(Blogathon ’16) Jeff Katz: Anniversaries and World Series

This guest-post is part of the 2016 Baseball Continuum Blogathon For Charity, benefiting the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation. The Roswell Park Alliance Foundation is the charitable arm of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and funds raised will be “put to immediate use to increase the pace from research trials into improved clinical care, to ensure state-of-the-art facilities, and to help improve the quality of life for patients and their families.” Please donate through the Blogathon’s GoFundMe page. Also, please note that the opinions and statements of the writer are not necessarily those of the Baseball Continuum or it’s webmaster.

Karen and I met on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 1985. By May, we were engaged. When Karen started looking for a place to get married near her hometown of Niskayuna, New York, I had one request.

“I just don’t want to get married during the World Series.”

It seemed a simple enough request to me. Sure, I wasn’t destined to play in the World Series, but I always watched it and it was very important to me. What I didn’t understand, the flaw in my plan, was that Karen had no idea when the World Series occurred. We were to be married the same day as Game 2 of what would turn out to be the Red Sox – Mets series.

“Wait,” she said with surprise. “Isn’t it ‘The Boys of September?’” What can you do?

The day before the wedding, my in-laws had a big spread, not a rehearsal dinner per se, but a nice gathering at their house. Everyone huddled around the TV to watch the opener, Bruce Hurst v. Ron Darling at Shea.

“Why are they all watching TV?” my mother-in-law wondered, in disbelief.

They were doing what was the only normal thing to do, watch the World Series. I left before the game was over, heading back to my hotel with my parents. My mother was ticked off at my in-laws because they didn’t have enough food. Why? My mother told them no one would come from New York City to upstate the night before the wedding. My mother-in-law ordered an appropriate amount of food and then, of course, a horde of New Yorkers came. A nice trap was set by my mother. What did I care? I just wanted to get back to watch the rest of the game, which Boston won 1-0 on a Tim Teufel error.

The next day, October 19, was beautiful and sunny, the last pretty day before fall gave way to winter. We had an outdoor wedding, well-attended, and well-remembered. As the afternoon went on, some guests had to leave. They had tickets to Game 2. I couldn’t blame them for the leaving early.

Karen and I didn’t leave the wedding together; we didn’t give it any thought. A worker at the hall said to Karen, “I’ve never seen the bride and groom leave separately.” It was no big deal and I had to get my stuff from the hotel. Our honeymoon wasn’t until December. We reconvened at her parents’ house and went to the Desmond Americana Hotel in Albany for the night.

At the hotel, in a nice two level room, we opened all our gifts on the first floor and ordered lots of appetizers from room service. Then, like all newlywed couples, we went upstairs to bed.

I watched Game 2, a Red Sox blow out.

Our anniversary has always revolved around the World Series, though now, with the extra layer of playoffs, the Series is usually the week later. We watch all the post-season games together, I tell Karen about the players, we snack, we drink and we have a blast. Not even the “Boys of September” have a better time.

Jeff Katz, author, Split Season 1981: Fernandomania, The Bronx Zoo and The Strike That Saved Baseball (Thomas Dunne Books) is also the Mayor of Cooperstown. You can find him at http://Jeff-Katz.com  and @splitseason1981.

This guest-post has been part of the 2016 Baseball Continuum Blogathon For Charity, benefiting the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation. The Roswell Park Alliance Foundation is the charitable arm of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and funds raised will be “put to immediate use to increase the pace from research trials into improved clinical care, to ensure state-of-the-art facilities, and to help improve the quality of life for patients and their families.” Please donate through the Blogathon’s GoFundMe page. Also, please note that the opinions and statements of the writer were not necessarily those of the Baseball Continuum or it’s webmaster.

(Blogathon ’16) Mets Daddy: The Highs And Lows of 1986

This guest-post is part of the 2016 Baseball Continuum Blogathon For Charity, benefiting the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation. The Roswell Park Alliance Foundation is the charitable arm of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and funds raised will be “put to immediate use to increase the pace from research trials into improved clinical care, to ensure state-of-the-art facilities, and to help improve the quality of life for patients and their families.” Please donate through the Blogathon’s GoFundMe page. Also, please note that the opinions and statements of the writer are not necessarily those of the Baseball Continuum or it’s webmaster.

The Highs and Lows of 1986

How you view a particular year or period of time completely depends on your perspective. When you bring up 1986 in the New York Metropolitan area, the first thing that comes to mind is the ’86 Mets. As a diehard Mets fan, 1986 should’ve been the greatest year ever.

I became a Mets fan because my Dad saw to it. He did what all Dad’s do to make our sons love the sports teams we love. Basically, he used everything at his disposal. What gave him the most leverage was my love of strawberry ice cream. He used that information to tell me the Mets had this player named Darryl Strawberry who was going to play for the Mets. When Strawberry first got called up in 1983, he brought me to see him play. I was immediately hooked. Right now, I’m using the same tactics with my son to much success even if I have to find him a new favorite player.

Now, I was young when 1986 happened. When I think back to it, I really have one memory from that entire season:

The reason why I remember that moment was my family was hosting an engagement party for my aunt, who lived with us. Instead of this being the families getting to know each other type of party, it turned into everyone watching Game Six of the World Series. I still remember the way everyone celebrated when that “little roller up the first base line” went through Buckner’s legs. I just remember the sheer joy and elation. That moment as much as anything else may be the reason I’m such a huge Mets fan.

It was a moment I remembered when I was watching the 1999 NLCS with my Dad. We just watched John Olerud hit a game-winning single off the hated John Rocker for what we hoped would be the Mets climb to be the first ever team to to come back from an 0-3 deficit. I thought to take the opportunity to talk to my Dad about that 1986 season. I could’ve said a million different things. I could’ve asked about his memories of the season. I could’ve asked how the Mets coming back from an 0-3 deficit would compare to that Game Six rally. I didn’t. Instead, I said to my Dad, “Watching this just reminds you that 1986 was a great year!”

Without skipping a beat, my Dad replied, “Yeah, except for your grandfather dying.”

I was five at the time.  While I only had one memory from the entire 1986 season, I can tell you everything about walking into Nana and Grandpa’s house the day my beloved Grandfather died of throat cancer on a beautiful April day. It was a day in which everyone else was thinking about baseball and a soon to start Mets championship season. It was the beginning of a great year for Mets fans. However, for my family, 1986 was decidedly not a good year. We lost a loved one to cancer.

Now, 30 years later the Mets are primed and ready to win another World Series. Over the course of the 2016 season, there will be deaths to mourn, weddings to celebrate, and births that will forever change our lives for the better.

Throughout all of it, baseball is there. Baseball is there to help us to get through the tough times. It’s there to share with our children when they are born, and they become Mets fans of their own. It’s part of what makes baseball great. It’s always there for you. So yes, 1986 was a terrible year for my family. However, the ’86 Mets were a reminder that even it times of sorrow, there is still room for joy, for celebration.

Lets Go Mets!

Mets Daddy is the father of a now two-year-old. His blog, metsdaddy.com, discusses everything Mets with a special emphasis on raising his son as a Mets fan. He can be found on Twitter @metsdaddy2013.

 

This guest-post has been part of the 2016 Baseball Continuum Blogathon For Charity, benefiting the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation. The Roswell Park Alliance Foundation is the charitable arm of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and funds raised will be “put to immediate use to increase the pace from research trials into improved clinical care, to ensure state-of-the-art facilities, and to help improve the quality of life for patients and their families.” Please donate through the Blogathon’s GoFundMe page. Also, please note that the opinions and statements of the writer were not necessarily those of the Baseball Continuum or it’s webmaster.