Friday, July 27, 2007

September 6th, 1995...

....Great Lakes , Illinois, Naval Service Training Command.

I was in the Tech Core barracks (all seaman training for technical rates - ET, DS, FC, etc.) finishing up my Data Systems training the night Cal broke the record. It was 4 hours before game time and I had a problem. Where was I going to watch the game?

I had the misfortune to be on duty that evening which meant there would be no running out to a local bar or one of the on-base clubs tonight. I was stuck in the barracks. I would have to find a TV in one of the lounges where I could watch Cal make history.

Now, there were several lounges in the barracks and you would have thought that in a BEQ filled with 400 or so men I would have had no problem finding a TV with a nationally televised baseball game of such importance. You would be wrong. These barracks were filled with tech types and many of them fit the stereotype - nerds. If you wandered around to see what was being watched on most evenings, there were no sports on any of the TVs. Typically, it would be Star Trek:The Next Generation or some sort of Japanese anime. Worse still, it was majority rule. If most of the people in the lounge wanted to watch the SciFi network, then that's what was going to be on. So my problem was getting the numbers on my side or missing probably the biggest night in O's history.

I got my buddy Parrish (a diehard Tigers fan) to commit but he had a couple of things to do after class and would not be there right away. I would hold down the lounge on the 3rd deck by myself, hoping not to be run off by a nerd patrol.

I went straight to the BEQ, straight to the 3rd deck and straight to the lounge and put on ESPN. And waited. I was there on my own for about and hour and a half, praying that the reinforcements would arrive. After some tense moments, Parrish showed up with one of his friends and he had three. Soon, guys would pass through, see that we were getting ready to watch Cal break the streak and stayed on. Before the game started, we must have had 25+ on our side and the guys showing up looking for a TV to watch Princess Mononoke or some crap were well outnumbered.

I watched Cal break the record with guys from all over the country, with various rooting interests but who all seemed to realize what a big deal all of this was. Cal homered. We cheered. Cal ran his lap, high-fiving the crowd. We applauded. And we watched the game.

Congratulations on your induction, Cal. We'll all be cheering for you one last time.

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