwing to make it 1-0. Derek Bell walked & Edgardo Alfonzo was walked intentionally to load the bases. Mike Piazza stepped in & hit his first grand slam of the year, putting the Mets up 5-0. They went on to a 5-1 win, as Hampton pitched the complete game victory.

    Grand Slam #2- Friday June 9th 2000: The Mets opened up the regular season subway series with a 12-2 romp in the Bronx against the A.L. New York team. Al Leiter rolled along to his 7th win of the year (7-1) as the Mets clobbered Roger Clemens for nine runs on ten hits, three walks & two HRs. The biggest blow was a 3rd inning grand slam off the bat of Mike Piazza who always had a field day hitting against Clemens.

    Edgardo Alfonzo also homered, driving in two runs, Derek Bell drove in five runs & Todd Zeile an RBI as well. 

    The Sunday game was rained out & a make up game was scheduled on July 8th, as a cross town day night double header. The first game played in the Bronx with the nightcap played in Queens. Dwight Gooden beat the Mets in the first game & it was in the second game where all the drama occurred. 

    In the 2nd inning Mike Piazza came up against Roger Clemens & was hit in the head with a fastball. Piazza went down & was taken off the field, going on the disabled list. 

    Clemens didn't know how else to stop Piazza from hitting him & possibly was suffering from a steroid rage that day. The classless move was looked at negatively from most people around baseball.