Timo Perez Learns Baseball Is a Game of Inches in Subway Series Opener

Jed Jacobsohn / Getty Images

If clubhouse kangaroo courts still existed, the '00 Mets likely would have ruled in favor of fining Timo.

The great, unanswerable question that plagues Mets fans of Gary Cohen's generation is why didn't Yogi Berra save a well-rested Tom Seaver for Game Seven of the '73 Series? For partisans who came of age two decades later, it's why didn't Timo Perez run full speed from second on Todd Zeile's long, but not quite long enough, drive?

The Mets could have drawn first blood against the Yankees in Game One of the 2000 World Series, played on this date, had Perez not broken into a home run trot prematurely. As it was, a strong headwind blowing in from left field and two excellent relay throws from David Justice and Derek Jeter conspired to turn what looked to be a two-run homer off the bat into a inning-killing play at the plate.

Half a frame later, Justice would serve up another crushing blow, driving in two with a double off of Al Leiter the bottom of the sixth. Yet the Yankee outfielder's attempt to be the Mets' judge, jury, and executioner would fail, as the visitors from Queens rallied to take a 3-2 lead in the seventh. That's what the score would remain until the ninth, when Armando Benitez did what pretty much everyone expected him to do. A walk, two chip shot singles, and a sac fly later, the game was tied. Three innings after that, Jose Vizcaino's fourth single of the night gave the Yanks a 4-3 win.

As for the '73 Mets, who squared off against the A's in the aforementioned Game Seven 27 years to the day before the Subway Series opener, they were done in by a pair of deep fly balls that actually cleared the fence. A tired Jon Matlack served up two-run homers to Bert Campaneris and Reggie Jackson in the third inning to put the contest out of reach before it really began. For Jackson, the blast helped solidify his case as the series MVP, an award he was granted shortly after the conclusion of the 5-2 Athletics win.

Birthdays
One of the players the Mets received for hanging K-Rod's vest in the Brewers' closet, lefty Danny Herrera turns 28 today. The little lefty missed all of this season due to Tommy John surgery.

Game of Note
October 21 hasn't been all doom and gloom for the Mets when it comes to World Series play. After losing the first two tilts of the '86 Fall Classic at Shea, the Mets stormed into Fenway for Game Three. Leadoff batter Lenny Dykstra sent Oil Can Boyd's third pitch of the day over the Green Monster to give the team a lead they'd never relinquish. Coincidentally, Nails became the third consecutive Met to open Game Three of a World Series with a homer, joining Tommie Agee ('69) and Wayne Garrett ('73) in the exclusive club. On the pitching side of the ledger, Bob Ojeda limited his old team to just one run over seven innings, helping the Mets come away with the win in a 7-1 laugher.

Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
Today is Apple Day in the United Kingdom, an annual celebration of Malus domestica and all the juices and ciders that can be made from the country's most popular fruit. One Red delicious that has never been honored on October 21, however, is Mets' home run apple. All three World Series games the Mets have played on Apple Day have been on the road.

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