I’ve been waiting for this day for six months. The Mets were doing something they haven’t done since 1988. Trash the team plane? They did that before then. Retire a number? Yes.
Mike Piazza was about to have his number retired by the Mets. The only other time a Met player had his number retired was when Tom Seaver had his retired in 1988.
Parking was going to be a bloodbath at the game, so thank goodness for public transportation. Took the Long Island Rail Road over to Woodside, and transferred to the 7 Train. Got off at the Mets/Willets Point station, and waited in line to get in.
There was nothing else to do, so I went to Blue Smoke and got a Pulled Pork Sandwich. Best Pulled Pork Sandwich I ever had in my life. If you ever go to Citi Field again during the season, get a Pulled Pork Sandwich from Blue Smoke. Trust me, it’s really good. Meanwhile, can you spot anything interesting in this next picture?
The ceremony was about to begin, and I wasn’t even in my seat yet. Made it just in time to see everyone introduced. First, they introduced Piazza’s family and relatives. Then, they introduced three of his former teammates: Al Leiter, Edgardo Alfonzo, and Cliff Floyd. Why wasn’t John Franco there? He was the one that gave Piazza his number 31! Anyways, they showed a pre-recorded video of him at the site of Shea Stadium’s home plate, and around Citi Field. They showed him walking in the door that leads to the Mets Clubhouse and the Mers dugout, and then the Monster was released from his cage.
Piazza came out of the doors that led to the Mets dugout, and hugged many of the current Mets watching the ceremony in the dugout. Then, he came out to the field to a standing ovation. After the cheers died down, then came a long speech from Howie Rose, and then he named the players who had their number retired as a Met. 37, in honor of Casey Stengel, the first manager in the history of the Mets. 14, in honor of Gil Hodges, the man who led the Mets to their first World Series Championship in 1969. 41, in honor of Tom Seaver, the first player to go in the Hall of Fame as a Met. 42, in honor of Jackie Robinson. They also have Bill Shea, the man who brought the Mets to New York, and Ralph Kiner, a color commentator for the Mets from 1962-2013.
Piazza gave a speech after that, then he threw out the ceremonial first pitch from behind home plate to one of his former batterymates, Al Leiter. He then took a victory lap around the field on a golf cart, and then there was plenty of waiting. The first pitch was rescheduled to 7:45 because the tarp still needed to come off the field. The ceremony was more impressive than the game itself. Bartolo Colon pitched three great innings, then ran into trouble by allowing three runs. It all went downhill from there. Four more runs scored, Wilmer Flores hit a homer in the 9th, but the fan who caught it pulled a Jeffery Maier, and it was ruled an out. Mets lost 7-2, and I was already on my way home then. Left in the middle of the 7th, or else I wouldn’t have gotten home until 1AM. I also didn’t want to sleep on the train ride home. Just look at what happened when I did that coming home from the 2015 World Series.
Pretty cool night, considering that the Mets only retire numbers of players that make it to the Hall of Fame. Who knows, that might never happen again. Gary Carter’s #8 should have been there, but he was forced to go in as an Expo, while many people remember him as a Met. If not for the injuries, David Wright would have been up there about 10-15 years from now. The list goes on.
Anyways, I have a recap coming soon about a Yankee game I went to, and before you ask, no it was not Arod’s last game. It’s coming soon.