Saturday, February 11, 2006

Memory trip part 2

Not content with June 1989 as my earliest Mets memory, I decided tonight I had to keep thinking. This is what you do when you've opted to sit at home instead of going out with your friends, and when you're mentally disturbed. And, when you're mentally disturbed and self-involved, you think about these things and then write about it for others to read. Here are my results. Get ready for a sick ride:

Coming into tonight, I thought my first game memory was May 28, 1989. This, I've learned via retrosheet, was the date of a game I remember watching at my grandparents house: Mets-Dodgers, in LA on a Sunday afternoon, Roger McDowell balked home the winning run in extra innings. The Mets sure showed him by trading him three weeks later like idiots. So this was the starting point that I was trying to push earlier.

Then I realized that I remembered getting ready for school one morning, and Good Day New York was on, and Jim Ryan said that the Phillies had beaten the Mets 7-1 the previous night. I remember that I reacted to this as Mets fan, albeit a young one in the pre-internet days whose family didn't have cable and therefore had to find out the results the following morning. I'm positive the score was 7-1, so it looks like this game was April 18, 1989. Ok, we're moving. Then it hit me - I do remember opening day 1989 after all. Well, I don't really remember the game, but I remember something on Good Day New York about the pre-game preparations that morning. I know I'm remembering '89 because I do remember the Cardinals being involved, so it had to have been '89 - the Mets next played the Cards on opening day in '92, which was on the road, and I remember that year far too vividly for it to be in question. (We'll save for another blog why my parents kept watching Good Day New York while we were getting ready in the mornings.) This memory led to another one: Wally Backman. Wally Backman left the Mets before the '89 season to go to the Twins. I know I remember this, and thinking at the time that I liked Backman and was disappointed he was leaving. Not a game memory, but it's something.

And then, it hit could I have been so dumb? I'd forgotten all about it. That game!! That game the Mets played against the Phillies at Shea on a Saturday night!! Of course, I remember that game. I've often thought about that game as one of my early memories, I can't believe I've overlooked it! You know what I remember about it? Steve Jeltz. I remember Steve Jeltz was in that game, always will remember that. Anybody know Jeltz? Terrible hitting ss with a gheri curl? For some reason his presence in that game has always stuck with me. Again, because I'm mentally ill. Jeltz was only a Phillie through 1989 - so I know that game has to have been one of my early ones. So let's just find it. Lo and behold, the Mets and Phillies played a game at Shea on a Sat. night on June 18, 1988. Could that be my first memory? Oh baby, but let's not get too excited, have to check 1989, and...FUCK. Fucking Mets and fucking Phillies played at fucking Shea on a fucking Saturday night in fucking 1989 too.

So there went the easy answer. I then proceeded to stare at the computer screen for ten minutes, talking to it: "Come on, tell me, tell me what game I remember...Jeltz...Jeltz...Jeltz... which damn game was it?....come, help me out, I'm beggin' ya...'88 or '89...Jeltz...hmmm, I'm hungry...Jeltz...COME ON!!!!!" Because the computer refused to help me out, I decided it was best to figure this one out for myself:

The '88 game was a 14 inning game that the Mets won 3-2; the '89 game was a 9 inning game that the Mets won 4-2. I don't really remember too much of the game, so there's no obvious help here. I feel like the game took a while, but who knows if this really means it was an extra inning game. I remember that at the end of the game they were giving away a car, and I kind of feel like they showed the car and said something like, "they'll be giving that car away whenver this game ends," which, if true, would make me think it's the '88 game - but I might be remembering wrong (don't think I've ruled out calling the Mets and finding out if they have a history of all promotions they've run since 1988.) In the '88 game, Jeltz came in as a defense replacement in the 9th and got 2 at bats; Jeltz started the '89 game. If I remember him, you'd think I'd be remembering the game that he started, but, then again, he played 5 innings in the '88 game. I think I remember Chris James in that game - James played in the '88 game and was no longer a Phillie for the '89 game, having been traded for John Kruk several weeks before. But I could be totally wrong about remembering Chris James. Mike Schmidt played in the '88 game, and you'd think I would remember Mike Schmidt. But maybe I wouldn't remember him, who knows. My best problem solver would be the uniforms - the Phillies wore blue road unis in '88 and switched to gray in '89. I was remembering them in the blue unis when I recalled this uniform switch (which I then confirmed on the Hall of Fame's uniform database). So you'd think this would clinch it. But now I'm thinking that maybe it was the gray, I'm really not sure. I could have been thinking I remembered them in the blue just because I know that was the Phillies road uniform during most of the '80s.

Damn. These results are inconclusive. Where's my smoking gun? I'd imagine you'd all like a smoking gun after reading through this. I really can't settle on which game it was. I do have another game that I'm going to research further, but I'm not sure how. Here's what I have: night game, at Shea, Tim McCarver described it as a "bitter cold night," Sid Fernandez was pitching, and he was wearing short sleeves, which I didn't understand after McCarver said how cold it was - why wouldn't the pitcher want to stay warm on a cold night? This may have been a Sat. night but I'm not sure at all, and there's the small matter of me having no clue whom the Mets played that night. Symied again. But I'm gonna get to the bottom of this one, somehow. There's also my memory of watching a game on Mother's Day in either '88 or '89, and it was at Shea. But the Mets played at Shea both those Mother's Days, and since I have absolutely no clue whom they were playing, I have to be fair and say it was probably '89. So that's out. Damn. But I can assure you, together, we will solve this problem. We will discover conclusively a 1988 memory. We're gonna smoke that memory out of its cave.

There comes a point where you don't even know what to say for yourself - I've blown way past that point.


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