In October of 2007 I had a religious experience that forever changed my life.
From September 16 to October 15, 2007, the Colorado Rockies won 20 out of 21 games to advance to their first World Series appearance. This included winning 13 out of their final 14 regular season games, a one game tie-breaker, and seven consecutive playoff games.
On September 18 against the Dodgers there were two outs and two strikes in the bottom of the ninth. The ageless and timeless veteran, Todd Helton, belted a walk-off home run that kept their hopes alive.
On September 21, Brad Hawpe saved the season with a 14th inning home run in San Diego.
On Friday evening September 28, the Rockies lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks. This ended their 11 game win streak and gave the division title to Arizona. Their only hope now was to win the final two games against Arizona and for San Diego to lose their final two games against Milwaukie.
On Saturday, September 29, Tony Gwynn's son saved the Rockies season by getting a game tying pinch hit in the bottom of the ninth against his old baby sitter, Trevor Hoffman.
On Sunday, September 30, my sons and I were in Coors Field on the final day of the regular season. The Rockies needed to beat Arizona and San Diego needed to lose to Milwaukie. If both those things happened, then the Padres would come to Coors Field for a one game tie-breaker. My 8 year old son took off his shirt and waved it while sitting on my shoulders in the right field stands. He was desperately trying to encourage the Rockies to win. The camera noticed him and he was put on the Jumbotron.
The Padres-Brewers game was in Milwaukie so it started an hour before the Rockies and Diamondbacks at Coors field. In the 8th inning, the Rockies and Diamondbacks were all knotted up at one a-piece. Suddenly, there was a huge roar from the crowd as an F was placed on the scoreboard next to: Padres-6, Brewers-11. When that F was posted the Rockies bats came alive. Before we knew it, the team was taking a victory lap and the fans were staying to celebrate.
On the way home I remarked, "Best baseball game I ever saw."
The very next day I said, "I was wrong."
On Monday evening the baseball season was over and the Padres came to Coors Field for a one game playoff to determine who would be the National League wild card team. San Diego would start their 2007 National League Cy-Young award winning ace, Jake Peavy, and if they needed it they had the best closer ever in the history of Major League Baseball, Trevor Hoffman.
The Rockies had Josh Fogg.
Josh played well enough to keep us in the game and we were able to hit Peavy a little bit. After nine innings the score was tied at six apiece. My boys fell asleep somewhere in the eleventh or twelfth inning. In the top of the 13th inning the Padres scored twice and Trevor Hoffman entered the game. My pulse rate went from 120 beats per minute, where it had been for most of the previous four hours, to just above zero.
A packed Coors Field is kind of spooky when it is silent at midnight.
Then…Kaz Matsui doubles to lead off. Troy Tulowitski doubles in Kaz and pumps his fists after sliding to a stand on second. Matt Holiday triples off the right field scoreboard, Tulo scores. The winning run is now 90 feet away with no outs. Helton draws a walk. Jamey Carroll lines out to right field and Holliday is coming home. A bloody face plant, a dropped ball, a cloud of dust, and the Rockies are going to the playoffs!!
This was truly the most religious experience of my life.
Every year, on this date, I pledge to put blood on my chin in honor of the face plant.