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Filling The Void: “48 Hours Later — WHOA!”

Look back on the roller coaster ride of Wilmer Flores. From mid-game trade rumors to instant hero in the course of one wild 48 hour trade deadline.

Wilmer Flores by slgkgc is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Filling The Void: “48 Hours Later — WHOA!”

Estimated Reading Time: 4 Minutes

Having a hard time with this whole “social distancing” thing? Yeah – us too. Especially when it comes to the lack of sports. So, we here at The Turf thought we’d offer a way to help ease the pain and suffering. While we may not have any of the current sports leagues to watch live, there is PLENTY of archive footage available at our fingertips. We’ve scoured the internet and assembled some of the most iconic, noteworthy and remarkable sporting events we could find. We also found some mundane, run of the mill matches and contests, that seemed banal at first watch. However, at this point, we’ll take anything that resembles sports, right? Each day, we’ll feature one of the contests and provide you a link where you can relive the glory, exhilaration, and thrill from the comfort of your couch.

Get ready to “feel all the feels” with today’s featured game. It’s one of those stories “around” the game more than the game itself that I want to feature here. A real “human interest” story you could say – though, in the story of the Mets season, the game was pretty important as well.

The Buildup – Trade Rumors

Every major professional sport has them – a trade deadline. Some sports don’t typically have much action around the deadline, but MLB typically provides fireworks with regularity when it comes to players relocating during the season. Sometimes the trades are splashy moves involving huge names. Other times, they’re less noteworthy – involving “role players” who may not draw all the attention but could prove to be an essential piece for a team’s run deep into the playoffs. In 2015 that’s exactly where the Mets found themselves entering the month of July. As the deadline approached, the Mets made some key moves to solidify their roster for the “stretch run”. On the 24th they traded acquired Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson (from division rival Atlanta no less) and on the 27th they brought in Tyler Clippard from Oakland. The biggest trade they made, however, came on deadline day. They moved Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa to Detriot in return for the big bat of Yoenis Cespedes. BUT – a trade that DIDN’T happen on July 29th may have been the most impactful.

There’s No Crying In Baseball

Folks – saying goodbye is HARD. It’s even harder when everyone else seems to be doing it before you know what’s going. That’s exactly what was happening on July 29th, 2015 to Wilmer Flores – who had spent his entire career (7 years at the time – starting at age 16) in the New York Mets organization. On this night, thanks to living in the age of social media, almost 25,000 fans started saying farewell – in the middle of a game in which Wilmer was playing. Speculation had been growing throughout the day that Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez was on his way to Queens. Check out this Bleacher Report piece for a complete timeline of events before, during and after the game that night.

My favorite part of the clip above is the Terry Collins interview from the post-game. As a Mets fan, Terry Collins wasn’t my favorite manager. I frequently found myself questioning some of his in-game moves and decisions, but one thing that I love about him was his reputation as being a great clubhouse manager. His statement in the clip above shows that, brilliantly. Athletes are human beings too – they don’t (and shouldn’t) just “shut up and play”.

So – here’s a guy who wasn’t a “big name”, especially outside of Queens – who suddenly found himself being talked about all over the sports world. He was given the night off on July 30th when the Mets wrapped up their series with the San Diego Padres but was back in the starting lineup on what would end up being a storybook night:

Today: Wilmer Flores – Instant Hero

The talk of the night at the outset was the news of the Cespedes trade – but it didn’t take long for Flores to become a story yet again. In the top of the first, a mere 3 pitches in, he flashed the leather at 2nd base. Yunel Escobar hit a laser that Flores laid out and snagged on a hop for the second out. Gary Cohen, one of the best play-by-play guys in the game, noted the rousing ovation after the stellar grab. All I’ll say is – it wouldn’t be the last ovation Flores would receive on this night. The game would wear on into extra innings before the final chapter of the fairy tale 48 hours of Wilmer Flores’ rise to folk hero would be written. What a great story it was.

See You Tomorrow. Stay Safe. Stay Smart. Wash Your Hands.

Joe is an actor who grew up eating, living and breathing sports. He spent many an afternoon on the soccer or baseball field in his youth (and even gave several other sports a shot) before a series of events put him on the path to pursuing a performing career. Subsequently, he's worked almost every other type of job you could imagine while trying to support that endeavor. Whenever he's not working any of those jobs, he can often be found watching, playing or discussing sports in some way. Most of that banter revolves around the Mets, Giants, Rangers or Manchester United. His short term goal is to fully convert his fiance into a rabid sports fan, not someone who leaves the room whenever he turns a game on.

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