The best games we didn't see   

Updated: June 25, 2007, 1:08 PM ET

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Instead of the usual assortment of links, we're running reader responses to my recent missive on why you should never skip a baseball game.

I do have two quick links to pass along, though -- both for selfish reasons. First, AP had a story on how quickly the city of Montreal has swept Expos memories under the rug. Seeing my favorite team cast aside by my hometown had me pretty bummed. That is, until later that day, when I received this as a gift. Yes, that's an extremely rare Spider-Man comic book, depicting Marquis Grissom, Larry Walker, Delino DeShields and Moises Alou teaming up with Spidey to fight the Green Goblin in the Big O while saving Felipe Alou from a kidnapping plot. The combination of nostalgia, kitsch value and implausible preposterousness made this, quite possibly, the best gift I've ever received. My mom bought it at a garage sale … for 10 cents.

I'm a big Yankees fan. Though I am often fine with going to a game alone, sometimes the unique loneliness of sitting with 54,000 strangers is a bit much and I balk. Well, this happened once in May 1999; I had the Sunday afternoon free, briefly considered going, but just got tired and didn't want to go all out of my way alone. Well, I regretted it bitterly. It wasn't that it was a great game in splendid weather, with a couple of lead changes and featuring a walk-off hit from Bernie Williams. No, it was the fact that unbeknownst to me it turned out to be Joe DiMaggio Memorial Day; with the highlight being the incredible moment that an unbilled Paul Simon popped out of Monument Park to sing "Mrs. Robinson" in center field and basically made the whole place bawl its eyes out. I cry thinking about how I missed it.

Actually, I have two from the same year, if you can believe that.

My wife (actually fiancée at the time, which relates to the second incident) and I had partial season tickets at Safeco in 2000. One of the games was this one.

Now, our regular seats were all right, on the field level down the left field line about halfway between the dirt and the fence. But she had a co-worker who had seats in the first row of the terrace level right between the plate and third base. As luck would have it, he had given us his tickets for the game the next night. So, as we were driving home (Redmond to Seattle, which on game nights could be up to an hour and a half drive) I mentioned that I wouldn't mind skipping the game, since we had the real good seats the next night and I was kind of tired. And, of course, we really wanted to go the next night because Pedro [Martinez]was pitching. So, of course, the game we skipped ends up going 19 innings, two seventh-inning stretches, finally won on a walk-off homer by Mike Cameron, who was my favorite player at the time. And here I am sitting at home, keeping score watching it on TV. And I had to watch the whole thing, just to punish myself. I have to say that the next night the mood was exhausted and electric, until Pedro just started mowing everyone down. We definitely made the wrong decision.

The second game that I skipped that year turned out to be this one. In my defense here, we never could have predicted that the M's were going to make the playoffs back in January when we set our wedding date for October 7. It was really painful selling those tickets, but I got to watch the game in a bar in Bellingham with my aunt and uncle (who I go to spring training with every year). About 30 seconds before Carlos Guillen ended it, my uncle looked at me and said "I think you gotta try a bunt here … "
--Mark C.

I just wanted to say thanks for the article on never skipping a baseball game and to share my story, as I too missed seeing a no-hitter.

April 27, 2002 -- A friend called me up around noon and offered two tickets to the Red Sox-Devil Rays game at 1 p.m. I said sure and called my boyfriend, but he said he didn't want to go because we'd miss the first inning or two. For some reason I caved and we skipped the game. Derek Lowe threw a no-hitter. I broke up with the guy. (OK, that actually happened a few months later, but arguably I had a good excuse that day.)
--Liz W.

A colleague of mine forwarded your article on why you should never skip a game. Amen! He sent me your article because just last week I had a business meeting in Michigan. It was scheduled a couple weeks ago so I had time to buy tickets to the Tigers-Brewers game. The date was June 12. My meeting finished early. It finished early enough that I could skip the hotel I booked (and the game) and get back home in time to see the end of my son's baseball game. Everyone was surprised and happy to see me as I didn't let anyone know about my changed plans in case I didn't make it in time. I did make it in time and got to see my son get two hits and make a defensive play.

After the game, my son wanted to hurry home to see the rest of the Tigers game I skipped. We live in southern Indiana, so I told him a different game would be televised locally. As soon as I turned on the tube to see what game we were going to watch, we see the interview with [Justin] Verlander.

My son asks, "Is it over already?" I respond, "This isn't good. The only reason we would see an interview with the Tigers' pitcher this early is because something spectacular happened." As the on-the-field reporter sent it back to "SportsCenter", I realized what I had missed by not sitting in my eighth row (behind the Tigers bench) seats. I think I screamed.

This story isn't too tragic because even if I knew what was going to happen that night it still would have been a no-brainer to take the opportunity to watch my son's game versus a major league game. So, there actually ARE reasons to skip a game.
--Craig K.

Reading your article had me cringing over a trip to Cooperstown a few years back. In order to get home, we had to pass through Binghamton, N.Y., home of the Mets' Double-A team. As we drove through Binghamton around 5, we discussed dropping in to see if they were playing. Instead, we decided to drive though since it was a long drive. As I pulled into WFAN 660 territory, the 20-20 sports flash came on … "Mets minor leaguer Bob Keppel throws a no-hitter for Double-A Binghamton." At this point we weren't sure if the B-Mets were even home or not. Sure enough, I got home, checked the Internet and they were home. What makes it worse is that I am a die-hard Mets fan who has seen three one-hitters live ([Tom] Glavine, Bobby Jones in the playoffs and David Cone).
--Jon H.

When I was 7, my dad got two tickets for a Rangers-Jays game at old Arlington Stadium. My brother and I both wanted to go, so we flipped a coin and I ended up winning. He got to go to the next two games, but it turned out that Nolan Ryan chose that evening [May 1, 1991] to throw his seventh no-hitter. My brother still gets pissed anytime anyone mentions Ryan or anytime anyone throws a no-hitter.
--Andrew R.

My wife and I were married at West Point, N.Y., in May of '98. Everyone in my family is a huge Yankees fan, and my brother and I hadn't gotten many chances to see games after moving from upstate NY. So, my brother decided to get tickets for a game the day after the wedding. My parents went with him, but I declined. I had to get home to Virginia, unpack from the wedding, pack for the honeymoon, and besides, the Yankees were playing the crappy Twins. I get home, turn on ESPN, and see that David Wells threw a PERFECT GAME. My stupid brother still has the back page of the NY Post from the day after.
--Christian C.

I enjoyed your P2 article about games you missed. Let me tell you about the LAST game I WENT to, and because I didn't leave early, my wife still won't let me go to another game.

My wife and I were living in NYC, on 28th Street, and we were expecting our first child. As an avid Yankees fan, I probably attended between 10 to 15 games a year. Working at Merrill Lynch, I would, on occasion, be given tickets to the company's luxury box behind home plate. Well, when my wife told me that she would be having her baby shower on a Sunday in May, I figured I could get the guys to attend a golf outing. Knowing that when I play golf I'm usually gone for most of the day, she suggested taking everyone to a Yankees game. She wanted me to be readily available to thank everyone who came to the shower and figured I'd be only 15 minutes away from where the party would be held. I check with my boss and was able to secure the luxury box for 11 of my friends and family.

The date was May 17, 1998. Yankees-Twins. We thought we'd probably see about six innings before the phone call came. The call didn't come until after the seventh. After the third time she called without getting an answer, my dad suggested to just shut off the cell phone. Needless to say, while everyone celebrated the last out of a perfect game, I was wondering what my wife would say and how she'd say it.

Yep, it was everything I thought. Haven't been to a Yankees game since. But thinking about it, it's not that bad that the last game I went to ended perfectly.

--John M.

Jonah Keri is a regular contributor to Page 2 and the editor and co-author of "Baseball Between the Numbers." You can contact him here.


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