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In honor of actor Andy Garcia and his (unintentionally) hilarious reaction to Sofia (Mary Corleone) Coppola's death scene in "The Godfather, Part III."
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1988 Knights

Posted 04-11-2009 at 04:14 PM by TommyJohn
Updated 04-12-2009 at 10:57 AM by TommyJohn

The next night, Orel Hershiser and Tom Schmidt battled to a 10 inning, 0-0 standstill. The game was knotted at that score in the top of the 16th:

The top of the 16th began with the Knights fourth pitcher of the night, spot closer Dick Dralle, taking the mound. It was now very close to midnight, but a huge crowd still remained, still aching to see the historic clincher that was so far failing to happen.

Dralle started the inning by inducing pinch hitter Mickey Hatcher and leadoff man Sax to ground out. The fans were almost cheering on auto drive by now. Stubbs decided to make things a little less boring by rapping out a base hit, then barreling around second as if he wanted to stretch it into a double, but thought better of it and retreated back to first. The next batter was the hero of the night before, Kirk Gibson.

The fans had been on Gibson all night, having not forgotten his heroics of the previous game. Gibson, always the fierce, angry competitor, absorbed the boos, staying fired up the whole 16 innings. He had gotten a couple of hits in the game, but had died on base. At another point, Gibson delighted the crowd by striking out looking at a Schmidt pitch. The Dodger was enraged.

“THAT WAS NO MOTHER****ING STRIKE, MOTHER****ER!! **** YOU!!” He screamed at the terrified umpire. Lasorda immediately came out and smoothed ruffled feathers between the ump and Gibson, who continued to scream and yell his head off. The ump finally threatened to kick Gibson out. Lasorda sternly reminded Gibson that he didn’t want him ejected at such a crucial moment. That finally calmed him down, and the left fielder finally skulked back to the dugout.

Now in the 16th, the fans once again let Gibson have it. He calmly stepped into the box and faced down Dralle. The crowd, which had been tiring, was once again starting to buzz. The side-arming Dralle took a deep breath and fired in strike one. The crowd cheered as Gibson whiffed for strike two. The next two skipped the dirt for balls. Gibson stepped out, took a deep breath and stepped back in. Dralle got Griffith’s signal, nodded, wound up and fired the pitch.

Gibson swung and connected. The ball took off for right field. Right fielder Jermaine Rich drifted back and watched as the ball landed in the second row of seats. The crowd fell into a near deathly silence, scattered with a few boos.

Gibson let all his emotions loose. He stood and watched the ball sail into the seats. At that point he thrust his fist into the air, yelled “YAHHHHHHHHH! **** YEAH!!!!! **** YEAH!!!!!”
He shouted as he pumped his fist and circled the bases. He ran up to home plate, stomped his foot on it, yelled “YEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!” and slammed his hand into Stubbs for an emphatic high five. (Stubbs’ hand swelled up so bad he later had to cut his batting glove off.) He walked back towards the Dodger dugout with his fist in the air. He looked up at the crowd and yelled one more “**** YEEEEEEAAAAAAHHHH!!!!” before going into the dugout to get an emotional embrace from Lasorda.

Jack Brown, the excitable veteran Knight broadcaster, couldn’t help but chuckle as he watched Gibson round the bases. When Gibson screamed out to the crowd, Brown said “and for you lip readers at home, don’t tell the kiddies what Kirk just said. It’ll break their little hearts.”

Dralle got the third out, but the fans were in no mood to cheer. All was dead silence as the team walked off the field down 2-0, thanks to Kirk Gibson, who had killed them the night before. The ugly, creepy feeling of “here we go again” was out in full force. The Knights were once again going to blow it. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind now. A blow that crushing was not going to be answered. This was going to go down in history, along with Dale Murphy’s memorable blast from 1982.
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