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Final Moments Are Quite a Roller-Coaster Ride

October 27, 2002|Mike Penner

This was baseball at its most dramatic.

This was Game 6 of the World Series, top of the ninth inning, two out, Troy Percival trying to close out a 6-5 Angel victory against Rich Aurilia.

This is how Fox covered it:

Camera shot of Aurilia fiddling with his batting glove.

Crowd shot of Jackie Autry looking quite nervous.

Shot of Aurilia staring and digging in against Percival.

Facial shot of Percival looking quite determined.

Dugout shot of Barry Bonds looking quite concerned.

Crowd shot of an Angel fan looking quite nervous.

(Percival delivers. High. Ball one.)

Shot of Aurilia spitting and tugging at his jersey.

Dugout shot of Dusty Baker chewing on a toothpick.

Quick shot of Jeff Kent swinging a weighted bat in the on-deck circle.

Another dugout shot of Bonds, still looking quite concerned.

(Percival delivers. On the outside corner. One and one.)

Replay of Percival delivering on the outside corner.

Panoramic shot of Edison Field. The fans seem excited.

Closeup of Aurilia's face. He looks very serious.

(Percival delivers. Low and outside. Two and one.)

Closeup of Percival pulling off his cap, then putting it back on.

Closeup of Aurilia watching him do this.

Quick shot of Kent, who's still in the on-deck circle.

Facial shot of Percival. Lots of stubble. Needs a shave.

Facial shot of Aurilia. Goatee is neatly trimmed.

Dugout shot of J.T. Snow, looking quite concerned, chin buried in arms crossed on top of the railing.

Dugout shot of Russ Ortiz wondering how in the world the Giant bullpen could blow a 5-0 seventh-inning lead.

(Percival delivers. Aurilia fouls it back. Two and two.)

Closeup of Aurilia spitting.

Closeup of Percival trudging back to the mound.

One more dugout shot of Bonds, now very, very concerned.

Dugout level view of fans behind the Angel dugout. They appear to be cheering.

Another shot of Autry. She's clapping now.

Closeup of Percival tugging on the bill of his cap. His fingers are apparently very dirty.

Dugout shot of Mike Scioscia squeezing his nose. Are his ears burning from Tim McCarver's criticism of his decision to have Jose Molina bunt with runners on first and second and one out in the bottom of the eighth? Can't tell from this angle. Where are Fox's cameras when you really need them?

Shot of Aurilia digging in and grimacing.

(Percival delivers. Aurilia swings and misses.)

"We'll see you tomorrow night!" Joe Buck exclaims.

Good thing for the Angels Percival was on the mound, where he couldn't see any of this.

He never would have made it through that last at-bat without Dramamine.

A lot of Angel fans have been complaining about the way Fox has been covering this World Series, but you have to say this about the camera work: It's perfect for a team owned by the people who own Disneyland. There's a very technical term for camera style Fox uses at baseball games. The professionals call it "MatterhornVision."

The camera whips around here, pulls a hairpin curve there. It's white-knuckle time, all the time, even though all they're doing out there is playing catch.

Amid this visual bobsled run, Buck knew well enough to pull back. Someone had to. Buck's call of Troy Glaus' game-winning two-run double was a refreshing piece of minimalism:

"It's two and one to Glaus ... Into left center field! ... Bonds on the run! Won't get it! ... And the Anaheim Angels have come all the way back and lead it, 6 to 5!"

And after Percival clinched the victory with his strikeout of Aurilia, Buck went silent and let the crowd's reaction supply the narration. It's was Fox's best moment of this World Series.

Sadly, the silence eventually had to end and soon Buck was uttering the words that strike fear in the heart of every baseball fan: "Steve Lyons is standing by with Troy Glaus."

Lyons is master of the question-free quickie postgame interview, tossing general statements into the air and hoping the interviewee agrees with them. After two such exchanges with Glaus, Lyons suddenly threw a changeup:

"During this postseason, the entire country has been introduced to these crowds, the rally monkey and everything that goes with it. Does that make you guys feel like you're never out of a game, even when you're down 5-0 in the seventh?"

How about that? The Angels appear to be peaking at just the right time. Maybe Lyons too.

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