World Series Set

It’s the Detroit Tigers and the San Francisco Giants in the World Series, starting Wednesday night in San Francisco.

Let’s try something new… a poll!

For those of you unfamiliar with the Earthquake! option, please google “1989 World Series.”

We’ve already covered the ex-Rainiers in the series: two, both with Detroit, in Doug Fister and Ramon Santiago. However, Cheney Stadium regulars have seen many of the key World Series players as visitors over the years.

Because their Triple-A affiliate (Fresno) plays in the PCL, we have seen many more Giants players than Tigers at Cheney Stadium.

San Francisco homegrown superstars Matt Cain, Buster Posey, and Tim Lincecum all played at Cheney Stadium while with Fresno. Posey even hit his first Triple-A home run at Cheney, a massive drive to right-center on August 4, 2009 (serving it up: Justin Thomas).

Unlikely Giants NLCS star Barry Zito pitched several times against Tacoma when he was coming up through the Oakland A’s system.

Other Giants players who played against Tacoma include Xavier Nady, Brandon Belt, Joaquin Arias, Hector Sanchez, Ryan Vogelsong, Javier Lopez, George Kontos, and Santiago Casilla.

There are two homegrown Giants stars who never appeared against the Rainiers: Pablo Sandoval and Madison Bumgarner. The Panda has only played for Fresno on rehabilitation assignments, while Bumgarner never pitched against Tacoma in a weird bit of starting rotation randomness: he was with Fresno when they played Tacoma, but his turn in the rotation missed us.

On the Detroit side, we saw a young Prince Fielder blast a couple of doubles off the old tall walls when he was with Nashville during a series May 19-22, 2005. I vividly recall one drive that would be a homer with the new shorter fences.

Beleaguered Tigers closer Jose Valverde pitched at Cheney during his many stops with Triple-A Tucson while he was working to get established in the majors. I don’t remember him performing any crazy antics on the mound back then.

Other Tigers who played against Tacoma as minor leaguers include Joaquin Benoit, Don Kelly, and Gerald Laird.

What about the greatest Tiger of all, Mr. Triple Crown himself, Miguel Cabrera? He falls into the rare “too good for Triple-A” category: Cabrera has never played in a Triple-A game. In fact, he played just a half-season in Double-A, batting .365 with 42 extra-base hits in 69 games, and went straight to the majors at age 20. Cabrera was a hitting prodigy.

I think this is going to be an excellent, close series. Obviously the Tigers will have the advantage in every game Justin Verlander pitches, but the Giants may end up with the starting pitching edge in all of the other games. There is also a good chance that we will be seeing each league’s MVP award winner in Cabrera and Posey.

I’m picking Giants in six games, based on the experience factor: there is a core group on this team that won it all just two years ago.

Links:

  • The Mariners made their hitting coach hire, and it’s Dave Hansen, who was once one of the top pinch-hitters in the game. Just for fun, here is his Baseball Reference page. Hansen has 35 more major league home runs than all of us, combined!
  • For Baseball America subscribers, here is their Mariners “Draft Report Card.” I put that in quotes because no grades were given. Why is it a report card?
  • We’re going to be hearing a lot about Doug Fister during this World Series. Jason Churchill recently revisited the Fister trade.
  • Yesterday on Grantland, the esteemed Jonah Keri wrote a long piece on Tigers reliever Phil Coke (who never played at Cheney Stadium). Aside from being an excellent piece, this story is link-worthy because it details the hardship that low-round draft picks endure in the minor leagues.
  • Say what you want about Joe Buck, but I certainly believe him when he tells Giants fans he is not biased. He can’t be biased on the air in his current position; he would lose his job.
  • If public stadium debt is your cup of tea, then you might enjoy this long story from the Reno newspaper about the stadium debt issues there. Time for me to come clean: I didn’t make it halfway through the first page.

Enjoy the Series!

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