Chipper's walkoff on Sunday was amazing and extremely memorable...one of many he's given us this year. However, when I later saw his WPA of +86%, it made me think of another game that I'll always consider the most memorable MLB game I've ever attended, for a couple of reasons. I thought I'd share my story, and hopefully others will offer their most memorable games.
Firstly, I've been fortunate enough to have attended many MLB games over the years, probably well over 100 games @ 18 stadiums in around 20 years, which I consider "a lot" for someone not having season tickets, or even living near an MLB metro for that matter. I've seen some cool plays/endings; several instances stand out, although many more have been forgotten. Anyway, Chipper's walk-off made my most memorable live game experience come to mind b/c the walk-off HR in that game was an identical WPA +86%. For me, the game is most "memorable" for 2 reasons: It was the most shocking/unexpected ending to a MLB game that I've ever seen, and I was getting a chance to watch (in person) a future HOF'er play during his last (full) season.
See the game summary, but also this brief description of all things that made it especially memorable for me:
-Visiting Safeco Field & Seattle for the first time; Mariners hosting the Rays. Lucky for us, King Felix was pitching for the M's. Felix was mediocre on this night, but limited damage to 3 ER after a shaky start. Our main attraction that night, however, was Ken Griffey Jr., who had just returned to Seattle that season for what we thought @ that time would be his last. Luckily (once again), this night just happened to be KGJ Bobblehead Night...(nothing like collecting a surprise souvenir!)
-My dad splurged on tickets and we'd ended up in the 1st row behind the Seattle dugout...I hadn't sat that close at an MLB game before, so I was in "awe" from the start. I remember KGJ, as he leaned on the dugout fence before the game, turned around several times to talk with the fans in our row; he was extremely engaging and went out of his way in doing so. I don't really recall what the conversations were, but I was amazed & impressed that a guy of his HOF stature was so down-to-earth and friendly to "mere fans". (Reminded me of Chipper).
-As if KGJ hadn't impressed me enough, he would later pull a "Chipper," hitting a HR on his bobble-head night.
-The HR also started a 4-run rally in the 7th, which was capped by a 2-run Ichiro Suzuki single, tying the game 5-5. At this point, I thought "This night couldn't get any better." I was wrong.
-The game went into extras, and in the top of the 11th, Jason Bartlett smacked a solo HR - 6-5 Rays. I assumed the game was over (wrong again), and was slightly disappointed, b/c as a baseball "tourist", I always like to see the home team win.
-In the bottom of the inning, after a lead-off BB got our hopes up, 2 outs were recorded, leaving the M's with 1 final out remaining. Up to the plate came Ryan Langerhans, who I'd remembered from his years with the Braves. Langerhans was an unlikely hero from the start, given his low BA and his 1 HR so far that year, but after he dropped to 0-2, facing a LHP, let's just say I'd gathered my belongings and was ready to exit. After milking 2 balls, however, he got a breaking ball and caught it flush...chaos ensued:
--I thought I'd share this experience given the numerous Chipper similarities. Hopefully it will remind you of your greatest in-person MLB game memory and I encourage you to share!