Tony DeMarco


The Big Five with … Giants official Felipe Alou

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ARLINGTON, Texas — Felipe Alou lost a World Series as a Giants player in 1962, and it still haunts him. These days, the 75-year-old Alou remains active, scouting and working with Latin players in his role as a special advisor to Giants general manager Brian Sabean. He takes on The Big Five here:

It’s been 56 years since the Giants last won the World Series. Some great Giants players – yourself included – never won a championship. What will it mean if this Giants team wins it all?

“We were so close in 2002, with a lead late in (Game 7). It will mean a lot. We had good teams, with great Giants. But sometimes the team was not so great.”

Your memory of Game 7 of the 1962 World Series isn’t a good one.

“I was 1-for-4; I got a base hit off Ralph Terry, who pitched a complete-game shutout. But in the ninth inning, I couldn’t advance a runner over (to second base), and that runner was Matty Alou, my brother. So when Willie Mays came up and hit a double, it didn’t score Matty. It’s one of the sore spots in my career, my life, really. If this team wins, maybe I would forgive me a little bit.”

You managed a much-different Giants team than this one as recently as 2006.

“Yes, traditionally we’re a team that relied on the long ball. Barry Bonds, Jeff Kent, guys like that. We were an older team. So some kind of transition had to take place, and it only took four years. That’s really awesome.”

So did this team surprise you in reaching the World Series so quickly?

“It got here maybe before its time, maybe a year early. Not so many people believed in the Giants in spring training. But before the playoffs a Padres scout told me, ‘we fear your team because of the way they hustle, the way they play, and you never know who is going to get the big hit.’ That is what this team in all about.”

Your impressions of Madison Bumgarner?

“He doesn’t need to trick anybody. Everything he throws … is awesome. Cutter, slider, fastball. That’s tough on other teams. They have to be thinking, he’s the No. 4 starter?”

Editor’s note: Tony DeMarco is a contributor to who has been covering the big leagues since 1987. He’ll interview a guest during each day of the World Series for

The Big Five with … Rangers pitcher Cliff Lee


ARLINGTON, Texas — Before Cliff Lee signs a mega-free-agent deal this off-season, he’s got another showdown with Tim Lincecum coming in Game 5. And this time, he’ll have to bounce back after one of his worst starts of the year — and certainly the worst in his otherwise brilliant postseason career. Not to mention, facing The Big Five: 

You’ve set such a high standard for yourself that on the rare occasion when you did struggle, was it a surprise to you?

“I don’t know if it was a surprise. I know every time I go out there, I expect to be successful. So any time it’s anything less than that, you’re disappointed. You never know what’s going to happen out there. Those guys swinging the bat are pretty good, too. If you make mistakes, that’s what they get paid to hit. I was throwing a lot of balls over the plate. You can’t do that on a consistent basis and expect to be successful. They showed me that the other night.”

Was there any issue with the mound in Game 1?

“No, none. I know I kick and scratch on the mound, but I do that every time, if you’ve watched close enough. That’s part of, I guess, my in-between-pitch routine and what I do. I like to pay attention to where my foot is hitting. I try to keep (the landing spot) smooth and level and clean.”

You said after Game 1 that health wasn’t an issue for you. Have you figured out why that happened? Was it a mechanical thing, or something else you need to change?

“Anything I say is an excuse, and I’m not going to sit here and make excuses. I threw balls down the middle of the plate, and they hit them. I’ve got to do a better job of locating pitches. The reason why, and all that stuff, regardless of what I say, it sounds like an excuse, so I’d rather not say anything.”

Has your opinion of the Giants hitters changed at all since the series began?

“They’ve got a lot of quality hitters; there’s no doubt about it. In the last press conference, I was saying how good their pitching staff was, and it made it seem like their hitters aren’t as good — and that’s not the case. They proved it in San Francisco for sure. They scored, what was it, 20-something runs in two games? They’re pitch-able, but like I say, if you make mistakes and miss over the plate, and they’re 2-0, 3-1 (in the count), bad things are going to happen.”

You’ve been with the Rangers for just more than four months. What’s your take on your time here?

“It’s been a great experience; they’re great teammates. I knew the offense was unbelievable before I got here because I’ve had to face them in the past, and it hasn’t been a whole lot of fun. I knew we were going to score runs, no question about that.

“It’s definitely one unit working together. There are a lot of individually talented players, but we really do pull for each other, and if someone doesn’t get it done, the next guy is there to do it. That’s the recipe for a winning team, and that’s why we are where we’re at.”

Editor’s note: Tony DeMarco is a contributor to who has been covering the big leagues since 1987. He’ll interview a guest during each day of the World Series for

The Big Five with … Rangers president/owner Nolan Ryan


 ARLINGTON, Texas — In the place where they do everything bigger, there is nobody bigger than Nolan Ryan. So for the first World Series home game in Texas Rangers history, who better to take on The Big Five?

Is there anybody you played either with or against who you think compares to Josh Hamilton?

“Not played with. That period of time he put together before he got hurt (in May) was as impressive a stretch as I ever saw from a hitter. And not just hitting, but the way he played the outfield, played the entire game. Watching him day-in, day-out you realize how special he is. You just don’t see many players like that. The first time I saw Josh and appreciated how talented he was, he reminded me of Cesar Cedeno, and how talented he was. But Josh has more power than Cesar did.”

What does this World Series appearance do for the future of the Rangers franchise?

“I was watching Jay Leno the other night, and he was talking about the World Series and the Texas Rangers, and I thought, ‘gosh that sounds strange.’  I think this puts us on the map with a lot of people. One thing I’ve seen is how much Texas Rangers memorabilia people around the country are wearing. Our fans didn’t even wear it to the ballpark when I came here in 2008.”

Is there a feeling that the team has arrrived?

“You can never have a comfort level. You have to be very flexible, and always anticipate the worst thing that can happen. We hustled all year for catching, all year for a utilityman, and we’re always looking for pitching. So we’re not going to take the attitude that just because we got to the World Series, we don’t have to be diligent about what we’re going to do. We need to be even more aggressive to fill any hole we think we may have.”

Your only other World Series appearance was as a player with the 1969 New York Mets. What has that long period in between taught you?

“My perspective sitting here today as opposed to a 22-year-old with New York is totally different. That was a very magical year for us. It came together the last six weeks of the season, when the Cubs went into a tailspin and we started getting hot. Did we think we were going to win a world championship? I don’t think anybody on our team thought that. My goal was to be a starter on a championship team. I got close a couple of times, but it never happened. The longer my career goes, the more I realize how hard and unique it is to get there. I’m much more appreciative today than as a 22-year-old.”

Talk about your relationship with general manager Jon Daniels, who is half your age.

“He and I have different perspectives. But I think that’s one reason why we get along. We end up reaching the same conclusion when we’re talking about making changes. He voices his opinion and I voice mine, and they complement each other. I believe experience is a great teacher. With me on our pitchers, I think I see things a lot of people don’t because they didn’t stand on that mound and experience all the different things I did in my career.”

Editor’s note: Tony DeMarco is a contributor to who has been covering the big leagues since 1987. He’ll interview a guest during each day of the World Series for