Game 6 of the 2002 World Series Relived: Curse of the Game Ball

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.

Fate played a Giant roll for the Angels in the 2002 World Series

Fate played a Giant roll for the Angels in the 2002 World Series (just for kicks)


4 responses to “Game 6 of the 2002 World Series Relived: Curse of the Game Ball

  1. in fairness, felix rodriguez was a damn good middle reliever. his season numbers were bad from one month early before all star break. but his numbers after all-star break are just stellar. i’ve decided to look up such numbers to aid me with all this. batting averages of .089 and .167 ; .063 and .080 WHIP in the months of august and september, respectively. now really, there’s not much you can ask from a reliever who holds batters to that kind of average. he was throwing basically 97 the whole time on the outside part of the plate. my take on it is, i remember him being about as solid of a 7th inning guy you could ask for that season. we truly had a great 7-8-9 with fe rod, worrell and nen. great situational lefties with christiansen and eyre. but very true, dusty is a sack of crap for handing off the game ball when you have two runners on in a 5-0 game, that’s just too much. i feel our (dusty’s) biggest mistake was not letting woody start any of the games, particularly game 7 where he shut out the angels when livan took a dump all over the diamond. now i understand livan had a nice game or two against the braves or some crap, but that’s not how a REAL manager does things. they look at why the soft throwing 85mph lefty who’s locating his pitches was able to win 14 games with a low 3 era. now get this, during the regular season woody went 14-8. he started a total of 33 games, and of those games he took the mound. we were 25-8.

    • Yeah, I miss Woody, and I can’t believe we were that good with him on the mound, I mean I had an idea, but those numbers are pretty amazing. Fe Rod was good, but I never trusted him. Perhaps he blew leads only if I was watching, maybe I was the jinx for him? But after we blew the series, I read an article on ESPN about how Dusty put Nen out there with a bad arm, and basically ended his career. How’s that for icing on the cake? I loved Nen.

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