A chicken sandwich from Mickey Mantle's...We're on the way to Yankee Stadium--3:45 pm.
The Meck with Choo-Choo Neagle A compassionate and caring friend
(by the dugout) before Game 1
A sweet lady, Laura Velazquez, she gets our TV ads on in Montreal
New York's own Billy Joel sings the National Anthem. Denny gave me this ticket behind the dish.
After Game 1, Yankees 4--Mets 3. 12 innings, the longest game in World Series history
Wearing the 17th green TPC shirt in honor of my dad
Mr. Neagle, Debbie Neagle, & Meck
I love New York...Oh Baby!!!
2 AM: After Game 1, heading to Denny and Jennifer's crib at Central Park
Trey's Mom, and a precious lady...Jennifer
At Denny's crib with a cute young lefty from the bullpen/playpen...Trey Neagle.
A T I M E FRIENDSHIP I TREASURE MORE THAN GAME 1 OF THE WORLD SERIES
Oct 24, 2000 [ TheMeck.com ]
It was the middle of September. I was so low, I could jump rope underneath my bed and never hit my head on the slats...Still grieving the passing of my father this past June and trying to get my spirit back. I was working at my computer when my cell phone rang and I answered to a train whistle on the other end.. The caller said, "Hey Meck, You recognize that train whistle ?" It was Denny Choo Choo Neagle. I couldn' t believe it...It had been too long since we last visited. He said, "Meck, I was sitting in Central Park thinking about the good times we had up here...I've missed talking to you." I had told GOD several times that week I sure wish I could talk to Denny...I told Denny that and he said, "That'sreally neat. I just called Jim Schultz to get your number and he said, 'That's something.. Meck's on the other line right now.'" We talked for 30 minutes as he rode to Yankee Stadium to pitch that nite. Denny encouraged me so much...He invited me up to Yankee Stadium for the playoffs. I couldn' t believe it..I should have...It was Denny Neagle and HE STLL SPELLS LOVE T I M E!
It was Friday, Oct 20th, and Denny called. "Meck, I've got you a ticket for Game 1 of the WORLD SERIES. You are sitting with my Dad and sister. Be here tomorrow by 3 and we'll go to the yard together.." I was so fired up I could spike a hymnal...
I arrived at Dothan International Airport-Gate 1 at 4:15 Saturday Morning. I thought surely the Dothan Airport won't fail me again today. I'm headed to the World Series at Yankee Stadium. My 5 o'clock plane was cancelled, so I got aboard the 6 am to Memphis. My flight out of Memphis to Newark was cancelled so they put us on the LaGuardia flight to New York. The announcement, "Your Bags will be on the La Guardia flight...The flight to Newark was now 'not cancelled' and you can go back and get on the Newark flight if you like. We'll move your bags back to the Newark Flight." [of course it's a 15 min walk, too] STILL IN MEMPHIS. I stayed on the La Guardia Flight, and it was delayed 45 mins because only 1 runway was open at New York's LaGuardia Airport. I kept telling myself...Stay calm...You're going to the World Series. We finally landed in New York, and you guessed it...My bag landed in Newark. I told them to deliver it. I got Denny on the phone and gave the lost baggage guy Denny's address. It's 1:30 p.m. Denny said meet him at Mickey Mantle's restaurant at Central Park. I rode with a nice couple from Memphis. The husband, Christian, loved the Mets. His wife,Kimberly, a Yankee fan. They bought my video in the cab. They even insisted on picking up the cab fare.
I walked in Mickey Mantle's and it was slammed. Mets and Yankee fans. I sat by Pat,a nurse, wearing her Yankee cap. "Where you from, Dave?" ALABAMA. "God Bless," Pat says. "How'd you get a ticket?" My friend Denny Neagle. "God Bless," Pat says. No kidding. I REALLY NEEDED THOSE WORDS...DENNY calls at 3 pm, "Meck, order a chicken sandwich for me and I'll be by to pick you up." At 3:45, DENNY picks me up and we head to Yankee Stadium. The driver was nice and believe me, he knew how to drive in New York. It was a beautiful Sat afternoon in the city so nice they named it twice. It was great visiting with DENNY. Jonathan Silverman called to check in with Denny...The Single Guy is a GREAT GUY. As we approached Yankee Stadium [3 blocks away] a water bottle appeared thru my rolled down window, "1 DOLLAR FOR SOME WATER... YOU RE GONNA BE WORKIN' HARD TONITE."..."NO THANKS," Denny said.
WE ARRIVED AT YANKEE STADIUM. THE GUARDS LET OUR CAR THRU AND THE CAMERAS WERE ALL THERE AND ROLLING AS DENNY WALKED IN YANKEE STADIUM. Denny told the security guards, "This is my friend, Meck. He's with me." I waited out side the Locker Room door...I looked several feet to my left and there was George Steinbrenner staring at the security guards for at least 10 mins. George lived up to his reputation. He got in a mans face and said, "Can't you see that press guy doesn't have a credential? Am I gonna have to replace you before Game 1?" Of course a moment later a friend of George's came to the gate with no credential and George let him in the locker room.. I definitely felt like the only guy at the U N without a headset.
5 PM Denny called that same blessed out security guard and ask him to bring me down beside the dugout for B P. The dugout and field were packed with reporters. The Yankees were taking B P in the World Series. The bomb sniffing dogs were checking out the dugouts as they heard a barking noise near the batting cage...IT WAS DENNY BARKING AT THE DOGS. THE PLAYERS LAUGHED...THE COPS DIDN'T. THE DOGS STILL COULDN'T SNIFF OUT DENNY...SAME OLE CHOO CHOO. I took it all in...Yankee Stadium. It looked more like a huge movie set, with the towering signs enclosing the stadium in the outfield.
6:15 Denny came over and we visited for a while. We had our picture made by the dugout. I was so grateful to be standing there. Denny signed a ball for my friend Laura's Dad, Manny. A Yankee fan for 40 years.
It was 7:55 and Billy Joel sang the National Anthem..[I've seen him 3 times in concert]. As he sang the last line.. A bald eagle landed on a man's hand standing on the pitcher's mound.. It's New York, baby...I sat behind the dish with Mr. Neagle and Debbie Neagle. Denny gave me this ticket.. The longest WORLD SERIES GAME EVER... YANKS 4 METS 3 IN 12 INNINGS.
We met Denny in the family room...I finally saw Jennifer Neagle.. She was holding that cute young left hander, Trey Neagle. She gave me a hug and told me she was sorry about my Dad...
IT'S 2 AM...Denny and Jennifer rolled Trey to the players lot. The players lot has very high fences and tight security. Believe me, this wasn' t Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. It's the only game I've been to where there was a cop for every fan. The Neagle family and several friends piled in the strech limo. We headed for Denny and Jennifer's crib at Central Park, a 20 minute ride. We rode thru Harlem and I saw many people standing on the streets of Harlem at 2:15 am with no friends and no place to go...The World Series means little to them. I understand; I FEEL THE SAME...I thought about Denny calling me in September when I was so low. We drove by Central Park and I said, "THANK YOU GOD...I AM SO BLESSED...MOST OF MY FAMILY IS GONE, BUT YOU MADE ME A RICH MAN WHEN YOU GAVE ME SPECIAL FRIENDS...T I M E FRIENDS." WE PULLED UP TO DENNY AND JENN'S PLACE.
2 30 AM...THEY INVITED ME TO STAY WITH THEM. We walked up the steps and there stood Jon Lovitz of Saturday Night Live, "Way to go Denny." The front desk delivered my bag to the room and there was Mike Hampton of the Mets...He lives there, too. We visited a few minutes and everyone ran out of toothpicks for the eyelids. It was time to point my toes toward heaven. I told Denny I could sleep on I-10 tonite. Jennifer brought me a glass of water...She is a precious lady.
Sunday, before I left, I showed Denny pictures of my Dad's memorial service. He loved the cross of flowers Javy sent. We made pictures especially of that cute lefty Trey Neagle. I said goodbye to catch a cab at 1 pm for the airport.. Before I left the lobby of this residence, I thought about a man who lives there and 2 of his songs exspressed what I was thinking, LIVING IN AMERICA, I FEEL GOOD...I KNEW THAT I WOULD.
THANK GOD FOR FRIENDS LIKE DENNY AND JENNIFER NEAGLE WHO SPELL LOVE, T I M E...I'M GRATEFUL HE TOOK THE T I M E THAT DAY HE WAS PITCHING TO CALL AN OLE' FRIEND WHO NEEDED A DRINK OF WATER. DENNY IS A GREAT PITCHER...BUT HE'S A MUCH BETTER PERSON. HIS WORD IS HIS BOND. EVEN THOUGH IT BECAME THE TOUGHEST TICKET IN MANY YEARS, HE HAD MY TICKET. JUST LIKE HE SAID IN SEPTEMBER...HE'S A WINNER IN THE REAL GAME...THE GAME OF LIFE. WHERE THE SCORE LASTS FOREVER AND SO DO THE LIVES YOU TOUCH. THANK GOD FOR FRIENDS WHO HAVE PASSION FOR LIFE AND COMPASSION FOR OTHERS. REMEMBER, THE GREATEST GIFT YOU CAN GIVE ANYONE IS YOUR T I M E ...YOU SPELL LOVE, T I M E...EVERYTHING ELSE IS JUST TALK.
David Meckley .. MECK... Oct 24 2000.... www.TheMeck.com [ copy and pics ]
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Revised: Thursday, October 27, 2000 .