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A Moment in Baseball from 9/29/96

 
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forloveofthegame



Joined: 23 Oct 2009
Posts: 6632
Location: San Diego

PostPosted: Wed 9/29/21 11:55 am    Post subject: A Moment in Baseball from 9/29/96 Reply with quote

Since some of you are posting famous memories and moments from 15 and 25 years ago, involving the Dodgers, here is another one but this involves the Padres too. It is from SABR, when the Padres swept the Dodgers in the last series of the regular season in 1996, to win the NL West. Since it was only the second year the wild card existed, it meant the Dodgers took the wild card while my Padres won the Western division. Might not be a favorite memory for some here but it is for me. Twisted Evil We had gone to the Saturday game at Dodger Stadium, but came home because Raul had to work, and I watched the Sunday game on TV.

Article linked here Twisted Evil
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dodgerblue6



Joined: 10 Aug 2005
Posts: 18708
Location: San Diego CA - deep in the heart of SoCal

PostPosted: Wed 9/29/21 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Touché, Cath. Smile

Aaaarggggh. Well, I knew this anniversary day was coming up, because it was the end of September—typically, the Adams Avenue Street Fair coincides with the final weekend of the regular season. And that’s where I was that Sunday afternoon, with my radio carried alongside to listen to the action. I had my two young nephews with me, ages six and four. It was still a scoreless tie late, when the Padres broke through. I listened with clenched teeth as the Dodgers went down in the ninth, and Vin described the Padres swarming the field. Immediately the news made it around the street fair, and of course the fans went wild at the bars along the route. One of the blues bands performing immediately broke into a spontaneous ad-lib of their song with replacement lyrics of “The Padres beat those Dodgers…” Even just now remembering back on that, 25 years later, I can still hear the guitarist picking the notes! Crazy, huh? I had a lot to live down, as I was wearing Dodger gear around the neighborhood as I too part in the festivities. Even the little boys I had in my custody teased me! Surprised

My only consolation was that both teams might meet again in the playoffs, or perhaps the Dodgers would advance in the postseason for the first time since 1988. It was not to be (for either team) as both were swept in the first round. Still, leading up to that Sunday afternoon, was another one of those nailbiting
final weeks, just as this one is for current Dodger fans. The Padres rose to the
occasion and the Dodgers didn’t.

And that may have been the true beginning of their downfall. Remember, they began 1996 as defending NL West champions. Tommy Lasorda had retired earlier in the season due to health reasons, after 20 years at the helm, and then Bill Russell took over—not exactly the same type of managerial style. The Dodgers didn’t appear to be as motivated. They had four consecutive Rookies of the Year on that team, including the (then) current one. They boasted future Hall of Fame catcher Mike Piazza in the lineup. Russell didn’t last long as the skipper. But I still think Tommy would have kicked ass so much after the second loss of the series that they’d be afraid to lose the last game.

At the end of the following season, Peter O’Malley announced his intentions to sell the team, and things would never be the same again. And it would be another 24 years before they would return to championship status. As you know, that’s part of that story, “The Blue Light at the End of the Tunnel.” Smile

Of course, all of what "might have been" is mere speculation. This moment of glory for San Diego happened in Dodger Stadium, and it took a lot to come in and sweep that team to claim the division. So props to the Padres for that. It's always humbling to be swept at home with something on the line.

Side note, I was even mentioned by name in Diane Bell’s column of the Union-Tribune that week, in a light-hearted item about Padre fan coworkers giving me a hard time. Laughing Laughing Laughing
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sunnyblue



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 2850
Location: San Diego County, CA

PostPosted: Thu 9/30/21 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Side note, I was even mentioned by name in Diane Bell’s column of the Union-Tribune that week, in a light-hearted item about Padre fan coworkers giving me a hard time. Laughing Laughing Laughing


How fun, DB! You must have been very good natured about it!

I remember watching it and my thought was that Fernando should not have been on the other side of that game celebrating in Dodger Stadium. It just didn't seem right!

Also, Chris Gwynn was in his first year with the Padres then, after playing for the Dodgers on their team that won the NL West the year before.
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forloveofthegame



Joined: 23 Oct 2009
Posts: 6632
Location: San Diego

PostPosted: Thu 9/30/21 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After watching the game last night I was glad I had this memory of the same day in history, but just 25 years earlier. Smile
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dodgerblue6



Joined: 10 Aug 2005
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Location: San Diego CA - deep in the heart of SoCal

PostPosted: Fri 10/1/21 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll have to post it later...but there was an interesting look at that final series of '96 in the Times a couple of days ago, and how it affected future seedings.
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