(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.

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2016 Baseball Continuum Blogathon for Charity: Introduction

Hello, and welcome to the 2016 Baseball Continuum Blogathon for Charity, raising money through GoFundMe for the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation, the charitable arm of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

Over the next three days, you will read pieces from not only me, but some of the best writers, bloggers, Tweeters, researchers, fans, and podcasters on the web. Also, those who donate non-anonymously will be eligible for giveaways of books, a comic, copies of Out Of The Park Baseball, and a “Living Baseball Card”.

So, please, donate! But even if you are unable or unwilling to, I hope you enjoy the next three days of content.

I’m not entirely sure why I chose to do this. Part of it is because I always enjoyed the “Old Time Family Baseball” Blogathons that Michael Clair ran for Doctors Without Borders (also a very worthy charity), but I think another big reason for why was my grandfather. His name was Jacob “Jack” Glickman. He was a pharmacist, and a baseball fan. Through him, my dad became a baseball fan, and through him, I became a baseball fan.

He also died of cancer. I can still easily remember the day he died- September 30, 2014. That was also the day of the classic Royals-Athletics Wild Card game. The two are very connected in my mind, as earlier that day I had been visiting my grandfather at the place where he was being treated in his final days. Despite the fact that doctors had said he probably didn’t have much time left, and that he wasn’t entirely all “there”, he still wanted to know about the game, when it would be, who was pitching, and who I thought would win.

I found out that he had passed away shortly before the start of the game. I was sad, of course, but I was told to not come to the hospital and instead watch the game. It was, as we all remember, an instant classic, and by the end I wasn’t so much sad about how my grandfather was gone, so much as sad that he hadn’t been able to see that great game.

So, when it came time to figure out what the Blogathon would be for, I came pretty quickly to the idea of raising money for a cancer charity. My grandfather was not the first fan to miss a great game because of the scourge of cancer, and sadly he was far from the last. It’s likely that all of us, including many of the guest writers who will be taking over this weekend, have known somebody who has been affected by the disease, and in many cases we likely know somebody who lost their lives to it.

And after some research, I decided upon Roswell Park Alliance Foundation, which is the charitable arm of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Roswell Park, located in Buffalo but with affiliations across New York and the world, is America’s oldest cancer center, specializing in research and treatment. The RPAF is rated four stars by Charitynavigator.com, and donations will, according to their website, 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.” Fittingly, Roswell Park has a close relationship with the State University of New York at Buffalo, where my late grandfather studied to become a pharmacist. 

So, again, please donate. You only need a credit/debit card and a few minutes, but it could help people in the future.

Now, that’s how we got here. Make sure to come back next hour as I begin the Blogathon’s baseball content with an installment of “Famous For Something Else”.