Friday, May 2, 2008

My Holy Grail Of Sports

Next Wednesday I am going to what I believe is my first mid-week day game when the Mets play at Dodger Stadium. I am pretty excited about this, to say the least, because it just seems like this is where the magic of baseball lives. Every other professional sport plays at night and on the weekends, but Major League Baseball hangs on to one of its better traditions with the get-away day game.

This got me thinking of all of sporting events I have been to and all those I would still have to, which seemed like a ranked list, so a ranked list there shall be.

Best Sporting Events I Have Been To Live

1. Game 7 - 2001 World Series: A month and a half after 9/11, a Stealth Bomber buzzed the stadium and then it got good: Curt Schilling faced Roger Clemens in each of their hey-days. Both threw 8-inning gems before turning it over to their ace relievers. When Randy Johnson began warming in the 8th inning to pitch the ninth, it was one of the greatest reactions I have ever seen in a crowd. Mariano Rivera came in for the save and Luis Gonzalez hit that little squibber to win the World Series.

2. Game 3 - 2006 NLDS: Not only did I get to see the Mets play in a playoff game, but it was 15 minutes from home, they won it, it was a blowout, they clinched the series at it, and it was a sweep over the Dodgers. Perfect.

3. Monday Night Football: Rams at Packers. My sister-in-law was a trainer for the USC football team, so when she mentioned that she, my brother and I were going to a Packers game at Lambeau, USC's equipment guy called his buddy Red, the Pack's equipment guy. Long story short: we got a free dinner in the fancy restaurant inside the stadium before they opened the building to the public, we got about $100 of Pakcers gear each, we sat in the second row in Ahman Green's family's seats (he wasn't suiting up that game), we stood at midfield after the game, we toured their training facilities, dining room and locker room, and we each took a picture standing in Favre's locker wearing his helmet. And it was Favre's 200 consecutive game, in which he crushed the Rams.

4. USD vs. #24 Gonzaga: The Richie Frahm, Matt Santangelo, Casey Calvary led Zags came to USD on a Thursday after having moved into the national rankings for the first time in a decade three days earlier. The game was live on ESPN. Afterwards, Stuart Scott coined the name for the old USD Sports Center "High School Gym." Also, because of the TV coverage there was a good Greek showing (till halftime of course). The ladies of Alpha Phi hung a poster in the gym that spelled the name of our own mascot incorrectly, which gave way to my second favorite prank I ever pulled.

5. Game 5 - NBA First Round: Clippers vs. Nuggets. Carmelo Anthony's post-season impotence was in its infancy, and the new look Clippers with Elton Brand, Chris Kamen, Corey Maggette, Quiton Ross, and newly acquired Sam Cassell, Vlad Radmanovich and Cuttino Mobley carried the Clippers to the franchise's first series win in history.

Others in contention: my only game at Shea (Mets beat Houston 4-2 and Armando Benitez did not blow the save!), Notre Dame High School vs. Saugus High School (teams traded four game winning drives in the fourth quarter), UCLA football over Alabama at the Rose Bowl (and my friend who painted "A" on his chest had an "A" tan line for months), seeing Jordan, Bird, Magic, Gretzky, Ripken, etc., Piazza's grand slam in his return to Dodger Stadium as a Met, McGuire homered at Busch Stadium on the Fourth of July, free (donations requested) Monday Night Football in Tempe when they actually ran out of beer in the stadium (note: college kids + free admission = order more beer), the finish of the 2006 Boston Marathon, Wrigley, PacBell Park (or whatever it is called now), "Jeter Sucks" chant at Fenway during a Red Sox-Devil Rays game, Ducks eliminated the Stars.

Sporting Events I Need To See (Even Though Some Are Probably Better On TV:

Playoff Football, Final Four, Super Bowl, Hole-In-One (hitting it would be great), No-Hitter, Perfect-Game, Hitting for the Cycle, NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Finals, all four Majors, all for Grand Slams, Olympics (swimming, downhill skiing, bobsled, hockey, track and field, baseball, tennis), Tour de France (Alpe d' Huez, Col de la Colombiere), Ryder Cup, Davis Cup, College World Series, BCS title game, the Rose Bowl, World Cup final, Triple Crown win at the Belmont, MLB All-Star game and Home Run be continued...

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