Today we have a post from guest contributor Andy Thompson (also known as Tight_PP in the comments section) on his first live Major League baseball game.
At nine years old I attended my first Major League game. After seeing the Jays on TV, listening to the radio in the car, singing along to those classic Blue Jay parody tapes, and hearing about my Dad and brother’s trips to the Dome, it was my turn to experience the excitement in person.
The star-studded 1992 version was taking the field versus the California Angels on a warm Fourth of July to a crowd of 50,000+ fans, including the three Thompson boys high above the field, two rows from the top of the 500 level, behind Pat Borders.
The Jays were flying high, first in the East with Baltimore on their tail, and selling out every game.
To be honest with you, I don’t remember much from that game.
I do remember eating McDonald’s pizza. I remember not being able to read where pop ups were going, thinking every one was a home run or coming right at me; I remember wondering if there would be fireworks after the game, and I remember the feeling of walking out from the concourse to the huge expanse that was the most impressive stadium in the Bigs.
If I knew then what I know now, I would have realized I was seeing some of the greatest players of all time.
The Jays starter was Jack Morris, the five-time All-Star who was in the hunt for his second straight World Series, having won with the Twins in ‘91. But that’s just the start.
The Angels answered with their own stud pitcher, 2011 Hall of Fame inductee, Bert Blyleven. The Halos were in for a tough one. The 1992 Jays were a team put together by 2011 Hall of Fame Inductee Pat Gillick, who was the General Manager of the Jays.
Aside from the moustachioed 1991 WS MVP looking down on them from the mound, the Angles would be facing the giant of a man in Hall of Famer Dave Winfield.
That’s not where it ended for the powerhouse Jays team. Covering second base was the third member of the 2011 inductees Roberto Alomar.
Morris was not in MVP shape, giving up hits to the first five batters he faced, and dealing with a Manny Lee error, the Jays were down 4-0 before touching the bats. The Dutchman would hold the Jays to a solo home run by Winfield in the 2nd, and an Alomar triple in the 3rd.
In the 5th the wheels came off. Jeff Kent doubles, Lee singles, Alomar walked to load the bases, and then along came Joe – 2-run single. Olerud knocks in Alomar, and the “Candyman” Candy Maldonado finishes Blyleven off with another triple scoring Carter and Olerud. Mark Eichhorn comes in to K Borders and stops the bleeding, 6-6 after the 5th. Eichhorn would end up with the loss, in part to a balk and two errors.
At my first Major League game I saw three Hall of Fame players: Winfield with a home run, Alomar with a triple and two walks, and Blyleven pitching a gem for four innings.
But youth is wasted on the young, and I have next to no memory of these events, just an old Scorebook that has followed me around for the last 18 years. But you know I will tell the kids one day while we visit Cooperstown and stop at the Class of 2011 that my first game was between these bronze faces.