Turning Point?

I remember April 15, 1968 as if it was yesterday.  I was 13 and it was the first time I had ever stayed up way into the morning on a school night, without anyone’s permission, under the covers, wide awake and absolutely transfixed, listening to a transistor radio.  I wish I could tell you that I listened to all 24 innings.  I gave out at inning 22.  The score was 0-0.  This was the first time anything like this had ever happened, in all of baseball history.  I had to hear it, and I did.

A lot of things were happening at this time that had never happened before.  Martin Luther King had just been shot and Lyndon Johnson had just signed the Civil Rights Bill into law.  I had just seen 2001: A Space Odyssey, which had just opened and students all over the world were demonstrating.  The future was now.  There were omens everywhere.  And the Mets and the Astros playing for 24 innings before the game finally ended with the Astros winning, 1-0, seemed like an omen.

The game was a great pleasure of enormous tension.  After awhile, you stopped caring who won.  You just wanted it to last as long as it could.  You just took pleasure in loving the one game that did not absolute have to end, the one game that could theoretically go on forever.

It was different this time.  I felt, as we entered the eleventh, that the game was going to go on for a very long while.  I knew that this was an important moment in Mets history.  I knew that if the Mets lost this one, after the heartbreaking loss last night, they were sunk and over.  I knew that if they won this game, they might have a chance to have a season.  For the first time all year, I feel that the Mets will very much have a season.  Their offense is dormant, but offenses can sleep and wake up.  This team has pitching.  It actually does.  I didn’t think it did.  But it would be hard to look at the last three games, the last 38 innings, and avoid the conclusion that it does.

This is the moment.  This is the turning point.  The Cardinals did not score off of us for 18 innings.  There are omens in the sky.  There are asteroids and Northern lights.   There is hunger.  There is need.  And tonight, at long last, there was the turning face of fortune.

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