Boy oh freaking boy, I love the World Series. I love everything about it. The drama- how each and every pitch has major implications on the outcome of the game and how the suspense builds between each delivery. The crowd- playoff baseball crowds, and more specifically those of World Series’ games, are electric. Comparing the atmosphere of a baseball crowd in early June to that of the scene for a Fall Classic contest is ludacris. Apples and carambola (star fruit, quite delicious). A Johnny Mathis crowd versus the insane throngs of tweens that come out to see my man Beebs.
And finally, the history. The Billy Crystal lead up for game one wasn’t spectacular, but did you happen to notice the seamless transition from “We will see you…,” Jack Buck as Kirby Puckett hit his 1992 walk off and “…tomorrow night!” Joe Buck, as David Freese won game 6 in 2011? It was timeless. Oh, and any time I see Kirk Gibson pumping his fist, or entire arm, as he rounds the bases to “I don’t believe what I just saw!” I get goosebumps.(Another Jack Buck beauty, boy someone should write about these guys- they’re fantastic!)
Ok, now on to the 2012 World Series. I get it. People love the NFL. For the most part, Americans would rather watch enormous men fly through the air and smash into other, equally enormous men than watch Doug Fister pound hitters inside with two seam fastballs or a perfectly executed piggy back relay by Marco Scutaro. But believe it or not, there are still some baseball purists out there, and they are being treated, not tricked, thus far by these World Series.
The first two games of this series have showcased great pitching, legendary individual performances, some wild bounces and much more. Let’s take a look at some of the things, small and large, that have made these two baseball games a baseball fan’s dream.
- Great starting pitching. The pitching has been dominant! In fact, the only starting pitcher who hasn’t done his thing was Justin Verlander- the guy who is supposed to dominate hitters every time he takes the ball. Welp, “it’s why you play the game!”
Barry Zito was fantastic, keeping Tiger hitters off balance and avoiding barrels like Mario in the original “Donkey Kong.” Both Madison Bumgarner and Fister( two Fister tangents-1) Dude got smoked in the melon and continued getting outs all night long. 2) Fister! His name is Fister and he jams guys like that. Poetic justice!)pounded hitters in and generated ground balls. They owned the inner half and were relentless doing so. Just good old fashioned pitching.
- Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, Albert Pujols and Jack Black. I mean “Kung Fu Panda!” Pablo Sandoval launched three homers in game one, and launched himself into World Series folklore. I still can’t believe he was able to get that high and inside Verlander heater on the sweet spot. Thanks, Phantom Cam! The Panda became just the fourth player in history to homer thrice in a WS game. In case you’ve forgotten how great the Babe was, he did it twice.
- Anytime you get Hugo Chavez commenting on a player’s performance, you know it’s something special. HUGO CHAVEZ! He tweeted about Sandoval’s incredible three-homer night.
- The phrase “a game of inches.” Normally, it makes me want to puke. In most sports, inches make huge differences. The phrase is overused. Period.
But there have been so many moments in this series where minute details have made Giant differences. (round of applause, please) The double off the third base bag, the bunt down the third base line, the double play ball that traveled 3 inches into the field of play and, my personal favorite, the Hunter Pence triple hit have all shaped this series. Another shout out to the Phantom Cam for giving us some fantasy like views of all these plays .If these balls bounce the other way, Detroit has more than a Tiger’s chance in both of these games. (OK. You caught me, I made up that phrase)
It’s a game of inches.
- Photo Bombs. Sergio Romo, the Giants fiery, fill in closer for this postseason has also taken on the roll as the dug out devient. He has kept his squad loose with photo bombs of fellow players and of course, Erin Andrews. During a midgame interview in game two, Romo’s teammates retaliated. Romo was bombarded with handfuls of ice as he was bombarded by questions from Buck and Tim McCarver.. He did a decent job keeping it together, and a better job of shutting down the Tigers in the ninth.
Photo bombs. Ice fights. And people don’t like baseball!?
- Redemption Song. Sports mimic life in so many ways. That’s why we love them so much. We love the peaks and valleys, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. (Cliché police just knocked on my door. Good thing I gave them a fake ID…sorry Miggles.) What we really love, is to see a player who has recently been down and out return from the brink of irrelevance to make his mark. Early in this World Series, we have been lucky enough to see this twice.
The San Francisco Giants won a title merely two years ago. After the first two games of this series, its difficult to imagine that Barry Zito was left off the playoff roster in 2010 and Pablo Sandoval was benched due to his weight.
Things did not look very good for Zito and Sandoval. But flash forward a couple years and Zito is dropping 12 to 6’ers like woah and Kung Fu Panda is back to Jiu Jitsu’ing balls out of the yard. The Giants have won Zito’s last 14 starts and Sandoval is batting .368 (21 for 57). He has six homers, four doubles and 13 RBIs.
Classic comeback stories.
Classic baseball in the Fall Classic.