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Impossible Things That Happened: A Game-Winning, Two-Run, Infield Pop-Up

Wild and Crazy

Here’s the scene:

Where: Yankee Stadium
When: June 6, 2009
What: Mets @ Yankees (Game 1 of 3)


What Else: The Mets were leading the Yankees 8-7, with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning when Alex Rodriguez stepped up to the plate. There were men on first and second, but the Yankees would have needed both runs to score, in order to take the lead, and Francisco Rodriguez was pitching on the mound. (Yes, I realize that it was K-Rod v. A-Rod).

After working the count to his favor (3-1), Alex Rodriguez popped-up lightly to second baseman Luis Castillo to end the game … or so everyone thought:

According to the FanGraphs, the Yankees chances of winning dipped all the way down to 10.7% after Johnny Damon struck out there in the ninth. Even a stolen base and an intentional walk only brought their odds up to 18.7% when Alex Rodriguez stepped up to the plate:

Source: FanGraphs

But Luis Castillo dropped the ball – a ball hit high enough in the air for two runs to score, including one from first base! – and never got it back in time. I’m not sure Castillo realized Mark Teixeira was even going to try scoring, given the way he casually tosses the ball back into second. That’s a whoopsie, if I ever saw one.


The Yankees went on to win 103 games that season – and eventually the World Series – while the Mets, well, the Mets finished 23 games out of first.


(Me, as a Cubs fan, right now).


Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami writes about MLB at Baseball Is Fun. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami.