Sunday, January 22, 2006


Reunion at Shea-Day 1

The last leg of my Fantasy experience with the Mets has arrived. I had been given two complimentary tickets to Sunday's Mets vs. Giants game, June 4th, then I would play on the field at Shea the following day, with my old team from Port St Lucie, in what was being heralded as the "Reunion game". I decided to bring my dad to Shea with me for the Mets game on Sunday. We were in the picnic area and were treated to an extensive buffet lunch. An hour before gametime, they lined us up alphabetically, and marched us onto the field at Shea from the Outfield fence. We lined up along the first base line. As we walked in front of the right field stands we waved at the crowd as if they cared who we were and why we were there. Walking past first base, I tell the guy in front of me "hey this is where Mookie's grounder went through Buckner's legs". Looking into the stands from the field is surreal. The seats were half full since it was still an hour before gametime, but I tried to imagine the energy when you looked up and saw wall to wall people packed in their seats. As we stood in front of the Mets dugout, we saw Jose Reyes in the dugout. He stood alone tossing a ball in the air then over to the bat rack to take some swings. This is all an hour before gametime. it is obvious that he would play for free he just truly loves the game. The public address announcer proceeded to introduce us by name one by one to the crowd as a video camera filmed us and our images appeared on the big screen at Shea. A still photographer took our photo as well. After every name was announced, they had a special tribute to one of the camp players who passed unexpectedly a few months after our camp at Florida. His wife and children were representing him and completing his fantasy camp experience. It was an emotional moment, but we all took solace that he did get to experience the games in Florida, and meet some of his childhood idols with the rest of us. We were corralled back to the picnic area and watched a very competitive game. We were treated to home runs by David Wright, Jose Valentin, and the rookie Lastings Milledge. This was the memorable game where Milledge hit the homer to tie the game in the 11th inning then gave a high five to every fan in the front row on the first base line. Although he was lamb basted in the newspapers, the crowd thought it was a celebration of his success and his excitement about coming through in the clutch for the team. Unfortunately the Mets lost the game in 12 innings, but little did I know that was to be the only black mark of the event. Tomorrow I will be on the field in uniform at SHEA STADIUM!

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