Skip to main content

Crying Uncle

I got into a discussion at work on Wednesday about the idea of leaving a baseball game early.

Let me say that I am EXTREMELY opposed to ever doing so (Would you walk out in the middle of a Broadway show???), but have, on two occasions missed a walk-off due to early departure.

In one case, staging my own walk-off was justified. It was a game that bore little significance to the standings, and I had to be at work by a certain hour. I was already on pace to be an hour late, and didn't think it appropriate to risk job status for my Mets fanhood.

I have a harder time with my other memory of walking-off prior to a walk-off, because the reasons for which were never explained to me.

It was June 4, 1988 a Saturday afternoon, and my Uncle Zachary and Aunt Carol took me and my friend David Cooper to see the Mets take on the Cubs. Aunt Carol used to get great seats through the company she worked for, and we were sitting in box seats, guessing maybe 15 rows off the field, on the left field line.

The Mets took a 1-0 lead in the second on a Barry Lyons sacrifice fly. They added two runs in the sixth on an RBI triple by Darryl Strawberry and a run-scoring single by Howard Johnson.

Ron Darling pitched a terrific seven innings, yielding only a fifth inning single, but departed for Randy Myers after giving up three consecutive singles to open the eighth. The Cubs ended up scoring twice that inning, then, down to their last out, scored twice in the ninth with two outs on a Manny Trillo two-run single.

Now this was 1988, and the Mets always found ways to win games like this that season. They evened things against Goose Gossage on Gary Carter's pinch-hit RBI single in the bottom of the ninth.

The Cubs plated the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th off Terry Leach, scoring on a Johnson error. But rookie righty Mike Capel couldn't close the Mets out in the bottom of the inning. With one out, Lyons reached on an error and after Mookie Wilson hit into a force play, Gary Carter singled to right to get Wilson to third.

With Len Dykstra up, Capel worked the count to 1-2, but uncorked a wild pitch. Though the ball didn't roll too far away from Davis, Wilson scored. (based on newspaper description, it must have been similar to the wild pitch that Jose Reyes scored on, last Friday night). Dykstra flied out, forcing a 12th inning.

Now, I'm guessing it was at this point that we left, because I have a vague recollection of that comeback. I still don't know why we departed. There had been a 44-minute rain delay earlier, and this was a long game, so maybe that had something to do with it.

Supposedly Uncle Zachary and Aunt Carol had another commitment, but once we got back to their apartment in Forest Hills, we sat there, probably for at least an hour. That was enough time to watch the news highlights of the game and see Kevin McReynolds lead off the bottom of the 13th with a first-pitch home run to left field (we would've had a great view of it, if I remember our seat location right).

It was the Mets third walk-off win of the week (I wrote about one of the other two, last month) and there was a great quote from Keith Hernandez in Marty Noble's game story in Newsday.

"We're like the Great Wallenda," Hernandez said, describing the Mets tightrope-walking ways. "We don't score until we have to."

The good news for me (though not for David Cooper) was that I got to go the Mets game the next day as well, with my dad, his friend Marty Palefsky, and his son. That Sunday afternoon, Dwight Gooden homered and flirted with a no-hitter, so we had a pretty good time at the ballpark.

But I still regret that I never got to see the end of this game, the first major-league win for submarine-style reliever Jeff Innis. I was at Innis's major-league debut (and subsequent first loss) and this would have been a nice way of evening the scales.

Uncle Zachary and Aunt Carol: If you ever happen to stumble on this blog, please clue me in on why we walked-off that day. Thanks!

True Metslievers know... Kevin McReynolds ended eight games with a walk-off something (in his case, home runs, singles, and a sacrifice fly). By my unofficial count, he is the Mets all-time leader in that category.

Comments

Richard Simon said…
You should write up some top of the 9th or extra inning win.
Not exactly a walkoff, but close.
Look at today :).
Kermit said…
The only way I could see a road game getting honrary walk-off status would have to involve a non-force play at the plate for the third out at the bottom of the inning. Otherwise it's just not the same. On the flipside, maybe someone (not me) could start a walk-off loss blog dedicated to all those great lights-out closers we've had through the years.
Kermit said…
Post 1 is just waiting to be written.

Popular posts from this blog

Walk-Offs in Movies, TV, and Other Places

Note: I'm leaving this post up through the end of the week, a) because I don't have time to pump out something new and b)because I was hoping to build a really good list of entertainment industry walk-offs...so if you're looking for something new, check back on Monday or so... Of course, if there's a major trade or move, I'll adjust and try to post something... In the meantime, click on the "Table of Contents" link as well. It has been updated. SPOILER ALERT: Read at your own risk Caught the ending of "A League of Their Own" on one of the movie channels the other day and it got me to thinking that it would be fun to compile a list of walk-offs from movies, television, and other forms of entertainment. Here's the start, and only the start, as I spent about 30 minutes or so thinking it over Help me fill in the blanks by filling out the comments section. "A League of Their Own"-- Racine beats Rockford for the All-American Girls

The 'Duca of Earl (and walk-offs)

If I told you that the Mets had just obtained a guy who is a career .316 hitter with runners in scoring position? How about if I told you that the Mets just traded for a hitter who has consistently ranked among the toughest in baseball to strike out? Or if I mentioned that the Mets just dealt for a player who was selected to the NL All-Star team the last three seasons, with the last honor coming via a vote by his peers? So, although he's on the down side age wise, his throwing arm isn't as good as it used to be, and he doesn't provide much power, there are a lot of good things that Paul Lo Duca brings to the New York Mets. For example: He'll sacrifice his body for the good of the team The Dodgers and Braves squared off on August 23, 2002 and Lo Duca made an impact both on the start and finish of this game. Three pitches after being dusted by Greg Maddux, Lo Duca made him pay with a first-inning home run. The Braves rallied to tie the game, 3-3 in the ninth, but thei

Minutiae Break: Worst Mets Relievers

It occurs to me after 79 straight walk-off related posts and some fatigue still remaining from Saturday's finish that I did promise to bring Metspective on other issues related to the Flushing 9, so I offer this posting up as a "Minutiae Break." This came about after several discussions related to the offhand Dick Tidrow/Danny Graves remark the other day , the conclusion of which indicated that it would be fun to create a list of the worst Mets relievers of all-time. I don't want to step on the territory of other bloggers, like " Faith and Fear in Flushing ," Mets Guy in Michigan " and " Metstradamus ," so I'll tread carefully here, aided by their influence. Should any friends, family members, or fans of these pitchers visit this site, I mean no harm. I'm just here to have a little fun with this topic. The ground rules are as follows: The pitcher must have had a Mets stint as long as Dick Tidrow's (11 games, 15 2/3 innings), for