Listening by radio makes Giants’ sweep sweeter



The San Francisco Giants celebrate defeating the Detroit Tigers in the 10th inning of Game 4 of the 2012 World Series at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan, Sunday, October 28, 2012. The Giants defeated the Tigers, 4-3, and swept the series 4-0. (Gary Reyes/San Jose Mercury News/MCT)


America’s pastime is best enjoyed in the stands with a hot dog in one hand and rally rag in the other, but the most recent World Series has since changed that image of perfection for this baseball fan. A combination of too much homework and no TV left the radio as the only option for following the Giants throughout their second World Series run in three years — and, seriously, nothing quite compares.

Radio announcers also really know their stuff, and for someone who is not exactly the most devout or knowledgeable baseball fan, it brought a whole new perspective to the game. The kind of perspective that you just cannot get from being in the stands or reading text updates from ESPN — my usual sad attempt to keep up with my home team as a Bay Area native living without a TV in Texas.

Since the Giants swept the Tigers in four games, here are four memorable moments from the playoff games and World Series, as interpreted by a fan who could hear but not actually see what was happening.

1. Detroit Manager Jim Leyland chainsmokes filter-less Marlboro Reds during games — at least he used to until Detroit banned smoking indoors. ESPN radio announcers said he might get special permission to smoke in the Tigers’ dugout because it was so cold. Did he really? Not sure, but the thought of him jonesing for a cigarette on national television is comical and a little heartbreaking — the poor guy was probably so stressed during the 21 scoreless innings between Games 1-4 of the series. Hopefully, he forgot about it after Cabrerra hit a two-run homer one out of the park with the help of a 25 mph wind during the bottom of the third in Game 4 to give the Tigers the lead for the first time all series.

2. After three losses to the Cardinals, the Giants made history as the first National League team to come back in Game 5 and win three consecutive games to advance to the World Series. Plus, the Cardinals are almost as annoying as the Yankees based on World Series appearances in recent years. Their only redeeming quality is their connection to the Giants—former catcher for San Francisco Bengie Molina has two brothers who are also catchers, and youngest brother Yadier plays for the St. Louis. Also, the Molina brothers are the only three brothers in Major League Baseball who have all won World Series rings.

3. Left-handed pitcher, and what some refer to as Oakland A’s traitor, Barry Zito made a comeback after he gave up no runs in seven innings during Game 5 against the Cardinals. Zito moved across the Bay in 2007 after he signed a seven-year contract worth well over $100 million with the Giants — more money than the Athletics have ever been able to afford for an entire roster’s payroll for one year.

4. Okay, not going to lie, I would have liked to watch the games on TV at a sports bar in town, or better yet in person, but there is nothing more pure than listening to the announcers shout over the cheering crowd after Pablo Sandoval joined the ranks of baseball greats as the fourth player ever to hit three home runs in a World Series Game in Game 1. The crowd was so excited when Panda came up for his fourth at bat that I thought he had hit another home run — and first I felt like an idiot for thinking so, but then I realized that the best thing about listening to baseball is that it keeps you on the edge of your seat.