Widey says goodbye to the Vet:
We made it in time too. And a few days after junking my old cellphone for its problems, I broke in my new one's troubles. (Got both of yer messages, Mom, but never head the phone ring. I gotta work with that thing. Also, my phone IDed the number as "unknown."
We sat in the 500 level, right behind home plate and only 3 rows back. Good seats -- I'm almost always down the LF line at the Vet. We saw a little batting practice – Timo looked great, every ball zinged off his bat. Piazza hit a few homers but looked messed up too. His timing ain’t right.
We built a nice little “picket fence” with single runs in the first three and I really thought we were on our way.
First time I sat and watched Big Red throw. He looked gangly and uncomfortable and needs plenty of work holding runners on. But he also had some good stuff and really got screwed when Bono fumbled the DP ball in the 5th (he just got one out, no error charged, but…) That forced him to walk Thome then Leiberthal got the infield single. Would Reyes have turned it into an out? I dunno. Anyway, the extra work clearly tired the guy and Ledee’s double killed him (not to mention the leadoff walk to Myers). But if Bono makes that play, no runs score.
The Mets nearly got back into it when Thome made a similarly dumb play on Gonzalez in the 7th (he didn’t seem to know what to do with the ball and the pitcher was late covering. It sure didn’t help that Piazza was a black hole and that Wiggs, despite two hits, popped up with men in scoring position in his other three trips. When Turk came in, I remembered Tim McCarver calling the word series and saying, “The scouting report on Turk Wendell is one word – slider.”
Jason Anderson – bad. Edwin Almonte and Orber Moreno – good.
The Phillies really have a talented team but they don’t play particularly well and probably wouldn’t have beaten a contender last night. Abreu lollygagged after Gonzo’s triple and sauntered to first base. Byrd’s flip to him was casually attempted by both guys. The pitcher not covering and Thome freezing. Myers wasn’t at all overwhelming.
They announced that Tug McGraw was at the game and every fan – Mets and Phillies, gave him a standing O.
The game in all likelihood was my final trip to the Vet – which is as bad as they say in some ways, but a place where I always have had a good time. While we were losing I thought about the great things I saw and did there:
* I played trombone on the field during halftime of a Temple-Delaware football game.
* I was at the game in 1990 when the Pirates went ahead 10-0 in the first, only to blow it to the Phillies. A pair of switch-hit homers from Steve Jeltz!
* I saw Todd Zeile’s first Major League HR there.
* I saw Timo Perez hit an inside-the-park HR there.
* I saw Piazza hit into a triple play there: Only one I ever saw. Same game, Ordonez hit a homer.
* 93 was a good year. I saw them bury the Cardinals for good when Daulton hit a first-inning grand slam to match Zeile’s first-inning grand slam. Later that year I saw Kim Batiste -- !! -- hit a walk-off grand slam off Anthony Young, capping a 5-run 9th to beat the Mets. I was there when Mickey Morandini hit a line drive off Greg Maddux’ knee that helped the Phils come from behind and win game 6 and the NLCS. Mitch Williams finished them off.
*I briefly joined the Wolf Pack
* One day, we were shouting over to the bullpen and got Andy Benes’ attention. “I got you on my fantasy team! You’re my ace!” my friend said. “You’re in trouble,” he answered.
* The Phanatic once kissed my date.
Raise your glass of Yuengling to the Vet!