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Name in The News: A Kenny Rogers Roaster

So it seems that Kenny Rogers had a little tiff with a couple of Texas tv cameramen on Wednesday and another incident that resulted in a broken pinkie earlier in the month. Mr. Rogers neighborhood hasn't been a friendly place for the media this season. He has been boycotting reporters since it was reported in the spring that he threatened retirement if he wasn't given a contract extension.

Let me first say that there's no truth to the rumor that these cameramen were taunting Rogers with chants of "Ball Four!"

Let me next tell you that, following the words of inspiration of "Cheers" barmaid Diane Chambers, I am a humanist. I try to find some good in everyone. And in this case, that means finding something good in a player that every Mets fan hates.

So I shall harken back to October 1, 1999, a game that, in my little world, is known as "The American Beauty Game" because I went to the movies early in the evening, rather than torture myself listening to the early part of a game in which I figured the Mets, losers of eight of nine, would choke away another playoff spot (listened rather than watched, as I lived in Pennsylvania). Thankfully I got out in time for all the key moments of this one.

This was the last of a dozen starts made by Rogers with the Mets, and it was a dandy. Rogers clung to a 2-0 lead with seven gritty innings, matching his career high with 10 strikeouts. Rogers left with one out in the eighth, clinging to a 2-1 lead that Turk Wendell and John Franco frittered away. Up a run with the bases loaded and two outs, Warren Morris singled off Franco's glove to tie the game. Franco ran the count full on the next hitter, Adrian Brown, and as Mets fans held their breath and expected the worst, Franco nicked the inside corner to strike Brown out and preserve the tie.

The game eventually turned into a matchup of unbeaten, good-luck charms in Pat Mahomes for the Mets and Scott Sauerbeck for the Pirates. When the game went to the 11th, it seemed a sure thing that Sauerbeck would be yanked, but manager Gene Lamont left him in the game. He wanted to see if Sauerbeck could pitch three innings for the first time since April 10.

There was more good news that inning, as it was learned that not only had the Astros lost, but the Reds had lost too, meaning that a Mets win would put them only one game out of the wild-card spot.

It was at this point that all the good karma that had vacted Flushing, NY about a week previous, returned to Shea Stadium. A leadoff single by Shawon Dunston got the rally started and the combination of sacrifice, intentional walk, groundout (runners advance to second and third), intentional walk loaded the bases and provided a lefty-lefty matchup with Robin Ventura at the plate.

Ventura, in the midst of a dreadful slump in which he looked lost against lefthanded pitching, was able to muscle just enough of a Sauerbeck pitch into centerfield for the game-winning hit. That gave the Mets some life and the momentum carried over the next two days, then into a one-game playoff in the postseason.

Little did Rogers or Ventura know at the time what their future impacts on the Mets season would be...

Oh, and by the way, American Beauty is a vastly overrated film.

True Metameters know... That the only two Mets named Ken or Kenny to get a walk-off RBI are Ken Boswell and Ken Singleton.

(Please continue reading...this is my second walk-off post of the day, and the other one is a good one too)


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