Tag Archives: memories

A Look Back at the 2000 Mets

10 Mar


By Jim Walters

Ten years ago, the New York Mets entered Spring Training confident after a remarkable run in the 1999 postseason. Led by Bobby Valentine, Mike Piazza and Al Leiter, the Mets added Mike Hampton to solidify the rotation, bringing high hopes to Port St. Lucie.

During the offseason, New York bid farewell to John Olerud but welcomed fan favorite Todd Zeile to play first. Derek Bell also joined the team, quickly capturing the hearts of the New York fans with an Opening Day at Shea home run.

New York won 94 games that year, finishing with the Wild Card and their first pennant in 14 years.. Their rotation featured Hampton, Leiter, Rick Reed, Bobby Jones and Glendon Rusch. Their bullpen included Armando Benitez, John Franco, Rick White, Turk Wendell, Dennis Cook and Pat Mahomes.

It feels like yesterday when the Mets rallied from 8-1 down in the bottom of the 8th at Shea Stadium against the rival Atlanta Braves. With John Rocker sidelined and the crowd packed for the post-game fireworks show, the Mets mounted one of the more remarkable comebacks in team history, scoring 10 runs, capped by a Mike Piazza laser off the retired numbers in left field.

Who could forget the Roger Clemens- Mike Piazza rivalry that started with the beaning of Piazza in July and ended with Clemens throwing a piece of ¬†Piazza’s broken bat at the Mets catcher in the World Series. It was a bizarre rivalry that has been debated ever since. Was Clemens using illegal substances that caused the rage and should have Piazza stormed the mound remain “what ifs” that have been debated for a decade.

The year 2000 also brought us the Benny Agbayani home run to kick off the season in game two against the Chicago Cubs in Japan. Agbayani went full circle, hitting another late-inning blast six months later to give the Mets the pivotal game three win against the San Francisco Giants in the NLCS.

It has been ten years since the Mets brought the National League pennant to New York. While the years since have been frustrating and more recently heartbreaking, the 2000 Mets were a feisty team that was easy to root for.

While the season ended in disappointment as the Yankees celebrated their 26th World Championship on the field of Shea, it was a special year for the Mets and their faithful fans.


Memories of Shea

4 Mar

By Jim Walters

Is it just me, but when the city was covered in deep freeze, didn’t memories of a sun-soaked Shea warm your hearts like a hot cup of cocoa after shoveling 2-feet of snow.

While Citi Field is beautiful, and in desperate need of a winning team on the field, it is not Shea. It never will be.

Perhaps Shea holds a special place in my heart because of 26 years of memories. I think of those crazy nights in 1999 and 2000, as well as those memorable moments in 2006 when we felt destined to take back this town.

Of course there’s those memories of who I went with. Those rain delays in a packed Casey’s, plus the endless memories of begging players and ballgirls for foul balls, while walking out of Shea as a kid with a big foam finger and a full stomach of hot dogs and soda.

Citi is still a ballpark that is growing on me like a substitute teacher in elementary school. I need to get to know her better, spend more time learning how this field of dreams will be the background of my future baseball days. Citi will likely be my Mets home for the rest of my life, so for better or for worse, its home.

As spring slowly enters our life, share your memories of Shea and those amazing days that made up the fabric of our lives.