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Jerry and the Mets

"You can't win. You can't beat me. That's why I'm here and you're there. Because I'm a winner. I'll always be a winner and you'll always be a loser."

I harken back to television again, since it's Emmy weekend and reference a line from an episode of the best written television show of all-time, Seinfeld (aptly titled "The Revenge"), because it was one of the first things I thought of after the Braves swept the Mets out of Atlanta, effectively ending the Summer of False Hope. Watching some of the camera shots of the Braves in the ninth and 10th inning of the series finale, you almost got the impression that some of the players were mocking the Mets, laughing like George Costanza's boss, Mr. Levitan when George tried to slip back into work after quitting in anger a week before.

It was pretty evident that the 1995 season wasn't going to be worth the wait for the New York Mets, particularly the way Opening Day ended, with Dante Bichette knocking a ball out of Coors Field and the Mets blowing leads in the ninth, 13th, and 14th innings. Ten games into the season the Mets blew an 11-4 eighth-inning lead to the Reds, losing on a walk-off knock by Jerome Walton. At that point, a lot of fans of the Flushing 9 were probably wishing that the players and owners had never agreed to resolve the differences that led to the abrupt conclusion of play in 1994.

On August 5, the Mets were dead last 35-57 and 13 games out of second place when something rather odd happened. The inept Mets, who cleared out some dead wood by trading Bret Saberhagen (to the Rockies) and Bobby Bonilla (to the Orioles) at the deal deadline, suddenly morphed into the unbeatables. The games didn't matter much at all, but some of the kids were pretty good, particularly rookie Jason Isringhausen, who went 9-2 with a 2.81 ERA.

This brings us to the final weekend, in which the Mets found themselves playing for something (second place) after sweeping NL Central champ Cincinnati and the Braves were sleepwalking to the finish in preparation for their one postseason of triumph. Still, it is the Mets and the Braves and any time you can talk about the Mets having an opportunity to mock back, you take it.

The Mets won both on Friday and Saturday, setting up a Sunday finale between Isringhausen and the abbreviated five-inning effort from Smoltz. Isringhausen was terrific, pitching eight innings of four-hit ball. The game was prolonged by Braves skipper Bobby Cox, who trotted out reliever after reliever for a few batters at a time (though Jung Bong, utilized in one season finale weekend to mock the marijuana puffing-photo of Grant Roberts was nowehre to be found, yet) for the necessary tune-up. Neither team scored through the first 10 1/2 frames and it seemed neither team was in any rush for the game to end.

The Mets loaded the bases with no one out in the 11th inning, but Jose Vizcaino nearly killed that rally with a double play. The bases were reloaded after Brad Woodall walked Carl Everett, but it looked like the game would continue for a few more hours when Tim Bogar fell behind 0-2. Woodall missed with ball one, ball two and ball three and by that time, the crowd was stomping and screaming and treating this game as if it was really important. Ball four came next and the crowd that was left responded with a Seinfeldian touch of unbridled enthusiasm as the players threw their caps into the stands as souvenirs.

That was a good way to end a pretty mediocre season. From the reaction of the crowd, you would have never know that it wasn't really that impressive of a season (though the Mets finished tied for second at 69-75). The good thing about the 1995 Mets was that they knew when to get off the stage, with a six-game win streak that matched the best that season. It's appropriate then that we reference another line from Seinfeld (The episode titled "The Burning") when Jerry explains to George how he should react in work-related meetings when he delivers a well-timed one-liner. It was a metaphor for Seinfeld, the television show as well. Jerry knows television, and he knows baseball (and he roots for the Mets!) and he sums it up perfectly with an indirect endorsement for this website.

"When you hit that high note, you say good night, and walk off."

True Metfelds know...The Mets have three walk-off walks against the Braves. The team against which they have the most walk-off walks is the Giants, with four.

PS: Check back this weekend. We'll have at least one Emmy-related walk-off story posting


Anonymous said…
My man Joe Orsulak tripled and was stranded on third in that game. Then he was removed, never to be a regular-season Met again. Sigh.

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