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The 2000 Mets clinch a playoff spot, the Hammer goes yard, and Jason Phillips celebrates a birthday.
On this date in 2000, the Mets beat up on the Braves, 6-2, and punched a ticket to the playoffs. The Braves led the division still -- and throughout --but the Amazins would finish a full nine games ahead of their Wild Card competition, the Reds, Dodgers, and Diamondbacks. The winning pitcher in the clincher was Rick Reed, but he couldn't expect any champagne shower. "We're not celebrating," Steve Phillips declared before the game. "Our goal was to win the division. The Wild Card is a fall back." Sheesh, Debbie Downer!
Edgardo Alfonzo went 2-3 with a walk and a home run while Piazza, that bum, went 0-4. The fun wouldn't end until the World Series. Then it ended. But that happens. Good times.
"They can hug each other," Phillips added.
- Jon Rauch is seven feet nine-and-a-half inches tall on a pitcher's mound, where he drops pitches as Zeus does shafts of lightning. Even so, Rauch was just another pig in our reeking pen until a post-June 10th turnaround -- of sorts; almost blew it for the Dickster.
- Jason Phillips made his major league debut with the Mets in 2001 and had a fine 2003, backing up Piazza and playing a little first base while notching a .373 OBP. He was traded to the Dodgers for Kaz Ishii after his numbers ticked down in '04.
- Happy five-oh to Don Shulze. The Cubs picked the right-hander 11th overall in 1980, but his six year major league career was freighted with a mid-5 ERA. Shulze made four starts with little success for the '87 Mets.
Game of Note
On this date, 1976, John "the Hammer" Milner drew first blood with a third inning solo home run against the Expos. In the sixth inning, he drove the full force of the hammer into the wound, crashing his third grand slam of the season and launching the Mets to a 9-2 lead. With rains rolling in, Jon Matlack came away with the seven-inning complete game win. Carlos Beltran, Mike Piazza, Robin Ventura, and Milner are the four Mets who have scored 12 runs on three swings in a season (or in Beltran's case, in a month.)
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
On this date, 1905, a physics journal published "Does the Inertia of a Body Depend on its Energy Content?" by Albert Einstein, introducing the equation E=MC^2. Einstein's annus mirabilis was pretty much the career year ne plus ultra. Much later, doing his adorable genius thing stateside, Albert implied he was too dense to understand baseball and would do a better job teaching you relativity. Too bad. He might have enjoyed a Binghamton Mets game where Einstein the 14-inch tall horse pranced for the delighted fans. Man, that's tenuous.