Those of us who are old enough to remember 1978 (I was 4) recall when the Yankees’ Bucky Dent hit a homerun in Boston in Game No. 163 to give the Yanks the lead in that tie-breaking game and thus, ultimately, the American League East title. In Boston, Dent forever became, to scores of Bostonians and New Englanders Bucky “F-ing” Dent.
Only thing is, they used the entire word that begins with F.
Even though the Sox have gone on to win several World Series titles since that day, there’s still a disdain for Dent up north. And who could blame anyone for feeling that way. He broke their suffering hearts. Again.
Now, 44 years later, this week, this Mets fan feels similarly to Sox fans of 1978 — only now it’s Aaron “F-ing” Judge and Andrew “F-ing” Benintendi. Both were in slumps heading into the second half of the 2022 Subway Series, Judge having gone homerless in his 9 previous games and Benintendi having left his bat and glove in Kansas City.
Couple that with the Mets entering the series against the Yanks 4 games up on the Atlanta Braves, after just winning 3 of 4 in Philadelphia, this was supposed to be the second time since interleague play began in 1997 that the Mets would sweep the Subway Series.
Finally, after 25 years — the Mets were going to claim steak to being New York’s team.
Finally, after 60 years, two World Series titles, and 58 years of utter futility and heartbreak, the Mets were going to show the Yankees who was for real — and who was just lucky to have had a successful first three months of the season.
But then, out of nowhere, to absolutely no Mets fan’s surprise, Aaron “F-ing” Judge showed up and so did Andrew “F-ing” Benintendi.
Judge hit two massive homeruns, one in each of the two matchups. They even would have been homeruns in Major League Baseball ballparks with non-Little League left- and right-field dimensions.
Benintendi, whom even the Mets wanted to trade for before the deadline, was making the decision to not acquire him look genius — until, of course, Monday and Tuesday nights.
And now, Wednesday, Aug. 24, the Braves having won today — again — in Pittsburgh, 14-2, sit 1 ½ games behind the Mets.
If there is a Mets fan in this world who doesn’t expect that 1 ½ game lead to evaporate this week, find me one. This magical, sometimes impossible season, that saw the Mets win any number of games they would have lost in prior years, with a 10+ game lead over Atlanta, are about to collapse again! Just as they did a year ago to these same Atlanta Braves, and just as they did in 2007 and 2008, and 1987 and 1989, and 1992 and 1993 and 2001, 2002 and 2003 and 2009 and 2010.
Just three days after the Mets pulled off another miraculous victory in Philly, overcoming 4-0, 7-4 and 8-7 deficits to win, 10-9, they could very well end this week — Friday night when they pull out those hideous reminder of the bad old days, black jerseys, out of first place.
Now the Mets schedule is, aside from a series with the Dodgers and Brewers, the easiest among remaining division leaders. So that’s about the one thing going for them right now.
But did you see Pete Alonso last night, who appeared to be anywhere but in the Bronx, stumble going from third to home — and then later, as he dropped a fair ball in shallow right field?
Did you miss that with a chance to show the world he was the best pitcher in baseball, Jacob deGrom accepted two extra days off rather than telling Buck Showalter “I want the damn ball Tuesday night?” He had a chance to go head-to-head with “F-ing” Judge and the Big Brother Yankees — but instead opted to take the extra time off to face the Colorado Rockies Thursday night?
We’re used to this by now, are we Mets fans, for sure. But seriously, just once, couldn’t this team show some balls and could Jacob deGrom prove why he deserves the richest contract in MLB history at the end of this season?
Instead, we get wait till Thursday. And the Yankees continue to be just the Yankees.
And unless this team gets a serious wakeup call after Subway Series II ’22, we can all look back to Aug. 22 and Aug. 23 as the two nights it all fell apart. And then, we can recall, forever and fondly, that it all began thanks to the play of the heretofore slumping … yup … Aaron “F-ing” Judge and Andrew “F-ing” Benintendi.
Take that, Bucky “F-ing” Dent.
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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.