One of the best games I ever attended was Fenway opening day 1998. The Sox were down by five goddam runs to Seattle heading into the bottom of the ninth, but managed to knock around the holy trinity of Heathcliff Slocumb, Mike Timlin and Tony Fossas to set up a game-winning grand slam off the bat of Big Mo Vaughn. As soon as bat met ball we knew it was over, and as Vaughn lumbered down the line, the place went nuts. My sisters, who left around the eighth, were watching it from the Cask, and I’ve never let them forget it. Just a magical type of game, foreshadowing the Sox teams of the twenty-first century that would make such late-inning rallies their calling card.
Things got all wacky shortly thereafter for Vaughn. He left us to chase a sack of cash to Anaheim, then tripped over his own nuts and sprained his ankle in his first game for the Angels. He eventually spiraled into superfluosity–a word I invented just to describe Vaughn’s twilight days. And he knows it all changed after he left us:
“I fully agree,” Vaughn said yesterday. “I knew Fenway Park very well. I knew my way all around that place. I had all my good years there and I was never the same after I left.”
I bring this up because Mo Vaughn is heading back to Boston tonight to attend the Red Sox Hall of Fame dinner and, one can only assume, eat a shitload of red meat.
And because I really, really wanted to thank him again for that grand slam.