My love of the game!

I remember watching baseball games when I was 5 years old back in 1966 in Brooklyn, New York where I lived with my family until 1972. In 1972 we moved to Bellmore, New York in Nassau County, Long Island. I enjoyed watching the ball games with my mom as she really enjoyed watching the Mets and became a big fan of the team and helped pave the way for me becoming a big fan as well. I remember the broadcasters for the Mets and I enjoyed watching them and listening to them as they were very good at keeping the game entertaining and were very emotional in their announcing which made the game more fun. The three announcers who I will never forget were Ralph Kiner, Bob Murphy and Lindsey Nelson. They were great together and I always enjoyed their broadcasts.

The Mets struggled for the first few years I started watching them and then there was 1969! It was incredible watching the Mets launch their amazing comeback against the Chicago Cubs in August and close the gap and eventually pass the Cubs to take the division lead. They managed to win the pennant and then beat the Atlanta Braves to face the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series where they beat them in 5 games which was considered a major upset. All I know is I was 8 years old and I became a Met fan for life as Mom and I really enjoyed watching those games and were all excited when they won. They had the best pitchers on staff with Tom Sever, Nolan Ryan, Jerry Koosman and Tug McGraw. It was a truly incredible feeling and I can still remember watching those games with mom as they were great memories.

After 1969 and 1973 when the Mets managed to get into post season play with a mediocre record they managed to keep pace with the Oakland A’s but lost the World Series in the 7th and final game. After 1973 the Mets had many lean years and then 1986 came along and I was not a kid anymore. I was a young man of 25 years and I still enjoyed watching the ball games with my mom. The Mets played exciting baseball against the Houston Astros in the playoffs and managed to win an incredible game 6 that went to 16 innings before Jessie Orosco closed it out and tossed his mitt into the air. This was just a prime for what unfolded in Game 6 against the Boston Redsox at Shea, It had to have been one of the most exciting come from behind games with 2 outs and no one on base and down by 2 runs. The Mets responded big after Gary Carter insured he would not make the last out. It was one hit after another after another and with Ray Knight at 3rd base with being the go ahead run and Mookie Wilson up at the plate he managed one of the greatest at bats and was lucky to foul off all the many pitches he faced until he hit a roller down the first base line that happened to find a way to elude Bill Buckner and allowed Ray Knight to score the winning run and give the Mets the momentum shift and a tie in the series at 3-3 with game 7 scheduled . The Mets managed Game 7 and won their 2nd world series which was quite an accomplishment.

It was nice to share watching those world series and playoff games with my mom as I enjoy those special memories. Mom never did get to see the World series Subway series where the Mets squared off against the Yankees in 2000 and lost in 5 games. It was disappointing seeing them lose but they played a Yankee team that dominated the series.

As a fan of baseball I have grown to learn about some of the great Yankee teams and I do remember the Yankees under the ownership of George Steinbrenner have managed to put some great Yankee teams onto the field and made it exciting for the fans and for baseball. I also remember the great Yankee broadcasters Phil Rizzuto, Frank Messer and Bill White. As a fan of baseball how can you not appreciate the great tradition of New York Yankee baseball. They have managed to have teams that included legendary ball players that are in Cooperstown and made baseball great. Some names that come to mind are the likes of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Bill Dickey, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Don Larsen, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Phil Rizzuto, Thurman Munson, Reggie Jackson, Goose Gossage, Don Mattingly, Joe Torre, Ron Guidry, Dave Winfield, Ricky Henderson, Sparky Lyle, Lou Pinella, Derek Jeter, Andy Petite, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera. It seems many different generations can claim their allegiance to great Yankee teams whether it was rooting for the likes of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Bill Dickey or the likes of Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra and Don Larsen or the likes of Thurman Munson, Reggie Jackson and Chris Chambliss or currently Yankee greats like Derek Jeter, Andy Petite, Jorge Posada, Alex Rodriguez and Mariano Rivera to name a few.

Although I grew up a Mets fan I certainly do remember the great Yankee teams of 1977, 1978, 1996, and 1998-2000. 2000 is a sore point for me because I am a Mets fan but I tip my hat to the Yankees because they clearly had the better team. I also remember the tragic loss of Thurman Munson who I thought was a great team captain and felt very sad back in 1979.

As I’m watching tonight’s game and seeing the excitement watching my wife cheering on her team I can not help but feel the emotion these Yankee fans must feel knowing they struggled to get back here after 9 long years. Now as they play at their new stadium and with the declining health of George Steinbrenner who gave his ownership of his beloved Yankees to his sons who are now at the helm winning now must be sweeter and a great joy. So the Yankees won the 2009 World Series against the Philadelphia Phillie’s, the defending champions and they have attained something that only a few teams can truly say they have. The New York Yankees are the most storied franchise in sports history and are a class act. I asked my son which team he likes and he says without hesitation “the New York Yankees” and I ask him why and he says matter of fact and also without hesitation “because they win!” As I hear him say this I can’t help but agree with him as he always does speak the truth and is very logical.

Congratulations to the 2009 World Series Champions New York Yankees and to their fans especially my wife, my son and my friends Janet Rose Schenkel and David Meth!

Edward D. Iannielli III

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