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The Fidrych Monday Night game is on

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The video quality is brutal and there seems to be some UFO-type hum in the background, but still........it's something.   I remember watching this game

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That was a memorable game filled with so many memorable moments...

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I have it on dvd and have watched it many times. I started following baseball in '72 but was too young to understand playoffs and suckage. '73-'75 was the suckage. The Bird brought life to the suckage.

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I was 15 that summer...my parents took me and my siblings out to dinner that night. My older brother and I were anxious to get home in time to see the game...Fidrych was pitching and that was a big deal to us.  When they opened the broadcast with a shot of that packed RF grandstand we knew it was a big deal to everyone...at least in Detroit.

The post game curtain call...the spontaneity of it...I've always been struck by those organic moments that capture the emotional impact of an event.  It was truly magical...easily one of my favorite moments in sports.

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The curtain call was amazing.  Players pushing Mark out of the dugout, his amazement and joyful reaction, closeups of fans, many sporting 70’s porn staches, acting like they haven’t been this happy and appreciative in years, the cops on the dugout trying to shake his hand...
 

The whole experience was so much fun—I was 10 and it’s when I simultaneously fell in love with baseball and the Detroit Tigers.  

 

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13 hours ago, Tenacious D said:

Feedrych was really bringing it, especially in the post-game with Bob Eucker.

That interview was epic.  

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12 hours ago, Lei Pong said:

I was 15 that summer...my parents took me and my siblings out to dinner that night. My older brother and I were anxious to get home in time to see the game...Fidrych was pitching and that was a big deal to us.  When they opened the broadcast with a shot of that packed RF grandstand we knew it was a big deal to everyone...at least in Detroit.

The post game curtain call...the spontaneity of it...I've always been struck by those organic moments that capture the emotional impact of an event.  It was truly magical...easily one of my favorite moments in sports.

It was all spontaneous.  That is what was so great about it.  Today, they have rehearsed celebrations for home runs.  Some of them are fun, but it's not the same.  

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There was nothing phony about him.  He was a flake and he was a wide-eyed kid and didn't know what he was doing and it was so refreshing.  He wasn't the least-bit jaded and I don't know but the last time I may have seen somebody who played with that much joy was early Ken Griffey Jr.    He was just a big, awkward, goofy kid.   

When someone years later told him how sad it was that it didn't last he replied.  "It wasn't sad, it was great, I started an All-Star Game".   If there was any bitterness, he sure didn't let it show.    He was one of a kind and he was ours.  

 

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As a teenager...he was probably the first professional athlete I could truly identify with.  He was big, goofy kid...like me.

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My 9th birthday was in 2 days. So we were a group of around 8 for my birthday party.  My parents, an uncle, and a few friends. No thought of buying tickets in advance. Why would we, the Tigers sucked, attendance was weak, and it was a weeknight, albeit a Family Night. Fidrych had run up a nice record by then, 7-2 I believe, and I remember listening on the radio to one of his first starts, against Cleveland. But no indication that Birdmania would absolutely erupt that night.So I'm sure my parents must have gasped when we arrived and noticed that so many parking lots were full and then seeing the big sea of people in those fenced-in overpasses towards the stadium just outside of the left field corner. We did make it in and it became the most memorable night of my childhood, bar none. Between 1976 and 1977 I attended half a dozen Fidrych starts, but that was the first and the best.

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I wish I had the ability to grasp Fidrych at the time, but I was just simply too young.

I've watched this outing and the interview before.  The film may be awful, but the theatrics and spectacle, and of course the post game interview, make up for it

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The Bird is one of those guys that you had to love. I’ve seen the game before a couple of times. Contrast this player and that game to the game today. I miss the way the game used to be more every day.

 

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2 hours ago, Mr. Bigglesworth said:

A guy like Fidrych was super rare in any era.

yes--even during the broadcast, you had Uecker and the two guys in the broadcast booth echoing that, saying they had never seen anything like it.  

And it really was his personality--there have been many rookie pitching phenoms (Valenzuela, Gooden, Wood) since that were better pitchers.

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Fidrych was the first baseball player to ever appear on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.

There's a book about Fidrych, The Bird: Life and Legacy written a few years ago, that describes Fidrych's one-game stint in the ABC broadcasting booth late in the injury-shortened 1977 season which his PBP partner Al Michaels thought was a bit of a disaster, although I think it sounds hilarious. Michaels would ask him what he thought about a player, like Richie Hebner for example, and Fidrych would say who the **** is he. What pitch would you throw in this situation? How the **** would I know.  Do you consider this guy a good fastball hittter? Beats me. And on and on.

The book also describes what a grump Joe Falls was towards Fidrych. No surprise there, Falls always struck me as having contempt for many of the subjects of his columns.

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12 hours ago, Mr. Bigglesworth said:

A guy like Fidrych is super rare in any era.

True, but I think it's virtually impossible in the current era.  Part of the Fidrych phenomenon was that nobody knew he was or anything about his personality when the season started.  He pretty much came out of nowhere and we discovered him as the season progressed.  That doesn't happen anymore because we know everything about these guys before they hit the majors now.  I suppose it could happen with a Cuban player.  Puig was interesting when he first came up.    

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I don't disagree with any othat, but my point is on the list of things wrong with the game, the league's inability to repeat a Fidrych season is so low that I can't see it with my decrepit old eyes paired with reading glasses.

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“There's a book about Fidrych, The Bird: Life and Legacy written a few years ago, ...”

Excellent book!

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3 minutes ago, Mr. Bigglesworth said:

I don't disagree with any othat, but my point is on the list of things wrong with the game, the league's inability to repeat a Fidrych season is so low that I can't see it with my decrepit old eyes paired with reading glasses.

yeah, there haven't been many like Fidrych in my lifetime.  When I read history (I know you read a lot of history too) there seemed to be more characters or maybe there are just good story tellers who make it seem that way.   I don't really know  if it was something that the fans even noticed.  I would agree that not having those kinds of players is low on my list of things wrong with the game.  

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8 minutes ago, 1776 said:

“There's a book about Fidrych, The Bird: Life and Legacy written a few years ago, ...”

Excellent book!

I liked it.  I am glad he kept it positive and didn't try to dig up dirt on the Bird. 

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4 minutes ago, tiger337 said:

yeah, there haven't been many like Fidrych in my lifetime.  When I read history (I know you read a lot of history too) there seemed to be more characters or maybe there are just good story tellers who make it seem that way.   I don't really know  if it was something that the fans even noticed.  I would agree that not having those kinds of players is low on my list of things wrong with the game.  

Fernando Valenzuela?

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18 minutes ago, tiger337 said:

yeah, there haven't been many like Fidrych in my lifetime.  When I read history (I know you read a lot of history too) there seemed to be more characters or maybe there are just good story tellers who make it seem that way.   I don't really know  if it was something that the fans even noticed.  I would agree that not having those kinds of players is low on my list of things wrong with the game.  

That is a reflection of gradual culture change, and frankly, improving educational and athletic standards over the decades.

The league is so competitive presently that as a practical matter these guys have to be almost OCD level compelled to practice to develop their skills from a very early age and often times that drive is greatly helped by being paired with a parental figure that either is supporting them financially and/or is able to train the athlete themselves. 

My sense of it is children raised in that type of environment aren't often free spirits or larger than life characters that Ring Lardner would chronicle.

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1 minute ago, Gehringer_2 said:

Fernando Valenzuela?

Yes, I was going to mention him.  Has there been anyone since then that came close?

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