Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Don't Go Breakin' My Heart

I have two favorite baseball teams….The Seattle Mariners and whoever is playing the Yankees. My hatred of the Yankees goes back to when I was a kid living in the Kansas City Missouri area. You see, I was a big fan of the Royals and they had pretty good teams through the mid to late 70s. George Brett, Hal McRae, Freddy Patek, Jim Wohlford, Cookie Rojas, John Mayberry, Dennis Leonard were all players that I loved. They were good enough to win the west for a couple of years straight and play in the ALCS. This is where my pain begins and my hatred for the Yankees fertilized.

For two straight years the Royals and Yankees played a game 5 to crown the America League Champion. In those days, there were no wild cards and only 2 divisions in each league. The league championship series was only a 5 game series so the winner of these game 5’s would go on to play in the World Series. In each year, Chris Chambliss hit 9th inning home runs to beat the Royals. They broke the heart of an 11 and 12 your old boy two years in a row. At that age you never recover from that kind of pain and I harbor resentment still today.

In 1995 I got some revenge on the pinstripes. I had recently moved to Seattle and a lot of the reason that I picked this city to move to was because of the Mariners. I was a lone M’s fan in the middle of Louisiana looking to move and I had offers in New York and San Jose as well as Seattle but I picked Seattle basically because of the M’s. As it turns out this probably wasn’t the best financial move I could have made but I love it here. Not only do I get baseball here but the weather is great. I know everyone says it rains a lot here but anyone who has lived in Louisiana for any period of time knows it rains there more than Seattle.

I digress from my point which my revenge of the demonic Yankees. My Mariners had made a late season run to win the American League West title in a one game playoff with the Angels and had to face the scumbag Yankees in the first round of the playoffs. After losing the first 2 games in New York, the wicked Yankees brought their team of pigs to Seattle to close out the series and move on. Thankfully, at least for me, this didn’t happen. After winning games 3 and 4, game 5 went into extra innings where Randy Johnson was called out of the bullpen to pitch after starting just 2 days earlier. Randy pitched for a couple of innings and gave up a run in the top of the 11th. In the bottom of the 11th, Joey Cora led off with a bunt single and he was advanced to 3rd on Ken Griffey Jr.’s single. Edgar Martinez followed that with a double to left field that scored Junior all the way from first. I had never seen Junior run that fast in my life and I was delirious. There I was, a 30 year old man, crying with my friends in one of the happiest moments of my life. Edgar, Junior, Johnson, and the rest of the Mariners had beaten the Yankees in the playoffs, something my childhood’s favorite team couldn’t do at the time. It had taken 18 years to exercise the demons, but they were finally gone.

But the hatred is still there which brings me to the 2004 ALCS. After watching the Yankees handle the Minnesota Twins rather easily, the foul stenched team from New York looked ready to destroy what a lot of people thought was the best American League team in baseball; the Boston Red Sox. After losing rather badly in the first 3 games of the 7 game series, the Red Sox have come back to tie the series at 3 games each. I am no big Boston fan, but if I have to listen to Ben Afleck complain about Bill Buckner one more time I am going to be sick. So here is hoping that my 2nd favorite team this week will beat the Yankees in game 7 of the 2004 ALCS. If they don, I will still have 1995 to hang on to.

By the way, I still have my Mariners 1995 World Series tickets for the event that never happened.

Happiness and Health



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