Four years ago, I stumbled out of Yankee Stadium surrounded by Yankee fans celebrating their team's unbelievable comeback courtesy of Luis Castillo's dropped popup. Squawker Lisa was, of course, celebrating as loud as anyone. Last night, I got some payback.
Once again, the home team trailed in the bottom of the ninth and appeared certain to lose. The closer was 18-for-18 in save opportunities; in 2009, the closer was 16-for-16. But this time the closer was not Francisco Rodriguez, but the incomparable Mariano Rivera. And he was facing a lineup that looked as if it would have trouble competing in the between-innings kids' homer contest in Kiddie Field.
But this time, I was the elated one who still has trouble believing what I just saw, while Lisa was the one gritting her teeth on the subway.
And no, I still don't believe it. It happened so fast. Our seats were so far from home plate that you had to squint to see the ball. And the greatest closer of all time was on the mound.
As if going to the Castillo game wasn't bad enough, Lisa and I also went to the 2009 Subway Series game two weeks later when K-Rod walked Mariano with the bases loaded, giving Rivera his only career RBI, and Mariano picked up his 500th career save. The Mets later sent Mariano the pitching rubber from that game.
I can't think of another Yankee I admire and respect as much as Mariano. I cheered him when he threw out the first pitch before last night's game. But I had no desire to see him add to his MLB career-best saves total. And Matt Harvey, brilliant again, get tagged with his first loss, especially at the hands of the Yankees.
Instead, the Mets beat the best. And I still find it hard to believe!