Stephen Vogt’s Walk-Off Single

I watched CBS This Morning for the chef segment. Jean-Robert de Cavel brought some of his favorite recipes: Three little cochon, ratatouille with white beans and wild rice, watermelon and corn summer salad, summer gazpacho, red lobster salad, macadamia nut chocolate tart, and le 713. I checked the American Top 40 playlist for the weekend. The Top 10 songs on July 18, 1978 were “Last Dance,” “It’s a Heartache,” “Dance with Me,” “The Groove Line,” “Miss You,” “Still the Same,” “Used Ta Be My Girl,” “Take a Chance on Me,” “Baker Street,” and “Shadow Dancing.” I listened to Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me and heard both Florence Henderson and Shirley Jones. Soon afterwards, I walked to the BART station and went to the Coliseum. Even though I arrived at the stadium at about 1:30 for a game starting at six o’clock, quite a few people were already in line, anxious to get their Hello Kitty bobbleheads. I listened to a John Lennon CD and also the news on the radio as I waited for the gate to open. I was happy to get this little item after standing in the sun for hours. I used the restroom before heading to my seat. I fell asleep for about ten minutes, although no one seemed to notice. Hello Kitty threw out the first pitch but bounced it to the plate. Scott Kazmir pitched for the A’s, and he started the first inning by loading the bases with no outs, but then he got a strikeout and a double play to get out of the jam. He had clean innings in the second and third. In both the fourth and fifth innings, he allowed a single but got the last two outs with a double play. The sixth, seventh and eighth innings were all clean innings for Kazmir. Some of us saw a black cat out on the steps behind the right field fence before the bottom of the first inning. Billy Burns hit a single, but Vogt hit into a double play. In the second inning, Billy Butler and Ike Davis both singled with one out, but Brett Lawrie and Mark Canha followed with outs. In the fifth inning, Davis walked and Canha singled with one out, but Marcus Semien hit into a 5-3 double play. In the top of the sixth inning, Torii Hunter was batting for the Twins, and he hit a foul ball my way. Somebody’s hand deflected it, and it hit me in the face, stunning me for an instant. It could have broken my nose if it hit me a half inch to the left, but there was no nosebleed, no bruise, and no swelling. Two security people, one usher, and one fan asked me if I was OK. I was surprised that I wasn’t hurt. I don’t know what happened with the baseball that hit me. The A’s did nothing in the bottom of the inning. We saw the Big Head race, and Rickey Henderson won this one. What happened to Rollie Fingers? During the seventh inning stretch, we heard “Shake a Tail Feather” again. Billy Butler excited the crowd in the bottom of the inning when he hit a home run for the game’s first run. With the way that Kazmir was pitching, this game looked like a win for the A’s. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Marcus Semien walked and stole second base, but he was stranded there, so the score was 1-0 going to the top of the ninth inning. Kazmir got the first out with a ground ball to Lawrie, but the next batter got an infield single. On the play, Lawrie made a bad throw to first base for an error, allowing the runner to get to second base. Bob Melvin brought in Tyler Clippard, who started off badly by hitting the next batter with a pitch. He got to a 3-2 count on the next batter before giving up a double that bounced high off the outfield wall beyond Josh Reddick’s leaping reach. The score was now tied at 1-1 with runners at second and third with one out. Clippard allowed a fly ball back out to Reddick, and the Twins took a 2-1 lead on the play. Clippard got the strikeout to end the inning, but many fans booed, upset that Kazmir’s performance had been wasted. The Twins’ Glen Perkins had been perfect with save opportunities this season, so a comeback was a tough task. We didn’t even see the Belushi video clip from “Animal House” this time. Billy Butler flied out to right field. Josh Phegley pinch-hit for Davis and popped out to first. Brett Lawrie made up for the error by getting an infield single, running hard down the line. A wild pitch allowed Lawrie to take second base. Jake Smolinski pinch-hit for Sam Fuld and hit a ball that fell in front of the left fielder for a game-tying single. The crowd didn’t want to see the home team lose after Kazmir had made everyone expect a win. Semien struck out for the last out, so we were going to see an extra inning. Drew Pomeranz did well in the tenth inning, pitching a clean inning. Billy Burns battled with the new relief pitchers to a 3-2 count, and then he hit a ball to right center field for a double. He showed some cojones in stealing third base with no outs. The crowd was getting loud, anticipating a win. Stephen Vogt hit a ball through the left side of the infield for the walk-off hit. He slam dunked his helmet and did a jump bump thing in celebration. I saw him get the Gatorade treatment as I prepared to leave. The usher checked up on me one last time and said goodbye, and so did the other fan. I thought once again how fortunate I was that the ball hit me in a fleshy part of my face so that there was no injury. I would try Super Glue on my eyeglasses, but I was going to buy a new pair, anyway. The game began at 6:07 with a game time temperature of 69 degrees, and it ended at 9:07. Attendance was 30,778. It looked like a lot of people walked up to the box office for tickets to this one. I was looking forward to Root Beer Float Day. I thought about how I would fit in “Ant-Man” and “Trainwreck” in my schedule in between all of the baseball games. I wanted to hurry home and get back to my spare eyeglasses. I watched the sports highlights and a couple of episodes of Family Feud. I could not believe some of the bad answers I heard. When asked for a measurement of time, the old woman said “watch.” Some of the people who died on July 19 include Sabato Rodia (1965), Joe Flynn (1974), and Jack Warden (2006). Today is a birthday for Brian May (68) and Vikki Carr (74). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for July 19, Sun Records released Elvis Presley’s first single, “That’s All Right,” in 1954. In 1974, Joe Flynn drowned at age 49 in his swimming pool in Beverly Hills.

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