||Thursday, October 24, 2002
Kent Refuses to Talk After the Win
Just when I'm wondering if I've judged him too harsly, Jeff Kent goes
and does something else to annoy me.
He had two homers tonight, breaking out of a World Series slump. He was
the story. But he goes and plays the hard-ass and refuses to talk to the
TV guys after the game. Which means he refuses to talk to you and me,
because if he doesn't talk to them, you and I won't know what he's
thinking and how he's feeling.
I don't know. I don't understand. I'm sure that on KNBR tomorrow, Rick
Barry will have apologetic comments to make on Kent's behalf, moaning
about how nobody who hasn't been a sports superstar can understand what
these guys go through and shouldn't judge them.
Pardon my language, but bullshit. I think Kent is sending a clear signal
that he doesn't give a crap about the fans of San Francisco.
What a jerk.
Top of Ninth
OK, three outs to go. The 2-3-4 hitters: Erstad, Ochoa, Anderson.
I think we can bank this one now. And it's huge. HUGE! The Giants have
the momentum and the odds are in their favor now. They need to win one
of two in Anaheim. I said from the beginning they'd do it in six. That
still looks good from here.
I have apparently not been paying attention to Scott Eyre. Unscored on
in eight games? Wow.
Strikes out Erstad. One down, two to go.
Ochoa flies softly to right. Two down, one to go.
Garrett Anderson fittingly gets the chance to make the last out. Game
over, second to first.
GIANTS WIN IT! 16-4.
Bottom of Eighth
Well, we're about to see the Giants bat for the last time in Pac Bell
Park in the wonderful 2002 season. I have to say that I didn't expect to
see them get this far. I did predict correctly that they'd win the NL
wild card title, but I figured they'd get beat in the NLCS by the
D-Backs. Then the D-Backs lose to the Cardinals, who turn out to be no
match and...boom!...here we are playing for the world title.
Do I wish I were there? You bet your ass. I am seldom ticked off that I
moved out of the Bay Area to the beautiful Monterey Peninsula, but I
have to say this is definitely one of them.
Feliz pinch hitting. I like this guy. Pops out to right to the newly
entered Alex Ochoa. One gone.
Snow steps in. Line drive base hit over the infield. Dusty should run
for him. Hey, how about Livan? :-)
Bell comes up. I just noted that the Giants have only left eight runners
on tonight.Bell crushes one back up the middle. Two on, one out.
Shinjo stepping in with a chance to do something. Only one out. Shinjo
singles off Glaus and Snow scores. Giants 13, Angels 4. No hit. Scored
an error on Glaus. So Shinjo still hasn't really done anything.
I'm betting he won't be in a Giants uniform in 2003.
Lofton grounds out on a nice play by Kennedy. Shinjo to second. Two out,
two on. Aurilia batting.
Aurilia clubs one! Left field. My God, it's 16-4. (Hey, guys, save some
of this offense for the weekend!)
Kent lines out to left.
Giants 16, Angels 4
Three outs away.
Top of Eighth
Angels are six outs from going down 3-2 as we head back to Anaheim for
Saturday's Game 6.
The Giants have tremendous momentum going for them. No time to let up.
Bottom of the order due up but Scioscia made a double switch so it's
Kennedy,Molina ande Wooten rather than the pitcher due up third. Wooten
will be looking for his first World Series hit after hitting .444 in the
Kennedy grounds out to Snow.
Molina flies to right. Two gone.
Wooten up to the plate. Singles quietly up the middle.
Eckstein batting with runner at first and two out. The commentators
aren't even paying attention to the game.
He's down swinging. No damage. Three outs away.
Giants 12, Angels 4
Bottom of Seventh
Snow, Bell and Shinjo due up.
Snow breaks a slump and leads off with a crisp single up the middle.
Bell gets hit by the pitch. Hmmm. Uncharacteristic of the Angels' bullpen.
Shinjo with a rare sacrifice bunt moves the runners up a spot. 2nd and
3rd, one out.
I'd like to see us score two more here so we get into double figures and
win this one 10-4, which is the score by which we lost Game 3.
Lofton at the plate. Wild pitch throws a tad of excitement into things,
but it's all for naught.
Triple off the right field wall! Both runners score. I called for it
.Giants 10, Angels 4.
Weber's gone. In comes Scott Shields. Wonder why he's not appeared in
the post-season at all.
It's OK with me if Lofton scores and makes it 11-4.
Aurilia goes down swinging. Ugly. Two gone.
Kent up. Another dinger! Right into the open-air press box seats in left
field bleachers. Giants up 12-4. The laugher is back!
OK, so maybe I've been to hard on Jeff. (Easy to say now, eh?)
Bonds up. Base hit up the middle against the shift. No Barry homer
tonight, but we didn't need it.
Santiago at the plate. Grounds out to end it.
Giants 12, Angels 4
Top of Seventh
Whew. A four-run lead feels a lot airier than the two-run lead we had.
OK, settle in here. The 4-5-6 hitters against Worrell. If we get
through this one unscathed -- even relatively -- then it'll feel like
we're in the home stretch.
Great play by David Bell to get under that popup by Anderson. Not an
easy play at all. One down.
Glaus up. This guy's dangerous. Two quick strikes. Ouch, Benito. That
foul tip went off his shoulder.The guy's been batted around a lot this
season for a 37-year-old. Wow. Nice K. Two gone.
Spiezio at the plate. Great inning by Worrell. He should have plenty for
the eighth, which is great news!
Giants 8, Angels 4
Bottom of Sixth
Shinjo up. He swings at a lot of bad pitches. No patience. One of the
most over-hyped disappointments I've seen in my career as a fan. He goes
down looking. What a waste.
Lofton up. He swings at a terrible low ball and grounds out. Two gone.
Man, we need a freaking rally! These guys are sneaking up on us and we
have to win tonight!
Weber's motion is so herky-jerky that it's distracting. (Maybe not to
the Giants, though, based on what happens next.)
Alright! Base knock for Richie. He's been hitting well in the
postseason, nearly .300 and a .650 slugging percentage.
OK, which Kent do we see? The one who was MVP last year or the one who's
been stinking up the post-season? We get the MVP! Woohoo! Jeff, all is
not quite forgiven, but you're making some points back, dude!
Giants 8, Angels 4.
Whew. That feels a lot better!
Bonds up now. What to do with him in this spot? Pitch to him. Whack.
Second double. (All this with two outs, I remind you. We got 'em right
where we want 'em.)
Walking Santiago was smart. It forces Dusty to pull F-Rod much earlier
than he would have liked. It sets up a force at any bag.
Dunston's doing a nice job of prolonging his at bat to give Tim Worrell
more time to warm up in the bullpen.
Giants 8, Angels 4
Thinking of My Friends at the Game
I have some friends who made it to the game tonight and I'm sitting here
in my recliner in Monterey watching it on TV thinking of them.
Dick and Sandi Golden, my really good baseball buddies. We had season
tickets together the first two years at Pac Bell Park before I moved to
Monterey and couldn't make the games any more. I'm sure they're nervous.
They always are. Sandi doesn't like close games.
Dave Winer and Jake from UserLand, who've been blogging and chatting
with me about the game over the past few days, got tickets. So did
another of my tech buddies, Robert Scoble. Having fun, guys? Quite a
game you're getting to see and quite a setting to see it in.
Wish I were there with you. It's lonesome tonight. Nobody blogging or
Top of Sixth
Two Bengies up, eh? Molina and then Gil. We ought to walk Gil. Or hit
him. The guy's been nothing but trouble this Series.
Oh, crap. Molina sends a single up the middle. We keep letting this guy
hit and he's not that good. A .254 hitter in the regular season.
There Gil goes again. Dammit. When are we going to get this guy out?
He's a stinking .240 career guy who's never hit .300. This is getting
scary again. Walk Eckstein! First base is open. Come on, Dusty. These
guys are going to end up nibbling our lead away. Go up 6-0 and blow it?
Infield out, run scores. Giants 6, Angels 4. It keeps getting uglier.
I see why the Angels are known as a scrappy team. There's no quit in them.
Whew. The slow roller that Zerbe plays perfectly. Nice D.
F-Rod into the game on a double-switch. Shinjo in to right and the ninth
spot. So Sanders is gone. Hmmm.Not sure that was so smart.
OK, Salmon grounds out. But the Angels score another one.
Giants 6, Angels 4
Bottom of Fifth
The productive part of the lineup -- 6, 7, 8 -- comes up this inning. We
need to put some insurance runs on the board. Three isn't enough against
Brendan Donnelly now pitching for the Angels. The guy doesn't have much
experience but he had a 2.17 ERA so he's obviously got something.
Wow, did Sanders give that ball a ride. Foul by about 10 feet. Another
loud strike. I don't know if I've ever seen a guy hit a loud
strike like that and then get a homer. Strike out is more common. And
that's what we get here.
Snow comes to the plate. 0 for 1. God, Snow looked ugly on that
strikeout. That break didn't look so late he couldn't have avoided
pulling the trigger. Oh, well.
Bell up with the bases empty. Remember: we do two outs really well. At
least we did before the World Series. Sheesh. Too quiet an inning. The
Angels are poised.
Giants 6, Angels 3
Top of Fifth
Well, this is far and away the best pitching job the Giants have seen in
this post-season. Three-hit shutout in process.
Pinch-hitter Orlando Palmeiro rings a double off the right field wall on
one hop. Sanders has a good arm and made a good play but Palmeiro was in
The X-Factor's luck holds. Bad hop over the glove of David Bell. So
Erstad hits the ball very deep for a sac fly and the shutout goes away.
Still 6-1, though.
Crap. Kent misses a grounder up the middle. Runners at 1st and 3rd with
I said a couple of innings ago that I was worried about Schmidt missing
low. Now you see why. He throws one in the dirt and the run scores on
the wild pitch. Runner moves to second. Giants up 6-2, but nerves
starting to get itchy.
Schmidt gets his 8th K of the night. Two gone.
Home-run hitter Troy Glaus is next. Why don't we walk him? First base is
open. At least we need to pitch very carefully here. Sheesh, Schmidt got
away with a mistake on the foul ball. 2-1 count. Daring pitch on the 3-1
count. Full count. Glaus doubles Salmon home. Giants 6, Angels 3. Now
I'm getting antsy.
Spiezio at the plate. He's no cake walk. There isn't a weak spot in the
Angels lincup other than Molina.
Man, despite Schmidt's great start, he's gone and doesn't even get to be
the pitcher of record. Too many cautious mistakes in this inning. Zerbe
coming in to pitch.
Now I'm really scared, not because Zerbe's not a good choice but because
things are just too close against the powerful Angels.
Kennedy flies out deep to center.
Giants 6, Angels 3
OK, we're in the top of the fifth as I write this. Jason Schmidt has
been yanked. Appropriately. He had a 6-0 lead going into this inning and
he's been pitching much too cautiously and as if he were behind. Jitters
Now Dusty goes to the pen and brings in young Chad Zerbe. Interesting
choice. I'm not sure about it.
What I am sure about is that the Giants have once again found a
way to make what should have been a laugher into a nail-biter because of
their starting pitching. That's an area we really need to fix in 2003,.
Bottom of Fourth
Kent starts out with a fly-out.
Bonds flies out. (See, you can get him out. He hit .370, not 1.000.)
Santiago comes a few inches from a solo shot. Loud strike. Grounds out
third to first. Quick inning.
Giants 6, Angels 0
Top of Fourth
I'm a little concerned that Schmidt is missing in the dirt a lot. Pretty
unusual; usually he's wild high, not low.
Glaus goes down swinging. Six K's for Jason. Yes!
Walk to Spiezio. Ugh
Another strikeout. Kennedy gets fooled completely on the low heat.
Molina pops out to Kent and the inning is over. No damage.
Giants 6, Angels 0
Kent, Bonds, and Santiago due up. I feel more runs coming.
Bottom of Third
Bell, Schmidt, Lofton due up.
Bell gets on with an infield single. Schmidt moves him to second on a
sac bunt. Yep, even up 6-0 you have to play little ball, especially
against the explosively unpredictable Angels.
Here's 2-for-2 Lofton. That's what's called a "good out" because it
moves the runner up. He hit to the right side, which is his job in that
situation. You prefer a single, of course, but an out is OK if it's
Aurilia gives it a ride, thrills the crowd, but it's a loud out.
Giants 6, Angels 0
Top of Third
Uncharacteristically, Schmidt walks Eckstein. Even more unusually, he
does it on four pitches. I didn't think the umpire was giving him the
close pitches, but I also didn't think those close ones were strikes.
Eckstein shouldn't get credit for a stolen base there. Offensive
Erstad hits a flare single. These guys get lucky with this kind of dink
ball more than any other team I've watched this season. I mean, they're
a line-drive-hitting team, so I'm not taking any pot shots here, but
I've been stunned by how many of their stupid little popups have dropped
for base hits in this Series.
Nice job of pitching to Salmon there, Mr. Schmidt. Two down. Five K's.
That change-up at 1-1 was jaw-dropping, dude. Lines out to right. Inning
Giants 6, Angels 0
Follow the Game in Detail on Yahoo
I've been using Yahoo! Sports to keep track of the game as it goes
along. Check it out. Go to http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb, then click on
the inning status in the left column next to the game. Or for this
particular game if you're reading this in real time, click click
In one compact place you get the whole summary and pitch-by-pitch and
you can scroll down to get a box score, umpires' names, details. It's
pretty cool. Comes in handy when you're trying to comment in real time.
Bottom of Second
Last night, I changed my approach to the process of blogging a live
game. Instead of having a blog post for each half-inning, I posted as
things occurred to me. Tonight, I'm trying something different yet. I'll
post a sort of chronological log, but if something occurs to me that I
don't want to wait until the half-inning to post, I'll do that.
I can do that because I'm posting by email. So I can keep multiple
emails open at one time. In Radio, if I were editing on my main system,
I'd have to post a message, then edit it if I wanted to add something.
Lofton starts things off again! Maybe the Giants finally have found a
legit lead-off man. They started this season without one.
Alright, Kent comes through! Double off the wall in right. About time.
Of course, now they'll just walk Bonds with first base open.
Bases loaded, one out. Opportunity to stretch the lead. Santiago makes
it 5-0 with a solid single to center. Woohoo! This is a lot more
fun than yesterday. A lot.
Sanders' sac fly scores Bonds. Giants 6, Angels 0.
Almost had a choke collision on Snow's pop, but the Angels end it.
Giants 6, Angels 0
Erstad is Killing Us!
His grab of that sinking, twisting liner in center with Lofton aboard
cost us another possible run. That's twice in two innings. Imagine how
bad things would be if he weren't out there.
Top of Second
Giants 3, Angels 0
First two hitters go quietly. Schmidt is looking strong. Giving him a
three-run lead is a very solid place for the Giants to begin.
Here's a question for you. If this goes seven, should Dusty pitch Livan?
I don't think so. I think Livan should be traded in the off season and
worrying about his ego over not appearing again the Series as badly as
he pitched in his first outing shouldn't even be a consideration.
Four K's for Schmidt in two. Whew. This is nice so far.
Giants 3, Angels 0
Early Action for the Giants
Good to see the Giants getting going early. Bonds comes up with runners
at first and second, one out, and they decide to pitch to him.
First pitch was too high, but called a strike. Is it just me or have
these umpires been tight with Bonds on first pitches? Normally, if
anything, a super hitter like Barry gets the benefit of the doubt on
close pitches. But in the last three times the Angels pitched to him,
they missed the pitch low (I thought) and all three were called balls.
Barry questioned all of them, too, and he doesn't do that lightly.
Alright, Barry! This guy is amazing. Someone I heard on the radio today
(maybe Gammons) said this is the first time in baseball history that one
player who is not a pitcher has been so dominant in the game and in the
World Series. Yep.
Sac fly by Benito and the Giants go up, 2-0. The way to beat Washburn is
to get to him early and rattle him. This is a good start.
Interesting decision by the Angels to walk Sanders. Probably the right
choice given that the left-handed Snow is due up next now.
I'm going back to my own blog after this half-inning because Blogger
doesn't have any way that I can see to allow comments. The advantage
here is that my comments appear more quickly. When I post on my blog, I
have to email the comments because the Radio application is running on
the G4 tower in my office, which is not where I'm watching the game.
Hmmmmm. Have to noodle about these alternatives when there's time. Not
now. Game's hot. (Actually, as it turned out, I had to go back to my
blog sooner. There was a bug in the UI over at Blogger that put the
"Post & Publish" button out of sight when I wrote this long message and
I couldn't get it back in Mozilla. Terrible.)
Hmmm. He walks Snow. Clearly he's a bit rattled. Now Bell comes up. BTW,
I think Bell should have been moved up in the lineup. He can protect
Bonds better than the non-producing Kent.
Mr. Washburn is clearly shaken. 3-0 to Bell. No place to put him. The
fourth pitch was what I call the "obligatory fourth-pitch strike." I'm a
former ump and I can attest to the fact that there's a tendency when a
guy is 3-0 to call the fourth pitch a strike if it's even close.
He walks in a run! My gosh. Wonderful start for the Giants. If we can
get into their bullpen quickly, this could get out of hand. We should be
I'm Blogging Tonight's Game Over on Blogger
I decided to change things up tonight. Maybe it'll help the Giants.
Anyway, check out my Blogger Web log on tonight's
Blogging Away About the World Series
Jake over at UserLand blogged Game 4 of the World Series last night. He and I chatted on AIM throughout the experience as well. I also tried BlogChat last night. The program is still in beta and feels like a sort of unformed AIM at this point, but I had a nice interaction there and I'll probably try it again when the software's a little farther along.
I sort of thought I had invented this notion of blogging a live sports event. Now there are several folks doing it, which I absolutely love. I have some thoughts on how to turn this into something even richer and more interesting. But it turns out this isn't my invention. One of my blog readers told me a newspaper in South Carolina did this with a high school football game a year ago. Good. Validates my belief.
Let me know if you're blogging the game, watching other bloggers, or doing something else cool and interactive in real time during the games. I'd love to keep track of this stuff.
(Dave Winer and Jake will be at he game tonight in person, so I doubt they'll be able to blog even if they wanted to. Which they won't want to do anyway because the game will be so much more engaging in person!)
The Appeal of Baseball
Dave Winer has some wonderful insights at mid-World Series time into what baseball means to its mostly male adherents.
For me, while it is certainly cliche to say it, baseball is attractive because it is a thinking man's game and I am a thinking man. But there are other, less often stated, reasons, too.
First, one can be less than a superb athletic specimen with a finely chiseled body and still play this game well. Guys like Livan Hernandez and Randy Johnson and David Wells and Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb were mere physical mortals who have excelled at this sport. That gives guys like me hope, and hope is something palpably important to the human spirit.
Second, baseball is the only one of the major sports (the others being American football, basketball, and hockey) in this country of which hard physical contact is not part of the very fabric. It is a peaceful game which nonetheless satisfies that deep inner itch for a competitive exprience, for the staging of the battle between good and evil, my team and your team. As such, baseball stands dignified and alone as a non-combative solution to conflict and disagreement. And in this sense, too, it creates hope.
Finally, it is the game itself and not its less-than-godlike gladiators, that is the important focus of attention. There is always something going on for a deeply engaged and knowledgeable fan. But there are also lots of breaks in the action for the less-involved fan who wishes to combine sports spectatorship with social intercourse.
These are the principal reasons why, even when it betrays its fans, even when its business side becomes more apparent than we might prefer, even when the off-field conduct of its superstars tarnishes its image, I keep coming back to baseball as my Sport of Choice. I've grown to love pro football over the years, but given a choice between a baseball game and a football game at the same moment, I am far more likely to watch baseball.
It is for me a more spiritually and emotionally satisfying experience.
© Copyright 2002 Dan Shafer.