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Alo-More

A hearty welcome to Sandy Alomar Jr. with the hopes that he fares better than his namesakes did in Mets jerseys. You may just think I'm referring to Roberto, but keep in mind that Sandy Sr. went 0-22 with the 1967 Mets.

If Sandy Jr. makes the team (which would require something happening to Ramon Castro) he would have the distinction of becoming the first person to play for the Mets who had a walk-off RBI in an American League Championship Series. Chris Chambliss had one too, but he was only a Mets coach.

You may think that we're talking about Sandy's home run off Mariano Rivera but that wasn't a walk-off (it was a game-tying shot in the 8th inning) and it wasn't the ALCS (it was Game 4 of the ALDS). Our reference is to Game 4 of the series that followed- the ALCS against the Orioles.

There's a nice Mets twist to this game in that it featured six one-time players, including a couple who played a prominent role in the game's outcome, and a significant former Mets skipper. One was Orioles starting pitcher Scott Erickson, who allowed a second-inning home run to Alomar and couldn't hold a 5-2 lead. Another was Roberto, who walked and scored the tying run in the top of the ninth inning.

The game was deadlocked at 7 heading into the bottom of the 9th inning and Manny Ramirez started the frame with a walk. With 40-homer hitter Jim Thome due up, Orioles manager Davey Johnson (!) called on some old glory, Jesse Orosco to try to escape any damage. In a fascinating move, Indians manager Mike Hargrove, fearful of going lefty-lefty and knowing he needed only one run to win, pinch-hit for Thome with Kevin Seitzer. The move paid off as Seitzer sacrificed successfully. But Orosco got Dave Justice to fly out for the second out.

Johnson, with righthanded bats coming up, turned to Armando Benitez, showing a faith that became all too familiar to Flushing fans. Benitez pitched carefully to Matt Williams and walked him, bringing Sandy Jr. to the plate. Earlier in the game, Alomar had been involved in a rather bizarre play in which two runs scored on a wild pitch (Sandy was the 2nd runner) but that play was overshadowed by what happened here. On 2-1, Alomar ripped a fastball into the left center field gap, plating the winning run.

The Indians had a 3-1 series lead and would close things out in Game 5. The ALCS ended with Roberto Alomar striking out looking, and Sandy leaping and celebrating with his teammates. If the story involving the Alomar brothers Mets tenures mimics that (Roberto watching, Sandy celebrating), I think I'll be ok with that.

True Metomars know...Sandy Alomar Sr. had three walk-off RBI in his career, half as many as his son, Roberto. Both trail Sandy Jr. in that department. The newest Met brings a resume with eight walk-off RBI, including this one from the postseason.

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