Mets win a 1986-Type Game On Keith Hernandez Day By Rich Coutinho ,The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com
The day started out at Citifield with tons of smiles and standing ovations during the Keith Hernandez ceremony as his #17 was officially retired and the 2022 Mets put a giant exclamation point on the day with a come from behind win that was very similar to the types of victories this team had in the mid 80’s with Keith Hernandez in the middle of so many of those rallies.
The pre-game ceremony was well done by the Mets who do these events as well as any pro team because they neither overstate nor understate the moment–they let the moment evolve into the hearts and souls of the adoring Met fans who come to celebrate with a special player, And on this day, that player was Keith Hernandez who is really a no-brainer for The Baseball Hall of Fame.
The ceremony had a plethora of great moments including Hernandez at the end of his speech sharing with the crowd how special this 2022 team is and those players shared a tender moment with him at the end of the ceremony. It connected that 86 team to this year’s version of the Mets and then those players illustrated that the first Met captain passed them the torch on this warm July day.
All season long, this Met team have shown a never say die ability that has put wins on the table but on this day they took it to yet another level. With a key series coming next week in Atlanta the Mets needed to win this game versus the Marlins to stay 2.5 games ahead of the surging World Champions and that made this day a mandatory win the team had to have.
The game twisted back and forth as both Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor crushed homers to get a lead but each time the Marlins scored runs and after a tenth inning run they led the Mets 4-3. And the stage was set for a 1986-like comeback. with the Mets down to their last out but the fun was just starting. Much like Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, the opponent made 2 mistakes–one by a pitcher and another by a corner infielder. Back to 1986, it was a Bob Stanley wild pitch and the famous Bill Buckner play.
This time with 2 outs and the ghost runner Mark Canha on second Tomas Nido smacked a ground ball to Brian Anderson who butchered it in Buckner fashion to tie the game. And then Brandon Nimmo hit a ground ball with loads of top spin which pitcher Turner Scott thew wildly to first scoring Nido with the winning run.
It was a moment that connected generations of Met fans–older fans thought of those 1986 games and the younger fans in Met Nation put this in the portfolio of great comeback 2022 wins. And this all occurred on a day when Keith Hernandez spoke about connecting generations because he has never stopped being this team’s captain. And those sounds we heard from CitiField sounded just like the tones I heard from Shea Stadium in the 80’s.
Needless to say, there are tons of games remaining and plenty of head -to -head matchups with the World Champion Braves but on this day, Hernandez reminded us all the Mets are a franchise rich in history and tradition and the 2022 Mets have been consistent in a never say die attitude we saw from that 1986 team. In his own way, he told us now is the time for this fanbase to feel that way again. The captain has spoken.