By the time we got to Woodstock, we were half a million strong,
And everywhere was a song and a celebration.
And I dreamed I saw the bomber jet planes riding shotgun in the sky,
Turning into butterflies above our nation.
We are stardust, we are golden, we are billion year old carbon,
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.
Today marks the 47th anniversary of Woodstock, the music festival in upstate New York, held at Yasgur’s Farm.
Three days of peace, love and music.
I had a Woodstock of my own, just a few weeks ago, in Cooperstown. We celebrated the induction of new members Michael Joseph Piazza, enshrined as a New York Met, and George Kenneth “Ken” Griffey, Jr, forever a Seattle Mariner.
For baseball fans, baseball’s holy grail is Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Prior to four weekends ago, I was there last in 1992, there to celebrate the first ever Met to be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame, and that was George Thomas Seaver.
Up until that time a few weekends ago, as big a baseball fan as my husband is, he’d never been there, period. I had at least been there twice before: once when I was seven (and really way too young to appreciate it) and in 1992, when I was 16, and there was construction going on, so I didn’t get to see a lot of it.
All I can say is…give yourself about a day. And maybe go in late fall or in the winter, when nobody is in Cooperstown.
Because EVERYBODY was in Cooperstown on the weekend of July 22-24.
What I feel is special about the two ceremonies I’ve been to in Cooperstown were not only celebrating the two Mets who have gone in, but I also had the distinction of seeing two players go in who were the first ever as a representative of that team (and both with the first name “George” and did not go by that name). I think that is pretty fuckin cool.
I would call it my Woodstock. A place where generations get together and not only love each other right now, but celebrate something they are passionate about. In 1969, it was peace and music. In 2016, it was New York baseball and the Pacific Northwest.
In accordance with most Hall of Fame traditions, Piazza’s number was retired by the Mets a week later, and Junior’s was retired by the Mariners (and in an unprecedented move, 24 can no longer be worn by anyone in the Mariners organization, even the minor leagues) while I was taking another baseball trip in Detroit.
I wanted to wait to write about it…but I had a lot going on. I got sick about a week after we returned from Cooperstown, and then I had another trip to take (which was probably ill-advised, but I got it done).
A few things stood out.
Everyone came together and picked each other up where they left off. It was really quite amazing and really the definition of a community. See the picture of the wacky Mets fans above? That’s myself, my dad, Ed, and our friends Tracey and Maria with her son Antonio. We all found our ways of getting up there. If someone didn’t have a room, we shared our room. Someone didn’t have a way to get around? We piled into a car to get from point A to point B. (We did a lot of driving…and cursing too…that was mostly me though….well, maybe my #SistersInObscenity joined in too). Too lazy to go out to eat? Get Taco Bell from a shady town in upstate New York! Hotel breakfast sucks? DUNKIN FOR ALL!
Want a snack? Go into Maria’s bag. Want a blue or orange Gatorade? We got the cooler over there. Put anything you want in there.
Water. Water water water water. It was hot. Oppressive. Believe me when I say…there is no heat or humidity on this planet than when you are by a lake.
I’m mildly obsessed with Barry Larkin and Johnny Lee Bench. I’m going to have to go into an entire blog post of why I will always lament that Larkin was never a Met. And as for Bench, I had a thing for him while watching the Baseball Bunch back in the day. But I kind of forgot about that till I visited Cincinnati last year.
Seeing baseball heroes up close and personal at the Main Street parade gave us all the warm and fuzzies. Juan Marichal simulated a leg kick when people chanted at him. Randy Johnson filmed US.
I had no idea how many people I actually knew. I ran into so many people on the streets, at the parade randomly, and at the Clark Field where the ceremony actually was held (and you’d think with 50,000 people, you wouldn’t be as visible). It was like a family reunion. A Summer Family reunion.
All we needed was a few jam bands and a peace pipe to pass around, and it’s Woodstock all over again.
My dad turned around to give me a high five as soon as Piazza started to give his speech. We’ve seen many special things together, including Seaver and Piazza going into the HOF, as well as many concerts like seeing Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney multiple times.
Since I got married, Ed and I have been to multiple stadiums together. I’ve been to 23 total, he 18 . Since we got married, we’ve hit 17 of those stadiums he’s been to. It’s pretty amazing. We’ve even visited a few of them multiple times.
One of those cities and stadiums we’ve adopted as our own was Seattle.
While we are Blue and Orange through and through, there is something really special about the city of Seattle to us. To hear Ken Griffey Jr’s speech on how proud he was to be a Seattle Mariner, plus his number retirement in Seattle (where they brought out all the Seattle sports greats like Steve Largent, Cortez Kennedy, Spencer Haywood, Gary Payton to honor him).
I know what Piazza did for the Mets in the late 90s and early aughts. But I seriously sobbed during the Griffey part of the ceremony and got nothing but the feels when it came to my second city honoring him.
I don’t know what about baseball reduces us to sobs. Listening to Junior talk about how much he loved Jay Buhner, every time, gets me right in the feels. Piazza, when talking about his family, just shows how much of baseball takes a village to be successful.
And up to this weekend, I really didn’t think I played well with others. It turns out I just need to coin new curse words to be a real team player.
Then can I walk beside you
I have come here to lose the smog
And I feel to be a cog in something turning
Well maybe it is just the time of year
Or maybe it’s the time of man
I don’t know who l am
But you know life is for learning
I wasn’t around for Woodstock. As a Mets fan, I know it was a super special time to be alive in 1969. It meant that the underdog could win. It meant that something bigger than themselves can bring people together.
And though I had gone up for a few sets in Woodstock 1994, I had a hard time trying to figure out what Crosby Stills and Nash were singing about, and what Joni Mitchell had written about that historic weekend in upstate New York that shut down the New York Thruway.
Experiencing the Hall of Fame ceremony this year was a special time. I won’t soon forget it. But this was our Woodstock. We were merely billion year old carbon.