Let us begin with a reading from the Book of Dickey. And so it was that two years ago on this date, R.A. would summit the mound at Citi Field and tame the bats of the Philadelphia Phillies, allowing unto them a single hit. And though the many multitudes of Mets fanatics looked upon the hit, a single that opposing pitcher Cole Hamels dropped just in front of right fielder Jeff Francoeur, with despair, R.A. the Sun God did not. He knuckled down, as it were, and retired all those who dared take swings against his mighty butterfly pitch. Only when Placido Polanco flied out to Francoeur for the 27th out did Dickey look upon his work, and declaring it to be complete, saw that it was good. In words spoken to the prophet they call Kevin Burkhardt afterwards, Dickey said, "You never think about no-hitters in a game, but I knew the way [the ball] felt out of my hand I had a chance." Dickey be praised forever and always. RAmen.
- Wilmer David Mizell was born 82 years ago today in the small Alabama town that would give him his nickname: Vinegar Bend. Sort of the Oliver Perez of his day, the southpaw led the league in walks and strikeout rate as a 21-year old rookie in 1952. Ten years later, he called it career after 17 games with the Amazins. In 1968, he won the first of three congressional terms as a representative from North Carolina's 4th District, taking over the old seat of Rep. Nick Galifianakis (Zach's uncle). A quick Google search also reveals that Vinegar Bend is the only former Met to serve as both Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development and Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Governmental and Public Affairs. Mizell retired from politics during the first President Bush's administration and died of a heart attack in 1998.
- Jon Switzer is 33. A lefty specialist, Switzer made his Mets debut during the 2009 Subway Series. Brought on to neutralize Hideki Matsui, the LOOGY instead allowed him to hit a three-run homer. Ever the considerate teammate, Luis Castillo graciously dropped a pop up in the bottom of the ninth to let the winning run score and ensure that the new guy wouldn't get the goat horns.
Game of Note
The Mets welcomed Mike Piazza back to the lineup after a DL long stint on this date in 2003, which also happened to be Italian Night at Shea Stadium. The slugging catcher missed nearly three months recuperating from a torn groin muscle, an injury he suffered trying to avoid being struck by a piece of high, hard parmigiana from Jason Schmidt of the Giants. Despite the lengthy layoff, Piazza made Mets fans of all ethnic extractions happy in his return performance. Facing the same Giants, Mike exacted a measure of revenge in his second at-bat, blasting a Jerome Williams meatball over the fence for a two-run homer. One inning later, he tagged Wililams again, this time for an RBI single. Piazza added a two-run single in the seventh, bringing his box score line to 3-for-5 with five runs batted in. Final score: Mets, 9, Giants 2.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
On this date in 1521, Hernán Cortés captured the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán and renamed it Mexico City. 482 years later, the 2003 Mets played a spring training exhibition game against the Dodgers at Foro Sol Stadium. Like the brave Aztecs before them, the Mets battled (the only adjective one can use to describe the team as managed by Art Howe) but were ultimately forced into submission by a superior offensive force, losing 16-11 in eleven innings.