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Showing posts from December 24, 2006

All That Was Missing Was Dick Clark

On December 31, many will congregate in Times Square to witness the ball-dropping and begin the celebration of a New Year.

There have been a few instances on which Mets walk-off fans have had the opportunity to celebrate a ball-beyond the one taking place at the start of a year. And though the festivities may be lacking in champagne and confetti, they are just as Metmorable.

The most thrilling may have taken place on June 2, 1963, when fans not only got a ball-dropping, but they received two victories for the price of one. That was the date for a home doubleheader against the Pirates. The season was about one-third complete and the cuteness of the Mets mediocrity of 1962 seemed to be wearing off, so the fans were in need of games like these.

The opening game was a pitchers duel between Mets "ace" Roger Craig and Pirates moundsman Vernon Law. A Duke Snider home run in the 4th brought the fans to their feet and provided the Mets with the game's only run, until the 9th inning.

Didja ever notice: The Bill Buckner of...

So I'm eavesdropping on a conversation between two people the other day, one famous and one not, and the celebrity says to the non-celeb that the greatest relief of his career is that he never had a "Bill Buckner moment."

But others have. I did a number of googlings to try to find references and wasn't particularly satisfied when I searched for "Bill Buckner moment" or "Bucknerian." The best results came from trying to find Bill Buckner equivalents, ie: "The Bill Buckner of..." Here's what I found.

*When 1996 Team USA Olympic softball player Dani Tyler was called out for failing to touch home plate after hitting a home run, Peter King's story in Sports Illustrated said "She may go down as the Bill Buckner of fast-pitch softball."

* Television reporter Andrew Gilligan has been called "The Bill Buckner of the BBC" due to some unsual blunder of which I'm not aware.

* A Massachusetts News headline regarding gover …

Presidential Walk-Off

I don't really have any memories of Gerald Ford's presidency, since for the portion of it for which I was alive, I was a toddler. So I can't reminisce like others might today, the day after his death.

I do know that Gerald Ford was both sportsman (he aspired to be a pro baseball player but was better in football) and sports fan (he used to take his future wife on dates to see All-American Girls Professional Baseball League games, and his presidential library once hosted a baseball-themed exhibit), so I don't feel it inappropriate to share how his life and this blog intertwine. So I shall tell, in brief, the tale of August 8, 1974.

The Mets were playing the Pirates in Pittsburgh, but of extraordinarily greater significance, the reign of President Richard Nixon was coming to an end. More than 130 million people watched on television as Nixon announced his resignation. WOR-TV interrupted its telecast of the Mets game in the sixth inning because it felt this news was of grea…

Chip Off the Old Block

I remember regularly watching the TV show Kate & Allie, which used to air Monday night's on CBS, in combination with Newhart and it made for a good hour of family viewing. Kate & Allie was the story of two 30/40-something women raising three kids together.

I bring this up because other than that, I can't recall an encounter with someone named Chip, which was the name of Allie's son, until now, with the Mets having signed former Royals outfielder Chip Ambres to a minor league deal. Ambres is a former first-round pick of the Marlins, who has shown both a little power and a little speed in his pro career, but has yet to make a significant impact. He hit .241 with the 2005 Royals in a 53-game stint with four home runs and three stolen bases.

Ambres has previously made the most of fresh opportunities, as some may recollect from August 24, 2005. On that date, the Royals and Red Sox were knotted in a 3-3 deadlock in the last of the ninth. With the bases loaded and one out A…

Santo Clause

Cubs broadcaster Ron Santo is the patron saint of all walk-off broadcasters because he has the ability to express the feelings of all those who have suffered the agony of a walk-off defeat in just one cry of anguish...

"OHHHH NOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

While there is no need to get into the horrors that befell the Mets in the final days of the 1998 baseball season, we must at least acknowledge them to provide the context for this story.

The chase for the NL's wild card spot bore down to the last week of September, as the Cubs and Mets dueled, and the Giants made a quick, last-ditch uphill chase. The Cubs and Mets entered September 23rd tied, with the not-so-relevant Giants 2 1/2 back, with 4 games left to play.

The Cubs and Brewers were wrapping up a series in Milwaukee that afternoon, prior to the Mets game with the Expos. The Cubs were sputtering a bit, but they had won the previous day and took a comfortable early lead with Steve…