SanFran’s Cinderella Man

SanFran’s Cinderella Man

~ Amy Lignor

There is still a long road to walk…well, seven BIG steps at the most, if you want to narrow it down. The Royals could just be in that Cinderella season that harkens back to the 1980’s – the last decade they showed their faces on the diamond during the World Series. It hasn’t been all that long since San Francisco graced the scene, but this time around it is one man who shines. It is one man who, up until last weekend, was…so-so. He was not among the Pete Rose or Babe Ruth realm. He was simply a baseball player who wanted to make a difference. Boy…he did just that!


200px-Ishikawa_1B_on_october_1_2009Travis Takashi Ishikawa, first baseman for the San Francisco Giants of Major League Baseball, carried his bat in his left-hand as always, and had the play of his entire lifetime. This is a man who was drafted in the 21st round in 2002 by the Giants right out of high school. However, although he made his debut with the Giants in 2006, the Milwaukee Brewers, the Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees, and the Pittsburgh Pirates are also on his resume.


In 2009, his niche as the first baseman of the Giants began. Unfortunately, he was not as we stated above the Ruth, Rose, etc., of the baseball world. In fact, he was replaced for part of the 2009 season by Ryan Garko. On defense, he did well, and in 2010 as a pinch-hitter and a defensive replacement he went with SanFran and won his own World Series ring.


Not good enough… The Milwaukee Brewers utilized him the same way as the Giants in 2013, and he went on to play half-dozen games for the Orioles and get the feeling that lasts a lifetime, apparently, when he played one game for the New York Yankees. The Pirates were next taking him on in 2014, but traded him. Ishikawa most likely didn’t know, at that time, his ‘normal’ so-so baseball talents would one day be heralded – and certainly they wouldn’t be seen as the reason why a team was headed (back) to the World Series.


Now, of course, you can’t give the man all the credit. But what you can rightfully do is smile wide and pat the guy on the back for hitting a walk-off three-run home run which sent the Giants out onto the field screaming with happiness on Thursday night, and sent the St. Louis Cardinals back home with heads in hands.


No…this is definitely NOT the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” which came from Bobby Thompson outfielder, who was also a Giant (New York, at that time, of course). But Ishikawa most certainly must have woken up on Friday morning reveling in the fact that his so-so-ness served a mighty purpose that made him the hero of a locker room and the hero of a city.


downloadIshikawa is the man of the hour; maybe not the man of the year, but definitely up there in the Top Ten when all is said and done. He deserves to smile. He deserves to enjoy himself, knowing that a player can have luck and belief on their side. He created an image…a moment in time that will last in his mind forever. He will be the ‘one’ who took SanFran back. Now, whether or not they win remains to be seen. There are some, as always voting for the more Cinderella-like team to take it so they can bring it home after all this time. But when you speak about Ishikawa, he is definitely the Cinderella Man of San Francisco, and will be supported by fans everywhere.


Perhaps karma can continue for the SanFran sports world…do you think? Wouldn’t it be interesting to see SanFran claim a World Series AND a Super Bowl (sending the Cardinals home yet again), just for the fun of it? We shall see. But for now, raise your glasses high to a so-so, now heroic, player who took one swing and carved out a niche for himself in baseball history.