EL Sid Still Riding High On Mets 1986 Championship
New York Red Bulls soccer player Edson Buddle had every right to be tired. When he arrived at Beach Channel High School as part of the Action Center Expo soccer clinic last Sunday, Buddle had little sleep after arriving back in the city at 4:30 a.m. after a flight from Columbus, Ohio.
Some athletes would have given the excuse of not showing up, citing factors such as playing the night before in a disappointing 1-0 loss in a Major League Soccer game against the Columbus Crew.
It was frustrating for sure for the forward to not put a goal in for a team that is in the hunt for a playoff berth this late in the MLS campaign. Exhaustion could have also been a justification for not showing up.
Buddle didn't even think about those excuses. There he was on the Beach Channel High School field in the mid-afternoon as part of the Action Center Expo that took place last Sunday. Clad in sweatpants, Nike T-shirt and shades, he was smiling and playing with boys and girls who looked to be very excited to participate in the game of soccer.
The clinic started with a fun game called Buffalo Stampede, or at least the name Edson Buddle remembers while growing up. The kids would start on the sideline and run up to the midfield while avoiding balls kicked in their direction. The kids jumped, evaded but the smiles were apparent as a few were knocked to the ground.
"It's good to be out here for the kids. That is most important," Buddle said. "When you're young, soccer is a good starting point for a young kid."
His father was a good starting point for valuable lessons about the sport. Winston Buddle traveled the globe playing Greece for most of his career as well as landing in Belgium and finally in the United States.
Raised in New Rochelle, the 25 year old is named after a soccer legend. His first name of Edson is the birth name of Pele, the most well known soccer player in the world.
Emulating former Dutch superstars Ruud Gullitt and Marco Van Basten as soccer players, Buddle took up soccer and did not attend the University of Connecticut so he can start out his professional career.
From the A-League Long Island Rough Riders in 2000, where as a 18 year old, he scored 26 goals, Buddle moved on to Columbus for five seasons. He was traded in the offseason to the Red Bulls.
"My dad made me watch the game growing up. I watched how they played.
In the United States, the game of soccer, though known around the
By Lucky Ngamwajasat
During the mid 1980's and early 90's, Met fans fell in love with Sid Fernandez with his nasty curve ball, his clutch pitching performances during the '86 playoffs, and his rotund figure.
Twenty years later after being a part of the greatest Met team to date, 'El Sid' reflected on his memories of the '86 Miracle Mets, his career and his life after baseball last Monday night at Keyspan Park as part of the Cyclones Hawaiian Heritage Night promotion.
Fernandez wore the number 50 as a tribute to his native Hawaii and threw out the first pitch before the Cyclones' game against the Yankees. He rejoined his former World Series '86 winning team on Saturday at Shea and spoke about how it felt to get the gang back together for one more time.
"It (The reunion) was special," said Fernandez, who was 114-96 in his 14 year big league career. "Keith (Hernandez), Ronnie (Darling), I see them a lot. But the other guys like (Rick) Aguliera, (Doug) Sisk, a few others, it's the first time I've seen them in years. It just was a great feeling to see them again and the fan reception was awesome. I've never seen anything like it."
The Honolulu-born Fernandez went 16-6 for the Mets in 1986, with a 3.54 ERA, striking 200 batters in 204.3 innings pitched. He talked about the fearless attitude of that team and the success he had because of it.
"We just had a great team," he said. "I get asked a lot about us being cocky, they thought we were cocky because we just beat everybody...that's how we were in the 80's, we just played well as a team. I just wish that team could have stayed together a little longer."
Comparisons have been made with the current Mets to the '86 team. Fernandez said he sees the similarities with the two clubs.
"(They have) table setters up in the order," said the lefty. "Fast guys, (Jose) Reyes. Then you have the David Wrights in the middle of the lineup to drive them in, (Carlos) Delgado, (Carlos) Beltran. I think we're a little deeper in the pitching department, throughout, not just the starters...It's going to be similar, they have three dominant starters and that's all need."
Fernandez also recollected on his time and the trek to get to the majors and the comparison of parks during his time and currently.
"It wasn't anything like this," said Fernandez of Keyspan Park. "I still talk to a few guys with the Dodgers in Canada in '81. That's where you started, so you don't forget that."
One of the Cyclones won't ever forget catching the first pitch from one of the biggest figures in Met lore.
"That's was really cool," said reliever Grady Hinchman. "That was a great honor to catch another lefty that's been there and it meant a lot to me."