Starcasm doesn’t often do straight sports stories, but this one is so hilarious we hope you’ll beg our pardon. It perfectly portrays some of the things about baseball that make it so wonderful – taut human melodrama abruptly brought to a halt by cringe-inducing humiliation and lots of lots of laughs at another human being’s expense.
The New York Mets have largely been the Braves patsy during the Chipper “Larry Wayne” Jones era, so when they came into Atlanta for a mid-week series and took the first two of three games, things must have been feeling good in their clubhouse. You’d have to think that even if they lost game three, they could head out of Atlanta with their heads held high, despite all the trauma drama that’s been afflicting their team of late.
But the baseball gods decided that the Mets needed yet one more lesson in humility; a million such lessons in their 50 year history isn’t enough, they need a million and one. And so they prepared a humbling tenth inning treat for the Metropolitans – and left behind a hilarious video memento of the occasion for all to see and enjoy and laugh at. Forever.
First, a quick recap of the first nine innings:
Tonight’s game was a seesaw battle that stretched into extra innings. Braves leadoff hitter Jordan Schafer had a startling five-hit night, and Chipper Jones – whose career stats against the Mets alone would make him Hall of Fame worthy – had three hits, including a towering home run, that contributed to a whopping 5 RBI against his favorite whipping boys, the Mets. And “Folk Hero” Brooks Conrad, replacing an injured Jones in the late innings, hit his own 2-run homer to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth inning. So there were plenty of big Braves moments to take account of.
But the Mets were no slouches either. They not only took it to the Braves starter, young lefty Mike Minor, scoring 5 runs off him in 4 1/3 innings, but they touched the untouchable Johnny Venters, scoring 2 runs in 2 separate innings of relief work! The Mets had big nights at the plate from four of their first five hitters – Jose Reyes, Justin Turner, Carlos Beltran and Jason Bay – and center fielder Scott Hairston hit a big 2-run homer in the fifth to tie the game.
But all this was just prelude to the bizarre moment in the 10th when, with the winning runner at third for the Braves, Mets pitcher D.J. Carrasco stopped and restarted his motion. It was clearly a balk, resulting in the rare but amazing “walk off balk.”
Let’s roll the tape (Actually, it looks like MLB.com took down their Embed feed, so I’m just going to direct link you to their video page):
I’ve got tears streaming down my face as I watch this. I gotta admit, I’m a Braves fan, and I intensely dislike their NL East rival the New York Mets. So here’s my top 4 moments from the walk off balk video:
1) Mark 0:03: Jason Heyward’s fist pump as the umpire calls the balk. Isn’t that great? Heyward was just standing there in the batter’s box. He had the stadium’s best view at Carrasco’s doofus delivery. That fist pump has the aura of heroism in it! (“I was in the batter’s box for and correctly recognized a game-winning balk! IN YOUR FACE METS!!!”)
2) Mark 0:21: Carrasco walking off the field like he accidentally shot his dog while cleaning his rifle at the kitchen table. (“Did I just do what I think I did? Dammit! MY WIFE IS GOING TO DIVORCE ME!!!”)
3) Mark 0:27: Mets fan with his head on a swivel. He’s seen this before. He knows how it works. The only thing left to do is hold your hands at your hips and shake your head. (“My brother-in-law likes the Yankees. You know, I could like the Yankees, too. Why do I do this to myself?”)
4) His wife standing to his left. She can’t look. She’s furiously flipping through the game program – something, anything to distract her from the fact that her team is the New York Mets. Maybe if she finds Carrasco’s number and name in the program, it’ll say he’s actually a Washington National or something. Maybe? Nope. Says he’s a Met. Damn! (“My brother likes the Yankees. I like the Yankees, too, but this doofus keeps dragging me to the Mets game like things are gonna change. But things ain’t gonna change. It’s the Mets. This is what they do? Why do I let him abuse me like this?”)
And of course the Braves, instead of facing a three-game sweep, get to celebrate like they’re headed to Disney World.
Well done, Mets!