Game 163: A Fan’s Perspective
I know it’s been over a year. I know that what’s over is over, what’s done is done. But it still hurts. So I have a little “unfinished business”: I need to deal with Game 163 for once and for all. For the first and last time on this blog, I will deal with it. I need to let it go.
All baseball fans probably remember this game. It was Monday, October 1, 2007. We had just lost two hard, hard games. On Saturday, Trevor Hoffman had a one run lead, two outs, and a runner at third. He had a 1-2 count on Tony Gwynn Jr. We were one strike away from the playoffs. But the next pitch, which was low, was shot down the left field line. We eventually lost in extras. That was hard. Then on Sunday we lost, so, on Monday, we had to play a tiebreaker for the wild card against the Rockies at Coors Field.
It was a super emotional game for me. I was actually at a dance class during the majority of it, so I didn’t know what was happening. But I did get to hear Adrian Gonzalez’s grand slam. I was so excited and I had so much energy it was insane. I did get to check the game once in a while. I couldn’t believe it was still going. Looking back, I really should have stayed home, But when I finally did get home, it was nerve-wracking. I went into my room with the radio blaring. I think I got back around the 11th inning. When Scott Hairston hit the 2-run homer, I was so excited, as in, jumping around my room excited. I could hardly believe that we could really be getting this. Right after the homer, rookie Chase Headley got a single, and I really wanted the guys to get him in. Trevor had had a rough weekend, and I was hoping he could have bigger cushion. But no. So he came into the bottom of the 13th with a 8-6 lead. He got destroyed by the Rockies. Let me tell you, they were on absolute fire. It was unbelieveable. During that 13th, I held on to hope as long as I could. But it was not to be, and I was devistated. I cried for a good half hour, and then I had to go brush my teeth. I thought it was so weird. I mean, here my team just got brutally eliminated, and I have to go on with life and brush my teeth.
It took me a long time to recover from that game. I couldn’t watch the highlights for quite a long time, especially the last play. I would always break down to see Trevor get bashed around like that. My friend recorded the game, and when I finally made myself watch it, it was so hard. Especially watching the Rockies celebration. They were so detestable in my eyes. I finally had to stop it when they were talking to all the players afterwards. I know for many people it was so cool that this underdog team won in such an exciting manner, but for me it was pure pain. I rooted against the Rockies all throught the postseason. I don’t hate them anymore, though. The pain was so fresh, and I couldn’t root for the team that inflicted it. But it made me a Red Sox fan, so I am thankful for that. I started wearing black, and I don’t like wearing bright colors to this day. Last year was a tough, tough offseason. (Just FYI, that was my “obsessed” stage. Things are much different now.)
The Game was a reflection of our season. It seemed like every Padre in that dugout played in that game. The rookies, the veterans, they were all there. Even the broken-fingered Mike Cameron was out there, running the bases and playing center. Bud Black pulled out all the stops, and he played the game like it was his last. And it was.
We had our ace, Jake Peavy, out there. He was so sharp all season. We had pretty much the same infield. Adrian Gonzalez, Geoff Blum, Khalil Greene, Kevin Kouzmanoff. Josh Bard had caught the majority of Jake’s games, and he was out there again. The outfield was the same way it had been in the last few days.
We showed the resiliance that we had shown all year. Adrian’s grand slam represented the incredible 30 home run 100 RBI season he had. Jake did not do well. He gave up too many runs too early. These Padres hung on all the way to the 13th, when Scotty hit the two-run homer. He had been hitting walk-offs ever since we got him in an incredible deal. Heath “Workhorse” Bell was out there for the longest stint of his season, and he held them to nothing. Joe Thatcher, who came in a trade that upset some players, pitched a couple of scoreless innings. He was in line for the win if we had won it. All the players threw their guts in the game, but it wasn’t enough. After Scotty’s homer, Trevor Hoffman came into the game. The Padres were excited. They thought they were going to win this, and why shouldn’t they? The all-time saves leader was going out there to try to save it for them. Yeah, he had had a rough weekend, but they knew that he wanted this as much as they did. Besides, he’d done it 524 times, so why can’t he do it again?
But it was not to be. I don’t know what happened to him, but something was not right with Trevor Hoffman that night. Maybe it was Michael Barrett, the catcher. Maybe Trevor had done something that messed him up. Or maybe it was simply the Rockies. They were unstoppable.
So Trevor promptly gave up two runs and a triple. Here’s the situation: Holliday at third with Jamey Carroll at the plate, with no outs (They had intentionally walked Todd Helton, but that run didn’t matter). We Padres fans are holding on for dear life, hoping that Trevor can somehow leave the game tied. Carroll hits a ball to the right fielder, Brian Giles, who throws it perfectly to the plate. Holliday is sliding in and Barrett is blocking the plate. The ball comes in, Barrett doesn’t get it, Holliday doesn’t touch the plate, and the umpire doesn’t make the call. Barrett scrambles for the ball to tag Holliday, but the ump signals safe.
That’s it. Padres season over. Padres fans devistated. One city torn apart, while the other is filled with rejoicing. A dream crushed for one team, but a dream realized for the other.
A group of men devistated. Particulary one, who stands in front of his locker surrounded by reporters, fighting back tears, taking all the blame onto himself. It wasn’t entirely Trevor’s fault. The whole team lost, the whole team failed. And yet, Trevor takes all the blame, everything. That’s so beautiful in the midst of this pain.
It hurt so bad. But you know, it’s over. The Rockies didn’t win it all. The Padres survived the offseason and the season. What’s over is over, what’s done is done. This game was one of the best played game in years. It was so amazing, so heartbreaking.
Looking back, we weren’t meant to win that game, to go to the postseason. It wasn’t meant to be, and so I am finally OK with it. I am finally over it.
Great post. Your description of your devastation about losing reminds me so much of a scene in my book when the Yankees lost Game 4 to the Indians in the ’07 ALDS. I was so heartbroken – almost like grieving a loss. On a brighter note, I’m checking in to make sure you’re O.K. after that plane crash in San Diego yesterday. Hope it wasn’t near your neighborhood!
Oh, thanks! Yeah, I’m fine, it was quite a ways away. We couldn’t even see the smoke, so we are very safe. It was pretty scary to hear about it all morning on the radio though.
That is a sad story. I bet you wanted Holiday’s face to be disfigured when he made that slide into homeplate. That was the worst-slide-ever to win a ballgame. Such an exciting game though! I stayed up late on the East Coast to watch it.
Great blog Kaybee! We all have those stories. I was in a bar in Florida during the ’86 World Series (don’t ask!). I think I was the only Red Sox fan in the place – and then the ball went through Buckner’s legs. I never blamed him, but oh the feeling I had that day – I’ll never forget. Glad you weren’t near the F-18 crash. What a sad story.
I sit back and wonder sometimes how many people were affected by that game. Great blog btw. Somebody had to lose and I had the most respect for the Padres team that night and the battle that was game 163. Hoffman will probably wear the Padres colors in the Hall but that night he just didn’t have it.
Spring Training is pretty much the only kick i get out of living in FL. It’s definitely worth traveling to see.
Great post though, that must have been horrible. Reminds me of when the Sox lost Game 7 of the ’03 ALCS (let’s not go there) and this past season. Agonizingly close. The Padres sure put up one hell of a fight though!
Julia I think I know what you are talking about. I think that was the play that Jimmy Fallon kept on replaying on his TV on that movie Fever Pitch but I’m not completely sure.