Because the Chicago White Sox were the only baseball team to win a World Series 10 years ago, they’ve made use of the good kind of sports anniversary with reunions and championship retrospectives galore this season.
However, there are other kinds of sports anniversaries too — infamous ones, ones that get attention no matter how divisible the year, ones like when Robin Ventura got served up by Nolan Ryan.
Or did he?
For some reason, on the 22nd year of celebration of Ryan’s stand for middle-aged men who just can’t sit their ass down, this mound conflagration has gotten a particularly unexpected amount of attention. That’s good if you like to go down memory lane with some of the more unique sports moments of the ’90s, its also good if you want to think differently about the whole Ryan/Ventura battle.
As the video above showed, there’s reason to question the whole story line that has developed in the two decades plus since these two went at it — indeed Ventura didn’t look the worse for wear after the scrape with Ryan, but also Ventura wasn’t freaking a couple rotations of the sun shy of 50.
Of course Ryan looked tired as hell after scuffling with a spry all-star talent in his prime, of course the well celebrated punches the old Texan threw were more like harmless noogies. If you were really invested in how this shallow 1993 happening played out, none of that matters to you, you’re still riding for the Ryan Express in all his ancient glory.
Also, if you’re well-invested in the good name of Robin Ventura, you should be more worried about his job again. Looks like a week-long streak doesn’t mean as much when you come up lame at home in four of the last five.
I was a Sox fan then, still remain one, and this whole way of thinking caught me off guard. To have something rooted in you at the age of nine is a pretty hard thing to shake off, it’s the reason why I previously never really gave thought to Ventura being anything but a loser in this confrontation, its also the reason why “Award Tour” will always be one of the greatest songs ever.
But just like a reunited Tribe circa Midnight Marauders is a thing that’ll never exist again, that same prideful 20-something who wouldn’t stand getting plucked by a geriatric hurler is not in existence anymore. He certainly isn’t the same guy managing the White Sox right now.
But, hey, the more things change, the more the noogies feel more burrowed into your skull. Take what solace you can from other camera angles and deeper analysis and feel prouder that your skipper didn’t lose his most famous fight, but does he still have some fight in him?
Surely, some would say Nolan Ryan was the last of a dying breed, but on that night 22 years ago he came across a younger version of himself. Its about time Robin Ventura comes across a younger version of himself as well.
More on Ryan/Ventura
Nolan Ryan-Robin Ventura fight anniversary — 13 things you should know (ESPN)
Robin Ventura lost a fight 22 years ago, but he won some respect (Yahoo!/Big League Stew)
The Robin Ventura-Nolan Ryan fight story you haven’t heard (CSN Chicago)
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