The wind at Citi Field Friday night did more than make women swoon from the sight of Noah Syndergaard’s long blond locks blowing from underneath his blue Mets cap. (I read a lot about that on Twitter.)
Wind, on a single swing, may have preserved the game for the Mets, who held 5-3 lead over the Royals in the top of the sixth inning in Game 3 of the World Series.
Alex Rios stood at the plate with a 3-2 count and drove the 100th pitch of the night from Syndergaard down the left field line. They Royals had runners on first and second as the ball glided toward left field.
Wind pushed and pushed on the ball until gravity brought it down a few feet to the foul side of the white base line.
“You see the effect of the wind right there. That ball took off,” Fox analyst Harold Reynolds said. “That ball started to be fair, and I thought it was going to be an easy out for (Mets’ left fielder Michael) Conforto. It (the ball) just continued to run to the corner.”
Reynolds, being at the ballpark, had a better view than I did from my spot on the man cave sofa. However, it looked to me that if the ball had landed fair, Conforto, unless he made a Web Gems-worth diving catch, would not have caught up to the ball.
A fair ball would have meant at least one run for the Royals, and maybe two to tie.
How much would that have affected the game? It’s hard to say. And, of course, there were countless other moments in the game that could have been affected by the wind. But at the time, this play seemed like a potential turning point.
It doesn’t mean anything now. The Mets added four runs in the bottom half of the inning and went on to win 9-3, but it was a perfect example how wind – it was 14 mph with gusts up to 25 mph – can influence a baseball game by an inch here and an inch there.