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Mets Moments Missed

Forgive me if I've shared some of these stories before, but thinking about Todd Pratt's playoff-winning home run gets me going on a bad tangent...

When Pratt hit his walk-off home run on October 9, 1999, I was in the middle of a football broadcast in Schenecteday. I had access to tickets for both Game 3 and 4 of the NLDS, chose to go to Game 3, and fulfill a work commitment, both for a local radio station and a newspaper, the next day. I received nary a scoring update during the course of the game and didn't find out until I got to the SID's office that the Mets had won the game. I was pretty groggy that day, from not having gotten home from Shea until 2:30am and than awakened five hours later to catch a ride to Schenectady (Union 20, College of New Jersey 3. The Union SID gave me a high-five when I shared the Mets score.). Craig Brazell's walk-off home run against the Cubs on September 25, is also a memory missed due to a football broadcast (St. Lawrence 34, Coast Guard 33)

When Carl Everett gave the Expos a "Brand New Shiny One" with a game-tying ninth-inning grand slam on September 13, 1997, I was on a New Jersey Transit train from Princeton Junction to Penn Station. Similarly, when Aaron Heilman wrapped up his one-hitter against the Marlins earlier this season, I was on a Metro-North train from Greenwich, CT to Grand Central. Neither train was brand new or shiny, and the only memorable train moment that compares for me is the time I saw a man reading the book "A Users Guide To Estrogen Replacement Therapy" on one jaunt into NYC.

When the Mets scored five runs in the ninth inning to beat Curt Schilling and the Phillies on May 23, 1999, I was pounding the floors of my basement apartment in Yardley, Pa. with my fists, lamenting that I chose to stay home rather than sit through a rain delay of more than two hours. When it rained that same weekend the next year, I again stayed home. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice and I miss a 13-strikeout effort by Randy Johnson, offset by a walk-off single by Derek Bell.

When Robin Ventura hit a game-winning home run off Turk Wendell on July 28, 2001, I was driving home from a Peanuts convention in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. Some of my friends thought I was a little Peanuts for writing a blog about Mets walk-off wins, but I think I've proven that I can do this well.

When Bobby Bonilla hit a three-run home run to beat Rob Dibble and the Reds on August 30, 1992, I was watching the Emmys. When Cliff Floyd got his first walk-off hit as a Met, helping the Flushing 9 rally in the ninth to beat the Cardinals on May 18, 2004, I was watching the end of Randy Johnson's perfect game. The mathematics of the moment go something like this: Baseball history>Mets history>Stupid TV Awards Shows, at least when I'm at work. At home, it's probably a different story.

When Keith Hernandez beat the Cardinals with a walk-off single on September 12, 1985, I was in a playground. Mets Guy in Michigan had a better excuse- he was meeting his future wife.

When Jim Tatum hit a walk-off home run to beat the Astros on April 22, 1998, I was in the parking lot of the Yardley Wawa, having just bought dinner, dessert, or milk. I learned my lesson by 2000 because when the Mets trailed the Braves, 8-1, I was out to dinner at Boston Market with my friend Paul. When we checked in again, a rally had cut the Braves lead to just two. We got back to his apartment just in time to see Mike Piazza crush a go-ahead three run home run down the left field line. Chicken Carvers at Boston Market used to be pretty good, but than that franchise cut their portion size after McDonalds bought them out...That's another story for another time.

When Gerald Williams hit an 0-2 pitch from Kenny Rogers for a double in Game 6 of the 1999 NLCS, I was composing the agate page for the Trenton Times (Late games not included). Unfortunately, I made it to a television in time for Andruw Jones' at-bat.

When Tim Teufel channeled Bill Buckner and Tony Graffanino and let a ground ball go through his legs in Game 1 of the World Series, I was on the couch, fast asleep. I still can't figure out how that happened. I also slept through all but the last three outs of Game 7 of the 1987 World Series, but I had the flu and it wasn't the Mets, so I think that's a reasonable excuse.

I caught that flu on a religious retreat with the folks at Temple Shaaray Tefilla to upstate New York (not long after letting our rabbi know that Kent Hrbek helped the Twins win Game 6 with a grand slam). I was also at Shaaray Tefilla for a Hebrew School class when the Mets tied the Astros with a three-run ninth inning in Game 6 of the 1986 NLCS. Those two experiences basically ended my mom's dream that I would someday become a Cantor, as I dropped out of Hebrew School shortly after turning 13.

The good thing for me is that for every one of these moments that I can remember missing, there's another I can remember watching or attending. Take it from me: It's a lot more fun to answer "Where were you for ________?" if you can say "I was there!"

True Metments know...The Mets starting pitcher the day that Todd Pratt hit his walk-off home run was Al Leiter, who on Sunday earned his second career postseason win six years to the day after pitching that game for the Mets and getting a no-decision.


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