The Mets inaugurated Shea Stadium on April 17, 1964 with a 4-3 loss to the Pirates. Forty-four years, 105 Tom Seaver wins, 127 Darryl Strawberry home runs, 147 Jose Reyes stolen bases, two Beatles concerts, and one visit by the pope later, the Mets closed out the old place with a 4-2 loss to the Marlins. Plus ca change...
It probably didn't have to end that way. Any of the 56,059 people in Shea's four tiers, of which your author was one, could have told you that under no circumstances should Scott Schoeneweis face a right-handed batter, let alone face one in the eighth inning of a tied game where a loss would eliminate the team from playoff contention. I tried to let Jerry Manuel know this from the upper reserved seats, but Wes Helms deposited a ball on the far side of the left field fence before I could get the words out. Reader, I booed. For the first time ever in my Mets fandom, at what would be the last game in the stadium I loved, I let slip a long, onomatopoeic, monosyllabic moan. That Luis Ayala gave up a home run to the next batter was academic.
To this day, it's a mystery why Manuel didn't play the match ups. Maybe paying attention to splits is false hustle. Or not gangsta. Who knows? It made no sense then and it makes no sense now. The ceremony after the game was nice.
- The word "denim" comes from the French phrase de Nîmes, as the fabric historically came from the city of Nîmes. Presumably, the ancestors of reliever Mike DeJean (2004-2005) hailed from the region of France where denim was turned into pants. Mike turns 42 today.
- Ronn Reynolds, 54, spent his three years in the early '80s shuttling between the dish, the bench, and Triple-A Tidewater, as third-string catchers are wont to do. Reynolds probably would have received more playing time had Sidd Finch been real, as he was the yogi's personal catcher.
Game of Note
Having clinched the NL Wild Card one day before, the Mets played their first meaningless game of September on this date in 2000. Bobby J. Jones got the start against the Braves and he almost finished things, too. The righty went eight solid innings, allowing just one unearned run before ceding the final frame to his doppelgänger, lefty Bobby M. Jones. This was the third instance of one Bobby Jones relieving the other, though the first time it happened in a win. Final score: Mets 6, Braves 2.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
Television icon Ed Sullivan made his earthly debut, born the son of a homemaker and a customs house employee on this date in 1901. When Sullivan reached late middle age, CBS granted him a variety show. Among his guests on the October 19, 1969 program were the World Champion New York Mets, who sang "You Gotta Have Heart" in celebration of their vanquishing of the Baltimore Orioles. There used to be footage of the performance on YouTube, but it seems to have disappeared. Instead, enjoy this still and hum to yourself if you know the tune.