Back in 2006 I co-hosted the Canadian music awards, which is also called the Juno awards. The other host was Pamela Anderson. This may sound crazy, but it's true. The thing is, I can't prove it. There are no clips of it on YouTube. It seems like almost everything is on YouTube, but not this. NBC tries as hard as they can to keep Saturday Night Live clips off YouTube, but they can't do it. They keep coming back. But somehow, this event – the weirdest night of my life – is completely absent from YouTube. It's a miracle.
You know what else you can't find on YouTube? Any clips from broadcasts of Major League Baseball games. How is that possible? Go ahead and look. All you will find is things people shot with their phones from the stands and video game crap.
I made this remarkable discovery one day when I decided that I wanted to see clips of the greatest, longest, mightiest home runs ever hit. Like most people, I like to see a ball get walloped and fly a mile through the sky. It's thrilling. When it really comes down to it and we get off our high horses, we don't care if people are on steroids as long as they hit the ball a mile. The boos turn to cheers pretty quickly. I've seen it happen many times.
I remember an old skit from Saturday Night Live where they joked about an all-steroids Olympics. It was good for a laugh, but the truth of the matter is, I bet an event like that would be crazy-popular if it were real. Maybe you can find that clip on YouTube.
I've watched a lot of baseball in my life. Living in Canada, I have mostly seen Expos (RIP) and Blue Jays games. Although I would love to see some of the giant home runs I saw through the years again, I can remember many of them vividly…
I remember quite clearly, April 4th, 1988. The New York Mets were visiting Montreal. The stars of the Mets team that year were Lenny Dykstra, who was referred to as “Nails” Gary Carter, who was my childhood hero who played for my beloved Expos from 1974 to 1984 (I met him in '84 which was the season Pete Rose played for Montreal); and Darryl Strawberry, who just a year before released a 12″ hip hop record called 'Chocolate Strawberry'. I still have a sealed copy. Mr. Strawberry (what a name!) wasn't much of a rapper but the beats were nice and he had two of the best DJ's in the game behind him – Silver Spinner from Whistle and Mixmaster Ice from U.T.F.O. Anyhow, that day Darryl Strawberry hit a ball off the roof of Olympic Stadium! It was one of the most insane things I've ever seen. It seemed like it was still accelerating when it hit the roof because I remember it ricocheted rather violently back onto the field. God knows how far the goddamn thing might have gone in another park, but some say it might have gone 600 feet.
Willie Stargell, who played his entire career with the Pittsburgh Pirates hit another monstrosity of a home run in Olympic Stadium on May 20, 1978. Some say it was bigger than Strawberry's home run, but I say it's impossible to know that for sure. Willie Stargell's real first name was Wilver.
I remember one weekend series the Blue Jays had in Chicago against the White Sox. It was in the '80's, but I don't know exactly when. The Jays leftfielder was the temperamental slugger, George Bell. His best season was 1987. He hit 47 home runs that year. So maybe that was the year of the weekend series in Chicago I'm thinking of. Anyway, that weekend, he hit two home runs completely out of Comiskey Park. They cleared the roof! Greg “The Bull” Luzinski was the only other guy I ever saw do that.
During the 1989 American League Championship Series, which was between Toronto and Oakland, I saw Jose Canseco jack a home run up into the 5th level of the stadium in Toronto. I've never seen that happen since. But to put the insane Strawberry shot into perspective, they say Canseco's home run 'only' went about 485 feet. Unbelievable.
Joe Carter won the World Series for the Blue Jays in 1993 with a walk-off home run. It was only the second time in history that had been done (Bill Mazeroski did it for the Pirates back in 1960 (before my time)). Joe's wasn't a monster home run distance-wise, but it was the most exciting sight I ever saw.
The most amazing moments of my life cannot be found on YouTube. The revolution will not be televised.
You can hear “Chocolate Strawberry” here.