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Showing posts from October 2, 2005

Skate-Offs

The NHL returned to business on Wednesday night with the opening of the 2005-06 season after the sport suffered through an ugly one-year absence. I've had an odd relationship with hockey, which has fluctuated between my second and fourth-favorite sports, usually depending on how good the Rangers, a franchise with a history more tormented than the Mets, were.

I also covered the sport at the minor-league level for almost three full seasons during my tenure as a sportswriter in New Jersey. Hockey is a challenging sport to write about because the action happens so fast that it's hard to describe with accuracy and with flair (particularly without benefit of full-fledged instant replay in the minors), but I feel like I did a decent job on the beat, particularly in covering the human-interest angles (Human-interest is an issue with hockey ,in that there aren't a lot of interested humans, at least in the United States, but that's another topic for another day.) So I'll take…

More Managerial Maneuvering Minutiae

We're working on our reminiscences of Mets postseason walk-off wins and promise to share some stories next week, but for now we stick with a topic that's garnered a little attention this week.

So a former Mets nemesis, Jim Leyland is back in the dugout again, taking over the Tigers after a six-season hiatus. He says he's ready to withstand the day-to-day grind and hopes to bring prominence back to the city of Detroit, where it has long been absent, in the form of a championship like the one he won for the Marlins in 1997. We'll see how he does after a few walk-off losses, like some of those he had managing against the Mets.

I always thought of Leyland as the picture of managerial misery in his stints with the Pirates, Marlins and Rockies. He always looked pretty unhappy his face drained of pleasure from a few too many thousand cigarettes. This was someone far too stressed from something that's supposed to be a fun game. I also thought of him as a worthy foe and a pre…

Didja ever notice how the telecast ended?

Continuing our "Didja ever notice?" series on Game 6 of the 1986 World Series

"A little roller up along first...behind the bag!!! It gets through Buckner!!! Here comes Knight and the Mets win it!!!... ... ... If one picture is worth a thousand words, than you have seen about a million words...but more than that, you have seen an absolutely bizarre finish to Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. The Mets are not only alive, they are well, and they will play the Red Sox in Game 7 tomorrow. Let's go down on the field in this madhouse, to Marv Albert."

That's what NBC broadcaster Vin Scully had to say in describing the final play of the baseball game that took place at Shea Stadium on October 25, 1986. In the space in which there are ellipsis (between the words "Mets win it" and "If one picture," there is a gap, one that lasted three minutes and 23 seconds. In that time, viewers watched the magic of television, as all sorts of fascinating images fl…

The Other Monster

With the playoffs beginning Tuesday, I thought I'd share my favorite postseason walk-off story from 2004.

It's good to know that I'm a positive influence on the young people of America.

It was about a year ago that I had to make a long drive to upstate New York for work purposes, meaning that I wouldn't get to watch that day's playoff action. I was significantly curious about the results, so I have the afternoon game that Friday, Game 3 of the 2004 ALDS between the Red Sox and Angels, my closest auditory attention.

As day became night and the game stretched out, thanks to Vladimir Guerrero's game-tying grand slam, I ran into an issue of significance. I was hungry. I was well-fortified by an early lunch, but having left later than expected, I was also eager to get to my hotel room.

My stomach battled by brain for a good half hour as this game remained even through the eighth, ninth, and into the 10th. There was a sign on the turnpike for an upcoming stop at which t…

Managerial Maneuverings Minutiae

For those curious regarding Monday's managerial maneuverings, it's as easy as 1-2-3 to tie them in to Mets walk-offs...

The Mets only had one walk-off win against Dodgers manager Jim Tracy (the team and former skipper mutually parted ways on Monday). It was a 6-5 triumph on May 20, 2001, decided on a hit by Tsuyoshi Shinjo.

The Mets had two walk-off wins against Tigers teams managed by Alan Trammell (fired on Monday). Mike Cameron did the honors on both days, with a game-winning homer and a game-winning single on June 18 and 19, 2004.

The Mets had three walk-off wins against Marlins skipper Jack McKeon (announced his retirement on Sunday), all coming, as previously mentioned, during the 2005 season.

Also noteworthy on Trammell from a walk-off perspective, tying things back to the Mets: On October 3, 1987 (18 years prior to his firing), he had a walk-off single (one that should have been ruled an error on shortstop Manny Lee) in the 12th inning of a 3-2 Tigers win against the Blue …

Mets Walk-Offs Year in Review

The Mets had eight walk-off wins, matching their 2004 total.

The breakdown was as follows

5 walk-off singles
2 walk-off home runs
1 walk-off walk
6 extra-inning walk-offs

The grand tally is now at 330* documented walk-offs, a total that includes postseason, in Mets history. The * is in place for two reasons, one of which I'll explain at another time, and the other because I have no verification that the tally is 100% accurate. By my count, I have written about, in some form, 89 of those 330 games, so we still have a long ways to go...

Let us review the Mets year in walk-offs.

April 13 vs Astros: Jose Reyes singled off the gloves of both pitcher Dan Wheeler and shortstop Adam Everett, allowing Victor Diaz to race home from second with the winning run, after a weak throw home by Astros second baseman Chris Burke. This was the second game of a three-game sweep of the Astros in the Mets first homestand of the season.

Game summary: http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/recap?gid=250413121

April 16 vs Marl…