It Ain't Funny When He's Got A Bat (Part II)

You live and learn, right? Rich Aurilia has left a bitterness in the Tigers' ballclub, and since then, has left that same tough bitterness in Chicago and Kansas City. Again and again and again, players and teams are learning the hard way about Aurilia's approach to hitting.

So the last time we discussed this, Rich Aurilia made that clutch hit that the Giants needed to tie the game and to spark a comeback win. That was against the Detroit Tigers, so maybe it was JUST a struck of good luck and lack of skills on their part. Since then, Richie has done more snickering and other people have done a lot more learning the hard way.

Last Friday's game against the White Sox is still fresh on not just Richie and the Giants' mind, but also in the mind of all baseball fans. Not only did the Giants accomplish back to back games with grand slams, but both were interleague slams, the second one sealing a come-from-behind victory... But that's really another story... The story we're talking about here is the man who made the second grand slam that left a bad taste in the White Sox's mouths and silenced the crowd of 20,000+ fans at U.S. Cellular Field, who were already quiet to begin with, expecting and urging their team to what looked like a possible victory. One particular fan probably left for home early before the other 20,000 fans could swarm him.

This fan was the fan who trash talked Richie when he went into the game to pinch hit with the bases loaded and one out. From the time Richie stepped out of the dugout to the time the ball left his bat and went into the left field bleachers, this fan was hounding at Richie, yelling every possible insult and slur he could think of... He even told Richie that his career ended in 1999... Too bad Richie basically STARTED his career in 1999. Anyway, after Richie received a called strike on the first pitch he saw, he stepped out of the batter's box, looked over at the fan, winked at him (with a sore throat, Richie probably didn't want to say anything back to him anyway), and stepped back in. Seconds later, Richie launched his second career grand slam over the fence, breaking the tie and eventually completing the comeback win for the Giants. (Note: Richie's first grand slam was recorded as the first interleague grand slam in MLB history.) Oh, did I mention that Richie was currently carrying that famous flu-like virus that was spreading throughout the Giants' clubhouse? So much for feeling under the weather.

The first one was an unexperienced Detroit team, the second a clueless fan, and the third was a pitcher who didn't know any better.

My friends and I just finished cooking and eating a big meal, so we all laid in front of the TV enjoying the first few innings of Saturday's game against the Royals. With full and satisfied stomachs, we watched D.J. Carrasco get Richie to fly out the first time both players ever faced, but on the second time, Carrasco either forgot or didn't know that pitching inside to Richie, especially when you almost hit him, is asking for a death wish. Well, Carrasco pitched Richie inside... almost hit him, too. After seeing this happen, I joked and said, "He's going to hit a homerun now." My friends ignored me and, lo and behold, Richie got a base hit on the next pitch. As Richie was standing at first base with a smile on his face, I got up and said "SEE? I TOLD YOU SO!" They argued that he didn't hit a homerun and that I wasn't right, but that's besides the point.

Yelling "Whoa! Look out!" as Joe Angel does in his broadcasts is telling the hitter, on the surface level, to watch out for a pitch that almost took off a body part. However, with Mr. Aurilia in the batter's box, Angel mind as well be yelling "Whoa! Look OUT!" to the pitcher.

So after a few innings, my friends were getting bored and we started to watch Meet Joe Black. I fell asleep, and my friends mocked me by putting the game on when I did. Of course, I popped right up at the sound of baseball in my ears, and the second time they did it was in the 7th inning, where the Giants sealed their victory. Great timing on my friends' part.

With the previous loss against Kansas City and the thirteen base runners stranded still fresh on their minds, the Giants were looking to prevent from repeating the same thing on Saturday's game. Something else was fresh on Richie's mind: the fact that Carrasco almost hit him with a pitch in one of his previous at-bats. Richie didn't get a chance to squeeze more out of Carrasco as part of his revenge, but he banged another hit against the Royals, this time against Les Walroud, a demanding double over the head of the left fielder. In the seventh, there he was again in the batter's box, with Walroud taken out and reliever, Sean Lowe, on the mound. It didn't matter. Whoever was in white and blue at that point, Richie wanted a piece of... Kinda like in the mafia, where one family is clustered against another. There we go with the Italian roots again... Richie didn't need the Sopranos' theme for this one.

With the bases loaded again and set up for Richie, he went into the batter's box and made that clutch hit with runners in scoring position that the Giants needed, and one that he, personally, needed desparately as well. Lowe sent the first pitch way inside to Richie, another pitch almost hitting him yet again. Lowe was apparently asleep in the bullpen. Richie followed this fatal mistake by Lowe with a bloop right into center field... two runners score, two RBIs for Richie, another hit that broke a tie... It wasn't a grand slam this time, but in Richie's mind, he slammed the Royals home.

From these two outings, it seems that Richie has recovered from the flu bug that was plaguing the Giants. Truth is, it doesn't matter how Richie is feeling... Once you tick him off, there's no turning back.

So the question still remains unanswered: WHY do people not take this Brooklyn boy's attitude towards batting seriously? The Tigers' bench coach left San Francisco speechless, the fan in Chicago practically betrayed his team, and now this face off between Richie and Carrasco will forever reside in Carrasco's mind every time he hears "Shortstop, Rich Aurilia" announced on the PA at the stadium.

Apparently, people need to live and learn... By learning the hard way. Hey, no complaints here, every time Richie gets steamed, the Giants win... No wonder the Giants are tempted to make that trip to the opposing team's locker room to tell their pitcher to pitch inside to Richie.



Sara Kwan was born in San Francisco and raised in the Bay Area. She currently writes game recaps, other articles, and is one of the Two Giant Prophets for SFDugout.com. Any comments or questions about the article, baseball, or the meaning of life can be sent to Sara at shoot_hoops33@hotmail.com

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