Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Impossible Return

5 years ago today.

Back on August 5th, 2001 my buddy Scott and I took in an Indians-Mariners game. Scott was in town from Los Angeles and I hadn't seen many games that year, so we were looking forward to a night at the ballpark.

Then the game started.

The Tribe was getting their ass kicked; they got down early and got down big. However, like any good fans, we didn't leave. It was a wonderful night, Scott was from out of town and I only see a few games in person a season- we were staying til the end.

The crowd was having fun, most of the older fans left and die hards and drunken college kids remained. The game was meandering along and though the Tribe was getting killed, we were enjoying ourselves.

The 7th inning stretch came along (the Tribe was down 14-2 at this point) and we all happily sang "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" (this was pre-9/11, so no "God Bless America").

Then the Tribe's bats woke up:

Bottom 7th: 3 runs
Bottom 8th: 4 runs

Though the backups were in, you could feel something was 'happening' at the Jake. Sure the Tribe was still down 5, but the Indians had come alive. The pitching hadn't let the Mariners get anymore than 14 and the Tribe's bats had woken up. Then the Miracle occured:

With Charlton still pitching, the bottom of the ninth was led off by Eddie Taubensee, who promptly singled. He was followed by Thome, who flied out softly to right field. Russell Branyan struck out next. The Indians were still down by five, and found themeselves literally down to their last strike. Marty Cordova doubled off the left field wall, missing a home run by a few feet. Jeff Nelson came in to relieve Charlton of his pitching duties. Wil Cordero, on a 3-2 count, walked to load up the bases. On yet another full count, Einar Diaz then singled to left field scoring two runs. Kaz Sasaki was then substituted in to relieve Nelson of his pitching duties. Kenny Lofton singled to center field which loaded the bases for Omar Vizquel.

Vizquel, already having a big night, hit a triple past a diving Ed Sprague, the first baseman, and down the right field line. Miraculously, all three runners scored. The game was tied at 14, With the winning run at third, Jolbert Cabrera grounded out softly to third on a close play.

Unbelievably the Indians had brought the game to extra innings.

After the Tribe tied it up, you knew they were going to win, everyone in that stadium knew. It was one of the greatest things I have ever seen in person. Half the stadium had left, but at the end you would swear it was a full house (listen to that crowd!).

I've always stayed for entire games on a matter of principle; you don't leave early unless you got a damn good reason. Sometimes the game ends harmlessly in a blow out, but sometimes... sometimes something magic happens.

1 comment:

Erik Mann said...

great topic, keep up the great posts, MMA