Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Revisiting "The Sandberg Game"

In a turn of events that must have some cosmic significance, I watched "The Sandberg Game" for the first time. By pure luck, it turns out to be the twenty third anniversary of that June 23, 1984 game. (I swear, I didn't even realize this until the eighth inning.)

First of all, what a game. Talk about a see-saw battle. The Cardinals jumped out to a six run early lead. Willie McGee was unbelievably fast and good. He hit for the cycle in this game, driving in six, and generally wreaking the kind of havoc on the bases that Juan Pierre could only dream of. Heck, he won the Chevrolet player of the game award.

Ozzie Smith was unbelievable. He probably saved four or five runs with some unbelievable defense. His range up the middle was un-freaking-believable. After seeing this game, I more fully understand how a guy with his (paltry) offensive stats could be a consensus first ballot Hall of Famer.

Bobby Dernier... had a helluva game.

Ryne Sandberg... oh goodness. You know it's coming. You know he's gonna hit one in the ninth... and he does. You still get chills.

And then the tenth. He's up, there's two out... and Bruce Sutter foolishly walked Dernier... and boom. It's gone, to the exact same spot as the first dinger... and silence. Absolute silence in the broadcast booth as Wrigley Field goes crazy. I mean, they've already mentioned the name of the executive producer, the cameramen, the switch board operator... they're summing up the game, telling the viewers how great a game this has been... and Sandberg whacks the ball and we're rewarded with silence... for at least a minute. Sandberg's rounded the bases, high-fived most of his teammates in the dugout, Bruce Sutter's thrown something of a hissy fit on the mound, and Gary Matthews has already taken a pitch by the time that Bob Costas can say anything.

What a game.

Sandberg game

If I recall correctly, Costas was doing that game with Jay Randolph and at one point, they got into a discussion about Wrigley Field. Randolph said he like more modern stadiums like Busch Stadium in St. Louis and Costas just took his head off.

Jay Randolph was a lot of things but smart and a good announcer weren't two of them.

Chicago Tribune's Chicago's Best Blogs award