Fall baseball makes up for regular season

As much as I would like to write my column about UCSD sports, I feel like this space would be inefficiently used if it did not talk about the World Series.

The 2002 regular baseball season, which gasped for air and was nearly put to death by Bud Selig’s choke hold, is finally over. Fans across the nation (and a few in Canada) endured the joke that the commissioner called an All-Star Game, and then the major figures of Major League Baseball forgot about their faithful supporters while the season nearly wilted away due to a strike in August.

However, we somehow made it. And fortunately for the owners of professional baseball teams that don’t deserve a single fan’s loyalty, sports-crazed people like me just can’t find it in themselves to turn and walk away from October baseball.

This is a great time of year. The blowouts have ended with the final game of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays’ season, and fans can finally be treated to real baseball games again as the sport reaches its highest plateau (which actually is kind of low due to the sorry state that MLB has left the game in).

The excitement of a pitcher’s duel in a pivotal game of a series, the call to a hard-throwing reliever to help a team get out of a jam in the eighth inning, or the 10-pitch at-bat that a utility player draws is what postseason baseball is all about. Fans have seen this in the past few weeks.

The dominance of the sport’s best pitcher racking up double-digit strikeouts during two or three games in a seven-game series, or the roar of a great Yankee crowd in the Bronx rising to its feet when a New York pitcher is looking for the third and final strike on an opposing batter, is what postseason baseball is all about. Fans have seen — I mean have not seen this in the past few weeks.

This season has certainly been memorable. The new lows that were being set during the regular season have been noteworthy. But the losses that the Diamondbacks’ Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling suffered in the sweep and the elimination of the Yankees in the first round have been even more noteworthy.

After the Bronx Bombers and the D’backs were bounced in the first round, fans knew that the teams that eventually reached the World Series would be surprising. However, when people found out earlier this week that the Angels will host the Giants in the 2002 World Series, they were still surprised.

The Halos, behind the mysterious powers of the Rally Monkey, will play in their first World Series in franchise history. Although the team lacks any kind of experience, it doesn’t seem like they need anything else other than that jumping monkey that always appears around the seventh inning before the Angels explode for a game-winning home run.

Okay, now lets talk about the Giants. Being the faithful Dodger fan that I am, I refuse to give San Francisco any respect. Although the team has been impressive in closing out the regular season strongly and then marching through the Braves and Cardinals, I will not admit that Barry Bonds and the Giants deserve to still be playing baseball this season.

As exciting as I have found these playoffs to have been, I cannot wait to see the Giants lose the World Series to the Angels. I cannot wait to see the Angels’ 20-year-old reliever, Francisco Rodriguez, pitch to Barry Bonds, who has zero clutch hits in his career, and strike him out with a nasty slider.

As memorable as the 2002 season has been, I hope that fans have the chance to add to their book of memories the dancing of the Angels’ Rally Monkey after the Halos win the World Series.