Thursday, December 21, 2006

An Anecdotal Antidote for the Dodger Fan's Holiday Blues

Dodger blues (the depression, not the website) got you down? Can't believe we're paying Juan Pierre $44 million for five years? Crying in your eggnog because you really, really thought J.D. Drew would stay?

If you don't have blessings to count, then you can always take solace in the misery of others. For instance, check out an excerpt from this interview by Barry Wittenstein with Stuart Miller, author of The 100 Greatest Days in New York Sports:

BW: What are the top two worst days in Mets history?

SM: The Mets have had many unique ways to break our hearts or give us the book, I have Dwight Gooden giving up that homer to Mike Sciosia [sic] in 1988. And I have to say, I'm a Met fan, and I love celebrating all these moments, top 100, and the top 25 on the road, but Met fans, and Knick fans, unlike Yankee fans, invariably ask about the worst moments, and spend as much passion on them. They'll ask, "Do you have the Charles Smith game, or do you have Gooden giving up the homer to Sciosia?" I was 22 in 1988, so for people younger than me and older than me -- every age group -- I think they remember that. If a team wins the World Series twice in three years, you’re a dynasty, but Gibson’s home run off McDowell (ruined that possibility).

BW: I remember the Sciosia home run, but not the Gibson homer.

SM: It was that same game. Gooden giving up the home run to Sciosia in 1988 only tied the game. They've got a 4-2 lead in the 9th inning. Gooden is pitching a three hitter. And if they win, the Mets are up 3-1, which you have to figure is pretty tough to come back from. And then Gooden walks the lead-off hitter and Mike Sciosia comes up and hits this home run. And your jaw drops because Sciosia had only three homers the entire year. So that only tied the game and made it 4-4. The Mets still could have won it, but it went to the 12th and then Kirk Gibson, who of course, hit his famous home run in the World Series off the A's, homered off McDowell.

BW: Funny how the Gibson home run takes a backseat to the Sciosia homer.

SM: Right. People remember the Sciosia home run, and the reality is, not only did that just tie the game and not win it, but the Mets left on two guys in the 11th and in the 12th, after Gibson's homer, they got two guys on again, Greg Jeffries [sic] was called on to bunt, and failed, and then, with the bases loaded, Strawberry popped out. But you know who's pitching at that point for LA? Jesse Orosco. Orosco comes on to get the lefty Strawberry out, then they bring in Orel Hershiser who pitched the day before, and Hershiser gets Kevin McReynolds on a weak fly-out. But it was kind of that double indignity of Orosco helping to beat the Mets and McDowell, his replacement, giving up the homer. So, that's just a bad day in so many different ways.

Ah, 1988.