October 21st, 2003

tv // lbd // shoulder touch

Sometimes, it's all fun and games

A comical look back at the 2003 season
By Rich Draper

SAN FRANCISCO -- There may not be crying in baseball, but laughing is allowed -- even if it's at someone else's expense.

With that in mind, here are some special moments of levity and quips from the Giants' 2003 season that will jog the memory and tickle the funny bone:

Wrong Guy, Wrong Place, Wrong Time, Wrong Choice -- Again Award: Ruben Rivera, who stole teammate Derek Jeter's glove and sold it to a collector while with the Yankees in Spring Training in 2002, had another "what was he thinking?" episode May 27 at Pacific Bell Park while pinch-running.

On a fly ball that dropped in, Rivera passed second base, then retreated, collided with runner Marquis Grissom between first and second, raced to third on a throw and attempted to score as the ball skipped away. He was out 9-4-5-6-2.

"The funny thing is," said manager Felipe Alou, "I sent that guy to run, not run wild."

Rivera was released June 3.

Not Old Enough to Shave Award: Baby-faced 21-year-old rookie pitcher Jerome Williams notched his first Major League shutout May 27 against the A's, then got a reward from catcher Benito Santiago, who mashed a shaving-cream pie in the puka-shelled kid's face during a postgame interview.

Smart Hubby Award: When shortstop Rich Aurilia was asked if having appendicitis and an appendectomy was akin to his wife Raquel going through labor pains with their second child, he replied, "It probably is, but I'm not going to tell her that."

Hazing Haberdashery Award: Williams and fellow Giants fledglings Jesse Foppert and Kevin Correia were stunned when they discovered their civilian clothes had been, er, "confiscated" in the Colorado clubhouse Aug. 28. Their new oufits? Hooter's restaurant garb -- gaudily iridescent orange short-shorts and halter tops. And flip-flops for shoes.

They were forced to wear them at the airport and on the jet winging to Arizona. "It was funny," said Foppert. "I kept the outfit."

Not Exactly on Little Cat Feet Award: Andres Galarraga had one of his most memorable days Sept. 27 against the Dodgers, the Big Cat stealing his first base of the year, then scoring from second on a deep single to right by Pedro Feliz.

After his daring baserunning, the heavyweight kitty wheezed in the dugout, sucking in oxygen, while his teammates teased him. Yorvit Torrealba aimed a fan Andres' way, did a slow-motion replay of the run home and handed him cups of water.

Galarraga was also presented the second-base bag as a memento.

Where Were You When the Lights Went Out Award: Outfielder Tony Torcato was called up from Triple-A Fresno to join the Giants on Aug. 14, in New York. You might remember that date. Yep. America's biggest blackout ever. Torcato landed at JFK in the late afternoon, right after power was lost. Cell phones out of service. No electricity. No food. No pool. No pets.

Torcato, 23, slept maybe two hours -- alongside strangers -- that night at the airport and stayed there 27 hours before waiting in line at a pay phone and reaching a Giants official. MLB personnel whisked him to another airport and he finally joined the club in Montreal.

"It was terrible," he said of his ordeal. "It was the worst day and a half ever. I never want to go back to JFK."

Let's Roll the Tape Award: Grissom loves to put white training tape over the knob of his bats for a better feel. It's put on carefully, with great precision. But the best "put-on" was when teammates grabbed one bat and placed an entire six-inch roll of the tape on the, er, grip, howling and laughing at their cleverness.

Grissom -- nicknamed Grip -- went along with the gag for a while, but tired of the constant jokes. When asked several weeks later about the taping of his bats, the player slowly said, "Let it die, man, let it die."
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