Not so much a recap this morning, but instead an anatomy of one single at-bat… An at-bat that almost was…
Last night, with the Mets down 4-2 and the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh, Carlos Beltran made his way from the batting circle to the plate. “Could this really be happening?”, I thought to myself.
I could feel myself getting antsy as I watched Beltran dig his foot into the dirt, wipe his brow and slowly look up to the mound where Marlins’ reliever Brian Sanches was waiting.
Then came the first pitch… It was a 4-seam fastball that just missed the outside corner. Beltran stepped out for a second to regather his thoughts. A base hit now would tie the game and possibly score the winning run as well. But we’re Mets fans, and the only thing on our minds was pure magic. Surely, Beltran was thinking the same thing…
And as Sanches fired his second pitch home, it popped the catchers mitt and the home plate ump blurted out “ball two”.
The count was now 2-0… a hitters count… with the bases juiced, Sanches had to throw a strike and everyone in both dugouts knew it. The crowd begins to go from a nervous murmuring to an anxious roar… most of those who showed up and stayed, were all standing now… so was I. Here it comes… it’s another 4-seamer and it’s heading down broadway… Beltran swings… PHLAT! But he gets too much underneath it and fouls it off. Everybody exhales… It’s now a 2-1 count.
Beltran walks away from the plate again… A grand slam here would go down as one of the greatest moments this dismal season had to offer, but there was more to it than that… To beat the Marlins and possibly derail their post season hopes, would be the sweetest revenge against a team who dashed our post season dreams two years in a row.
The crowd is now cheering at full strength.. Beltran waits for the 2-1 pitch… here it comes… it’s another fastball… WHACK!
It’s a long drive, deep toward the right field corner… as it rockets through the air, the crowd roars with approval and the runners are all heading for home… and then that sound you never want to hear at a moment like this… the sound of the ball landing in the rightfielder’s glove who was waiting at the base of the wall. It’s the third out… inning over… game over.
It was almost one of those magic moments that we’ve seen so many times as Mets fans, only this one was not meant to be. Beltran did double in his return, but it was as if the whole game led up to that one at-bat and ended with that one at-bat. It was pure baseball drama at it’s best.