Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Did You See That?

So TigerBlog Jr. was right at the finish line for a Triple Crown winner.

That's somewhat historical, no?

It's led TigerBlog to a question for all of you out there. What's the most famous athletic event you've ever seen live?

One of the beauties of sports is that you never know when you're going to see an epic event. Pick any random night of the Major League Baseball season. If you have tickets to a game, you're not likely to see something that nobody will ever forget - but there is that chance.

Maybe you'll see a no-hitter. Maybe someone will make the greatest catch of all time. Maybe someone will hit four home runs.

Maybe you'll see a disallowed home run because of a rules technicality that results in having one of the greatest players ever completely lose his mind, leading to a protest, an overturned on-field decision and a whole lot of bizarre stuff. That would be the famous George Brett "Pine Tar" game.

That was back on July 24, 1983. TigerBlog, who was only in the old Yankee Stadium a handful of times in his life (and has never been in the new one, though he figures he will be when Princeton plays football there against Dartmouth in 2019).

He was there for the Pine Tar game.

Don't remember it? Watch THIS video.

George Brett, by the way, is one of TigerBlog's all-time favorite baseball players, largely because he spent his career doing things like he did that day to those damn Yankees. Brett was a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer with 3,154 career hits, and he's the only player to win a batting title in three different decades. He also hit .390 in 1980, for the best batting average a player has had since Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941.

That day in 1983 was the only time TigerBlog ever saw Brett play live. He went to Shea Stadium once to see another of his all-time favorites, Greg Maddux of the Braves, pitch against the Mets, and Maddux barely made it out of the fourth inning or so on a rare day when he got shelled.

Like TB said, you never know when you're going to see history.

Then again, sometimes you do - like going to the Belmont Stakes when a horse has already won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. For TigerBlog, the Belmont Stakes is like Game 7, if a horse has already won the first two races, and like a Game 7 that is still played anyway if one horse has not won the first two.

TigerBlog has never been to a Game 7 live. He's been to, he believes, one NBA playoff game (1973 Eastern Conference final Game 4 as the Knicks beat the Celtics 117-110 in two OTs), no NFL playoff games and no NHL playoff games. He was there for the 1983 World Series between the Phillies and Orioles.

By the way the Orioles won that series in five games. None of those five games ran more than 2:50 and only one ran more than 2:35. The deciding game, a 5-0 Baltimore win, was played in 2:21.

TigerBlog will guess, sight unseen, that Game 5 of the 2018 World Series is in the fifth or sixth inning at the 2:21 mark.

So what is the most famous game you've ever been to? Certainly there have to be some of them.

How about Princeton games?

TigerBlog has certainly been to more than his share of famous ones. What would he have liked to have gone to that he missed?

Depends if you're talking time machine or missed it by a few years.

If you're talking time machine, then he'd probably like to have seen all of the following:

* Hobey Baker - can you imagine what a Princeton football game in, oh, 1913 looked like?
* Dick Kazmaier
* Bill Bradley at Dillon Gym
* a game in sold-out Palmer Stadium when there were horses parked outside
* the first football game back in 1869 (to see what people made of it)

If you're talking about just missed it, then he would have liked to have seen the earliest days of women's athletics here. His own memories go back to the late 1980s, when things had already evolved pretty far. He would have loved to see what they were like 10-15 years earlier, when women's teams were definitely second fiddle to the men, and how the women's athletes, coaches and administrators had to do things to earn that equality that the current generation would never dream of having to do.

Oh, and he would have loved to have seen the 1981 Princeton-Yale football game.

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