Mets Song of the Month: ‘I Got Me a Seat Out at Shea’

This song was a long time coming.

It started out as song about the brass plates in the parking lot of Citi Field (where the bases at Shea used to be).  That ended up being just a couple of lines in this one. Then I tried doing something about the Polo Grounds and that didn’t go anywhere.

It ended as sort of a companion piece to the “Willie Kneeling” song.  The verse about Tommie Agee’s home run is based on a true experience. I loved sitting in Shea’s right field bleachers looking down into the bullpen.

The Lyrics:

Well I’m takin’ the train
To the Woodside Station.
Then hopping on the #7 line.
I’ll be getting off at Shea
‘Cause Koosman is a pitchin’
And I want to see Jerry pitch

Shea is still standing.
She hasn’t been torn down.
All her bases are there.
They ain’t brass plates in the ground.
And I’m seein’ all them faces
That I used to go there with
And the sun is a’shinin’
On a warn sunny day.
Yeah, I got me a seat out at Shea.

Lookin’ down from the bleachers
Into Pignataro’s Pen
Then Agee angles one at me.
And I’m just sitting
Watching that home run a’spinnin’.
And everything’s slow motion
And that ball is a twistin’.
It all looks so very real to me.

Mets Song of the Month: ‘September 9th, 1969’

One of the early iconic moments in Mets history is the “Black Cat Game” which occurred on September 9, 1969.  The Cubs came to New York for a two-game series holding a 2 ½ game lead over the Mets.  The Mets won the first game to cut the lead to 1 ½ games.  Game two pitted the aces of the two teams against each other:  Ferguson Jenkins vs. Tom Seaver.  The Mets took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first.  The score stayed that way until the top of the fourth inning.  Glenn Beckert was on second base with a double and Billy Williams was at the plate.  At that point, a black cat emerged from underneath the stands behind home plate and made a circle around the Cubs’ on-deck batter, Ron Santo.  The cat stopped, looked at Cubs manager Leo Durocher, and then disappeared again below the stands.  The Cubs did score a run when Santo singled in Beckert but the Mets went on to win the game. Here’s the full band version of the song:

The Lyrics:

September 9th, 1969.
Black Cat takes a walk along the third base line.
September 9th, 1969.

Hey Mr. Black Cat with your New York shoes
Them players you’re spookin’ got them Chicago blues.
Hey Mr. Black Cat which side you gonna choose?
All them out-of-towners got them North Side blues.

You got your clubs in your back pocket
Got some diamonds in your hands.
Run your little circle
Then disappear beneath the stands.
Hey Mr. Black Cat.  Hey man, I’m telling you.
All them out-of-towners got them North Side blues.

On-Deck circle
Ron Santo got his bat.
He don’t want to see
No more Mr. New York cat.
Hey Mr. Santo
Do you hear that hometown noise?
Time to turn it over
To them New York boys.

Here’s the solo version:

Mets Song of the Month: ‘There’s Dirt on old Fifteen’

This is another song that started in one spot and ended in another.  The attempt was to write a song about a Met player that nobody would ever think of focusing on.  It started with Barry Lyons but got nowhere fast.  While doing work on the Lyons song, the focus shifted to one of the all-time great Mets players, Jerry Grote.  A personal favorite memory of Grote was in 1973, when the Mets were in a pennant race and in a game, some kid interfered with Grote from making a foul catch and Grote gave the kid grief over it.  The Mets ended up losing that game because in the newspapers, the next day, that kid was quoted as saying, “If the Mets have to lose, I hope its by more than one game.”

The Lyrics:

Grote sits behind the plate
Sets up low and mean.
Crouched down like some alley cat
There’s dirt on old’15.

When Jerry called for number one
You’d better hurl your heater high.
Just hold that runner on first base
And look Jerry in the eye.

The San Antonio wind
It blew him in.
And he brought his right hand gun.
He never had too much to say
Until the game was won.

If he didn’t like the way a pitch was called
He’d let that fact be known.
And if some strikes weren’t called his way
He might miss one that got thrown.
(Make the Umpire Moan)

We picked him up from the Colt 45s
And he never did go back.
Made them runners crawl
With his Texas drawl
Hands big as ammo packs.

Mets Song of the Month: ‘Willie Kneeling’

The Narrative:  This one is half-based on the famous 1973 World Series photograph of Willie Mays and half-based on my experience at a Shea Stadium Camera Day.   It sort of ties in what a kid or a fan feels during a game, what a player feels at the end of a season or a career, and what fans feel if their team doesn’t come out on top.  There is just one version of this song.

Willie Kneeling

Camera Day
Kodak in hand.
Twelve year old kid
In the right field stands.
Willie walks by
Out there at Shea.
So close to greatness
But so far away.

Koosman’s got
His hat pushed back.
Milner’s there
Swinging a bat.
He hears Jane Jarvis
Play her notes.
And everything
That the Tin Pan wrote.

Day moves along
The crowd departs.
Mets make the playoffs
World Series starts.

But Buddy boy
Flies too high to the base.
Homeplate Ump
Seals his fate.
Willie’s there
Down on his knees.
He asks old Augie,
“Make the safe call, please.”

Mets lose in seven
To the Oakland A’s.
So close to greatness
But so far away.

‘Strike Zone; Scoreboard Lights’

When Brian was looking for 2020 monthly contributors, I suggested a monthly item in the form of a song since that fits in with what I’ve been doing over the past couple of years.  This first song emanated from an Art Shamsky trip to go see Tom Seaver.  There were some photographs taken at a local restaurant out by Tom Seaver’s vineyards.  Shamsky and Seaver were joined by Ron Swoboda, Bud Harrelson, and Jerry Koosman.

The photograph is just a bunch of old friends sitting around but of course there is some sadness behind the smiles.  The health conditions of both Seaver and Harrelson underscore the fleeting time of athletes and their relationships to each other, their fans, and their on-going legacy.

There are two versions of the song.  One is just me.  The other is me with the whole group.

The Lyrics:

Is this the last time we’ll be together?
Is this the last time we’ll see old friends?
String some moments still together;
We may not get another chance again.

Five of us laughing at the old times.
The crazy things some of us would do.
Teary Eyes over those not with us.
How did all of us become just a few?

Grab another sip of wine now.
Tell another joke -maybe two.
Rosin bags and the pine tar
I remember; do you?

Twilight – young girl sings the anthem
Lined up – hands upon our hearts
Later champagne and cigarettes.
And time to replay one another’s parts.

Sometimes tears are memories
And sometimes memories are tears.
Laughter frames the photos that I’ve kept with me
And all of you have helped to frame my years.

Late lunches – early dinners
Watch that old sun giving way to night
It’s getting dark and I know you must be going
Dream about the strike zone and scoreboard lights.

Listen here:

The Valeros: