Thursday, October 30, 2014

Greatness....And Not Greatness

In the 1964 World Series, the great Bob Gibson of the Saint Louis Cardinals pitched a complete game in Game 7 against the New York Yankees two days after pitching 10-innings in a complete game win--which was three days after pitching a complete game in a Game 2 loss to the Yankess.  Although he was shaky at times, Gibson gutted it out and finished what he started that day.  When asked if he had ever considered taking Gibson out in Game 7, Cardinals Manager Johnny Keane had one of my all time favorite sports quotes. "No, I had a commitment to his heart".

Last night, in Game 7 of the 2014 World Series, San Francisco Giants Manager Bruce Bochy showed a commitment to the heart of his 25-year old ace Madison Bumgarner, bringing him out of the bullpen just two days following a complete game victory in Game 5--and six days after an 8-inning victory in Game 1 in the 5th inning of a one-run game to finish the contest and seal the Giants' third World Series title in the past five years.  The biggest difference between Gibson's accomplishments and Bumgarner's is the culture of baseball in the modern game--where pitchers throwing no-hitters have been lifted in the 7th inning because they had "reached their pitch count".  But just like Johnny Keane likely would have had to wrestle and subdue Bob Gibson to take him out of Game 7 in '64, Bruce Bochy likely would have needed everybody else on the bench to carry MadBum off the mound before last night's game was over.

Unfortunately, Bumgarner's excellence is not what everyone will be talking about today.  Instead, Game 7 was hijacked last night by the worst, most awkward intrusion of sponsorship placement in the history of televised sports.  I'm talking about what is known now as "Chevy Guy".  In case you didn't stay up to watch the post-game, Chevy (the Official Truck of Major League Baseball) brought in Regional Zone Manager Rikk Wilde (WOW! THE REGIONAL ZONE MANAGER!! WHAT AN HONOR!!) to present Madison with his new truck for being World Series MVP

Just as entertaining, were the expressions of Finally-Former Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig on stage--as Regional Zone Manager Wilde is dying in front of a national TV audience.  No doubt the "commish" was wondering "What the hell is this guy doing up here ruining our moment?"  Well Bud, this is the situation you (and your other league leaders) have created.  And like you shrugging your shoulders at the "Tie Game" All-Star Game at Miller Park, it will be another lasting image of your tenure.

Maybe Chevy will just hire Super Creepy Rob Lowe to hand out the MVP Truck next year--and make awkward passes at Erin Andrews.  That actually would be entertaining.

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