There I was, living out every kid's dream.

It was the bottom of the 9th inning, of Game 7 of the World Series, in front of nearly 50,000 screaming fans. And of all the people to be standing on third base, 90 feet from the winning run, there I was.

And with Luis Gonzalez coming up to bat, I knew there was a good chance I might be scoring the final run of the 2001 season. Only 10 World Series in history had ended with a walk-off win, and of the more than 19,000 players who have ever worn a Major League uniform, I was lucky enough to stand there with a chance to be number 11.

A lot of people remember what happened next. What they might not remember was what had happened just before. Moments earlier I was standing at first base, not third, feeling like I might have just cost our team the World Series.

Throughout Game 7 of the World Series I kept looking at the lineup card, trying to figure out where I might be used. We had a ton of great players on our roster, and with every situation it looked like there would be better options on the bench than me. The one scenario I forgot about was a bunt situation with men on first and second with no outs.

And of course, that's exactly what happened. Our manager Bob Brenly called my name, and I grabbed my bat and stepped up to the plate with one goal in mind - to advance the runners. Unfortunately my bunt was pretty mediocre, and Yankees closer Mariano Rivera bounced off the mound to throw out the runner at third base.

That was the one thing I didn't want to happen. A good bunt would have put runners at second and third with one out - an excellent shot, at the very least, of tying the game with a sac fly. Instead, the lead runner was out, and now I'm wondering if I had squandered a golden opportunity.

But I knew better than to count our team out. If you had watched the previous six games, you knew that it wasn't over until the last out.

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(Title photo courtesy of Carl Gooding/Arizona Diamondbacks)

Thomas Hager