Friday, April 29, 2016

Papi Moments

As everyone in Red Sox Nation celebrates David Ortiz’s final season, I thought it would be a good excuse to recount some of the most memorable things I’ve seen David Ortiz do.

Especially on days where I can’t think of something else to write about.

These sorts of endeavors are always tricky, which I suppose is part of their charm. Of course, anyone can put together a list of David Ortiz Highlights. But, if I’m writing it, it should probably be the most important moments to me. Sometimes those will be the same thing. Sometimes they won’t. For that reason, most of them will be games I attended. For the most part, any moment that I’m present for will trump a moment I watch on television or hear on the radio. It has that ability to transform the last few hours of my life from a crummy time to a pretty good time.

Or, in the case of this moment, even longer.

I’m going to start with Ortiz’s home run to win game four of the 2004 ALCS. I was in the ballpark for that game. Although, I’ll admit it was pure luck that kept me in the ballpark until that moment.

Usually I take the T when I go to games. But, for that game my brother was driving us, and he decided to drive in and find a lot. We found a lot not too far from the park, that included blocked parking. We were somewhat near the entrance to the lot, but by the time we left the lot, a couple cars had come to block us in. 

So, I will fully admit that as the game dragged on and on, and the hour grew later and later, there were many discussions about how long we were going to stick it out. I had already seen the Yankees celebrate an American League Championship on the Fenway grass. I wasn’t thrilled about the idea of seeing another one. But, there were a couple deciding factors. Since we drove in, we weren’t slaves to the train schedules. Beyond that, we knew we were blocked in at the lot. How foolish would we feel if we left early, only to sit in our cars until the end of the game listening to it on the radio? So, we stuck it out through the cold.

What choice did we have?

Boy am I glad we did.

You all know the story. Dave Roberts stole the base after Millar walked in the bottom of the ninth. Bill Mueller drove Roberts home to tie the game. What at the time seemed like hours later, with Manny Ramirez on base Ortiz lifted a ball into the bullpen to send us all home happy.

Again, full confession, my emotion was a mixture of relief and excitement. Thank goodness the Sox hadn’t been swept. Thank goodness the game wasn’t going to go on any longer. And, Oh My God Did We Just See That?

Of course, at the time all we knew was that the series was now 3-1. For all we knew the Sox would be eliminated the following day. (Or, the same day as it turned out.)

But, of course, they weren't eliminated. That win was the start of a run unmatched in my memory.

And it all started with this Papi Moment.

(Oh. When we got back to our car, the three people blocking us in were gone. We joked with the people waiting in the cars we were blocking it that we hoped they hadn't been waiting for long. Their response was "an hour." Exactly what we were afraid of happening to us.)

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