- Last Updated: 11:20 AM, June 3, 2012
- Posted: 12:12 AM, June 3, 2012
Ray Baxter makes the drive from home to Citi Field in six minutes. He never misses a home game and the chance to see his son Mike play for the Mets.
Heaven isn’t so far away, after all.
“It’s just a phenomenal experience,’’ Ray Baxter told the Post.
Heaven is going to have to wait at least six weeks because of injuries Baxter suffered Friday night to his collarbone, sternum and ribs as he crashed into the wall to make a painful catch for the ages to save Johan Santana’s no-hitter against the Cardinals.
“Mike’s hurting pretty bad,’’ Ray said yesterday. The kid from Whitestone, Queens, who is hitting .323 overall and .444 as a pinch-hitter, paid the price with his body.
Watching Mike do so well, though, was an early Father’s Day present for Ray.
“I’m like a little kid,’’ Ray, 56, said earlier this week. “Every time I come to the game it’s amazing to see my son playing for the Mets.’’
When Mike Baxter returns he will continue to give up his body for his team. That’s who he is as a player and a person.
“Seeing someone who wasn’t always touted as the best player on the team, working hard to get where he has gotten today,’’ Ray said. “Michael is the type of guy, if you give him a shot, over time, when people get to see his work ethic, his game really shines.’’
Yes, it does, never more so that on Friday night.
“The Mets organization as a whole, have been so wonderful to us,’’ Ray added. “They’ve opened up their hearts to us and made us feel extremely comfortable. Getting us the passes and greeting us and everybody saying hello to us. We couldn’t ask for better. Playing for the Mets has made Michael’s career extremely nice but it has made our family experience just tremendous.
“It’s great to come to the ballpark to see your kid play, but when you come to the ballpark and see that you are part of their family, it’s just like an extended family.’’
Ray Baxter, his wife Maureen and their family are living the dream, too. Mike loves playing in front of family — Mom, Dad, his sister Clare, grandmother Susan and other relatives.
Ray, a general manager of a wholesale distributor for auto body supplies based in Flushing, prefers to watch games in person while Maureen, who is a civil employee with the fire department, comes to Citi Field when she can, but enjoys seeing games in HD at home and listening to how the action unfolds, Ray said.
Maureen and Ray have been married 32 years and go to St. Luke’s Parish in Whitestone every Sunday.
They grew up in Woodside and made sure that Mike and Clare, 24, a former junior college All-American swimmer, also played organized basketball in their old neighborhood.Follow @NYPostsports