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Players share postseason memories as fans

September 29, 2017

October moments enter through our eyes, stir our stomachs, enliven our arm hair and elevate our heart rates before, finally, taking their resting and lasting place inside our brains.This is a time of year for remembering the times of years past. So as we embark upon a new postseason journey

October moments enter through our eyes, stir our stomachs, enliven our arm hair and elevate our heart rates before, finally, taking their resting and lasting place inside our brains.
This is a time of year for remembering the times of years past. So as we embark upon a new postseason journey sure to spur its own stories to tell, we asked players from across the Major League landscape to relay their favorite postseason moments. And to accentuate the idea that these guys were and are fans just like us, we asked them to stick to memories that occurred before their own big league involvement.
Here are some of the better stories we heard:
2001 D-backs-Yankees World Series
Twins outfielder (and Staten Island, N.Y., native) Zack Granite: "I was in the fourth grade during 9/11, and they pulled us out of class. My dad was a teacher in the city. I'm fortunate enough I didn't lose any family members, but I knew a lot of people that did. It was very sad."
D-backs third baseman Jake Lamb: "It was kind of one of those things where, growing up in Seattle, I never really liked the Yankees, but you're secretly kind of rooting for them because of what they went through. On the other side was this team the Diamondbacks, where everything about them was kind of brand-new, while the Yankees had the big names and everything."
Granite: "The Yankees had a couple crazy home runs off Byung-Hyun Kim, with Scott Brosius and Derek Jeter walking it off. I thought, 'Wow, this is the coolest thing.'"
Yankees third baseman Todd Frazier: "The one I liked watching was that home run that Brosius hit [in Game 5]. I thought that was pretty cool. We were at my mom's house, and I stayed up late. I was in my bed, I was supposed to be sleeping. I kept the TV on and just put it on mute, because if my mom heard the volume, she'd come in and start yelling at me."

Royals pitcher Danny Duffy: "I was always a big fan of Luis Gonzalez, it was so cool to have him win it with a walk-off in the seventh game. Sometimes good things happen to good guys, and that's what it was for Luis."
A's outfielder Khris Davis: "That was the ultimate. You get a bloop single to win the World Series? A single is a single, but a bloop one like that?"
Phillies outfielder Aaron Altherr: "I don't even think it made it out of the infield. ... I was at my home with my parents. I was 10. We were living in an apartment at the time. I remember what the apartment looks like and everything."
White Sox DH Matt Davidson: "I was 10, and [the D-backs] were my favorite team growing up. Randy Johnson was my favorite player. Just watching him and Curt Schilling, and all those guys, it was awesome. I remember my brother was going for the Yankees and I got in his face a little bit when they won it. I think, for me, that was right when I really fell in love with baseball. That was my first real memory."
Granite: "Obviously, [the Yankees] didn't come out with the victory, but it's one of the best World Series I've ever watched. It hurt a little bit being a Yankees fan, but it was a lot of fun to watch and see the city come together."
1998 Yankees-Padres World Series
Frazier: "The other one for me was the Tino Martinez homer against San Diego [a Game 1 grand slam]. I think that was pretty cool. We were on a bus, my Little League team. We had just left the White House [after a celebration of the Toms River team that won the Little League World Series]. We could barely hear it on the radio, and I had the radio in my ear saying, 'What's going on?' People were going nuts. We had about 50 people on the bus, all the kids, moms and dads and stuff. That was awesome."

2003 Marlins-Yankees World Series
Cubs outfielder (and Miami native) Jonathan Jay: "That was big for me. [The Marlins] were so new. My coolest moment was kind of sneaking into [Game 3] in Miami [at Pro Player Stadium]. There was a huge rain delay [in the seventh inning]. The Marlins were already losing. Me and a couple buddies, we were at home watching the game, and we said, 'Let's drive to the stadium and find our way in,' so we found our way in. So many people were leaving, so we said, 'Look, everyone's leaving, just let us in.' And they did. It was cool."

2011 Cardinals-Rangers World Series
Pirates first baseman (and Irving, Texas, native) Josh Bell: "I was sitting in front of my TV with my sister and my dad, like everybody else in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, especially baseball players. It was my first time hearing about David Freese, first time seeing him play. Just watching him single-handedly take back the Series, squaring up [Neftali] Feliz twice -- the ball off the wall in right field, then the walk-off at their place. It was not a lot of fun."
Rays pitcher (and Cardinals fan growing up) Jake Odorizzi, who attended Game 7 as a fan: "Just an experience I couldn't pass up. And it was great. Like nothing I've ever seen. I was in the Minor Leagues, and I'm like, 'World Series, Game 7.' I went from my Double-A season to watching the World Series, and I'm like, 'This is something you want to be a part of.' Such a drastic change [from the Minors]. It was really cool to be a part of it as a fan. I saw somebody win the World Series, so it's something you can't really replicate unless you're in a Game 7 situation, watching it and playing it. Everybody lives and dies with one out, base hit, strikeout -- or strike, for that matter. Everything's amplified."
Bell: "Feliz was here [in Pittsburgh] last year, and Freese -- I remember seeing him last spring when he first signed with us. When I first saw him, I was like, 'Oh my God.' I definitely told him the first time, like, 'Dude, I literally cursed you as a [19]-year-old.' But it was cool. He was like, "Yeah, man, I was on a cloud.""
1996 Yankees-Orioles American League Championship Series
Mets infielder (and Dominican Republic native) Jose Reyes: "The home run that Derek Jeter hit off Armando Benitez, when the fan [Jeffrey Maier] reached out. I didn't have too much of an opportunity to watch the playoffs back home, because we didn't have cable. But I remember that. I think I was at my uncle's house in the city, Santiago. It wasn't in my town because we didn't have cable in the town where we could watch baseball like that. Now, yes, we have it. But before, no."

2004 Red Sox-Yankees ALCS
Brewers third baseman Travis Shaw: "I think everyone was locked into that at the time because it's when Red Sox-Yankees was at the peak. Neither of those were my teams, but that series just stands out. I was 14 at the time, and that's when I really started enjoying watching baseball."
Red Sox reliever (and Connecticut native) Matt Barnes: "When Johnny Damon hit the two homers [in Game 7], I was at Yankee Stadium watching it live. I was sitting down the right-field line. It was wild to be there. I was a Yankees fan then. It was tough to see, but it was fun, and it's part of history."
Padres third baseman Cory Spangenberg: "My mom let me stay up late to watch the games, even though I had school the next day. I was a big Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz fan. I loved watching that team. I was down in my basement watching it all on the big screen."
1995 Mariners-Yankees AL Division Series
Rangers pitcher (and Seattle native) Tony Barnette: "We were at a family friend's house. The Yankees were always such a powerhouse in the '90s. Seattle hadn't a winning team in quite some time -- football or baseball. Basketball had been doing well ... but when Edgar doubled down the line and scored Griffey from first, the entire house was shaking. You could see it. Everybody was going nuts. You could see it through the entire city. Dave Niehaus, when he called that play ... it was a special team and special moment, them coming back to win the division, finally getting to the postseason and beating the Yankees. Big moment in Seattle history. It is still vivid in my mind."

2008 Phillies-Dodgers National League Championship Series
Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar: "It's not my favorite moment, because I grew up a Dodgers fan, but the one that will always be burned into my memory was being at Game 4. The Dodgers were the team I rooted for. They were my life at that time. ... Matt Stairs coming off the bench and hitting this homer, it wasn't just a home run. It was a mammoth home run. It was a moonshot that went more than halfway up the right-center-field bleachers. ... It's just something I'll never forget. It was like a punch to the gut."

1989 A's-Giants World Series
Twins catcher (and Bay Area native) Chris Gimenez: "The day of the earthquake was crazy. I was in the backyard waiting for the game to start, because the A's were my team growing up. They were playing the Giants, who were my whole entire family's team. It was the Bay Area Series, and there was a lot of excitement. But when that earthquake hit, it was insane. I got really upset. I was like 7 years old and there wasn't going to be a baseball game on. But we were watching the news and seeing all the pandemonium going on. It's just so crazy that year, the two Bay Area teams played and we had a 7.2 earthquake during the World Series."
1992 Braves-Pirates NLCS
Dodgers pitcher Rich Hill: "I grew up watching the Red Sox, but the team I really loved watching on TBS was the Braves. I had a Braves jacket, I had a Braves helmet. I was a big-time Atlanta Braves fan for someone living in Boston."
Astros reliever Will Harris: "Growing up in Louisiana, you're either a Braves fan or a Cubs fan, just from them being on TV all the time. We'd usually go catch a couple of Braves games every summer. I specifically remember [Game 7]."
Cardinals pitcher (and Georgia native) Adam Wainwright: "[The Braves] had struggled for years, and the year before this was the first real moment where you could see them turning it around. Sid Bream was like the captain of that team. Francisco Cabrera lined a hit to left field and Sid Bream, who looked like he was wearing three knee braces at the same time, slid home ahead of Barry Bonds' throw."
Hill: "I remember being in my room watching those games and jumping up and down when Sid Bream came around third base with the winning run."
Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon: "'Braves win! Braves win!' I remember that like it was yesterday."
Wainwright: "Other than games I've been a part of, that is definitely my favorite moment of anything I've seen."

1988 Dodgers-A's World Series
Nationals reliever Ryan Madson: "The Kirk Gibson home run. I was like 8 or 9. Seeing him round the bases, I started crying because he was hobbling and limping and ... I don't know, it got me going. I was in Southern California, but I was just a baseball fan [not a Dodgers fan]. But I remember being emotional when it happened."

Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince.'s entire beat writing crew contributed to this project.