Looking back on all my interviews preparing the book The Voices of Baseball, one particular memory would apply to tonight’s game in Dodger Stadium.
Dave Wills of the Tampa Bay Rays, on the morning of Game 7 of the 2008 ALCS, noticed his broadcast partner, Andy Freed feeling a bit melancholy, knowing they were playing a Red Sox team which recent history had spelled improbable comebacks on more than one occasion.
The 2008 ALCS was shaping up to be such an occasion. Dave Wills did something some people would probably call corny and cheesy, but, all the same, it worked. He took Andy Freed aside and played for him Kurt Russell’s speech from the movie “Miracle.”
Now, Mets fans, I know you’re probably not feeling as foreboding or melancholy as Andy Freed was that morning, but, just the same, I’m going to give you Kurt Russell’s speech as Herb Brooks, head coach of the 1980 Gold Medal Winning U.S. Olympic Hockey team and tweak the words a bit so they apply.
“Great moments are born from great opportunity. And that’s what you have here tonight, boys. That’s what you’ve earned here tonight. One game. If we played ’em ten times, they might win nine. But not this game. Not tonight. Tonight, we play with them. Tonight, we stay with them. And we shut them down because we can!”
“Tonight, WE are the greatest baseball team in the world. You were born to be baseball players. Every one of you. And you were meant to be here tonight. This is your time. Their time is done. It’s over. I’m sick and tired of hearing about what a great baseball team the Dodgers have. Screw ’em. This is your time. Now go out there and take it.”
The Dodgers have had their shot. Way more times than they possibly deserve. Now here’s your shot, Mets! I wouldn’t be surprised if Kurt Russell himself is in the stands tonight, but his speech is staying in THIS clubhouse, not theirs.
Can’t you just smell that Wrigley Field ivy right about now? The trains passing by. The coast guard horns sounding off on Lake Michigan. One shot. One game, Mets! This is YOUR time. Now go out there and TAKE IT!!!!!!!