World Series, Baby!

2010 World Series official logoIt appears I have a bunch of new readers thanks to a tweet by Cat Valente. Now I’m probably going to lose a bunch of them again by making a sports post.

You know, I really shouldn’t be watching the World Series (and I’m not watching it live as it is on in the middle of the night). Pictures of that beautiful City by the Bay inevitably make me sad, and I can’t listen to that Tony Bennett song these days without crying. But how can I not watch, when Kevin and I have spent so many happy evenings in that ballpark? (Not to mention so many happy evenings freezing our butts off in Candlestick Park before they built the new stadium at Emperor Norton Field.) We lived through the disaster of 2002 together. I can’t desert the Giants now.

I should add, also, that there’s a curse to be laid. English cricket has three major tournaments in the year, not just one. Somerset finished second in all three. It can’t happen to the Giants as well, can it?

And, like all great sporting events, there’s a story to this World Series. The Giants have come through a pretty bad period since 2002. For much of the last few years they have been held together by one guy: Bengie Molina. The catcher is always the heart of a baseball team, and up until recently Molina was also one of the few men that the Giants could rely upon to deliver runs. As a veteran catcher, he played a key role in developing two young players: Tim Lincecum, the ace pitcher who has won two Cy Young awards, and Buster Posey, the kid being groomed as Molina’s replacement.

In June this year the Giants’ management decided that it was finally time for Posey to take his place in the starting lineup, and Molina was traded to the Texas Rangers. One of the idiosyncrasies about baseball is that teams in the National League and American League very rarely play each other, and so rarely develop rivalries. Despite the Rangers having once been part-owned by George W. Bush, the Giants and the Rangers seem to have maintained friendly relations down the years. Will Clark, who helped take the Giants to the 1989 World Series (the one interrupted by the Loma Prieta earthquake), was also traded to the Rangers. Molina has apparently remained on good terms with his former teammates, even helping coach Lincecum through a bad patch earlier in the season.

Bengie is also, of course, in the unenviable position of going into the World Series knowing that he will be credited with being part of the winning side, no matter who wins. Though, like any professional sportsman, he’ll be trying his utmost to help the Rangers triumph.

Good sporting events also spring surprises. Last night’s matchup between Lincecum and Cliff Lee was billed as the pitching duel of the year, Lee also being a former Cy Young winner. Instead the Giants, a team that could not hit its way out of a paper bag at times this season, piled on the runs on the way to an 11-8 victory. Goodness only knows what will happen tonight. Maybe the Giants will actually score some runs behind Matt Cain for once. I hope so.

3 thoughts on “World Series, Baby!

  1. I was going to ask you or Kevin about the old vs. new ballparks. Sadly, we’ve never been to a game in SF (have been to the city only three times, which is amazing because the train goes right from here to there). The TV shots, especially from the water, look very cool.

    1. Candlestick is a football stadium, it is inevitably going to come off badly compared to a purpose-built baseball park. Kevin tells me that the Coliseum is even worse as a baseball venue.

      In addition Candlestick is one of those places where emperor penguins put on thick, fur-lined, hooded jackets before huddling together for warmth. How the 49ers faithful stand it is a mystery to me.

      So from a Bay Area perspective it isn’t a question of old v new, it is a question of football stadium v baseball park.

      Having said that, Kevin and I have been to Wrigley Field. Admittedly it was at the wrong time of year and the ivy was not looking good, but it was the behind-the-scenes facilities, and the views, that struck me as poor in comparison to what we enjoy at Emperor Norton Field. So on the basis of that single comparison I’m a fan of new ballparks.

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