Five years ago tonight Scott Hairston hit a 13th-inning, two-run homer to lift the San Diego Padres to an 8-6 lead over the Rockies at Coors Field. I don’t think I can remember a more devastating moment in my career as a sports fan. I was crushed. The Rockies were riding this unbelievable miracle of a winning and streak and were going to come up just short of the playoffs.
That devastation didn’t last long.
In comes Trevor Hoffman, only the greatest closer of all-time. Kaz Matsui doubles. Troy Tulowitzki doubles. Matt Holliday steps up to the plate.
Five years ago tonight. It’s pretty wild to think about the different directions our lives take since that moment. Anyway, that is, without a doubt, the greatest baseball game ever played, so I felt it appropriate to take a look back.
Coming into tonight the Rox had unspeakably won 13 of their past 14 games to somehow force a tiebreaker play-in game against the Padres. Josh Fogg (the Dragonslayer) vs Cy Young-winner Jake Peavy.
It’s easy to forget the deflating grand slam by Adrian Gonzalez in the 3rd inning. Or Todd Helton’s solo homer in the 3rd. Or how dominant Matt Herges and a young Heath Bell were for three innings. Or the Garrett Atkins home run that just sneaked over the fence but was incorrectly ruled a ground rule double. (Note: He would not score in that inning, so if anybody gives you any crap about Holliday not touching home plate, they can just shut it, because we had already been screwed by the umps and that game shouldn’t even have gone into extra innings, even though we’re all glad that it did). It’s easy to forget Holliday badly misplaying a game-tying double in the eighth.
That 13th-inning though, that one is easy to remember.
Up comes Holliday, a homegrown fan-favorite and a lock for the MVP (in my mind at least). Deep fly ball to right. Replays show that Matt thought he hit it out. Not quite. Giles goes back… jumps. This exact moment is one of the most vivid memories for me. From my seat down the third baseline I saw Giles jump and there was this split second of not knowing. Homer? Catch? Off the wall?
Then the ball bounces back toward the infield and Coors Field goes absolutely wild. I’ve never seen a venue like The Keg at that moment. Until Jamey Carroll’s at-bat after Helton was walked.
You know the rest.
Line drive to right. Holiday tags. Dives. Faceplants. Michael Barrett drops the ball. Tim McClelland stands there like an idiot for a few seconds and finally gives a half ass “safe” sign. Rox win. Playoffs. Rocktober. Miracle completed. Bedlam. Did that just happen? That just happened. How did that just happen?
Just look at that freaking crowd. Look at Helton’s reaction to the safe call off first base. And look at that freaking crowd.
And this is a great clip of Todd (and the ESPN crew) trying to make sense of what just happened (they can’t):
The Rockies are trying to avoid losing 100 losses this week with not much relief in sight. The franchise is essentially a laughing stock. But we should probably all brush that aside tonight and remember, try to relive, the greatest baseball game ever played.
Because October 1st, 2007 was awesome.