Well, it's finally here: the fifth anniversary of the most significant game in my baseball-watching career. No, it's not the Royals-Orioles game that was my very first game, nor is it the Royals-Cardinals interleague game that turned into a blowout, nor is it my first playoff game between the Rangers and the Rays, nor is Game 4 of the 2010 World Series that was my first Fall Classic game, nor is it my second World Series game where Albert Pujols hit his three home runs, nor is it my first time going to an Opening Day game. No, the most significant game that I have ever seen with my own eyes was a seemingly meaningless mid-season game between the San Francisco Giants and the Washington Nationals, who would finish with the worst record in baseball. Yet while the game does not have any particular playoff implications, it was important for one crucial reason: it was the game where Randy Johnson became the 24th pitcher to win 300 games. As somebody with a curious interest in the 300-win milestone, getting to see this achievement definitely resonates with me.
And yet time has not stood still since the ecstasy of that rainy June day. It has been five years since the milestone, and life continued to go on. Randy Johnson himself has retired and now spends his days active in another field, that of a photographer*. Many of his teammates and opponents have also called his quits. His catcher, Bengie Molina, retired after 2010 and now spends his time as the Rangers' first base coach. Outfielder Randy Winn also retired after 2010 without ever sniffing the post-season. Shortstop Edgar Renteria won the 2010 World Series MVP award, but hasn't played since 2011. And so on and so forth. My life has changed quite a bit as well, as I entered medical school only a month after the game, and now I find myself completing my first year of residency.
*In fact he's celebrating this milestone while being in Vietnam for a photo shoot.
Meanwhile the 300-win milestone remains as elusive as ever. Many people with aspirations for the milestone find themselves falling short. Jamie Moyer did set the record for oldest pitcher for oldest pitcher to win a game, but his 2012 comeback ended with him only getting 269 wins. Andy Pettitte had a comeback of his own, but dealt with numerous injuries and he retired with 256 wins. And Roy Halladay, one of the two with the brightest chances, found himself dealing with injuries and ineffectiveness and retired with only 203 wins. There are a few with decent shots, such as CC Sabathia who has 208 wins at 33 but has been dealing with fading velocities, and Mark Buehrle who is a year older and has only 196 wins but has been pitching better than he's ever been. Only time will tell whether these men are legit contenders or pretenders.
But while we wait for the next 300-game winner, let us continue to celebrate those that have reached the milestone. It is the fifth anniversary of Randy Johnson's 300th win and as is customary I've been doing things to celebrate it. I've already done a write-up back in the six month and first anniversary*, and a shorter one on the third anniversary. The fouth anniversary celebration was one where I presented the 300-game winners and their gravesites if I've visited. I thought about what I should do to honor the fifth anniversary, and I eventually decided upon transcribing the CSN Bay Area commentary from the game featuring the award winning broadcast team of Duane Kuiper (Kuip) and Mike Krukow (Kruk).
Take it away, Kruk and Kuip...
NOTE: If you want to follow along and watch it in its entirety, you can always buy the game off of the iTunes store. (Scroll down to 6/4/09)
*Links to those write-ups
Part One: The Introduction
Part Two: The Player
Part Three: The Set-Up
Part Four: The Rainout
Part Five: The Game
Part Six: The Aftermath
The Wins of Randy Johnson