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'86 Mets greet fans at Shea buying tickets

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  • '86 Mets greet fans at Shea buying tickets

    Does it get any better than this, Metsies? (emphasis added below, in bold)



    Flanked by former Mets greats Gary Carter
    and Darryl Strawberry, Matt Hoey shows
    the tickets he bought as the first fan in
    line. (Bryan Hoch/MLB.com)


    '86 Mets at Shea for '05 ticket sale
    Strawberry, Carter among former stars on hand


    By Bryan Hoch / Special to MLB.com

    NEW YORK -- All these years later, Shea Stadium still feels like home for Darryl Strawberry.

    The last time Mets fans laid out their best welcome mat for the tall, sweet-swinging outfielder, it was 15 summers ago and the Mets were the toast of the city, ranking as one of baseball's most dominant franchises.

    With howling, finger-numbing winds whistling through the ballpark's concrete walls, fans waiting for the first Mets tickets of the 2005 season to go on sale certainly weren't going to mistake this morning for a sunny summer afternoon.

    Still, if you closed your eyes, it sounded like 1986 again.

    "Dar-ryl! Dar-ryl! Dar-ryl!" the chants went.

    Peeking out from underneath a blue knit cap, perhaps the most recognizable player in the club's 43-year history had no words to offer. He only needed to flash that camera-friendly grin, making the shutterbugs clamor like he always did.

    Strawberry was back at Shea on Sunday, along with 1986 World Series championship teammates Gary Carter, Ron Darling, Sid Fernandez, Howard Johnson and Tim Teufel, greeting thousands of shivering fans who braved chilly temperatures to stake their claim for what could be the Mets' next great season.

    A record total of over 130,000 tickets were sold at Shea Stadium and on the Internet at MLB.com, with more distributed at the Mets' clubhouse shops and Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie. The Mets did not expect to have a final total until Monday, but most marquee games were expected to be sold out by mid-afternoon.

    Strawberry, wearing a Mets logo for the first time since leaving the club as a free agent after the 1990 season, compared the energy to the last time he was here.

    "It feels so good to be back," Strawberry said. "We accomplished so much here. We established ourselves in the '80s as one of the real dynasties in baseball. I have a lot of good memories here, and [the fan reaction] kind of reminds me what it was like when we took the field. It's unbelievable."

    "I think the fans missed him," Darling said. "You can tell by the reactions to him outside. Look at him. He looks like he can still play."

    The appearance marks the beginning of Strawberry's reunion with the Mets organization, following stints as an employee of the Yankees and with a Florida-based church group. Next weekend, Strawberry will report to the Mets' Spring Training headquarters in Port St. Lucie, Fla., to help guide New York's outfielders as a guest instructor.

    "We were winners," Strawberry said. "They're trying to take that for the younger guys in this generation of winning. Of course, it's not going to be easy, but I think [general manager] Omar Minaya has done a wonderful job putting a team on the field that can compete."

    "I think [Strawberry's return] is long overdue," said Johnson, now a hitting coach at Triple-A Norfolk. "These players have a lot to offer the organization, to have people who have experienced the culture of the Mets' good days. People identify the Mets with those players."

    Johnson, like most of the '86 players at Shea, still finds it hard to believe that nearly 20 years have passed since the Mets took a ticker-tape ride down Broadway in front of more than two million fans.

    "We're like a big family," Johnson said. "We crack each other up. We went through wars together. I love getting together with them, it's always a good time."

    The group reminisced about those glory days once more as they rode out to Shea from a Manhattan hotel. They were stunned to see a line of huddled, energetic fans ringing all the way out beyond center field when they reached the old stomping grounds.

    "Look at all these fans camped out in the bitter cold," Carter said. "What a tribute to them. Hopefully, this team will get back to the playoffs and return the favor."

    More than one Mets employee remarked that this assemblage of fans was the largest the team has seen in years on the first day of ticket sales at Shea.

    The first fan, 29-year-old Matt Hoey of Newburgh, N.Y., secured his place in line at 5 a.m. ET on Thursday and couldn't wait to complete his $400 transaction. With new stars like Carlos Beltran and Pedro Martinez joining the team, there was no way Huey was going to miss the home opener.

    "I had to get here early," Hoey said. "I don't ever want to be shut out of my own stadium. Some years it's cold, some years it's warm. You get used to it."

    After scoring his ducats, Hoey was given the opportunity to pose for photos with '86 Mets players, but there was never any question about his priorities. Johnson attempted to greet Hoey just as the ticket windows were opening, forcing Hoey to quickly dart away from HoJo and turn his attention to the ticket agent.

    "I got dumped," Johnson laughed.

    Back inside Shea, as credit card machines buzzed off the hook, Darling warmed his icy hands over a radiator and marveled at the devotion Mets fans have always shown their team.

    "I was out there for a couple of minutes, and I'm freezing," Darling said. "You have to give them unbelievable credit for that. There's a real buzz out there. They're really, really excited for this upcoming season. I'm sure this team will deliver."

    Bryan Hoch is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
    Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting. 2007-11 CBA
    Rest very peacefully, John “Buck” O'Neil (1911-2006) & Philip Francis “Scooter” Rizzuto (1917-2007)
    THE BROOKLYN DODGERS - 1890 thru 1957
    Montreal Expos 1969 - 2004

  • #2
    After last season, I'm even ok with it!
    "Anything less would not have been worthy of me. Anything more would not have been possible." - Carl Yastrzemski

    Comment


    • #3
      Johnson, like most of the '86 players at Shea, still finds it hard to believe that nearly 20 years have passed since the Mets took a ticker-tape ride down Broadway in front of more than two million fans.
      I have very fond memories of that WS. Just when I thought I was toa$t….Il Bambino winked and did his magic.
      "Heroes are people who are all good with no bad in them. That's the way I always saw Joe DiMaggio. He was beyond question one of the greatest players of the century."

      ~Mickey Mantle

      Comment


      • #4
        I caught about 5 or so minutes of Straw on WFAN this afternoon. He'd said that the majority of his career records were with the Mets. He felt he'd made a mistake moving to LA, and said that there, the fans came late, left early, so a bit too laid back for him.

        He then said that he'd had strong respect for Steinbrenner and all the countless chances he'd given him, but that he'd made his biggest mark as a Met, where he was drafted. He said that there were already tons of guys in the Yankee organization of significance, but that he pretty much wanted to return to the Mets.

        Personally, I'm happy for this. Several years ago, it was Dwight Gooden being sought after by the Mets (IIRC), but I never saw them going after Straw. I felt that this was sad, since he was #18 back there. Darryl acknowledged his many errors, past drug use, even commented a bit on Canseco's book, saying that he personally wouldn't have spilled the clubhouse secrets, but wouldn't blame Jose for having done so.

        Overall, Darryl seemed to have stabilized himself a bit. Now if only he could get back together with his son, Darryl Jr, who switched from baseball to basketball and called himself "DJ".

        I wish him the best and am happy that Mets fans were happy to have been near him, as well as Gary "Kid" Carter and the others.
        Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting. 2007-11 CBA
        Rest very peacefully, John “Buck” O'Neil (1911-2006) & Philip Francis “Scooter” Rizzuto (1917-2007)
        THE BROOKLYN DODGERS - 1890 thru 1957
        Montreal Expos 1969 - 2004

        Comment


        • #5
          Am I the only Mets fan not happy to see Straw back in the fold?

          Comment


          • #6
            Nope, my Pops will never forgive Straw and Doc.

            I am slowly warming up to it.

            Comment


            • #7
              I'm curious what patchy & donny were thinking about Straw. Simply curious what their dislike about him was.

              I'm quite familiar with his failures re controlling his drug problems and the great career that he basically threw away on nose candy. Is it the failures or the impact he could have on the young players? Something else?

              From today's Newsday:

              Strawberry a blast from past

              Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting. 2007-11 CBA
              Rest very peacefully, John “Buck” O'Neil (1911-2006) & Philip Francis “Scooter” Rizzuto (1917-2007)
              THE BROOKLYN DODGERS - 1890 thru 1957
              Montreal Expos 1969 - 2004

              Comment


              • #8
                The man had all the tools of Ted Williams and squandered his talent. And, he pooped on the Mets on the way out.

                People forget all the fights he started in the clubhouse and his brooding attitude. If he doesn't get pinch hit for in Game Six of '86 earlier in the game, the Red Sox curse only lasts 68 years. And, what was a happy moment for the rest of the team was another pouting moment for him.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by patchyfogg
                  The man had all the tools of Ted Williams and squandered his talent. And, he pooped on the Mets on the way out.

                  People forget all the fights he started in the clubhouse and his brooding attitude. If he doesn't get pinch hit for in Game Six of '86 earlier in the game, the Red Sox curse only lasts 68 years. And, what was a happy moment for the rest of the team was another pouting moment for him.
                  I remember him being compared to Ted Williams, what with the swing that sounded like a sledge hammer had been swung. His 6'6" frame didn't hurt matters none either.

                  Yeah, he and Doc were very sore marks on the Mets. So much talent, like the rebirth of Teddy and Gibson, but they both blew their respective greatnesses up their noses through lack of discipline. Man, that's gotta be rough to consider.

                  I only remember the clubhouse fight on some "Team Photo Day" he had with Keith Hernandez, who I think he'd blamed for starting him on the coke addiction.

                  I don't remember the PH. Who hit for him? I think it was Boston reliever Mike Stanley who couldn't find the plate, despite having strike 2 several times, and were 1 strike away from changing the curse.

                  Was he really pouting that badly?

                  I remember when he'd left, and Lasorda gave him #44, the slugger's number for each of Aaron, Jackson and McCovey. I think that Howard Johnson then made sure to get one more HR than Straw the next season than Straw did the previous one (38 vs 37).

                  All those fans that were lining up to see him and get his autograph, do you think they remembered him from back then, or merely knew of him from their elders? He seems to have that "love him or hate him" type of personality as to how Mets fans may remember him.
                  Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting. 2007-11 CBA
                  Rest very peacefully, John “Buck” O'Neil (1911-2006) & Philip Francis “Scooter” Rizzuto (1917-2007)
                  THE BROOKLYN DODGERS - 1890 thru 1957
                  Montreal Expos 1969 - 2004

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I think people fawn over Straw the way that people still want their picture taken with OJ. People love celebrities.

                    Keith was off coke before he was ever a Met. Of course, he was sitting in the clubhouse drinking a beer and smoking a cigarette after making the 2nd out of that inning in Game Six. Straw's spot in the line-up was filled by Kevin Mitchell, who got a 2-out single in that fateful inning, something that Strawberry could never, ever do. Making the last out of a World Series would not faze him, unlike Mitchell, Carter and Knight who would do anything possible to avoid that--and did.

                    Though Jeff Pearlman was my least favorite guest on my radio show ever, his book "The Bad Guys Won" details numerous fights that Straw caused on his Mets teams.

                    Lasorda quickly soured on Strawberry, even going so far as to pooh-pooh the idea of drug addiction being a disease.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      BUMP

                      I remember that day... it was the first time I "camped out" for Mets tickets on the first day of sale. ("Camped Out" may be a minor exaggeration... I got there at 5.45am, and my spot was outside where the Fan Fest area used to be... I didn't get to the window until around 1.00pm.)

                      It was so cold, that about halfway through I was thinking of bailing out and going home, but I didn't because that would have meant the time I did spend on line would have been wasted.

                      I remember some of the '86 Mets being there... I think it was Sid Fernandez who told me the Mets wanted my support... I got his autograph, maybe Ron Darling's... Gary Carter came out, but he did not sign for anyone, it was just a photo op for him with the press taking pictures of the fans cheering for him... pretty selfish on his part if you ask me, given that we'd all been standing for hours in the cold. When Strawberry came out, the fans mobbed him pretty quickly, it was amazing. He did sign, and I was fortunate to get an autograph.

                      The line snaked inside Shea, from the "Future Mets" entrance and then out from Gate D, and from there it was a long twisty line outside the Advance Ticket windows (now the Will Call windows, these are the windows with the marquee on top). As you existed Gate D they gave you a Bob Murphy video that they had previously given away the year before, it looked like they had tons of 'em.
                      X
                      What's THAT guy doing?
                      - one of the YES Network broadcasters, after the camera cut to me doing the thumbs-down after Todd Frazier's home run

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        the Kid

                        Originally posted by Gary Dunaier View Post
                        Gary Carter came out, but he did not sign for anyone, it was just a photo op for him with the press taking pictures of the fans cheering for him... pretty selfish on his part if you ask me, given that we'd all been standing for hours in the cold.
                        In late 2003 or early 2004, Gary Carter did a Q&A thing at the ESPN Club at Disney World in Orlando. There was a host asking questions, then Gary took questions from the fans.

                        After the Q&A, Gary stuck around to talk to the fans and sign autographs. We all lined up patiently and waited as he signed and talked to every person in line. Although the idea was one quick autograph per person, he signed anything that was handed to him and talked as long as the other person wanted.

                        I cannot imagine a nicer person than Gary Carter.

                        Signing autographs is not an obligation. The man came out in the same cold you were expiriencing when he could have just as well been golfing in the sunshine. By not signing autographs, he was probably able to talk to alot more people and pose for alot more photos (which are more personal and less likely to be resold).

                        Gary Carter is as nice as can be and as morally sound as they get. The only thing anyone's every had to complain about him is that he smiled to much and was too friendly with the media. If I was a Hall of Fame baseball player who was fortunate enough to win a World Series ring in the greatest city on the planet, I'd imagine that I'd be guilty of those things myself!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          That's as may be... all I can report on is my experience. Your was obviously much nicer than mine, what can I say?
                          X
                          What's THAT guy doing?
                          - one of the YES Network broadcasters, after the camera cut to me doing the thumbs-down after Todd Frazier's home run

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            That's fair. You saw the guy as being selfish and I saw him as the complete opposite.

                            Fair and balanced, right? I mean left? I mean... damn it.

                            Comment

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