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The 12 Minutes of Dunston

Magic Number 12 had a shelf life of about 12 seconds — the score from Philadelphia went to “F” on the Shea Stadium scoreboard with a pitch left in the Mets’ game, and that pitch advanced our magic-number countdown to 11. Eight years ago, with the Mets’ season facing extinction, Shawon Dunston (who wore No. 12 for Miracle Met Ken Boswell) batted for about 12 minutes. He worked the count full, and turned Kevin McGlinchey’s 10th pitch into a single up the middle. Not long after that, Todd Pratt’s bases-loaded walk would make Dunston the tying run — and not long after that, Robin Ventura would hit one back to Georgia.

The Mets’ next game would be their last. Afterwards, Dunston — who’d never wear the uniform again — offered a requiem for the season. Lisa Olson of the Daily News recreated his speech [1] to his drained, broken-hearted teammates, a column that still leaves me blinking away tears.

“I am so proud to be a Met … You guys made me believe again. You made baseball fun for me. I will never, ever forget what this team did.”

Neither will we, Shawon. Neither will we.