The World Series starts tomorrow, featuring the Kansas City Royals and the New York Mets. Both teams have some exciting talent, great pitching, young stars, you name it. But while there is no baseball action today, don't fret, because October 26th is Game Six Day in the Halo-verse. You probably already know what I'm talking about...2002 World Series, game six aka The Greatest World Series Game In The History of the Universe.
If you don't agree with that superlative, then you're probably a Giants fan, and I'll allow that dissension, but anybody else better recognize the greatness that was Game 6. You had the Angels, the upstart Wild Card team, never having won a World Series title in all their years in the MLB, on the ropes and down three games to two. Yep, they were on the brink of elimination, but even that's an understatement. In an elimination game, they were down 5-0 in the seventh inning, with one out, when all of a sudden the Angels mounted an insane comeback and not only shifted the momentum of the series, but cemented a new generation of devoted Angels fans for life.
In the seventh, you had Scott Spiezio putting the Angels on the board with a three run shot, and then Darin Erstad continued the Angels' triumphant resurgence with a solo homer in the eighth. A couple singles from Tim Salmon and Garrett Anderson(and a misplayed ball by Barry Bonds) had guys at second and third, with Troy Glaus up to the plate, facing Giants' closer Robb Nen. Glaus hit a glorious double into the left-center gap, scoring the tying and go-ahead runs, and the Angels were changed forever. Just like that, with the crack of the bat, it felt like not only had the organization's future changed, but all of our lives changed, as well. None of us that witnessed this game will EVER forget it, and it still remains the best comeback I've ever seen in a World Series elimination game.
I remember being at a house of bummed out Angels fans, trying to keep our spirits up in an 0-5 game, and chugging various spirits in the process, to dull the pain. This was in the city of Orange, CA, and sometime around the sixth, a girl I was dating managed to drag me away from the TV to go down the street to a Halloween shop and look for a costume for an upcoming party we were attending together. I had stalled on this engagement long enough, and they were in a huge hole, so I figured why not? By the time I got to the costume shop, Scott Spiezio was at the plate about to hit his three run jack, and I saw it all unfold on a tiny, 12-inch TV set that was behind the front desk. Everybody in the store was basically stopped, and looking at the tiny TV set in awe. I told the girl "This stuff can wait. We need to get back to the house ASAP." Luckily, we weren't that far away and I was back at my friend's house just in time to see the eighth inning, and celebrate the most insane couple innings I've ever witnessed, all in the company of my best friends and loved ones.
A five run comeback in a World Series elimination game, from a team that was always the afterthought in the so cal megalopolis, with Jackie Autry there to witness the greatest moment of her late-husband's creation. There was still one more game to be played, but we all knew what was going to happen...the gut punch had been delivered, and the next night they'd take the crown and give us that mental image of Darin Erstad catching a pop up, and the jubilation that followed. It was a watershed moment for my life, and probably yours. Deep down, it was just a baseball game...but that's oversimplifying. It was a shared memory we can always go back and touch on when we need to remember the good about baseball, and the Angels. It's common ground us fans will always be able to find with each other, no matter how different we all are. We all saw our favorite team, in the most pressurized situation the sport affords, overcoming crazy odds and for that, we're all eternally grateful.
There is no World Series on tonight, but that's no big deal. You can always just watch some highlights of the game, on Game Six Day every year, and you'll be back in that glorious moment of crystallized Halo perfection.