Tigers’ Phil Coke Happy To Return To AT&T Park
RONALD BLUM,AP Sports Writer
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Phil Coke remembered the only other time he had in AT&T Park. Back then, he was a student at San Joaquin Delta College and just another fan.
“I actually sat right out here on the second tier here by the foul pole, and watched the game,” the Detroit reliever said Tuesday, a day before the World Series opener against San Francisco. “I watched Barry Bonds hit two bombs. I came sprinting up the stairs over in the right-field corner and they announced his name. I tore through the parking lot and handed my ticket off and ran up the stairs in time to see the pitch, the swing and him launch the ball into the water. It was pretty cool.”
Following Jose Valverde’s meltdown in the AL championship series opener at Yankee Stadium, Tigers manager Jim Leyland used the left-handed Coke to get saves in Games 2 and 3.
Leyland said he hasn’t figured out who will close in the Series.
“My only expectation is that I want to go out there and do the best job I can,” Coke said.
HOT TICKET, BUT PRICES FALL: As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 11,000-plus listing for tickets for the World Series opener on the resale market, according to fansnap.com, with an average price of $784 and a low of $313. Later in the day, listings dropped to 9,200 and the low fell to $256. A day earlier, when there were more than 12,000 listings, the average price was $1,093 and the low $395.
GAME 7 ATTENTION: San Francisco’s 9-0 win over St. Louis in Game 7 of the NL championship series was seen by 8.1 million households on Fox, competing for attention against the third debate between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.
The game averaged a 4.9 rating and 7 share, according to fast national ratings, and peaked at a 5.8/9 just before the debate began.
The NLCS averaged a 4.0/7, down from the 4.4/8 for Texas’ six-game win over Detroit in last year’s ALCS on Fox but up 38 percent over the 2.9/5 for the Cardinals’ six-game win over Milwaukee in last year’s NLCS on TBS.
Detroit’s sweep of the Yankees averaged 5.9 million viewers and a 3.8 rating this year on TBS.
MELKY VS. MOTA: Giants manager Bruce Bochy reiterated San Francisco will not add All-Star game MVP Melky Cabrera to the World Series roster following the end of his 50-game drug suspension — a decision the team made Sept. 27.
Reliever Guillermo Mota has been part of the team’s postseason roster following his 100-game suspension for a second violation for a positive test. Bochy didn’t plan to announce his World Series roster until Wednesday.
Cabrera was suspended Aug. 15 for 50 games after testing positive for testosterone, and the ban ended with the completion of the division series. The Giants activated Mota on Aug. 28 after he came off the restricted list.
Mota tested positive for clenbuterol, which he said was in children’s cough syrup. His first suspension came in November 2006 when he was with the New York Mets. Mota became just the third major league player disciplined twice for positive drug tests.
“I think they’re two different situations really,” Bochy said. “I mean, one happened during the season with Mota, and he was available to help us out during the season. So we made a spot there for him. Now, with Melky, we felt when that happened, as far as losing him, the club played very well, and the guys that we had been putting out there have done the job. They’ve earned this, and this is the way we’re going to move forward.”
IN ORDER: Madison Bumgarner will pitch Game 2 of the World Series for San Francisco on Thursday, giving the Giants back-to-back lefties after Barry Zito goes in the opener.
Righty Ryan Vogelsong will pitch Game 3 on Saturday at Detroit and ace Matt Cain will go in Game 4. Two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum will remain in the bullpen, providing options.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy could have flip-flopped, starting Cain on full rest in Game 3.
“Well, I like the way Vogelsong is throwing, too,” Bochy said. “He’s throwing the ball as well as anybody on the staff, so we just kept it in order. If Vogelsong gets the last start, we have no problem with that. I know Matt has worked hard, he’s got a lot of innings. I didn’t think we needed to flip-flop the two, to be honest.”
VENEZUELAN REUNION: Miguel Cabrera heard about Pablo Sandoval long before the Kung Fu Panda became a San Francisco sensation as a major league third baseman with the Giants.
Cabrera played for a few years as a teammate with Sandoval’s older brother, Michael, back home in Venezuela. Michael would often brag about his younger brother’s exploits.
“He always told me his little brother would be good, and he’s right,” Cabrera said. “It’s very exciting to see.”
Sandoval remembered watching Cabrera back home and marveled at his talent.
“That’s a great hitter,” he recalled of his first impression. “The first time I saw him play he was so big to be a shortstop. My brother told me they’d move him some day to third base because he has a bat but he was too big to be a shortstop.”
Now Cabrera and Sandoval are two of at least nine Venezuelans playing in this year’s World Series along with San Francisco’s Marco Scutaro, Gregor Blanco, Hector Sanchez and Jose Mijares; and Detroit’s Anibal Sanchez, Omar Infante and Avisail Garcia.
“I have a good relationship with all those guys,” Cabrera said. “It will be exciting to play against them. It will be extra motivation.”
AP Sports Writers Janie McCauley and Josh Dubow contributed to this report.
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