Winning one for DK
added 6/24/2002 by Chris Diem
First of all, my prayers go out to the family of Darryl Kile. It is incredibly sad to see someone so young die and leave behind a young family. I found out about his death as I left for the game Saturday afternoon. I couldn't believe what I heard and I stayed fixed to 610 from Clear Lake to Minute Maid Park. It was clear as soon as you walked into the park that many people had that same sense of shock. The moment of silence at the beginning of the game was a classy move by the Astros-the people sitting next to me (I was in Section 132, Row 24) hadn't heard the news and they let out a huge gasp. The Stros choose to freeze a picture of Kile after the '93 no-hitter and hang his jersey in the dugout. It was an incredible sad set of moments. It was in that premise the game started, and the events of the day were just reaffirmed when Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, and Brad Ausmus were left out of the starting lineup. The game itself was great-Roy Oswalt was flat masterful with for most of his 7 innings. He made one mistake and John Olerud rode it for a 2 run homer (that I thought Hidalgo had come down with), but aside from that he looked sharp. Julio Lugo was, wow. Talk about great D- he made 5 or 6 great plays and he truly looked like a different player out there. Daryle Ward crushed 3 balls-unfortunately 2 were caught 400 feet away from home plate. The entire starting 9 looked as if they wanted people to not notice Bagwell, Biggio, and Ausmus were out of the lineup-they put an incredible amount of effort into the game and they should all be complimented.
The site of Craig Biggio in the on-deck circle in the 11th inning sent chills through me. I couldn't believe he would play and it really showed his commitment to the team. The fans who knew the relationship between Bidge and DK gave him a standing ovation-unfortunately many seemed naive of the situation and reacted as if nothing had happened. By the time Bagwell came to the plate in the 12th everyone was on their feet because the bases were loaded, but the same chill came across me as he came out of the dugout. And the scene at first base after his single scored Julio Lugo was incredibly touching; Bags looked drained and the entire team came out to lend their support. It was an incredible experience that I will never forget. The win was a total team effort-those not as affected by the loss of Kile picked up the slack for their teammates and then some. It was an incredible show of camaraderie inspired by a man that meant much to so many around the league. My prayers once again go out to the Kile family and all of his friends.