Good morning, West Hartford! Today is Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013, there are 98 days left in the year.
I’ll never forget the first time I saw Mariano Rivera pitch at Yankee Stadium. Rivera was a rookie fifth starter in 1995, the year after the baseball strike that cancelled the World Series for the first time in history.
I vowed that I’d never go back to watching a Major League Baseball game. Something that I held firm on throughout the 1995 season. But my beloved Yankees made a playoff push, and a couple of law school friends of mine and I scored tickets to Game 2 of the very first American League Division Series. I had never been to a playoff game, and tickets were remarkably easy to score. Like a smitten lover, I could never stay angry with baseball for too long.
Turns out that was the game to catch, as it set a then record for the longest playoff game in history. My hero - Don Mattingly - hit his only postseason home run.
The game went into extra innings and both the Yankees and Seattle had exhausted all of their pitchers by the 14th inning - or at least I thought they had.
I literally believed the Yankees were out of options until this lanky kid came on for New York in the 14th inning. And he just threw bullets. The ball exploded effortlessly out of his hand. I hadn’t seen this kid pitch before, but I knew then that he was special. Rivera wound up being the winning pitcher that night, courtesy of Jim Leyritz’s dramatic home run to give the Yankees a walk-off victory in the 15th inning. It was nearly 1:30 a.m. (Just as an aside, my friends and I got back home around 4:30 a.m., and it was totally worth it.)
I’d be lying if I said I knew that, 18 years later, he’d walk off the Yankee Stadium mound as one of the greatest pitchers of all time. But I’m also not surprised.
Anyway, I don’t really have a point beyond thinking back to that October night in 1995, and how much time has passed and how much has happened. Sports have a way of making you feel like a kid again.
But they can also make you feel very old.
Here’s your Daily 5:
1. The West Hartford Town Council meets tonight at 7:30 p.m.
2. The West Hartford farmers’ market meets today from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
3. There is a meet and greet for Tad Bistor, a Republican candidate for West Hartford Town Council. This is a free event, although Bistor requests that you consider making a campaign contribution.
4. The Conard field hockey team takes on Southington at home at 3:45 p.m. The boys soccer team travels to Newington, and the boys and girls cross country team squares off against Bristol Central on the road.5. The Hall High boys and girls soccer teams square off against their Northwest Catholic counterparts at 3:45. The Hall boys are on the road, the girls are home. The Hall field hockey team faces Wethersfield on the road. The girls swimming and diving team faces Glastonbury at 3:30 p.m. at Cornerstone.