Friday, August 7, 2009

... And We'll See You Tomorrow Night (part 2)

I don’t remember much about the middle innings of Game 6. After all, I was working the upper deck outfield and couldn’t see much of the action.

I do remember that it was tied when vendors checked out in the middle of the 8th inning. That meant I had to go downstairs to cash out. There were no TV’s down there, and it was tough to keep track of what was going on in the game.

Vendors of course, are rooting for a Twins win and a Game 7. Not only because we are true fans, but because we get paid only when we work, and this is a chance to work another game… another great game.

Checking out after a game usually took about 30 minutes back in 1991. We had to count and face our money and then stand in a line with the 25 other guys in our room to turn in money from the evening. Some days it goes quickly and some days it just drags on.

On Saturday, October 26, 1991, it seemed to take forever.

Occasionally someone would come down and alert everyone what was going on, but nothing was happening. There was a feeling that when this game did end, it would end suddenly, and all that would be left was to watch highlights on the news.

That just wouldn’t do in a game like this; I had to see the finish.

After finally cashing out, I changed clothes and took my ID badge with me to watch the end of the game. There wasn’t a seat available in the building, and no one was leaving early. I had to resort to standing in the concourse and at the top of sections behind home plate to catch the action.

I positioned myself at the top of an aisle just to the right of home plate where I could see most of the field and still turn and see a TV if something happened out of my view. The best thing about my vantage point was I could also hear the play by play from the TV over the speaker system in the concourse. It was turned up extra loud tonight because of the crowd noise.

I was able to watch the bottom of the 9th along with the 10th and 11th innings this way. Finally in the bottom of the 11th, “it” happened. Puckett did it again. The little fireplug, who prior to the game told his team to “jump on his back”, launched one deep into the left center field seats. It was not more than 25 feet from where he had made his now famous catch in the 3rd inning.

My view allowed me to see the home run and to hear Jack Buck’s call over the concourse speaker system. It was a moment that is still as clear in my mind as on the night it happened.

That ball hit the seats, the crowd went wild, and Jack Buck said, “… and we’ll see you tomorrow night.”

Puckett rounded the bases pumping his fist, and the noise at the Metrodome was a loud as I had ever heard it. In fact, it has never been that loud again… even for football.

Even to this day, I still get chills when I hear the replay of Jack Buck’s famous call of the final play. After all, I was “in the building”.

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