While looking around on Twitter Wednesday, one of my Mets Twitter compadres, (@metsfanmurph) had posted his 5 worst sports losses as a fan. I knew I had read a column somewhere like this before, and then I saw he made a Bill Simmons reference. Light bulb goes on.
In my adult life, lets say since 1999, I have experienced exactly one championship and countless heart breaking, knife in the stomach, kick in the balls losses. Thank you 2003 Syracuse Orangemen for helping a brother out. That’s 1 for my last 68.
I was 14 the last time the Cowboys won a Superbowl, 6 when the Mets won a World Series, and 3 the last time the Islanders won a Stanley Cup. So yes, I have the trifecta of sports ineptitude. One team that was once the most hated/feared/loved in the game. One team that coulda, woulda, shoulda won two or three world series. And one team that was the last true dynasty (4 championships in a row and 19 consecutive playoff series victories), that has become the laughing-stock of their league.
Just so I can look back on this and laugh at it in 2032 (When the Mets stop paying Bobby Bonilla), here are my 5 worst sports losses as a fan
Honorable Mention: 2000 Subway Series
Back in 2000, when it was still affordable to go to a sporting event, I probably walked up to the box office at Shea Stadium for 50 of the 81 games that season and bought an upper deck box seat for like $18. This Mets team found so many ways to win games and were just awesome to watch. So when the Mets made it to the World Series against big brother, the New York Yankees, it made it just that more important. There were so many story lines in this series. From this being the first “Subway Series” since the 1950′s, to Mike Piazza and Rodger Clemens squaring off for the 1st time some Clemens beaned Piazza in the head during interleague play earlier in the season.
In the top of the 6th inning of game 1, with Timo Perez on 1st base after a leadoff single, Todd Ziele hit a deep drive to left. Almost everyone in Yankee Stadium figured it was gone, but unfortunately so did Perez. Instead of going hard and rounding second base, he went into a trot and the ball bounced off the top of the wall. David Justice picked it up and fired into Derek Jeter who thew out Perez at the plate. The Mets would go on to take the lead 3-2, only to have Armando Benitez blow the save and the Mets eventually lost in 12 innings.
Then in Game 2 this happened…
At that point Piazza or even someone else needed to charge the mound and attempt to kill Clemens. After the embarrassing loss in game one, the Mets could have taken the opportunity to send a message to the Yankees that they were not going to take any of their crap. But of course, nothing happened. That was the turning point in the series. Clemens went on to throw eight shutout innings and only allowing 2 hits.
The Mets would go on to lose 4 games to 1.
4. 2006 NFC Divisional Championship Game
2006 was an up and down roller coaster for the Dallas Cowboys. The Boys signed Terrell Owens to help bolster the offense and Mike Vanderjagt was signed to fix their kicking woes. Ineffective quarterback Drew Bledsoe was removed at halftime in week 6 against the Giants in favor of the inexperienced Tony Romo. Romo managed to kick-start the offense and threw two second half touchdowns in the loss. That night, the legend of Tony Romo was born. Romo went on to have a Pro-Bowl season, but this was also the start of many disastrous moments in his otherwise stellar career.
Down 21-20 with 1:19 seconds left in the NFC Divisional Championship game in Seattle, the Cowboys lined up for the go ahead field goal …
Thank god I can’t find a higher quality video than that. From that game on, I have never heard anything good about Romo from anyone. And for good reasons.
3. 2002 Eastern Conference Quarter Finals
The New York Islanders had not been to the playoffs since being swept in the 1st round by the eventual Stanley Cup Champion New York Rangers in 1994. In 2000, a local ownership group had bought the team and actually seemed like they cared. So at the 2001 NHL draft, the Islanders acquired premadonna holdout/scoring machine Alexi Yahsin from the Ottawa Senators for Zedeno Chara (who we all know is now one of the best defenseman in the NHL and owns the hardest shot ever recorded at 108.8 MH), the #2 overall draft pick (who turned into All-Star center Jason Spezza) and forward Bill Muckalt. Isles GM “Mad” Mike Milbury promptly signed Yashin to a crazy 10-year, $87.5 deal that would financially cripple the team for years to come. Along with trading for Yahin, the Islanders also acquired center Michael Peca, who was widely regarded as the best defensive forward in the league. Peca was named captain, and the Islanders were on their way back to relevance.
After these moves, my girlfriend at the time and I decided to go see the Islanders and Rangers face off in a preseason game at the Nassau Coliseum since we had nothing to do that Saturday night. The current GM, Garth Snow, was between the pipes for the Islanders that game as he was the #1 goalie. I can’t remember in what period it took place, but after one of the Rangers kept backing into Snow and into his crease, he attacked the Ranger and 300 penalty minutes between the teams later, we bought season tickets.
The Isles stepped in shit right before the first game of the season when the Detroit Red Wings were forced to waive their Stanley Cup winning goalie, Chris Osgood, due to financial reasons and the acquisition of goalie Dominik Hasek. The Isles claimed Osgood and went on to finish 5th in the Eastern Conference.
With all that being said, the Isles faced off against the Toronto Maple Leafs in what was one of the most incredibly physical series the NHL has seen in years. There was so much drama in this series. I was so lucky to be there for all 3 home games they played. Down 2 games to 1 and tied at 3 with under three minutes to go, Shawn Bates was taken down on a breakaway by former Islander Bryan McCabe and awarded a penalty shot. This is the chaos which ensued…
I have NEVER been to a game any louder in my life.
With the series tied at 2, the Isles headed back to Toronto looking to take the series lead. Until this happened…
Kenny Johnsson was the Islanders best defenseman. In typical NHL style, the Maple Leafs got every call in this series. Including this one. Gary Roberts took 10 strides and unloaded on Johnsson’s head. In 2012, that hit would probably turn into a 20 game suspension. Roberts received only a 5 minute penalty and stayed in the game.
Now with their best defenseman out, Darcy Tucker took aim at the heart and soul of the Islanders.
In a span of about an hour, our two best players had their careers essentially ended. Talk about a stomach punch for a fan. The Isles would up taking it to 7 games, but eventually lost.
2a and 2b. Game #162 2007 and 2008
Two straight years, two straight collapses. Both on the final day of the season. But both in two completely different ways.
In 2007, the Mets wound up blowing a seven game lead over the final eighteen days of the season to the Philadelphia Phillies. Needing a win on the final day of the season, future Hall of Famer Tom Glavine took the hill against the Florida Marlins. This is the exact reason the Mets had signed Glavine. When you needed a big game, Glavine was supposed to shut the door. Instead, his line looked like this:
0.1 IP 5H 7R 7ER 2BB 0K 36 pitches, 17 strikes
Seriously? Down 7-0 before our first at-bat? Thanks Tommy. I’m so glad that after comming off the 2006 NLCS testicle crusher, that you managed to throw batting practice. The worst part about the whole thing was actually his post game comments.
“I’m not devastated. I’m disappointed, but devastation is for much greater things in life. I’m disappointed, obviously, in the way I wanted to pitch. I can’t say there is much more I would have done differently.”
Geez buddy. Thanks for not taking the loss too hard. I mean you only let down and entire fanbase.
In 2008, the Mets were back at it again. September 28, 2008 was supposed to be the final regular season home game at Shea Stadium. Greats from the past were on hand and the Mets were supposed to be cruising into the playoffs…again. This time they were a season-high 3 1/2 games up with 17 remaining.
In rolled the Marlins again, and AGAIN the Mets needed a win to make the playoffs. Ollie Perez was on the hill for the Amazin’s with the season on the line. He pitched well and allowed only 2 runs in 5.1 innings. Down 2-0 in the bottom of the 6th, Carlos Beltran tied it up with a bomb to the picnic area to tie it up at 2.
Enter the frying pan to the back of the head…Scott Schoenwiess comes in for the top of the 8th inning to serve up a go ahead solo homer to…Wes Helms? You have to be F@&$!NG KIDDING ME!!!!!!
Just to rub salt in the wound, Louis Ayala was brought in to face the next batter Dan Uggla, who promptly mashed a home run of his own. Mets lose 4-2.
Three years in a row, three red-hot fireplace pokers jammed in my eye.
1. 2006 NLCS Game 7
This was the Mets year. No one was stopping them. They were NL East champions for the first time since 1988 and the entire city had Mets fever. They made it to the NLCS with ease and all that stood in their way for a trip to the World Series were the mediocre St. Louis Cardinals. In game 7 of the NLCS the Mets called upon Oliver Perez to send them to the World Series. Perez, working on 3 days rest, gave one of the guttiest performances in Mets post season history. Clearly working on fumes, with one out and one on in the top of the 6th inning, Scott Rolen squared up a fastball deep into left field. You could just hear the air come out of the stadium. Until…
The greatest catch in post season history. I know I’m biased, but it just might be the truth. I’m sorry about the quality of the video, but MLB hates its fans and MLB.com has absurd embedding security on its videos.
Up until that point, had there been a game that could take a fan from the climax of a catch like that, to something like THIS?!?!? (once again, thank you MLB for being such pricks, that I can’t embed the video).
Now what could be worse that giving up a gopher ball in the 9th? This…
With the bases loaded and 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th inning, Carlos Beltran’s knees folded like a lawn chair as Adam Wainright drops in a filthy 12-6 curveball. #BlameBeltran was born.
It honestly took me 6 months to come out of a sports coma from this point. I didn’t want to watch anything that was related to sports, and didn’t even listen to sports talk radio. Thank god twitter wasn’t around during this time. I had never been so emotionally invested into a team like I was with this one. My dad and I watched every inning together that season and even went to game 6 of the series. This was supposed to be our year. Instead it was the single worst moment in my fandom.
Now that I shared my top 5, what are yours?