As the ’89 playoffs were about to begin, the folks at Electronic Arts (aka EA Sports) were asked by the San Francisco Chronicle to put together a simulation of a Bay Bridge World Series, or at least its first game, by inputting the A’s and Giants season stats into the “Earl Weaver on Baseball” video game. It was a little sign of the growth of the video game and fantasy realm for the sports fans over the next two decades. So, here’s what the Chronicle’s Glenn Dickey said. It’s absolute trivia, sure, but also shows how sports and technology were combining in the Bay Area:
Happy Keller, who wears a Giants cap and sweatshirt to work, was selected to manage the Giants team. Rich Hilleman managed the A’s. Both approached their jobs with enthusiasm and aggressiveness, possibly calling for even more pitchouts than Roger Craig and Tony La Russa will during the real Series.
We had to make some assumptions. Though Scott Garrelts has had an outstanding season, for instance, Reuschel was picked as the Giants starter; all of us remember Garrelts’ shakiness in clutch situations in past years. Dave Stewart was the A’s starter, even though it could be argued that Mike Moore pitched better this season, because of Stewart’s reputation as a big-game pitcher.
And, though Mike Gallego has played surprisingly well at shortstop for the A’s this year, we assumed that Walt Weiss would be the starter in the Series.
Because the opener would be played at the Oakland Coliseum, the designated hitter was to be used, so we made Ernest Riles the Giants DH and batted him fifth, between Kevin Mitchell and Matt Williams.
That behind us, we played the game as honestly as we could, considering that the company president, Trip Hawkins, is a Giants season-ticket holder and was watching our game avidly. Not saying the game was fixed, mind you, but . . . IN MANY ways, the game mirrored what is likely to happen in a Bay Bridge Series.
There was, for instance, Steve Bedrosian coming in and throwing a two-run homer, just as he did to Dale Murphy of the Atlanta Braves on September 12. There was Rickey Henderson stealing two bases.
And Walt Weiss got three hits.
Walt Weiss? The same player who has hit under .240 this season? Yes, because the Series often produces unlikely heroes. Remember Buddy Biancalana? Gene Tenace? Don Larsen? Howard Ehmke?
The matchups? Reuschel put Jose Canseco in his hip pocket, striking him out four times. Again, the kind of thing that could happen, because Reuschel could keep a too-eager Canseco off balance.
Stewart gave up a single to Will Clark in the first inning but struck out Clark with two men on and two outs in the third. He pitched very, very carefully to Kevin Mitchell, walking him twice.
The scoring went like this:
The A’s scored first in the bottom of the fourth when Tony Phillips walked and came around on a double by Weiss.
The Giants evened it in the fifth. Jose Uribe led off with a triple – speaking of unlikely heroes – and scored on a successful suicide squeeze by Brett Butler.
In the seventh, the Giants took a 3-1 lead when Pat Sheridan doubled and, after a strikeout by Uribe, Butler and Robby Thompson followed with singles. Because the throw went to the plate on Butler’s single, he moved up to second and was in a position to score on Thompson’s single.
Singles by Sheridan, Butler and Thompson provided another Giants run in the top of the ninth, but that 4-1 Giants lead became very shaky in the bottom of the inning.
When Weiss led off with a single, Keller took out the tiring Reuschel, who had thrown 137 pitches, and brought in Bedrosian. On a 2-1 count, Henderson hit a 395-foot shot over the left-field fence to bring the A’s back to 4-3.
Carney Lansford followed with a drive that backed Mitchell up to the fence for the first out. Canseco, finally seeing a real fastball, drove one of Bedrosian’s right to the fence in left-center, but again, Mitchell caught up to it. Finally, Dave Parker hit one off his fists that the busy Mitchell caught for the third out.
A shaky outing for Bedrosian, but a save nonetheless, and a Giants win.