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Baseball’s moments April 9, 2010

Posted by Christine Coleman in Baseball.
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Yankee Stadium

Yankee Stadium, 7/29/08

They’re the instances that bring goose bumps, cheers from your living room or even tears – and still come to mind years later. The ones that I immediately recall are Rick Ankiel’s homer in his major league debut as an outfielder, Adam Wainwright’s curve ball to Carlos Beltran, Albert’s homer off of Brad Lidge and, going back to my Cub days, the Sandberg Game (since I liked the final outcome). But what about being there, in person, for one of these moments?

That’s what my friend Kathy experienced on her first trip to Yankee Stadium.

Kathy’s been a die-hard Yankees fan since 1984, when her then-favorite Cub Henry Cotto was traded to them. (I am not alone in revoking my Cubs fandom!) Yet it wasn’t until 2005 that she attended her first game at Yankee Stadium. At the time her favorite Yankee was Bubba Crosby. Chances are you’ve never heard of him, and that was part of his appeal for Kathy: “He was my favorite mostly because he was a ‘nobody,’ especially in comparison to everyone else on the team. He always hustled and went all out. He was also awfully darn cute. That always helps.” Of course! (See for yourself.)

So Kathy and a friend went to New York and to Yankee Stadium on Sept. 19 to see her guys take on the Orioles. They had good seats for the game, about 20 or so rows right behind home plate. I was watching the game too – I was taping it for her (yes, with a VCR) and at the time, with DirecTV, had to watch whatever I was taping. Bubba was in the starting lineup, which made me very happy since I knew Kathy would be thrilled. He was batting eighth and playing right field, since Gary Sheffield had a leg injury. Bubba singled in his first at-bat, which was awesome. In the fifth inning, with the Yankees down 2-0, he bunted for a single and later that inning scored the tying run. The score remained tied into the ninth inning.

Bubba was up first in the bottom of the ninth. And he launched a long fly ball to right field that sailed deep into the bleachers. As I watched on TV, I screamed and clapped and couldn’t believe it. The crowd, understandably, went into a frenzy and I wondered how Kathy could even stand it. Her Bubba hits a walk-off homer at her first-ever game at Yankee Stadium! I couldn’t wait to call her.

But I had to talk to someone immediately – the moment was too perfect to not share right then. So I called my Mom, because at least she would understand it. (We had called each other during those two walk-off victories the Yankees had on consecutive nights during the 2001 World Series too – I didn’t yet know Kathy at the time.) Now I remember nothing of that conversation with my Mom. I do, however, vividly remember calling Kathy a short while later. It was very hard to hear – we were both screaming, for one thing, but there was also a very loud chant in the background from fellow Yankees fans around her: “Boston sucks! Boston sucks! Boston sucks!” Which, of course, is the perfect thing to chant after just beating the Orioles. (But the Yankees were battling the Red Sox for the division lead at the time.)

Our conversation was thus understandably short, but I kept watching the Yankees post-game that Kathy would now be all the more interested in. It was worth it just to see that homer replayed over and over. Plus I had the chance to hear Bubba interviewed. I excitedly e-mailed Kathy about it, even though she wouldn’t read it until she got home, and still have the message:
“God, he’s cute! And to hear him talk about this just makes it that much better! This was the first walk-off homer he’s ever hit, even going back to Little League. Of course he wasn’t expecting to hit one — he thought about bunting, then thought maybe he could get one to the outfield for a double. As he running the bases, he tried to slow down and take it all in but he could only think about what would happen at home plate. He said it was an out of body experience! He didn’t know what anyone was saying to him, with all the guys screaming and pounding on his helmet.”

Even now, more than four years later, just thinking about that game amazes me. The ultimate baseball moment for Kathy. As she herself said this week: “Ahhh….just thinking about that night made me smile. Still SO surreal. Too perfect.”

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Comments»

1. linda suring - April 9, 2010

I’m not even a baseball fanatic and you’ve sucked me in!

2. Erika - April 9, 2010

Your excitement is contagious in the telling of that story! I was smiling so big just reading it! Baseball just has a way, doesn’t it…. 🙂

3. Christine Coleman - April 9, 2010

Thanks to both of you. I didn’t create the story – just was able to tell it!


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