Earlier this week, Gary Dunes took some time to answer a few questions for Mets Merized Online.
Gary Dunes is the very popular morning drive time radio personality on WSEN 92.1FM in Syracuse, NY. He is also the lead singer of the band Dunes & The Del-Tunes. During the baseball season, he is the onfield host for the Syracuse Chiefs, the AAA affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. His allegiance however lies with the New York Mets and he has been a huge Mets fan since he was a kid. You can also visit him on his myspace page and add him as a friend.
Gary, thanks so much for taking some time out of your day to answer some questions for us this morning.
Q: Being a lifelong Mets fan going back to the teams formative years, you’ve seen many of the enormous number of players that have played third base for the Mets in their 45 year history, 134 of them to be exact. Which of them holds the fondest memory for you?
A: There were a few Met third basemen that I really liked. Edgardo Alfonzo and Ray Knight would be near the top of my list but I think Howard Johnson would have to be my favorite Mets third basemen. Besides doing the job at third, Ho Jo fit right in with the magical chemistry the Mets had in 86.
Q: We often hear about a fans favorite Mets moment, lets look at the flip side of that, and tell us what your worst Mets moment or time was?
A: That’s one I’ll never forget. The Mets were playing the Atlanta Braves in the playoffs at Shea to see who would face the Yankees in the series and Chipper Jones told Mets fans to “Go home and put your Yankee uniforms on.”
Q: I know you are also a minor league baseball fan and a big fan of the Syracuse Chiefs, serving as their onfield host in between innings. If you could pick one thing that minor league baseball has over major league baseball, what is it?
A: I guess it’s just human nature, but most of the players seem more fan friendly before they get a taste of the big leagues. Since we’re on the subject of minor league baseball being a Mets fan I do have to add I was really sadden when Syracuse jumped the gun and resigned there working agreement with Toronto in June. I personally asked the GM of the Chiefs if the Mets were a possibility and he said Norfolk would most likely resign with the Mets. Well, as most Mets fans know the Mets triple A team has moved to New Orleans for 2 seasons and they are now in the Pacific Coast league. As you may guess I’m hoping in two years the Mets will consider Syracuse for their farm team. I think it would be a great move, we are only about 4 hours from New York and it would make perfect sense.
Q: Which of the current Mets players do you consider to be the most valuable part of the team in 2007 and why?
A: Jose Reyes, Paul Lo Duca, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, David Wright, and Moises Alou. These guys will be a major part of the Mets offensive team in 2007.
Q: Do you consider yourself to be a baseball purist or did you welcome some of the changes of the last 5-7 years like interleague play, wild card teams, and letting the All Star Game decide home field advantage in the World Series?
A: I’m kind of a purist. I don’t really care for interleague play or the wild card. I do like the All Star Game deciding home field advantage in the World Series because it does give the players and managers a reason to try to win that game.
Q: If you were to ask a thousand Mets fans what their biggest concern was going into the 2007 season, I would guess that 999 of them would say it was worried about the starting pitching. What do you think about our starting pitching, should Mets fans be worried?
A: I think with Pedro Martinez unlikely to a pitch until maybe July and with Tom Glavine, Orlando Hernandez, and John Maine in the rotation they are going to need at least one more strong pitcher if they are to win the NL East.
One final question, before I let you go…
Q: I’m looking at this picture you took with Eddie Kranepool and Jerry Koosman and I cant help but wonder how exciting it must have been to experience that magical Mets season in 1969 when they shocked the baseball world and won their first World Series. What was it like to be a Mets fan in the late 60′s and early 70′s and was it much more different than it is today?
A: Growing up in Syracuse, NY was kind of like the same situation in NYC. The Yankee tradition was and is big here, the Mets were always second class. Most of my friends wore Yankee hats; my dad was and is a Yankee fan. It didn’t matter to me I loved the Mets, I don’t know why, maybe because they were always the underdogs back then. In 1967 I was nine years old, I was wearing my Mets hat and old man walked by me on the street and asked why I was wearing a Mets hat, he said, “Kid why are you wearing that hat, they stink, you should be wearing a Yankees hat.” Didn’t matter I loved my Mets. We’ll when I was 11 in 1969 after the World Series with Baltimore no one could tell me the Mets stink anymore. Meeting and getting the chance to interview Eddie Kranepool and Jerry Koosman was definitely a thrill, It made me feel like an 11 year old kid again. As far as being a Mets fan back in the 60’s and 70’s and now, for me, the feeling is still the same. I guess it’s called tradition.
Gary, thanks again for your time and we’ll keep listening to your show as you keep playing those rock and roll classics. It’s always great to meet another big Mets fan!