Dwight Gooden, former MLB pitcher whose No. 16 was recently retired...

Dwight Gooden, former MLB pitcher whose No. 16 was recently retired by the Mets, poses for pictures with the New York Rise before an AFP softball game between the Rise and Florida Vibe at Hofstra's Bill Edwards Stadium on Wednesday. Credit: James Escher

It was not Shea Stadium. It was not Yankee Stadium. It was not Citi Field.

It did not matter.

Because once Dwight Gooden’s name was announced over the loudspeaker at Bill Edwards Stadium to the crowd at the New York Rise women’s softball game Wednesday night, the reaction was the same:

Unrequited adoration.

“It’s always cool,” Gooden said before the Rise’s game against the Florida Vibe. “They always supported me. Anytime I go back I try to show the love back to them.”

The Rise steamrolled the Florida Vibe, 14-4. The Rise have won three straight — all at home — and are 5-2 in their inaugural season. ​

Before the game, Gooden posed for individual and group photos with team members, employees and staff. He spoke to players and hugged coach Rodney McCray, a teammate on the 1992 Mets.

After throwing out the ceremonial first pitch (for the record, it was a strike over the outside corner), Gooden chatted with fans who regaled him with their memories as he signed autographs.

It was a moment.

Which prompts a question:

How did this come to be?

For that, turn to Rise owner Jeff Ahn.

Ahn, who has known Gooden for years through the Mets’ fantasy camp, recalled he and Gooden had dinner at “a steakhouse in Oyster Bay,” in early 2023. As they ate, Ahn shared his vision for a women’s professional softball league.

Gooden was in.

“He was immediately supportive,” Ahn said. “He said, ‘Let me know what I can do,’ and for me, I’m trying to create a New York fan base. When I grew up the ’86 Mets were exactly what I [loved] . . . And to me, Doc is the epitome of the ’86 Mets.”

Undoubtedly, Gooden is among the first players to come to mind when the tales of that team and its on-and-off-field exploits are told and retold.

But for the players on the Rise, that is all they are. Tales. Stories. Yarns. None of the players were alive during Gooden’s heyday, so they know of his legend. Not the man.

Save for one.

Courtney Wyche, who started for the Rise, has trained Gooden’s daughter Milan. Milan Gooden, who is going into her freshman year of high school, is a pitcher and first baseman.

“I gave her pitching lessons a couple years ago,” Wyche said. “I got the pleasure to really watch her grow up a little bit.”

So, for her, the game doubled as an opportunity to catch up with Gooden.

“I’m really excited to see him again and obviously celebrating his achievements [in the] baseball world,” Wyche said

And Gooden was appreciative.

“This is great,” he said. “This is right in my backyard, growing up in Long Island. [I] always [say] I was born in Tampa but I was raised in New York.”

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