Results tagged ‘ World Series ’

MLB Network’s 10th Greatest Game, Childhood & Homerun Memories

I am so enjoying MLBN’s 20 Greatest Games series. I haven’t seen them all but, with my very Dodgers childhood, I definitely could not miss this evening’s episode: 1988 World Series Game One! I remember that evening vividly. It was a Saturday night, date night for my parents, so my sister and I were enjoying a small Domino’s pizza and had the beginnings of a truly epic Lego castle complete with maze winding its way across the den floor in front of the TV. I may have been too old for a lot of toys at that point but if you’re ever too old for Legos, well then, you’re just too old.

We were so disappointed, my sister and I, when they announced that Kirk Gibson wouldn’t be able to play. New to the Dodgers that year, He was already one of our favorites, right up there with Mike Scioscia, Orel Hershiser, Alfredo Griffin and Mickey Hatcher – is it any wonder why I say watching the Angels for me now is like watching the Dodgers of my youth, my Dodgers? Now, if my friends were any indication, pre-teen girls in Los Angeles were supposed to prefer Steve Sax in those days – Sexy Saxy as one young lady who may or may not have really understood her own nickname, called him. I didn’t dislike him at all, but I wasn’t seeing it.

As you can tell, this was quite the fun trip down memory lane for me. Hatcher’s improbable home run. My first real exposure to baseball’s unusually intimate relationship with the flying fickle finger of fate when the broadcast team felt the need to put “Joe Canseco has never hit a grand slam before” among his stats as he came up to bat with bases loaded. Ouch! The looooong tense wait for something, anything good to happen for the Dodgers. Scioscia scoring Mike Marshall in the 6th to bring the game within one run. Two and a half very tense innings, plus two outs and then hearing Vin Scully say “And look who’s coming up…” Oh that hopeful, long drawn out at bat. The pitch Gibson fouled off and watching him stagger towards first on two bad legs. And then, the hit. What a hit! Pandamonium. Legos flying everywhere, as we jumped up and down and cheered. I only know Vin Scully’s famous call of the hit from all of the replays afterwards. We were too loud to hear it when the homerun actually happened.

Dave Stewart, the A’s starting pitcher from game 1 was a very entertaining narrator. I had no idea that he hit Sax in the first inning because of some trash talk the day before. I no longer think I was being fanciful when I thought maybe Sax tipped his helmet a bit at Stewart before he took his base. It was great to hear about the famous hit from the man himself, interviewed via satellite from Spring Training in Arizona. The fact that Bob Costas, host of 20 Greatest Games, was present for Game 1 and played a few interesting roles in both that game and the Series gave this episode a nice touch. It was Costas who emphatically announced that there was no way Gibson could play at the beginning of the game. Later, standing in the hallway ready to walk out onto the field for postgame interviews, Costas overheard Gibson’s painful warm-up session in the batting cage in those last moments of the bottom of the 9th. Costas also reminded about how he accidentally inspired Tommy Lasorda’s “Kill Costas” rallying cry to the team with one of his pre-Series broadcasts about the A’s. I had completely forgotten about this detail, though it amused me to no end at the time.

Back in 1988, I remember getting goose bumps all up and down my arms when I watched Kirk Gibson hit that ball, knowing even then that I had just seen one of the great hits. Watching it all over again in a full game highlight reel format, I still get goose bumps.

Mixed Reviews on the World Series?!

Congratulations Giants and Giants fans! And, what a game! That was the quintessential pivotal World Series game kids act out when they pretend. Bottom of the ninth, the hot closer of the post season takes the mound, facing the heart of the opposing team’s line up and plows through the first three guys to save a two run squeaker, following six innings of an epic pitcher’s duel. Seriously, what a game!

Given my reaction to last night’s game, it was really odd to read the comments on my FaceBook page and listen to my coworkers griping about it this morning, and not because they’re Rangers fans either…and only five among the dozens are Dodgers fans ;). “Wow, I feel like the baseball season didn’t end this year, it fizzled.” and “Rangers and Giants? Wasn’t that the little league World Series?” and “With these teams, I just couldn’t bring myself to care.” were among my “favorite” comments. Really people? Were we watching the same post season?

I have read enough of all of your blogs to know that these sentiments no more describe everyone’s feelings than they do mine. However, the television ratings certainly indicate that a lot of casual baseball fans do feel this way and that annoyed me. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but today’s complainers are the same people who, in my experience, would be griping “Not again! How unfair!” if we had enjoyed a Yankees/Phillies match up instead. (And, if a few plays had gone a different way, we would have. Both the Yankees and the Phillies played great ball this year.) I know this to be true because, prior to the conclusions of the NLCS and the ALCS, the complainers in my hearing were already engaging in a little anticipatory “Not again! How unfair!” griping – not that this is any more fair or reality based a complaint than the others.

Clearly, the casual baseball fans in my general vicinity do not know what would entertain them. All snark aside though, this helped me realize that enjoying baseball for baseball’s sake takes context. You have to know the teams and the players involved in order to appreciate the strategies and stories within each game. Diehard fans always have context. Casual fans may or may not have context, depending on the match up. And, the most casual of fans must always have a very broad, surface context provided for them – it’s a subway/freeway series, one or both of the teams is one of the most storied franchises in baseball, one of the teams involved experienced a recent tragedy that made national headlines, etc. Given this, it’s no wonder my complainers didn’t enjoy the Series. If the only context they have is the broad, surface context, they can never appreciate a World Series like this one and aren’t really giving other World Series match ups the appreciation they deserve either. As if we didn’t know this already, it really is so much more fun to be a fan!

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