In my opinion, live baseball is one of the best date activities – well, back in pre-pandemic times. Why? It’s a game given to many lulls, which lends itself to being able to converse with the person you’re with. There’s also something about sharing the energy of a game with many other people while often sitting outside in summer weather. In other words, a New York Mets game date.
Valentine’s Day is almost here, and this is a perfect time for me to reminisce about some times that the Mets provided me great memories while I was also trying to court someone.
Jose Runs Around the Bases For the Mets
I will always remember September 7, 2006. It was my first real date with my now-wife after being friends for a while. We shared a love of the Mets and I got us seats for the tilt against the Dodgers for that night. Our seats were in the upper deck behind home plate and it gave us a great view of the field. It was a perfect night for baseball, too, since it was early September and the nights had not started getting chilly yet. Tom Glavine was the starting pitcher.
While I vaguely remember them winning, the most memorable play featured Jose Reyes, who was hitting on all cylinders at the time as one of the game’s most dynamic players. It was the sixth inning and there were two runners on. Reyes hit a fly ball that bounced to the wall while the outfielders gave chase – I remember glancing at the infield and Reyes was ALREADY at second. That’s when I knew he had a very realistic shot at an inside-the-park homer, which he completed with ease.
The night ended with a Mets win. It was a great game and a great first-date memory.
Pedro Dancing In The Sprinklers
While this was technically not a date in the strict definition of the word, I did attend it with my now-wife when we were still friends. There were some signs of things to come since she let me hold her hand and also the occasional kiss on the cheek. So, things were pointing in a positive direction there. Every now and then, we would meet up for a Mets game. This time, it was in ‘05. and Pedro Martinez was pitching. He had donned the blue and orange right after helping Boston break their decades-long World Series drought the year before.
We were high up – though I do remember that it was not the upper deck this time – there was an overhang of a section above us. We had a clear view of the pitcher’s mound, and our eyes were on Martinez when he was throwing his warm-up pitches. Then it happened – the sprinklers came to life on the field, spraying everywhere. Apparently, someone had probably entered “7:00 pm” into the automated system instead of “7:00 am.”
So there we were, observing the players as they quickly scattered around the field to avoid the water streams. Not Pedro, though. He took a few steps and then stuck his head out so he could get some of that water. It was great, he was playing to the moment. Soon, the sprinklers were stopped by an undoubtedly chagrined head grounds crew member, and the game resumed.
I had to read game reports to jog my memory that they won that day and that the opponent was Arizona. Carlos Beltran, who had also just joined the team after signing a mammoth contract, homered. But it was just Pedro’s free-spirited soak that really stood out.
The John Franco Day Debacle
While this date did not lead to any long-term relationships, it was still a baseball date that I remember. It was 1996, the Internet was still coming along into a mainstream thing. I was living in Boston and was talking with a girl from New York, my hometown.
I came home and took her to a Mets game. This was actually her first baseball game ever. It just so happened to be John Franco Day against the Cubs (people may already be nodding their heads), and I was able to score good seats on the third-base side due to the team SUCKING that year. They wound up barely finishing ahead of a putrid Phillies team. Pete Harnisch was on the bump for the Mets that day. My somewhat hazy memory of it was that it was nice, weather-wise.
The game got hairy pretty fast – Todd Hundley, one of the few bright spots for this dismal group, got buzzed near his head. Harnisch plunked the pitcher who did it. Then nothing happened for a while, since Harnisch batted the first two times with runners on base. Then it happened his third time hitting. The Cubs had a new pitcher in and he hit Harnisch, who then glared at the pitcher. Scott Servais was the catcher and he started jawing at Harnisch. Suddenly, the two of them were full-on brawling with both dugouts emptying.
Of course, the fans got into the action, with everyone in attendance at Shea standing and hooting and hollering while the two teams were fighting. This was not one of those times when there was a lot of shoving. Punches were being thrown – and connecting with faces and other body parts. I was standing in my seat yelling (I’m not proud of that now, but I was young…er) … and then I glanced down at this poor girl, who was very demure and shy, looking shocked while all of us around her were basically acting like the ancient Romans at the Colosseum while the gladiators fought.
“Um. This doesn’t happen very often!” I quickly assured her. She didn’t seem too convinced. Finally, 16 minutes later, the game resumed. I only remember that part of the game. Supposedly Rico Brogna hit a walk-off homer after they blew the lead, thanks to Franco being ejected on HIS DAY for his role in the brawl.
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I’m sure that I am not the only one who has had fantastic Mets memories coincide with being out on a date with someone. Have you had something similar? Be sure to leave a comment below!