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You Wanna Believe?

Look on the bright side, hard as that may be after a rather fugly loss on Monday night. Tuesday marks the 35th anniversary of another of the gut-wrenching losses that typified the early part of the 1973 season.

I'm referring to Game 2 of a doubleheader against the Cubs, one that came after a 6-5 Mets win in the doubleheader opener. I'm referring to a game that took place two days after an equally gut-wrenching loss to the Cubs (a game tied with two outs in the 9th) on the only home run of Gene Hiser's career) and one that took place one day prior to a gut-wrenching loss to the Expos (the great Boots Day won that one with a pinch-hit walk-off home run).

The baseball sandwich to those contests was one in which the Mets led 5-3 with two outs in the home ninth, thanks partly to some really strong relief pitching from Ray Sadecki, who entered for struggling Harry Parker in the first, and hauled zeroes for 6 2/3 innings in allowing the Mets to build their lead.

That was spoiled when, with two on, Randy Hundley walloped a game-winning 3-run home run against Mets closer Tug McGraw, one that dropped McGraw's record to 0-3 and left him scratching his head wondering if his luck ever would change (so says the newspapers, anyway).

How soon we forget that after that game, the Mets were 11 games behind the Cubs in the chase for the top spot in the NL East, though through odd scheduling quirks, they were only seven behind in the loss column.

I remarked to one Mets fan on Monday night that, given how I've handled 2008, I would have had a hard time getting through 1973 in one piece. He agreed. That there was a payoff at the end of all the disasters of the early part of that season are what keep me watching and hoping for something similar 35 years later.

True Metdleys know...I glossed over Cito Gaston's hiring not long ago, failing to acknowledge that he's twice beaten the Mets with walk-off hits. He had one for the Padres in 1970 and the Braves in 1978.

Comments

Anonymous said…
The difference between this year and '73 is that the leaders above the Mets flipflopped a lot: the Cards, the Cubs, the Pirates. The Expos hung in the middle mostly and the Phils weren't really a factor.
This is definitely a Phillies season unless something changes dramatically ... soon.
- JFB

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