I’m just going to write. I won’t examine the facts, or verify any statistics. When I speak of it, whatever “it” may be, expect the possibility of inaccuracies. Perhaps the point in time will be slightly misconstrued. Whatever the case, the subject matter at hand is personal, it requires my individual take minus any performance enhancing drugs (in my case, google.)
The scene, Anaheim, California, home to the Angels, it’s Game 6 of the 2002 World Series and the San Francisco Giants have a semi-commanding lead up 5-0 with roughly seven outs away from a pennant. It’s the home stretch, the Angels have manufactured a few hits and occupied some bases, but despite that, the Giants were in an ideal position to close out the ball game. This all changed with one gesture. Before we delve into the reasoning behind the behemoth of a let down that was reluctantly delivered by the San Francisco Giants … let’s review what’s considered a cardinal sin in any sport.
Thou shall not partake in the commemoration of an event, when the task at hand has not been satisfied.
It’s not over until the fat lady sings … an expression conveyed to each and every athlete as a youth, it remains true to form throughout any junction in time, yet on occasion, the theory is ignorantly tested. You never want to revive a debilitated opponent and give them the strength, the will to overcome any obstacle. It’s not wise to dishonor fate by assuming you have control over it, pretending to know her outcome. For the most part, toying with fate goes unpunished in sports, celebrating prematurely goes ignored, nonetheless, it’s not the course of action recommended. I think of it as teasing a caged lion at the zoo, only to notice the cage happens to be unlocked, then seeing the door to the cage swing open due to a strong breeze … did I mention you happen to be wearing raw beef cologne? Oh how the stars would have to align …
In a football game, you sure as hell don’t douse your head coach with Gatorade when there’s time left on the clock (see link to Bluegrass Miracle below.) Well in Game 6 of the 2002 fall classic, San Francisco Giants manager, Dusty Baker, did the baseball equivalent to an early Gatorade shower … which brings us back to the gesture. What was Dusty thinking? Especially when his middle reliever was Felix Rodriguez, who alone, would cause me to abstain from even considering the aforementioned gesture. Yet there was an air of confidence encompassing Dusty at that given moment, an assuredness about him, whatever it was, it impelled him to hand Russ Ortiz the game ball … fate perceived it as arrogance, as defiance against the spirit of competition, and chastised the manager and his ball club. The Angels went on to toast the Giants with 3 runs in the 7th, and 3 more in the 8th to complete the rally (damn rally monkey,) and ultimately engineer a new World Series outcome. Fate had sided with them, and there was nothing we could do to woo her return.
It was emotionally mortifying to witness. Only when Joe Montana suffered a devastating back injury at the hands of Leonard Marshall in the 1990 NFC Championship game against the NY Giants, and, when the San Francisco 49ers lost to the Dallas Cowboys in the 1993 NFC Championship game (49ers hosted both games) did I feel greater sorrow than what took place at Anaheim that night. A new curse was born, and now I beg the question … how along until fate awards us an opportunity to redeem ourselves from tempering with her power.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Anwl5AU5zZE (just for kicks)