Piazza and Clemens Square Off for Round Two in Game Two

Jed Jacobsohn / Getty Images

Twelve years later, Roger Clemens is still the worst.

The Mets experienced some of that old Yankee Stadium magic first hand during Game Two of the Subway Series, played on this date a dozen years ago. In the top of the first inning, Mike Piazza stepped up to the plate against Roger Clemens for the first time since the right-hander fired a 92-mile per hour warning shot into the catcher's brow during a midseason contest between the crosstown rivals.

On the 1-1 pitch, Piazza shattered his bat on the Rocket's heater, sending the ball into foul territory and the barrel toward the pitcher's mound. Clemens, of course, picked it up and flung it at Mets' star player, later saying he thought it was the ball. While that may seem like an ex post facto rationalization of a borderline psychotic act, perhaps there is more to Clemens's claim than meets the eye. For instance, it was a well-known fact, or at least one that was repeatedly mentioned by broadcasters calling postseason games at old Yankee Stadium, that the ballpark was haunted by the spirits of Bronx Bombers past. Certainly it's possible that one of the more playful poltergeists--the non-corporeal of Moose Skowron, maybe?--temporarily transmogrified Piazza's broken bat into the ball while simultaneously infiltrating Clemens's mind and convincing the pitcher that he could record an out by pegging the batter even though that hadn't been an official rule since 1845.

Or perhaps Roger Clemens was just a mendacious meatus with an already large competitive streak that had grown to outsized proportions thanks to years of taking performance-enhancing drugs under the auspices of a franchise that values winning above all else. It's really six versus half a dozen.


Birthdays

Darren O'Day turns 30 today. The Mets selected the submariner in the 2008 Rule 5 draft and broke camp with the big league club the following year, though he was lost to waivers just two weeks later. Good thing the Mets haven't needed an effective, pre-arbitration eligible reliever in the last few seasons, otherwise dropping O'Day from the roster would have pretty been foolish.

Game of Note

Here's a happy story involving a Met catcher and the World Series. On this date in 1986, Gary Carter smacked a pair of homers over the Green Monster to help New York knot the Fall Classic at two games a piece. The Kid's jacks made a winner of Ron Darling, who, like everyone in Massachusetts, grew up just outside of Boston.

Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection

New York's Metropolitan Opera House opened on this date in 1883 with a performance of Faust by composer Charles Gounod. The plot of Faust, which revolves around an old man willing to make a deal with the devil to delay his inevitable demise, should be familiar to Mets fans 130 later. Especially those who have been following the team's ownership soap opera closely.

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