I was five years old.
Our family was on vacation in Pensacola with some friends, but for four hours on this day in June, there would be time spent on the beach. Instead, that time was spent inside, sitting around a TV.
Between my parents and their friends, there were at least five graduates of LSU at this beach house. All still living in Baton Rouge at the time, so all still well connected to the LSU baseball team that was playing for its third national championship in the last six years.
There was a reason we were neglecting the beach.
I don’t remember many specifics watching the game that day… that is until the bottom of the ninth came.
You all know the story by now.
Two outs, bottom of the ninth, LSU trailing Miami 8-7, the tying run was on third and Warren Morris was at the plate.
He wasn’t at the plate for long though.
Just as then-CBS commentator Sean McDonough could announce that Morris is at the plate, a Robbie Morrison breaking ball was parked in the right field bleachers of Rosenblatt Stadium.
I remember that moment vividly. Our family and friends shouting at the top of our lungs in pure joy because Morris just walked it off for the national championship.
There he was rounding the bases on our TV screen, arms in the air, Miami shortstop Alex Cora on the ground in tears. It’s a scene that I can watch on endless loop for the rest of time and I can guarantee you that I will always get goose bumps from it.
22 years later, I was fortunate enough to be able to tell Morris this story and those same goose bumps came back as he told me that one of the best things about hitting that home run, is hearing the stories of the many people who watched that game in real time. It’s because of that, the moment continues to live on so strong in Louisiana and beyond.
It’s still my favorite sports moment of all time and it’s crazy to me that, 22 years later, there are actual legal adults who were not alive when that moment in Omaha, NE happened. But even for those that weren’t around to see it, like Morris’ two daughters, the story lives on through the stories told about it.
Even though this is a story that has been told countless times, I’m not sure there can ever be a limit to how many times it is told. Each recollection brings a different perspective, which in a way, makes it brand new all over again.
And so not to make this about myself, because God and everyone knows that it’s not, but I still can’t believe that I got to sit down both with Morris and Skip Bertman to talk about the 1996 national title game.
It was something to cross off the bucket list and, even better, it brought me back to a time, when that five year old kid lost his mind at a beach house in Pensacola.
Thank you, Warren Morris.