10/23/2002 03:30 am ET
MLBeat: Witasick hurt in Game 3
By Josh Rawitch / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- When the Giants had to pull starter Livan Hernandez from Game 3 in the fourth inning, they at least had the benefit of bringing in the reliever that has gobbled up inning after inning during the regular season.
That is, until Jay Witasick took a line drive off the bat of Adam Kennedy straight to his pitching elbow before ricocheting into left field.
"I didn't even see it," said Witasick. "Most of the time you at least have a chance to deflect with your glove. I watched the pitch and I just didn't have a chance to put leather on that ball and it hit me square. After you get hit like that, you don't really think about the play as much as, that could have been the last pitch I threw professionally. You never know."
Witasick was told by team doctors that there are no problems beyond a deep bone bruise, but that does not mean he'll be back on the mound in Game 4.
"I'm going to have to wait and see," he said. "It's getting tight. It hit me pretty flush so I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow. It's kind of hard to judge right now."
Remembering 1962: The last time the Giants won a World Series game in this city, it was 1962 and play had just been resumed at Candlestick Park following four days of rain. Hours before first pitch in Game 3 of the current Fall Classic, the rain was back, though not nearly enough to cause a delay.
"It wasn't exactly warm in Anaheim either," said manager Dusty Baker. "At this point, it's like playing the Super Bowl in the snow. You don't care."
But the wet turf back in 1962 might have caused the Giants' Game 7 loss, according to Hall of Famer Willie Mays. In that game, pinch-hitter Matty Alou led off the bottom of the ninth in a 1-0 game by bunting for a hit and two outs later, Mays laced a double down the right-field line. Alou stopped at third, Willie McCovey lined out to second baseman Bobby Richardson and the Yankees took home the title.
"I never get mad about baseball," said Mays. "I was kind of disappointed we didn't win. I thought the ball that I hit down the right-field line, if it didn't have the rain I don't think [Roger] Maris would have got it back into the infield as quick as he did. ... If I was running, I would have probably been thrown out at home or [scored] because I [would be] coming home [regardless], but you can't blame Matty because he didn't want to get thrown out and make the last out."
Forty years and six days have passed since that game and the Giants are still looking for that World Series victory in the city by the Bay.
SF's version of the Rally Monkey: Darren Baker, 3-year-old son of the Giants' skipper, had a 6-0 record in games that he's served as the team's batboy. When the team was losing in Anaheim, Baker turned to his mother and said, "Mom, I gotta go. The team needs me."
Melissa Baker wasn't buying it, nor is she allowing him to work Game 3 because he had been under the weather. That's one reason the manager did not attend Monday night's World Series gala at the newly remodeled Ferry Building, instead opting for a quiet dinner at a delicatessen in which the younger Baker recuperated by eating Matzoh ball soup.
Still, even if Darren had been feeling well, it seemed unlikely that the skipper would have stopped by the event.
"We're working," he said. "We're the entertainers. You enjoy entertaining but the rest of the time you're trying to get your rest and focus on what you've got to do. You don't have time to be partying. I've been to a lot of World Series and ... I can't remember seeing managers or players too much at the World Series gala."
One more vote for Baker: Mays, who addressed the media in a press conference before Game 3, was asked if he thought Baker would be back in 2003.
"I think that's up to Dusty. It's not up to me," he said. "If I had my choice, I'd definitely bring him back because if you look at the guys on the team, they respect Dusty, they know what their job is, they know what their role is. Even the guys that are not playing seem to understand their role.
"I hope he will [be back] because it would be very difficult for me to try and break in a new manager and talk to him the way I do about the players and try to relate to him the way I do."
Josh Rawitch is a reporter for MLB.com and can be reached at email@example.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.