Remembering Happy Moments
Congratulations to the World Champion Red Sox. The Beards beat the Birds in Game 6 last night, clinching at Fenway Park for the first time since 1918. A city that was rocked by the horrific marathon tragedy earlier this year now has a euphoric memory that will last a lifetime. Boston Strong.
We all know the Phillies have won two World Series (1980 and 2008) and both have been at home…..the greatest moment in the 33-year history of Veterans Stadium and the greatest moment in four-year-old Citizens Bank Park.
For me, it was an experience of two extremes. 1980 was my 16th season as the head of the public relations department. That meant I was heavily involved in details involving the World Series and media circus. 2008 was my first year in a semi-retired position heading Alumni Relations and my first year of not being in the press box.
Leading, 3-2, over the Royals in 1980, we returned home with Lefty on the mound. A good feeling but it is never over until it’s over.
Leading Game 6 after eight innings, Chris Wheeler, then in the PR department, and I headed for our clubhouse, which was to open to the media immediately if we won. A large wooden platform was set up in the middle of the clubhouse for the trophy presentation. A second platform was nearby for the NBC TV camera. If we lost the game, all of that had to be removed, quickly. Wheels and I are watching on a tiny black and white TV monitor on the large platform.
When Rose caught the ball that popped out of Bob Boone’s glove for the second out, I looked at Wheels, “There’s no way we’re going to lose now.” We could hear the roar of the crowd when Tug got the final out.
After celebrating on the field, the players began coming in the clubhouse followed by media. It was so crammed, one could hardly move. MLB said Schmidt is the MVP. Get him to the interview room right now was MLB’s order. Wheels obliged. By the time Schmidt got back to the clubhouse, TV off was off the air. He was the only WS MVP that didn’t get interviewed on national TV up until then. Schmitty still reminds us about that.
Fast forward to 2008.
With Bonnie Clark on board as the Vice President of Communications, I was around as an advisor while developing Alumni plans. As a rookie, I didn’t make it to the World Series. She did. Geez, maybe I was the problem all these years.
My wife (Julie) was diagnosed with COPD that spring training and was placed on oxygen 24/7. With the aid of a portable concentrator, we were able to be at all of the postseason games. At home, she and I sat with our family in Hall of Fame Club seats. It was strange not being in the press box anymore. A really tough adjustment, believe me. But, I was now allowed to cheer and did. There’s no cheering in the press box.
Traveling with the team for road games, Julie and I were fortunate to be included in a private suite provided for some of our owners plus Pat and Doris Gillick, Sylvia and Dallas Green. Another adjustment as I had never watched a game from a suite.
As mentioned, the 1980 trophy presentation was in the clubhouse. MLB later changed that and moved the presentation to the field for the benefit of the fans. While making plans for a possible post-game presentation, Bonnie asked if I would get Pat Gillick to the field. He and I took the stairway from the Press Box level to the field after Lidge struck out the last hitter. As we’re going down the steps, I remember Pat saying, “I was thinking, one more save, Brad, one more.”
I will always remember where I was for the two clinching moments. I’m sure you remember where you were. Share your memories by posting them here.