Wednesday, May 2, 2012

the last book I ever read (The Complete Game, excerpt three)

from Ron Darling's The Complete Game: Reflections on Baseball and the Art of Pitching:

I matched zeros with John Tudor through nine innings. Tudor was lights-out that year--probably the only other NL pitcher with a legitimate claim on Doc's Cy Young Award. We won it 1-0 in the tenth on a Darryl Strawberry home run. (The ball hit the scoreboard clock--a signature Met moment.) Jesse Orosco got the win in relief, and it was the first time I experienced the full intensity of the professional game. I'd never seen my teammates so emotional, so invested. Ray Knight, our third baseman, actually had tears in his eyes in the clubhouse after the game. He was pumping his fists for sheer joy, that's how much the game meant to him, and it meant much the same to every guy in that room. It didn't matter how much money we all made. It didn't matter that we were having the time of our young lives, living in New York City, playing the game we loved. And it certainly didn't matter that we were meant to be hardened professionals. No, these games were important. Winning was important. This was how we were measured--and this game would be a huge yardstick for me. Guys came up to me afterward, congratulating me, treating me differently. In their eyes, I went from a kid pitcher still finding his way to a full-fledged team member, just on the back of that one start. It was a real, welcome-to-the-club moment for me personally, and I remember taking some small offense at that. (Not a lot, but some.) I mean, I'd won twelve games the previous season. I was on my way to winning sixteen. I'd thought I was already in the club, but this game put me on a whole other level with my teammates.

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