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10/11/06 5:37 PM ET

Darryl Strawberry pregame interview

Strawberry talks about throwing out the first pitch in Game 1 of the NLCS

How does it feel to be back here and to be involved in their playoff run and throw out the first pitch?

DARRYL STRAWBERRY: Well, you know, it feels great to be back here. After having so many good years here and being a part of winning the championship in '86, just the excitement of the 20 year anniversary for being '86 champions and we came back this year. Just to see the excitement of what the Mets are doing. They are going pretty much in the right direction again, and being able to come out and participate around them, you know, to be able to come out and participate and throw out the first pitch.

You know, I don't know how well I'll throw. I haven't thrown in a long time. But I'm excited about it and you know, hopefully everybody else is excited about it, what this year means to the Mets.

You're sure to get a big applause, can you explain how you still hold that thought for the Mets fans?

DARRYL STRAWBERRY: Well, when you look back and look at how many times people tried to climb the fence to catch some of my home runs, that probably sticks in their heart.

Just the way we played, I think the years of the '80s, the way we played, the swagger we had, the kind of team we were and everything, I think it brought something back to New York Mets fans and the National League and baseball. I think they had missed National League baseball for a long time and when I came in in 1983, there was nobody in the stands. Then in 1984, we changed, kind of changed things around. We had, you know, players coming in and we had a new manager and there was a lot of excitement. We brought a lot of excitement back to the fans over here in Queens.

The bond between yourself and the Mets organization seems to have tightened and you seem to have grown closer together this year. What does that mean to you even moving forward?

DARRYL STRAWBERRY: Well, it means a great deal to me, to really tie the bond here, because it was very special for me to play here and win the Rookie of the Year and win a championship in '86. You know, the great years that we all had here, the bond that I have that's really starting to develop back with this organization, it means to me more than anybody could imagine. Because, you know, I know truly in my heart when I stepped on the field here, I laid my heart out on the plate, played the game the way the game is supposed to be played.

I enjoyed it. I really enjoyed what baseball was really all about when I played here and put on that uniform.

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When Preston Wilson was in here yesterday, he talked about the great memories he had as a kid coming to Shea and one of them was sitting down and talking with you. What are your memories of him as a kid and what are your thoughts of him now being here?

DARRYL STRAWBERRY: Well, it's kind of strange, because he was Mookie Wilson's son, and you used to always see Preston running around. You kind of looked and you knew this guy would some day be a player. When you hang around the ballpark as much as Preston hung around the ballpark, there was going to be a great chance that he was going to excel at this level. He was a good kid, he was really a good kid. I'm just happy for him. I know for him coming here probably means more to him than a lot of the other Cardinal players coming here, because he walked up and down these halls for a long time, watching his dad and watching the teams that used to play. I know it's very special for him to come here and be a part of the playoffs and having a chance to maybe go to the World Series.

Having played on both sides of the city what do you think about this being a Mets city again after the Yankees getting knocked out of the playoffs?

DARRYL STRAWBERRY: Well, I don't want to stretch it that far just yet. The Mets are definitely in the position to win, you know, to win New York City back, there's no question about it. They have some outstanding players.

The young players are very exciting. I think that's what brings the excitement to the organization. When you can keep the young players and you can blend them in with some of the veteran players, it gives you a chance to bring out the recognition that you have as an organization you're starting to build back up, and I think they are on the right path with that, building it back up, bringing in David Wright and Jose Reyes and the young guys that may come up in the future.

It just brings the energy back to the city for the New York Mets fans. After those years in the '80s, they must have suffered a lot again. Now hopefully this stretch will continue. Hopefully they will build like the Yankees. We all like to question the Yankees, but the Yankees is a dynasty, there's no question. I mean, they are not going anywhere. They might have got eliminated, but they are not going anywhere. I mean, they haven't won a World Series. The standard for them is high, after winning championships, you know, and of course they are going to be questioned about being knocked out, yes, of course. It's very disappointing to the Yankee fans that the Yankees got knocked out in the first rounds, because when you look at it, they had the best team in baseball, but they didn't perform like that.

How much do you miss playing, and if so, what parts of the game do you miss?

DARRYL STRAWBERRY: None. There comes a point in time when it's over, it's over. You know, baseball was fun. Baseball was real. I believe my years when I played here and with the guys I played with, you know, we wore that uniform on our sleeve because we were the most hated team in the National League everywhere we went. We was kind of proud of that. So that's something you always will remember, but when it's over, it's over. (Phone ringing) And somebody's trying to call me but they will just have to wait.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.