Tony Clark switched his uniform number from 00 to 52 before
the first game of yesterday's doubleheader against the Brewers and appeared to
change his luck, too. His pinch-hit, two-run homer in the ninth inning of Game
1 was his first home run since May 6, a stretch of 50 at-bats for the
But Clark didn't swap for the sake of his sagging fortunes. He did it in
deference to Mr. Met, the franchise mascot who wears No. 00 and sports a giant
baseball for a head. Clark, who was assigned the number upon his arrival in
spring training, didn't realize that Shea wasn't big enough for both of them to
share until he spoke with middle-school students from Queens on Wednesday.
"They asked me if it was my favorite number, and I said no," Clark said.
"Then they asked me if it was my lucky number, and I said no. Then they asked
me if there was any other reason why I had the same number as Mr. Met."
That's when it dawned on Clark that he was messing with an icon, and he
told equipment manager Charlie Samuels to make the switch.
"A lot of kids have expressed their opinion that there's only one
double-zero in their heart," Clark said.
Bacsik Back as Starter
Seattle, his first meeting with the Mariners since they pummeled him two years
ago at Jacobs Field in his major-league debut for the Indians.
The date was Aug. 5, 2001, and it remains noteworthy because the Indians
became the first team in 76 years to overcome a 12-run deficit as they beat
Seattle, 15-14, in 11 innings. Bacsik relieved in the third and allowed eight
runs before retiring his first batter. By then, the Indians trailed 12-0.
"That became one of the most memorable games in baseball history," Bacsik
said yesterday. "Without me, there would have been no 12-run deficit."
Bacsik still pitched through the eighth inning as Cleveland clawed back to
14-11. The Indians didn't take the lead until Bacsik was removed. He's hoping
for better results this time, but Bacsik hasn't pitched since last Thursday
with Triple-A Norfolk, so there might be some rust.
"I'll be fresh," Bacsik joked.
The Mets lost a doubleheader for the second time this season (also to the
Diamondbacks on April 27 at Shea). The last time the Brewers swept one on the
catcher to start both games of a doubleheader since Mike Piazza on Aug. 20,
1998 ... Jeromy Burnitz went 0-for-8 as his 11-game hitting streak ended ...
John Franco's sixth-inning appearance in the second game marked his 1,000th
game. He is only the eighth pitcher to reach that milestone.