Ouch

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Today will not be a good day in the offices and work places of New York City. Met fans nursing a hangover from last night’s record marathon 14-inning loss to the Royals that ended at 1:16 a.m. are going to be grumpy, tired and depressed.

As Ned Yost, the Royals manager succinctly put it, “There are two things you don’t want to happen in Game 1 of the World Series: you don’t want the game to go fourteen innings and you don’t want to lose.”

Um, yeah, thanks for that, Ned.

It was, to be sure, an epic and mildly insane game between two teams that appear to be so evenly matched that this Series could, if we’re lucky, wind up being one of the great ones of all time. I love my Mutts, but the Royals are one tough bunch of mofos.

Last night, from Matt Harvey’s first pitch, a long line drive to left center by Alcides Escobar that Yoenis Cespedes tried to catch with the underhand backhand nonchalance of someone getting passed a nickel bag on a street corner, to Eric Hosmer’s channeling of Bill Buckner, to Yost’s successful gamble to burn his Game 4 starter Chris Young, it was a game of unexpected errors, sensational plays and debatable decisions. It was a game that turned on fractions of an inch, had heroes and goats, goats turned back into heroes, and a Murphy that no longer seemed magically possessed by the Billy Goat Curse.

Here, off the cuff, some of the key plays, both good and bad:

Wright and Cuddyer doing their best Carlos Beltran imitations in key spots, taking called third strikes on 3-2 counts.

Moustakis saving at least a run with an incredible diving stop of a Flores scorcher down the third-base line that would have put the Mets up 4-1.

Moustakis, the very next half inning, driving in the run that tied the game 3-3.

Juan Lagares, who in my opinion should have been starting in center, with Cespedes in left, and Conforto DHing (which btw would undoubtedly have prevented the first pitch inside-the-parker), coming into the game late for defense, and then singling off a really tough pitcher, Kelvin Herrera, and stealing a base, putting himself into position to score the go-ahead run.

A seemingly overmatched Flores, against the same Herrera, fighting off a 100-mph pitch, grounding it weirdly toward first base, where a handcuffed Hosmer allowed the ball to skip past him, resulting in Lagares scoring the run that put the Mets back ahead, 4-3.

David Wright stealing second in the top of the 9th inning, positioning himself to score an insurance run, then having the call overturned when replays showed him tagged out a millesecond before his foot hit the bag.

 Jeurys Famigilia, who had not blown a save since July, giving up a game-tying monster shot to Alex Gordon two outs away from victory.

Curtis Granderson making a phenomenal catch to rob leadoff hitter Jarrod Dyson of at least a triple in the 11th inning. 

Wright’s bobble and hurried throw of a routine grounder in the bottom of the 14th pulling Duda off the bag, followed by Terry Collins’ inexplicable failure to challenge the call when a replay appeared to show Duda’s foot still on the bag as he caught the throw. 

It was one of those games that, had it been a Series clincher, would be discussed forever after—there were that many twists and turns and game changing moments—but because there’s another game tonight, it is, perforce, already in the rearview mirror.

In 1969, the Mets lost the opening game of the World Series to a dominant Baltimore Orioles team. The Mets then went on to sweep the next four games and the Series. What would I like to see tonight besides the beginning of that? Lagares starting in centerfield and a fifteen-inning Mets victory that will enable Terry Collins to say, “The only thing better than playing fifteen innings in game two of the World Series is playing fifteen innings and winning.”

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About Peter Alson

Peter Alson is a writer and editor. Among his published books are the memoirs Confessions of an Ivy League Bookie and Take Me to the River. He's also co-authored (with Nolan Dalla) One of a Kind, a biography of poker champion Stuey Ungar, and Atlas, the autobiography of boxing trainer and commentator Teddy Atlas. His articles have appeared in many national magazines, including Esquire, Playboy and The New York Times. He has worked as a writer for People magazine, and as an editor for Playboy and for Hachette Publications. He has written screenplays for Paramount and various independent producers, and his TV pilot, Nicky’s Game, starring John Ventimiglia and Burt Young, appeared in the New York Television Festival and the Vail Film Festival. As a poker player he has finished in the money numerous times in the World Series of Poker and other events. He lives in New York with his wife, Alice, and their daughter, Eden.
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2 Responses to Ouch

  1. Brent Pellegrini says:

    Peter. Do you have a photographic memory? I’ve always wondered how you were able to recall all your poker hands and you’ve done it here with baseball. Or do you take notes? I play golf with a guy who can recall every shot everyone took on every hole. We call him Izzy, for Idiot Savant. I can’t ever remember the holes let along the shots. And he never hits a fairway with his drives so he is out in the netherworlds looking for his ball and somehow he tracks everyone else.
    Anyway, I am hoping Bartolo Colon somewhow wins MVP of this series. How can anyone not root for a guy like that? Did you see the behind the back flip clip when he threw the guy out at first base?

    Like

    • Peter Alson says:

      Hey Brent, thanks for the compliment. I wish I did have a photographic memory! That would be really useful. I used to have a very good memory, but it’s definitely not what it used to be. There was a time when I could recall poker hands from months and years earlier. I’d sit down across from a guy I’d played with two years earlier and remember specific hands we played. Not only can I not remember the hands now, I often don’t remember the guy!
      As for last night’s game, I didn’t take notes though I was sort of wishing I had. I’m sure I forgot some stuff that I would have wanted to put in. I was thinking about Roger Angell, who’s still knocking it out of the park at the age of 92. I’m pretty sure he must take notes. He has such a fine eye for detail–the crystalizing image that brings a thing to life. And to answer your other question: I love love love Bartolo. He’s the best. Aside from the Mutts being in the World Series, the behind the back flip was pretty much the highlight of the year for me.

      Like

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