The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

September 3, 2012

Another notch in the belt

I have been fortunate over the years to have seen some remarkable sporting events.

My first trip to Fenway Park, and my son's first major league game, produced Jim Rice's walk-off grand-slam in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Oakland Athletics.

The A's Dave Kingman hit two monster home runs -- over the Green Monster -- in that game; Rickey Henderson stole one of his MLB-record 1,406 bases; and Davey Lopes crashed into the center-field wall directly in front of us, resulting in what was, for all intents and purposes, a career-ending injury.

I saw Red Sox pitcher Hideo Nomo's no-hitter in Camden Yards in a game where Cal Ripken reached on an error.

I saw Steve Carlton become baseball's all-time strikeout leader for left-handers the same night that, in the second game of a twi-night doubleheader, Dave Cash hit an inside-the-park homer for the Phillies.

I saw Yankees pitcher Andy Hawkins pitch nine innings of no-hit ball, and lose 4-0 to the White Sox at old Comiskey Park (a rule change later erased Hawkins' no-no from the record books.

I saw an aging Brooks Robinson enter the game as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the ninth and deliver a game-winning single against the Kansas City Royals' Paul Splitorff.

I even saw O.J. Simpson play, for the Buffalo Bills, in the former Memorial Stadium, against the Baltimore Colts.

Several years ago, I checked a trip to the Brickyard off my list of things I wanted to do (although it was a NASCAR race and not the Indy 500).

I found myself reflecting on these experiences and more last Thursday as I sat next to the fence on Court 4 at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in Flushing Meadows, watching the No. 1-ranked women's doubles team of Lisa Raymond and Liezel Huber competing against a scrappy team of Eleni Daniilidou and Casey Dellacqua.

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