The Baseball Desert

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Can't see the wood for the trees

Alex Belth has a great post about the postseason over at Bronx Banter. His comments about the details of the game are spot-on, and when I read them I couldn't help thinking back to one of my own personal favourite moments of baseball detail:

Game 5 of the 2001 World Series at Yankee Stadium - the Yankees (with a little help from Scott Brosius and Curt Schilling's favourite special guests, Mystique and Aura) tie the game with two out in the bottom of the ninth (for the second night running). In the bottom of the twelfth, the Yankees have Chuck Knoblauch on second when Alfonso Soriano lines a single to right (this is two years ago, remember, before he became Alfonso 'Swing And A Miss' Soriano...). I've seen the tape a dozen times, so I guess I've had chance to see the detail in question, but the image that sticks in my mind is something that didn't even happen on the field. There is a reverse-angle camera-shot in the replays of Soriano's game-winning hit, and it shows the view of the play from the third-base side of the field. Soriano hits the ball and takes off for first - as he does so, you can see a father and son in the seats behind the Yankees' dugout on the first-base side of the field. The boy - who must be all of five years old - is lifted up onto the roof of the dugout by his father so that he can see the play better. He begins to follow the trajectory of the ball into right field, but his father draws his attention away from Reggie Sanders and his attempt to field the ball and towards home plate, where Knoblauch is going to attempt to score. It's a great image - a father not only sharing a great sporting moment like that with his son, but also taking time out make sure that his son is watching the right thing on the field. If there's a play at the plate (à la Pudge Rodriguez this postseason), the son's eyes are fixed on that, rather than the incoming ball... As it turns out, Sanders makes a one-hop throw which Arizona catcher Rod Barajas fails to catch cleanly, so there is no play at the plate - Knoblauch is safe and the game is over...

It still remains one of the all-time great World Series games, but I will always remember it for that kid and his dad behind the dugout...

[Cue fade and soaring violin music as the credits roll...]