2011: A Chiefs Odyssey – Kevin’s Number 4


#4 – He Hit Four.  Seriously.

On May 14, 2011, Michael Aubrey hit four home runs in a single Triple-A baseball game.

Only 15 players in the history of Major League Baseball have hit four home runs in a single game.

Michael Aubrey entered the game hitting just .203 – with not one, not two, not three – but ZERO home runs on the season.  Needless to say, this was a history-making, unforgettable event, which I will likely never see in person in my lifetime.  So how in the world can I rank three things ahead of this – unless they were a perfect game, a World Series game where a team was down to its final strike twice and came back to win, and…well, that’s it really.

(Spoiler Alert: One of these is actually in the top three.  Spoiler Alert II: It does not involve David Freese.)

Well, the simple, sad truth is this – for one of the greatest individual performances in International League history, on a day that no one who was at Alliance Bank Stadium will ever forget – I wasn’t there.  I was graduating.

Syracuse University has two days of graduation ceremonies.  Saturday, each individual school has its graduation, and on Sunday, the whole darned university comes together.  Saturday was graduation from the Newhouse school – a day where I was honored to be walking across a stage at the Carrier Dome to receive my diploma and hear my name called in front of the entire graduating class and families.  (I was also just happy to be awake after coming down with some kind of nasty sickness, which left me unable to speak or broadcast the previous night’s game, and made me sound like Tom Waits on Thursday’s broadcast.  Who knew allergies were so much fun for somebody who speaks for a living?)

The ceremony was wonderful and the afternoon was thoroughly enjoyable.  I had a blast taking pictures upon pictures with fellow soon-to-be-alums and enjoying cookies and lemonade at the reception afterward.  Then, I returned to my dorm room, and turned on the game, which had just ended its fourth inning of play.  While in a commercial break, I loaded up twitter – and was greeted with a thoroughly surprising tweet at the top of my timeline from our broadcast intern Zack Brown. (Follow him at @zjbrown13.  Actually, wait, follow ME at @kevinnbrown.  #shamelessplug #gratuitoushashtag)  Here’s the tweet:

“Michael Aubrey with the #HatTrick, three home runs in three at-bats for the Chiefs, 6 RBI, Syracuse now up 9-0, Bottom-4 #WINNING

My response was, let’s say, very John McEnroe-esque.  I tuned in, on pins and needles – and three innings later, Aubrey launched, on a 2-2 pitch, his fourth home run of the ball game, sending Alliance Bank Stadium – and 842 Sumner Avenue – into hysterics.

There were four games I was neither in studio nor at the ballpark for this season.  Two of them were missed in-studio games because of a pneumonia/strep throat combination, one was a missed in-studio game for the Syracuse Press Club Awards – and one was Michael Aubrey tying a Triple-A single game record.

I’ll never forget it – or more appropriately, never forget that I never got an in-person chance to forget it – but I have this only number four because I wasn’t there.  I’ll never get the upcoming three moments not just because of the sounds – but because of the sights and sounds.

Three to go…


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