Yesterday would have been my dad’s 61st birthday. You may remember the post I wrote about him for Father’s Day last year. I promise this one will not be nearly as emotional. Instead, it is just a chance for me to get out write about a favorite memory.
The year was 1988. I cannot remember why, but Dad got tickets for the Pirates game against the Mets, I think it was a bus trip. This was not the first game he ever took me to see, that would have been the Padres series back in 1986, but I have very few memories of those games. Instead, this was the first game we went to where I actually understood the game, although I did not really know many of the players yet.
Looking back at the game logs, it must have been Monday, June 27th. That is the only time the Pirates beat the Mets 2-1 at Three Rivers Stadium. We sat up in the nosebleed seats and even though it was a Monday, there was a pretty good size crowd (over 41,000). They must have been there to see Doc Gooden (it is weird looking at the attendance figures from other weeknight games around that time, this one was an anomaly).
Dad wore a shirt he had made that said Muck the Fets. Back then I thought he came up with it himself, but he must have seen one somewhere and copied it. I remember there being a Mets fan in our section and he was getting heckled, although it was mostly in good fun, not like nowadays when people scream obscenities at out-of-town fans. He turned and thought he had a brother-in-arms, another Mets fan, until he actually read Dad’s shirt then he let out a cry and went “awww man!!” I do not know why, but that always stuck with me. The guy’s face when he realized my father was also in on the ribbing.
This was also a game where I discovered Andy Van Slyke. He made some great play in the outfield (I know, shocking) and I was like “who was that?” My dad told me and from that moment on, Van Slyke was my favorite player. Another great moment about seeing the Mets was screaming “Darryl” at the top of my lungs. That Cueto chant gave me chills mainly because it reminded me of that long ago game.
I feel like I stayed awake the entire bus trip home and talked my poor dad’s ear off about the game. Those are the memories I cherish. Those are the things I miss.