No one in the phlogosphere, dare I say the entire blogosphere, hates the Mets as much as I do. Remember, my younger brethren, I grew up in Baltimore and watched the Miracle Mets beat a far superior Orioles team in the 1969 World Series. Oh, sure, there are those who still argue the Mets won with great pitching, but that’s just part of the story, and the convenient one at that.
They won that series because Al Weis, who hit 7 home runs in 1578 at bats over ten seasons decided to hit one on the big stage. They won because Ron Swoboda, who would never be mistaken for a real outfielder, made a once-in-a-lifetime diving catch on a sinking line drive by Brooks Robinson that would have broken one of the games, a loss, wide open.
You could say, well, that’s water over the damn, but the water is still flowing 37 years later for this fan.
In the end they won because during the post-season strange and wondrous things can and do happen. Take, for instance, yesterday’s game at Shea Stadium.
Despite my grudge, I have to give the Mets credit for an exciting win over the Dodgers. The Mets began the game, indeed the series, without two of its top three pitchers. They were forced to start a rookie in game one though I cannot for the life of me figure out why the rotation had not been set up to start Tom Glavine instead. It’s not as though the Mets had to fight to win their division.
Regardless of who was on the mound, the Mets present one formidable lineup with no real holes. That’s why they won yesterday against a hot Dodgers team that had steamrolled its way into the post-season with one dramatic comeback after another. And they almost pulled off another one yesterday when Nomar Garciaparra knocked in two runs to tie the score in the sixth inning but failed to keep alive another rally against Billy Wagner when he struck out with the Dodgers trailing by a run, a man on second and two outs in the ninth.
Had Dodgers third base coach Rich Donnelly not been doing his best Bill Dancy imitation early in the contest, the Dodgers might have won this game, but he waved around every base runner within earshot if not sight on a bizarre play in which Mets catcher Paul Lo Duca tagged out two runners in rapid succession on a single throw to the plate. As it turned out, Dodgers catcher Russell Martin singled into a double play, an ignominious footnote he’d probably like to forget.
A number of Mets players without post-season experience played like the seasoned veterans only some of them are, no more so than Carlos Delgado, who was the batting hero of the game for New York. The win didn’t exactly qualify as a miracle, even though the play at the plate is likely to go down in legend, but it got the Mets off to good start. Of course, the Orioles took game one in 1969.