Cat Bites: Memories from the Fall Classic

Ceremonies take place at Game 3 of the 2014 World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals. Photo credit: Kevin Lucena

It was Game 4 of the World Series. I was standing in the second row from the top of the stadium at AT&T; Park. I was surprised to see someone in full military uniform appear at the bottom of our section with crutches.

It was the middle of the eighth inning and the crowd had just watched Staff Sargent Pedro Aleman perform “God Bless America” during the middle of the seventh and I quickly I asked my cousin whether that could be him. It was.

I’m not sure if we were the first to start clapping, but as Aleman and a person with him made their way up the stairs, our entire section stood and started to applaud. Before long people from other sections had joined in and kept clapping as the pair tearfully hugged.

That moment, along with seeing Giants fan Brian Stow address the crowd from the field in his wheelchair and yell “Go Giants” before the game started, were just as moving as watching the Giants win the game.

Originally, the plan had been to try and get tickets to game three on Friday night. For once having a Friday class paid off as both myself and my cousin Austen had midterms that day. So, instead of watching the Giants lose a pitcher’s duel in the rain, we saw the Giants rally from a 4-1 deficit to score 10 unanswered runs and beat the Kansas City Royals 11-4 to tie the series 2-2 in a game where the crowd stood all four hours.

AT&T; Park in San Francisco before Game 3 of the 2014 World Series. Photo credit: Kevin Lucena

Five Giants relief pitchers combined to throw 6 1/3 scoreless innings, including the rock of the bullpen Yusmeiro Petit’s three scoreless frames. With his two-out single in the 4th inning, Petit became the first Giants relief pitcher to get a World Series hit since Slick Castleman in 1936. Although he went the entire month of October without an extra base hit, Buster Posey tied Barry Bonds’ for the team record in postseason RBIs at 21 while also catching every game.

While getting dinner during the game, I overheard two Royals fans talking about flying back to Kansas City for games six and seven. Considering myself lucky to be attending my first World Series game, I asked how they had gotten tickets to each game. As it turns out, the pair both worked for the Royals; the woman in the PR department and the man, Todd Bowles, is the senior director of stadium engineering for Kauffman Stadium, where the Royals play.

As we stood in line, Bowles said how impressed he was with the AT&T; Park; how easy it was to get into the stadium, how respectful the fans had turned out to be and especially the stadium’s unique location up against the San Francisco Bay.

The Giants went on to win the Series in Kansas City, beating the Royals 3-2 in game seven behind Madison Bumgarner’s five-inning save. Bumgarner won the World Series MVP after pitching 52 2/3 innings with an ERA of 1.01, the best of any pitcher with 40 or more innings in any postseason. Bumgarner also lowered his career ERA in the World Series to 0.25, the lowest of any pitcher in history with at least 25 innings pitched.

Beyond the stats and scores of the game, the experiences during my trip to the Fall Classic made it even more memorable.

Kevin Lucena can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_sports on Twitter.