Favorite Giants Moment #1: Bonds 39th Birthday

Since my family first got a VCR when I was a kid, I've spent an unhealthy amount of time and energy attempting to tape every great movie and sports moment of my life. There has been a lot of trial and error, a ton of taped over games (so many that some of the tapes are almost unwatchable due to their terrible quality). But this pursuit, which has now lasted over 20 years, has left me with what I consider a treasure chest full of indispensible sporting moments.

I have compiled well over a hundred tapes full of every kind of sport memory imaginable, including, just to name a few: the first 10 picks of several NBA and NFL drafts, every playoff game and Super Bowl the 49ers have won, every Giants divison cliching vistory (including the 1987 one which spawned my signature quote), every postseason game the Giants have ever won, but no losses (except, for some sick reason, I have kept Game 6 of the 2002 WS, though I've never watched it and never will), most if not all of Barry Bonds' milestone HRs, random SportsCenters from the 80's and 90's (just for the time capsule effect). I don't know why I do this -- probably to show to kid someday, when I have a kid, that is -- but it has come in handy now and then. For instance, one late night when a Pirate fan was at my place, and he claimed Sid Bream was actually out at the plate in the 1992 NLCS and another guy disagreed, I was able to whip out the tape and play it for all to see (I think he was safe, but it was much closer than I'd remembered).

Now, with the VCR on its way out, I have purchased a DVD recorder and am going through all my old VHS tapes, dubbing them to DVD. This has given me the chance to watch these tapes (something I don't actually do all that much), and enjoy the fruits of my labors. As I watch, I remember little details I've forgotten, laugh at the pure cheese of 80's commercials, marvel at announcer's old hairdo's, etc. I thought since so many of these moments and games involve the Giants, I might share some of the insights and memories these tapes provide me with. So, as not to confuse you with the title, I don't mean to say that the following is my #1 all-time favorite Giants moment, but instead the first in what will be a series (if I don't get lazy and stop like I usually do).

Today, I dubbed the amazing Giants/D-Back's afternoon game in 2003 which was played on Barry Bonds' 39th birthday. Because it was so memorable and so recent, I'm sure most of you remember it well. But there are a few details I had forgotten. I remembered Bonds throwing out Counsell in the top of the 9th to keep the score knotted, then hitting a walk-off HR off of Mike Myers on the first pitch in the bottom half to win it. But I had forgotten that Bonds might not have even logged the best performance of the day for the Giants. Ray Durham came within a couple of feet of hitting 3 HRs (one to each field) off of a completely filthy Brandon Webb, who only allowed 4 hits in 8 innings that day. Durham homered to LF in his first AB, hit the top of the CF wall in his 2nd for a double, and, with the Giants trailing by one in the 8th, hit a HR to RF in his third.

But Bonds' dramatics were the easily the highlight of the day, of course. The throw he made to keep the game tied is probably the best I've seen him make. And when he came up to the plate to lead off the 9th, you could tell Krukow sensed something: he made a point to say, "Bonds has NEVER homered off of Myers." Once he did, Kuip took great pleasure (doesn't he always?) in screaming, "NEVER, EVER SAY 'NEVER'." The HR itself was a thing of beauty -- an inside-out swing which put such wicked spin on the ball that it started out directly over Myers' head, but ended up well closer to LF than CF. Also, how often can you say you knew an opposite-field HR was gone right off the bat. By the time Kuip said, "SWING AND A DRIVE!", you knew it was gone.

A couple of foot notes: the GW HR was historic for another reason -- it put Barry past Willie Mac for most HR's by an SF Giant... Giants starter that day was Chad Zerbe, an emergency starter, who gave the Giants a solid start like he always seemed to in those spots -- 5 IP, 1 ER... The Giants won the game with 3 runs on only 5 hits, while the D-Backs lost with 2 runs on 12 hits (hee, hee).

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