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Thank you, Ryan Spilborghs

This space is where we're supposed to write an extended recap of the previous night's game, but I decided I wanted to write about a game six years ago instead because it was more interesting.

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Six years ago last night, the Rockies were a very different team than they are now. Six years ago last night, they played the finale of a four game wrap-around series against the Giants that had all the makings of a classic. And six years ago last night, a single regular season baseball game changed my life forever.

Sixty hours earlier, the Rockies and Giants were separated by just a single game in the Wild Card standings, back when there was only one Wild Card. The Rockies then mounted a five run come back against San Francisco in the Saturday game and then saw Ubaldo Jimenez out-duel Tim Lincecum, that year's Cy Young award winner, in the Sunday affair which also included its own two run late inning come back.

But neither of those games would come anywhere close to being the signature match up of the series, because the game that occurred on Monday night produced a brand of baseball so incredible, that it will never be forgotten by anyone who stayed up to watch it.

The evening culminated in a 14th inning, walk off grand slam off the bat of Ryan Spilborghswhich can be seen here, but the game was so much more than that. The innings leading up to that moment were almost poetic with missed opportunities, incredible defense, wild managing, and some of the most unbelievable drama you will ever see on a baseball diamond in a regular season game.

Take the win expectancy chart for instance:

The Rockies chances of winning jumped to over 75 percent in both the bottom of the tenth and the bottom of the eleventh inning, but they couldn't push the winning run across. Not only that, but the bench players they had to burn in that part of the game would table set the absurdity to come later in the 14th.

For over four hours, the Giants and Rockies played edge of your seat baseball into a 1-1 tie through 13 innings. At one point, the teams were a combined 1-21 with runners in scoring position with the only hit there being a tenth inning Troy Tulowitzki single that didn't score a run. This game was that bizarre even before the finish.

The only runs up to that point came from a first inning sac fly from Pablo Sandoval, and fifth inning bases loaded walk from Todd Helton. That finally changed in the top of the 14th when Eugenio Vélez, who batted just .164 that year in 66 plate appearances, smacked a triple to left center field with runners on the corners.

3-1 Giants, and it felt like a back breaker after everything that led up to that moment.

After an intentional walk to Randy Winn, another run came in on a Juan Uribe RBI ground out. 4-1 Giants.

But this game wasn't going to end with the Rockies going quietly into the night. The Giants bullpen was running out of gas, and the 09 Rockies had too much fight to let that be an automatic death blow.

Right away, there were signs of trouble for San Francisco as Brandon Medders walked Dexter Fowler to lead off the inning. But that's not the only thing that happened. While at the plate, Fowler fouled a 3-2 pitch straight off his knee, and for a moment couldn't even stand up. Normally, he's out of the game right there, but the Rockies are are about to be as short of bench players as you can possibly be (more on this in in moment), so Fowler stays in the game.

The next pitch from Medders is out of the zone and Fowler works a walk. This was about as bad of a mistake as Medders could possibly make. Aside from the obvious up by three runs with nobody on base situation, it's clear that Fowler is injured enough so that he wasn't going to hit anything in the strike zone, and even if he did, he might have been thrown out at first base on a hit to right field he was moving so slow. After this inning, Fowler wouldn't appear in another game until September 9th, but with the bench situation completely out of whack, he stayed in this game.

Clint Barmes came up next and popped out for the first out of the inning. A little air comes out of the balloon.

Carlos Gonzalez is due up next and Bruce Bochy decides he wants to go to his second to last pitcher in the pen, Justin Miller. This sounds like a good guy to have up for the Rockies, but there's a problem. Two days earlier, he cut himself trying to catch a steak knife as it fell off his plate. The only reason he was even in this game is because he pinch ran for Todd Helton four innings earlier.

The Rockies determined that Cargo was healthy enough to run the bases, which he did in the tenth, healthy enough to bunt, which he did in the twelfth, and healthy enough to play defense, which he did  in between. However, they did not want him swinging a bat a full force in fear it would slice his hand open. So manager Jim Tracy burns his last bench player in Chris Iannetta to hit for Cargo, which is significant because the pitcher's spot is now just two hitters away.

The initial part of the gamble pays off as Iannetta delivers with a single to center field, but even that is drama filled because when the ball first lands in the outfield grass, there's a part of you questioning whether or not Dexter Fowler is going to be able to get to second base in time.

I don't know what the Rockies would have done if this game somehow got to a 15th inning, but it would have featured the most ridiculous looking defensive alignment MLB has seen this century, because I don't think there's any way they could have sent Fowler out there. The outfield may have been Spilborghs, Iannetta and a pitcher. Either way, they would have needed to find room for two pitchers on defense. One on the mound, and another, well, somewhere out there to replace Fowler.

Tulo comes up next (sniffle) and draws a seven pitch walk to load the bases, and just as importantly, it gives Fowler an extra 90 feet where he doesn't have to run.

Now comes the pitcher's spot in the highest leverage moment of the game so far (5.18), and the Rockies can't do a damn thing about it because they already used their last bench bat to replace Cargo. So with one out, Tracy instructs Adam Eaton, who just gave up the runs in the top of the inning, not to swing the bat. He wants to avoid a potential game ending double play and take his chances with two outs as Spilborghs, Ian Stewart, and Yorvit Torrealba are up next.

But Tracy's plan for Eaton to go up there and strike out looking didn't work. Eaton listened to his manager and watched five pitches go by, but four of them were out of zone, forcing in Fowler (who may have crawled home from third), and moving the potential tying run into scoring position.

Bruce Bochy has now seen enough of Miller and calls on Merkin Valdez, his last man in the pen, to face Spilborghs. The bottom of the inning is now 31 pitches old, and the Rockies have somehow managed to navigate through a part of the lineup where one guy can barely walk, and two other guys can't swing a bat because of a cut and being a relief pitcher, and there's still only one out on the board. That's the level of twilight zone this game entered.

Now it's important to note that at this point, Spilborghs is shaping up to be one of the biggest reasons why the Rockies lost this game. In the tenth inning, he grounded into an inning ending double play with the potential winning run on third base in what was the biggest negative WPA play for any hitter in all of baseball that night. For the game, his WPA stood at a -.439 when he stepped in to face Valdez. If he grounded into another double play, he would have had a negative WPA of nearly .800, and I certainly wouldn't be writing this right now.

Instead, you know what happened. Here's the link one more time, because even six years later, I never get tired of watching it. (Here's the Purple Row post game thread.)

I'm not sure I've ever seen someone round the bases as fast as Spilly did that night after hitting a home run. It was like he was trying to beat out an inside the parker or something. He got back to the plate faster than David Ortiz gets to first on his home run trots nowadays.

The pure joy on the face of every person in a Rockies uniform is a sight to behold, and something we haven't seen the likes of in years. Tulo was so excited he jumped on the small wall behind home plate trying to dive on top of the gaggle of celebration.

(One other fun side note from this game. This was only the second time in franchise history the Rockies reached 17 games over .500. The only time before this was game 163 in 2007, so they get to that number in dramatic fashion)

Six years later, it stands the test of time and remains one of my all-time favorite baseball memories. This one was so good, there's a serious argument to be made that it's the greatest baseball game ever played during the month of August. Seriously, try compiling a list of those and it will take you a long time to find something better than this.

But that alone is not why I chose to write about this game this morning. I chose to write about it because after that game, once the calendar had already flipped to the Tuesday on the east coast, I joined Purple Row. If you click on my name at the start of the article, you'll be taken to my profile page which shows a join date of August 25th, 2009.

Before that night, I was like most visitors here who didn't even consider joining an internet baseball community. I read Purple Row and other Rockies sites during the day, but never commented or felt the urge to interact with others during games / post games. The Spilly-Slam game changed that. This moment was so amazing, so unbelievable, and so unique that I wanted to share it with others who were as crazy about the Rockies as me. So I took the plunge.

I no longer just wanted to root for the Rockies by myself, I wanted to be part of a baseball community. This was the moment that put me on the path from lurker to community member to active commenter, and eventually to a member of the writing staff in 2012, and it's been life changing.

This community has been one of the biggest constants of my life since that moment, even more than the Rockies themselves now, and I thank all of you past and present for that. And of course, I'd like to thank Ryan Spilborghs for hitting that grand slam. My baseball world wouldn't be the same without it.

The stat sheet will show Spilborghs as a forgettable player. Only getting part time at bats and posting a positive 0.7 fWAR for his career and a -0.4 rWAR. But anybody who saw this game will know better, because six years ago, he starred in a moment every Rockies fan will remember as long as they live.

Knowing this, let's get a conversation going that will be more interesting than anything the actual Rockies are doing right now. Here's a pair of questions for you:

1) What are your memories of the Spilly-Slam game?

2) What made you join Purple Row?