The annual Home Run Derby is for entertainment purposes only. But what's so exciting about watching a major league player hit moon shots against a batting practice fastball? Nothing. It's glorified BP -- with a lot of hype.
Thousands of baseball books have been published. Millions of baseball stories have been told, every one of them starts with the same basic understanding: two teams, nine innings, balls, strikes, runs, hits and errors. Along the way there are various twists and turns ending in perfect games, no hitters, walk off home runs and everything in between.
No two games are the same, but many are alike. They all come back to the final out. Strike three. Game over. But what happens when a game goes on and on and on … with no apparent end in sight? Then, when the moment seemingly arrives, hope is dashed by improbability. There was a major league game like this. It was played on July 4 (and July 5), 1985. This is the story, as told by those who played, reported, broadcast, watched and witnessed it.
A pair of Chicago Cubs centerfielders, Jimmy Qualls (1969) and Joe Wallis (1975), stole two of Tom Seaver’s early bids for a no-hitter. One year after being traded from New York to Cincinnati, Seaver threw a no-hitter for the Reds. Nolan Ryan never pitched a no-hitter – as a New York Met – but after being traded to the California Angels in 1971 he nudged Mets fans every couple years, throwing seven no-hitters. “Every time he pitched you expected a no-hitter – or 15 strikeouts,” said Jay Horwitz, Mets VP/Public Relations, referring to Dwight Gooden. In May 1996, Gooden tossed the only no-hitter of his career – as a member of the New York Yankees. Even Duffy Dyer had to leave the New York Mets to catch his first no-hitter (John Candelaria, Pittsburgh, 1975), 11 years before Josh Thole was born.
Alex Rodriguez should not be alone on the New York Yankees bench this postseason. Save room for Robinson Cano who is batting .063 (2-for-32). Curtis Granderson: .115 (3-for-26) with 14 strikeouts. Russell Martin is hitting .192. Nick Swisher is 4-for-26, or .154, this postseason. Those ugly numbers, combined with Derek Jeter's broken ankle, have the Yankees in a 2-0 hole in the American League Championship Series and headed for Game 3 in Detroit against Justin Verlander.
Good luck with that.
The New York Mets finished the 1989 season in second place. Six weeks into the 1990 season Davey Johnson was fired. He won 1,012 games as manager of the Mets, one World Series and two division titles. Johnson's teams won an average of 95 games from 1984-1990. But, amidst all those wins, history defines the Mets as a disappointment.