In his second big league series, against the Mets in Shea Stadium, Uggla tugged the brim of his cap down "as far as I could without blinding myself" because when he gazed toward the top of the stadium, he would become dizzy. "I still felt like a little kid, scared to death," Uggla says. "That was my first time in New York."
But two weeks ago, after hitting a game-ending grand slam against the Phillies, that little boy—a proxy for fiftysomething men who wanted nothing more in life than to do what he does every day—also ran from home to second with his index finger in the air and flipped his batting helmet to coach Bo Porter when he reached third during a magical trip around the bases. "I'd never had a walk-off," Uggla says, "so I didn't know how to act. I was too excited." He is mildly embarrassed, but the man his manager calls a blue-collar player, an infielder who gets so dirty during his daily grind he might as well be a ring-around-the-collar guy, need not make amends.
Like Uggla, the reference is old-time.