SAN FRANCISCO -- Could you see the ring?
There it was, through the chill and mist and dull silence of a stunned crowd.
Did you see it shine? The Angels surely saw it. They had to see it.
A world championship ring, at their gloved fingertips, within their 42-year-long grasp.
The fifth inning, a 3-0 lead over the San Francisco Giants, their starter rolling, their bullpen rested, 15 outs from taking a three-games-to-one lead, putting the squeeze on this World Series.
The ring was there.
And then it was gone.
It slipped out of their hands and down to the wet grass and by the time they fell to their knees to retrieve it, the renewed fans stomping and hooting around them, the ring had disappeared.
It was kicked away by the Giants in a 4-3 victory Wednesday that changed everything.
This deal is even now. Jason Schmidt, Thursday's power pitcher who slowed the Angels in Game 1, can do real damage now. The Angels should be worried now.
Said the Giants' Tim Worrell: "This was a momentum shift."
Said the Angels' John Lackey: "This was no big deal. We've been here before."
Who do we believe? The problem is, we have also been here before. And while we promised to never again talk about curses and jinxes, well, goodness ...
Did you see that funk in the fifth inning? Did you see that Frankie in the eighth inning?
Now it is the Giants who have those wide eyes and huge grins.
"You guys wouldn't write us off, would you?" asked Giant second baseman Jeff Kent, laughing.
Now it was the Angels who were eating their postgame chicken and rice in silence on tiny tables surrounded by hundreds of media waiting for answers.
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