Bill Buckner was much more than Game 6 and it wasn’t his fault (Dave Stapleton should’ve been playing 1st and as many foregt, there was a Game 7) the Red Sox lost the ’86 World Series. Buckner was a batting champ, an All-Star and had a long and distinguished career. Still, it was a good thing that he and Red Sox fans were able to reconcile before he passed and how awesome was it for Larry David to show Buckner’s ‘true spirit’ in that infamous Curb Your Enthusiasm episode years back.
RELATED: Saddened Mookie Wilson: Bill Buckner is more than that one play
Darling made a lot of news lately for his new book that contained uncorroborated claims of racism against Lenny Dykstra, but this news is something different and way more important. I love listening to Darling, Keith and Gary Cohen while I watch games and hope to continue doing so for a long time. Hope he gets better soon.
RELATED: Mets land rooting for Ron Darling during tough times
Score one for Team Dykstra.
Wally Backman became the latest former Met to chime in on the feud between Lenny Dykstra and Ron Darling over whether Dykstra shouted racial slurs at Red Sox pitcher Oil Can Boyd from the on-deck circle during the 1986 World Series, as Darling claims he did.
Dykstra has vehemently denied the allegation while former teammates Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden and Kevin Mitchell, along with Boyd, have all said they did not hear his comments. Keith Hernandez, meanwhile, said he saw Dykstra “barking” at Boyd, but did not hear the alleged insults.
Backman was adamant the episode never happened.
“The fact of the matter is I [was] standing right besides Lenny on the on-deck circle before that game,” said Backman, the former minor-league Mets manager now in charge of the Long Island Ducks. “If something like that would have happened, if something would have been said, I would have said something to him at that time. But I’ve known Lenny a long time and I know for a fact — on my kids’ life — he did not say that.”
The evidence on both sides has been weighed and I think it’s pretty clear on who the winner is. Darling should apologize and admit he got it wrong.
Not his broadcasting partner Keith Hernandez. Not Darryl Strawberry or Dwight Gooden or Kevin Mitchell. Not Oil Can Boyd. Not Wally Backman (who had to be right behind Dykstra as he was 2nd in the lineup that day). Not any former Red Sox or even a front-seat Sox fan who attended Game 3. No one.
Former baseball great Lenny Dykstra has vowed to sue former Mets pitcher Ron Darling Jr., who claims in a new book that Dykstra hurled racial slurs at Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd during Game 3 of the 1986 World Series.
Dykstra was a key player in that game, hitting a leadoff home run against Boyd in Fenway Park. The Mets would later win the series.
During Game 3, Dykstra shouted “every imaginable and unimaginable insult and expletive in (Oil Can’s) direction — foul, racist, hateful, hurtful stuff,” Ron Darling wrote in his book, “108 Stitches: Loose Threads, Ripping Yarns, and the Darndest Characters from My Time in the Game.” The book is due out Tuesday.
Like I alluded to earlier on Twitter, Dykstra has proven to be a lot of unsavory things since he retired from baseball, but I’ve never heard about him being a racist. Plus, Lenny had 4 black teammates on the ’86 Mets: Kevin Mitchell, Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden and Mookie Wilson. You think in 30-plus years, one of them would’ve said something about this alleged incident by now if was true? Hell, Mookie, Straw and Doc have each written books about their playing days, have done countless interviews and have attended many a reunion with each other (and with Lenny) and this is the first team we’re hearing about Dykstra supposedly yelling racial taunts at Oil Can Boyd. I’ve never heard of Boyd or anyone else out of Boston vouching for this story either. Yeah, Lenny Dykstra may be a nutcase, but that doesn’t make him a racist.
With his unique wit and at times brutal honesty, it’s funny how the 1979 co-MVP and 2-time World champ’s broadcasting career has become as noteworthy as his playing days:
Mets legend and SNY announcer Keith Hernandez will undergo back surgery during the latter part of next week. Hernandez made the announcement on Twitter on Saturday.
“I’ve blown out my back once again,” he wrote. “This time I ruptured a disc, T11-12, which is my mid back. Surgery is scheduled latter part of next week. I have a terrific surgeon. Arthroscopic entry, which means no cutting through tissue & muscle. He will cut a small portion of bone away on both vertebrae which will enlarge my nerve passageway & relieve my discomfort there. I’m very positive about this. I’ve lived with back pain everyday going back to 1990.”
Though Hernandez is tired of his back issues, he said he is remaining positive and is confident the surgery will heal this long-term problem.
“Micro-laser procedure,” he wrote. “He will zap the protruding disc and that will eradicate the pressure on my nerve which has been giving me hell. He will also repair my old, lower back injury. I have severe stenosis there (L4-5).”
The ’86 Mets starting rotation that Mel coached was arguably the best in the team’s history. RIP.
Wally Backman is back where he wanted to be all along — the New York market. Backman, a member of the 1986 world champion Mets and a longtime manager in the Mets’ minor-league system, will manage the Ducks of the independent Atlantic League next season, the team announced Wednesday morning.
“I’m excited about it,” Backman, 59, said on a conference call Wednesday afternoon. “I’m back in my old stomping grounds. I’ve always showed my interest in being in the New York area and, with this opportunity coming available, I thought it was a great opportunity to be back where I really wanted to be, and that was New York.”
Backman played for the Mets from 1980-88, hitting .283 with seven home runs and 165 RBIs. He coached in the Mets’ minor- league system from 2009-16, managing at all three levels. His time with the organization ended in 2016, resulting in a public dispute regarding the nature of his departure.
Backman said he would still like to manage in the major leagues someday but is completely focused on the Ducks and bringing another championship to Central Islip.
As many no-names and guys who didn’t deserve second chances to manage in the major leagues, but got them anyway have come and gone since Backman blew his shot with the D’Backs all those years back, you’d think some GM out there would take another gamble on him.
From Most Valuable Player to Most Volatile Personality.
Ray Knight, the MVP of the Mets’ victorious 1986 World Series, will not return to pregame and postgame Nationals coverage for MASN, the Washington Post reported. Knight, who helped cover the Nationals since 2007, had been pulled off the network in mid-September after a verbal altercation with a MASN employee.
According to the report, the 65-year-old berated a member of the MASN production team in a curse-filled rant. It was unclear what the blow-up stemmed from.
Knight, who scored the winning run of Game 6 when the ball went through Bill Buckner’s legs, has had his share of run-ins in the past. He was arrested a year ago this month and charged with assault and battery for an altercation at his Virginia home with a 33-year-old.
Ray Knight was always a feisty guy and this isn’t the first time he’s gotten in trouble for his temper after retiring. But he was also a huge part of that ’86 team and it’s no coincidence the Mets haven’t won since they stupidly let Knight go after winning it all.