It is the dream-come-true of every sandlot slugger, every Wiffle-ball wizard, every Little League legend, every backyard bombardier: bases loaded, bottom of the ninth, the crowd on its feet, the pitcher on the ropes, the dugout going crazy, here comes your moment, here comes your pitch and …
… and it nicks your elbow?
“Well, obviously, that’s not the way I wanted to win the ballgame,” Michael Conforto said, not even trying to camouflage his sheepish grin after winning the ballgame, the Mets’ home opener, exactly that way, a walk-off nick that delivered a 3-2 win. “I wanted to go up there and put the ball in play and drive the ball somewhere.”
Don Mattingly wanted something else.
“I wanted it to be what it was,” the Marlins manager said, looking equal parts puzzled and punch-drunk. “It was a strike.”
It was, of course. No amount of orange-and-blue tint in your sunglasses can make it anything else. Miami catcher Chad Wallach called for a slider. Miami pitcher Anthony Bass threw a slider.
“He wanted to throw a strike on the inner half,” Wallach said. “And he executed that. He threw a strike on the inner half.”