Hall of Fame gets lucky break
SAN FRANCISCO Hall of Fame officials are almost giddy about the way events unfolded surrounding Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval's historic performance in Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday night.
Because Sandoval broke his bat after the second of his three home runs in the Giants' 8-3 win, Hall of Fame officials were able to retrieve the item immediately and make arrangements for its safe shipment to Cooperstown.
According to HOF communications director Brad Horn, the bat will be included in a 2012 World Series exhibit that will be put together about two weeks after the games end.
"It was a great opportunity for us to get it right into our possession," added Horn, who noted that Sandoval previously donated the bat he used in the All-Star Game.
President is a fan
While it's a strength of baseball that players from Venezuela are key figures in the 2012 World Series, it's not without its complications. When Sandoval hit his three home runs Wednesday, a very well-known Venezuelan baseball fan took to Twitter to express his joy President Hugo Chavez.
"There goes the third one!" Chavez tweeted after Sandoval's third homer in the fifth inning. "Pablo makes history! Viva Venezuela!"
The South American nation of 28 million people is a baseball hotbed bursting with pride at having nine native sons playing in the World Series, five for the Giants and four for the Detroit Tigers. But U.S.-Venezuelan political relations are tense under the leadership of Chavez, who is friendly with Cuban leader Fidel Castro and other American antagonists.
Sandoval said he has never met Chavez.
Giants right-hander Ryan Vogelsong, who pitched in Japan for three years, was pulled aside before Thursday's Game 2 to do an interview for a Japanese TV broadcast. His interviewer: Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Norichika Aoki.
Vogelsong pitched for the Hanshin Tigers from 2007 to 2009, years when Aoki, a rookie this season with the Brewers, played for the Yakult Swallows. Vogelsong did not face Aoki this year, but a translator facilitating the interview said the two faced each other often in Japan.
Commissioner Bud Selig addressed reporters before the game. Among the topics he discussed:
Selig said he expects instant replay to expand next year to include fair-foul calls down the left- and right-field lines, and trapped balls.
The division series will return to a 2-2-1 format next year after the 2-3 system this year, in which teams with the home-field advantage played the first two games on the road.
The winner-take-all wild-card game will remain.
Matt Kawahara, Marcos Breton, Ailene Voisin