As the 1997 Mets marched forth in their surprisingly competitive season, Bobby Valentine delivered the news to Dave Mlicki: He would start the very first regular-season contest between his club and its intra-city rival, the Yankees.
“I thought, ‘Holy crap, this is going to be fun,’ ” Mlicki said last week in a telephone interview.
Wednesday marks the 24th anniversary of that assignment, and for the right-hander, now 53, the fun has never stopped. The complete-game, 6-0 shutout he threw against the defending World Series champions keeps paying dividends for Mlicki, who spent 10 years in the major leagues and undoubtedly gets remembered most for that night at Yankee Stadium.
“I’ll be at a golf tournament and some Mets fan will come to me and say, ‘Oh my God, I was at that game! I still have the ticket stub!’ ” Mlicki said. “All New York fans are so passionate about their sports. It’s what makes it so great.
“It’s nice to still be relevant sometimes.”
It’s fun just to look at the box score and play-by-play from that game, let alone watch it, as Mlicki has done a few times over the years. There is simply no way that…