Saturday, March 16, 2013

March 16- New York Mets

Back on March 6 when I wrote my piece on the Portland Beavers I had promised myself that any hat that I marked with a date I would wait until that date to write about it. Yet, here we are on March 16, ten days later, and I am breaking my own rules. Rebel!!! No, today was a bit inadvertent actually. I woke up this morning around 2 o’clock in the afternoon after getting home from the library around 5 AM. I got out of bed, did my usual routine and then shuffled through my New Era Caps to figure out which one I would be wearing/writing about. I’ve done a pretty decent job of spacing out writing about the same team; however, I realized that there were a few teams I had been neglecting for some time, even when it came to their Minor League affiliates. The New York Mets haven’t exactly been all that creative with their hats, as they’ve been using the same royal blue one since the first time they took the field in 1962. Nonetheless, I decided to pull the stickers off of this bad boy and take to the streets with it on my dome.

Believe it or not I do have about 45 or more hats that I still haven’t taken the stickers off. Therefore, I have about 45 or more hats that I haven’t marked up yet. This one was one of those few. The Mets introduced it in 1999 as their road cap, only a year after releasing the alternate cap I wrote about on January 7. Unlike the black panel with blue bill that went defunct after the 2011 season, this cap is still in active use. It is also only the fourth variation of a Mets hat to ever hit the market, while the alternate was the third. The second variation I will write about some time after the season starts up, and the fifth is hardly than hell to find as only one person I actually know owns it. Despite the fact that this is the road cap, the Mets still found themselves using it off and on during their time at Shea Stadium; a move that I can only assume was on account of an absent minded equipment manager. But then again, we are talking about the Mets here. They’re pretty absent minded themselves.

Throughout my shift at Max’s Tavern I kept looking up stats and jersey numbers in my phone so that I would be ready to crank my blog post out once I got off work. 2000 had some pretty decent moments. After all, that was the last time the Mets made it to the World Series where they were given a prompt five game exit by the New York Yankees. Numerous worth writing about players had been a part of the club since ’99: Paul Lo Duca, Shawn Green, Benny Agbayani, Rey Ordonez, Jose Reyes, Mo Vaughn, Jeromy Burnitz… ok, maybe not the last two. But regardless of all of their accomplishments, there was one specific moment associated with this hat that kept flashing through my head. Since I didn’t have another hat on me, and because I wouldn’t have been able to make it to my house and back to the library in enough time, I decided to bite the bullet and mark it up with the date of that moment.

6/9/99- As I mentioned just a little bit ago, the Mets made a habit out of wearing their “road” cap at home, and this was certainly one of those memorable nights. The Toronto Blue Jays were visiting Flushing, New York that night for the final game of a three game series. The Mets had won the previous two meetings and were looking for a solid sweep to give them momentum before their three game series versus the Boston Red Sox started the next night. David Wells started the game for the Jays and went 8 2/3 while only giving up three earned runs. Rick Reed took the mound for the Mets and was pulled out after going six innings and giving up three earned runs himself. After nine innings of play the score remained knotted at three apiece. Same with the 10th. And then same with the 11th. In the top if the 12th the Jays had Shannon Stewart on first with second baseman Craig Grebeck at the plate. Mets pitcher Pat Mahomes threw a pitch out to the right side of the batters box for Mike Piazza to catch and throw out a stealing Stewart. As Piazza caught and immediately threw the ball, home plate umpire Randy Marsh (not this Randy Marsh)

immediately called catchers interference and Stewart was awarded the base. Mets manager Bobby Valentine came flying out of the dugout to argue the call. A few choice words were thrown around and Bobby V was given hook. A few more disgruntled words were exchanged before Bobby headed down the clubhouse tunnel to hit the showers. Now wanting to watch the rest of the game in his office, Bobby V broke one of the cardinal rules of baseball by donning a disguise to watch the rest of the game from the dugout.

Bobby was never caught during the game; however, League officials certainly took notice, thanks in part to the play-by-play crew pointing it out on camera. The game continued on, and in the bottom of the 14th, with Brian McCrae on third base, the Mets got a walk-off victory after a deep single by Rey Ordonez. Bobby V was given a $5,000 fine and suspended two games for his stunt.

According to baseball lore, it has never been noted if anyone else has ever thrown on a disguise after being ejected from a ball game before, but it is known that Bobby V was certainly the Johnny Appleseed of this not-so-routine managerial decision. Winning!

One last little tidbit of info from this game which pertains to recent events; recently deceased Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez threw out the first pitch. 

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