Tuesday, November 01, 2005

My Favorite Games

Watching ESPN Classic this weekend I got to thinking. If they let me choose five games of any sport to air, what would they be? I placed a few rules in to narrow it down. First, it had to take place while I was still alive. Second, I had to have actually seen the game and not some highlight package or retrospective. Third, this is a personal list and not a historical list. Again, they are in no particular order.

May 6, 1998: Houston Astros vs. Chicago Cubs:

Kerry Wood’s 20 strikeout game. I remember rushing home to watch the game. The phenom Wood was pitching and I wanted to see the hope of the future pitch. He had been recently called up about a month ago from the minors. There was debate about if he was ready for the big leagues. What wasn’t up for debate was his stuff. You know in the first inning when a pitcher is on his game. Watching the break on Wood’s curve and slider was evidence enough that it would be a long day for the Astros. It was actually a 2 hour and 19 minute day, but I’m sure it felt longer than that. After watching that game I actually had hope for the Cubs. I don’t know what I was thinking.

October 15, 1988: World Series: Oakland Athletics vs. Los Angeles Dodgers:

This is perhaps the greatest postseason HR in my lifetime. I still get goose bumps when I see highlights. With the underdog Dodgers down by one run in the bottom of the ninth with 2 outs and a man on, who is sent to the plate but the gimp Gibson. With two bad knees he hobbled to the plate. Who knew he would smack the game winning HR off the unhittable Eckersley? I’m certain nobody did, not even Lasorda. I remember watching with my Dad as he rounded the bases and pumping his fist. It’s one of those moments that proved how great and improbably baseball can be. This game also had Canseco hitting a moon shot grand slam that dented one of the cameras in the bleachers.

Jan. 1, 1997: Rose Bowl: Ohio State 20, Arizona State 17:

I was debating between this game and the National Championship game in 2000 as my Ohio State game. It’s a really tough choice, but for sentimentality reasons I’m going with this one. Ohio State’s bid for a National Championship was cut short once again by Michigan. Still the Buckeyes were able to go to the “grand daddy of them all.” My Dad and I watched, and rode the rollercoaster of emotion in this game. From the go ahead TD on the “Baby Face” Germaine pass to Stanley, to the gut punch as the Sun Devil’s Jake Plummer ran into the end zone with 1:40 left in the game. I was nearly in tears as I watched the Buckeyes with 1:19 left, march down the field and score the game winning moments. It’s one of those great father/son sporting moments for me.

January 3, 1993: Playoffs: Buffalo Bills vs. Houston Oilers:

The greatest comeback in NFL history. At least that’s what they always say on NFL films. It was really amazing to see a backup quarterback take a team down 35-3 early in the second half to a 41-38 OT victory. I would have never believed it myself, if I hadn’t have seen it. Years later when the Oilers became the Titans they would enact their revenge with the Music City Miracle.

October 5, 2003: NLDS: Chicago cubs vs. Atlanta Braves:

For first time in my life I got to see the Cubs win a playoff series. The fact that they did it against the dreaded Atlanta Braves was just icing. Being a Cubs fan, I waited for the inevitable collapse to happen. It didn’t happen as Wood shut down the Braves for eight innings, and Borowski closed out the ninth. For days I was riding that baseball bliss till the inevitable finally happened. Shudder. So close. So close.

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