Eclecticity: Dan Shafer's Web Log : Where author, poet, sports fanatic, spiritual teacher, and dabbler in things Pythonesque and Revolution(ary) Dan Shafer holds forth on various topics of interest primarily to him
Updated: 11/13/02; 1:52:28 PM.


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Sunday, October 27, 2002

Scoble's More Philosophical Than I

After the Giants' shocking loss in the World Series, my buddy Robert Scoble wrote:

Well, onto the rest of our lives. I'm getting married in six days. I was hoping that the Giants would start the week off right, but they didn't. Oh well. I'm still proud of the team.


It'll be a long off season, that's for sure.

[The Scobleizer Weblog]
I can't be quite so philosophical. I'm twice as old as Robert. I'm not sure how many more seasons I will see. The last time I was a fan of a World championship baseball team was 1968 when the Tigers beat the Cardinals.
10:28:33 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

Top of Ninth

So the entire season comes down to this. 161 Games. Wild card. Battle through the NL playoffs. Have the Series title in your hand in Game 6 and watch the Angels snatch it away. Three outs away from the biggest disappointment of my life as a sports fan.

I'm going to say this now before it's too lat.e Down the roster, game to game, across a season, the Giants are a better club in every respect than the Angels. But if the Angels win this -- and it looks right now as if they will -- they will have earned the short-series victory.

If there were truly justice in the universe, the Giants would rally for a win. As I said a bit ago: the Angels will have lots more shots at this thing. For the Giants, this is it. To have Barry retire without experiencing a ring? Shameful. The Universe should be ashamed of itself.

J.T. Snow steps in against the all-but-unhittable Troy Percival. He lines a hit into right field. One on, nobody out.

Goodwin up to bat. He looked at two very hittable fast balls. Wow. Can't do that in this situation. Goodwin grounds into a force, Snow out at second. One on, one out.

David Bell steps in. Goodwin takes second without a throw. He doesn't matter. Bell walks. Tying run to the plate in the person of pinch-hitter Tsuyoshi Shinjo. Why Shinjo? He's an impatient strike-out expert. My God.

Two quick strikes on Shinjo. Warned you. Shinjo fans. Two gone.

Lofton is our last hope. He's capable of a homer. Lofton flies out to center. Game over. My Giants lose. What a depressing turn of events.

Final: Giants 1, Angels 4
8:22:03 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

The MVP is WHO? You Gotta Be Kidding Me!

The idiots who decide the Most Valuable Player of the World Series gave the trophy to Troy Glaus, who was described as having "the most consistent Series, batting .385 with three doubles, three home runs and eight RBIs."

EXCUSE ME! Did you guys see the same World Series I did? The one with a guy who hit nearly .500? Who changed the complexion of the game and the nature of its strategy so dramatically that he was clearly the best player on either team, by a lot?

Glaus was the MVA - Most Valuable Angel. But he should reject the MVP trophy and tell the voters to give it to the only one who deserves it, Barry Bonds. This is a damn travesty.
8:09:10 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

Top of Eighth

Aurilia, Kent and Bonds due up. The Giants have to do it this inning. Right now. RALLY CAPS!

K-Rod is smokin'. Gets the first two strikes on Richie then just pulls the string on a breaking ball. Wow.

Jeff Kent shouldn't be so easy to fool. Ouch. First pitch called. Weakly fouls off the second. Sheesh. Two K's to the heart of our order. This guy is amazing.

Geez, K-Rod has struck out 11 of the 21 right-handers he's faced! Ouch.

Bonds up. Rodriguez goes 3-0 to him. That first strike...remember what I said yesterday about obligatory fourth-pitch strikes? That was another one. Bonds walks.

Santiago batting. Two quick strikes. Ouch. Strikes him out.

Giants 1, Angels 4 and only three outs left for us.
8:02:30 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

Bottom of Seventh

I am having a very difficult time keeping my spirits up tonight. I almost wish I were at a sports bar with a bunch of other Giants fans to commiserate with. Instead, I'm here with virtual friends online and only a sympathetic wife by my side.

Erstad to lead off. Woody still on the mound, surprisingly enough. I thought he looked a bit shaky last inning myself. Woody goes to 3-0, then 3-1 Gets Ertstad on a bouncer to Kent. One gone.

Salmon is up. Works to a full count. Called third strike that Salmon didn't like. I gotta agree with Salmon, but it's the first break the Giants have had. Grab some pine, meat! Two out.

Anderson facing Woody. Flies weakly to center. No further damage.

Giants 1, Angels 4
7:51:00 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

Top of Seventh

David Bell leading off. Bottom of the order,which has occasionally been pretty potent for us this season.

Franky Rodriguez on the mound for the Angels.

It's occurred to me that aside from the whole Northern California (good) vs. Southern California (empty-headed and evil), this Series is about youth vs. experience. So much of my life has been about that confrontation since the Web implosion known as the dot-bomb last spring that put me on my financial heels. So that's another reason I hate the Angels.

Crap. Bell makes a bid for a homer but he flies out. Why can't we get a single damned break? Everything is going the Angels' way. There's a message here.

Feliz steps in. I wish Dusty had kept Damon Minor on the roster, because this would be a great spot to bring him in. As it is, we have no left-handed power to offer against K-Rod.

Geez, Feliz. Looked pretty bad there, dude. Two gone.

Lofton flies out deep to right center, just short of a home run. It's just not falling for us.

Giants 1, Angels 4
7:41:31 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

Bottom of Sixth

Rueter facing Spiezio.

Spiezio pops out to Goodwin in right. One gone.

Molina batting, crushes a double off the wall in right, nearly a homer. Yikes.

This guy's a lightweight with a .245 average. What's with this shit?

Kennedy grounds out to Kent, Molina to third. Two out.

Great play by Kent on a sinking liner by Kennedy.

Giants 1, Angels 4
7:33:38 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

More Out-of-Flow Comments

Am I the only one who thinks these Sprint PCS commercials that pick on cellular static are not only stupid bu tmisguided? I'm sure that if my wife called me on my cell phone and I heard her say that she wanted me to bring home a monkey with a cold, I would probably question her sanity or my hearing. I know, these things aren't supposed to represent truth, but, still. This stuff is garbage.

Several times during this World Series, Fox has come back from commercial during or after the completion of the first pitch to a hitter. For that reason if no other, they ought to lose their rights to broadcast future baseball championships.

If Lackey becomes the first rookie in 93 years to win a World Series, he will not be a deserving one. He doesn't have the kind of pitching power you'd expect of a guy who gets into the record books that way. He's adequate, even above average, but not overpowering. No star power.

As I write this between the fifth and sixth innings, I'm feeling very down and lethargic. Not hopeless yet, but this has all the earmarks of a Giants loss. I have been known to get pretty darned emotional over things like this. Tonight, I'm resolved not to do so. Still.... A Giants loss at this point after coming so far would be devastating. The Angels will be good for many more seaons; this is probably the Giants' last shot at a World title for years to come. If there's any justice....

Gosh, these MSN8 commercials with the cocoon and butterfly are STUPID.
7:27:32 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

Top of Sixth

Brendan Donnelly pitching, Kent up to lead off. Kent goes after an out-of-the-zone high fastball and grounds out to third.

Bonds up. Pops it up on the infield. Eckstein grabs it. Two gone.

The wind is going out of the balloon here, folks. The heart of the order can't get it done.

Santiago steps in.Two quick strikes, then four straight balls. Runner at first, two out.

Snow coming to the plate. He crushes it down the right field line for a double. Second and third, two out.

Goodwin will bat for Sanders now. A single could make it 4-3. Goodwin fans. No damage. Too bad. That was our best shot.

Giants 1, Angels 4
7:23:53 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

Bottom of Fifth

Salmon grounds out to short. One gone.

Anderson steps in. He grounds out to first unassisted. Two out.

Woody is looking good tonight. I hope it's not too little, too late.

Glaus hitting. Rueter and Santiago seem to be pitching around him, not throwing him anything close. Walked him.

Fullmer now batting. Rueter missing the plate by a lot. Fullmer has a full count now. Fullmer grounds back to Woody. No further damage.

Giants 1, Angels 4
7:09:19 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

Top of Fifth

Bell leading off.

Why haven't we been able to chase this rookie hurler yet? That does not bode well, folks.

Bell works Lackey to a full count. Robbed!!!! Nice diving catch by Erstad, but why do these guys have to get all the damn breaks? This is getting old.

One gone. Feliz steps in. Lackey's all over the place but he seems to get a strike when he needs one. Feliz goes down swinging at a pitch badly out of the zone.

Lofton up to bat. First guy to see Lackey for the third time. Sometimes that's the charm. He hangs in for a walk. Two outs with Aurilia stepping to the plate. He pops out to right.

Giants 1, Angels 4
7:00:21 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

Bottom of Fourth

Kirk Rueter in to pitch for SF. This will mix up the Angels because he's such a stark contrast to Hernandez and Zerbe.

Kennedy batting. Reuter K's him on high heat. One gone.

David Eckstein at the plate. Lines to left, almost fooling Bonds in the process. Two gone.

Erstad to bat. Strikes out ugly. Nice inning by Rueter.

Giants 1, Angels 4
6:46:50 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

Top of Fourth

We are no longer on a 3-hour game pace, thanks to that outburst by the Angels last inning.

Kent, Bonds, Santiago due up. Heart of the order. Rally time!

Kent looks at a called third strike. Just fooled him completely.

Bonds up in a situation where they can pitch to him and will. Bonds hits an infield single to the left side. Not impressive but it keeps the inning/rally alive.

Santiago in the box. He crushes a line drive over shortstop into center. First and second, one out.

Snow steps in, representing the tying run. Snow has really had a great Series. Snow flies out harmlessly to center. No advance by the runners.

Sanders comes up. Two gone. He falls behind 1-2 by swinging at two high heaters that he didn't even get a whiff of. Pops out to right. Inning over, no damage. Wasted opportunity.

Giants 1, Angels 4
6:39:00 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

Out-of-Flow Thoughts

Miscellaneous thoughts that occur to me as I blog Game 7 of the 2002 World Series, one of the most exciting and gut-wrenching Series in many, many years.

I'm thinking about the question of how "blogging a baseball game" ought to look and feel. I don't think it should have the feel of an objective, expert advisor, like a broadcast commentary. I've tried for that some of the time but it just doesn't feel right One of my buddies who's joined me for pieces of several of these games said, "I like this, Dan. It's like sitting next to you while we watch a game together." So maybe that's the feel. In my crowd, I'm sort of the "professional fan" because I'm a fanatic and I used to cover this stuff for a living. What do you think? Is that the right sort of feel? Or is there such a thing?

Fox' "Virtual Manager" polls are generally sort of benign and possibly even interesting. But during the third inning tonight, the question was "Who has the momentum"? What kind of stupid question is that? And how does it look like a "virtual manager" question? Dumb.
6:29:14 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

Bottom of Third

Same pace as last night. One hour for three innings. Hope the outcome is different.

Eckstein singles to left. Barry almost overplays the bounce as he did last night in a crucial situation, but this time he knocks it down.

Erstad at bat. I liked this guy a couple of years ago when he led the AL in hits. Tonight, I am not his friend. I doubt he cares. Lines a slap single into left. Two on, nobody out. Time for Livan to sit.

Salmon hitting. This guy is a pain in the rear. Like McCarver and Buck, I'm astonished that Dusty doesn't have anyone warming up yet. We could be in deep doo-doo before Livan can be replaced. They just showed a graphic that Livan has thrown 23 balls and 21 strikes so far. Horrendous ratio. Salmon hit by the pitch. Geez, Dusty, time to get someone up and throwing, dude. Livan has lost it, if he ever had it tonight.

Upshot: bases loaded, nobody out. Finally Dusty gets someone up to warm up.

What's with Angels fans and the begging hat? I mean, they take off their caps, hold them upside-down, and shake them like a beggar's cup. Weird. But not as weird as the Rally Monkey.

Garret Anderson crushes one down the right-field line, clearing the bases and the Angels go on top, 4-1. I told you Dusty should have pulled Livan sooner. He left him in one hitter too long. How many times have we seen him do that?

Intentional pass now to Glaus. Runners at first and second, nobody out yet. More trouble is brewing.

Finally, Dusty yanks Livan. Zerbe coming in. Man, this got out of hand fast.

Fullmer up to the plate. Someone stop the bleeding! Fullmer grounds into a fielder's choice, runners at the corners, one out.

Gee, McCarver is making an anti-Angel comment about ejecting a fan who beat on Sanders with his ThunderStix. Of course, that won't happen, but it's nice to hear McCarver say anything pro-San Francisco.

Nice play by Bell to nail Anderson at the plate on Spiezio's grounder to third. Runners at first and second, two out.

Molina grounds to second. Nice job by Zerbe.

Giants 1, Angels 4
6:27:04 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

Top of Third

So now we've got a seven-inning Game 7.

Feliz, playing DH for some reason tonight, leads off the third. Now we know why. Buck says Dusty likes Feliz' chances against Lackey's pitching style. Not this at-bat.

Lofton steps in. Grounds to first unassisted. Still not showing patience against Lackey. If we don't start doing that soon, it will bite us in the butt.

Aurilia goes down quietly on just two pitches.


There, I feel better now.

Giants 1, Angels 1
6:03:20 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

Bottom of Second

Livan was ticked off after the last half-inning. If he carries that into this inning, I guarantee trouble for the Giants.

Glaus leads off. Livan strikes him out on three pitches. He looks composed. Whew. Good news.

Fullmer at the plate. Flies out deep to left-center.

Spiezio walks to a full count and then draws a walk. That's three in less than two innings.

Molina steps up, runner at first, two out. What in the world is Benito doing calling time in the middle of Livan's delivery? Sheesh. Next pitch, Molina doubles off the left-center field wall, scoring Spiezio. Game tied, 1-1. Another case of the Angels getting a break. The breaks are just going their way. That ball bounces six inches higher, Spiezio has to hold at third on the ground-rule double and we stay in the lead.

I wish I could learn to hate these Angels fans but they're good fans and they are really into the game, so all I can do is bemoan the fact that this year the luck of the draw gave Anaheim the home-field advantage.

Kennedy up to bat. Runner at second, two out. Flies to center.

Giants 1, Angels 1
5:57:41 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

Top of Second

Bonds will lead off. Are they going to pitch to him with the bases empty? Wouldn't surprise me.

Nope, they're pitching to him. He lines out into the over-shift. Parenthetically, I don't understand why Barry doesn't just bunt or poke the ball down the third base line every time they shift on him like that. It's a cowardly defensive maneuver. But Barry turns normally courageous people into cowards in lots of ways, doesn't he?

Santiago swings at the first two pitches. Again, no patience. I'm telling you, if we just lay off a few pitches, we disrupt this guy's rhythm. Nice, easy tap up the middle for a single.

Snow comes to the plate. He's swinging late on Lackey's fast balls. Santiago running on the pitch, Snow hits a shot into the alley in right-center, Santiago stopping at third on a nice play. One out, runners at the corners.

Sanders has a chance to put the Giants out front here. Works to a full count, which is not characteristic of the free-swinging Reggie. Deep fly to left is enough to score Santiago. Giants lead, 1-0.

David Bell starts with a loud strike. I'm not sure why that third pitch was strike 2. It looked like he held up and the pitch was outside. Bell strikes out ugly.

Giants 1, Angels 0
5:45:02 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

Bottom of First

Hernandez starts badly. You can't walk the leadoff guy with impunity. And on his last outing, Hernandez walked too many guys and went deep in the count far too many times.

Erstad crosses everyone up by bunting to move Eckstein to second.

It's too early to say for sure, but Hernandez just looks as wild tonight as he did in that awful Game 3.

Salmon draws a walk. I tell you, Livan just doesn't have his head in this game.

McCarver just said what I was going to say: no leash tonight, guys. You start even looking bad, you get yanked. No time for mistakes.

Anderson up, two on, one out. Lines out to center, Lofton doubles Eckstein off second.

Giants 0, Angels 0
5:25:58 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

Top of First

As Melissa Ethridge sang the National Anthem, the Fox cameras showed Dusty Baker, chewing the perpetual toothpick and relaxed, and then cut to Mike Scioscia, eyes closed and looking prayerful. Hmmm. At the end of the game tonight, we'll know what, if anything, that meant.

Jack Buck and Tim McCarver said the Giants have to get up early if they want to take back the momentum. That sounds wise to me.

First pitch: 5:03 p.m. Ball outside.

Lackey's pitching on short rest. The stats say that means trouble for him and the Angels. I think that should also dictate that the Giants show some patience against him. Lofton didn't on his at-bat, stretching for the second pitch out of the zone and grounding out easily, 1-4-3.

Aurilia swung at the second pitch, also low and out of the zone. Hed swings at the third pitch. No patience at all. That's not the right hitting strategy against a nervous rookie on short rest! Aurilia strikes out on a terrible pitch.

Kent is tempted on the second pitch but checks his swing. He works to a full count. Kent gives it a ride to right but a long out.

Giants 0, Angels coming to bat.
5:13:30 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

OK, Game 7 Comes Up Now

As Dave Winer says, this is guaranteed to be the last baseball game of 2002. How will it turn out? Predicting is always risky, particularly when it concerns the future. :-)

History clearly favors the Angels. Every game 7 for the last 20+ years has been won by the home team. There are good reasons for that. It is, however, rare for a relative unknown rookie like John Lackey to be on the mound for the home team. I don't care how good he is or how mature he is: he's going to be wired at the outset.

That could work to the Giants' advantage.

For SF, the question is which Livan Hernandez shows up. The one who was such a bum during the middle of the seaosn that he was trade bait nobody wanted? Or the one who's never lost a post-season decision? Or maybe the one whose last outing in the Series wasn't all that impressive?

And if history repeats, we'll see this go down to the final half-inning.

Buy stock in the makers of Maalox. This one's going to be a gut-wrencher.

I've been saying that if the Giants lost last night, they'd lose the Series today. Intellectually, I still believe that. But my gut and my heart -- the places where I love baseball -- tell me the SF Boys of Summer have one last surprise to pull out of the hat. Giants 8, Angels 7.
4:52:20 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

Someone Else Thinks Dusty's Yank Was Too Quick

Just when I repent and allow as how maybe Dusty wasn't wrong to pull Ortiz in the seventh, a New York Times reporter concurs with my first reaction.

Baker's Gesture Proves Premature. Dusty Baker's decision to cut short the most impressive outing of any starter in the Series backfired tremendously. By Rafael Hermoso. [New York Times: Sports]

9:41:02 AM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

Sean Penn Ad in Washington Post Deserves Massive Notice

On October 18, 2002, Sean Penn put an ad in the Washington Post entitled "An Open Letter to the President of the United States of America." The resulting news coverage of the letter focused on the cost of the ad, his first wife and his 1982 breakthrough role in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High."

I've taken the liberty of reproducing that ad message here. I don't think copyright applies given my intent but I'll risk it to get this message wider dissemination.

I was able to confirm that he did run an ad. The ad contents were not available online, but a friend supplied the copy that appears in my story. I assume it's correct and it certainly matches up with Penn's position as outlined in a Post article the next day.
9:36:48 AM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

After Further Review, the Angels Win

One of the problems with being a passionate fan and coupling that with instant reportage and analysis is the "homer effect." I have seen this before in my former life as a professional sports writer and it reared its ugly head again last night.

This effect is characterized by subjective feelings not just being evident in writing but dominating that writing, so that the emotions themselves become the story. It's bad journalism and after last night, I think perhaps bad blogging as well.

In my distress as a hard-core Giants' fan, I allowed myself to wallow in self-pity (which is not necessarily a bad thing in a blog) and to analyze the outcome in a way that was just not accurate (which is).

So now in the cool light of day and after a chance to reflect, let me re-cast the game from yesterday. The Giants did not lose that game. The Angels won it. They proved the better team. The Giants did exactly what got them to where they were even playing in the Series. The starter went deep and was throwing a shutout. The opponent got a rally going. Dusty called on his normally trusty bullpen. Barry homered. We could have said we had them right where we wanted them.

But the Angels, who rallied from behind in the 7th inning and later so many times this year, did what they do best. Again. And we couldn't withstand the rally.

So I'm not looking to blame Dusty or the bullpen. I'm doffing my cap to the Angels for a well-fought victory and moving on.

I still think it is now extremely likely the Angels will win the World Series tonight. And if they do, they deserve it.

This has been a helluva Series. East Coast fans are missing some terrific baseball.
9:17:02 AM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

© Copyright 2002 Dan Shafer.

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