10 Years Later

And yet it seems that we’re in the same spot.

October 17, 1999. Ten years ago last Saturday. Robin Ventura gave Mets fans one of the more unusual defining moments in team history. A “grand slam single” in the bottom of the 15th inning to break a tied game and send the Mets to Game 6 to face the Atlanta Braves one more time.

As fate would have it, the Mets would fall short in Game 6, and the hated division rival Atlanta Braves would go on to play the hated geographical rival New York Yankees.

If things hold up the way they are looking, we could have a doomsday scenario for Mets fans. Both the hated division rival Philadelphia Phillies and the hated geographical rival Yankees are up 3-1 on Los Angeles, and seem headed for an inevitable World Series.

Forgive me if I go astray, back to 1999.

The Mets were playing for their lives to fight back from a 3-1 hole and took Game 5 deep into extras. The packed crowd at Shea saw a 2-2 game broken up in the top of the 15th when rookie Met reliever Octavio Dotel gave up a run-scoring single to Keith Lockhart. The Mets headed into the bottom of the 15th with the real possibility that the playoff bubble had burst. Shawon Dunston battled through a long 12-pitch at-bat to single to center off of Braves reliever Kevin McGlinchy. McGlinchy then walked pinch-hitter Matt Franco (remember him). Edgardo Alfonso successfully bunted Dunston and Franco to 3rd and 2nd respectively. An intentional walk was surrendered to John Olerud to load the bases. McGlinchy gave up the lead when he failed to find the strike zone against Todd Pratt, who entered the game in the 13th when Mike Piazza injured his arm on a play at the plate. Ventura stepped to bat and drove the 482nd pitch over the right field wall for an apparent grand slam. As Ventura rounded the bases, a joyous Pratt ambushed him between first and second where the rest of the team flooded out to form a circle around him and pat his helmet into his head.

This game and featured 5 hours and 46 minutes of gametime.  It was originally a day-game but finished into the night. When the game ended, the Red Sox-Yankees night game was well into the 4th inning. The Mets used 9 pitchers, including Dennis Cook for only two pitches. Game 4 starter Rick Reed would have been the 10th guy if necessary.

How old do I feel remembering that this was 10 years ago? Anyway…

Today, the joy is gone and instead there are only angry fans who want a refund on the season and message board GM’s posting their ideal dream lineups. In a few days, worst case scenario will be here.

Although if you want to reach for a good omen, the following season, the Mets made it to the World Series. So maybe…

Never mind, I was dreaming when I wrote that.

Authors Note: I had intended to post this on Saturday, the true 10 year anniversary, but I decided to wait until I had an idea of what the WS matchup was shaping out to be.

Here’s the clip: http://newyork.mets.mlb.com/media/video.jsp?mid=200806202968145&c_id=nym