Baseball memories from a 411 fan

Hi all,

 

There’s no real fantasy angle here, but 411 fan Allan in Texas sent me this great e-mail and he agreed to let me post it here. I hope everyone will enjoy it and share their own fave (not five, one will be fine :-P) baseball memories!

 

Thanks,

Cory

 

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The 411 has provided me with endless entertainment, so this is my attempt to give something back:

 

My sisters live in Colorado and are part of a season ticket consortium.

 

The guy who started the consortium had minor league season tickets to going way back, so got a high pick when Coors was built. 8 seats 8 rows behind the middle of the Rockies dugout at Coors. I’ve attended quite a few games there. Last year I was lucky to attend Game 4 of the World Series at Coors. The members of the consortium all wanted to use the season tickets, so my brother-in-law, who is a Coors executive, got us tickets. He sat in the first row of the first balcony, even with home plate, and gave my mom and I another pair 15 rows behind home plate!

 

It was a wonderful experience to share with my 80-year-old mother, and a true “bucket list” moment (next I want to vomit on a celebrity). The experience taught me that Red Sox fans are far more obnoxious than Yankee fans, so I root more for the Yanks now.

 

My parents had a mixed marriage – Dad’s side were White Sox fans, and Mom’s side were Cubs fans. Spent many childhood summers at my grandparents’ house with the daytime Cubs games on TV (I’m still against lights at Wrigley). The first game I remember attending: July 1967 at Wrigley against the Cardinals (World Champs that year with a few Hall of Famers). My sister tells me that it was not my first game, though.

 

Apparently my dad used to take me to Comiskey when I was even younger. I attended the last game at old Comiskey and the first game at new Comiskey (now U.S. Cellular). Did not make it to Disco Demolition Night.

 

Lived outside Washington D.C. in the late 60′s and went to many Senators games at RFK. I still have the programs. Opening Day against the Yankees, 1969, featured Mel Stottlemyre pitching against Camilo Pascual.

 

I saw Mickey Mantle play 1B for a few innings that day, and it was very sad to see him barely mobile as a shadow of the player he’d been.

 

I was a Senators fan but could never bring myself to really like the Rangers.

 

My friends and I used to hang around RFK after the games for autographs. One time, around 1970, the crowd largely dissipated, I saw Ted Williams, the Nats manager at the time, come out a side entrance a hundred feet away, trying to avoid attention. I walked inconspicuously over to him and asked him for an autograph, no one else near or having noticed. He thought for a second, looked over at the remaining crowd, and said, “Sorry, kid, can’t do it.” Maybe if I’d told him he was one of my dad’s heroes, that would have worked. True story.

 


a_williams_spt.jpgI want to see a game at every ballpark, but have a long way to go.

 

Unfortunately I will miss Yankee Stadium and Fenway, but I did go to Shea as a kid. That was my only visit to NYC ever.

 

Maybe it’s “grass is greener” but I totally envy you; you have what I would consider a dream job within the wonderful world of baseball. I’m a number cruncher from way back, a chemical engineer with an MBA in finance, if that tells you anything. I used to invent dice games, drafting a league, playing out a season and tracking the stats, in a poor simulation of what we do now in fantasy leagues.

 

I love baseball.

 

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5 Comments

I’ll share my favorite baseball memory. It’s the 1988 World Series, Game 1 in Los Angeles- the Kirk Gibson game. I was planning on visiting a friend that weekend in LA, and when I planned the trip I had no expectation of the Dodgers being in the World Series. They had no chance of beating the Mets in my mind. The Mets were a powerhouse and the Dodgers just looked like a sad team on paper.

So I go down south and spent the weekend in a bit of a daze because the Dodgers were in the series. I’m still amazed the Dodgers beat the Mets that year- that is still my favorite NLCS ever. Each game dripped with drama. Anyway, being young and impetuous and in LA, I had a crazy idea. Rather than paying scalper prices for tickets, we would pay for parking, hang out in the parking lot, and when one of the notorious Dodger fans leaves early to go home in the 7th inning, we’d ask for their tickets and go in to catch the end of the game. I was young and thought it would work. Worse case scenario is that I spend game one of the World Series in the parking lot and that would be my story.

We paid for parking in the Dodger Stadium parking lot and my friend and I wandered around the parking lot, watched Debbie Gibson walking through the stadium on her way to sing the national anthem, and just soaked in the atmosphere. When the game started, we had a picnic in the back of my Chevy stepside pickup truck, listening to the game on the radio with the stadium hovering over us.

The first lasting memory I have is the sound of the stadium erupting three seconds before the radio announced Mickey Hatcher hitting the first inning, 2 run home run. It was a strange dopler-like effect to hear the cheers from the stadium behind you before the play-by-play announcing what happened.

After the third inning, we started wandering around and wondering how soon someone would leave the stadium. The answer turned out to be sooner than we thought- in the fourth inning, two couples came out to head for home. We asked for their tickets- they said we could have them. The girls were intoxicated and we knew the last thing on anyone’s mind was the ticket stubs. The guys complained about the rows of extra seats added for the playoffs and how it obstructed their view. They said they were going home to watch the rest of the game in their hot tub- you got to love L.A.

So, stubs in hand, we walked back towards the gate. They wouldn’t let us in at first, but I had planned well and we were carrying jackets. I explained to the gate attendant that we went to the car to get our coats and that we went out another gate. They eventually let us in, but we were followed to make sure we were heading towards our seats. Fortunately I knew my way around Dodger Stadium and went right towards the section our tickets indicated. We were in!

These seats were on the field level in left field in the third row. I felt like I could touch Dave Parker in left. The original ticket holders went home because their seats were normally front row right on the field and the added playoff seats weren’t to their liking.

Game was pretty boring from the 4th to the 9th. Dodgers brought the lead down to one, but everyone knew that the A’s were the far superior team and that the Dodger’s wouldn’t win.

Well, we all know how it ends. I remember being upset when Mike Davis stole second in the 9th because I thought for sure the A’s would take the bat out of Gibson’s hand and walk him. That obviously didn’t happen. I remember hugging complete strangers after the home run. The things you remember- I remember hugging a very tall African americian gentleman in an Eric Clapton t-shirt. I remember everyone cheering when Bob Costas came on the scoreboard with Gibson for the post game interview. I remember the replay was shown over and over for what seemed like an eternity, and each time we cheered like it was the first time. Everyone cheered until the lights were dimmed, then took the party to the parking lot. I remember that it took forever to get out of the parking lot but no one minded because it was one huge party. And the best part was I saw it for free.

Great story, makes me wish I were older to have stories like that before the days of ‘overglorification’ and the greater than thou attitude of many players these days.

Sadly the only great memories I’ll have of my ‘good ol days’ will be of having visited old Tiger Stadium and watching games during the great season of ’84. Of course, the games I most remember are from the recent history & I have a feeling my kids won’t be so excited about baseball when I relive the glory days of the Tigers losing 119 games and being the only fan sitting in an entire section.

Jason in MI

My fav baseball memory: I’ve seen a lot of incredible games, but unfortunately 99% of them were seen on TV. My fav live memory, however, came in 1988. I was 14 & a huge Mets fan (still am!) & my favorite player was Keith Hernandez (best mustache in sports; sorry Rollie). I was still riding the high of ’86 & a great ’87, but had never gotten to see the Mets live outside of Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati as I’ve lived in Kentucky for most of my life.

That year my dad decided to coordinate a couple of his business trips with Mets games in 3 Rivers (Pitt) & Fulton County (Atl) & you can imagine what a treat it was for me to just be able to experience new stadiums and atmospheres alone, but it turned out to be much more special than that. The two games I went to:

April 26 (Atl): Mets win 13-4; Keith Hernandez’s went 2 for 5 w/2 homeruns & 7 RBI’s (the most he ever had in a game in his entire career).

August 5 (Pit): Mets win 3-2: Keith goes 2 for 5 w/a double & a homerun, 2 RBI’s & drives in the GWRBI.

Maybe I was a good luck charm for Keith, but to me it felt like he was doing something special just for me & I’ll never forget those moments. Thanks Keith!

shannon in KY

I’ve had a lot of great baseball moments with my dad, but my favorite was with my younger brother.

I was home in Wisconsin from college (in Los Angeles) the summer of 2003, set to start my senior year at USC. My younger brother Bill was about to start school at UW- Eau Claire. We decided to check out a Beloit Snappers game (they’re a Class A affiliate for the Brewers).

We’d never been to a minor league baseball game before, and we were very surprised by the small crowd, mediocre facilities, cheap prices, and fun atmosphere. There were goofy contests and t-shirt giveaways. I snuck Bill a beer (he was only 18) and we watched someone hit a foul ball that smashed the window of a car near the field.

Tony Gwynn Jr. had recently joined the team, and we saw him hustle out an infield single. We remarked how thin he was compared to his dad. Prince Fielder, on the other hand, looked a lot like his dad Cecil. Prince smashed a line drive homer over the right field wall in his first AB, and Dennis Sarfate pitched great, save for one bad inning, and got the win.

We got a program and talked about baseball, our family, college, careers, etc. It didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, but he still lives in Eau Claire and I still live in Los Angeles, so moments like that are few and far-between now, and I swear we bonded more on that one afternoon than we did in 18 years of living in the same house. I still have the program from that game.

-Dan in Los Angeles

Great stuff folks keep it comin’! Do the skeptics understand now why we like doing the Fave Five? :-)

http://fantasy411.mlblogs.com/archives/2008/07/fav_5_baseball_memories.html

BTW, G-Men, my most lasting memory of that game (other than the HR) is of course Canseco’s first inning slam off Tim Belcher, which hit the CF camera and seemed to indicate that the rout was one. Of course, the A’s didn’t score another run seemingly for the rest of that series… indeed, the rout was on…

–CS

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