Courtesy of the indispensable Ultimate Mets Database , I have confirmed a hunch:
The Mets should never play doubleheaders against the Giants at Shea.
Before Sunday's miserable first game , the record against the Harlem Deserters in home twinbills since 1964 stood at 1-5-3. Throw in the Polo Grounds and it's 1-6-5. With any luck, it will be 1-6-6 before midnight. Talk about your lofty aspirations.
The one sweep for us was in 1979. The last pair of losses (and the last SF @ NY DH prior to as we speak) was the bizarro Home Opener of 1997 when we were strangely scheduled to open on a Saturday because we were strangely scheduled to open on a Friday but strangely switched because we didn't want to compete with the other local team's home-o (where they were raising their first flag in 18 years; screw them). Then it rained Saturday, necessitating an Opening Double Day on Sunday. Sapped of almost all pageantry, hardly anybody showed for the first home games — and home losses — of the season.
August 24, 1984 stands out in my memory (thus fueling the hunch) because I was driving back to college for my senior year, rueful that I had to miss a twinbill in the midst of what was our first pennant race in forever. Fortunately, I could pick up WHN as far south as North Carolina. Unfortunately, I could pick up WHN as far south as North Carolina. Loss. Loss. Total loss.
The little-known Can't Hardly Sweep The Giants At Shea Curse began, of course, with perhaps the most famous doubleheader in Mets history. May 31, 1964. Particularly the second game . Willie Mays played short. Gaylord Perry threw ten shutout innings…of relief. Al Jackson pinch-ran. Ed Kranepool, after playing all of a doubleheader in Buffalo the day before, was called up and played all of this doubleheader, too. So? So, the second game lasted 23 innings, nearly 7-1/2 hours. It was mentioned on What's My Line?, which aired live, that the Mets and Giants were playing a doozy. With that, What's My Line? lost a large swath of viewers in the New York area.
And the Mets lost both games. Of course.
If I had warned you of any of this, would it have kept you away today? Tonight?
Didn't think so.
So we can't move into first. Let's just stay out of last.
Shake it off, boys. Go get 'em in the nightcap.