Tag Archives: baseball

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.

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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

 

 

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Bernie Williams, Bowman Field, and Dad

Located in Williamsport, Pennsylvania is the 2nd oldest minor league baseball stadium in use. It is called “Bowman Field” by locals and “BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field” by BB&T Bank. It has been in existence since 1926 and is truly a jewel of Williamsport and minor league baseball.

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Bowman Field Historical Marker

Bowman Field Historical Marker

I have had the pleasure of attending games with my father and son together. There is nothing like the bond of baseball across three generations. Baseball is best enjoyed with family. Having said that, I have often visited Bowman Field alone and never regretted taking in a game.

Bowman Field.

Bowman Field

One particular evening, the game went extra innings and I strolled into my house after midnight. Mrs V inquired as to the lateness of the hour. Fortunately, the local newspaper had a headline the next day that read “Late Night at Bowman Field”. There was, however, one visit that will always stand out as it taught me about the enjoyment of seeing excitement within my father.

Francis V in the early 1940's

Francis V in the early 1940’s (author’s father)

It was the summer of 1990 and the Williamsport Bills were playing host to the Albany-Colonie Yankees in an Eastern League game. My father and I had front row seats on the visitors side a few feet from the on deck circle for the visiting Yankees. He was a lifelong Yankee fan and always enjoyed seeing the minor league Yankees come into Bowman Field. (Hall of Famer Waite “Schoolboy” Hoyt made an appearance as a visiting coach in the summer of 1976 and my father was quick to point him out).

On this night, there was a a young, fleet ballplayer who set himself apart. You could see immediately that he was a special player. I had not heard of him before that evening, but I would never forget him after that. Bernie Williams. All night long, as he glided across the grass and dirt of Bowman Field, my father would express that this ballplayer was different from the rest. All these years later, I can still see him running the bases and my father enjoying baseball on a different level. Bernie did it all, running, hitting, and fielding in a manner that was so easy to watch and appreciate.

Near the end of the game, Bernie was in the on deck circle with two out in the inning. The batter ahead of him made the third out and Bernie took his helmet and batting gloves off to ready himself for the top of the inning. Before he left the on deck circle, he happened to make eye contact with my father and simply said “Hello”.

1990 Procards Bernie Williams

1990 Procards Bernie Williams

Guess what Bernie? Two new fans! That quick interaction created a memory for my father that would last the rest of his life. Simple but everlasting. It was a year or so later this young fellow was dressed in Yankee pinstripes at the Yankee Stadium and playing a central role in the Yankees four World Championships in the late 1990’s-2000. Bernie Williams is a fascinating individual who happens to exemplify class and humility. I remember getting my first Bernie Williams baseball card out of a pack of Bowman Baseball Cards and immediately calling my father. We would discuss Bernie Williams frequently through the years and it always took me back to that summer night at Bowman Field. I even got a foul ball that night….but it was Dad’s night.

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