Kevin Brown lost his cool before he lost Game 4.
Thus, a dubious pattern shown by the San Diego Padres throughout a very short 1998 World Series was carried out one last time.
And SD still stands for ... someday.
The Padres went down fighting all right -- themselves, the umpires, everybody but the New York Yankees.
After the Yankees scored seven times in the seventh inning of Game 1, the Padres acted like they didn't belong here -- and, sure enough, they didn't. It was one part physical, two parts psychological.
They treated the Yankees like royalty. Or maybe more like an obedient dog treats its owner. They stayed close. They chased a few balls. They rolled over and played dead.
Something happened to the Padres once they let Saturday's Game 1 slip away. They turned stupid -- and stayed that way through four games. That's all it took.
One minute, they were knocking off Houston and Atlanta -- teams that had won more than 100 games each -- and hoisting the National League pennant. The next minute, they were part of Bruce Bochy's vaudeville act.
Against the Yankees, they stopped hitting (.239). They stopped pitching (5.82 ERA). They stopped running the bases intelligently.
Ken Caminiti was hurting. Kevin Brown and Andy Ashby were sick. Trevor Hoffman lost his mystique. But more than anyhing, the Padres got away from their loose-but-focused style of baseball and instead played like ushers in a wedding.
| Bonehead plays, like the one Jim Leyritz made here, are a big reason the Padres were swept in the World Series. (AP) |
Instead of running the bases and scoring runs in bunches, they talked about running temperatures and running into bad luck.
Brown vehemently disagreed. The call put runners on first and second with nobody out. But you would've thought it put Brown's entire family in peril, the way he waved his arms and barked at Garcia.
In reality, brown was venting a World Series full of frustrations.
"I don't know if (Leyritz) realizes how quick (Brown) is at covering first base," Bochy said. "He was there to take the throw, but Jim felt like he could take it himself. And from my angle, it was hard to see. But going by Kevin's reaction, he was out. And that's why I came out to argue."
Brown should've spent those precious moments composing himself, trying to hold the Yankees to a single digit. Instead what followed were a ground ball, an intentional walk (Tino Martinez), an RBI single (Scott Brosius) and a sacrifice fly (Ricky Ledee), as the Yankees went on to win 3-0 and sweep.
Brown eventually escaped the inning, glared at Garcia all the way from the mound to just outside the Padres' first-base dugout where he doffed his cap and waved it sarcastically in the direction of the veteran umpire. Garcia turned his back.
Brown was done. So were the Padres.
Earlier, San Diego squandered a chance to get on the scoreboard when Ruben Rivera made a bonehead base-running mistake in the seventh inning after a one-out double. Carlos Hernandez followed with a ground ball back to the mound, which Andy Pettitte fielded and caught Rivera in no-man's land between second and third.
Rivera was tagged out by third baseman Brosius in a brief rundown.
Rivera was greeted by silence in the Padres dugout. And one long stare from pitching oach Dave Stewart.
The Padres beat Houston and Atlanta on good pitching, timely hitting and some heady plays in the field and on the base paths.
Against the Yankees, these same Padres -- appropriately enough -- went blank.
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