Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Major League, Take One

With apologies to Ron Howard and Tim Robbins, the two big-time movie directors who were in the house at Shea Stadium today, Hollywood had nothing on the Mets.

Not when a Shawn Green-to-Jose Valentin-to-Paul Lo Duca relay resulted in two Dodgers - two - being thrown out at home plate on the same play!

"I have never seen that before, other than Major League, The Movie," said Lo Duca, the former Dodgers catcher.

The Mets' 6-5 victory over L.A. in Game 1 of their National League Division Series was the final result of a long day's play. But the double play at the plate in a wacky postseason first was what brought the house down.

Lo Duca was the prime hero on the play, because of his double duty. After Russell Martin's single was brought back into the catcher on throws by Green and Valentin, Lo Duca tagged the lead runner, Jeff Kent, as he tried to score from second by sliding through the back-door.

Lo Duca then pirouetted in time to tag J.D. Drew - no Willie Mays Hayes, he - trying to slide in through the front door.

"That was crazy," said Green, who started a great play by adroitly fielding the ball hit off the wall in right, then making a pinpoint throw to Valentin. "I was kind of shocked when I threw the ball in. Valentin made a great relay. And I all of a sudden I saw the two guys going. I was just hoping Dukey saw them."

Lo Duca more felt the presence of Drew than saw him. After he tagged Kent, he was out of position, what with his back to the field. The catcher then said it was something in the way home plate umpire John Hirschbeck was looking past him that made him spin around just in time to get the diving Drew.

Lo Duca later realized his teammates had tried to warn him. "[John] Maine and David Wright were screaming at the top of their lungs, but I didn't hear either one of them," Lo Duca said.

"I was backing up," Maine, the pitcher, said. "I saw the relay coming in. I was like, OK, they got this guy. Then I was yelling at Lo Duca, 'Turn around! There's a guy right behind you!"

The play was so bizarre, it actually left ex-Phillies closer Billy Wagner speechless.

"It was really one of those unbelievable things," he said. "You really don't know what to think because you've never seen that happen. I haven't."

The Dodgers' reaction?

"We've been in L.A. all season; we certainly know about traffic jams. We had one there," Dodgers manager Grady Little said.

No comments: