The Zionist Conspiracy
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Memories of Shea - Strawberry Sunday and the Return of Koosman
There was an air of optimism around the Mets during spring training 1984. The Mets had a new young manager, young pitching talent, 1983 Rookie of the Year Darryl Strawberry, and star first baseman Keith Hernandez.
Longtime Mets fans were well aware that the optimism was a sham. Strawberry would be a star and Hernandez already was one, but Davey Johnson had never managed in the majors and his talk about using computer analysis to help him manage sounded loony. The young talent would surely disappoint and/or get hurt. George Foster would continue to be a colossal bust. GM Frank Cashen had proven himself a buffoon; after finally doing something right and bringing back Tom Seaver, he had inexplicably left Seaver unprotected and lost him to the White Sox during the offseason.
Yet I was only 11 years old and while I had never experienced a winning season - or even a 70 win season - I was buying into the optimism. One day I called the Mets at 718-507-TIXX and requested a schedule.
A few days later, the brand new schedule - actually two of them - arrived in the mail. And there on the list of promotions was Strawberry Sunday, on Sunday, April 29, 1984, on which Carvel would be giving out strawberry sundaes to all in honor of the Mets' right fielder. My father agreed to take me to the game, and I ordered two tickets.
In the days prior to the game, the Times mentioned something about Jerry Koosman returning to Shea for the first time. I was well versed in Mets history and knew Koosman was a long-time Met and a star on the '69 team. Still, he'd been gone for six years, ancient history for an 11 year old.
I must have left school a little early, but my 6th grade rebbe was only in his 20s and I doubt it ever crossed my mind that he would care if I went to the game.
Back then, all Carvel products were certified kosher, so there was no problem (I think) with eating the sundaes.
I remember loud applause when Koosman came out to pitch for the Phillies after the top of the first inning ended.
Strawberry had two hits, Hernandez homered, Jesse Orosco continued his scoreless streak and the Mets beat Koosman and the Phillies to improve their record to 12-8 and tie for first place in the NL East.
The strawberry sundae was good too, as were the 1984 New York Mets.