7,000 Baseball Games
by Andrew Kulyk & Peter Farrell
Mets superfan to hit milestone in June
He has hit fields and parks. Stadiums, centers, and centres. And now, Mike Casiano, aptly titled “The King” by his wide circle of friends and supporters, will cross a threshold that is unthinkable to most people, whether it be players, team employees, or average fans. Sometime in June, Casiano will attend his 7,000th professional baseball game. The milestone will be commemorated with a special celebration at Citifield on June 16.
Casiano, a mail handler for the US Postal Service working at the Grand Central Station in Manhattan, visited Coca Cola Field this past weekend—baseball game number 6,974—and reminisced about his life journey, which started as a wide-eyed 12-year-old seeing the Washington Senators and the New York Yankees play a doubleheader in Yankee Stadium in 1963. Once he decided to start keeping count (in 1968), he backtracked and put together a list of games attended, and from that time forward has kept a meticulous journal of his games, complete with scoresheets, on a year-by-year basis.
“In 2011, including college events, my count was over 400 games,” said Casiano. This, of course, is for all four major sports, although baseball is his number one passion. Doesn’t that add up to more than one game a day? “Lots of times, there is a day game in one place and a night game elsewhere,” he said. “There are doubleheaders. I head out of work and go. Pretty much every day.” Working the night shift often, Casiano heads home and catches a catnap before racing out the door to a sporting venue for that day’s action.
Casiano is an unabashed Mets fan, and although he has seen some pretty spectacular sports moments over his years of traveling, the seminal time in his sporting life were games six and seven of the 1986 World Series between his Mets and the Boston Red Sox. “It was hard to get tickets, but we got in there and were all cramped up in the top of the upper deck. They were both comeback games, and in the ’69 series I was too young and couldn’t afford tickets, so to be there in person and be able to celebrate my team winning the championship is something I will remember for all my life.”
Casiano has been in the house for several no-hitters, and those games also stand out. “I was there for Roy Halladay’s no-hitter in Philadelphia, Doc Gooden’s for the Yankees, and David Cone’s perfect game. Jim Abbott’s, who only had one arm. There were several others but these are the ones that I remember.”
In the late 1980s, Casiano hooked up with a fellow New York road-tripper who shares his travel passions, Gary Herman. The two fast became best friends and now together can be seen at games across the country. Herman also racks up the games attended, but not at the same rate as his partner. “They don’t call him ‘The King’ for nothing,” Herman said. “We all marvel at his energy and how he just keeps going.”
Casiano and Herman call their road trip project “Royalty Tours USA.” Herman handles the travel arrangements and the blogging, and tends to the social network sites. They have developed a strong network of friends and fellow ballpark chasers all across the country. “We look to buy the cheapest tickets, and it’s great having friends all over the place to help get into the hard-to-get places,” said Casiano.
Incredibly, until this weekend the guys had not visited Coca Cola Field since the ballpark’s second season, in 1989. “It is a real testament to you people in Buffalo how well this ballpark has held up over the years,” said Casiano. “It is still every bit a major league facility, and your new scoreboard is one of the best I’ve seen. Plus your team really does a lot to entertain the fans and keep them in the game. Good marks all around.”
Fans in attendance and pressbox staff certainly got their fill of The King, who was perched in the 200 deck right behind home plate this past Saturday. He screamed out his signature strikeout chant every time the Bisons recorded a K, and the fans around him joined in the fun. “Oh, yeah, I do that all the time—the fans love it,” Casiano said.
“As long as I’m physically able to go to the games I will continue to do this. I can’t imagine not being at a ballpark on any given day in the season. It’s just something I love to do.”blog comments powered by Disqus
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