This bush-league psyche-out stuff… laughable, man
Each season I’ve covered, and this is No. 5, has a game that I remember. A single, regular-season game that stands out, that always comes to mind when I look back at that season.
I have to think yesterday afternoon’s game will be the one for 2006. The way the ninth-inning rally happened, with all the two-strike hits. Seeing Oswalt come out, and then seeing Pujols crush that ball opposite way. Really a tremendous, memorable game — basically what I’ve come to expect from Cards-Astros games at Minute Maid Park.
Anyway. It got me thinking about those defining games. Here they are, for me, for the seasons I’ve covered. What are yours, either for these seasons or earlier ones? Leave out playoff games. Regular season only.
2002 – It’s a game where I wasn’t even in
attendance, actually. But the one that stands out is Edgar Renteria’s
game-winner against the Cubs at Busch on a Sunday night right before
the trade deadline. I was in Cooperstown, covering Ozzie Smith’s Hall
of Fame induction, and I watched the game on TV in a bar in Cooperstown.
2003 – It’s really the entire series at the
beginning of September in Chicago, including Woody Williams’ relief
appearance in the fourth game, the back-and-forth fifth game. I think
most of the opener of the doubleheader, though, with Orlando Palmeiro’s
spectacular catch against the wall, Albert Pujols’ error and Sosa’s
home run in extras. That series stands out as the most compelling
regular-season baseball I’ve ever seen.
2004 – This is probably the easiest call, and it’s another game at Wrigley. The defining game of that regular season was the finale of the series in Chicago right after the All-Star break. The Cards dug a huge hole early, but Pujols had five hits and three home runs to lead a comeback. The Cardinals basically salted the division away that day, even though it was July.
2005 – This is the hardest one, perhaps because there was so little drama in the standings all year. There were some tremendous games, including the Braves game with Eckstein’s walk-off grand slam, but the one that I recall most vividly is Mark Mulder’s 10-inning shutout against Clemens and the Astros at Busch.
Now it’s y’all’s turn. If you’ll excuse me, I’m off to watch some soccer and some NASCAR. (btw, how amazing is it that J.P. Montoya is going to run stock cars?! Tremendous.)
One question, btw, for those of you watching soccer today: Will you watch it on ABC? Or will you flip over to Univision? I’m going to start out with ABC, but I’m keeping them on a short leash. The first time they spend 10 minutes straight talking about the officials, or the first time Balboa says two contradictory things in succession ("Germany can’t win if they stay back like this!" … "Argentina needs to force Germany to stop staying back if they hope to ahve a chance to win!"), I’m flipping over to the Spanish call.
Currently playing on the iPod: Drive-By Truckers, A Blessing and a Curse.