It's been said that we all get about 15 minutes of fame in our lives, and this post is about mine. It was during the Spring of 1997 and XL, Yoda and I were going down to Camden Yards to see the O's take on the Red Sox. From the Spring of '95 till the spring of '98 we saw scores of O's games, usually from the center field bleachers thanks to our college student's bank accounts. This day was special however, so we sprung for front row seats in left to honor XL's 21st birthday. If we hadn't I might not have had 4 or 5 of my 15 minutes.
It was April 25th of 1997, which is funny because XL's birthday wasn't till the 29th and mine wasn't till May the 31st and yet we were still drinking like fish. The O's were off to a scorching 12-6 start en route to leading the AL East each and ever day of the '97 season. On this particular day we had the pleasure of staring at the asses of Troy O'Leary of the Red Sox and Tony Tarasco of the Birds all day long, and they would both play a part in our shining moment.
In the 7th inning with one on, two out and the O's on top 2-0, O'leary hit an opposit field shot right at us. We rose to our feet and I stretched out my glove to make a play. At the last moment I caught a glimpse of Tarasco camped out at the wall and I pulled my glove back, exposing my two boys to possible perril... and I'm not talking about XL and Yoda. Tarasco rose up and gloved the ball for the final out of the inning and the O's went on to win 2-0, improving to 13-6 in the process.
With the elevation of the wall at Camden Yards I could have easily reached my glove over Taraso's and gone home with a souvenir. Just 6 months earlier another kid from Jersey, Jeffrey Maier, did just that to Tarasco, and helped the Yankees to win a playoff game. It is arguably the thing Tarasco (and Maier for that matter) is best known for, and I had the chance to do it to him again, but I didn't. As and O's fan that souvenir would have been very costly to my team, and I was happy to forgo it. It was the 3rd out of the inning and the least Tarasco could have done was to flip me the ball as a thank you, but I don't like to complain too much.
The O's announcing team pointed out that it was good fandom on our part to pull back from the ball, and it was even mentioned on This Week in Baseball the following week. That's all I really needed. Well, that, and the video I used to make these pics which I got a few months later from the Red Sox broadcast network, but that's another story for another day. For now, take a look at the pics:
Here are XL and I in the red circle doing what good fans do at a baseball game. Jeff Maier and Bartman: take note.
If tombstones have video screens on them in the future (and I hope they do) this play will run on a loop on Tony Tarasco's and probably Jeffrey Maier's.
More of XL and I giving way. Really when it comes down to it, we are nothing but givers.