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The night I got hit with a baseball while covering the World Series

Newsday reporter Laura Albanese at Game 5 of

Newsday reporter Laura Albanese at Game 5 of the 2015 World Series. Credit: Newsday/Laura Albanese

This story is part of our "From the Press Box" series, where Newsday sportswriters share their experiences covering great performances, memorable moments and the craziest games.

On the best of days, covering a World Series involves living in a high-frequency world of extremely regulated chaos. Batting practice takes on a frantic circus vibe as media members pour in from all over the world, and even media conferences can become sort of a sideshow — a mix of questions both hounding and bizarre.

But Nov. 1, 2015, was not the best of days. It was Game 5 of the World Series, the night the Mets got eliminated by the Kansas City Royals. It began with Lucas Duda missing a pick at first base during infield practice, with the ball careening into my chest, and ended with David Wright escorting his team and the assembled media horde onto the field to say thank you to the devastated fans who remained. Spiritually, it was his last big act as captain. We didn’t know it then, but his career was all but over.

It also was the day that Duda — poor Lucas Duda — made an errant throw to the plate in the ninth inning, giving the Royals the tying run. (Kansas City won 7-2 in 12 innings.)

Who would’ve thought Duda’s defensive lapse during pregame would portend what was to come?

In the press box and beyond, the misadventures seemed to follow me like a lost puppy. I had three baseballs in my possession because after I got hit, Mets media relations boss Jay Horwitz procured a few — one of which probably was the one that hit me, he said — as a memento of (very little) pain and suffering. Duda, ever the gentleman, came up to me and apologized, as if it were his fault that I decided to chat with someone directly behind the first-base bag.

Ready to write the funny story I had for Twitter, I noticed I didn’t have my laptop charger and would have to write my early stories on my cellphone. I spent the actual game going station to station, like a sad, millennial Oliver Twist, searching for someone with an HP laptop who would let me siphon just a little power for a few minutes. Thank you to the reporters who helped, and yes, I finally went and got a Macbook like everyone else.

The truth is, though, I mostly forgot about that stuff until a friend reminded me. What stays in my mind is the end. Going to the clubhouse after the Mets had been eliminated was like walking directly into heavy fog. It wasn’t muted so much as it was in mourning.

Wright had done everything he could to play during that postseason. But he was gaunt and showed up to pregame with heavy bandages around his torso that made it look as if he had just come back from war.

His was the voice that rung out in the silence, urging everyone to “come on.” He ushered his teammates out to the field and the media followed. There were a good number of fans left as the Mets applauded the people who had been on this ride with them. Some were crying. And then Wright hobbled back in, the rest of us wordlessly filing in behind him. He would play only 39 more games.

As for me, I gave two of the baseballs away to some Mets fans I knew but kept the scuffed one I assume hit me. It sits on top of my keyboard as a testament to the strangest game I ever covered and a writing instrument that would never run out of power on deadline.

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