Mr. Met, then, can be seen as the one blameless figure in Flushing. Mr. Met doesn’t give up five runs in four innings. He doesn’t lose fly balls in the sun. He hasn’t lost his home run stroke. He didn’t throw in his finances with Bernard L. Madoff. He didn’t design Citi Field. He is, in his way, harmlessly pure. And as a result, arguably more popular than ever.
That’s one theory. Another theory: with a few exceptions, Mr. Met has been around for every bad thing that has ever happened to the Mets since he was introduced in 1964.
He’s the constant. You can’t blame Fred Wilpon bad stuff that happened in the 60s. You can’t blame Daryl Strawberry for the Mets recent late season collapses. You can’t blame David Wright for the aborted dynasty of the mid-to-late 80s. You can’t blame George Foster for the financial turmoil in which the team currently finds itself.
But Mr. Met has seen it all. He has sat back quietly — too quietly if you ask me — while others have taken the fall.
There are no accidents people. And there should be no sacred cows. It’s high time someone got to the bottom of what, exactly, Mr. Met knew and when did he know it.
With the Dodgers trying to make it back to the World Series for the second year in a row — and trying to win it for the first time in 30 years — it’s worth looking back at the last time they won it. More specifically, it’s worth looking back at the signature moment from the last time they won it. Which, really, was one of baseball’s all-time signature moments.
Yep, I’m talking about Kirk Gibson’s famous game-winning home run off of Dennis Eckersley of the Oakland Athletics in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, which happened 30 years ago tonight.
All playoff magic for anyone too young to remember Bill Mazeroski’s homer in 1960 is measured against Gibson taking Dennis Eckersley downtown to turn a 4-3 deficit into a 5-4 win. Heck, even if you were around in 1960, it’s far less likely that you saw Mazeroski’s homer than it was for you to have seen Gibson’s. Nationally broadcast in prime time to a nation of millions who had not yet fragmented into viewers of hundreds of obscure cable channels and various forms of streaming entertainments, it was a moment that sent shockwaves through the world of sports.
For my part, I was fifteen years-old, sitting in my living room in Beckley, West Virginia watching it as it happened. Like most of the rest of the country, I was convinced that the Dodgers had no chance to beat the mighty Bash Brothers and the 104-win Oakland A’s. Especially given that the Dodgers’ leader, MVP-to-be Gibson, was hobbled and not starting. Even when he was called on to pinch hit, I had no faith that he’d be able to touch Eckersley, the best relief pitcher on the planet, let alone hit the ball with any kind of authority.
But, as Vin said when he called it, the Dodgers’ year was so improbable that, in hindsight, it made perfect sense for Gibson to have done the impossible: