Wednesday, August 5, 2009

... And We'll See You Tomorrow Night (Part 1)

There was never a more exciting game as a Twins vendor than Game 6 of the 1991 World Series. With all due respect to Game 7, Saturday night’s game with the Twins on the brink of elimination was more fun.

This was a home game - a Dome game… and the Twins had never lost a World Series game in the Metrodome (6-0). Despite having this going, it was “do or die” down 3-2 in the series… and it seemed like the fans were going to enjoy 2 games worth of fun in 1 night just in case we didn’t get to Sunday’s Game 7.

I was working the upper deck right fields seats over the folded up football bleachers that night. Back then, there were no white curtains with pictures of Puckett, Hrbek, Killebrew, Oliva and Carew on it. These seats were available and filled to capacity for all of the 1991 playoffs.

Now, anyone who had ever sat 25 rows up in these seats knows that it isn’t the best place to watch a baseball game.
First of all you could not see 40% of right field, and,
Second, you couldn’t be any further from home plate.

But, it just didn’t matter tonight. These were the fans that didn’t care if they saw the game or not; they just wanted to be “in the building”.

I personally cannot follow the game in the upper deck at the Metrodome. Even today when working, I end up asking lots of people “what happened?” It is just too far away from the play and I have my back turned most of the time serving customers. But in a game like this, everything stops when the crowd reacts - and you cannot help but watch.

It was loud in the Dome most of time during the 1991 playoffs, but I could always tell if something bad was about to happen. The crowd got instantly quiet. It was like everyone was holding their breath, afraid to watch, and knowing that screaming louder would do no good.

That was the case in the third inning of Game 6. The crowd was cheering loudly as Scott Erickson threw a pitch to Ron Gant that started one of the best WebGems in Twins history.

Terry Pendleton was on first with 1 out and Gant torched the ball. I looked back over my shoulder, as the crowd got instantly silent. That ball was heading for the left center field seats. No one in that building thought there was any way our 5’8” center fielder could make his stubby little legs run fast enough to get to that ball. At least one run was going to score. The Braves Terry Pendleton was so sure that ball wouldn’t be caught that he was already around 2nd base running at full speed.

But Kirby Puckett DID get to the ball… and he DID jump higher than anyone ever thought he could. He even seemed to catch the ball in a way that allowed him to bounce off the wall and almost in 1 motion throw that ball toward first base to try to double up Pendleton.

I still think it is one of the greatest plays in baseball history. And fortunately, everyone in the Dome was able to see that catch because of where it took place. Even the person in row 25 of the upper deck right field seats where I was working that night.

Rest in Peace – #34. Thanks for the Memories.

No comments:

Post a Comment