Giants cashing in on home field advantageBy Sev Sarmenta
THE SAN Francisco Giants are proving in Major League Baseball’s postseason that there’s no cooking like home cooking and that you should bring some of it on the road.
Down 1-3 in the National League Championship Series against the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals, the Giants let their bats and fans do the shouting at AT&T1 Park in San Francisco and choked the Cardinals to score a rousing come-from-behind series triumph and get into the Fall Classic.
In the World Series and playing again at home for the first two games, the Giants shut down the vaunted bats of the Detroit Tigers to gain a 2-0 edge. This was the same Tiger team that shut out the New York Yankees in four games in the American League finals.
In Game 1, the Giants bucked the intimidating reputation of pitching ace Justin Velander with booming bats, especially that of Pedro Sandoval, who knocked in three home runs.
The home field advantage seemed to spill over on the diamond as the Giants got the breaks off the bounces. During one stretch in Game 2, one bunt that looked like it was going foul stayed fair and moved the Giants runners into scoring position. In a game of inches, every friendly bounce is most welcome and makes the home team glad that the hops are going their way.
The postseason is again baseball played at such a high level, with a multitude of options and possibilities with each pitch. This debunks the belief of those who don’t like the sport that nothing is happening in between pitches.
The television coverage helps in the appreciation of the game. If there is one sport that Americans cover on TV extremely well, it’s baseball. The cameras know where to go and the announcers have a great feel for how the game unfolds.
There are tons of statistics to digest but announcers Gary Thorne and Rick Sutcliffe do a great job of patiently explaining the numbers in the context of the game. It helps that they know that there are viewers who are just beginning to appreciate the game and understand that their audience are not only Americans overseas who have grown up with baseball.
The replays and the graphics weave in seamlessly, working in coordination to deliver to the viewer an understanding of a play that transpired. What has improved tremendously through the years is how the producers and the analyst have broken down each pitch as it zeroes in or misses the strike zone.
It helps that Sutcliffe is a former major league pitcher who started for five different teams. Given that the game starts and ends with the pitcher, the pitching analysis adds to the understanding of the game, even if you can’t immediately separate a breaking ball from a lazy curve.
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