One starter was Joe Blanton, whose name suggests he could be a mall cop played by Kevin James (some would argue his build would, too, but I’m not going there).
Another starter was Madison Bumgarner, who was still dripping vernix when the three men who fired the ceremonial first pitches Wednesday (Will Clark, Robby Thompson, Matt Williams) guided the 1989 Giants to the World Series.
How could a game started by those two end up more exciting than any of the games started by their far more heralded and decorated peers?
I’ll give you the recipe.
You gotta have Freddy Sanchez wild-pitched not only to 2nd base, but 3rd as well, then knocked in by the defrosting Buster Posey to start the scoring. Place Jimmy Rollins on 1st the next inning and give him the green light to steal. Have Bumgarner commit a blatant (to everyone but the ump) balk and pick him off, with old man Renteria executing a sliding tag on the sliding runner in near choreographed fashion. (Should he make 2011 Topps, that slide should serve as Edgar’s card photo.)
Throw in a pair of Phillies walking to first base only to be called out on borderline strike 3 fastballs (Shane Victorino, Carlos Ruiz), and you’re off to a good start.
For the fellow fathers who need a little more excitement, instruct your toddler to knock over, reach for, or crawl into something perilous at every break in the game action as mine did. For all others, read on:
Pour in a Posey RBI double over the left fielder’s dome and mix in a clinic of athletic shortstop play by Rollins in inning #3. Let rest, then watch as Rollins did when Bumgarner bastes the black with a backdoor slider for an inning-ending backwards K. Make sure the Giants carry a 2-0 lead and all the momentum for the following inning on into the 5th.
Start the top of the 5th and let it broil for a full half-hour, careful not to record all three outs too soon. Wrap a sac bunt by Blart Blanton and an amazing throw home from Aaron Rowand in CF to retire Ruiz around 5 straight hits surrendered by Bumgarner and Santiago Casilla. Freeze Victorino at first base on the play, and funnel all credit for the outfield assist to Posey for his tag.
If possible, make sure Casilla’s 2-strike slider to Placido Polanco rests comfortably on an invisible platter, and DO NOT rotate, so that Polanco can crush it into the gap for two RBI and a 3-2 Philly lead. Continue the suspense with an intentional walk and hit batter to load the bases, then have Casilla squirt a wild pitch into the crowd for Philly’s 4th and final run of the inning.
(At this point, it’s time for a little stewing—when Joe Buck and Tim McCarver feel the need to explain to us the simple audience what an “ugly-finder” is. Honestly, I wouldn’t be shocked if they felt the need to clarify what a “bad call” by the ump signifies. CRIKEY…)
In the bottom of the 5th, freeze a rope and place between lefty batters box and 3 inches east of Blanton’s ear; next, direct Huff to line a hit alongside said rope to drive in the Giants’ 3rd run and drive out Blanton from the game. Let settle until bottom of 6th, place Burrell on 1st, then have Ross record an obligatory single to stay in fans’ good graces. Best if single lands in no-mans land so that the 6’4” Burrell can gallop long strides to 3rd base. Bring up Panda Sandoval and make him miss a double down the RF line foul by the stitches of the ball—but quickly replace with an oppo 2-run double up the gap to give Giants the 5-4 lead!
It’s important to not rest yet; an exciting finish is imminent but still needs preparation. At this point Javier Lopez must enter the game, but he cannot be automatic tonight. Have Lopez walk the fastest Phillie in Victorino, and after breaking down Utley so badly on a popup that Utley runs to first with his head down, leave him in to face the tough RHH Polanco. Stir restlessly until Lopez induces the DP grounder from Polanco.
In the bottom 7th, load the bases with Giants but simmer as Panda grounds into double play. Absorb the unfairness of errors when Rollins, who’s made about 5 very good-to-great plays in this game, is charged with one on a routine grounder. In the top 8th, expose Lopez’ humanity with a ringing double by Ryan Howard, and allow Sergio Romo to serve up a game-tying double to Jayson Werth only to burn holes in Ben Francisco and Carlos Ruiz, sitting both down on strikes with almost all Frisbee sliders.
You’re almost finished!
Set the Giants table in the 8th with Andres Torres on first base, but when he tries to steal second, douse him with a perfect throw by Ruiz. At this point, no more runners for either side until the bottom of the 9th. Stir things up with the insertion of pitcher Roy Oswalt by Charlie Manuel. For the most dramatic finish, you’ll need to have the first two men retired, but for the most exciting, follow these steps:
A cracked line drive by Huff off his ex-teammate Oswalt. A delayed double to RF by Posey. And a sac fly by Uuuuuuu-ribe should complete a 6-5 win and the most exciting game of the postseason…FOR ANY CLUB IMHO. Posey said it best afterward by suggesting if this game didn’t move you, “something’s probably wrong with you.”
(To reheat, simply place near my neck after a reporter asks Uribe, who has already been an integral piece of a World Series winner, what it felt like to be within one game of this year’s World Series. How do these guys keep from just walking up to reporters and headbutting them???)
About the Author
Written by Joseph Davis
I've been a Giants' fan since 1990; I still remember my first game at Candlestick as if it were yesterday (Robby Thompson homered and the Giants downed Houston 7-3). Pushed for us to get that elusive championship and at last we GOT IT! You can see me on the softball field every week sporting my orange and black, and I'm raising my little girl to not follow in her A's-fan-mom's footsteps!