Skip to main content

The Life of Brian

I can remember a time when Brian Giles was a Met, beating the Padres in extra-inning walk-off fashion, rather than a Padre doing such to the Mets, as he did on Friday night.

I'm referring of course to a Brian Giles of a different time (and race) than the one that plays now. That particular middle infielder looked a little like my childhood friend, Daniel Caraballo (or maybe Carabello, whose acquaintance I don't believe I've made in more than 20 years), and unfortunately if that's the best thing I can say about him, it tells you that he was a long way from having the talent of the outfielder who currently goes by that name.

The baseball game that took place on September 3, 1983 bore some resemblance to that of the one that occurred this past Friday night. particularly in the quality of relief pitching.

Jesse Orosco relieved Mets starter Tom Seaver in the seventh inning and allowed an inherited runner to score, tying the score at three. After that, the game turned into a bullpen battle. Orosco, Carlos Diaz, Doug Sisk and Tom Gorman combined for eight innings of scoreless labor. That effort was matched by the combination of Luis Deleon, Gary Lucas and Sid Monge, behind Tim Lollar, who hurled zeroes until the last of the 15th.

Also similar to Friday: The home team left a lot of men on base. The final tally for the Mets was 16 stranded, to nine for the Padres, who left the bases filled in the 14th when Kurt Bevacqua grounded into a force play.

People gripe a lot at the length of games nowadays, but Friday's affair was only four minutes shy of four hours, pretty impressive considering the contest concluded in 14 innings. This game went an inning longer, but was considerably lengthier at 4 hours and 36 minutes.

It finally concluded in a rather tidy fashion when Elias Sosa relieved Monge in the 15th. The Mets greeted him with back-to-back singles by Bob Bailor and Ron Hodges, putting runners on the corners with nobody out. Tucker Ashford, pinch-hitting, drew an intentional pass to set up the force play at any base.

That brought up Giles, who had whiffed in his two previous trips, but realizing he just needed to make contact, was able to lift the first pitch into centerfield. Rupert Jones made the catch but Bailor was able to score without issue, giving the Mets a 4-3 triumph. It was part of a run of extra-inning and close contest success that the Mets had during the 1983 season. As the newspapers note, they won 11 of their last 12 extra-inning games that year, as well as 21 of their final 32 one-run contests.

As for Giles, he had a four-hit, four-RBI game for the Mets a few weeks later, but didn't show enough to fit in the teams long term plans. He struck out too frequently, got thrown out stealing too often, and didn't hit for a high enough average to stick around for that long, though he was able to find future employment in baseball over the next few seasons. He finished his career with 162 hits, a number that the current Brian Giles figures to surpass on a regular basis.

True Mettles know...One of the reasons that we had no posting on Friday (we'll revisit "Redeeming walk-offs" at some point) is because I was attending the retirement roasting of a favorite college professor (a "walk-off" ceremony, if you will...). Dr. Robert Cole, a friend of this blog, and a native West Virginian, is a huge baseball fan and thus, it might interest him to know that no natives of West Virginia have ever had a walk-off RBI for the Mets.


Popular posts from this blog

Cliff Notes

Alright, so it's 2 days later and the challenge for me now, after reading through about a dozen game stories and listening to talk radio, is to provide a fresh perspective on walk-off #324. If you're going to be a serious reader of this blog, you know what happened already, so let's look at what made this particular walk-off stand out. It would seem that the place to start is with the idea that everything broke just right on both sides of the ball. Particularly, I'm talking about Carlos Beltran's catch in the 7th inning, where he went over the center field fence to rob Jose Molina of a home run. Every no-hitter seems to have one defensive gem that makes it possible and perhaps that's true of great walk-off moments as well (We'll be looking into that!) Marlon Anderson's home run required a remarkable combination of events. It was only the sixth inside-the-park home run at Shea Stadium by a Met and the first since Darryl Strawberry in 1989. It required t

The greatness and the frustration of Nolan Ryan the Met

I was looking over dominant pitching versus opponents and over various stretches in Mets history and came upon one I found interesting. In his first six starts in 1971, Nolan Ryan went 5-1 with an 0.77 ERA. In 46 2/3 innings, he allowed 19 hits and struck out 47. Opponents hit .121 and slugged .172 against him. And oh yes, he walked 37 batters (!), or more than 7 per 9 innings. As you go back through those six starts, you can see both the brilliance and the frustration that eventually led to Ryan’s departure in one of the worst trades in baseball history. April 29 at Cardinals – 6 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 5 K, 8 BB Ryan’s first start of the season was 7-0 win over the Cardinals that completed a four-game sweep, though it wasn’t the most artful of efforts. Ryan walked eight, but held the Cardinals to only two hits. That included the thwarting of Joe Torre’s season-opening 22-game hitting streak. Torre would go on to win the MVP. The big moment in the game came with the score 1-0 in the

Mets Top Postseason Home Runs - The Top 5

No. 5 – Todd Pratt (1999 NLDS Game 4 vs Diamondbacks) Matt Mantei got it right. Watch the Diamondbacks pitcher as soon as Todd Pratt hits the ball in the 10 th inning. Significant chagrin is probably the best way to describe it. The funny thing is that Todd Pratt didn’t know. The fans didn’t know. Steve Finley had a reputation for being a great defensive center fielder who could pull back would-be home runs. He looked like he had a pretty good chance at this one, but for a leap that wasn’t quite Finley-caliber. Much like Finley, I missed Pratt’s home run. I was at a football game in Schenectady N.Y. between my alma mater, The College of New Jersey and Union College. I was TCNJ’s broadcaster then and I errantly didn’t pack a Walkman to keep tabs. I found out what happened when I went to the Sports Information Director’s office and I popped up on my Netscape Navigator browser. My screams of delight were met with the SID running back into the office to ask what was goi