Prepare for the postseason with the 10 best crowd-silencing moments ever
One of the best things about the postseason is the crowds -- towel-waving walls of color and sound just waiting for an excuse to blow the roof off the ballpark. But there's a flipside to that, of course: For every deafening home crowd roar, there's an equal and opposite silence when the away team comes up big. And sometimes, that's even more fun.
So, with the postseason now just weeks away, we decided to remember 10 of the best October crowd-silencers in history. (Miss any? Let us know @Cut4.)
Honorable mentions: Jose Canseco hits one into approximately the billionth deck at SkyDome; Pete Kozma completes a Cardinals comeback for the ages; Edgardo Alfonzo buries the D-backs; Rick Ankiel sends one to McCovey Cove; Derrek Lee breaks Cubs fans' hearts
10. Willson Contreras ties Game 4 of the 2016 NLDS
It's hard to remember now, but this was a matchup of two teams with drastically different postseason mojos: the Cubs, still haunted by 1908, against the Giants, authors of not one or two but three magical World Series runs in the previous six years.
So, when San Francisco took a commanding 5-2 lead into the ninth inning of Game 4, it seemed like Chicago was on the verge of another October collapse. But Willson Contreras changed all of that -- and stunned a raucous AT&T Park:
9. George Brett finally slays the Yankees
It's one of the great forgotten rivalries in baseball history: Every year from 1976 to 1978, the Yankees and Royals met in the ALCS, and every year, New York came out on top in hotly contested (and instantly iconic) fashion.
George Brett made sure 1980 would be different, though. K.C. took the first two games of the best-of-five, and with two men on in the seventh inning of Game 3, the Royals' future Hall of Famer delivered a very loud knockout punch against Goose Gossage:
8. Any one of many, many Giants homers
As you might imagine, San Francisco has a lot of candidates in this category -- from Barry Bonds to Edgar Renteria to Brandon Crawford to Conor Gillaspie . For sheer, soul-crushing silence, though, it's hard to beat Buster Posey's grand slam in Game 5 the 2012 NLDS. Mat Latos couldn't even bear to look:
7. The Matt Stairs Game
The 2008 Dodgers just felt like a team of destiny -- L.A. hadn't won a postseason series in two decades, but they had Mannywood and Matt Kemp and had just smoked the NL Central-winning Cubs. And then that destiny ran headlong into the barrel of Matt Stairs' bat:
6. Marwin Gonzalez
The 2017 World Series became an all-time classic, but it could have very easily wound up differently. Clayton Kershaw outdueled Justin Verlander in Game 1, and L.A. took a 4-3 lead into Game 2 -- with All-Star closer Kenley Jansen coming on to close the door. Three quick outs, and the Dodgers would have a commanding 2-0 lead in the series. Luckily for Houston, Marwin Gonzalez stepped up:
5. Devon White caps a rally for the ages
The Phillies looked to have Game 4 of the 1993 World Series in hand. They led the Blue Jays, 14-9, in the top of the eighth inning -- all they had to do was record six outs before they surrendered five runs, and the Fall Classic would be tied at two games apiece.
About that. Four hits and two walks later, Toronto had cut the deficit to just one, and Devon White stepped up with the go-ahead run on first:
4. Adam Wainwright freezes Carlos Beltran
Thanks to a two-run, tie-breaking homer from Yadier Molina, the Cardinals looked set to break the Mets' hearts in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS.
But wait! New York rallied, loading the bases with two outs for Carlos Beltran -- the team's best hitter that year, with 41 homers and a .275/.388/.594 slash line. One swing of the bat could tie the game, or even give New York a dramatic comeback win. Alas, Adam Wainwright's curveball had other ideas:
3. Johnny Damon exorcises the demons
After the steal in Game 4, the walk-off in Game 5 and the bloody sock in Game 6, Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS feels like a foregone conclusion in hindsight. Still, it was a do-or-die game in Yankee Stadium, a situation that hadn't been too kind to Boston over the years, and the Curse of the Bambino didn't allow for foregone conclusions. That is, until Johnny Damon buried the ghost of the Babe:
2. The Flip
The best crowd-silencers come from the unexpected. Like, for example, a surefire game-tying double -- in an elimination game, no less -- that somehow morphed into a seemingly impossible play at the plate:
1. Albert Pujols hits one to Mars
Plenty of plays have left the home crowd silent over the years, but only one felt like it literally sucked the air out of an entire metropolitan area. This one had it all: a game-winning homer in the ninth inning of an LCS, Albert Pujols in full stoic Machine mode, Brad Lidge immediately crumpling on the mound and the ball soaring over the Minute Maid Park train and out of sight as if it had just entered low orbit.