Monday, May 22, 2006

A great moment in baseball

I got started watching baseball in 1984, when I was pregnant and threatening to miscarry and had to stay down for months. I watched the world series and came to love the St. Louis Cardinals and Ozzie Smith.

I can't remember if it was in 1984, 85 or 86, but one of those years the San Diego Padres went against, oh, who was it, the Dodgers? They didn't have a chance.

I think the series went five games. San Diego won only one game. Steve Garvey played every second of every game and I respected him tremendously for that.

But in one game, don't recall whether it was the one game they won, or one they lost, sticks out in my mind and I bet Kurt Bevocoua (sorry about the spelling, it's pronounced Bevawkwa) will never forget it, either.

He wasn't a famous player and not much was expected of him. But he hit a home run, to his shock and everyone else's as well. He was on top of the world as he rounded the bases.

Then. . .later, in the SAME game, he hit another home run. That was simply transcendent, however you spell it. I floated for a few minutes with him and I'm sure he didn't come down for the rest of the game.

I stopped watching baseball when they went on strike a few years after that. I had no patience with that. But I will always remember that game.


Anonymous said...


You have identified exactly what is so great about baseball. Every time you watch a game, you are probably going to see something you have never seen before. Last week I watched a high school game, and I say a double play that went catcher, third base, first base. Amazing.

They figure batting averages and ERAs out to the third decimal, so you always know what the probabilities are. But the improbable happens just often enough to keep me hooked.

Also, I think the most exciting play in all of sports is in the late innings of a close game when the runner at first tries to come home on a drive to the outfield. So much is going on - baserunner watching, watching to make sure the ball isn't caught, then breaking for second base, middle infielders hustling into position for the relay throw, third base coach jumping up and down, waving the runner home, runner, sprinting, making the big, rounded turn at third, catcher taking position up the line, watching the runner, watching the incoming throw, looking back to the runner and bracing for the inevitable collision, slide and cloud of dust, finally the umpire's exagerrated "safe" or "out" call - there is just nothing like it in any other sport.

annegb said...

Yeah, that's it! Baseball is really exciting, like you said, small children's games can have drama.

One time when my son was in little league, they had barely enough players and something happened to the pitcher, so the coach put in this kid who couldn't pitch.

He threw pitch after pitch, all balls, and a few home runs. The innings seemed to go on forever.

But that kid, he had so much class, he just didn't lose it, or quit. He pitched the last half of the game, which they lost tremendously.

He can't even remember it now, but I do.

Eric Nielson said...

ESPN did a spoof on Bevakwa (speelling again). He was given something like best athelete #9742 on a sports century spot. He typified the light hitting utility infielder. Not much of a player, but a great moment for him.

A. Nonny Mouse said...

He can't even remember now, but I do.

I don't know about that: I was a lowly outfielder who couldn't hit a ball worth anything and was too short to be able to make any real plays on the infield, but my dream was to play second base. I don't know why, but I loved second base. One game, when we were losing particularly badly, I think, I actually got put in at second base. I let two or three simple grounders right past me, and got plopped back into right field.

I'll always remember it.

Of course, I'll always remember the one hit I had in my entire little-league career: it was during my last game as a baseball player. I made it on base some other way than walking because my strike zone was so tiny. It was nice.

For me, it was the '86 Mets. Mookie, Dr. J, Sid Hernandez, Darryl Strawberry, those guys were awesome.

annegb said...

Is that the year they went up against the Red Sox?

I was rooting for Boston until the Boston fans gave Darryl Strawberry such a rough time--yelling Dar-ryl. I think he'd been arrested for something during that time.

So I changed my allegiance and New York won. I thought Darryl Strawberry showed remarkable grace under pressure.

You know who I really liked? Sparky Anderson. I think he coached/managed the Tigers.

annegb said...

And Eric, you might be too young, but I saw that game live. He was just so happy, so surprised and thrilled with himself. It was a great moment in baseball.

Bryce said...

My brother made an interesting observation about baseball. In most of the other team sports that are popular in the US, if there's a big play that must be made at the end of the game, there's a way to get the ball in the hands of the star player, who you want taking the shot, or making the pass, or whatever. But in baseball, you get who you get in the lineup. This means you get some unlikely heroes in baseball at a rate much greater than in other sports. Like Kurt Bevacqua (I think that's the spelling).

I'm trying to figure out how to teach my kids to watch a baseball game. My three-year old son is obsessed with the idea of the game (every morning he gets his Yankees jersey out of the dirty clothes bin and puts it on), but I took the family to a Triple-A minor league game, and they didn't make it through the first inning before they wanted to go to the play area at the park.

annegb said...

Three year olds are so cute, little fat things, so full of themselves. I love toddlers, I wish I'd loved my kids more, enjoyed them, is a better word.

I think the game would get real boring real fast for little kids, though. I'd just get that little kid a little mitt and a bat and a ball and play with him. T-ball here is big, and there are practically no rules except having fun.

Bryce, did you know I'm referring to you as my computer slave? LOL, you're doing a good job blogging. I'm thinking of turning it over to you.

Nonny, my James played baseball, but I was a neurotic fearful mother. I remember, though, a long fly ball he caught and the look on his face. He was as surprised as everybody else, and so heartbreakingly proud.

I love baseball. Maybe I'll start watching again.