Bobby Jones’ huge Mets anniversary bittersweet after Tom Seaver’s passing

SAN DIEGO — Twenty years later, Bobby Jones says, it’s the little issues he cherishes most.

The Mets had simply outlasted the Giants, 3-2, in Nationwide League Division Collection Recreation 3 at Shea Stadium, courtesy of Benny Agbayani’s walk-off, Thirteenth-inning homer towards Aaron Fultz. Up two video games to 1 within the best-of-five competitors, the Mets may have began their ace Mike Hampton on three days’ relaxation to go for the clincher and keep away from a visit again to San Francisco for a loser-goes-home Recreation 5.

As an alternative, supervisor Bobby Valentine tabbed his veteran Jones, who had skilled a slightly turbulent 2000 season, for Recreation 4. The Mets instructed Hampton to fly out west so he could be totally rested for that Recreation 5 at Pac Bell Park.

“Mike stated, ‘Oh, no,’” Jones recalled in a current phone interview. “No, I’m staying to rejoice.”

Did the Mets ever rejoice. Did Jones ever reward his supervisor’s religion. He merely supplied the Mets, pitching-rich all through their 59 seasons of existence, with the best-pitched postseason recreation of their historical past. The one-hit, two-walk gem, a 4-0 Mets clinching victory en path to their Subway World Collection matchup with the Yankees, stays in order it turns 20 on Thursday. Most wonderful? Jones threw eight 1-2-3 innings; all of the (contained) injury occurred within the fifth inning. That’s when former Met Jeff Kent broke the no-hitter try with a leadoff double — “Who is aware of? If the ball is three inches decrease, possibly (Robin) Ventura catches it,” Jones stated — but couldn’t rating.

“Issues occur for a motive,” Jones stated. “What was nice about it for me is I used to be so dangerous early within the 12 months, I acquired requested to go down (to the minor leagues).”

As an eighth-year veteran, Jones may have scoffed on the Mets’ provide to be demoted after a 16.20 ERA in his first three begins of the season, totaling simply 6 ⅔ innings. Oliver Perez in 2010 and Matt Harvey in 2017 each declined comparable gives, as was their proper.

“It wasn’t a troublesome resolution. It was simply a type of issues robust to swallow,” Jones stated. “I knew I needed to do it. I used to be hurting the group.”

The best-hander made 4 begins for Triple-A Norfolk, and the time away labored. He closed out the common season posting an 11-5 document and 4.56 ERA in 24 begins totaling 148 innings, and if that ERA sounds excessive, needless to say the baseball-wide ERA that season was 4.76. (Maintain this on the down low, however I believe some guys had been utilizing unlawful performance-enhancing medicine on the time.)

That propelled Jones into a superb place for that postseason, which satisfied Jones’ fellow Bobby to point out religion in him and Hampton to go on what would’ve been a superfluous journey throughout the nation.

“Figuring out I helped the group a lot after hurting them early within the season (was nice),” Jones stated.

The one bittersweet part of this anniversary is that Jones’ fellow Fresno Excessive College product Tom Seaver didn’t fairly make it. The person Mets followers nicknamed “The Franchise” died on August 31.

“Clearly Tom, across the Fresno space was the identify. He was the man,” Jones stated. “He was the one everybody turned on their TVs to observe. He had a terrific household. Loads of my older buddies had been buddies with Tom’s dad and mom. I heard about how nice a golfer Tom’s dad was.”

Bobby Jones and Bobby Valentine celebrate the Mets' NLDS win over the Giants.
Bobby Jones (center) and Bobby Valentine (left) rejoice the Mets’ NLDS win over the Giants.Nury Hernandez, New York Put up

The 2 males met for the primary time in 1992 — not in Fresno or Flushing, however slightly in Cooperstown. Because the Baseball Corridor of Fame welcomed Seaver to its membership, Jones, a Mets minor leaguer, began the then-annual Corridor of Fame Recreation for the Mets at Doubleday Area, no coincidence. They subsequently constructed an actual friendship, understanding their shared roots, as Seaver would often pop into Mets spring coaching for a go to and have become a Mets broadcaster in 1999.

“Simply to take a seat and speak baseball with him, hear that nice snigger he had, was so nice,” Jones stated of Seaver. “It was a tragic day for baseball (when he handed).”

Jones later adopted Seaver’s lead in a post-pitching ardour, winemaking, and he’s now working with a buddy on a barbecue sauce, 142 BBQ, scheduled to be accessible shortly. Through the shutdown earlier this 12 months, his gem obtained loads of air time from sports activities networks searching for content material, and Jones in flip was flooded by buddies’ textual content messages.

“I acquired to relive a lot of it,” stated Jones, who pitched simply as soon as extra as a Met (the World Collection Recreation 4 loss to the Yankees) earlier than ending his profession with the Padres. It stands the take a look at of twenty years as one of many Mets’ most relivable days on the ballpark.

This week’s Pop Quiz query got here from Jim Balbirer of New Canaan, Conn.: Footage of a present major-league supervisor, from his taking part in days, may be seen within the 1983 movie “The Star Chamber.” Identify the supervisor.

Saturday marked my first time on a aircraft since March 17, once I flew again to New York from spring coaching in Tampa. Throughout my flight out west, I completed the e book “In Pursuit of Pennants” by Mark L. Armour and Daniel R. Levitt. It’s a considerate accounting of how baseball operations have advanced over the a long time. If I were Andrew Marchand’s dad, I’d give it 4.2 out of 5 Clickers.

Your Pop Quiz reply is Dusty Baker.

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