Monday, September 18, 2006. A night most of us Dodgers fans won’t ever forget. The Padres came into the game with a record of 78-70, The Dodgers record at the time was 78-71. Both teams were neck and neck for first place in the National League West division. A crisp 80-degree night at first pitch. The battle for the division lead would continue on this night. The Padres Lineup on this night was Dave Roberts, Brian Giles, Adrian Gonzalez, Mike Piazza, Russell Branyan, Mike Cameron, Geoff Blum, Josh Bard and starting pitcher Jake Peavy. The Dodgers Lineup was constructed as Rafael Furcal, Kenny Lofton, Nomar Garciaparra, Jeff Kent, JD Drew, Russell Martin, Marlon Anderson, Wilson Betemit, and Brad Penny. I remember laying in bed thinking this game could go either way as the Padres had Jake Peavy on the mound and the Dodgers countered with Brad Penny.
The Padres scored 4 runs in the top of the first, and I was upset, throwing my pillows at the wall. The Dodgers countered with one in the bottom half of the inning. The Dodgers would score again in the bottom of the 2nd when Marlon Anderson hit a solo home run to deep right, as he hit I was thinking, ok the lead is cut in half we’re back in this. The Dodgers scored again in the bottom of 3rd with a home run from Furcal and a Double from JD Drew driving in Jeff Kent. All a sudden the game was tied and I was excited the team had shown fight after being down 4. There would be no scoring from either team until the 8th inning when the Padres pushed across 2 runs to give them a 6-4 lead. Jonathon Broxton had given up those runs and it pissed me off because Broxton had been pretty good all year long and he just gave up runs at a bad time deep in a divisional race. Here I am frustrated as Marlon Anderson steps up to bat and he hits a triple down the right-field line. I’m just pessimistic when it comes to the Dodgers so despite that in my mind I’m thinking, well they won’t score anyway its the Dodgers way. The very next batter Wilson Betemit singled to center to make it 6-5. I started feeling a bit more hopeful, but that hope was immediately crushed as the Dodgers didn’t score again that inning and Takashi Saito proceeded to give up 3 more runs giving the Padres a 4 run lead again. During that inning, I began looking for something to watch on Nickelodeon because I couldn’t take it anymore. It’s a pretty big game and the Bullpen as is customary doesn’t show up. Jon Adkins starts the 9th inning for the Padres. Fans had already begun leaving after the disastrous top half of the 9th. Jeff Kent leads off and crushed a home run to center. I rolled my eyes wondering how they’d get it close only to crush my heart at the end. JD Drew stepped up to plate and smacked a home run to right, that would be the end for Adkins, the Padres were going to future Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman. Surely whatever fire the Dodgers were trying to make, Hoffman would put out, right? Russell Martin steps to the plate, first-pitch home run to left field. All a sudden it’s 9-8 Padres and I’m no longer laying in bed I’m standing up holding a pillow trying to figure out what the hell is happening, the stadium is buzzing the energy even from watching on tv from the fans still there was incredible. Marlon Anderson steps to plate and the first pitch he sees’ he hits a home run to right field. He’s raising his arms as he rounds bases, The Dugout is a madhouse, players can’t believe whats going on, I’m yelling jumping up and down screaming holy shit this can’t be real. Absolute madness of an inning. The next 3 hitters, however, would pop up to send the game into extra innings. Aaron Sele came in to pitch the 10th inning he allowed a run on a double by Giles and single to Josh Bard. That would be the only run the Padres score but they lead 10-9. The Padres brought in pitcher Rudy Seanez to try and close the game out. The Dodgers had the heart of the Order coming up, so I thought this is a good chance for the Dodgers to possibly tie or win but again I’m pessimistic so I thought the chances were slim. Kenny Lofton drew a 6 pitch walk. The song Low Rider blasted through the speakers and the fans still in attendance all cheered loudly because they like the song and that meant it was Nomar’s turn to bat. Rudy couldn’t seem to find the zone, I was thinking Nomar would walk to bring up Kent. The count was 3-1, Nomar does his usual batting glove adjustments and toe-tapping. He gets settled in, the 3-1 pitch was on its way and Nomar absolutely hammered it to deep left-field. As soon as he hit it he knew it was gone, He let out a yell and pumped his fist. The crowd was going bananas the Dodgers rushed the field, I’m running circles in my room trying to be quiet because I was supposed to be asleep. Hi Mom! It was a crazy ending, to a long wild game that kept going back and forth. That night was magic, That night shows anything can happen, That night and moments like that are what’s so amazing about baseball, why we as fans love it so much.
We miss you, Baseball. Hopefully, us fans will be enjoying you soon.