Memorable Games You've Attended

Discussion in 'Happy Hour' started by Phall, Apr 3, 2021.

  1. Phall

    Phall Mentor

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    I am very fortunate to have many fun memories from games I've attended over the years. This thread is to share some of the more noteworthy ones.

    I'll never forget walking to Michigan Stadium on foot for the first time, hearing the dull crowd noise get louder and louder as I drew closer, then finally getting hit by a wave of sound as I turned the final corner on approach. Tom Brady was the QB that day, but obviously we had no idea who he'd become. I also saw a Brady vs. Brees college matchup that really seasoned in significance.

    In 2003, I went out to Detroit's new Comerica Park to see Roger Clemens go for his 300th win against the hapless Tigers. The weather was beautiful, a sunny Sunday day game, and the milestone brought out a sellout crowd. However, with a 7-1 lead, Clemens ran into trouble in the 5th inning, and the Yankees bullpen eventually blew the save. After nine even innings, Mariano Rivera came in to pitch a flawless 10th and 11th, but the bats had gone flat. David Wells entered the game in the 12th for what turned into an impromptu spot start. He was a former Tiger and got a warm welcome from the fans. Wells pitched 5.2 innings to get the 10-9 win after 17 frames. Clemens stayed stuck at 299, but after 5+ hours, my college buddies and I still went home quite happy.

    On the other end of the spectrum, I got to see Mike Mussina outduel Pedro Martinez for a 2-1 win at Yankee Stadium in May 2001. Both pitchers went 8 innings and struck out twelve apiece. This game lasted a mere two and half hours but was just as fun as a slugfest, watching two HoF aces mow down lineups full of all-stars.

    Seven years later, I went out to a Brooklyn Cyclones game (partial season Single A ball) in Coney Island and was surprised to see Pedro pitch a celebrity 3 innings of rehab work for the Mets' minor league team. Not his vintage stuff, but a funny little footnote at the end of his career.

    In 2009, the Nets were in limbo between their announced destination in Brooklyn and their previous home in the Meadowlands next to Giants Stadium. They took up a two-year residency in Newark and played in the Devils' hockey arena, but could not draw fan support and subsequently always offered huge ticket discounts. (not too different than the New Jersey Nets to be honest). This was around the time I was turning sour on the NBA and really 'noticing' the double-standards throughout sports. While no white athletes were involved, it was cool to see Devin Harris heave up a half-court buzzer-beater. The clip online is 26 seconds, but the officials kept us in our seats for what seemed like ten minutes before they finally confirmed the shot counted.

    In 2013, the New York Red Bulls produced an exciting 4-3 win against Real Salt Lake. The home team went up 2-0, squandered that lead completely to trail 3-2 after 82 minutes, then finally scored the winner on a diving header in stoppage time after a frantic final push. It was a gorgeous summer evening, and the packed stadium made the atmosphere electric. That was as loud and happy as I've ever seen a soccer crowd.

    I consider myself blessed to have been able to see a live baseball game in the summer of 2020 with my 93 yr old grandfather. The Traverse City Pit Spitters carried out a modified season of Single A ball. They ran a 'dollar draft' promotion in the second inning, and we didn't even have to wear masks while seated. It was a terrific opportunity.

    While looking back at all of these fondly, I have been wondering what the future holds for younger generations. I'm set to go back to a Red Bulls game this spring, at least as a trial, and subject myself to temperature checks and mandatory masks outdoors among an arbitrarily fractional crowd. The players will likely kneel, the banners will tout diversity and "anti-hate", and the stadium advertisements will alienate me. Rather than rejoicing at some restoration of privilege, this seems more like a slog. Will it ever go backwards? Doesn't seem likely to me. Sometime soon, we'll need to carry proof of flu "vaccination."

    Anyway, are their any particular games or fan experiences that stand out in your memories?
     
  2. icsept

    icsept Master

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    Cool thread idea, Phall. In 1999, I took my one and only visit to NYC. Went to a Yankees game and saw David Cone pitch a perfect game against the Blue Jays.

    I was a freshman at Oklahoma State in 1988 and attended every home game watching Barry Sanders’ Heisman trophy season. The first game of the season against Miami (OH) he ran the opening kickoff back for a TD, then went on to have the greatest season ever for a college RB. Mike Gundy was the QB and OU came to Stillwater and it was an epic game and it came down to the final play and OSU receiver Brent Parker dropped a pass in the end zone on the final play and we lost 31-28. I can remember walking back to the dorms with all my buddies and everybody was going through a whole range of emotions. Brent Parker was literally run out of town and had to quit the team.

    There were also many intense home basketball games between 1988 and 1992 against Big 8 opponents Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Iowa State, Nebraska, Kansas State, and Colorado. Saw some great White players like Steve Henson (K-State), Kevin Pritchard and Rex Walters (Kansas), Eric Piatkowski (Nebraska), Fred Hoiberg (Iowa State), Brent Price (Oklahoma). Saw Bryant “Big Country” Reeves’ Freshman season.

    Also, in 1994, I attended UFC 4 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was 8 fighter tournament style, with no weight classifications, rounds, or clock. Just fight until knockout or submission. You had to win 3 fights in one night. Royce Gracie beat Dan Severin in the finals. It’s really crazy looking back how UFC was such a new, unique, startup sport and has come so far. I remember they had a paper program with each of the fighter’s bios and fighting styles. I should have saved it, it’s probably worth some money now.
     
  3. Don Wassall

    Don Wassall Administrator Staff Member

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    Baseball: I watched tons of Pirates games at three different stadiums -- Forbes Field, Three Rivers and PNC Park, but mainly at Three Rivers, sometimes catching upwards of 20 games per season. From ages 12 to 15 before we had drivers licenses, my friends and I would hop on buses from the suburbs to the games and back with no adult supervision, something that would probably get parents arrested for child abuse now.

    I watched the Bucs win the 1971 NL pennant by knocking off San Fran in Game 4 and winning the best of five league championship playoff 3 games to 1. Also went to Game 5 of the '79 World Series. The Pirates were down three games to one going into it, Jim Rooker pitched five strong innings allowing just one run, and none other than Bert Blyleven came on in relief and nailed down the win with four scoreless innings. The Pirates of course went on to win that World Series over the Orioles in seven games, and haven't won a pennant since. What I remember most about that game was how electric the atmosphere was, indescribably more exciting than any baseball game I'd ever seen in person before.

    I was sitting in the upper stands in right field in Forbes Field when two of the mere 18 home runs to clear the right field roof in that stadium's 61 year history were hit, both by Willie Stargell. I witnessed Roberto Clemente's 2,000th career hit and went to see him try to get number 3,000, but what appeared initially to be a double was changed to a two-base error and I missed it when he did get the 3,000th and final hit of his career the next day.

    Football: Have seen a fair amount of regular season Steelers games but just one playoff game, that after the strike-shortened 1982 season, when Dan Fouts was at the height of his considerable powers and outdueled Terry Bradshaw and the Chargers knocked off the Steelers on the road. My favorite regular season game was a 33-30 overtime win over the hated Browns in 1979. Let's just say I was feeling no pain by the time that one was over!

    College Football: Attended Pitt games sporadically through the Dan Marino era. Was fortunate enough to be able to fly down to New Orleans on New Year's Day 1977 for the Sugar Bowl in the Superdome and watch the Panthers led by Tony Dorsett handily defeat Georgia to win the 1976 national championship. The Superdome was an amazing venue to behold.

    I also watched a lot of big Penn State home games from the broadcast booth in '78 and '79 as I had a gig as the TV stat man those two seasons. That was during the long stretch when Penn State was consistently in the national championship hunt.

    Hockey: Have seen a number of Penguins home games and several playoff games but the tickets are so expensive now I go just once or twice a season. As with the World Series, NHL playoff games have a fantastic atmosphere. Watching Marty Straka score an overtime goal in Game 6 in 2001 to defeat the Washington Capitals and close out the series is my favorite in-person hockey memory.
     
  4. Carolina Speed

    Carolina Speed Master

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    Yes, this a cool thread. However, growing up in rural NC as a kid and young adult, there wasn't any pro Football, Baseball or Basketball teams. NASCAR, pro wrestling, and college basketball were huge here.
    NASCAR- I have been to several. Charlotte Motor Speedway where I met Jeff Gordon. Some people don't like Gordon. I was able to meet him because my family reached out to him for my Grandmother who was a huge Gordon fan. She was dying of Cancer and Gordon responded by getting us Hot Passes into the pits and he agreed to meet my grandmother just before she died. We have lots of photos. What a great thing to do. I have a lot respect for Jeff Gordon.
    I have also been to Daytona.

    College Basketball- I was able to watch the 1992 Duke National Championship Team in Greensboro NC in the regionals against Iowa. What a team that was, Laettner, Hill and Hurley. They beat Iowa and then won the memorable Kentucky game. Beat Indiana, I believe, and then crushed the Michigan "Fab Five" 71-51 in the Championship Game.

    As Charlotte, began to get professional teams from the NBA and NFL, I went to a few Hornets/Panther games. I did see the Panthers beat my favorite childhood team the Dallas Cowboys in Charlotte.

    College Football- As my son was starting to get recruited for football, I was able to attend several college games for free, of course. I've been to "Death Valley" in Clemson, SC several times. Dabo Swinney's office is nice. Clemson football facilities have to be the finest in the country. Been to Duke, Wake Forest, NC State, UNC-Chapel Hill, Appalachian ST. and East Carolina football games.
    Been to a lot of Wake Forest Games. Saw Trevor Lawrence tear up the Deacons his freshman year. Got to see Cade Carney as well.

    Pro Wrestling-My father took me and my brother to Charlotte/Greensboro to some matches. I was a huge Ric Flair fan. I was able to see Flair bust Wahoo McDaniel over the head with a broken table leg, LIVE. It put forty stitches in McDaniel's head. I've seen Ricky Steamboat, Greg "The Hammer" Valentine, Black Jack Mulligan, Johnny Weaver just to name a few. Saw The Road Warriors in Asheville, NC when I was in college.
     
  5. shamrock

    shamrock Newbie

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    A high school football game in my native Mobile, AL, had the greatest ending I've ever personally witnessed. Davidson High of Mobile, was ranked #1 in the state entering their last game of the year. Everyone was very excited about it because Mobile hadn't had a state champion in almost 2 decades. The local paper wrote that team up really well, had photos of all the players, and celebrated Davidson's great season effusively. But Davidson still needed to win their last game of the season, to be played against Vigor High, a school from nearby Prichard. Vigor was decent, not great, not poor, but nobody gave them much chance.

    As the game unfolded, Vigor took an early 7-3 lead. The game then began to turn into a hard-nosed defensive battle, still remaining 7-0 at halftime. By the end of the third quarter nothing had changed and I began to notice some of the "Davidson #1" banners seriously drooping. As time grew late with Vigor still leading 7-3, I began to notice Davidson's cheerleaders openly crying, as were their girls in the stands, while the Davidson boys were frustrated and cursing.

    Then following a Davidson stop very late, Vigor punted and set Davidson back to about the Davidson 35 yard line. At that point, Davidson came up to the line of scrimmage with just 8 seconds left to secure their state title. The Davidson QB dropped back, hit a receiver at about midfield, and suddenly, lo and behold!, that receiver was in the clear at the Vigor 40. Now the entire stadium is roaring, all the hometown Davidson crowd stomping and screaming for a state championship. Then I watched as a Vigor player took off in hot pursuit, with a slight angle on him. The final gun sounded as that receiver was still speeding deeper into Vigor territory, while the Vigor pursuer kept coming for all he was worth. I was even yelling myself now, pulling for Davidson to get that state title. I could clearly see the Vigor man closing fast now but the Davidson receiver was fast approaching the white chalk mark of the goal line, when suddenly they both went down in a blur of dust. I wasn't sure what had happened til I saw some of the crowd nearer the goal line obviously droop, moan, and I saw Vigor players running onto the field joyously. That receiver had been caught and dropped at the one-yard line. No championship for Davidson.
     
  6. Don Wassall

    Don Wassall Administrator Staff Member

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    For most of Caste Football's history, a thread like this one would have had at least several pages of responses by now as it's a great topic. But now. . . crickets. Either that or only five posters on this sports site have ever attended a sporting event.
     
  7. booth

    booth Mentor

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    I was lucky enough to attend the U.S.A. vs Cuba boxing event held at the old Charlotte Coliseum in Charlotte, N.C. Howard Cossell was there calling the matches for ABC. I never knew how tall a man Cossell was until I saw him that day 6'2" or 6'3" at least. He walked with a stoop and ignored every one who tried to speak to him. Great matches with Cuba winning the most matches. The match every one wanted to see was Olympic heavyweight champion Teofilo Stevenson vs Jimmy Clark. Stevenson won by a close decision and the crowd went crazy because the Cuban referee seem to help Stevenson every time Stevenson was in a little trouble.
    I also attended the Bonecrusher Smith vs Razor Ruddock heavyweight fight in Fayetteville, N.C. A very small crowd even with Ali and Joe Frazier there. I got to meet Tim Ryan and Gil Clancy the CBS announcers who was very friendly. A couple of years later I met Mr. Clancy at a boxing clinic at Ft. Bragg. It was a great fight with Bonecrusher knocking down Ruddock in the 4th round and Ruddock coming back and knocking out Bonecrusher in the 7th round.
     
  8. shamrock

    shamrock Newbie

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    I saw Teofilo fight on TV many times. He was a universally admired fighter of much skill who won three Olympic golds in boxing and may have won 5 if Cuba had not boycotted the 1984 and 88 Olympics. Many wondered how he would fare against Ali, and in the mid-7os an offer was tendered to Stevenson of 5 million dollars to make that fight. I don't remember why it never came about, but Stevenson never accepted it. Would have been interesting to see him fight pro, against guys like Quarry, Frazier, and Ali.
     
  9. booth

    booth Mentor

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    The reason Stevenson never fought for money was his love of Castro and communism. The Cubans boxers were treated very well under Castro for they brought glory to Cuba with every gold medal they won and especially when they beat an American boxer. Stevenson would have beaten every American ht. in his prime except maybe Ali. I believe Ali's ability to take a punch would enable him to outbox Stevenson over 15 rds. Stevenson's right hand was a sleeping pill, he put a lot of boxers asleep with it.
     
  10. Charles Martel

    Charles Martel Hall of Famer

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    I've watched numerous Major League Baseball games in Tiger Stadium, Exhibition Stadium, and the SkyDome.

    And one at Shea stadium when I was in New York about 40 years ago.

    Also have watched many of NHL games at Joe Louis Arena and Maple Leaf Gardens, and CFL games at Exhibition Stadium and Rogers Centre.

    Some of the great players I've seen include Paul Molitor, Nolan Ryan, Steve Yzerman, and Guy Lafleur.
     

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