Another Baseball Season in the Books

“Love is the most important thing in the world. But baseball is pretty good too.”

Yogi Berra

 

The 2019 Major League Baseball season is over for me. It “officially” ended on the evening of October 9th when the Washington Nationals eliminated the Los Angeles Dodgers in game 5 of the National League Division Series. The season didn’t end in the 10th inning of that game because I’m a Dodgers fan. It ended, thanks to Howie Kendrick’s grand slam, because I’m a San Francisco Giants fan.

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It was ingrained in me as a young man that we Giants fans have two jobs. Number one is cheer for the orange and black. Number two, or more accurately number 1A, is root as hard as you can against the Dodgers. My wife has scolded me on numerous occasions that that attitude is an undersirable one. “You should never root against any one, or any team”, she says. Bless her heart. Any self respecting SF Giants fan knows that the Bums that travelled west from Brooklyn are more than deserving of our hopes for their failure.

 

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It hasn’t been all that easy. I was born in 1955 and became a lifelong Giants fan on May 28, 1957. That was the day that MLB owners approved the move for both The New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers. But there were conditions. Both teams had to move or neither team could. The Giants committed first, hosting a farewell party at a game on September 29. The Dodgers followed suit nine days later. The rivalry came west with the teams. We had just moved to Reno and San Francisco was the closest city with an MLB team.

 

Before the move (their’s and ours) The Giants had won 4 World Championships and the Dodgers owned one. That changed when the Brooklyn Bums became the LA Bums. They won the World Series in 1959, 1963, 1965, 1981, and 1988. And we suffered through them all. Then a strange thing happened, LA stopped winning. Don’t get me wrong, they won plenty of games, division titles, and National League pennants but the World Series well ran dry after Kirk Gibson dipped into it for his “I can’t believe what I just saw” home run at Dodger Stadium. It wasn’t all good news for us Giants fans either. Between 1988 and 2002 we reached the World Series twice as many times as the Dodgers (2-0) but lost both. One in spectacular fashion as the Oakland A’s swept the Giants four games to none in 1989 in a series that included an earthquake. The other was in heartbreaking fashion as our boys, with the greatest home run hitter of all time Barry Bonds, lost both game 6 and game 7 in Anaheim to the “rally monkey” Angels. Then 2010 happened.

 

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That year, then two years later, and two more years after that Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey, Tim Lincecum, Brandon Crawford and dozens more became heroes. Legends even as improbably our san Francisco Giants won three world championships in 5 years! And the official World Series trophy tally became NY/SF 7 and Brooklyn/LA 6. So there! As I’ve already stated the Dodgers are good at winning games and division titles. In fact they’ve won seven of those in a row compiling a won loss record of 671- 464. But to me, and no doubt to them, the only numbers in recent history that matter are 3-0 (as in RINGS BABY! And while the faces of San Francisco Giants success have been thoise of Timmy, and MadBum, and Buster, and others the lone face of Los Angeles’s delicious defeats has been Clayton Kershaw. He’s one of the game’s best regular season pitchers, a multiple Cy Young Award winner and the ace of their staff. But he just can’t get it done when it matters and he came through (as far as we were concerned) again Wednesday night.

 

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The night the 2019 baseball season ended for him and me.

 

About Keith Hirshland

My name is Keith Hirshland and I am a four decades television veteran who has spent time both in front of and behind the camera. During nearly forty years in broadcasting my path has crossed in front of, behind and alongside some of the best in the business... And some of the worst. Many of those people I count as friends while others wouldn't make the effort to spit on me if I was on fire. This television life started early watching my Mom and Dad found, fund and run a local affiliate TV station in Reno, Nevada. As a teenager approaching adulthood I worked for them, first as an on-air sports reporter/anchor and later as a director and producer. Jobs in the industry took me across the country and then to many places around the world. Sports is my passion and putting it on TV has been my business. Production credits include auto racing, baseball, basketball, bowling, college football, field hockey, soccer, volleyball and water polo but the majority of my time "in the chair" since 1990 has been invested in the game of golf with both ESPN and The Golf. Channel ( I was one of the first forty people hired by TGC in 1994 ). I am a fan and I watch TV sports as a fan but I also have hundreds of thousands of hours watching from inside a production truck. I think that makes me qualified to comment, my hope is you agree. I have written four books, Cover Me Boys, I'm Going In (Tales of the Tube from a Broadcast Brat), a memoir that is a tribute to my parents, the hard working, creative people who started ESPN2 and The Golf Channel and a look back at my life in television. Cover Me Boys was awarded the “Memoir of the Year” in 2017 by Book Talk Radio Club. In February of 2019 it was released anew by Beacon Publishing Group. My second book is a novel, Big Flies, and is a mystery that tells the story of a father and a son with four of the world's most notorious unsolved robberies as a backdrop. Big Flies was named “Solo Medalist” in the True Crime category by New Apple Awards. My third book, another mystery titled The Flower Girl Murder, was published in 2018. All three are available at Amazon. Book four is, as they say, in the books. It's in the capable hands of the good people at Beacon Publishing Group and I'll keep you posted. I look forward to sharing new thoughts about golf, golf television, sports in general and the broadcast industry with you. The views expressed here are mine and mine alone. They are not connected to nor endorsed by any other person, association, company or organization.
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