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At Giants-Cardinals game, Jose Feliciano sounds off, with style

He presents a guitar-driven interpretation of the national anthem, decades after his jazz-infused version triggered an uproar. He also shares his thoughts about the Dodgers and Josh Beckett.

October 15, 2012|By Bill Shaikin
  • Eight-time Grammy winning legend Jose Feliciano signs the national anthem before Game 1 of the National League baseball championship series between the San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday.
Eight-time Grammy winning legend Jose Feliciano signs the national anthem… (Jose Luis Villegas / The…)

SAN FRANCISCO Jose Feliciano, introduced to the crowd as "the man who first stylized the national anthem," sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" before Sunday's game. In 1968, his jazz-infused version of the anthem at the World Series triggered a national uproar.

"They wanted to deport me," he said. "How can you deport a Puerto Rican from the United States?

"I opened the doors for people to express themselves."

On Sunday, Feliciano presented a guitar-driven interpretation of the anthem. Tony Bennett delivered a traditional rendering of "God Bless America" during the seventh-inning stretch.

Feliciano lives in Connecticut, where he roots for the New York Yankees and keeps tabs on the Boston Red Sox. He believes the Dodgers ought to take good care of Josh Beckett.

"Boston royally screwed up this year, by trading their whole club away," Feliciano said. The Dodgers "need to say, 'Listen, Josh, we want you to pitch for us. We don't want any of your antics. Just pitch. That's what you do best.' It's like me and my music. People don't want me giving opinions. They want me to play music."

Short hops

The crowd loudly booed outfielder Carlos Beltran, the Giants' big trade deadline acquisition last year. His home run Sunday was his 14th in 29 career postseason games. … There was a pinch-hitter available in the broadcast booth. Fox flew in Daron Sutton, the former Angels broadcaster and son of Hall of Famer Don Sutton, to handle play-by-play in case Joe Buck did not arrive at AT&T Park in time. Buck, who called the NFL game at Candlestick Park, got to the ballpark just before game time. … Giants coach Roberto Kelly, hit in the head by a Buster Posey line drive during batting practice Saturday, sustained a concussion and did not report to the ballpark Sunday. "He's resting well," Giants Manager Bruce Bochy said.

bill.shaikin@latimes.com twitter.com/BillShaikin

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