From Williamsport Pa to Queens NY with Bobby Valentine

Meeting Bobby Valentine for the First Time

I live about one mile from the Little League World Series complex in South Williamsport PA. During the Little League World Series of 2010, I attended a mid-week game with my son, Nick. During the series, Ron, my brother-in-law is the scoreboard operator for many of the games including the championship games. Nick and I sat a couple of rows in front of Ron’s perch at the control panel. We were enjoying the game when Bobby Valentine and ESPN Baseball Tonight‘s Karl Ravech took a couple of seats directly behind us. This was unexpected. (I remember sending a text to my friend about ten rows in front of me stating that “Bobby Valentine is sitting RIGHT behind me”. I can still see him slowly turn his head toward me in disbelief after he received my text.)

We listened and enjoyed their baseball dialogue throughout the game. They allowed us to take a couple of photographs. It was a memorable night. When it was time for the 7th inning stretch (4th inning in LL), the whole stadium stood… except for Bobby. When we took our seats, Nick told me that Bobby Valentine did not stand for the 7th inning stretch and that he, Nick, would no longer stand either. My son then said “Real Baseball Men Don’t Stand for the 7th Inning”.

Meeting Bobby Valentine for the Second Time

January of 2017, I made plans to attend the Queens Baseball Convention in Astoria, Queens. Bobby Valentine would be one of the primary speakers at the mid winter gathering of Mets fans. He was captivating, humorous, sincere, and informative in his panel discussion. Here is the Bobby Valentine discussion. (Thanks to TheMediagoon.com)

Queens Baseball Convention

Bobby V and Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog.com.

It was a joy listening to him just as it had been seven years ago in South Williamsport. We, the fans, had the opportunity to meet Bobby and get his autograph. I would have him sign the photograph that I had taken at the LLWS in 2010.

Bobby Valentine

He is one cool dude.

Bobby Valentine

The little, blurry head on the badge in the extreme upper right is my brother-in-law at the scoreboard control panel.

 

I had the fun of telling Bobby the story of how we met at the Little League World Series and the lasting effect on my son. He chuckled as he autographed the photo: “To Nick, Real Baseball Men Don’t Stand for the 7th inning”…..”Bobby Valentine”.

How about that!

 

You might as well follow me on twitter @svuocolo31. The @Mets do.

Bonus Pic

Bobby Valentine

Cross that off the Bucket List.

 

Queens Baseball Convention

The Queens Baseball Convention: A Glimpse of Summer

Ground zero for Finding Nostalgia was at Katch Astoria in Queens NYC on Saturday, January 28 for the Queens Baseball Convention. Passionate Mets fans attended the mid winter gathering with an optimistic view of the future and a glance back to the Mets compelling past.

Queens Baseball Convention

Lined Up outside Katch, Astoria, waiting for a glimpse of summer inside.

Discussion panels hosted by popular Mets bloggers and media were a welcome diversion from a gray January day. The special guests included Tim Teufel, Art Shamsky , and former Mets manager Bobby Valentine. Unique New York Mets memorabilia and collectibles were available from an eclectic group of vendors present. SNY added to the fun by distributing Mets apparel to the fans. Mr. Met was also a welcome participant.

Past Player Q&A’s

Tim Teufel was kind enough to share his experiences on the current Mets squad as well as giving us a peek back to the ’86 team that dominated the baseball world.

Queens Baseball Convention

Tim Teufel was awesome during his Q&A.

Mets fans could not get enough of his humor and unique insight into the team that we have such a vested interest in. The history and reasoning behind the “Teufel Shuffle” was shared and enjoyed by a captivated and baseball starved crowd. Michael Baron hosted the Q&A with Tim. Shannon Shark and Greg Prince awarded the QBC 17 “Gil Hodges Unforgettable Fire Award” to Tom Seaver. Art Shamsky was available to accept the award on Tom’s behalf.

Queens Baseball Convention

Art looks like he can still swat it.

Queens Baseball Convention

Shamsky’s 1969 World Series Ring. BLING

Art Shamsky was a member of the 1969 World Champion Mets team and took the time to share his memories of his time with Gil Hodges and Tom Seaver. Art made himself available to meet ‘n greet with fans. He was, both, gracious and informative. Meeting him was a special moment for me.

UniPanel, Complete knowledge of the Mets uniforms

The Uniform Panel was made up of six experts in the realm of Mets uniforms. This panel was FUN. Paul Lukas of UniWatch.com moderated this wonderfully in-depth discussion of Mets uniforms. Topics included uniform numbers, uniform modifications,  uniform combinations and so much more. Mets fan, resoundingly, prefer the classic pinstripe with no modifications or alternate combos. A couple of fascinating facts were shared by Phil Hecken.

Queens Baseball Convention

The UniPanel was Tremendous! What a Blast!

The New York Mets were 0-11 in 2016 when wearing Matt Harvey’s favorite alternate blue uniform. I hope the Mets execs that were present took note. Phil also shared ALL of the stats in regards to Yoenis Cespedes canary yellow compression sleeve. He is batting over .300 when he wears it and .240ish when he doesn’t. Given that nugget, we should all wear our compression sleeves given out July 3rd 2016 at CitiField. If nothing else, we would look good and our odds at life might be better. Thanks for sharing Phil.

Bobby Valentine

The star of the Queens Baseball Convention was former New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine. The room was electric as soon as he entered. Bobby treated fans with the entertaining background story of his dugout disguise episode. Many in attendance were surprised to hear how Robin Ventura played a major role in getting Bobby back into the dugout after being ejected.  He also discussed the 9/11 home run by Mike Piazza. He emphasized the sound the ball made off of the bat and how, at that moment, somber and grieving emotions were transformed within the confines of a ballgame. It was special to hear him tell it.

Queens Baseball Convention

Bobby Valentine speaking with Matthew Cerrone of MetsBlog.com.

An amusing moment occurred when Matthew Cerrone asked Bobby a question and referenced former Met, Desi Relaford. Desi had a nice but short tenure with the Mets during Bobby’s time as manager. Bobby immediately began searching his messages on his phone and stated “Desi sent me a photo this morning”. This was an amusing moment but I feel it speaks volumes about the man Bobby Valentine is. A player who was with Bobby for 120 games, 15 years ago, still has a relationship with him. He is a baseball man who can inspire and teach more than just baseball.

Plan on attending the Queens Baseball Convention next year!

Special Thanks to Keith Blacknick of TheMediagoon.com, Shannon Shark of TheMetsPolice.com, and Dan Twohig for putting on an event such as the Queens Baseball Convention. There is so much more to share but time limits me. If you love the New York Mets, this will be an event you will want to attend in 2018.

Below are audio links to a few of the discussion panels courtesy of TheMediagoon.com. Enjoy!

Gil Hodges Unforgettable Fire Award w/ Art Shamsky

Uniform Panel

Bobby Valentine Panel

Queens Baseball Convention

Eye Black for Mrs V. She did not attend but I picked these up for her. She can use them this summer while watering the tomatoes.

Follow me on twitter…because everyone will…eventually. @svuocolo31

 

 

Baseball Sticker Album

Street Find—1981 Topps Foil Sticker

How many of us have found interesting items in the street during our travels? Some of us may be hesitant to pick something up from the street. (Mrs V.) I own two vey nice men’s winter neck scarves that were found, at separate times, on the street.  Another find was a bowling pin. I held on to that for many years because it was a bowling pin and I found it on the street. My grandest find allowed me to complete my 1981 Topps Baseball Sticker Album.

Baseball sticker

Right Handed George Brett and a Left Handed Catcher. Were YOU at that game?

Topps issued a set of baseball stickers in 1981 that included 262 stickers and an album. Two pages of foil stickers made up the album centerfold. The stickers included the all stars from the American and National Leagues. The last sticker I needed was a silver foil Robin Yount All-Star sticker.

A Baseball Sticker Found

I had decided that I was going to take the offer from Topps that was advertised the back cover. I could send in a dollar to receive my sticker.

Baseball Sticker Album

Almost had to resort to steps 1 thru 5.

One summer day as I was walking down the street to our local gas station I looked down and saw a silvery glimmering item. To my amazement, it was the very sticker that was needed to complete my album…..IT WAS THE VERY STICKER THAT WAS NEEDED TO COMPLETE MY ALBUM!

The foil find was not in mint condition, to say the least. The sticker was a sticker in name only. The stickum was useless. Typically, glue and sports memorabilia are kept far apart. Not this time. Glue was the the only option in my young mind.

Baseball Sticker

I helped get Robin out of the gutter. Note the scratches. Glue was needed to STICK the STICKER in the album

I had determined I would not pursue any more sticker albums. It was my belief that I had achieved more than I could ever hope for in the pursuit of baseball stickers. To this day, I cannot believe I found that sticker on the road. How do you calculate the the odds of such a find. I have found money, playing cards, baseball cards, scarves, a bowling pin, and other items but nothing ever compared to that small 1 15/16″ by 2 9/16″  foil baseball sticker. The album and the stickers are virtually worthless but the find is priceless.

The 2017 Queen’s Baseball Convention will take place Saturday January 28! Hope to see you there.

Calvalcade of NY Mets stickers. We rooted hard for these fellows.

You can follow me on Twitter @svuocolo31.