The Big Three-Oh: #4

Welcome to “The Big Three-Oh!” I’m turning 30 at the end of July and to celebrate, I am counting down my best/favorite sports moments in my lifetime. If you missed the kickoff post, check it out for the background for the seriesToday’s moment is cheating a bit. There’s are two moments both from the same playoff-run but this will also become something else.

#4 — Going to Game 5 of the 2009 NLCS and Game 2 of the 2009 World Series

No videos for today. I could probably find some but it would be a bit tougher to pin down. I referenced in the 2010 Flyers post that I had been to Game 5 of the NLCS to see the Phillies clinch the second of back-to-back NL Pennants. It was the fall of my freshman year at Lehigh. The Phillies had come back in the 9th inning in Game 4 to take a 3-1 lead over the Dodgers. My dad had already bought tickets to Game 5 but now, my first baseball playoff game could also be a series-clincher.

My dad and I sat on the third baseline of Citizens Bank Park and watched as the Phillies jumped to a massive lead. Once they took the lead, the vibe around Citizens Bank Park was that the Phillies weren’t going to relent. My dad and I found entertainment both from the game itself, as well as from a drunk Mummer who sat across the aisle from us. By the time the game ended, the ballpark was a massive party. Getting to see the coronation that was the presentation of the National League Championship was like a dream. The previous year, I had only watched from Massachusetts and now, I was in person watching the Phillies reach the World Series.

The next week, the World Series began. Once again, my dad had decided to buy tickets for us to go Game 2. It was his team, the New York Yankees, versus mine so it felt meant to be that we go a game. I was supposed to have a Calc midterm that day but I asked my professor if I could take it early because I was going to the game. He was more than happy to oblige. I took a bus from Bethlehem to Manhattan where I met my dad. We hopped the subway to the Bronx, grabbed dinner at Stan’s across the street from Yankee Stadium, and went into Game 2. Jay Z and Alicia Keys sang Empire State of Mind getting the Stadium into a ROCKIN’ mood to even things up in Game 2.

Pedro Martinez took the mound for the Phils and while they battled, Hideki Matsui helped to lead the Yankees to a victory, evening the series at one win apiece. As you know, the Yankees ended up winning the 2009 World Series in six games which was a huge bummer to me. That Phillies core never reached the World Series again. However, the memory of going to these two games with my dad is what sticks out.

I wrote about my relationship with dad and baseball about a year after he passed away and this was the pinnacle of going to sporting events with him. We’d go to plenty more baseball, hockey, basketball, and football games including the Lehigh/Lafayette game a month later, but this was the peak. Our conversations always revolved around baseball and the sports world in general. Ironically enough, the final baseball game we’d go to together would be when the Yankees came to Philadelphia in 2018–the Yankees won that game too. Of all the random sporting events my dad and I ended up going to, the stories always seem to circle back to Game 2 of the 2009 World Series.

Today’s Instagram Athlete

#4, Bobby Orr. Orr once again comes in at #4 although some others have creeped their way on to the radar–most notably, Scott Kingery. Orr is wided regarded as one of the best to ever in the play NHL and an aboslute legend in Boston. It was hard not to pick him again.

(cover photo via)

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