Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Game 6, bottom of the ninth, Stanley on the mound, Wilson at bat

A couple of the other bloggers are sharing words on Bill Buckner, and I figured I'd share my insight, despite the fact that it happened 9 years before I was born.

I first read about the Buckner play in some baseball stats novel about baseball bloopers. I forget the name, but the name doesn't matter. I thought it was funny, how that guy let the ball loose and ruined his own name. Then I looked at the date and team. And three towns over you could hear me laughing uncontrollably.

Now, many people have told me their stories of how they saw the play, and their reactions to it. A friend of my dad's began his major collection (ticket stubs) due to this game, as well as finding a newfound affection for the man that hit the single. My dad recalls the event with a smirk and a good attitude- my dad the Yankee fan loves to talk about the day he saw the Red Sox pay.

But even if I am a Yankee fan, inclined to point and laugh at Buckner like Nelson Muntz, I still feel kinda sorry for the guy. He was already a Dodger hero, a Cub hero, and was slowly becoming a Boston hero. And then, with one play, it vanished. If that play hadn't have happened, Buckner would have been the series hero, he would have been hailed as a Red Sox Hall of Famer, and he would have allowed Dennis Leary to emit something close to a smile. But the Mookie play ruined his career, much like the 1993 Series ruined Mitch Williams' career, or the 2001 Series slightly ruined Byung Hyun Kim's career (and yet he kept on going!). To this extent, I feel like Buckner doesn't deserve all the death threats he's getting.

And yet today, there are still many Buckner haters in the Boston/New England area. Absolutely nothing will change this. Not even an appearance on Curb Your Enthusiasm, or Buckner apologizing, or the damn team winning the series twice in a decade. The fans will still hate Buckner, from this day 25 years ago until the day he dies (or the day an enraged Boston fan strangles him, whichever comes first). And that's the even sadder part. Hell, New Yorkers must love him. I imagine he's a nice guy, and that he and Mookie Wilson go out for Milkshakes every month or something. But in Boston, he's worse than the Devil.

Still, when it comes to the Bill Buckner play, either you hate Buckner, or you love the Mets. And while it's hard to find a clear side in that argument for a Phillies/Yankees fan, I have to side with neither. I don't hate Buckner, but I loathe the Mets (Not that I hate Mets fans...hell, my extended family's loaded with 'em).

I just hope that if there ever comes a time that the Phillies play the Red Sox in the World Series, and the Sox are in position to win, and they put Bobby Jenks on the mound, and leave an aging Kevin Youklis at first...I hope something even worse happens to him. Then, maybe Buckner will get some respect, and people will go back to hating Youk like they should.

Or not...you just can't call 'em anymore...just ask Wilson, Stanley and Buckner.

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