From Jules Posner:
I have only seen two walk off home runs in person in my life. On August 19, 2003 I got to see Barry Bonds hit one in the Bottom of the tenth inning off Ray King.
There’s really not many more exciting feelings than seeing your home team clinch a game in one of the most dramatic ways possible. What’s crazy to me, is looking up the box score I have no idea what happened in that game besides the home run. Looking back on the box score, there were some pretty interesting things.
First Russ Ortiz through seven quality innings FOR THE BRAVES. Secondly, Chipper Jones started in Left Field that day? I vaguely remember that, but the Braves were a pretty stacked team in 2003 and ended up winning the NL East that year, so this was a particularly meaningful game. I guess the Giants were down in the 8th when, you guessed it, Todd Linden tied the game on a wild pitch with Andres Gallaraga at bat forcing the game into extra innings.
I was with my older brother and my seats were next to the Braves bullpen and I remember watching Ray King warm up. He was a short, fat, and otherwise unremarkable dude, but he kind of owned Barry Bonds. Anyway, King waddled into the game and Bonds smoked a splash hit into the Cove to end it. I remember watching the ball fly over our heads on it’s way over the arcade seats.
Sometimes you’ll hear a commentator call a home run “a streak of lightning across the night sky” which is an apt simile. But this home run went so far, so fast and was so high, it was more like a shooting star.
It was crazy how quickly the ball got out and how the anxious Tuesday night crowd exploded with joy and relief all at the same time. It was a pretty cool sight to see and it was one of the first games my brother and I got to go to together without our parents laming everything up. Was it a Matt Stairs walk off for the A’s against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays? No. But it was still pretty cool.