Friday, May 31, 2013


By Bob Golon
Special Contributor

Baseball teams, that is, lest anyone get the wrong idea!

Back in 1960, I was a baseball-obsessed eight-year old, fully devoted  to the likes of Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, and of course, the inimitable Casey Stengel. I took my second trip to Yankee Stadium that year, and arrived early enough to gasp, as ball after ball flew into the stands during batting practice. Nothing could be so good!

I suffered my first broken heart in October, 1960, when Bill Mazeroski’s home run went flying over the Forbes Field fence, denying the Yankees the World Series. That disastrous (from  my point of view)  loss was  followed immediately by the firing of Stengel. But along came Ralph Houk to replace him. Roger Maris hit 61 home runs in 1961, and Whitey Ford won 25 games while losing only 4 that year. My heart mended quickly.

In late 1961 it was announced that this new team in New York being planned for 1962, the Mets, were hiring my beloved Casey Stengel to be their first manager. Hmmmm, pause for thought. As the 1962 season began, I now realized that I often had two games to watch on TV, which was especially convenient when one of them was rained out or was being played late at night on the West Coast.

The 1962 Mets, even though a dreadful club, simply provided me with more baseball! It was a chance to see National League stars like Willie Mays and Stan Musial, and besides, they never played the Yankees. Where was the conflict? There was none, in my young mind.

I lived and died with these two clubs as a young man. The hollow feeling of the Yankees' futility, which began in 1965, was soon replaced by the utter euphoria of witnessing the Mets’ World Series “miracle” trouncing of the thought-to-be-invincible Baltimore Orioles in 1969. Thurman Munson, Tom Seaver, Bobby Murcer and Jerry Koosman were equals in my mind and heart.

So, it was no surprise that last night, as I was driving home from the Trenton Thunder game, I tuned in the “subway series” finale on the radio. I was immediately appalled that the Yankees could not touch Dillon Gee for more than one run. When  Joba Chamberlain bounced a pitch that set up the Mets insurance run in the eighth inning, I cursed under my breath. Yet, just two seconds later, I felt happy for the upstart Mets. They remind me of the 1967 Mets: one very good young pitcher (Matt Harvey) among a not so talented young team.  Yet those ’67 kids accomplished great things within two years.

Maybe these kids will, too.

They say you can’t root for two teams, but I am living proof that you can. Tonight, I can go back to being “myself” again. Go Yanks! Go Mets! The TV remote will be where it always is, squarely in my hand, switching between my two loves

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