This moment I would like to relive from Mets folklore plays two-fold: I get to talk about a moment I got to share with my family, and I get to embarrass my buddy Good News Hughes. And it all revolves around one man: Benny Agbayani.
Good News Hughes is a pro wrestler that makes his home base out of the Monster Factory. However, unlike his normal pro career where he makes a fool out of himself in Speedo trunks, he actually has a title FAR greater than being a multiple time Super Sonic Champion. According to his Twitter @GoodHughesNews, he is the “Chairman of the Benny Agbayani Fan Club”.
Good News absolutely adores the career Benny Agbayani has had with the Mets and in Major League Baseball. He actually relives the memory of Benny hitting the game winning home run in Game 3 of the NLDS against the San Francisco Giants in the 13th inning on a daily basis on YouTube. He repeatedly discusses how Agbayani had a successful career DESPITE being a replacement player during the strike era in 1994 and early 1995. Hell, he has even going on about his Grand Slam during the 2000 series in Japan against the Cubs to open the season.
But there is one moment he refuses to discuss. There is one issue that he will never allow be to bring up. One instance that made his hero looked like a fool. That was the infamous “2 Out” moment in the summer of 2000.
However, I had no choice but to talk about the incident at hand with him. I legitimately had no gripe with the moment, but had a chance to bask in the “Oh no” of it. It was a simple reason: I WAS IN THE CROWD FOR THAT PARTICULAR GAME. Good News absolutely despises that.
Anyways, I do remember some particular stats that came from that game. I saw Mike Bordick hit a home run. (In the research I did for the article, I swore I saw Bordick’s first HR as a Met in his first AB at the Giant game, but it was instead at the Mets/Cardinals game I went to a few weeks earlier.) I got to see Mike Hampton and Turk Wendell pitch; Hampton was in the middle of the one great year he pitched for the Mets, while Wendell was a wacky reliever that helped me fall in love with the number 99. Shawn Estes got to start for the Giants, and I got to see both Jeff Kent and Barry Bonds get hits. Hell, I even remember seeing the extremely eccentric closer for the Mets Armando Benitez strike out Bonds to end the game (which I personally cheered extra loud for). It was a great game.
But then there was the play that I never, ever forgot. It was a total blunder. I remember that we are all sitting along the right field line in the mezzanine section and it was a fly ball to left field (turns out it was hit by Bobby Estalella, the catcher for San Francisco. Who knew?). Agbayani made the catch. It was two outs. Benny, who forgot that, tossed the ball to a young fan in the crowd. Meanwhile, Kent, who already scored on the sacrifice fly, was waving home Ellis Burks FROM SECOND. Agbayani reached into the crowd and actually took the ball back, but by then, it was too late. The official ruling was that when Agbayani tossed the ball out of play by the out, everyone automatically advanced two bases. Kent and Burks scored while J.T. Snow, who was hit by a pitch, advanced to third. Thankfully, Hampton got out of the inning, but Agbayani felt awful, as did all of us.
You could hear the entire crowd’s emotional track the entire time. First was the cheer of Agbayani making the catch in left. Then, as soon as we had our up, we had our frantic point, as we all screamed “IT’S ONLY 2 OUTS! NOOO!!!!” at Benny once he gave the little boy the ball. Finally, it was the collective groan of the fact that the Giants scored two runs off Agbayani’s error. To be fair, we did not boo Benny. We all felt bad that it happened. Looking back, it was an incredible roller coaster of emotions.
I’ll never forget my Dad though, who I was sitting next to as that play happened, as he started laughing when he saw that. As a die-hard Mets fan, he said that he “never saw that happen before”. He then looked at me and made a funny joke about how I did that in the outfield for Shorty League, which I did, but that’s beside the point. I think we all did feel bad for Benny, as he struck with men on base later in the game and was ultimately pinch hit for (which turned out to be a double switch with the pitcher, a standard Bobby V style move) and was out of the game. Of course, the next day, all of the sports shows were making fun of Agbayani, which was rough because he was a hard working player and very friendly from all accounts.
I know Good News Hughes will never forgive me for this column, as this goes against his moral fiber to see any negative about his cherished Benny Agbayani, but I had to tell the tale of when I saw the play in person. It was something out of left field (literally), and it can never be forgotten.
Benny Agbayani, I salute you. We both made the same play, as my Dad said. At least mine wasn’t on the grander scale as yours was. Regardless, your Mets legacy lives on as a part of my and Good News Hughes’ lives. Thank you for the hard work in 2000. We’ll never forget it.