Thursday, May 21, 2009

Full Moon

A hot July evening in Detroit set the scene. 81 degrees at game time. 14,770 fans in attendance witnessed a back and forth game between two starting pitchers, who had their good stuff that night.

Ace in the making, Jack McDowell was on the mound for the White Sox. Veteran Dan Petry took the ball for the Tigers.

No matter what you hear, there were less than 15,000 people in Tiger Stadium that night. Almost 100,000 people claim to have been inside the stadium for this particular game.

The White Sox were surging in the AL West. The Tigers were slowly sinking in the AL East, playing just good enough to keep near .500. The Tigers would eventually win this game, in the bottom of the ninth, 5 to 4. A Tigers victory wasn't what was mentioned at the office the next day or on Johnny Carson or David Letterman the next night.

The moment in question did not effect the outcome of the game. It didn't even lead to scoring. This particular event caused the Tiger fans to applaud a White Sox batter to be called safe. It was indeed a strange night in Detroit.

The Tigers were ahead 4 to 1, when the top of the fifth inning started. The first batter up for the White Sox was Steve Lyons. He dragged a bunt to the first base side of the infield, then he ran like hell to first base. First baseman Cecil Fielder charged for the ball and pitcher Dan Petry had to cover first. It looked like Lyons had a shot at being safe, so he slid headfirst into first base. First base umpire, Jim Evans, called Lyons safe.

Dan Petry immediately had a beef with the call. While Petry and Evans were debating the call, Steve noticed some pebbles and dirt had gotten into his pants. Without much thought of where he was, he unbuckled his belt and proceeded to shake the dirt loose, like many players do. The only problem was that in shaking the dirt out, Steve had automatically lowered his pants to the knees.

The second that Steve heard the crowd react, he pulled up his pants, but the damage had been done. He turned around to see the same crowd which he just mooned. His face turned beet red and he had a chuckle. What else could he do in that situation? Cecil Fielder let out a hearty laugh. Petry and Evans stopped their discussion. All eyes were on Steve Lyons.

When the crowd finally died down, the game resumed. The situation was one man on first base and no one out. Scott Fletcher grounded out to the shortstop, who forced out Lyons at second. As Lyons returned to the dugout, he saw ladies waving dollar bills at him and yelling things like, "Take it off!"

Sammy Sosa then proceeded to ground out to the shortstop who forced Scott Fletcher at second. Ozzie Guillen decided to mix things up by grounding out to the second baseman and recording the third out at first base.

It just goes to show that the White Sox could kill an inning in any decade. This is not a new thing. Despite not having a thing to do with the outcome of the game, Steve Lyons was the talk of the town. He did countless interviews and to this day is still asked to repeat the story.

What would this story be without a picture? For the first time on any White Sox site, here is a grainy black and white picture of the incident. Somewhere, in my archives of videotape, I have this game recorded. If I ever run across it, I should be able to get a better picture and possibly get the act on YouTube.

Would this be the Detroit version of Moons Over My Hammy?

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