A Game 5 Story

The following story is reprinted from Edgar and the Hall, a website “On Edgar Martinez and a quest for the Hall of Fame” that began at the start of the year. You can find the original story here, with a couple of asides that I’ve left out of the reprinted version below:

I was at Game 5.

Yep, I was there. In the third deck down the right field line. It was bedlam. It was amazing. It was seminal. But, honestly, I barely remember it. It was all a blur. No. My most vivid memory of Game 5 came nearly five years later, on the morning of March 26, 2000, on a stranger’s floor in Washington D.C.

Here’s the story.

I moved to D.C., from Seattle, in October, 1999, after graduating from law school. I was a brand-new baby-lawyer at the Department of Justice and I didn’t know a soul. Well, I did have a friend from the fraternity house at the University of Michigan who lived there. But this was it. I was on my own for the first time. It was exciting and challenging, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss home.

Six months after starting work, I’d become friends with some of the new lawyers who’d started at Justice around the same time. I was out drinking with a group of Justice newbies on the night of Saturday, March 25, and we all ended up at some random stranger’s apartment early Sunday morning. As people snatched up spare beds and couches, I was left with the living room floor. There was no chance I could sleep.

So, instead, I turned on the TV. And, to my everlasting delight, ESPN Classic was airing the “Best games ever played at the Kingdome,” in anticipation of the Kingdome demolition later that morning.

Lying on that floor, I watched the game again for the first time. Extra Innings. Randy Johnson out of the bullpen. “Black” Jack McDowell. Stupid Randy Velarde. Yankees take the lead. Joey Cora bunts and slides around Mattingly. Junior’s line drive single. Runners at the corners . . . .

Up comes Edgar . . .

Wow. Things were changing in Seattle. Edgar’s double led directly to the demolition of the Kingdome. Safeco Field was open. The next year, that beautiful new stadium would play host the 2001 All-Star Game, a rookie named Ichiro, and a winning streak the likes of which no one had ever seen.

And one drunk M’s fan, lying on a stranger’s floor three-thousand miles away, felt like he was home.

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