- Darling spoke of his attitude before starting a game. He freely admits he was less than a nice person, but between emotion and getting psyched up for the game, he turned into a different person.
- When asked about his relationship with both Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez Darling informed that he gets along real well with both, but they aren't buddies where they get together after the game and go on vacations together. He said Gary is a great source of knowledge because he is such a Mets fan, and he knows their history so well, that both Darling and Hernandez learn a lot from him. With Hernandez, Darling has the utmost respect for Keith. He went into detail on how Keith taught the Mets not only how to win, but how to have a winning attitude.
- Darling made jokes about Hernandez' 'Rush Limbaugh' vests, saying that Keith was miles to the right of Limbaugh.
- When asked how he felt about this current team, and the great '86 team, is he proud that he was a member of the last World Championship Mets team - Darling said no one can ever take 1986 away from he and his teammates, but it's time for this generation to be the next World Champions, and he would be glad to pass that torch.
- Darling was asked about the recent signing of Gary Sheffield, and he was not in favor of it because Sheffield is 40 years old, and will not be able to cover RF in the expansive new ballpark. He said Ryan Church is a much better RF, and might be one of the best in the NL, and the Mets should give him a fair opportunity. He also said he likes Sheffield alot, and that he has known him since he was 15 years old, when his Uncle Dwight (Gooden) would bring him into the clubhouse. Darling said that Gooden bragged that Sheff would hit 500 HR's, and the players got all over Gooden for saying that about his 15 year old nephew. Darling paused and then comically stated, "and we are still right...Gary has 499 HR's." Well Ron, Gary proved you wrong last night.
- Asked who he rooted for as a child growing up in Massachusetts, Darling said he was a Red Sox fan. A Carl Yastrzemski fan. Darling said as a kid he used to copy Yaz' batting stance. He was also a big Boston Bruin fan, mainly a Bobby Orr fan.
At this point it was time for Ron to leave us and head to the loft, where the signings would commence. We waited about 40 minutes before it was our turn. When we got up to Darling, I asked him if he would mind if I asked him a question. He said, "Not at all, go ahead..." I asked him in all the years he played, was there any player(s) who he was real close to that were traded away, and how did he handle it. I explained that I remember in Keith Hernandez' book, If At First: A Season With The Mets, Hernandez explained he was real close with Ed Lynch, and it hurt when he was traded to the Cubs. Darling said he was close to Lynch too, and the other player where it hurt when he was traded was Suffern's own Walt Weiss, when they were teammates on the A's. He said from that point he decided it was a business, and he wouldn't get too close to guys he played with.
What a great day we had meeting Darling. I felt like a little kid, meeting Darling, and getting to speak with him ever so shortly, but I did get the chance. In the span of one week, I had been to GHMP twice, shook Jerry Manuel's hand, got some rubble that used to be Shea Stadium, and met Ron Darling. It is a day I will remember and cherish. It was like returning to my teen-age years/early 20's, when the Mets were on top of the world, and life wasn't so difficult.
I am still in the process of reading The Complete Game: Reflections on Baseball, Pitching, and Life on the Mound, but will give my review once completed.
P.S. All week I had been breaking Long Island Met Fan's chops that I had a surprise for him. I wouldn't give him any hint, only that we had to meet before last night's game. Funny as it seems now, every night when we wanted to get together, something came up where we couldn't. Finally, this past Thursday we were able to meet for a beer and I was able to hand deliver the book to him. We had a laugh and we reminisced about the 'Good Ol Days', and what lies ahead for this team.