If you missed the 1986 World Series Game 6 watch party on Facebook with New York Mets who played in the game, you missed a good time.
Like an entire generation of New York Mets fans who grew up with Mike Piazza and David Wright as household names, I was not yet born when the 1986 World Series took place. I have seen many highlights, watched countless interviews with former players, and heard Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling recount their memories on-air during Mets broadcasts.
But until this weekend, I had never seen the entirety of the fabled Game 6, the most hallowed game in Mets history, and one of the most famous World Series games ever. With the lack of new baseball content during the quarantine, SNY has done a fantastic job of showing the glorious old Mets games that fans will watch again and again.
Recently, they replayed all of the 1986 World Series, one game per evening. Saturday May 23 was the rebroadcast of the famous Game 6. In true Mets fashion, SNY treated this game with a little extra fanfare. In addition to re-showing the game on TV, SNY and Steve Gelbs hosted a “watch party” on Facebook Live with a large selection of players from the 1986 team.
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During the four-hour broadcast, players came and went, but here is a list of everyone who was on the Zoom call at some point throughout the night: Ron Darling, Keith Hernandez, Kevin Elster, Bob Ojeda, Roger McDowell, Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Kevin Mitchell, Howard Johnson, Rafael Santana, and Tim Teufel. These eleven guys comprised nearly half the roster of that magical 1986 team.
The fact that SNY was able to set up a Zoom call with this many ’86 Mets is truly remarkable, and it was evident that they genuinely appreciated the chance to reunite.
All these years later, the players from that team still have such fire and passion when they discuss the 1986 season.
The watch party also featured a lot of friendly banter, laughter, and gentle ribbing. Whatever team chemistry these guys had in the 1980s is definitely still there.
The 1986 Mets have done many interviews about that season over the years, but what really made this watch party stick the landing was hearing their real-time reactions to Game 6. From Elster recounting how nervous he was whenever the ball was hit his way, to Strawberry wondering when he would be double-switched out of the game, to Ojeda’s very candid comments about his time with the Mets and Red Sox during the ’80s, there was never a dull moment.
Watching all of Game 6 alerted me to many aspects of the game I had not known previously. For example, I had no idea that Roger Clemens, who started that game for the Red Sox, no-hit the Mets for the first five innings. I was also not previously aware that the Mets had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the 9th, tied 3-3 and with runners on first and second and no one out. There were also a couple of questionable safe/out calls on the basepaths that, in today’s era of replay, could have easily gone the other way.
Another thing I noticed throughout the watch party was the palpable absence of Gary Carter. Sadly, Carter passed away in 2012 after a battle with brain cancer. However, his spirit was very present during the Game 6 watch party. The way his teammates spoke of him with such respect and reverence every time he came up to bat made my eyes well up. It was clear that Carter had an enormous impact on the competitive spirit and fighting nature of that ’86 ballclub, and that his teammates remember him very fondly.
As a younger fan who did not grow up with these guys as “my team,” while watching Game 6 on Saturday I was nostalgic for a time that I never actually lived through. Players like Strawberry, Gooden, and Hernandez are all in the upper echelon of “greatest Mets ever,” and seeing them on the same screen reacting to the most famous game they ever played in was an incredible treat. Though I adore this current Mets roster, I would have absolutely loved to grow up rooting for the ’80s Mets and their hard-nosed, gritty style of winning.
When the game finally came to its epic conclusion, I was still left wanting more. This watch party likely never would have happened if not for the quarantine and the lack of new games on SNY. I am still pining away for actual live baseball, but I am grateful that this special event came about because of these unusual circumstances.
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At one point during the broadcast, Darling noted aloud, “This is fun, guys. We should do this more often.” For their sake and the sake of Mets fans everywhere, I sincerely hope they do.