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Our sports stadiums have hosted near-religious experiences -- the Immaculate Reception and the first Hail Mary pass -- as well as actual religious events, such as the three papal Masses celebrated at Yankee Stadium.
Those Masses are a good example of what this list is all about. This list is not the usual ranking of classic moments in sports -- Bobby Thomson's home run! Michael Jordan's buzzer-beater against Utah! Eli Manning's pass to David Tyree! It is a ranking of the most significant noncompetition moments at North American stadiums, ballparks, arenas, gymnasiums, field houses or whatever you want to call the particular venue.
What do we mean by significant noncompetitive moments? Well, it must be something that happened apart from the game. It can be a celebration after a victory that still tingles the spine. It can be a fight among the competitors that left bruises so deep they still haven't healed. It can be the filming of a movie we can recite line for line. But it can't be an actual play.
More than that, it can be a moment completely separate from sports. We're talking about future presidents accepting their nominations, bands performing classic concerts and the Kingdome being imploded.
The venue is crucial here. When you think of the moment, you should picture the venue. Or when you think of the venue, you should picture the moment. We're talking about where history was made -- or at least a video that will live forever on YouTube.
Here are the three simple criteria:
• The moment must have been at a North American facility.
• The moment cannot be part of the actual competition but can have happened within or after the game, such as a fight, a celebration or a promotion.
• The moment can be completely unrelated to sports, as long as it was at a venue regularly used for sports.
Basically, our list comes down to this: Roy Halladay throwing strike after strike in his 2010 playoff no-hitter is not eligible. President George W. Bush throwing a single, inspiring strike before Game 3 of the 2001 World Series is.
Got it? OK, read on. And then let us have it for dissing your favorite moment.