Since we’re all missing baseball, and there’s no new games being played, I’d like to take the time to think back on all of the games from our past, and games that you will never forget, even if they were not particularly memorable.
For me, the game I’ll never forget took place April 13, 2013. Mets at Twins.
I think I’ve talked about this game before; my former best friend and I went to the game with another mutual pal and were among the handful of baseball diehards who attended – there were maybe a thousand people in the stands, total. Maybe even less than that. The Twins were giving out free cocoa and coffee. You could see your breath, and each one stung.
We got there a little early and saw many of the Mets warming up in the outfield. Sat on the third base line so I was excited to finally see David Wright in person. He caught snowflakes on his tongue. A few of the Twins threw snowballs at each other. Trevor Plouffe looked like he was about to rob a bank.
Starting pitchers were Matt Harvey and Scott Diamond. Literally the only person on this site who will remember Scott Diamond is Happy. However, my former best friend was a huge fan of his and she was excited to catch a start. Matt Harvey wasn’t “The Dark Knight” yet so there was no buzz, and I had no idea who he was. Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau were with the Twins still. In fact, I bought my well loved and now well worn Morneau player shirsey at this game. For the Mets, there was a clean cut Justin “JT The Red Panda” Turner and Ike Davis.
I don’t remember much about the game itself. It was so cold, no one was playing at their best. It really was bitterly cold and a miserable game. But it was an experience I’ll never forget because it was the most unique game I have ever attended, and the people I actually saw play that I never got to see play again (any of the Mets, Scott Diamond).
So, how about you? What’s YOUR most memorable game? Let’s chat.
14 thoughts on “My Most Memorable Game”
I’m going to cheat because you didn’t limit this to MLB games. Facebook reminded me of my most memorable game this morning. 2 years ago tonight my son threw 3 1/3 innings of hitless relief in a high school game played at the new Police Athletic League field established on the site of old Tiger Stadium. Sitting in the stands on the 3rd base line I let my imagination wander and pictured the majestic right field stands behind him while Al Kaline stood waiting to catch anything hit that way.
Speaking of Mr. Tiger, his family had is obituary in yesterday’s paper. Classy to the end, it finished with this request: “In lieu of flowers or donations, the Kaline family asks that you reach out to someone you love and check in on them during this unprecedented and challenging time of need, and to be sure to thank our military, police, fire/EMS and front line care givers in any way you can.”
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Mine? A tossup between Al Leiter’s no-hitter against the Colorado Rockies on May 11. 1996, Reggie! Reggie! Reggie’s crushing three homer game against the Dodgers on October 18, 1977 in game six of the World Series and the 10/25/86 Bill Buckner WTF error on Mookie Wilson’s dribbler down the line in Game 6 of the 1986 world series. I’ve been blessed by being in the right place at the right time an awful lot; I even missed the K/T meteorite by 65 million years.
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I thought of several while considering this…
Runners up, no particular order:
—My favorite team when I was a kid was the Reds. My Mom and I would go to Spring training games at Al Looez Field (torn down to make way for the Bucs’ stadium and across the street from where Steinbrenner Field now stands). The best was going on Mar 17 and seeing the Big Red Machine take the field as “The Greens.”
2) Getting my Master’s in Boston enabled me to go to quite a few games at Fenway…including watching Clemens at Fenway as a Yankee, and watching Pedro pitch one of his typical gems.
3) My first ever big league game was a scouting outing to Memorial Stadium in Baltimore…and it was Jim Palmer pitching.
4) Scoring 2nd row behind home at Wrigley to see the Reds and Cubs…in 2016.
But the best:
I happened to visit home in FL in Oct 2013. My sister surprised me with tickets to Rays v Red Sox game 3 of the ALDS—it was me, her, our Mom, my bro-in-law, and my son. Evan Longoria hit a 3-run blast in the only game of the series they won, but the result was definitely secondary to getting to go with the fam.
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I haven’t been to a lot of live games, 3 or 4 at the Big-O to see Les Expos back in the late 70s/early 80s; a couple in Fenway fairly recently; a dozen or so over a span of about 30 years in Toronto at Skydome, and one game at the shiny new Safeco Field in Seattle.
One game does stand out for me though.
The date was August 7, 2010, and my family and I were travelling from Alberta to our new home in New Brunswick, following my final retirement from the Air Force. We had booked a couple of nights in Toronto and had tickets to the Jays game against the Rays the second night.
Unbeknownst to me, this was to be the debut game of a young Jays player that had been tearing it up in Triple-A to the tune of a .303 BA and a PCL-leading 33 HR and 79 RBI. His name was JP Arencibia and he was to be the starting catcher, replacing the injured John Buck.
By the end of the game — a 17-11 slugfest won by the Jays — he had homered on the first pitch of his first at-bat (a 2-run shot off of James Shields), followed by a double, a single and then a solo home run, for a ridiculous 4-for-5 with 3 RBI and an OPS of 3.000. Home runs were also hit by Adam Lind, Aaron Hill (2), Lyle Overbay, Edwin and his pet parrot, and of course Joey Bats.
At the time, Arencibia was only the 5th player ever to hit two home runs in his first game, and was the first person in the modern era with four hits and two home runs in a major league debut (something first accomplished 121 years before by another catcher, Charlie Reilly of the Columbus Solons.)
Following this prodigious debut, Arencibia would last a mere 5 more years in MLB, hit an anemic career slash line of .212/.258/.412 and post a career OPS+ of 80 with 80 HR.
But what a start to that brief unremarkable career.
And what a game!
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When you say Alberta, is it safe to assume you were stationed at Cold Lake? Twice my unit was supposed to go there for Maple Lead exercises, and both times we got sent somewhere hot, sandy, and ugly instead.
Yes, I spent 17 years in Cold Lake, from 1993 (when I left Germany) until 2010. That 17 years was split fairly evenly between one of the F-18 squadrons and the Technical School, where I taught various Avionics courses.
It’s a shame you never made it up for Maple Flag. We always reserved our best Alberta weather for May and June. I don’t think a year went by that the Maple Flag participants didn’t get snowed on at least once, and the Base Exchange department store always stocked parkas, gloves and toques because the crews from the southern states and places like Singapore would invariably come looking for them.
I was bummed both times my F-16 squadron got its orders changed.
Where was your F-16 squadron stationed, Raysfan? I got to visit a few USAF bases via deployment over the years, most notably Luke (twice) and Holloman (tons of times). The squadron also regularly visited Tyndall for William Tell and Combat Archer, and Nellis for Red Flag.
We also frequently visited Naval Air Stations like Lemoore, or Marine bases like Miramar, as we flew the F-18, which is not a USAF airframe.
The first one that comes to mind is the game the O’s beat the Tigers in the playoffs I went to. It wasn’t the one they won the series, but it was also the first playoff game I had been to in maybe forever. I also remember moments. Like the time the O’s clubbed a bunch of homers to come back to beat the Royals. The one where Davis was plunked and pissed and there was nearly a massive fight and they ended up getting everyone riled up and homered to win. It was magical. I remember random games from my childhood. Like the first time I saw Frank Thomas. I was so excited to see him, and he hit a few homers, the second one as my father was rushing us out of the stadium. (He always arrived in the 3rd and left in the 7th to “avoid all the traffic”). I remember killing hours during rain delays. Magical comebacks. Dominant innings. Yankees/Nats rivalries. Heart break. Tears of joy. I remember jumping up and down and hugging random strangers after a big play. I remember Moose missing a perfect game and a no hitter too many times to count. I remember Derek Jeter coming up with a impossible hit to crush our spirits. And I’ll never forget Jeffrey fucking Maier. And of course, last but certainly not least. Cal tying and then breaking the record.
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I mentioned a Memorial Stadium memory above—getting to see Jim Palmer pitch—an O’s victory over the California Angels.
I also have been to Camden Yards, nicest stadium I’ve been to. I got the see Cal Ripken live, after he’d broken Lou Gehrig’s record. The most memorable part of that game was garnering a bit of a rep among my fellow USAF docs. We were at a conference, and we always go to a game if we’re in a major league city during a home stand. The starting pitcher for the O’s, whose name escapes me, relied heavily on his slider that day. I noticed in the 6th his velocity on it had dropped from 87-88 to 83-84. I leaned over to my compadres and said that if he wasn’t replaced, someone was going to park the ball in the right field bleachers. The very next batter did exactly that.
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Playing catch with my dad. Playing catch with my son and daughter. Playing catch with my grandson and granddaughter.
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As a resident of Australia my opportunities to attend MLB games in person have been strictly limited to those occasions when either on vacation or during the few business trips that took me to the US. A game that stays in my memory was CLE @ BOS from 26 June 1996. We were on a holiday tour around the northeast visiting historic sites, big cities and as many baseball games, major and minor, that we could fit in.
The Indians were on a roll that year finishing at 99-62, the best across MLB, only to later flame out in the ALDS to Baltimore 3-1. We had excellent seats a few rows back behind the Sox dugout due to a mis-dialled international call some weeks earlier. I’d found a number for the Sox ticket office and duly dialled in the middle of our night only to end up speaking with someone in another part of the organisation. He very kindly helped arrange seats, apologising that only bleachers were available, with me happy to just get into Fenway for the first time. He also asked for a contact number, so I gave him my work number as that had voicemail… so imagine my surprise when I got to work in the morning to hear a vm from the Sox contact advising he’d spoken with someone and they’d organised some better seats. Very kind indeed.
Anyway, it was Charlie Nagy vs Roger Clemens that night and the promise of a pitcher’s duel did not disappoint. After 8 innings, Cleveland were up 4-1 with Nagy having gone the distance so far with 4H 1ER 0BB, the sole run being a Jose Canseco homer to deep left in the 4th. Clemens had mostly matched Nagy by going 7.1IP despite posting 7H 4ER 3BB and ‘only’ 6K in 139(!) pitches. Nagy was sitting on 99 pitches and looked to be cruising but orthodoxy rules, right, so Mike Hargrove brought in Jose Mesa to close it out and… he rewarded that move by promptly giving up a home run to John Valentin.
We’d been on the verge of leaving to walk back to our hotel prior to that but decided to stay a little longer, eventually departing over 5 hours after the game started. Mesa got Mo Vaughan to ground out but then gave up singles to the next four batters, thereby levelling the score. The relievers then went at it keeping both teams scoreless over the next 5.5 innings before Alan Embree walked Alex Delgado before giving up a home run to Tim Naehring. Game over in 15! Tourists happy to have watched a great game through to completion, and to have seen many of the best players of that era – Jim Thome, Omar Vizquel, Albert Belle, Kenny Lofton, Eddie Murray, and even a young Manny Ramirez were all in that Indians lineup – in the iconic setting of Fenway Park.
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Wow!!! That is indeed a memorable game! I would’ve been in heaven – some stars indeed. And Charlie Nagy is a happy throwback memory. Thank you so much for sharing it with us!
Mo Vaughn came to Anaheim around the turn of the century. We saw lots and lots of those groundouts during his disappointing tenure.
Great story, thanks for sharing!
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