Author's Note: Recently, the Baseball Prospectus website asked for submissions for a new contest, Baseball Prospectus Idol. The editors would pick the ten best submissions, and the BP readers would vote off one writer each week. Unfortunately, I did not make the cut. Still, I was very proud of my essay. Since it won't be shown at BP, I'd like to introduce it here:
"Eleven to four
That's the score
And now the Braves
Will try for more." — Skip Caray
I can only think of four times over the past five years that I have been "giddy." Please understand that I am not a naturally giddy person; my level of emotion ranks somewhere between "shy and reserved" and "Vulcan." But I remember vividly what it was that made me, Sam the Eagle, giddy with joy like a little kid. It's no surprise that it was usually something to do with baseball:
1. Yankee Stadium, April 19, 2007. The Yankees are losing to the Indians, 6-2, in the ninth inning. Cleveland turns the game over to its – for lack of a better word – closer, Joe Borowski. But after a homer (Josh Phelps), a single (Posada), a walk (Damon), a single (Jeter) and another single (Abreu), the score is 6-5, and A-Rod is up. Everybody knows what's about to happen, but that just makes it even more special. A-Rod comes through in the clutch and hits a three-run bomb to right-center. Yankee Stadium goes berserk, and so do I. Every other day of my life, I hate the Yankees. But I've never felt so much like I had been a part of something special.
2. August 8, 2007. My roommate catches a foul ball at the Reds-Dodgers game. Andre Ethier slices a foul over our heads. It bounces off the façade overhead and lands somewhere near us. My roommate, Jonathon, lifts up his hot dogs, and the ball is right there in his lap. I think I actually bounced in my seat. I should have been mad; I've been to dozens of baseball games and haven't even come close to catching a ball. My roommate — who only came along to take advantage of $1 Hot Dog Day — catches a foul ball at his first major league game.