Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

My Scariest Halloween Nightmare by Rick Kaplan

Rick Kaplan
Staff Writer

OAKLAND (October 31) – I am in a really spooky Busch Stadium, surrounded by thousands and thousands of giddy, red-clad Pat Robertson clones, who have just marched over from the world’s largest Pancake House.

In my clammy vision, I am begging not to be sent to Winter Sports Purgatory two days early. I am reaching for one last grasp of the horsehide, but face-offs, three point lines, and first downs are now everywhere.

An enormous scoreboard clock ticks down to two minutes. Everything stops, except David Eckstein. He shoulders a bat that is a foot taller than he is, and strides to the plate as the earth shudders.

C’mon, Tigers, do something! But that can’t be! All their fielders are pitchers?

Click below for more!Now the headlines scream that the Cardinals have won four of five games against the Tigers, ridiculous as it seems, and no one believes me that it’s not true.

How about a World Series do-over?

With ten World Series titles now, St. Louis takes over sole possesion of second place in total titles in MLB, next to the Yankees incredible twenty-six, leaving the Athletics, sadly, in third place with nine World Series wins.

Bad dreams aside, the whole thing just doesn’t seem right. For one thing, the Tigers were supposed to be the ones crushing the Redbirds. Not the other way around.

But the Tigers didn’t hit. And they didn’t field. Yikes, they didn’t even manage!

What happened to all that Jim Leyland-is-a-genius stuff? He seemed asleep at the wheel during the Series, almost giving away the one game the Tigers managed to win, when he brought in Todd Jones to save the second game in ‘relief’ of an unhittable Kenny Rogers, and, then, in the final game, holding back Rogers as the starter and failing to walk Scott Rolen in the eighth inning, allowing Rolen to give the Cards a critical two run margin when the Cardinal third baseman singled a run home.

Something was wrong this week, and it wasn’t just the rain and all the delays, or even the high school-level fielding by the Tiger hurlers.

I can’t put my finger on it, but something wasn’t right. Maybe I really wasdreaming all of this.

Can’t we wake up and be in the first inning of the ACLS? Are we going to have to spend the whole winter hearing about how the horrid Cardinals prevailed, even when "nobody believed in us except ourselves and our fans"? Ychhh.

I like the unpredictability of the baseball post-season as much as the next guy. I even wrote about the delightful, even expected, emergence of relatively anonymous players who frequently spark their teams to victory in the fall, the Gene Tenaces, the Ron Swobodas, the Pat Borders of October baseball.

Call it sour grapes and the frustration of an Oakland fan. Call it the dread of a revival of the self-congratulatory feel-good corn of Cardinal Nation.

But I just can’t swallow this.

OK. Maybe this was just another case of the time-tested unpredictability principle dominating the post-season.

Or maybe there was something darker and insidious at work here. Is this really a championship team, or is this just a nightmare that only Oakland fans are experiencing in which an annoying, inferior club has stolen their glory?

Because this can’t be real.

David Eckstein, your pop-up throws from short belong in Williamsport, not Cooperstown. Jeff Suppan, say what you want in your anti-science political testimonials, but your brain demonstrates more than anything the urgent need for more stem cell research. Tony LaRussa, with all your meaningful stares and endless verbosity, have you ever uttered a single insight about baseball? And in-the-dugout-and-wired Mark Mulder, you were more annoying than Joan Rivers at the Oscars.

Why did Scott Rolen suddenly come to life, now, after two years of sleep-walking and endless injuiries? Yadier Molina, how do you explain hitting .219 over the course of the season, and then becoming Albert Pujols last week? And Jeff Weaver, weren’t you released by the Angels two months ago? How did you go from the mid-80’s against the Mets to 93-94 MPH in dominating the Tigers?

Speaking of Pujols, in my nightmare I am asking the picture-perfect first baseman if he knows what would turn lightweights like Eckstein and Molina into game-breakers? He says he doesn’t. I ask LaRussa, the godfather of the McGwire-Canseco regime in Oaktown. Nope, couldn’t say, doesn’t know a thing.

I awake feeling something wasn’t kosher here, and it wasn’t just the South Carolina pine tar.

Meanwhile, while all that attention was being paid to Kenny Rogers thumb, something ungodly was dismembering the Tiger attack and handing an inordinate number of opportunities to a Cardinal team that won 83 games during the regular season.

Regardless of the actual reason for the outcome in the World Series, the reason, St. Louis, that nobody believed in you in the first place is because you’re not that good.

I don’t care what the scoreboard said.


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