One of my favorite non-baseball movies of all time is Groundhog Day. I know what you are thinking; yes I do sometimes watch something that is not baseball related. In most of those cases I am either in route to an emergency room or am suffering from some kind of disease that requires massive amounts of prescription medication to overcome but there are those rare occasions when something non-baseball disrupts my life.
It is traditional in our house to celebrate Groundhog Day in a very traditional sense. I try not to go outside for fear of seeing my shadow, I attempt to hibernate under my covers for at least six more weeks, and I have a meal consisting of ground hog meat. It is important to note that I wrote “ground” and “hog” separately. You miss just one little space between those words and you find yourself eating road kill. The evening ends with the family curled up on the couch watching the 1993 movie starring Bill Murray (who incidentally is a huge baseball fan and a minor league baseball owner to boot).
There is at least one moment during that movie that I stop to consider, what would happen if I were to suffer the same fate as Bill Murray’s character? No I am not talking about the frightening idea that I would have to share camera time with Chris Elliot although that does give me the shivers. I mean what if I had to spend my life repeating the same day over and over and over?
The answer to that question would really depend on what day that actually was that I was repeating. There are some days that would definitely be torture. I can’t even imagine having to relive June 25, 1999. What a disaster that would be!
For those of you who either don’t know what happened that fateful day in June or for those like me who have tried to block the memory out of their minds let me recount. Randy Johnson was on the mound for the Diamondbacks and was facing the St. Louis Cardinals who were sending rookie Jose Jimenez to the mound. Johnson threw a gem. He threw a complete game allowing just 5 hits and walking 2. He struck out 14 that day being his usual dominant self.
In the ninth inning of a 0-0 tie Johnson struck out Joe McEwing to start then walked Darren Bragg and Mark McGwire. Eric Davis struck out leaving just one out away from getting out of the inning. Thomas Howard came up and singled to left field allowing McEwing to score while McGwire was thrown out trying to advance to end the inning but giving the Cardinals a 1-0 lead.
Jimenez struck out Andy Fox to start the bottom of the ninth then got David Dellucci to fly out to shallow right field for the second out. With an 0-1 pitch to Tony Womack, Womack grounded out to the second baseman who threw to first to end the game.
Getting beat 1-0 when your ace throws a complete game 5-hitter is bad enough but that night not one Diamondback was able to get a hit. It was the first no-hitter thrown against the Arizona Diamondbacks and it happened at home. Arizona was only able to get two base runners on the whole night with walks to Luis Gonzalez and Steve Finley.
What made that night even more painful was the fact that I think my family caused the whole thing. My daughter Tiffany had sent the lucky hat to the game with my wife and she refused to wear it. What kind of woman would refuse to wear the lucky hat? So I will forever live with the guilt that not only did I have to witness the first no-hitter against the Diamondbacks in franchise history; I might could have prevented it from ever happening.
These are the kinds of things that keep me up at night. I guess I should just be grateful that the movie Groundhog Day is fictional. Well at least I think it’s fictional. I’ll let you know tomorrow if I wake up and the radio is playing “I Got You Babe” for the second day in a row.