NEW YORK -- The flight to New York proved to be a trip down memory lane for Chicago White Sox manager manager Robin Ventura and third base coach Joe McEwing. Not that long ago, the pair were teammates on the Mets.
"It was a special time to come here. The teams that I was on, family wise it was a great place. The Mets were great to me and my family," Ventura said before the White Sox faced the Mets on Tuesday. "There's good feelings with coming in here and remembering some teammates and good times. It's fun. The faces, though, that's the stuff, you're happy to see people."
Ventura, McEwing and first base coach Daryl Boston all played for the Mets during their career and are back in Flushing for the two-game series. Boston played for the Mets in 1991-92, while Ventura was with the team from 1999-2001, and McEwing had the longest stint from 2000-04. Ventura and McEwing were teammates for two seasons and played in the 2000 World Series.
"It's nice. Come back for the first time, being on the field, seeing a lot of familiar faces, and over the course of spending five years it was a big part of my life," McEwing said. "The friendships and the memories you created here, it's definitely fun to be back and compete in New York."
Ventura, a former third baseman, is responsible for one of the most famous moments in Mets history, as he hit the "Grand Slam single" in the 1999 NLCS against Atlanta. Ventura never crossed home plate after hitting a walk-off grand slam in the 15th inning and was instead credited with an RBI single.
This is the first game Ventura will manage at Citi Field, as this is the first time the White Sox have come to Flushing. Ventura still misses the Mets old ballpark, Shea Stadium, which last hosted the Mets in 2008 and was where he played.
"For me, new stadiums don't have the feel of the older stadiums when they make noise," Ventura said. "There's something about that stadium that when it was noisy, you felt it through your feet and I don't know if it happens like that anymore. Even going through the league last year, you hear noise, but you don't hear noise like the old stadiums."
McEwing, a former utility player who helped mentor Mets All-Star third baseman David Wright, also said he misses Shea Stadium and made sure to bring his son to the park before it got knocked down. He recalled fondly playing in the Subway Series in 2000, as well as helping with the Sept. 11 relief efforts.
Prior to arriving at Citi Field on Tuesday, McEwing was inducted into the Irish-American Baseball Hall of Fame at Foley's NY Pub and Restaurant in New York City. McEwing appreciated seeing the White Sox staff and Wright in attendance.
"It was a special honor," McEwing said. " Anytime you're inducted into any Hall of Fame it means that you made a positive influence both on and off the field and that is something that's very special to me, especially when it's your heritage that comes into effect. To be in the list with all the current inductees and former inductees, it's very humbling and (I'm) honored."