The sound of the bat slamming the dirt. The cheers from Mets fans. The commentary by Kay. All of these sounds were music to Mets fans ears.
But no sound bite was greater that night than one that came unbeknownst to A-Rod, Michael Kay, or any other fan outside of those few rows in left field of Yankee Stadium on June 12, 2009.
Enter: Put It In the Books Guy.
If you haven’t seen this video: 1. You’ve been living under a rock for 11 years. 2. Go check it out here.
It’s 8-7 Mets with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th at Yankee Stadium. A-Rod hits a fading, but pretty routine pop fly to shallow right field. I’d argue that the second baseman, if not ANY FIELDER, makes that play 9.9/10 times. The game should’ve been over. Castillo becomes that 0.1%, drops it, and the Yankees walk it off. The rest is history.
But let’s go back to the main player in this story here. One that wasn’t even on the field. I don’t think anyone in the history of the world has ever been more confident in the outcome of something than this guy. Maybe the the guy from Who Wants to Be a Millionaire who used a LIFELINE on the last question to call his dad just to say he’s going to win the million dollars. This Mets fan had that type of confidence x100. This dude was 1 million percent sure Luis Castillo would catch that ball. And who wouldn’t be?
Until he didn’t.
I think a few days later this video came out and It was probably one of the first viral sports videos I ever saw. For a while it provided pretty constant laughs for me and my brothers. When there was a pop fly to end a whiffle ball game, we’d all say it. It was hilarious. Neither of us were Mets fans growing up, so we didn’t even really know that the phrase had already been made famous by Mets radio broadcaster Howie Rose, who used it as his end-of-game catch phrase. We came to understand that this fan was ecstatically using this phrase with all good intention, as he legitimately thought the game was over. Unfortunately for him, the Mets lost. Fortunately for all of us (and maybe him as well?), he became somewhat of a baseball internet legend.
I wonder what that PIITB guy is doing now in 2021. After he let out the now-infamous “PUT IT IN THE BOOKS” in the first 8 seconds of that clip, he was nowhere to be found. You get small glimpses of the bald head but we have to ask ourselves, how much longer did he stay? Has he ever been back to Yankee Stadium? Citi Field? A little league complex? I mean at that point you’d have two options: embrace and ride out your 15 seconds of fame on YouTube or just run away. Possibly change your identity. I really don’t know. Whatever path he chose after this game, I hope he’s doing well. He provided everyone a reminder of something rarely put into perspective by fans and players alike. Be cautious of celebrating early. Or maybe just don’t. Because as Yogi Berra said, the beauty of baseball is that the game truly ain’t over, til it’s over.