Tag:ALCS
Posted on: August 5, 2009 2:54 pm
  •  
 

Top 10 Sporting Events I've Attended

Ok, so last night I was at the Rays/Red Sox 13 inning circus that included 4 solo home runs. An MVP grounding into a double play with a man on 3rd. One team leaving the bases loaded with no body out TWICE, fan interference, and last but not least a walk-off home run. It was a great game, and maybe even the best baseball game I've ever been to. So, it got me thinking. What are the top 10 sporting events I've seen live? Here's my list.

#10: March 17, 2006 (not actual video. Just highlights)
  • I was on Spring Break when my dad and my friends and their dads decided to take a trip up to Orlando for an Amp'd Mobile Supercross event in the Citrus Bowl. It was and still remains the only supercross/motocross event I've been to in my life and it was a great experience. Going in and really still to this day, the only rider I'd ever heard of was Ricky Carmichael. Unfortunately, Ricky didn't win this race sending me home less happy. A rising star at the time, James Stewart was the winner. We had left the stadium a little bit early to avoid traffic on the hour or so drive back down to St. Pete, but I remember listening to the final call announcing Stewart's victory. I'm not a supercross/motocross fan by any stretch of the imagination, but it was a unique experience in itself and definitely deserving of the top 10.

#9: August 4, 2009
  • Well, this was last night. Rays vs Red Sox. What a game this was. It was probably the most exciting game I've ever been to, but it fails in comparison with the baseball games that made the top 8. Anyways, it was a re-match of the ALCS, where Tampa Bay closed out the Red Sox in a fantastic game 7 with David Price shutting the door. And speaking of that Game 7, we had the same pitching matchup. Jon Lester from the Sox and Matt Garza for the Rays. Once again, they did not disappoint. Garza went 7 innings and gave up 2 earned. Both on solo shots. One to Kevin Youkilis and the other to Dustin Pedroia. Lester gave up one earned in 6+ innings of work. His final act was a pitch that hit Carlos Pena. Pena turned into the Rays first run on a Jason Bartlett infield single. Evan Longoria tied the game up in the 8th with a solo shot off of the center field Restraunt to tie it up at 2-2. After leaving the bases loaded twice, Longoria final struck again in the bottom of the 13th with 2 outs and Joe Dillon at third. A two run bomb to left field sent the good guys home happy.
#8: August 8, 2007
  • We were in San Francisco on vacation. Earlier that month, I had been on stub hub or some other ticket site looking for seats to a Giants game. We were about purchase tickets to the August 7th game. We'd have been sitting in right field. Try and guess which section (wink, wink). However, a friend called and said that he was going to be in town at the same time so we decided to wait an extra day. Needless to say, Bonds hit 756 the day we were supposed to go into the section we were supposed to sit. Bummer. Haha. Anyways, we went the next night and sat down the 3rd base line in the outfield. On that night, Bonds became the first person to break the new home run record as he lifted his 757th HR into McCovey cove. The game was quite forgettable as I don't really remember who won. I believe the Giants did, but to be there when Bonds hit 757 was quite special and easily in the top 10.
#7: January 1, 2008
  • New Years day. A college football fans Thanksgiving. So many bowl games with so many great matchups. The Capital One Bowl in Orlando, Florida was no exception. It was my first bowl game and the atmosphere was great. 50-50 crowd, Lloyd Carr's last game. The Heisman trophy winner. All in all, it couldn't have been better..... but Florida lost. In a great shoot-out, the under-dog Wolverines, led by Chad Henne, upset the Gators 41-35. This is a game where a lot of people say it could've been worse, but Michigan kept turning the ball over. What people miss is the fact that Florida would start their drives after the turnovers inside their 3 yard line where it was really try and avoid a safety then punt. After the punt, Michigan would score anyway, so all was what it should be. Even with the Gators loss, it was still a great day.
#6: May 22, 2004
  • First, I would like to say I do not consider myself anything but a fairweather hockey fan. However, number 6 on my list needs to go to the NHL. May 22nd marked the day where the Tampa Bay Lightning clinched their first Stanley Cup Finals berth. I was there, and it was crazy. Ruslan Fedtenko started the scoring in the first period to make it 1-0 Lightning. Early in the second, Mr. Slap Shot, Freddy Modin made it 2-0, a lead the Lightning would never give up. With 9:54 left in the period, the Flyers' Kim Johnsson made it 2-1, but that's as close as the Flyers would get. I can still remember the end of the game. The Flyers relentlessly attacking the Lightning goal trying desperately to get themselves back in it. Luckily for the Bay area, they didn't and the Lightning went on to win their first and only Stanley Cup against the Calgary Flames in 7 games.
#5: October 22, 2008
  • Another loss for the good guys here. This was game 1 of the 2008 World Series between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Philadelphia Phillies. Now, I know what you're probably thinking. "How is the first World Series game in Tampa Bay history only number 5?". Well, It's because A)we lost and B)the atmosphere wasn't as intense as the top 4. In this game, we had Cole Hamels facing off against Scott Kazmir. Kazmir's last outing had been the biggest collapse in ALCS history. But, let's not talk about that, ok? Haha. Kazmir gave up 3 earned in 6 innings of work while Hamels gave up only 2 earned in 7 innings of work. The Phillies first two runs came off of a Chase Utley two run homer. The last on a Carlos Ruiz grounder. The Rays runs came on a Carl Crawford homer and an Akinori Iwamura RBI double. Even though the Rays lost, the fact that it was our first ever World Series game here in St. Pete., it deserves to be mentioned in the top 5.
#4: January 12, 2003
  • This here was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs the San Francisco 49ers in the 2002-2003 NFL playoffs. This game itself wasn't the greatest thing ever as the Buccaneers had control from the very beginning on their way to a 31-6 route of the 49ers and Jeff Garcia. The Buccaneers top rated defense crushed Jeff Garcia and Terrell Owens and company on their way to 4 turnovers and only allowing 227 total net yards (some of which were gained in garbage time). The Bucs went into halftime leading 28-6 on two Brad Johnson touch down passes and two Mike "A-Train" Alstott touch down runs. Derrick Brooks picked off one Garcia pass and also recovered a fumble forced by sack machine Simeon Rice. Martin "Automatica" Gramatica added a field goal to make it a 31-6 ball game. This was the Buccaneers last home game of the season. They next went on to dump the Philadelphia Eagles. That game being clinched on the Ronde Barber interception return. After that, the Buccaneers travelled to San Diego where they made mince-meat of the Oakland Raiders and their top ranked offense. The Buccaneers brought back 3 Rich Gannon interceptions for touch downs. Two by Dwight Smith and 1 by 2002-2003 NFL DPOTY Derrick Brooks. Dexter Jackson, who intercepted two earlier Gannon passes was named Super Bowl XXXVII MVP.
#3: October 2/3, 2008
  • I combined two events into one right here so call me a cheater. The reason being is that game 1 was important because it was the Bay Area's first MLB playoff game. However, it was game 2 that got the excitement really going. In game 1, the Rays were given a gift by the touted young Rookie/All Star, Evan Logoria. Longoria became the second player EVER to hit home runs in his first to playoff at bats. James Shields went 6 and a third innings giving up 3 runs. All of which were on a Dwyane Wise 3 run homer. When Shields left, the bases were juiced and obviously, only one out. Grant Balfour, who had been the Rays "stopper" all year came in and struck Juan Uribe and then Orlando Cabrerra out to end the threat. In game 2, Scott Kazmir battled control issues early but still managed to give up only two runs in 5 and a third innings of work. Grang Balfour came in again to hold off a threat. In the 7th, J.P. Howell came in to settle Balfour's mess. Going into the 8th, it was 3-2 Rays. Akinori Iwamura had hit a home-run to give the Rays a lead. In the 8th, the Rays scored 3 runs. It was a 6-2 game, but what made this game special was a record set that was totally unrelated to baseball. In this 8th inning, Tropicana field set the record for second loudest stadium ever. Ask anyone that was there, it was mayhem...good mayhem. The Rays would lose game 3 but finish off the White Sox in game 4. This set up one of the great ALCS of all time against the Boston Red Sox.
#2: January 8, 2009
  • Anyone care to try and venture a guess as to what this game may be? I know, It's obvious. January 8th, marks the day that Florida defeated the Oklahoma Sooners 24-14 in the National Championship game in Miami, Florida. In a dead-locked first half, neither team really could get anything going offensively. Oklahoma was stopped twice at the goal line. Once on an interception by Major Wright, and the other a 4th down stop by Torey Davis. Tim Tebow struggled mightily. He threw two terrible interceptions. One to Nic Harris and the other to Gerald McCoy. The trademark play of the game took place on Oklahoma's first drive. Heisman Trophy winner, Sam Bradford flung a ball deep to WR Manny Johnson. Safe to say, I highly doubt Johnson remembers this play and he was highly ineffective the rest of the way. The second half was where it really came together for the Gators. Although the scoreboard doesn't say so, this game was over in the 3rd quarter. Mid-way through, it became Tebow-Time. It seemed like every play was a QB draw, designed or not. And every time he got good yardage and/or ran over a OU defender. There was a sense of "awe" in the crowd that this game was done. A Jonathan Phillips field goal gave the Gators a 17-14 lead. On OU's next possession, Ahmad Black made the game changing play (at around 1:55 in that video). Florida took the ball. After driving down to the goal line, Tebow and the Gators put the dagger in the Sooners with the famous Tebow Jump Pass. This time, 6'5 Carl Moore was the target. After OU failed to score again, Florida ran out the clock in Good Ole' Gator Fashion.
#1: September 28, 2007
  • I really don't expect anyone to agree that this should be the number 1 moment in a GATOR fan's sports attending life, but this really was a "you had to be there" moment. It was a beautiful Thursday night in Tampa, Florida. The 5th ranked West Virginia Mountaineers were coming in to face the 18th ranked University of South Florida Bulls. This was the first time in Bulls history that the upper-deck at Raymond James Stadium (also home of the Buccaneers) had been opened up for one of their games. It's also the only sell-out in USF history. Needless to say, this game was a big deal for the Bull faithful (I am not. Outside of Grothe/Selvie, I can't name many more). Walking up to the stadium, there were countless "Grothe > insert great QB" shirts and "Go home couch burners" shirts. It was a fantastic atmosphere. We sat to the left of the endzone (if you're facing the endzone from the other) and on the Pirate Ship side. For those of you that don't go or have never been to a USF game, we were right next to the student section. The Bulls started the game off with a bang. Pat White dropped back and threw an interception to Bulls middle-linebacker and then though of as model citizen, Ben Moffit. Moffit ran left (towards us) and returned the interception for a touchdown. The crowd went ballistic. The only songs that I can remember them playing on the stadium PA was "Party Like a Rock Star" and "Crank Dat Soulja Boy - Travis Barker Mix". It didn't matter though. Whenever the songs would play, the bass was going and the student section was rocking. In this game, Matt Grothe may have made the play of the year. Somehow avoiding a sack, Grothe does this. A Jamar Taylor 19 run score made it 21-3 and the rest is history. The part of this game that was most exciting had to have been the aftermath. During the 4th quarter, the stadium made the mistake of "asking" fans to celebrate in the stands. All that did was give them the idea. When the final seconds ticked off, the stadium emptied.....on to the field. This gave us one of the more memorable images of the college football season where Grothe surrounded by fans waives up at a camera right above him and gives the "number 1" sign. USF would ride this momentum to climb all the way up to number 2 in the polls at one point becoming the fastest school to ever do so. However, the second half of the season wasn't as kind to the Bulls as they struggled down the stretch and got pummeled by Oregon in their bowl game.
Anyway, thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com