I had such a good time with last year’s Pittsburgh Guest Blogger event that I decided to participate again. This time you get the joy of reading about Doug’s amazing experience at the 1992 NL Championship Series game at Three Rivers Stadium. He comes from the fantastic My Blog n’at, which I highly recommend checking out. If you are wondering where I am today, head on over to Pennies, Pints, Pittsburgh where I will attempt to describe the different beers I recently tried.
Date: October 10, 1992
Event: Game 4 of the National League Championship Series – Braves vs Pirates
Venue: Three Rivers Stadium
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
I was in high school during the Pirates last great era, the early 90s. During that time the Pirates did the unthinkable by turning around a last place team into division champs within one season but they couldn’t punch their ticket to the World Series. The best-of-7 series saw the Reds win 4-2 in 1990, Braves pulled out a miracle (in my opinion) to win 4-3 in 1991 and here we are in 1992 again facing Atlanta.
My childhood was unlike most kids. My older brother started working for the Pirates in the 80s and would spend a glorious 20 year career with the organization. The prime years of my youth were filled with baseball and I had unprecedented access to the players and the stadium. A few times a month in the summer we would drive down from Erie to stay with my bro and I went to every game I could. I knew the team, their wives, their kids, would take batting practice in the belly of the stadium and had seats behind home plate on a regular basis. The Pirates were my family and Three Rivers Stadium was my home.
Going into Game 4 of the 92 NLCS, the Pirates were beat up by the Braves in the first 2 games ( lost 5-1, 13-5) and given a bone in game 3 (won 3-2). Even though this series would end with heartbreak as Sid Slid it was THIS game where I would meet my first mortal enemy.
I was sitting in section 42 which was directly behind home plate and general area where the celebs in town would sit. It would be common to see former Bucco greats and a young Mario Lemieux walking around so if the games got boring you could always score an autograph. On this night my area was a popular landing pad for foul balls and I was determined to catch my first one ever.
Half way through the game my chance finally came. With the crack of the bat and a look to the night sky, there was the ball making its final descent to my hands.
“This is it! This is my moment!” I thought to myself.
I start fighting off the older guys in my section and out of the corner of my eye I see a blur coming towards me…
I fell back, crack myself off a chair and crashed to the ground. I look up to see what happened and standing there with my ball is Scott Schwartz.
Yes, SCOTT SCHWARTZ!
Flick from A Christmas Story. Eric from The Toy. THAT GUY!
I thought I was hallucinating at this point.
“Did Flick really just knock me out?”
Sure enough he went jumping around shouting how he caught the ball.
My dad helps me up and we’re both really not sure what just happened. I was slightly dazed and felt like a truck hit my scrawny frame.
The game ends in heartache as the Braves pull out a 6-4 win.
The family goes down to the front offices following the game to hang out while traffic filters out and sure enough in walks Scott with ball in hand. At this point I’m still having a hard time believing THAT was the guy with my ball and that it was someone famous. I never say anything to him, just throw dirty looks because really, that’s all I could think of doing.
20+ years later I’m not as bitter as say Sheldon and Wil Wheaton but when one of his movies comes I still grumble to myself “f’n Schwartz!”
Damn, now that is a good story. I feel like my playoff game experience has nothing on this one…
Here are the links to all the other blogs involved today, definitely check them out.