Hoffman Conquers In Clutch Essay, Research Paper
Hoffman Conquers in Clutch
After several consecutive years of mediocre baseball, my San Diego Padres had once again made it to the National League Championship Series. It had been fifteen years long since the Padres had made it this far in the playoffs. Many people thought that the Padres would be knocked out of the playoff in the first round. Well, my dad and I hadn t. Though living in San Clemente, my dad and I had both grown up in San Diego, and were still partial to our home team. We frequented the games every year making sure the team heard our cries of hope and excitement.
Sitting in my sixty-five dollar nosebleed seat, I knew this was no ordinary game. There was so much electricity running threw the seventy thousand fans. People were all talking to strangers as if they had known them since elementary school. Smiles were ear to ear as I glanced around the stadium. The stadium was saturated with the smell of cheap beer and over buttered popcorn. The dark green grass caught my attention on the field. Lines on the grass were so straight that you knew hours had been spent in their preparation. It was about four in the afternoon, making the cloudless deep blue sky seem almost heaven like. The roar of the crowd at times was so loud that it was hard at times to hear yourself think. I turned to my dad, and when I saw the look in his eyes, I knew I did not have to explain what I was feeling.
The Atlanta Braves were nervously jogging off the field at the end of the eighth inning. My Padres were leading the Braves 2-1. Going into the bottom of the ninth, I knew that every pitch from this point out could make or break the game, and the series for that matter. For the first time in the game, the enormous crowd was amazingly almost silent, waiting in anticipation. Everyone in the stadium knew what was coming. It was just a matter of seconds until their prayers would be answered. As the first bell chimed, the crowd went into a frenzy. ACDC s song Hells bells was blaring over the PA system. As the seventy thousand people screamed at the top of their lungs and made the ground beneath me shake, it was one of those few moments in my life that sent shivers down my spine, not just down to my tailbone, but all the way down to my feet.
Trevor Hoffman was confidently walking toward the pitchers mound from deep right field. He was not arrogant in his stride toward the mound, but he did know that he was the best closer in all of baseball. Today he would have that reputation put on the line if he didn t keep his concentration and do what he knew he needed to. Watching the big electronic screen in the outfield, you could see the intense look in those crystal clear blue eyes of Hoffman. It was going to be his big day.
The first batter slowly approached the plate knowing he had the chance to win the game with just one good swing of the bat. Hoffman s first pitch was a high, ninety miles per hour plus fastball right past the batter. I can remember these pitches as if they happened yesterday. The second pitch was low and away, I heard the crack of the bat, making me cringe immediately. Luckily, it was just a ground ball to the second baseman, making for an easy out. The second batter was taken out in three straight pitches. My Padres were just one out away from getting to the World Series for only the second time. My voice was almost shot at this point from so much screaming. Hoffman s first pitch to the last batter was one of his famous changeups. As his changeup approaches the plate so it looks as if it is a fastball, but then slowing way down as it gets closer to the batter. This makes them looks as if they are still playing in little league. His second pitch was a fastball away, which the batter fouled out. The third pitch was another high fastball right down the middle of the plate.
The player missed the ball by a fraction of an inch, ending the game. The Padres had put the last nail into the Braves coffin. Everyone went hysterical. People were giving hugs to complete strangers. And as always, a few drunken fans jumped onto the field and getting escorted to the police station by the cops. As my dad and I walked threw the parking lot horns blaring, I knew I would never forget this day.