It all went down in south-central Kansas, but it is a moment that will resonate for years right here in Manitoba.
Friday night, the Winnipeg Goldeyes completed the best-of-five series sweep of the Wichita Wingnuts in the 2012 American Association Championship Series. The 8-3 victory capped a perfect 6-0 post-season for the Fish, crowning them champions for the first time since the franchise’s inaugural season back in 1994.
It’s a moment that was a long time coming for title-starved sports fans in the province.
Winnipeg’s post-season co-MVP Amos Ramon — as named by manager Rick Forney along with closer Brian Beuning following Friday’s champagne-soaked celebration — has settled his family in Winnipeg after making his professional debut with the Goldeyes back in 2006.
Ramon made it very clear how aware he has become of the city’s longing for a championship, and what it means to the fans.
“I especially know how much this city needs this and how much it helps the (other professional) sports, all of them, the Jets and Bombers too, for us to bring one home finally.”
The resonance of the fans’ championship desire flooded over the walls at Shaw Park and onto the field this September.
“The guys knew. The guys could feel it,” added an emotional Ramon of his teammates. “They felt it in the playoffs how loud the stadium was. I’ve never heard Shaw Park like that. Last time I ever heard something that loud was when the Bruins played the Jets when I was (at MTS Centre in December).”
“It’s great for the city. It’s awesome. They deserve it just as much as we do. I can’t believe we did it.”
The Goldeyes finished the regular season 55-45, capturing the American Association’s lone wild-card playoff spot. Before their finals berth, they defeated the league-best 65-win Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks in three straight.