Video Archive 10
Role Reversal For Pedro (9/24/1996)
Sports irony at its finest: By September 24, 1996 Martinez, in his third season as a starter, had not yet established "Future Hall-of-Famer" status. He had, however, become Pedro—having earned a deserved reputation as baseball's prime intimidator this side of Roger Clemens (I shy away from the term "headhunter" in general terms.)
Though Martinez was young and buried in a city (Montreal) with ever-dwindling baseball interest, all of baseball knew he owned the inner half of the plate—and despite being slight in stature, he was not afraid to "move a batter's feet." This fearlessness contributed to over 200 major league victories, five ERA titles and three Cy Young awards.
But when Philadelphia's Mike Williams, avenging a viscious drilling of teammate Gregg Jefferies, gave Pedro a taste of his own medicine...(not shown: Pedro, Williams, Phillies manager Jim Fregosi and pitcher Curt Schilling, plus Expo C Tim Spehr were all thumbed for their roles.)
(Notes: Interestingly, eight years later Martinez and Schilling would go on to form one of the top 1-2 punches atop a rotation of that decade for the championship Boston Red Sox (if only for a season.) And Martinez would end his career with the N.L. Champion Phillies in 2009.)
C-Webb Schools Sir Charles (11/16/1993)
On November 16, 1993, somewhere in the land had to exist a faction unaware of young phenom Chris Webber of the Golden State Warriors.
This dunk changed all that.
Leading a fast-break vs. Charles Barkley and the defending Western Conference Champion Suns in Oakland, Webber—out of the blue—posterized one of the greatest forwards of all-time (even if the foul was ticky-tack.)
It mattered not that GS went on to lose by 12, or that Barkley outscored Webber 36-21 for the game. Who even cared about any of that? Chris Webber was going to change Warriors basketball forever. On that night, the sky was the limit for the #1 overall pick out of Michigan.
Note: I tried in vain to unearth this dunk from the perspective of the floor cameraman Barkley barrels into, which is the best one. But the clips I found from said view were unsatisfactory.
Santiago Casilla Goes Down (5/21/2014)
I'd begun a compilation of the top 25 most notable Giants injuries of the past 25 years when that very evening, RP Santiago Casilla forced a re-evaluation of the entire thing!
SF led Colorado by four and were counting on Casilla to finish, but—to paraphrase ESPN.com—the veteran reliever inexplicably treated his rare AB like Game 7 of the World Series, sprinting down the line as fast as he could when precious little could be gained by doing so.
Best about this clip: the morbid reaction of announcer Duane Kuiper. One could almost feel Kuip calling Casilla an idiot in his head as he simply repeated the word "Unbelievable."
(Notes: Casilla would be out for several weeks with a hamstring
strain. Starting pitcher Matt Cain had also been forced to leave with a leg injury after just three innings that day!)
The Rookie Vs. Reggie (10/11/1978)
Talk about putting yourself on the map.
Bob Welch was a 21-year-old rookie starter for the 1978 Dodgers. Reggie Jackson was Mr. October, the superstar masher well into a Hall-of-Fame career. The two men became acquainted for the first time at the very end of Game Two of the 1978 World Series.
It's hard to describe the magnitude of this at-bat for anyone who didn't see it live—the best (faux) comparison I could muster from the modern era was Francisco Rodriguez whiffing Barry Bonds to win a World Series game, although for years Bonds carried a reputation as a playoff wilt.
Unlike K-Rod, Welch spent much of his rookie season in the majors. Operating in a variety of roles, he won seven games, completed four and saved three others! Jackson was Jackson—the battle was on. All fastballs, all macho.
Notes: On base for the Yankees are Bucky Dent (2nd) and Paul Blair (1st; how strange is it to see a Yankee who isn't Derek Jeter wearing #2?) Steve Yeager completed the Dodger battery. The 19 patch on Welch's jersey is worn in honor of Dodger coach (and longtime player) Jim Gilliam, who wore #19 and died suddenly just before the World Series.
Note Reggie's, uh, excited reaction after striking out. Multiple (credible) books reference an enraged Jackson shoving manager Bob Lemon upon reaching the dugout. (Jackson's own autobiography only mentions an equipment slam.) Whether or not this truly occurred, I can't say with 100% certainty—but the sources would otherwise be very reliable ones.
500 For Manny (5/31/2008)
Manny Ramirez is one of the most polarizing men to ever play the game, but what cannot be denied: his wow factor at the plate.
The first time I viewed footage of Ramirez taking Baltimore sidewinder Chad Bradford yard for career homer #500, it left a bad taste in my mouth. Being "old-school", a "throwback", etc. at the time meant feeling disgust over Manny's slow amble down the first-base line upon making contact.
Since that May 31, 2008 evening, I've softened in that regard and can now enjoy the moment for what it was—a historic swing of the bat for one of the greatest players of all-time.
(Notes: Ramon Hernandez is the Oriole catcher. Ramirez' bomb came with two outs in the 7th inning of what would eventually be a 6-3 Boston win; it was Ramirez' 10th homer of the season. Having become disgruntled (again) in Boston, he would be traded to the Dodgers exactly two months later.)
Ow, Paul! (6/10/2010)
Though ultimately victorious, Paul Pierce's first NBA Finals (2008) was more than a little painful. When "The Truth" returned to the Finals in 2010, he inflicted a little pain of his own...albeit unintentionally.
Game 4; Pierce's Celtics are hosting the Los Angeles Lakers. Late in the first quarter, Pierce got the step on Lakers big man Metta World Peace. The whistle blew, Pierce went to the hole—and prematurely celebrated the score without checking his surroundings.
Notes: Though that hoop was waved off, Boston still won 96-89 to even the series at two—eventually losing in seven, however. Pierce finished with a modest 19 points, enough to lead the team even though he—and his fellow starters—sat most of the 4th quarter for strategic reasons.
Cardinals Come Apart #1 (10/27/1985)
We've all seen the Don Denkinger blown call from Game Six of the '85 World Series. What a lot of folks haven't seen—the Game Seven fallout. KC had this game wrapped up by the 5th inning (up 10-0). In that very inning, St. Louis brought in the enigmatic Joaquin Andujar to restore some sense of order. He did anything but.
In this video, you'll see Andujar's first of two meltdowns directed at Denkinger, now at home plate after his rough night umpiring first base. Eventually the whole Cardinal dugout has it out with Denkinger, who they now blame for losing the championship. Has any other entire team ever lost its collective composure this way? Doubtful.
Notes: You are hearing Al Michaels, Jim Palmer and Tim McCarver call the game.
Cardinals Come Apart #2 (10/27/1985)
Somehow, Andujar avoided a post-meltdown ejection...for about two seconds. After the events shown in the above video, Andujar became completely unglued, displaying a white-hot rage usually reserved for Milton Bradley and his ilk.
Notes: It pains me to credit Tim McCarver for anything, but he was correct about Andujar never really bouncing back from the second half of 1985—remember, the star righty stumbled to that 21-12 mark with a 4-8, 5.46 final two months of '85, took a beating in the Pittsburgh drug trials, then this.
Injury-plagued, Andujar won but 17 more times in his career and was done at 35.
Brock Holt's Defensive Skillz (6/17/2014)
It's the third inning of a Twins/Red Sox clash at Fenway Park. Jonny Gomes—who'd been in the news for all the wrong reasons—is the Sox left fielder with absolutely no idea where the Brian Dozier fly ball is.
Brock Holt is a rookie center fielder desperate to keep Twins' batter Brian Dozier's average firmly in the .230's. He averts disaster—as well as damage to pitcher Jon Lester's impressive statline—with an acrobatic catch you have to see to believe. (The shortstop trying to help Gomes upon realizing he's in trouble is Stephen Drew, #7)
This wasn't just a footnote play—Boston was up only 1-0 at the time, eventually eking out a 2-1 win. Holt's effort may have kept Lester from dipping under .500...though Dozier's average has since reached the .240's anyway.
Note: It is staggering just how many "top" media outlets (NESN, CBSSports, others) devoted a whole story to the catch—and deservedly so—without mentioning the name of the pitcher or batter involved. It is almost as if they all copied and pasted each other's incomplete blurbs.
My bringing theskillzreport.com to life was partially motivated by oversights like these, which happen more often than I deem acceptable.