July 27, 2002

My most memorable baseball moments By Allen Barra: Major League Baseball has asked me to pick my 30 most memorable moments. I decided to hell with the "Major League Baseball" part. I'm going to pick my 30 most memorable baseball moments, period. Major League Baseball is welcome to keep the ones they like. This week, the first 10 off the top of my head: 30) Oct. 21, 2000, at Yankee Stadium. Bernie Williams catches a fly ball hit by somebody on the Mets. The play wasn't memorable; what's memorable is that Williams is Puerto Rican, and the catch caused Jennifer Lopez, who was seated about six rows in front of me, dressed in a bare midriff halter top, to stand up and yell something in Spanish. Trust me, no one who was there will ever forget it.

posted by srboisvert to baseball at 12:48 PM - 9 comments

Some of my favorite memories: -Stampeding for seats in the bleachers at the old Exhibition Stadium in Toronto. Tickets were $1! -Joe Carter's home run off of the Wild Thing. -Playing third base and catching a line drive that was hit right at my chest with my throwing hand. Then not being able to use the hand for much for the rest of that week. -Playing catcher and having my pants split right up the crotch seam when I squated down. The ump's laugh is now what I hear in my head everytime I do something foolish.

posted by srboisvert at 12:54 PM on July 27

Great link srvoisbert. My favorites: - Watching Rob Dibble pitch an inning as an Indianapolis Indian after being sent down following an injury. - While walking through the gate at Riverfront stadium to catch a Reds game in '91, my father turned to me and asked if Concepcion was still on the team with a completely straight face. - Hitting a single off of my knuckles while playing in a Babe Ruth league as a teenager. I didn't even realize it until I got on base and saw blood all over my hands. Yup, I swung at everything and soon invested in padded batting gloves.

posted by ttrendel at 01:34 PM on July 27

My friend getting hit in the groin by a foul ball at a reds game Jose Rijo signing my baseball glove and then a week later telling me "I signed your glove last week, I'm not going to sign your hat now" game six of the NLCS in 1990 Reds V Pirates, nose bleed, night game. Reds Vs Cubs at wrigley field, May of 1990, Cold as hell. Having Eric Davis pick up a teammate from practice becuase he lived next store to him and "your mom was busy making diner"

posted by mick at 02:34 PM on July 27

Awesome link. Mine are: Summer of 1986, Kingdome, Mariners vs. Red Sox. Red Sox are taking BP and Jim Rice (my man!) is out in left shagging flies. Kids are screaming for his autograph, as per usual he is ignoring them. Fat guy next to me says "Rice sign an autograph for me and I'll give you a dollar". Rice does it. Within minutes people are lined up three deep at the wall waving dollar bills for autographs (yes I was one of them). Got his signature on the back of my Dad's business card. Then, a BP line drive slowly rolls to the wall, Rice ambles over to collect it, and some other guy says "Rice I'll give you $5 for the ball". Rice signs it and collects the fiver. I go to the guy and offer him everything in my wallet, which was $17 and a coupon for a free game of bowling. He takes it, and to this day the ball sits on my shelf. Minutes later Hendu (Dave Henderson, still with the M's) comes out and starts wrestling with Rice, he reaches into Rice's back pocket and pulls out a big wad of bills and they wrestle for the dough. Rice probably collected $60, easy. That fall I went back for my sophomore year of high school, and my buddy says "You jackass, I watched you hand Jim Rice money for an autograph through my binoculars from my box seat". Same year, M's versus KC Royals. I'm out in right field, during BP. Pitchers are jogging on the warning track. A ball rolls to the feet of unnamed rookie pitcher, I yell "Hey if I throw you a pen will you sign that ball for me". He looks up and smiles, says sure. I toss him the bic, he signs the ball and throws it back. I look at the autograph and wonder, who the hell is Bret Saberwhat? Last year, my first year in the local Seattle old man's league, I hit my first career over the fence, trot around the bases home run. In our leagues, it's 320 to center. I hit it 321. The pitch looked like a goddamned beach ball floating up to the plate. After circling the bases one of my teammates said "man that must have felt good", to which I responded "Like taking a big dump, having an orgasm, and sneezing silmutaneously".

posted by vito90 at 03:37 PM on July 27

great post. seeing piazza fly out to williams (from the mezzanine) might be my #2 all time low (#1, far and away, is seeing orel hershiser celebrating his nlcs complete game victory (on tv)).

posted by djacobs at 08:40 PM on July 27

twenty-five cent hot dog nights at cohen stadium, home of the el paso diablos--falling in love with baseball for the first time.

posted by kjh at 01:46 AM on July 28

Slightly tangential, but Barra goes and spoils it all with his snarky little jab at football in the final graf. It's not memorable in the way that baseball is because he can't see anything to remember. Well, anyone who knows the lyrics to 'Three Lions' will take issue with that, and suggest simply that he doesn't understand what he's watching. Barra writes well on American sport, but he'd be better off shutting the fuck up about sports that he patently doesn't understand, lest he look like that Borges guy who thinks the Tour de France is for pussies. What pisses me off is this: how come seven of Barra's first ten 'memorable moments' actually have nothing to do with games on the field, but instead invoke the precious nostalgia (and merchandising) industry that baseball thrives upon -- and sometimes chokes upon? Jennifer Lopez squawking from the expensive seats? Fuck all to do with the game. Guys signing autographs, remembering the time they signed autographs in the 60s? Fuck all to do with the game. Unless, of course, 'the game' has fuck all to do with what happens on the field. Which may, I think, be closer to the truth. Yes, memory is about the interaction between the fans and the players, and many of my favourite moments of being a Middlesbrough fan are to do with the asides of being in the terraces. But for the most part, the piece talks about memory of memory of memory, which for Barra translates into personal memory. In short, baseball has perfected its self-mythologising by concentrating for the most part on the periphery, because, frankly, great moments 'in-game' come in at perhaps a handful a season. Baseball's all about the anecdote, all about the supplanting of history with myth, from the Hall of Fame to the character of commentary on every single match -- 'Sunday Night Baseball' is as much about giving Joe Morgan a platform for what would otherwise be considered after-dinner speaking as it is about the game at hand. (And yes, cricket does this as well: but cricket is more up-front about its nostalgia, in part because it tends to attract an older audience. And we have Dave Podmore to satirise it.)

posted by etagloh at 06:46 AM on July 28

Some of my favorite baseball memories: 1. First major league game, Mariners vs A's, June 11 1977. We lost. It didn't matter. 2. Getting a bat (and not even a broken one) as a birthday present from M's first baseman Danny Meyer in 1979. He sent it up from the dugout after my mom told an usher that it was my birthday and he was my favorite player. (The bat was last seen in the trunk of my ex Joel's car, dammit. Joel! Give it back!) 3. The 1979 All-Star game in the Kingdome. Because I was 14, and, well, it was the All-Star game. 4. During 1978 or 1979, playing the A's, I think -- one player hit a towering pop-fly, and the catcher settled into position and waited... and waited... and then everyone started laughing because they realized the ball was caught in an overhead speaker. The next season the speakers were pulled back further. 5. In the early 80s, vs the Yankees, I think, we had a 7-run comeback in one inning. Still lost the game, but that was a fun game to see in person. 6. In... 1989, I think, my mom and I went down to the Dome and some guy outside was selling his tickets. "What are the seats?" we asked. "Section 101, Row 1" the guy said. "Is that good?" my mom asked me. :) He was selling them for half of the face price. We took 'em, went in, sat down -- on the first base line, first row. Nolan Ryan was pitching against us. He gave up a hit to the leadoff batter, then got better and better as the game went on. From our prime seats, we could see how overpowering he was. That first hit was the only one he gave up all night; it's the closest to a no-hitter I've ever seen. 7. 1995... wow. That whole pennant run and playoff experience was just so much fun. I had playoff tickets and so I was there for that amazing 5th game against the hated Yankees, with the Kingdome louder than anyone could stand. It still gives me chills to remember when we won the game. Afterwards people were dancing in the stands for more than 20 minutes. They played "Shout" over the PA and the place was jumping. Then I got on the bus to go home and the driver said "Everybody rides free tonight! We are celebrating!" and he was singing "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" at the top of his lungs (good voice, too), while we all waved our M's flags out the windows and all the folks on the street all the way through downtown were honking and cheering. 8. After the final playoff loss that year, when no one wanted to leave the Kingdome, and the fans gave the team a long standing ovation. No one wanted the season to be over, but we were so happy that it had been such a great ride. 9. The playoff game against the White Sox a couple of years ago, won in the bottom of the ninth on a perfect fall afternoon. 10. My first visit to Cooperstown to the Hall of Fame, two years ago this week. I could come up with more, but I will spare you. Oh, wait -- one more: 11. 1987 -- My one and only visit to Wrigley Field, where I sat in the outfield bleachers in June, on a wonderful day with the temperatures in the low 80s. The Cubs beat the Pirates with a walk-off home run in the 9th, if I recall correctly.

posted by litlnemo at 03:52 AM on July 29

1.) Watching Joe Carter's home run clear the left field wall. I wasn't at the game, but I was on Yonge Street watching it on a big bank of TVs in front of HMV. There were probably 2000 people standing around those televisions, and since we couldn't hear the sound, it was purely a visual moment. When we saw him jump up after the ball cleared the wall (we thought it might have been foul), the street just exploded with noise. 2.) Watching the Kirk Gibson home run on TV. Even to this day, I get chills watching any repeats of it. It truly is a miracle home run. 3.) Going to a Jays game this year and listening to a small child behind me turn to his dad and say "Why doesn't Carlos (Delgado) just hit the ball over the sign there (pointing to a sign on the left-centrefield wall)?" Just as his dad tries to explain that it's a bit difficult to do that on command, *crack* and Carlos hits it RIGHT WHERE THE KID SAID. "See! I knew he could do it!" was the kid's response. 4.) Making an "Edmonds" catch in co-ed 3-pitch softball two years ago while playing centrefield. That's when the batter hits one MUCH further than you expected, you turn around and make a dead run to the centrefield wall. I turned my head to the right while running and watched as the ball came over my right shoulder, but beyond my grasp. At the last second I jumped flat out and sno-coned it for the out. As I came walking back in with the ball, nobody said a word.

posted by grum@work at 07:18 AM on July 29

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