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Showing posts from September 18, 2005

Trees in the Forest

Today we ponder the question: If a walk-off occurs and no one is there to see it, does it really happen? That's kind of how I felt watching the ninth inning of Thursday's loss to the Marlins, in a game in which the attendance wasn't announced because it wouldn't jive with the reality of the paltry crowd at Shea Stadium. In the original Summer of False Hope that was 1980, the crowds dwindled significantly at the conclusion of the season. The finish to the campaign was miserable and heading into the final series against Pittsburgh, the Flushing 9 had won just 8 of their last 43 games. This was in the day in which crowds were counted by turnstile clicks rather than tickets sold, so the tally was only 1,787 on September 29, an all-time Shea Stadium low that stood until the next day when 1,754 made it through the gates. Particularly poor weather, the kind more typical than that seen at Shea Stadium this September, didn't help matters much. Anyhow, there was still bas

Donn Clendenon RIP

Donn Clendenon's timing for big hits was one of his best traits as a New York Met. Clendenon died a few days ago, after a long battle with leukemia, at age 70. He is best remembered for his play during the 1969 season as a valuable midseason acquisition who starred during the World Series upset of the Baltimore Orioles. In the fifth and deciding game, his home run, with the Mets trailing, 3-0, helped the Mets rally to a victory and a world championship. The next season, Clendenon was terrific, driving in a club-record 97 runs. His skills eroded quickly however and the 1971 season turned out to be his last as a Met. The slump that marked the end of Clendenon's run of success began in May and carried over the course of a month. In the midst of a 2-for-36 funk, he ended up benched, used as a pinch hitter and defensive replacement, which was his role on June 19, 1971 when the Mets hosted the Phillies on Helmet Day. The thought that this would be a pitchers duel between Tom Seav

Miggy Poo

Ibid. See previous post. OK, I've awakened and I still like that line, which is borrowed from a story about the "Boston Massacre" series between the Yankees and Red Sox in 1978. The Miggy Poo reference in the headline is a play on a nickname given by Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas when reliever Mitch Williams (aka "Mitchy Poo") got a walk-off hit at 4 am a few years back. Many Mets fans think of Miguel Cairo as "Miggy Poop" for his late-season struggles, but perhaps the expectations raised when the Mets won the first seven games in which he started, were just too great. As for original content, I can tell you that... After Wednesday's triumph, the Mets now have eight walk-off wins this season, matching their 2004 total. The Mets had walk-off hits in back-to-back games for the first time since...June 18 and 19 2004 when Mike Cameron beat the Tigers on back-to-back days. It's the first time they've had back-to-back walk-off wins in Sep

Season Wreckers

There wasn't much of a race for the NL East flag through the summer of 1976 because the Philadelphia Phillies pulled away from the competition with ease. By the last week of August, their lead over second place Pittsburgh had stretched to 15 1/2 games. This would be a coast to the finish, much like it was supposed to be for the 2005 White Sox in the AL Central. Not quite. Things weren't so hunky-dory in Philadelphia after the Phillies dropped 14 of 17, including two of three to the Mets. Some of the losses were quite torturous, like back-to-back 1-0 defeats and a 15-inning loss to the Reds in which the Phillies couldn't close out leads in the ninth or 13th innings. Meanwhile the Pirates got red-hot, much like the Cleveland Indians have this season. They won 15 of 17 games, including a three-game sweep of the floundering Phillies. On the morning of September 13, Pittsburgh was within a very reasonable four games, with 21 to play, including a couple shortly against Philade

Ball on The Wall Remembered

September 20 marks the 32nd anniversary of one of the most famous walk-off wins in Mets history. During the 1973 pennant race, the turning point came in a Mets-Pirates game at Shea Stadium. As I was not born until 16 months afterwards, I didn't feel I could do the game justice by rewriting the details. So I've brought in a guestwriter today. Barry Federovitch is a sportswriter/copy editor at the Trenton Times. This game has a special meaning for him, and I'll let him explain... Thirty-two years later, Met Nation is beaten down. Another September of Atlanta supremacy, of Yankee backpages. Another fall without the postseason, of autumn fades and bullpen implosions. How long must it go on? Whose soul was sold and for what to suffer this fate? They are called Amazin's, but what does that mean? Is it a joke for a tortured fandom? Static-filled WFAN programs fill depressed nights and then we remember when those Met flags on the pole were earned. They were not just penna

Didja Ever Notice What They Wrote?

Part IV of a continuing series on Game 6 of the 1986 World Series I went to work for my dad at a baseball card show on Sunday, October 26, 1986, and since we had to get up early to head to New Jersey, I didn't get to go through the newspaper as thoroughly as I would. Nowadays, if there's a big baseball event, I like to read about it from as many different perspectives as possible. That wasn't something that was as easily accessible back then as it is today, with the magic of the internet allowing the ability to surf a dozen newspapers within a few minutes. Thankfully now, we have the capability to flash back, and when I was given the opportunity to test a newspaper database a few years ago, I checked its thoroughness by compiling the different stories written about Game 6 of the World Series. The cool thing about going through the various pieces is how clever some of the writing could be, particularly at such a late hour with deadline pressures looming in many cities.