McAdam at the World Series: Giants youth serves

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McAdam at the World Series: Giants youth serves

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The last time the San Francisco Giants were this close to a World Series championship, Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey were barely out of middle school.

And the previous World Series appearance before that? Posey was all of 2 12 and Bumgarner was two months old.

History may be lost on them. They're too busy making it to worry about it.

Sunday night, Bumgarner, 21, was brilliant, limiting the Texas Rangers to three measly hits and Posey, 23, was helping to call his second shutout in the last four games while adding a solo homer.

Together, they led the Giants to a 4-0 victory over Texas, and to within a game of the Giants' first title since 1954. Together, they also represented the first rookie battery to start a World Series game since 1947.

Neither began this season in the major leagues. Posey was brought up in the final week of May and spent his first month with the Giants playing first base. Bumgarner wasn't summoned until the last weekend of June, making his 2010 debut against the Red Sox.

Sunday, they were linked, pushing the Rangers to the edge and positioning the Giants to within a victory of the title which has eluded the franchise for so long.

"I didn't expect this in my wildest dreams,'' gushed Bumgarner, who became the fifth-youngest pitcher in history to start a World Series game.

Posey, as perhaps befits someone two whole years older than his starting pitcher, seemed a little less overwhelmed by the historical nature of the battery, but nonetheless labeled it "pretty cool.''

"I think it's probably a little bit harder for some people to believe rather than us,'' he said.

Count the Giants general manager, Brian Sabean, among that group.

"I get choked up,'' said Sabean of watching his newbies thrive on the big stage. "I still have butterflies and a lump in my throat. It's something to behold if you're a purist. It's very unusual. It's humbling because they're amazing people. They're aware of the gravity of all this. I don't know how they balance it. I really don't.

"I've never seen composure like this.''

Bumgarner walked the first hitter he faced, Elvis Andrus, and issued another walk with two out in the second, then didn't walk anyone else over the next six innings.

He faced the minimum number of hitters six times in his eight innings and it wasn't until Mitch Moreland's single to right in the sixth that he allowed a base hit out of the infield.

Posey, his team's cleanup hitter, greeted Texas reliever Darren O'Day by slamming a slider out to center, accounting for the fourth run of the night.

Together, they were as calm as could be, unshaken by the circumstances or the setting, though under some questioning, Bumgarner allowed that, yes, this might be slightly more nerve-wracking than the North Carolina state championship which he referenced recently.

While Bumgarner and Posey took questions, Giants' special assistant Felipe Alou stood off to the side and spoke with reporters about what it would mean if Giants could win Monday night. Or Wednesday or Thursday night back in San Francisco.

Alou, of course, brings a different, deeper perspective, having been in the game for longer than Bumgarner and Posey, combined, have been alive.

He was part of 1962 National League champion Giants who came up one run short against the New York Yankees. Alou attempted to move his brother, Matty, over, but failed so that Matty had to stop at third on a double by Willie Mays. He was stranded there when Willie McCovey's liner was caught by second baseman Bobby Richardson.

"Sometimes, we had great Giants,'' said the sage Alou, recalling past clubs. "But sometimes the team was not as great. A team is not necessarily a bunch of great players together. But this team is a team.''

Alou has said that he still feels haunted by the Giants' inability to win in 1962. McCovey said recently that a win by these Giants would make him feel better.

"Me, too,'' acknowledged Alou. "Matty was still at first base when Willie Mays hit that double that didn't score him. It's a rather sore spot in my career, my life, really.

"But if this team wins, maybe I would forgive me a little bit.''

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam.

Mass. lawmakers propose naming bridge near Fenway for Ortiz

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Mass. lawmakers propose naming bridge near Fenway for Ortiz

One of the biggest gifts David Ortiz could get this weekend as he plays his final regular-season games is a well-traveled area right outside Fenway Park.

Massachusetts lawmakers have taken steps to name the Brookline Avenue bridge that spans the Mass Pike between Newbury and Lansdowne streets near the ballpark the “David Ortiz (‘Big Papi’) Bridge.

The House Ways and Means committee included the proposal as part of a spending bill that the full House could vote on as soon as Thursday and, if approved, send on to the Senate. 

“David Ortiz’s accomplishments and heroics on and off the baseball field have made him a living legend, and his heartfelt contributions to the communities here and in his native Dominican Republic have made him an icon,” said Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker. “As a lifelong Red Sox fan, I am thrilled to be able to help our Commonwealth create a lasting ‘Thank You’ to Big Papi through the renaming of this bridge.”

The proposal calls for a “suitable marker” to be placed on the bridge bearing the new name.

“I’m so excited to be part of this process of giving David Ortiz, one of the greatest Red Sox of all time, his proper due by naming a bridge in his honor,” House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo said. “David has not only been an extraordinary baseball player, he has been an exemplary and inspirational member of our community, most notably after the Boston Marathon bombings. As a fan, I will miss his stride up to the plate followed by a clutch hit and the ballpark exploding into applause.”

 

McAdam: Amid the champagne flowing, a focus on Farrell’s fight

McAdam: Amid the champagne flowing, a focus on Farrell’s fight

NEW YORK - Scenes from a celebrating clubhouse, late Wednesday night:

*As champagne flowed and was sprayed to every virtually corner of the visitor's clubhouse, plots were being hatched.

Some mischevious players gathered to plot out their plan of attack and select a new victim.

Once all teammates had been targeted, the focus shifted to others -- preferably the nicer dressed visitors.

Principal owner John Henry, dressed in a suit, was spared - both out of decorum, and, one senses, self-preservation. In past years, someone like Kevin Millar might have entertained such a notion, but this group lacks that same sort of bold figure.

Then, finally, the group spied manager John Farrell being interviewed across the way. The group -- mostly pitchers -- assembled and then circled the manager before finally dumping bottle after bottle of champagne on Farrell's head.

But this display went beyond prank. There was a genuine affection for the manager as the surrounding players whooped and hollared and the the bubbly flowed.

"He's a fighter,'' remarked Mookie Betts. "He instilled that in us. You fight to win.''

Torey Lovullo, who managed the team in Farrell's absence last year and has been a close friend for years, was overcome with emotion.

"I told him I loved him,'' Lovullo said. "For what he's done, to come out on the other side health-wise....he's the leader of this team. It's very satisfying for all of us that have been behind him.''

Players messed his hair, patted him on the back, and Farrell, with a huge smile, stood and -- literally -- soaked it in.

For the past few days, Farrell had gone to great lengths to turn the focus away from his personal story -- one that saw him beat back cancer a year ago -- and turn it back to the players.

Hours before the clinching, Farrell had deflected a few questions about his own story, insisting he wasn't the centerpiece to what had taken place.

But for a few minutes Wednesday night, he was.

 

*While there were prominent veterans celebrating a division title — from 40-something David Ortiz and Koji Uehara to team greybeards such as Dustin Pedroia -- it was hard not to notice the number of young players under 26 who form the Red Sox’ foundation.

Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Xander Bogaerts, Eduardo Rodriguez, Andrew Benintendi and Yoan Moncada are all young and still improving.

With Ortiz headed to retirement, Uehara eligible for free agency and uncertainty surrounding others, it's clear that the young core will form the nucleus of Red Sox teams for years to come.

The organization's hope is that that same group will help ensure against the up-and-down trajectory of recent seasons -- last, first, last, last and now first again.

"I think the way baseball's going these days,'' Henry told the Boston Herald, "if you don't have good young players, you're in trouble.''

"Looking ahead,'' added Pedroia, "we've got a lot of young players who are just going to get better.''