Jesse Jarnow

“puzzlin’ evidence” – talking heads & 1986 nlcs, game 6

“Puzzlin’ Evidence” – Talking Heads (download here)
from True Stories (1986)
released by Sire (buy)

(file expires January 20th)

Watching 20-year old baseball games is way more fun that I’d suspected. In the case of Game 6 of the 1986 National League Championship Series, a 16-inning epic between the Mets and the Houston Astros, the overarching drama yielded dozens of miniature entertainments. Framed by the hyperreal green of the Astrodome’s Astroturf and its roof’s impressionist light slats, there was the simple pleasure of watching the 1986 Mets operate. There were small moments: Keith Hernandez making a routinely amazing grab deep in the hole, and flipping effortlessly to Roger McDowell, covering first. And there were the crowd shots, flickering portraits of the same characters that populated David Byrne’s True Stories, shot and set in Texas that same year.

The first picture, perhaps, is titled: the Starting Pitcher’s Wife in the Top of the 9th. In this case, the starting pitcher was Bob Knepper, working on a two-hit shut-out against the Mets who — moments after this shot — pinch-hit with Len Dykstra, who would triple to deep center, thus beginning a three-run rally that would result (seven innings later) in the Mets’ clinching of the pennant. But she didn’t know that.


  1. patrick d says: - reply

    thanks for the music file but how bout a link to video of the game?
    1986 – greatest playoffs ever.

  2. Jesse says: - reply

    Haven’t really mastered the art of digitizing DVD excerpts yet, sorry!

  3. gardner says: - reply

    Jesse –
    I hate you. Maybe a lot.
    Chris Gardner (lifelong Astros fan whose 21 years of careful forgetting were just trashed by a freakin’ blog)

  4. Jesse says: - reply

    Yikes, didn’t really think of the Astros’ fans perspective, eh?

  5. gardner says: - reply

    So it goes. Until we made the series a few years ago, that was still our finest moment as a franchise, despite the outcome. Just an unbelievable game. I was in 7th grade and boarded the van after school to go to a soccer game. We listened to the first few innings in the van (Houston traffic…slooooooow). We played the game. We got back in the van and were psyched to see the game was still on. We rolled slowly home. Still on. I met my mom at school. Still on. We went to my brother’s soccer game. Still on. My mom tried to make me get out of the car (mostly because she was jealous that she’d be missing it). I won and stayed. She went to Scott’s soccer game and ran out every five minutes to check the score, which I yelled to her out the window. She watched his full game. Still on. It didn’t end until we were pulling into our driveway at home. At least I didn’t have to watch Orosco fan Kevin Bass (who incidentally sported one of the finest moustache on the mainland in 1986). Still one of the most memorable days of my childhood, mostly because that was the first time I had to duct tape my heart back together as an Astros fan. I did it again when the Mets stole Beltran. First thought in Carlos Beltran’s head after he stared that Wainwright curveball down: “If I’d stayed in Houston, I’d be polishing my 2005 World Series ring tonight.” He alone could have outscored the White Sox in that series.

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