Though I haven’t yet been invited to join the sports staff at this newspaper, I can’t help but write today about the recently-completed 2014 World Series, which was a doozie. Some reflections:
- There’s nothing better for a true baseball fan than a seven-game series. It’s happened only four times this century: 2001, 2002, 2011 and now.
- Every time I settle in to watch baseball, I’m grateful to three people who taught me to love the game: my great-grandmother Jennie Matthews, for whom I was named and who sat with me for hours on end in front of her tiny black-and-white TV explaining the rules, her brother-in-law “Uncle Luther” Allison who seldom missed a TV or radio broadcast of the St. Louis Cardinals, and my daddy, who bought me a baseball glove when I was eight years old and taught me how not to throw or catch “like a girl.”
- Ever since the days of Mickey Mantle and Don Drysdale, I’ve loved alliterative names in baseball. The 2014 Series had plenty: Royals players Casey Coleman, Danny Duffy, Michael Mariot, Christian Colon, Cheslor Cuthbert, Mike Moustakas and Billy Butler and Giants players Brandon Belt, Michael Morse, Brett Bochy and manager Bruce Bochy.
- Speaking of the Bochys, did you know that Bruce and Brett are the first-ever father-son/manager-pitcher combination in Major League Baseball? Pretty cool.
- Speaking of pitchers, San Francisco’s Madison Bumgarner sure has the stuff.
- So does his catcher, the adorable Buster Posey, who is 27 years old but still looks 17.
- And speaking of pitchers and catchers, two of my favorite phrases in baseball are “made it to first on a wild pitch” and “struck him out looking.” I’m not sure why.
- I sometimes wonder if, like music, baseball is the universal language. I suspect that Hispanic players don’t have language difficulties for long. But I do worry that Japanese players like the Royals’ Nori Aoki might float through a game in something of a state of confusion.
- As baseball fashion goes, it would seem that October beards are still in vogue and that many players still wear power band necklaces. Imbedded with “natural minerals,” these necklaces are reputed to increase strength and vitality. As soon as I finish writing this column, I’m going to get on the internet and order one for myself.
- In other fashion news, most baseball players these days wear their britches outside their socks. One notable exception is San Francisco’s Hunter Pence, who strikes me as being unconcerned with conformity in more ways than one.
- I seldom watch an American League game so I didn’t know that Ned Yost, who used to coach third base for the Braves, is now the Royals’ manager.
- Because he was one of my favorite coaches, Ned Yost is one reason I was pulling for Kansas City to win the Series. The other is that they’ve won it only once, way back in 1985.
- .Unfortunately, the Royals couldn’t slam the lid on San Francisco, despite a resounding 10-0 victory in Game Six. Congratulations to the Giants. And thanks to both teams for a fabulous World Series.
(November 9, 2014)