Nothing like the wedding of a family member to put a sporting event in its place, even if that event includes the groom’s favorite franchise, the Anaheim Angles.
The drama began Saturday night at Azul’s, a diner off the coast in San Diego, where family and friends gathered to pay homage to Adam Pilkington and Chant/ Fergueson Pilkington, who had tied the knot some hours earlier.
Between courses, several seem-heads, myself included, wandered by the bar to give the masses routine checkups on game six of the World Series between the Angels and the Giants, whose beginning unfortunately coincided with the wedding party’s dinner.
“No score after one…scoreless after two…Anderson hit into a double play to end the third,” were just some of the routine updates given during the course of the meal.
Then, as the main entr/e of swordfish was placed before us, the hurting began.
A two-run homer by a 39 year-old veteran put the Giants up 2-0. A double, stolen base and wild-pitch with two outs put the Giants up 3-0 going into the bottom half of the fifth inning.
The party went on, but slowly, aside from the groom, we Angels fans began to lose hope. That was before Barry Bonds launched his fourth home run of the Series, a solo blast that put San Francisco in front 4-0, while leaving us with no hope.
Yet, through all this, when he should be agonizing the squandered opportunity of his beloved franchise to win its first – and maybe last – World Series title, the groom stayed calm, almost aloof to the happenings of the sports world.
“Kind of a bummer they had to blow it on your wedding night,” I lamented.
“You know,” he said with his arm over my shoulder, “when you get to this point and have a day like this, everything else doesn’t matter.”
Whether it mattered or not, the Giants had taken a 5-0 lead into the seventh inning, just as the newlyweds made their way out the door of Azul’s and into the rental car that would take them to a remote location for their wedding night.
That is, like out of a Disney script, when the magic began.
Giants starter, Russ Ortiz, who began the seventh with a five-run cushion, gave up two quick hits to Troy Glaus and Brad Fullmer, getting the rally back into the monkeys in Anaheim.
Manager Dusty Baker promptly yanked Ortiz in favor of reliever Felix Rodriguez who gave up a three-run homer to Scott Spiezio, putting the Angels back in the game.
A solo homer by Darrin Erstad made it 5-4 and a bloop single from Garret Anderson, along with an ensuing error from the immortal Bonds, put the tying and winning runs in scoring position with Glaus stepping up to the plate.
With Giants closer Rob Nen on the mound Glaus worked the count and then launched a double to left-center to bring in both runs.
Eight outs, that is all that separated the Giants from their first World Series championship in San Francisco; yet, they couldn’t get more than five.
Anaheim finished off the most memorable comeback in game seven taking it 4-1, with all the runs scoring in the first three innings of play.
The greatest comeback in postseason history, the rally monkey in full force and Jackie Autry hoisting the World Series trophy in the air before thousands of raving Southern Californians in memory of her husband, the founder of the Angels, Gene Autry.
All this and the man who most deserved to see it, the greatest Angels fan I’ve ever known, missed it all…and he didn’t even care.
I guess there is a lesson in all of this: while the title of world champion lasts but a year, a marriage can last forever.
However, I’ll be damned if I schedule my wedding in October.