Out of the Frying Pan
by Jessica Polko
MasterCard scheduled their Memorable Moments ceremony before Game 4 in case the Series only lasted four games. I considered devoting a complete article to this topic, but with the managerial hirings reported last night, I'd prefer to focus on that Saturday.
10. Nolan Ryan's 7th Career No-hitter. Neither Ryan nor any member of his family was in attendance of the game. Perhaps he didn't feel like endorsing MasterCard.
9. Kirk Gibson's 1988 World Series Game 1 Home Run.
8. Joe DiMaggio's 56 Game Hitting Streak.
7. Ted Williams's .400 Season in 1941. Williams was represented by his daughter Claudia rather than his other two children who were so prominent in the fight over his remains.
6. Pete Rose's 4,190th hit, which broke Ty Cobb's career record Apparently a ban from baseball for life isn't priceless. Despite the ban that went into effect in 1989, Rose also appeared on the field when MasterCard presented the All-Century team. I think that it is disgraceful for MLB to set aside their principles for an advertiser in this manner. Either Rose is banned from on-field activities or he isn't.
I have not previously commented on Pete Rose's situation, so I'll take a few moments to address it now. Evidence suggests that Rose committed the acts for which he was banned and therefore I support it. I don't deny the extent of his accomplishments, and he deserves a place in the Hall of Fame. However, baseball can easily enforce the ban and represent him at Cooperstown after his death, at which point his ban "for life" should expire. Using similar logic, Shoeless Joe Jackson also merits induction to the Hall of Fame.
5. Lou Gehrig's Farewell speech. This moment may have received less votes due to its recent commercialization. I was somewhat disappointed when they chose only to show a snippet of the speech after fairly long montages for the other moments and the long applause break for Rose.
4. Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa's 1998 Home Run Race to 62. Despite the description only McGwire attended the ceremony.
3. Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in 1947. This was our choice for most memorable moment as the only available choice with positive ramifications external to baseball.
2. Hank Aaron's 715th Homer, which broke Ruth's career record. I think that both Aaron and Robinson votes were slightly diminished by the demographic of probable voters. Many of the fans voting may not have even been alive for Aaron's moment, let alone Robinson's. MasterCard solicited voters from younger generations, which explains their choice for Most Memorable moment.
1. Cal Ripken's 2,131st Consecutive Game Played, breaking Gehrig's career mark. For fans ages 25-45, Ripken's streak was a part of their baseball experience for a dominant decade of their lives; this moment resonates with them because of that connection. Ripken is still a relatively young man and the power of his streak upon baseball indicates that he will likely occupy a major role in baseball over the next half century. I could easily see the industry prospering under his Commissionership.
Kirk Rueter threw the first pitch of the game around 7:40 due to the length of the pre-game show, although MasterCard did effectively execute the production within a half hour.
Both teams put runners on base in the first, but the score remained tied at 0-0 until the second. With the bases loaded, David Eckstein hit a fly to the outfield where Kenny Lofton cut off Barry Bonds to catch the ball. Lofton was poorly positioned to make the throw to the plate and Benji Gil scored. Anaheim stranded the other runners, including starting pitcher John Lackey, who celebrated his 24th birthday by singling in his first professional at-bat. The Angels appeared set to replicate their big offensive game of the previous night when Troy Glaus hit a two-run homer in the third.
In the bottom of the third, Erstad dove for a ball hit by Aurilia, almost making a catch that would have made highlight reels for decades. However the Giants failed to score and Anaheim's bats grew cold in the fourth as well.
San Francisco broke up their line of zeros on the scoreboard by scoring three runs to tie the game in the fifth. Rueter led off the inning with a single. Lofton then bunted down the third base line. Glaus watched the ball, waiting for it to roll foul, the ball crossed the line into foul territory, but Glaus didn't pick it up fast enough, and the umpire correctly called the ball fair because it was touching the line when Glaus grabbed it. Rich Aurilia singled in Rueter and Lofton scored on a sac fly hit by Jeff Kent. Anaheim intentionally walked Bonds, and Benito Santiago singled to score Aurilia, knotting the score at 3-3.
Scott Spiezio singled to lead off the top of the sixth, but Gil struck out and the Giants doubled off Spiezio on a grounder to first from Ben Molina. Neither side would score again until the eighth.
Francisco Rodriguez entered the game in the 7th, relieving Ben Weber. His first inning of work looked much like his others in the postseason, as he retired the first three batters that he faced, including Barry Bonds. However J.T. Snow hit a single off KRod to lead off the eighth. Molina then failed to catch the first pitch to Reggie Sanders and Snow advanced to second. Spiezio made a diving catch for the first out of the inning after Sanders popped up a bunt attempt. David Bell knocked a single into center to score Snow. No error was called, but Darin Erstad made a poor throw to the plate. Anaheim turned a double play to end the inning as Rodriguez stuck out pinch-hitter Ramon E. Martinez and Molina successively prevented Bell's steal attempt with an accurate throw to second. The Angels attempted to rally in the top of the ninth with their first hit in three innings, but the Giants again managed a double play to quell the comeback. San Francisco won 4-3.
In response to a question about fan noise in the post-game interview, Rich Aurilia responded that "They got a little bit louder tonight. I made a comment earlier today. I said I was surprised that the first World Series game here in a long time and the whole city was into it, and it seemed kind of quiet last night. This is a World Series; it doesn't happen a lot. Fans don't get to a lot of World Series, so I was glad to see tonight that they came out and they were a little bit louder, and hopefully tomorrow they could be even louder."
Interestingly, as a part of the Memorable Moments ceremony, MasterCard evidently handed out black thunder sticks that featured their logo to fans. Aurilia must have noticed the noise from the Angels' fans thunder sticks in the first two games, making Giants' fans sound quiet without them. To my knowledge, Anaheim provided the thunder sticks to their fans without a sponsor, so I'm quite surprised that MasterCard would so blatantly support one team over the other in this Series.
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