NEW YORK — Live from New York, it’s . . . The Mets? Live? What are they doing still alive? Didn’t you go to sleep last night figuring this thing was over? Didn’t you flick off the TV set around 10 o’clock, figuring “That’s it. This is history. Red Sox win.” Didn’t you?
Ho, ho, sleepy breath.
Never trust New York on Saturday night. It is rich with surprise, with turnarounds, twists, muggings and this night, ironies. Oh, what ironies! Oh what a game!
It was as if all the thrills and drama and nerves sorely missing from Games 1 through 5 were stirred up in this contest, like fruit found at the bottom of the yogurt.
There was a play at the plate and a strikeout with the go- ahead run on third base, and a Mets error that looked like it would cost the game, until a Red Sox error seemed to take the distinction away, and then a Mets managerial decision and . . . oh, my.
Do you want a moment of this game? Here is a moment. Gary Carter, standing at the plate in the bottom of the eighth with the bases loaded and the Mets trailing by one. Carter — who had struck out looking with the go-ahead run on third two innings earlier. How’s that for a moment? Kiss your ears goodby.
No hearing. No talking. Only screams until the lungs exploded.
No sanity. No control. A flood of noise that surely could be heard all the way to Boston.
The pitch . . . Carter swings! . . . the ball lifts to left field, caught by Jim Rice, Lee Mazzilli scampers home and the game is tied. The game is tied! You could scream with your hands over your ears and still not hear your own voice.
That was one moment.
Hang on. There are tons more.
Was there really any other way a Saturday night in New York could go? No. There wasn’t.
This game was to be a lock-up, a shoe-in. Roger Clemens on the mound, the best pitcher in baseball, nicely rested and throwing smoke. For the first several innings it seemed as if the only way the Mets could win would be with a sudden hurricane that blew Clemens to a country with no airport.
And then, a walk to Darryl Strawberry, a stolen base, a single, and the Mets had broken the invisible invincibility of Clemens. “He bleeds, after all,” they seemed to say.
Suddenly these two teams, which had battered each other from Game 2 on, were fighting and scratching for one run as if this Series had been decided by inches all the way.
How about another moment? Here is another moment. Bottom of the ninth. No outs. Ray Knight walks. Mookie Wilson bunts to move him over and Boston catcher Rich Gedman throws off his mask and grabs the ball and whips it to second, where Spike Owen leaps and catches it and, no! No! He was off the bag, rules the umpire.
The Red Sox are incensed. Manager John Mcnamara is screaming in the umpire’s ears. “You can’t blow that call! You couldn’t see that call!”
The call stays. The Mets have two men on and nobody out. And they don’t score! And it goes into overtime.
That was a moment.
All right. One more moment. The moment.
Bottom of the 10th, Mets trailing, 5-3. Their first two hitters fly out, and it’s down to Carter again. He singles.
Come on. It takes more than that, right? Right. And they got it.
Kevin Mitchell pinch hits and singles, and Knight singles, scoring Carter and Bob Stanley replaces Calvin Schiraldi for the Red Sox and a 2-2 pitch to Wilson — one pitch away from the World Series win — and it’s wild! It gets away! And the tying run scores!
And then Wilson hits the ball to first and it gets by Bill Buckner and a run scores and the game is over! The game is over! The Mets leap into each others arms. What a game! What a finish! Mets win, 6-5. Mets win, 6-5!
“We don’t give up!” screamed Wilson afterward. “We don’t give up!”
They don’t give up. Who has the edge now? New York took the hardest stone the baseball devil can throw — Roger Clemens on five days’ rest — and lived to tell about it. And tonight it sends Ron Darling against Oil Can Boyd and who knows? Who knows anything?
The Mets know this. They are live from New York. On this Sunday in the Big Apple, there can be no sweeter words.