Catcher delivers first pitch; Joel sings national anthem
By Lindsay Berra
NEW YORK -- Eight-time All-Star and three-time World Series champion Darryl Strawberry was at Citi Field on Friday night to cheer on the Mets in Game 3 of the World Series, a 9-3 victory over the Royals.
With the win, the Mets trail, two games to one, in the best-of-seven series. Game 4 is Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET air time on FOX, 8 p.m. game time).
Strawberry was a member of the 1986 Mets and 1996 Yankees, both of which came back from 0-2 deficits to win the World Series. He thinks these Mets have a chance to do the same, provided their heads are in the right place.
"I just hope they go out and play as well as they can and know it's not over until it's over," Strawberry said before the game, quoting Yogi Berra, who managed the Mets in the 1973 World Series. "Being down [0-2] doesn't mean anything. If your mindset is focused on the fact that those games are over, put them behind us, take one game at a time, that's the whole key. The clubhouse has to believe they can win, and we always believed we could win."
Strawberry spent eight seasons with the Mets, and he hit .263 with 252 home runs and 733 RBIs. Though he was born in Los Angeles, he has considered New York City home since being drafted by the Mets in 1980.
"I grew up in the farm system here, and seeing some of the young players they have here excites me, because that's what it's all about -- building through the farm system and bringing young players up," Strawberry said.
Mets Hall of Famer and 12-time All-Star Mike Piazza threw out the ceremonial first pitch. He stepped to the mound -- or rather, just in front of it -- in his No. 31 jersey and threw a strike to Mets catcher Kevin Plawecki.
When Piazza was acquired from the Marlins on May 22, 1998, he changed the tenor of the franchise. The Mets had not reached the postseason since 1988, but Piazza helped his new club to consecutive playoff appearances in 1999 and 2000. In the 1999 NLCS, the Mets lost to the Braves in six games. In 2000, they lost the Subway Series to the Yankees in five games. Piazza hit two home runs and hit .273 in that Series.
On May 5, 2004, Piazza surpassed Carlton Fisk for most home runs by a catcher with 352, and he holds the record with 427. In eight Mets seasons, he hit.296 with 220 home runs and 655 RBIs.
Piazza was first eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2013, when he appeared on 57.8 percent of ballots. In '14, he had 62.2 percent, and in '15, 69.9 percent. Piazza has a solid chance to reach the 75 percent threshold in '16.
Before Piazza's first pitch, legendary recording artist Billy Joel sang the national anthem.
"It's amazing," Strawberry said. "That's another New York guy there. He's an icon."
The Mets also honored Oregon Army National Guardsman Spc. Alek Skarlatos as the "Veteran of the Game." In August, Skarlatos was among a group who stopped a gunman from opening fire on a Paris-bound train from Amsterdam. Skarlatos, who has been awarded the U.S. Army Soldier's Medal from President Barack Obama, is competing on this season of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars."
Skarlatos was presented with an American flag that once flew over Citi Field.
Lindsay Berra is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.