Interrupting Dillon Gee’s good work and some hockey game of local interest to note Saturday’s New York Times includes an essay by yours truly on the Mets’ revival of Banner Day, coming to a ballpark near you Sunday. You can read it here.
I went to many banner days in my youth, notably the “tripleheader” of August 1, 1972 that you mention in the article. More notably, that was a twi-night doubleheader on a TUESDAY night. (I assume this was on the schedule as opposed to rainout makeup, making it quite a reminder of “wow, things have changed.”)
And MOST notably – you did not not attend a banner day until 1993? That seems much less likely than Ed Kranepool getting intentionally walked in front of Cleon Jones to set up the game winner in game one.
Thank you, Mr. Prince, for your perfectly pitched essay in today’s Times, which brought back memories of…
Banner Day, 1984. First contending team in years, excitement level high for double-header against then-division rival Cubs, a mere couple-two-three games ahead in first place. A friend drafted me to help tote her banner (“Hell’s Kitchen Loves The Mets!”), and when we assembled outside Shea in the 7th inning of Game One, there was riotous, carnival atmosphere. As we all talked about the fine young team that was coming together, and checked out the artwork around us, word trickled through the crowd: “Have you seen… ?” We followed the buzz to find a skillfully drawn full-scale man wearing a Cubs jersey, and that’s all; naked from the waist down, from the back, anatomically correct: “Bend Over Cubs!” Jaw-dropping. The parade finally started to move, and we could hear the cheers from inside the park as the first banners breached the left field gate. Almost an hour went by, crowd noise dimmed to a low buzz. Then, just as we could see the green of the outfield ahead, a chanting went up: “No more banners!” We marched gamely on, were at last on the field and moving toward the third base line. A cop was waving us past, crumpled banner at his feet. I asked, “Bend Over Cubs?”, and he smiled grimly and nodded. Cubs swept us that day, and never looked back.
The Cubs took offense, apparently.
I watched that doubleheader and that parade on TV, the day after Doug Sisk became Doug Sisk. Hurt in real time, but a glorious summer 28 years on. Thanks for sharing the story.
Greg – Doug Sisk! Now, there’s a name I never thought I’d hear again…
Heard two of my favorite words today, same sentence: Santana, and “dominant”.
For my money, the happy fallout from the Madoff clusterf*ck is this terrific bunch of homegrown Mets, playing with heart and dash – and winning more often than not. Favorite squad in a long time. The Year of the Buffalo Soldiers?
Thanks so much for this article. captured the spirit of banner day perfectly.
I recall attending an early banner day in the era of last place finishes when, out of all the elaborate banner creations, the winner was a little boy who held a one word banner… PRAY… It was brilliant!
Anyway, i’m glad to have found this blog as a result of the Times article. Hope to be a frequent commenter! I’ll be there tomorrow. LET’S GO METS!
Thanks very much and glad to have found some new readers (and thanks to our “old” readers as well — the FAFIF family loves expanding).
Nice article. July, 31 1983 was not only my first Banner Day, but my first games (like the commenter in a previous thread) Two 12 inning games, sitting in the baking sun outside Shea from the 7th inning on in the first game waiting to walk the field with my banner. That is a day I will never forget. We even stayed for the whole second game as well. I remember teh “Strawberry Field Forever” banner as well as one that said “The mets may take a lickin but time keeps tickin” in more of a sandwich board fashion, and lastly ” Lets Go Mets, Shuffle Those Cards to the Back of the Deck” I think that was the winner. LGM.
FROM OUR BASEBALL LIBRARY
Piazza: Catcher, Slugger, Icon, Star by Greg Prince is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online booksellers.
Amazin' Again: How the 2015 New York Mets Brought the Magic Back to Queens by Greg Prince is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online booksellers.
Volume I of The Happiest Recap: 50+ Years of the New York Mets As Told in 500+ Amazin' Wins by Greg Prince is available in print and for Kindle on Amazon.
Faith and Fear in Flushing: An Intense Personal History by Greg Prince (foreword by Jason Fry), is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online booksellers.