They didn’t call Mitch Williams “Wild Thing” for nothing. It’s a nickname he earned during his 11-year career, six of which were spent as a closer for the Texas Rangers, Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies. It’s also a nickname he still seems to hold dearly all these years later.
Now a studio analyst for MLB Network, Williams took a break from his desk job on Friday night to return to Philadelphia for '90s night at Citizens Bank Park. Of course Williams had the lowest moment of his career while donning the Phillies uniform when he served up Joe Carter's walkoff home run during Game 6 of the 1993 World Series, but the Phillies faithful have forgiven him despite never forgetting.
So there he was on Friday night, all decked out in his No. 28 Phillies jersey and customary head wear, walking to the mound to throw out the game's ceremonial first pitch. It was a vintage Mitch Williams look, as expected. The crowd response was positive, which again was expected. And the pitch itself was, well, as expected.
Winding up from the left side, the now 48-year-old Williams let loose with his best current fastball. Not surprisingly, despite his frequent breakdowns of pitching mechanics in Studio 42, Williams’ command hasn’t improved — at all. The pitch ended up sailing juuuuust a bit outside — or in the ear flap of a right-hander hitter — and it sent everyone in the vicinity of home plate scurrying after the Phillie Phanatic failed to make the catch.
The Phanatic's reaction was pretty funny too as he stiffs Williams on the handshake and motions to the bullpen for another lefty.
And this was only the beginning of a fun and wild '90s night in Philadelphia. Here are a few more of the highlights courtesy of MLB.com.
As for the game itself, the Phillies and Diamondbacks both looked good in their teams respective '90s uniforms. I may be in the minority, but I did kind of dig those old D-Backs jerseys.
And in a finish that may give Mitch Williams nightmares, the Phillies won it 4-3 as Chase Utley drew a bases loaded walk in the ninth inning. The dreaded (and celebrated) walk-off walk.