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Why I've Stopped Hating Kirk Gibson

Around this time every season, the footage gets rolled out, as if we need another reminder of how much drama the postseason packs. And while flipping through the channels at lunch today, I caught it again. But no matter how many times it happens, I get the same reaction as the first time I saw it, back in the East Bay, as a 9-year-old A's fan, watching live on TV with my grandfather.

The sight of Kirk Gibson hobbling around the bases still makes me want to puke.

It's gotten to the point where my reaction is a matter of reflex. But this afternoon's viewing brought forth another reaction. An unexpected reaction. That was 20 years ago, I realized, two decades, one score. Still can't believe what I just saw.

And I remember as if it happened last weekend.

Does this mean I've officially stopped being young? Is this the start of old? Or as the great Jack Buck asked on the radio that night - just after Gibson humiliated my childhood hero Dennis Eckersley -- "Is this really happening?"

What a crummy thing to see on one's birthday.

But the more I think about it, the more I realize how that moment was the start of something bigger and more lasting than my hatred of Gibson and the Dodgers. And now that I'm, ahem, getting older, I am reminded of how that night forever changed the ones that would follow. (Sheesh, maybe that footage had its desired effect after all).

I am addict for watching drama unfold, and judging my choice in profession, it's clear that I haven't gotten over it.

Already, this season. we've seen C.C. Sabathia excel after putting his free-agent fortune on the line. We've seen the New York Mets fall like a Jenga tower; the bullpen pulled the last block. We've seen the Rays laugh at our expectations, a skill that the '88 Dodgers mastered.

It makes me giddy to think, with playoffs finally here, how many more times we're going to see it happen again. If we're lucky, it starts tonight.

By Marc Carig  |  September 30, 2008; 2:55 PM ET
Categories:  Athletics , Dodgers  
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As a fellow East Bay-er, who is just a few years older than you, I'm astonished at your maturity and perspective. I, on the other hand, still mutter obscenities and say unseemly and petty things like, "Wherever Kirk Gibson is now, I hope his knee hurts like hell." So, good job, you.

Posted by: Still Bitter | September 30, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

The sight of Kirk Gibson hobbling around the bases still makes me want to puke.

It's gotten to the point where my reaction is a matter of reflex.

Posted by: Not reflux? | September 30, 2008 6:15 PM | Report abuse

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