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Mets Knock It Out of the Park

Mets Knock It Out of the Park
 Jeurys Familia delivers against the Dodgers (AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 13 October 2015 06:39 PM

It was just after 6:00 p.m. when I entered CitiField last evening and the start of the Mets-Dodgers game was still more than 2 1/2 hours away. But electricity and anticipation were everywhere.

Cars were already filing into the outer reaches of the parking lots, and the lines of ticket holders were stretching along the ballpark's outer walls. This was New York Mets baseball at its best.

After years of wandering in the desert, the Mets were back — really back. And Mets fans were ecstatic.

Jacob DeGrom, David Wright, Yoenis Cespides, and,yes, Wilmer Flores and Ruben Tejada were now becoming as much a part of Mets lore as the heroes of 1969 and 1986.

The night's game was the third of a best of five series that was tied at one game apiece. But it was more than that. So much more.

The Mets had done what they had to. They split the two games in LA — beating Kershaw on Friday before being robbed in Saturday's game against Greinke when Chase Utley virtually mugged a gutsy but defenseless Ruben Tejada leading to a four-run seventh inning for LA and a 5-2 Mets loss.

Utley's "slide" was illegal, and the umpires should have called a double play; instead they called everyone safe as Tejada was being taken from the field with a broken leg.

Mets players were furious and their fans wanted revenge. Before the game, watching batting practice, I spoke briefly with David Wright, the only remaining Met from their last post-season series in 2006, and third-base coach, Tim Teufel, the only current Met from the 1986 World Series team.

Both were calm and confident and very classy. Then I ran into Mets veteran broadcaster Howie Rose and he was totally enthused. That's Howie — always exuberant and totally professional. Just the best.

I thought CitiField would explode from the noise and bedlam during the pregame introductions.

The loudest being the booing and screamed insults for Utley and the prolonged standing ovation and emotional cheers for Tejada — using a cane, his leg in a cast — walking slowly from the dugout to the first-base line. Introductions over, an NYPD honor guard formed in centerfield and an Army veteran sang the National Anthem.

Roars enveloped Mets ace Matt Harvey as he quickly retired the Dodgers in the first inning. But the Dodgers got to Harvey in the second inning for three runs and there would have been more if not for a leaping grab by David Wright of a line drive on its way to the left field corner. It was obvious Harvey did not have his best stuff. Tonight he would have to get by on guts.

The overflow crowd was temporarily subdued. But that ended when the Mets came back, as they did so often during the season, rallying for four runs in the bottom of the inning — the key hit being a crashing two out bases loaded double off the right field wall by Curtis Granderson. And after that it was all Mets — a two-run homer by Travis D'Arnaud; a three-run 431-foot blast by Cespedes into the left field upper deck and a long double off the left centerfield wall by Granderson as the Mets pounded their way to a 13-4 lead by the seventh inning.

Harvey pitched valiantly through the fifth inning before turning it over to the ageless wonder Bartolo Colon who effortlessly struck out the side in the sixth inning and gave up only a harmless run in the seventh.

Addison Reed retired the Dodgers in order in the eighth before Erik Goeddel created a small scare by giving up four-hit and three runs in the top of the ninth before super closer Jeurys Familia came in to mow the Dodgers down mercilessly and the fans unleashed roars into the night.

As for Chase Utley, once the pre-game intros were done, he was not to be seen, despite the capacity crowd incessantly chanting and demanding "we want Utley!"

Last night's revenge for the Mets and their fans was sweet indeed. Walking down the staircases and out into the brightly lit CitiField parking lot with my grandson Jack, I knew that I had witnessed a classic and lasting moment in Mets and New York baseball history.

Pete King is the Republican U.S. representative for New York's 2nd Congressional District. He represents the central Long Island district that includes parts of Nassau and Suffolk counties.

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Last night's revenge for the Mets and their fans was sweet indeed.
mets, dodgers, jeurys, baseball
Tuesday, 13 October 2015 06:39 PM
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