OK, I’m just back from the
Sorry to be a sourpuss, but my last few days haven’t been exactly fun-filled. It was a particularly bad omen when the first face I saw upon checking into my hotel was Bobby Bonilla, sporting a grin so wide I thought he’d be asking if I wanted to be shown the
The total damage included a cut on my right hand (no idea how), an ink stain on my khakis (no idea how) and a broken luggage cart (no idea how, and for $10, I got what I paid for).
We won’t get into the botched flight arrangements, travel delays, or screaming babies because they aren’t relevant anymore, nor is the $700 worth of auto maintenance that became necessary two days before the trip.
What is relevant was going to be an NL victory in the All-Star Game and for 8 innings, it felt like everything that could go Wright (pardon the pun) did. David Wright struck a blow for Mets fans everywhere by homering off THE UNMENTIONABLE ONE in the second inning. I wonder where Wright was (remember, he’s a lifelong Mets fan) when the THE UNMENTIONABLE ONE gagged the 1999 pennant away by walk-off walking Andruw Jones (haven’t read the papers yet, any quotes about that??). Carlos Beltran was three outs away from earning All-Star Game MVP honors and would have been the first
That’s when Phil Garner channeled his inner John McNamara. For two weeks, I’d been preaching to anyone who would listen that it was important for the NL to be in position to put its best defense on the field at the end of the game. Apparently, and I’ve only been watching baseball for 25 years, so who am I to question this, Garner must have thought that Miguel Cabrera was a better option at third base than Scott Rolen, ala Dave Stapleton and Bill Buckner. (I’d have put Nomar Garciaparra in at first base for Ryan Howard too, but that didn’t come into play).
Even so, the NL was an out away from being in position to win four World Series games by walk-off, with the one reliever who I wasn’t worried about on the mound. And then Trevor Hoffman melted into Calvin Schiraldi, Bob Stanley and Braden Looper.
“Finishing a game is a unique trait for a relief pitcher,” opined Jack Buck with two outs and nobody on in the 10th inning on
I know that if I’d thrown 13 pitches in the 9th inning, I’d have made sure that at least one, especially on an 0-2 count (in which opponents are hitting .053 against Hoffman this season), was somewhere closer to
We’ll get back to the walk-off stories hopefully sometime within the next 24 hours. In the meantime, I’ll try to simmer down a bit and get my thoughts refocused on walk-off opportunities to come.
The Truly Pitiful Know...The Mets have one walk-off win against manager Phil Garner (April 13, 2005 vs HOU). Trevor Hoffman has three walk-off losses against the Mets, having given up the decisive hit in two of those contests.