15 Years Ago Today
I can't believe it's been fifteen years. I also can't believe I've written 6678 entries but I've never written about that October 24, 1992 night... until now.
I prayed at the alter of Blue Jays baseball. I watched or listened to every game, I celebrated the first pennant in 1985 and, in 1992, I followed my team into their first World Series against the Atlanta Braves. This was the pinnacle, and I wanted that title in Toronto. Game six took place at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium with the Jays up three games to two in the series. David Cone started against Steve Avery and we had a 2-1 lead heading into the ninth inning. The Terminator Tom Henke would take the mound to seal the deal, or so I hoped.
In the bottom of that ninth inning, the Braves had a player at second base and Otis Nixon was down to his last strike with two outs. One more strike would secure us our first World Series title. I'll never forget that sinking feeling when Nixon doubled to tie the game. My brothers and I just stared at the television in disbelief.
Believe it or not, I don't remember much of the tenth inning. My cousin came over, and we took to the dark streets for a period of time throwing a ball back and forth to cut the thick tension. I often wonder what would have happened if the game ended in ten innings. I very well could have missed the clinching moment from our first World Series championship.
We were back in front of the television for the eleventh inning when Dave Winfield hit his first extra-base hit in the series to bring home Devon White and Roberto Alomar. Then, in the bottom of the eleventh, with the lead down to 4-3 and John Smoltz on third base, Nixon was at the plate again to face Mike Timlin who came in to relieve Jimmy Key. We all remember what happened next. Nixon bunted the ball, Timlin fielded it and threw it to Joe Carter at first base for the final out. We were World Series champions.
After an emotional pile-on in the family room, I grabbed the large Canadian flag that was hanging on my bedroom wall and we made our way to Bloor Street to join in the celebration. I was 18, waving the flag and cheering like a mofo amongst the masses who had collected. Everyone was ecstatic, and many were a little toasty. One such inebriated fellow approached me in the middle of Bloor Street at Jane and demanded I hand over my Canadian flag. I refused, and he promptly kicked me in the family jewels and tore the flag from my tight grip. I'll never forget that moment. This jerk had my flag, and he delivered the cheapest of shots, right when I least expected it.
A cop was sitting in his cruiser nearby and I remember asking him to scare this asshole a little so he'd give me back my flag. The cop shrugged his shoulders and I decided to let it go and re-join the celebration. I lost my flag and got kicked in the nads, but my Jays were champions after fifteen seasons of existance.
I'll never forget that night Winfield drove in two in the top of the eleventh. The next year we'd win again, but this time I'd leave my paraphernalia at home.
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