by Justin DePalatis
Locked in a scoreless pitchers’ duel, the New York Mets seemed primed to head to the 11th inning as Pablo Sandoval’s routine two-out fly ball floated toward Dominic Smith’s waiting mitt. Only, when the ball arrived, Smith’s glove, and notably, his entire body, had disappeared.
Alex Dickerson, running on contact, sprinted around the bases and slid home, becoming the final and only run in an excitingly improbable victory that extends the Giants’ win streak to an equally improbable seven games.
“He was there, and then he wasn’t,” local fan and onlooker James Byers says. “I haven’t seen anything like this since the Candlestick days.”
Reporting live from Oracle Park, Giants’ beat writer Henry Schulman notes that Smith’s disappearance was the capper to a night where “things just felt off, even strange.”
“The stadium lights were flickering and seemed to be having issues all night, and the PA was spitting static,” Giants skipper Bruce Bochy said in a postgame interview. “The guys really played their darnedest, but I won’t deny we’re the beneficiary of some strange luck.”
Hours after the game’s conclusion, the Mets filed a complaint with the MLBPA, accusing the Giants front office of foul play. The out should have been recorded due to interference, and the game should, they argued, be resumed in the 11th, presuming the pending investigation yields any leads.
“If we had robot umps, this would never have happened >:(,” upset Mets fan @davidwright4hof tweets, following the unexpected result.
Of course, debates about the source of Smith’s disappearance have already begun raging online. One Redditor, username OldMurrs, swears that the strange vanishing is linked to an inter-dimensional Russian Conspiracy begun in the 80s. Most of the nation, however, seems to believe it was a trick of the light.
This would not be the only strange thing to occur in the last few weeks of MLB play, though perhaps the strangest thus far. Smith’s disappearance caps a strange month for several teams across the MLB that have been dealing with extremely odd in-game circumstances and occurrences, Jeff Passan of Yahoo News reports. On June 8th, Pirates’ starter Jordan Lyles was removed after three innings due to a condition team trainers called “stomach slugs.”; on June 14, the Seattle Mariners won a game; on July 6, Yankees pitcher Chad Green claimed that “a shadow” told him to surrender a walk-off homer to the Rays’ Travis d’Arnaud.
The search continues for Smith, who is nowhere to be found. If you have any information on his whereabouts, please call 618-625-8313.