The Mets have a new owner. The Wilpons are gone. Tom Seaver has passed away.

Standing at this crossroads in the team’s history, this seems like a perfect opportunity to mark my departure from writing. I’d like to thank Brian for giving me the chance to write for Mets.360.

I had a dream the other night about Ed Kranepool and he was in a high school gym choosing up sides for a basketball game. Three of my oldest friends were with him: Richie, Fitz, and Scott. They started playing two-on-two and I watched from the sidelines. I was ok with that.

I’m ok with this decision too. It marks another milestone in my life and many of the markers on that road are etched in Met history.

When we were in our early teens, our parents let me and Richie take the L.I.R.R into Shea and go to Met games without adult supervision. That was unbelievably huge. I still remember sitting along first base and wondering if the old guy in front of us was Rusty Staub’s father (because he had red hair). We still laugh about that. We’d play stoop-ball one-on-one and we’d take turns being the Met hitters and pitchers. We’d be everyone from Dave Schneck to Buzz Capra.

Later, after I got out of the Army, Fitz and I started to go to games. Fitz got tickets to a Banner Day game and we rigged up some crappy-ass banner in order to get onto the procession on the field. Willie Stargell was in the visitor’s dugout and Fitz (who attended college in Pennsylvania) yelled to him. He told Stargell that he was in the audience when he had given a motivational speech at his school. Stargell just looked at him and said, “Move along, kid”. During the second game of the doubleheader, we snuck down to the box seats around first base and kept yelling “Hot Dog” to Willie Montañez. I seem to recall that eventually he yelled something back at us too.

Then, in the mid-eighties, Scott got a job as a programmer for Doubleday Publishing and ended up getting nice tickets to games. They were mezzanine seats directly behind home plate. We watched Dwight Gooden pitch to Gary Carter. Scott was a lifelong Yankee fan but knew that those Met teams from that era were special. So was Scott. Unfortunately, he passed away (I guess it is about twenty years ago now). We still all participate in a Rotisserie League he formed in 1987.

In the nineties, as my son Alex grew up, we started going to games. We’d try to get to at least one game year. Through business connections, I had access to very good box seats along the third base line. We could get into the Diamond Club and the Charcoal Room and be able to see the World Series Trophies and Hall-of-Fame busts. One time, while riding the crowded elevator to that level, Omar Minaya got on and stood next to me and Alex. It was shortly after Minaya had fired Willie Randolph. I said, “Mr. Minaya, this is my son, Alex”. He turned at me and said, “hello”. Then after an awkward moment, I said, “Mr. Minaya, we support your managerial decision”. He just looked at me like I was a stalker and quickly told the elevator operator to stop at the next floor. As the doors opened, and he stepped out, I could see him quickly motoring down that hallway. I believe he thought I was a bit crazy. A few years ago, my son told me that he had always thought he was a friend of mine we had randomly met there.

Several years ago, I connected with Brian about writing for Mets.360. This past year was my second stint with this unique family. I’d like to thank Brian again for these opportunities. I even forgive him for snatching Seaver away from me in this year’s All-Time Mets Draft.

And now more than ever; Lets Go Mets!

7 comments on “Me and Richie, me and Fitz, me and Scott, me and Alex, & me and Mets.360

  • TexasGusCC

    Best of luck Jim. In one of my jobs, my boss took a couple of us to the game with a pre-game meal at the Diamond Club. I never knew what the Diamond Club was but as we were in the elevator, Steve Phillips entered the day he was hired to be the GM. I whispered it to my boss and my boss congratulated Phillips to which Phillips smiled and said thank you. He also got off on the next floor. Maybe GM’s just do that?

    • JimO

      Texas G: that’s a possibility but Minaya kept looking back at the elevator to make sure we weren’t stepping out after him. Hahaha…..

  • footballhead

    Best of luck Jim in all your future endeavors. You and the other writers here on Mets360. have over the years really done some fine and interesting pieces which I’ve always enjoyed.

    So when were you in the Army? I was in during 1977-1980, inducted at the Newark AFEES station that summer. That was also my goodbye to my time living in the NYC, NJ area. Took my GI Bill schooling in NC and never looked back.

    The only thing that remained constant was my devotion to the Mets. My Mom actually took me to the opening day at Shea back in 1964. I was hooked for life.

    Again, thanks for your contributions to this site.

    • JimO

      Thanks for the well wishes – I was in the army from 75-78. Ft Devens, Seoul, South Korea, and then Ft. Hood.

      LGM.

  • MattyMets

    Jim, love it. Check out a book called The Tender Bar. You’d really enjoy it.

    • JimO

      Will do. Thanks for the tip.

  • Fitz

    Jim
    Wonderful and poignant article. I’m also a lifelong Yankee fan but the Mets hold a special place and I love them too. Always loved Shea and the games I went to hold a special memory…I loved sitting up a the top and they should never have taken down the blue and orange boards….Of course, ’69 is a bedrock of our youth and to this day, the single greatest Championship in NY sports history…in fact, its not even close….The younger Met fans bring up ’86, but they have no idea…How about ’73 and Oakland, what a series, but the better team won. I remember going to a game against Montreal, they had a guy, Gomez…we were in the stands yelling, Let’s Go-Mez, you’re idea…Yep, Stargell and “Move along”,,,,Ha….How can we forget the Met fan dinner….Kiner trying to sneak out and us bum rushing him…First game I went to was against the Cardinals, our little league took us, Craig was with me…I had to pee so bad by the time we got there, I went to the head and did the longest pee (time, not distance) in history…I had the good fortune of developing a business relationship with Ed Kranepool, real nice guy…Same with Harrelson…I went to a game with Scott and my client, Dr. Harvey Miller…Harvey was a Met fanatic….he still calls WFAN weekly, heard him a million times…Fay Vincent was at the game, Harvey snuck down and sat with him for an inning, Scott thought it was hysterical….Probably my greatest Met memories are from those Saturdays, we’d be playing in front of Richie’s and, Mr. Myers and Mr. Grogan would be having a beer and the Mets were on in the background, Maybe Scott’s Uncle’s would be by too….We’d go up the deli (The one by Pittsburgh) and get Yankee Doodles and RC Cola…and come back….A lifetime ago….As a finale, your writings have been wonderful and I have enjoyed them very much. a few months ago, I was on the site and read all of them…My favorite, Woodhaven and the LIRR,,,Also, your Met music has been real heartwarming…I’ve been blessed to have shared part of your Met journey and also shared it with Scott, Richie, Alex (Cespidis T shirt game especially) and, our MRL Met fans
    Thank you
    Fitz

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