The game started off quietly enough, with the Mets and Cubs tied at 1 after three innings. It didn’t stay that way, though: the Mets exploded for 15 runs between the fourth and sixth innings in routing the Cubs 17-1 on Wednesday.
David Wright, Ike Davis, Scott Hairston and Daniel Murphy combined to drive in all of the runs for the Mets, with Wright knocking in five and the other three plating four apiece. The Mets were the first team since the 2007 Rangers and just the fourth since 1918 to have four players each with four RBI in a game.
Those 2007 Rangers did it in the memorable 30-3 win over the Orioles in the first game of a doubleheader on Aug. 22. Marlon Byrd, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Ramon Vazquez and Travis Metcalf all had four RBI in that one, with Salty and Vazquez knocking in seven runs apiece. Metcalf did it one swing, delivering a grand slam in his lone at-bat off the bench.
The Mets also got a grand slam today, that from Hairston. Murphy got three of his four RBI on his first two homers of the season. Davis homered and doubled twice to raise his average above .200 for the first time all year. Wright knocked in five runs with a sac fly, a double and a single and then got the final three innings off, costing him two at-bats.
The other teams with four four-RBI players: the 1953 Braves (Johnny Logan, Eddie Mathews, Jim Pendleton and Jack Dittmer in a 19-4 win over the Pirates) and the 1979 Phillies (Pete Rose, Mike Schmidt, Garry Maddox and Bob Boone in a 23-22 win over the Cubs).
Cubs starter Jake Arrieta, the defending National League Cy Young Award winner and author of two no-hitters, considered quitting baseball a few years ago when he was bounced up and down between the major leagues and the Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate in Norfolk, Virginia.
At the time, Arrieta was having trouble living up to his potential as one of the Orioles’ top pitching prospects. He started on Opening Day in 2012, but finished the season with a 6.20 ERA and was very quickly moved back to Norfolk after four mediocre starts to begin the 2013 season.
As CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports, Arrieta was considering quitting baseball so that his family could have a regular life.
We were at a point where I had other things that I could segue into and establish a career elsewhere. Not that I wanted that to happen, but I didn’t want to continue to go through the things we were going through and moving from place to place in the minor leagues at 25, 26 years old.
Baseball is something that I’ve loved to do since I was a little kid, but it’s not everything. I had to reevaluate some things. I knew I could always pitch this way, but there were times where it seemed like maybe I wasn’t going to get to that point.
It’s just part of life that we had to deal with.
Mooney also points out that Arrieta had a business background having gone to Texas Christian University and would have done something in that field if he had hung up the spikes.
This has been brought up because Arrieta’s teammate Tommy La Stella considered quitting baseball as well recently, as the Cubs demoted him to Triple-A. Though La Stella received a lot of criticism, Arrieta can relate to La Stella. The right-hander said, “I know that there were things that he was going through and dealing with (that) we may not agree with and understand.”
There’s an interesting article over that the New York Times in the wake of the Colin Kaepernick stuff. This one is about the history of the National Anthem at sporting events.
The anthem is a fixture for as long as those of us reading this blog have been attending games and it’d be weird if it wasn’t there. But it hasn’t always been there, the Times notes. Indeed, it was not a regular fixture until 1942 when it was added for the obvious reason that we were at war. The other major sports leagues all adopted the anthem soon after. The NBA at the inception of the league in 1946 and the NHL in the same year. The NFL’s spokesman doesn’t mention a year, but notes that it’s a non-negotiable part of the game experience. The non-negotiability of it is underscored by the comment from the MLS spokesman who notes that they felt that they had no choice but to play the anthem when that league began play in the 1990s.
I like the anthem at ballgames. It just seems like part of the experience. I like it for its own sake, at least if the performance isn’t too over the top, and I like it because it serves as a nice demarcation between all of the pregame b.s. and the actual game starting.
But this article reminds us that there is no immutable structural reason for the anthem at games. Other countries don’t play their own anthems at their sporting events. We don’t play it before movies or plays or other non-sports performances. It’s a thing that we do which, however much of a tradition it has become, is somewhat odd when you think about it for a moment. And which has to seem pretty rote to the actual ballplayers who hear it maybe 180 times a year.