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Mookie At The Bat by Mark Leff
The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the New York Mets that day;
The score stood five to three, and it was extra inning play.
And then when Backman and Hernandez both hit shallow flies,
The tears began to well up in the Shea crowd’s frightened eyes.
It had been the greatest season in this New York team’s short past.
They bragged of the one-hundred-and-eight victories they’d amassed.
But down by two with two out in the bottom of inning ten,
It looked as though that mighty year was coming to an end.
The catcher Carter came up next and notched a left field hit,
But Kevin Mitchell watched a curve and missed a dying split.
The heart of every Met fan now was pounding even worse:
The Red Sox were a strike away from shattering the curse.
But Mitchell was no pushover - he singled into right;
The odds were still against them, yet they still saw fit to fight.
And though Ray Knight, who came up next, went also oh-and-two,
He hit the ball to center, and the Mets were still not through.
From second base came Carter and he scored the Mets a run,
And Mitchell moved to third with Boston’s lead cut down to one.
With such a sudden charge, it seemed Schiraldi’d lost his speed,
So he came out and now they trusted Stanley with the lead.
Now Mookie Wilson came to bat and worked it two-and-two,
And after that he fouled away each pitch that Stanley threw.
One ball after another Mookie knocked outside the pole;
And as this scene progressed the hurler lost his fine control.
The next pitch in the sequence was a fastball, far inside.
It got ‘way from the catcher and the Sox were petrified.
Before that sudden twist of fate the Mets were down by one,
But Mitchell broke away from third and scored the tying run.
Enormous cheers abounded from the gathering at Shea;
The building nearly rattled when they witnessed Mitchell’s play.
And over on the bench in left, the Sox began to sweat;
The Mets had come from two runs down - it wasn’t over yet.
The count to Mookie Wilson now stood full at three-and-two.
The next pitch was thrown well and there was little Mook could do.
He swung and made some contact but it wasn’t any burst -
An easy grounder dribbled up along the line to first.
An all-star and a veteran who held a trusted glove:
Bill Buckner playing down at first was all of the above.
Yet when he went to make the play, there came a sudden sight -
The baseball dribbled through his legs and way out into right.
From second base the joyful feet of Knight began to fly.
One-hundred-eighty feet away a win was in his eye.
He rounded third and headed home with victory his aim,
And when he leapt upon the plate the Mets had won the game.
Now from the right field dugout all the Mets come pouring out.
The fans across the city in their glad amazement shout.
The raucous roars of wonder can be heard in every street;
Their team had been knocked down but they refused to take defeat.
Oh, somewhere in this tortured land the sky is dull and dark.
The men are frowning somewhere, and somewhere fate looks stark.
And somewhere there are children who are drowning in a tear;
But there is no grief in Flushing - they will play again this year.
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