ERIC: On Thursday, September 20, 2012, the New York Mets found You Stink! immortality. And we salute them for it. In a game with the Phillies, the Mets lost 16-1. It was the second-worst defeat that the Mets have suffered in their 51 seasons, but that’s only one of the lowlights of this game for them. The hits just keep on coming.
A rookie pitcher named Jeremy Hefner started the game for the Amazin’s. The first eight Phillies hitters reached base. The Phillies scored eight runs in the first inning on nine singles, a walk, and a hit batsman. Hefner was charged with 7 earned runs and did not retire a single batter, which certainly fluffed up his earned run average. It was the first time that the Phillies had scored eight runs in the first inning of a game since 1912. The Phillies pounded out 21 hits and 16 runs, their highest production in a single game since July 2009. Hefner was the first starter to face seven batters and not record an out against the Phillies since Chicago Cub hurler Bill Bonham on August 5, 1975. “The next guy kept coming up and doing the same thing, ” said Phlllies first baseman Ryan Howard, who capped the evening’s festivities with a ninth-inning grand slam in a seven-run final frame. The first inning took 33 minutes, and the nine first inning hits set a franchise record that not even the 1962 Mets (profiled in the book version of You Stink!) matched, and the 1962 Mets are considered to be the worst team of baseball’s modern era.
“Words can’t even describe how embarrassing that is. And it’s not fun to answer questions about it,” Hefner said. “It’s hard. You started that game and you have to watch all nine innings, and I’ve never had to do that before. Never happened to me before. It’s something I’ll never forget and it’s something I’ll try to learn from.”
Adding insult to injury, the Mets eked out only three hits against soft-tossing Phillies rookie pitcher Tyler Cloyd, who seems to channel his inner Jamie Moyer on the mound. “I saw some things tonight that were unacceptable,” Mets manager Terry Collins said, refusing to elaborate. “No disrespect to Tyler Cloyd, none whatsoever, but three hits? Please. We’re better than that.” Admitting that he was embarrassed and that he had spoken to his team after the game, Collins responded to a question about whether his team had quit, “You have to ask them. I have my own opinion. And I’m not going to express it publicly.”
The 2012 Mets, channeling their 1962 predecessors, are in the midst of an epic collapse. They have dropped five straight and 11 of their last 12, allowed nine first-inning hits for the first time in the team’s history. They lost their ninth consecutive home game for the second time this season, and dropped to an atrocious 4-25 in their last 29 home games. The previous team to lose 25 out of 29 games was the 1980 California Angels. The loss mathematically eliminated the Amazin’s from the pennant race this year.
“Guys are upset, guys are embarrassed and we should be, because we have been very, very bad in the second half,” said New York third baseman David Wright. A reporter for the New York Times wrote, “The game, a makeup contest for one postponed by rain, was viewed by a crowd of, at most, a couple thousand people, and played in the closest thing to silence attainable at an American professional sporting event.”
Congratulations to the 2012 New York Mets for adding this loss for the ages to their already stellar record of epic losses and for once more enshrining themselves in the You Stink! Hall of Shame.