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Favorite Baseball Moments

The off-season is a good time to take a step back and remember why you like baseball so much. What about the game just makes you yearn for it come January and have the urge to slow time down to a crawl come late September (unless you’re a fan of a team who actually makes the playoffs…I wouldn’t know).

I love baseball for many, many reasons. For one, it was jammed into my head from the day I was born. I was just a rookie in 1985 when our beloved Royals won the World Series. It would have been impossible for me to not love baseball being born into the house I was born into and in the time I was born. My favorite player when I was little was Danny “Tarbatull” and once I got over wanting to leave the stadium as soon as I was done eating, going to the stadium was about my favorite thing in the world to do. Still is.

I remember going to the famous 18 inning game in 1991 when Saberhagen pitched against Ryan. It was hot that day and I was just a little guy, so we came home after the 12th inning or so. I distinctly remember looking at the microwave clock in my kitchen and seeing 6:36 and deciding to check to see if the game was still going on. Sure enough, there was Denny, sounding a bit tired announcing probably the 16th inning. I found out the next morning that the Royals won in the bottom of the 18th. Boy was I mad that we left!

If I had been just a little bit older, the strike in 1994 probably would have turned me off to baseball. Luckily, I didn’t really understand it or the ramifications. Now that I do, I’m way too hooked to turn away. Yeah, it bothers me that the Yankees payroll is three times that of the Royals, but I can’t change it and I can’t help my love for the game.

I also played for most of my youth life. I think I was pretty good, too. Not good enough to really go anywhere with it, but good enough to hit in the top half of my lineup for most of my little league and high school teams. I loved playing. My best moment having to do with baseball, though, came in 2007.

2007 was the year that Zack Greinke made his return to the Royals. You might recall in that season that he pitched out of the bullpen for much of the year before returning to the rotation late. He went three innings, then four, then five and then struggled in a start and then had one more short start of less than six innings before the Royals decided that it was okay to take the training wheels off on him and just let him go.

During that time, my father had a heart attack and ended up needing quintuple bypass surgery. It was scary. He was in the hospital from September 14, 2007 to September 21, 2007. Occasionally, I’ll remind him that he cost me the chance to get a cool green hat on the Half Way to St. Paddy’s Day giveaway.

As my dad was recovering, he was getting to the point that he was about ready to get released and go home. It was Thursday September 20, and there was a good chance that he’d be released within the next couple of days. So he was alert, in good spirits and healing. I had just finished college and it actually turned out to be fortunate that I hadn’t been able to find a job yet because it allowed me to be in the hospital during the day while the rest of my family could get back to work.

So I was at the hospital and saw that the Royals game would be on WGN against the White Sox. There was no television in Kansas City, but it would be cool to get a chance to watch a day game with my dad. Thursday September 20 was also the day that Greinke was unleashed from his pitch counts and restrictions. We got to see a masterpiece that day. Zack went eight innings, struck out ten, gave up two hits and didn’t walk anybody.

It was truly masterful. I remember turning to my dad in about the second or third inning and telling him that Greinke had amazing stuff that day. The White Sox didn’t get their first hit until the fourth. I may remember that game anyway because I tend to remember well pitched games like that for some reason. But I’m pretty sure that I wouldn’t remember it so vividly if it hadn’t been for the situation.

I’ve had a lot of moments having to do with baseball. It’s a huge part of my life. I’m a baseball nerd. But that day, watching that game, was probably my favorite moment in my baseball life.

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