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In honor of actor Andy Garcia and his (unintentionally) hilarious reaction to Sofia (Mary Corleone) Coppola's death scene in "The Godfather, Part III."
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The thrill of victory...the agony of defeat

Posted 04-11-2009 at 04:26 PM by TommyJohn
Updated 04-12-2009 at 10:56 AM by TommyJohn

The crowd erupted into a deafening roar as the ball hit the ground. Gwynn raced to get it, but he never had a chance. He picked up the ball, turned around and watched helplessly as Lee raced across the plate with the winning run. The crowd roared and fireworks exploded as the Knights team joyously pummeled each other in celebration. The roar continued on loudly and the players jumped around for several minutes while the Dodgers walked off the field, their dreams of pulling off the miracle comeback crushed with that single hit.

The team screeched, whooped and hollered for several minutes as the decibel level of the crowd rose even louder. The scoreboard flashed the happy news: “1988 N.L. WEST CHAMPIONS.”
Manager Goodman smiled and hugged his play-ers, but refrained from getting too much into it.

Jack Brown and his color commentator Jerry Levin whooped and hollered for a few seconds, but then, in the fine tradition of Serious Broadcasters everywhere, fell into an overly solemn silence and let the roars and celebration speak for themselves.

The TV cameras also shifted to the Dodgers, who were in the dugout striking the seemingly obligatory “Agony of Defeat” poses. Steve Sax stood silently watching the celebration. Tommy Lasorda sat and stared. He took off his cap a couple of times and ran his hand through what hair he had left. Another player silently chewed and spat on the dugout floor. Still another had his arms stretched out over the bench, his head tilted back. Mickey Hatcher sat hunched forward, his elbow on his knees and his chin propped up by his fist, bearing a strong resemblance to the Rodin statute “The Thinker.” Kirk Gibson was the most agonized of all. The left fielder stood at his position watching the celebration around him. He saw his dreams of World Series glory dead. With that, he cut loose with a stream of four-letter expletives that were caught on camera. One sportswriter later described the unshaven, enraged-looking Gibson as looking like “a nut standing on a street corner screaming at no one in particular.”

The fans in the stadium celebrated, danced and partied for seemed like hours on end. They were prohibited from running on the field, but a few did manage to get past security and were quickly apprehended. Loud music blared over the Superdome loudspeakers to accompany the celebration. Mostly the fans were well-behaved-the police made only a half-dozen arrests, most for drunk and disorderly conduct. It was mostly just one, big, happy party in a Mardi Gras-type atmosphere.

The city’s reaction was pretty much the same. Several Knights fans poured out of bars in the French Quarter to celebrate. Several took the opportunity to smash windows, others just made general asses of themselves. Overall, it was pretty civil The city had waited 30 years to see the Knights get back to the postseason, their passion and joy just came tumbling out of them that night.

The Knights locker room was up for grabs. Players, coaches and other personnel sprayed each other with champagne, hugged, hollered, cheered. Jack Brown and Jerry Levin struggled to get a word in edgewise, but were doused several times. At one point Levin snagged Tom Schmidt for an on-camera interview. Before one could say “how do you feel?” both men were hit by a streaming blast of champagne, courtesy of Dick Dralle.

Manager Goodman was overjoyed. He had, of course, been the Knights all-star shortstop from 1960-69, then came back for a brief spell in 1974 after stops in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. He had been through a couple of near-miss seasons in that decade, and had always badly wanted to win a championship for the beloved Knights owner, Jeremiah Brennan III. He had never been able to deliver it as a player, but now as a manager he had won a division title-eight years after Brennan had departed the scene as owner. Goodman had gone up to the former owner during the raucous Superdome celebration and had hugged him. A reporter who captured the moment on camera asked him what they had said.

“He said ‘I’m happy for you and the boys, Danny. Now bring the home the whole thing.’” said Goodman, adding “you can bet we intend to do that.”
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