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One for Alex, 300 for Me

Alex Wolf [1] is 1-0 lifetime at Shea Stadium. I'm 169-131 there, including the post-season, something I don't normally take into account when discussing my Log, but if the 1998 Yankees can claim 125 wins in one year (the regular schedule not nearly expansive enough to contain their self-aggrandizement), then I can stretch my truth just a bit. The point is, Sunday afternoon was my 300th game* that counted inside the big, blue thing. It was a personal statistical milestone for three reasons besides:

1) It was my tenth game of the year (6-4 in '05), marking the ninth straight season I've reached double-digits, eleventh time overall. It's been a rich, full life.

2) This was the first homestand in which I saw the Mets beat three different teams and not suffer a loss at all — one win apiece against Atlanta [2], San Diego [3] and Los Angeles. Mr. Piazza homered in all three. And I resuscitated my 1997 ice cream cap for each game. If only all that mattered was lucky headgear…

3) At this moment and for the first time ever, I have a .500 or better record against every single National League opponent…except the loathsome Atlantans (12-20 when counting Game 3 of the 1999 NLCS). I have never held a winning mark versus the Braves; my best was 2-2 after a 4-3 victory on July 22, 1987. Lawdy, I hate them.

Today snapped a four-game losing streak to the Dodgers that I'd been schlepping around since 2001 (a schneid which culminated in another friend's son's far from auspicious debut [4]) and brought me to 9-9 where they're concerned. The other night made it 7-7 against San Diego. So this homestand has been a real threading-the-needle experience in the land of Log.

I'm 12-9 against the American League at Shea — considering all Interleague foes as one jumble is the least unpleasant option vis-à-vis breaking out the records against each Junior Circuiteer, if you get my drift.

As for Game No. 300 [5], it proved one of the most relaxing in recent memory, even given the exhilirating aftereffect of moving us to within 3-1/2 of first. Get a lead early and let Mr. Benson do the rest. It allowed me to talk Alex and his dad through any and all questions posed. Alex wanted to know what that was out there beyond right field (the Mets' bullpen); if home runs break car windows (not usually); and if that guy batting first for us was indeed the shortstop (he was). His dad was a little vague on the concept of pinch-hitting and how a pitcher gets credit for a win, but we covered that, too. They're both quick studies. Alex's mom told me she once got a pennant autographed by Tug McGraw, Tommie Agee and Cleon Jones at a store-opening. She also inferred the Dodgers were pretty lame today. I think I see where Alex gets his baseball bug from.

*It has come to my attention that the third game I ever attended, on June 28, 1975 [6], was delayed by rain for nearly an hour-and-a-half at its start. I remember leaving, at my sister's behest (she was sure they wouldn't resume playing), during that delay but have always recalled the tarp coming out in the middle of the second inning, meaning I had to have witnessed at least a little of that affair. But what I'm remembering being stopped by the umpires, I now have to admit, was the Old-Timers Game that preceded the “real” game. That's what was interrupted by rain. Apparently I never saw any of the Mets-Phillies action in person that afternoon. The question then becomes, should it still count as part of my Log? In 1999, when you and I attended the twinight doubleheader in which Ventura hit two grand slams, we missed most of the opener. I decided then that as long as I see one pitch of a game, I can say I saw the game. Since that ruling came 24 years after the game I didn't see, I've decided 6/28/75 will remain on the books, grandfathered in prior to the '99 decision, as a game I went to. I did go to it, after all. Thus, today was indeed my 300th game, 169th win and I can continue to say — now and forever — that I was at Shea Stadium at least once when Randy Tate started. It's always been a point of pride for me. (I'm not a particularly prideful person.)