If it’s one of those dates in Mets history that won’t show up in any “This Date in Mets History,” it must be Flashback Friday at Faith and Fear in Flushing.
Here’s to the first person to open my eyes to baseball, however inadvertently.
Here’s to the first person to share Peanuts with me, the comic strip in which Charlie Brown played baseball badly but constantly. Since Peanuts was popular enough for this person to have several books of it, I figured baseball must be a pretty normal thing to like.
Here’s to the first person to share baseball cards with me. They were printed in 1967 and 1968. They had a catcher from the Braves named Joe Torre and a manager from the Reds named Dave Bristol and an outfielder from the Indians named Leon Wagner. They also had a first baseman named Ed Kranepool from the Mets. The Mets. The New York Mets. Hmmm…we live in New York.
Here’s to the first person to share a portable television — a Sony — with me so I could watch the final game of the 1969 World Series and games throughout the summers of 1970 and ’71 even if this person preferred Marcus Welby M.D. and once asked why I bothered watching the games when they’ll tell you the score on the news and isn’t the score all you need to know anyway?
Here’s to the first person to take me to my second-ever game at Shea Stadium, my third-ever game at Shea Stadium and my fifth-ever game at Shea Stadium — each of them an Old Timers Day yet — despite a complete lack of interest in every game ever played at Shea Stadium.
Here’s to the first person to introduce me to a person who had recently given up working at Shea Stadium, recently enough to use his residual pull to gain me access inside the room where they kept all the souvenirs they sold to regular people but he was telling me to go ahead, take what you want (I choked and plucked one measly cap from the trove, but this same other person filled a tote bag with goodies for me which got him in good with that first person enough so that these persons have been married quite a while now).
Here’s to the first person I ever knew who was a writer, and because this person was a writer, it’s not a stretch to say I wanted to be a writer.
Here’s to the first person I ever really knew at all, the one person I’ve known longer than any other, the only person I know whose ongoing obliviousness to our national and my personal pastime doesn’t bother me one bit. She did so much to hook me up with baseball without realizing it, who could ask for anything more?
Here’s to my big sister Suzan, who was more mature at 14 than I am at 44. Suzan was born January 21, 1957, but in deference to her sudden distaste for simple arithmetic, I won’t mention how many years ago since then it will be come Sunday. But I will say happy birthday. Whichever one it is.
Next Friday: A line or two upon the wall regarding the No. 10 song of all-time.