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The Buckner Stops Here. - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
The Buckner Stops Here.
There's a storied, but very brief, common history between the Mets and the Red Sox.  The Chowds had never been to our new ballpark before, and the last time they won a game in the hallowed hall now demolished next door, it was 2001 and David Cone was pitching for them.

No matter. The events of October 1986 are embedded in both teams' consciousnesses.  The final two games of that World Series were played at Shea; Game Six provided Proof Positive of a Curse on the Sox when the Mets, down to their last strike, came back and won the game on a little roller up along first that got behind the bag.

This roller:

And this bag:


I sought it out first this time, easily found by heading for the old home plate- that centre of selfies that seemed to have formed on the way toward the Seaver Gate- and walking 90 feet. I was a little surprised that it was mostly Sox-clad fans taking pictures of it. Of course, in the 30 seasons since then, they've won three world championships (but will not win a fourth) and we've won none (but are still in contention to win one).

I did not enter through the Seaver Gate. Even two hours before game time, the lines were epic. But I knew from the last visit that the back entrance next to the attached stadium bar is sparsely used. It doesn't open for half an hour after the Rotunda does out front, but we still got in long before I would have if I'd queued up with the big crowd at 5.

This, for much of the night, was "we:"

Susan is a fellow East Meadow graduate, and Met-fan lifer, who I'd never met before Friday- but we know friends from back there as well as several of the most iconic fans of the current incarnation. She goes often, and knows a lot of the sekrits of this still-young stadium. For one, she showed me the fan's view of the Met bullpen. It's behind two chain-link fences, but we were both as close to today's starting pitcher as we were to each other for much of the night:

I was then brought to my first-ever Shake Shack experience. You never went to Shea Stadium for the food, unless you were keen on regurgitation. This place brought in a lot more variety and generally nicer servers all the way around, but Shake Shack is probably the most iconic. I didn't even realize until recently there's a whole chain of them, but the one here is It as far as I'm concerned. Far better than the Harry M. Stevens concessions of the 70s, but maybe not quite as Destination Cuisine as the line made it out to be.

We then headed up, Up and UP. This was my first time in what used to be called the Upper Deck, and while it's obviously more away from the action than the 7 Line seats in the outfield or the Club seats of more recent visits, you get one thing those others don't offer: View. I'd never seen the water from here before (or even from Shea):

Susan, meanwhile, posted this one of the sunset we were treated to:

There were Boston fans around us, but mostly families and generally an affable bunch; it was a kind Sox fan who shot the picture of Susan and me while we finished our Shakery.  It was my first ever Harvey Day, named for the star pitcher who began the team's resurgence in 2013.  His strikeout potential has become the thing of legend, and he put up a bunch of them while we were up there. Meanwhile, the Met bats, which had been on fire the previous week, seemed to have cooled after seven straight games and a bus ride home after an extra-inning affair Thursday night. So it was still scoreless as Harvey continued to shine....

and we took our early leaves of Section 504.  We'd each planned to connect with other friends, and heading Way Way Back Up There wasn't good for old farts like us, so she headed to meet Dave and I worked my way over to the Pepsi Porch for the duration, where my friend from last time Sharon was, this time with her husband Kevin. I quickly found out that he was in charge of the special K signs for the night- morphed into on-their-side Dark Knight bats after Matt Harvey's nickname.

Good things started happening as soon as I sat down. The first Met extra base hit, their first run, and then a second. But then Harvey exited (he has pitch limits due to surgery last year) and we were suddenly down a run.  Even so- this team comes back now, and indeed got it tied before long.  We stood for the stretch, we serenaded the Sox with Billy Joel-


- annnd we started to see the other side of Red Sox Nation, who out in that section were not there in families but rather in packs of Bros. Much of the animosity was coming from a few Patriot-gear-wearing Chowds, one of whom took offense to a DEFLATER reference and wound up starting a game of Beer Toss before he got tossed himself. As the Red Sox took the lead once and then twice, they roared LET'S GO RED SOX!, to which we replied CHECK THE STAN-DINGS!

We were down to our final strike in the bottom of the tenth- just as in Game Six. Mookie Wilson, who hit the little roller, was in the building. A three-run Boston lead had been walked down to two and our best hitter came up with the bases loaded and hit a 400 foot shot to the deepest part of the outfield....

which, unfortunately, has a 408-foot sign on it and a Red Sock close enough to catch it. Thanks for coming; please arrive home safely.

Fortunately, our closest competition also lost, so we still had a 6½ game lead and a magic number of 29. It stayed that way yesterday after I got home; the Mets again invoking the 1986 juju by passing out bobbleheads recalling Jesse Orosco's final pitch and leap of the clinching Game Seven that year. Didn't help; the offense stayed quiet and the Mets suddenly had a losing streak and only a 5½ game lead. But today, with that guy I photographed at the fence on the mound, they've shown signs of reawakening the Amazin' offense of the past few weeks- and the Nationals are losing again at this moment as well. If things hold, the Magic Number goes to 27.

As in October 27:

Ya gotta believe.

ETA. Well, believe in us, anyway. We handled our business- not without some nail-biting in the ninth- and have it down to 28. Miami is not helping at the moment. S'okay: 28 is a nice number. In fact, it's a perfect one:)
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