Thursday, October 29, 2009

World Series Memories - Part 2

Welcome back. If you haven't read Part 1, I would encourage you take a few moments to catch up by clicking here

I witnessed, first-hand, many historic moments in Blue Jay history over the first fifteen years. Along with the many home openers, I attended many season finales. From 1989 -1991, I attended the final game at Exhibition Stadium, the first game at Sky Dome and was a member of the crowd that pushed the '91 season's attendance past 4,000,000 - becoming the first team to reach that milestone.

I was in the Dome when the Blue Jays won the World Series in 1992. Although, the game was played in Atlanta, the Sky Dome was filled with fans, watching on Jumbo Tron, as Joe Carter made the final out of that historic victory. I rushed on the field and celebrated, with thousands of my closest friends - many of which I've since lost contact with. The field was partially intact, so as part of my celebration, I slid into the dirt where second base usually is.

So, in that same storage bin I mentioned earlier, along with programs, posters, newspaper clippings and a complete wardrobe, there is a pair of dirt-stained jeans and a sandwich bag of genuine Blue Jay dirt - which I scooped up to mark the occasion.

"Now, here I was. Saturday, October 23.
Game six of the 1993 World Series.
Row one, second deck...first base side."


My dad had somehow got his hands on two tickets for the game...and, then amazingly, transferred them into the hands of my sister and myself. I will be forever grateful. My dad is a bigger man, than I. Back then, if I was in his position, I would have gathered my children to my side and made them do "Rock, paper, scissors" to see who'd be joining me.

I have never experienced a more electric environment, in my entire life, then I did that night. 52,000 fans, sounding like 152,000 fans. From the moment we entered the stadium there was a rumble...an unending rumble. We could taste victory. A win tonight. Champions again.

The Jays scored three runs in their first at bat, and were leading 5-1 after six innings. My body was literally shaking from the noise, the energy, and the sheer emotion...that only a die-hard can fully understand.

The Phillies would go on to score five runs in the 7th to take the lead, which produced an obvious decline in the decibel level. But, the amazing thing was that it was so high to begin with, even in it's weakened state, the crowd noise was still sending shivers down my spine.

Bottom of the ninth. Phillies 6. Blue Jays 5.

I need to tell you that my eyes are welling up as I type. It was 17 years ago, but it feels like yesterday.

My feet were sore from standing. Nobody had sat for three solid innings. My throat was parched from cheering. My hands were raw from clapping. But it didn't matter.

The first batter was Rickey Henderson, the best lead-off hitter in the history of the game. He was walked on four straight pitches. Only great construction kept the roof from being blown off the stadium.

Every pitch instilled both fear and exhilaration.

Devon White, took the frenzied crowd through nine of those, increasingly stressful, pitches, working his way to a full count and then driving the ball deep. The crowd erupted. The ball was caught.

The rise and fall of emotional energy almost made me sick to my stomach. It was awesome.

Paul Molitor, Hall of Famer and money at the plate, came up and drove the 3rd pitch he saw for a single.

I think the stadium, momentarily, lifted off the ground as the crowd collectively jumped with excitement.

One out. Men on 1st and 2nd. Trailing by one run. A single would tie the game.

This moment was so overwhelming, my muscles were cramping due to the nervous shakes my body was experiencing. My eyes had been watering since the 8th inning. Every ounce of passion and emotional energy I had for baseball, the Blue Jays and dramatic moments was being dragged from my innermost core, up to the surface.

Then, Joe Carter stepped up to the plate.

Two balls. Two strikes. I had seen Carter enough to know that, although he was a consistent RBI man, his "Kryptonite" was a pitch low and outside. He'd go for it every time...and usually miss.

One pitch later. Magic.

The most incredible sporting moment of my entire life...and maybe one of the most incredible moments of my life. Period.

Joe drove the ball deep to Left Field. Eight years earlier, a ball hit to Left Field started my love-affair with the Blue Jays. This one cemented it.

"Touch 'em all Joe. You'll never hit a bigger home run in your life."
- Tom Cheek


Even though video evidence has proved that it happened in all of about three seconds. I only remember the scene in super-slow motion.

Because of perspective, the fans sitting in the left field corner knew it was home run before we did. I didn't think it was physically possible to raise the energy level any more than what it had been, but when Joe Carter's ball sailed over that fence...unreal.

To this day, I can still feel the immense rush of pure, unadulterated joy that started down at one end of the Dome and made it's way around to me.

I grabbed my sister in a bear hug and spun her around...almost tossing her over the railing.

There is nothing more that I can really say. Every time I watch the footage. I cry. Every time I hear the call. I cry. I've written this entire blog, battling the shakes.

I'm not sure anything else - in this world, anyways - will ever match that moment, for me.

Thanks dad, for giving me the ticket.

Have a good one,
Timmy

4 comments:

  1. YES! I so remember and when we get to re-watch the game on video or CD - whenever we get the opportunity to relive that moment - I also well up with tears and grab for the kleenex every time! Since I'd been going to Blue Jay games since the very first one at the Exhibition Stadium on a snowy day, I don't think anything can compare to those years in Blue Jay history for me. One day we hope to go there again!!!

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  2. I remember that near death moment.. what an awesome game.

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  3. Wait until you get to watch a championship with your son by your side.

    This morning I sat Patrick in front of the TV, and through the magic PVR box pretended the game was live. Watching him count down the pitches until the championship was priceless.

    When Texiera made the final out, the look on his face brought tears to my eyes. I hope you get to have a moment like that with the Jays too. The Leafs? Different story. Screw your father and son moment. May they never win the CUP AGAIN!!

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  4. Glad you had such an awesome experience! Years from now it truly will be more special the game itself.

    Yankees: 2009 World Series Champions. Enjoy. You never know when the next one will come. If I knew my wait would be 16 years (and counting), I would have treasured '93 even more - if it were possible. But that's the beauty of sports!

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