After four games of the World Series the Giants had seen enough
of Troy Glaus. He had burned San Francisco pitchers for seven
hits, including three home runs, and five RBIs. So they decided
to make the Angels' slugging third baseman a little less, uh,
comfortable at the plate. In his first at bat in Game 5, Glaus
was knocked down by a 95-mph heater from righthander Jason
Schmidt. In his first at bat of the following game, Glaus landed
on his back when righthander Russ Ortiz buzzed another fastball
under his chin.
The plan appeared to work. After homering in the third inning of
the Angels' 4-3 loss in Game 4, Glaus struck out three times and
had just one hit in his next seven at bats. By the time he
stepped to the plate with one out in the seventh inning of Game
6, with his team trailing 5-0, Glaus was in a certifiable
minislump. "He was ticked off," says Anaheim hitting coach Mickey
Hatcher. "You could see it in his eyes. But sometimes you don't
want to get a guy mad when he's not swinging the bat that well."
Glaus vented his anger on the first pitch he saw from Ortiz in
that inning, smoking it into leftfield for a single. That hit
sparked a three-run rally, and the Giants' championship dreams
began to go up in flames. An inning later Glaus completed the
Angels' stunning 6-5 comeback victory by driving in the tying and
winning runs with a double off closer Robb Nen. Glaus finished
the Series with a .385 average and eight RBIs, and after Sunday's
clinching win he was awarded the MVP trophy that a day before
seemed to be Barry Bonds's for the taking. Overall in the
postseason Glaus had a .344 average and seven home runs, one
short of the record set by Bonds this year. "A lot of people say
we don't have superstars, but Troy's one," says first baseman
Scott Spiezio. "He may not get a lot of publicity, but hopefully
he will now."
Glaus doesn't share that sentiment. It's possible to have a tooth
extracted with less discomfort than Glaus displays during
interviews. While most of his teammates cavorted in front of the
cameras in the champagne-drenched Edison Field clubhouse after
Game 7, Glaus retreated to a back room and was all but invisible.
His reaction to being named MVP? "I don't even know what to
think," he said. "They told me to go stand on the stage, so I
stood on the stage [to accept the award]. That's about it."
Until the postseason, this had been a lost year for the
26-year-old Glaus. After leading the league with 47 home runs in
2000, his second full season in the majors, and whacking another
41 in '01, he endured a series of slumps and hit only 30 this
year. For the months of June and July he batted .198. Such cold
streaks shook his confidence, and he became too choosy and
passive at the plate. "He needed to open up the zone and be
aggressive," says Hatcher.
Glaus found his power stroke in September, when he hit eight
homers and drove in 22 runs to finish with a career-high 111
RBIs. That streak carried over into the postseason when he
homered three times in the first two games of the Division Series
against the Yankees and cracked another to win Game 3 of the ALCS
against the Twins. "He wasn't consistent this season, but he got
a lot of clutch hits," says rightfielder Tim Salmon. "I told him,
'You don't have to hit 40 home runs to win the World Series.'"
As it turned out, it only took seven. --Stephen Cannella