There is nothing that excites baseball fans more than the thrill of being in the hunt for the playoffs, especially when the cities are two ancient rivals.
No, I’m not talking about Boston and New York.
But Memphis and Nashville, which has been slugging for more than 100 years in the Southern Association, the Southern League, and now the Pacific Coast League.
Both cities have been breeding grounds for players like Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols, Adam Wainwright, J.J. Hardy, and countless others in the last dozen years.
And to be perfectly honest, I’ve been witness to some memorable moments between the ‘Birds and Sounds over the years.
There was the pitcher’s duel between the two teams in 2005 when Anthony Reyes struck out 15 Sounds and Wes Obermuller had an equally good day on the mound for the Sounds.
And of course, my own “Can’t Hardly Wait” moment in 2006 when the two teams met on the Fourth of July in front of a Memphis baseball record crowd of 18,302 and a chocolate cutie came up in the broadcast booth for a couple of innings with yours truly.
But one moment that stands out in my mind was when the Redbirds clawed with the Oklahoma Redhawks in their first season for the division title, which was when my grandmother was dealing with a battle with colon cancer that she would lose a month later.
The Redbirds had to face the last-place Sounds for four games in Nashville and had to win at least three to stay with the Redhawks.
Thanks in part to a home run by Darrell Whitmore on a Wednesday afternoon, the Redbirds’ chances were pretty much null and void after that.
In 2005, the Redbirds and Sounds were part of a three-team race with the Omaha Royals, which went down to the final series of the season, resulting in the Sounds edging the Redbirds and then winning the PCL championship.
So, with less than two weeks to go in the season and a four-game series in Nashville, another chapter in this classic minor league rivalry is ready to be written.
Let’s hope it’s on our side of the state.