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The Other Monster

With the playoffs beginning Tuesday, I thought I'd share my favorite postseason walk-off story from 2004.

It's good to know that I'm a positive influence on the young people of America.

It was about a year ago that I had to make a long drive to upstate New York for work purposes, meaning that I wouldn't get to watch that day's playoff action. I was significantly curious about the results, so I have the afternoon game that Friday, Game 3 of the 2004 ALDS between the Red Sox and Angels, my closest auditory attention.

As day became night and the game stretched out, thanks to Vladimir Guerrero's game-tying grand slam, I ran into an issue of significance. I was hungry. I was well-fortified by an early lunch, but having left later than expected, I was also eager to get to my hotel room.

My stomach battled by brain for a good half hour as this game remained even through the eighth, ninth, and into the 10th. There was a sign on the turnpike for an upcoming stop at which there was, among other things, a Roy Rogers. This was important on the food front, because, having already eaten pizza, my fussbudget dining options were rather limited, and the next rest stop was likely 30-45 minutes away.

My stomach won out. I pulled over into the rest stop. I contemplated my options as I sit in my car for the top of the 10th inning. Sit and wait until the game ended or hope for a TV inside that was tuned in to the baseball game. When Derek Lowe got the Angels out in the 10th, I bolted for the Roy Rogers. When I got inside, much to my disappointment, there was nary a TV in sight.

So I got on what was a long line for the requisite burger and fries when I had an idea. I'd call my parents. Surely someone would be home who could keep me updated. I got a rather abrupt "I'm watching something important" hello from the voice that answered the phone. It was my sister. Thankfully that something important was Red Sox-Angels, Game 3.

Lisa Simon, better known for her uncredited work last season as "Production Assistant #1986" on the hit drama series "Law & Order," graduated from Boston University in 2003. During her time at the school she caught Red Sox fever (preceded by a bout of "Liberty Madness" in which I received a crazed phone call upon a game-winning halfcourt shot in the WNBA Finals) and that bout lasted up through October, 2004. My sister and I have gone to the occasional baseball game and she's told me she appreciates that I don't dumb down my commentary for her, even though her fandom is minute in nature compared to mine.

So as the line turtled around, I figured, ok, I can get an idea of what happens in the next few minutes, than run back to the car to catch the end. I asked my sister to provide play-by-play. The beginning of said commentary was rather uneventful. Johnny Damon singled, but Mark Bellhonr forced him out at second base. Manny Ramirez was up, but Angels reliever Francisco Rodriguez struck him out. The food line wasn't moving any faster.

"Hang on a second," my sister said. "They're making a change. A big guy is coming in to pitch."

"Troy Percival" I presumed, but was mistaken.

"It's Washburn" my sister informed me when they came from break.

Before I could even say "Jarrod Washburn???" something pretty magical happened.

"Ohmigod!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Ohmigod!!!!!!!!!!!!! He hit it over the monster!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!He hit it over the monster!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" the voice screamed from the phone. It was an utterance the equivalent of Russ Hodges, Bobby Thomson, and "The Giants win the Pennant!"

Well how about that? A game-winning, series-clinching home run for David Ortiz and the Boston Red Sox. I let the others on the food line know, though none seemed particularly excited. I guess those who were smart stayed in their cars, or were watching at home.

It was good to know that my sister had an appreciation for the moment. I'd like to think that my influence played a major role. Who knew that she'd get to broadcast one of baseball's most memorable walk-off moments before I would?

True Metsters know...Two of the original characters from "Law and Order" are Mets fans, according to this show FAQ. They are Sgt. Max Greevey (played by George Dzundza) and Executive Assistant District Attorney Ben Stone (played by Michael Moriarty).

(Two posts today...scroll down for the other one)


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