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Mr. Baseball

Every now and then my job gives me the opportunity to do something that I think even I, a jaded journalist, thinks is really cool. Even if it is somewhat far removed from what I normally do for TWICE.

For example, last week Nikon took a few editors to Shea Stadium, home of the New York Mets, to unveil a contest the company is running in conjunction with SNY (the Mets cable network) and the team, called The Greatest Moments At Shea. Fans can vote on this site for the best moment held at Shea, be it sports, music or even a mass given by a Pope.

My personal favorites, in order, are (no big surprises here):

  • Oct. 25, 1986 — World Series Game 6 vs. Boston when the Mets came back to beat the Red Sox with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to tie the series at three games each;
  •  Oct. 16, 1969 — Mets win their first World Championship with a 5-3 win over Baltimore with 57,397 fans in attendance.

We also were able to stay for the ballgame against the Phillies, which was a disaster that I refuse to relive here.

While a free ballgame is always fun, what topped the day off was getting to go on the field for batting practice, all due to the hard work of Nikon PR dude Geoff Coalter. Geoff handed us all Nikon cameras and told us to snap away to our hearts content. Being somewhat of a camera novice, I received a P80, while the others checked out the D300 SLR. That is where the relevance to my job ended.

We were led by two Mets interns through the bowels of the stadium, past the Mets clubhouse and through the tunnel behind home plate and onto the field. Stepping onto the field was truly, a standout moment in my baseball-loving life.

While I have sat in the front row at Shea, this is an entirely different experience. To stand where the players stand and look up at the, albeit empty, stands was breathtaking. It was hard to imagine what it would be like to stand there with 50,000 plus people screaming for you to get a hit, but I tried my best.

We then watched up close and personal while half a dozen Mets took batting practice. It was very impressive to see these guys just a few feet away, but for me just standing on the field was better.

Oddly, the Mets did not ask me to take a few swings. Despite being 44 years old, I was quite sure they would. I figured I would smack a few hits during BP, which would have led to Mets manager Jerry Manuel giving me a quick tryout during that night’s game in right field, which would have led Mets GM Omar Minaya signing me to a contract for the rest of the season …