By David Bruning
A baseball game is always a memorable experience. Batting practice, the smell and taste of a hot dog, the cry for peanuts and crackerjack, the 7th inning stretch and a lifetime of memories with family and friends all make baseball a wonderful experience.
The best game I ever saw was played on Sept. 4th, 1978. Louisiana Lightning struck Yankee Stadium in the form of Ron Guidry winning his 20th game in that magical season he went 25-3.
This particular game is memorable for many reasons. First, and perhaps most important, I got to see the game with my Dad and my brothers. Baseball and family, enough said. I am a life-long Yankees fan and the opportunity to see Guidry pitch that year was electrifying. The only thing comparable to me is Pedro Martinez at his absolute best, maybe Clayton Kershaw in today's game, or sadly, the deceased Jose Fernandez, none of which I have had the pleasure to experience in person.
September drips of humidity in New York. It is baseball and the boys of summer personified. The Yankees were in the midst of a pennant chase, yet were overshadowed by Guidry every time he took the mound. It was a doubleheader, with Guidry pitching the first game. Our seats were tucked way back in the bowels of the right field corner in foul territory. I had to strain to see the field as I was only 11 years old. That extra effort not to miss a pitch only made this day more special.
I don't specifically remember the actual game. What resonates the most is the absolute electricity of the crowd as Guidry slammed the door on the Detroit Tigers to win his 20th game. The Yankees won 9-1, with Guidry pitching a complete game.
Guidry's 20th win was not enough for Yankee fans. The raucous crowd wanted more and Louisiana Lightning would not disappoint. A chorus of Ronnie! Ronnie! Ronnie! grew louder and louder between games of the doubleheader. Out of nowhere Guidry popped out of the Yankees dugout on the 1st base side. He doffed his cap to each section of Yankee Stadium, and then, like a bolt of lightning, he disappeared back into the Yankees dugout. I get goose bumps every time I share this story. It exudes my love for baseball.
Ron Guidry finished the 1978 season 25-3 with an ERA of 1.74. He also treated me to the best baseball game I have ever been to.