Thursday, June 23, 2016

Game 7, 1986: Darling Meets Doubleday, Mets Score a Willie

Mets TV analyst Ron Darling has a new book out, looking back on his career, and one game in particular. Game 7, 1986 is a detailed account of his substandard pitching performance in the final game of the '86 Series--following standout showings in Game 1 and Game 4.
The Mets, of course, went on to win the Series, but Darling's shoddy Game 7 stuck in his craw for years and years.
Darling dishes a bit about that colorful Mets squad, and some of the baseball language of the time.
A pitcher getting a win--a W, in common parlance--was also known as getting a Willie.
Conversely, a pitcher getting the loss picked up a Larry.
And what of the dreaded No Decision? At least in Metsland, it was a Nelson Doubleday. (See, ND!), after the publishing magnate who bought the Mets before Darling's time with the club--and the grandnephew of Abner Doubleday.
While it's no Ball Four, Darling does talk a bit about the chemical enhancers that helped players get from Game 1 to Game 162. The failure to launch was the name given to pills that did not do their job.
"You'd lay in just the right cocktail of pills, and time it just right, and still the body would fail to respond," writes Darling. "You'd see guys walking around the clubhouse with this panicked look in their eyes, because they'd done everything they could to get up and ready for the game, never counting on the fact that the physiology of the human body can change from day to day."
Meanwhile, the pre-launch was when the body peaked too early before a game, the pills doing their thing during BP, or in the clubhouse, way before first pitch.
I had a chance to interview Ron about the book, and found him astute and entertaining. He said he had three options for dealing with his frustrations from the fall of 1986--see a therapist, write a book, or indulge heavily in scotch.
I'm glad he chose option 2, as is his liver.

No comments: