Nothing like waking up after a night like that one at the ballpark. You start to relive all the moments you witnessed firsthand and ask yourself “Did that really happen?”
Yes it did. Without a doubt, that’s the best regular season game I’ve ever covered, or witnessed live. Playoffs are a different story, because there are some Game 7s in there, like the 2001 World Series in Phoenix and the 2003 ALCS in New York. Not to mention Game 5 of the 2004 ALCS in Boston. Game 6 of the 1999 NLCS in Atlanta was also a thriller to be at.
But in the regular season? This was about as well-played a game as there possibly could have been. Not a perfectly played game. But almost perfect in the field when something was on-the-line. Like I wrote last night, it’s not like the teams couldn’t muster any offense. There were quite a few baserunners in that game.
I was a bit amused, in reading some of the comments today, to see that much of the post-game discussion was centered around FSN anchor/reporter Angie Mentink and whether she’d played professional baseball. Yes, she did. For the Colorado Silver Bullets. Hope that answers those questions.
Speaking of Mentink and Ken Griffey Jr., who had the walk-off hit last night, her husband, Jarret, has written a 32-page, hardcover children’s book titled The Kid Returns. It’s all about Griffey’s return to Seattle. Jarret Mentink has a company that produces reading material to be put on airlines for children.
Griffey’s proceeds from the book sales will go to the Ken Griffey Jr. Foundation. Mentink (the husband) will be doing a book signing this Saturday, from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. at the Safeco Field Mariner Team Store before that night’s game against the Yankees.
Speaking of FSN, they will be debuting a new taped pre-game show tonight, called Mariners BP. It will run from 6 p.m.-6:30 p.m and feature hosts Brad Adam and Bill Krueger chatting during batting practice. Thing is, they will be chatting with none other than colleague Larry Stone from the Times as batting practice takes place in the background. Sounds like an interesting concept.
I will be the guest on tomorrow night’s show. Guess Larry wasn’t available.
OK, that’s it for plugs. Now, back to the post.
That this would be the best regular-season game I’ve covered doesn’t surprise me because this Mariners team is hands-down the best defensive squad I’ve ever had to follow. And good defense helps produce these types of games.
So, how does this one compare to some other 1-0 gems?
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Well, the longest scoreless game in major league history saw the Houston Astros defeat the New York Mets, 1-0, at the Astrodome in a game that lasted 24 innings. Yikes! You thought last night’s game was long? I sure did, especially when they played the seventh-inning stretch a second time. How about playing it three times?
That was on April 15, 1968.
Tom Seaver started the game for the Mets and threw 10 shutout innings of two-hit ball. Bet he was a bit ticked not to get the win, huh? Well, he had a few others to help him get over it. Besides, he probably forgot he’d started the game by the time it ended. Likely had time to fly to Napa Valley, pick up a few cases of wine and get back to Houston in time to help his teammates drown their sorrows.
Actually, it was a relatively quick game, played in only 6 hours, 6 minutes and ended at 1:37 a.m. Last night’s affair took only three hours, 52 minutes. There were 14,000-plus in the stands when the 1968 game began, but only 1,000 or so stuck around until the end. Wimps. What, there was a good spring football practice to go see?
The fan-o-gram feature on the Astrodome’s scoreboard apparently entertained the crowd with this message in the 16th inning: “I told you baseball wouldn’t replace sex.”
The game’s only run scored on an error by utility shortstop Al Weiss, who was likely a bit fatigued after standing out there the previous two dozen frames. He Bill Bucknered a bases-loaded grounder.
“I just plain blew it,” Weiss told reporters.
Sounds like he was a good quote. No Mike Sweeney, but then again, I doubt the M’s would have Sweeney out playing the field in the bottom of the 24th.
Weiss went 1-for-9 and stranded a runner at third in the 17th inning. But he was only in there because regular shortstop Bud Harrelson had a sore arm. Imagine how sore it might have become had Harrelson played. Anyhow, things ended a little better for Jack Hannahan last night, making the saving play in the 13th after replacing injured shortstop Jack Wilson.
Back to that 1968 game, some guy named Les Rohr took the loss. He’d probably have preferred to hear less roar from the crowd, I’m guessing. Actually, he’d probably have preferred never to have been in that game at all because he wound up pulling a tendon in his pitching arm and appeared in only one more contest his entire career, the following season. Then, he was done. Dude was a first-round pick, too. Born in England. I kid you not! His career was done after only six games.
So, to conclude, less wasn’t more for Rohr.
OK, I’ll stop now. Promise.
The winning pitcher was Wade Blasingame. Yes, the Wade Blasingame. He had a decent career, one that lasted 216 games longer than Rohr’s over parts of 10 seasons. And thanks to actor/comedian Will Ferrell, his name lives on for new generations.
Anyhow, the best 1-0 game in MLB history? Well, that one’s easy.
Tough to beat Game 7 of the 1991 World Series, with the Minnesota Twins beating the Atlanta Braves in 10 innings. Jack Morris pitched 10 shutout innings at age 37 to pick up the win and outduel then-24-year-old John Smoltz. Gene Larkin had the winning hit over a drawn-in outfield.
The Mariners will have to get back to the post-season before they can hope to replicate that type of drama.
But for a regular-season game? Last night was a good place to start.