Pounding those Thunder Stix
By Brian Murphy
Special to Page 2

Can't make it to The Cooler today, dwellers.

Gray Davis
Even California Gov. Gray Davis got into the Thunder Stix spirit, sort of.
Have to attend Thunder Stix Users Anonymous, where I stand in a conference room amid a semicircle of chairs and say: "Hi, I'm Murph, and I'm a Thunder Stix user."

Don't scoff at the Thunder Stix. I entered Pac Bell for Game 4 and was handed my Thunder Stix. I was like you, completely disdainful. My immediate reaction: Hey, I didn't know this was the Triple-A World Series. When's 25-cent beer inning? I was crushed that the hometown squad had resorted to these absurd gimmicks, the sure sign your town is Rubeville, USA. I mean, you see Thunder Stix at Yankee Stadium? You show up with Thunder Stix at Yankee Stadium, you get your ass kicked.

Pretty much as simple as that.

Then Game 4 between the Giants and Cardinals started.

I began to chew off my hand.

Seriously. Back molars to the fingers. Just gnawing away.

Game 4 stress is a serious thing, dwellers.

Enter the Thunder Stix.

With no choice to disperse the nervous energy, I banged those things like Gene Krupa on amphetamines. Like Keith Moon on crank. Like John Bonham on 11 double-espressos and airplane glue.

Angels fan
Thunder Stix helped get the postseason monkey off the Angels' backs.
Holy mother of Larry Mullen Jr., the Thunder Stix were a beautiful thing.

I'm telling you: J.T. Snow does not rake one off the wall to tie the game unless we're banging those bad boys. Benito Santiago does not seal his case for president of Puerto Rico unless we're Thunder Stixing our way into repetitive stress disorder.

Of course, if I really wanted to put the Thunder Stix to good use, I'd have boxed the ears of the cat sitting two rows behind me who, at every critical moment in the game, implored our nest of fans to, and I quote: "Sit down!"

Who wants to be the guy who, at any point in the league championship series, at his home park, with his team embroiled in a hand-gnawer, utters the words "sit" and "down" consecutively? Unless you're hurling that invective at Albert Pujols when he fans in the ninth -- preferably, if old Candlestick tradition held, with an unprintable wedged between the words "sit" and "down" -- then you're an LCS turd, plain and simple.

This guy should now be known by everyone in the section only as "Sitdown," uttered with withering detachment. "Hey, Sitdown, you think Benito has a beat on Rick White?" Or, "Hey, Sitdown, you ready to hawk those World Series tickets for profit?" Or, "Hey, Sitdown, check your stocks on your cell phone -- I think Cisco fell through the floor like an anvil through wet cardboard. Looks like you won't be back in this plush section next year, eh, Sitdown?"


At the Cooler, October baseball is a time for never sitting down, for going Rally Monkey crazy, for asking for the Hannibal Lecter body-wrap to calm yourself down when Robb Nen is on in the ninth, for planning to register to vote in Puerto Rico to start Benito Santiago's write-in campaign and -- yes, for Thunder Stix.

Now, quick. Let me grab 'em and beat out a little Buddy Rich doing "Charge!" on the Sparkletts jug while we roll out the Weekend List of Five:

1. Adam Kennedy and the Halos: a Cooler salute
Adam Kennedy
Adam Kennedy settles for champagne in the Anaheim locker room over Scotch with Teddy.
Free Dixie cup of Sparkletts to the winner of today's sports quiz: Name the one man on Earth who achieved immortality on Sunday. Hint: If he showed up at Hyannis Port, they might make him an honorary Kennedy, complete with a night making love to a bottle of Scotch with Teddy and some local birds. Pants optional.

Adam Kennedy, as Oasis might sing, is gonna live forever.

We've always been Twins fans here, and Torii Hunter fans, in particular, so leave it to the best center fielder in the game to sum up A. Kennedy's three-jack romp into all-time legend.

"Three home runs?" Hunter said, a sad and resigned smile on his face. "Come on."

Exactly. Adam Kennedy, three home runs?

Come on.

Not to put any sort of mortal damper on this thing, but the first paragraph of Adam Kennedy's obituary can already be written. This is a somewhat-sick game I sometimes like to play -- figuring out whose obit can already be written. Such as Tara Lipinski, for example. When she kicks it, even if it's 60 years from now, AP will send out: "Tara Lipinski, the youngest woman ever to win a gold medal in Olympic figure skating ..."

Or O.J. You can write that tomorrow. "O.J. Simpson, the Hall of Fame running back whose greatest run ever may have been his dubious escape from a double-murder charge ..."

Meanwhile, we have some concerns about this otherwise-inspiring Angels team. Like, for example, Troy Percival's eyesight. Can a brother get an optometrist? You see Percival peer in for the sign with those can't-squint-'em-any-harder eyes, and you expect the Fox camera shot to pull back and reveal Bengie Molina holding an eye chart.

Yo, Troy: Use the LCS bonus to get a pair of contact lenses, my man!

And then there's Frankie Rodriguez, at 20 years old not legally of age to have champagne sprayed down his celebration-ready throat. You can only imagine him toasting the big win by hanging out with his pals in an Orange County strip mall, hassling people as they go in to liquor stores with: "Hey, mister. Psssst. If I give you this $1,000 bill, will you bring back a bottle of St. Elmo's and a two-liter bottle of Coke?"

Congratulations, Angels fans. Now go buy that kid a beer.

2. Darryl Kile's kid
Kannon Kile
Kannon Kile tips the sentimental favorite scale in the Cards' favor.
Come on, man. You can't do that, can you? You can't bring Kannon Kile, the single most adorable kid in history, the kid you can't look at without brushing away a tear, the kid you want to scoop up and take care of for the rest of your life -- and put him in the Cardinals dugout, can you? What's a Giants fan to do?

That's unfair, man. Who roots against a team with Kannon Kile in the dugout?

My Giants fans pals were stumped. I said to my boy Jay, who usually has the perfect take: "Isn't that against the rules?" And Jay shot back: "It is against the rules!''

Giants fans are handcuffed on this one. How's this for a deal: Giants win the NLCS, Kannon Kile can be batboy for the black-and-orange, teaming with Dusty Baker's kid to form the greatest 1-2 midget-in-uniform punch in baseball history? Or at least since Eddie Gaedel's brother hung out in the St. Louis Browns dugout, acting as Eddie's agent and hassling Bill Veeck for a better deal for Eddie.

3. That Fox Voodoo Guy: I'm petrified
Darren Baker
Darren Baker ups the cute quotient even more.
I woke up in a cold sweat the other night. Thought that Fox voodoo guy from "October's Magical Matchups" was hovering over my bed. He had one of those voodoo dolls, and he was doing that violent stab thing and his mouth was wide open and he had that makeup on that makes him look like Pete the dog from "The Little Rascals."

Woke up screaming, drenched in icy sweat.

I haven't been this scared since my post-college roomie Sully and I double-locked our doors to make sure Midnight Oil's Peter Garrett wasn't trying to break in. His bald head and menacing scowl in the "Beds Are Burning" video had us spooked.

4. Oh, yeah: football
We're horsehide-friendly at The Cooler, often not recognizing the start of America's TV-driven pastime until the World Series is over. But there was some remarkable stuff on the gridiron this weekend, mostly involving the Dreaded Kicker.

Xavier Beitia
Florida State kicker Xavier Beitia ponders his missed field goal in Miami's 28-27 victory Saturday.
I've worked this bit before, about college football kickers needing to be publicly stoned. I'm thinking we've got a few takers in Tallahassee, Fla., this weekend. Was there any doubt in your human mind that Florida State was going to miss that field goal to beat Miami? FSU might as well have aborted the whole field-goal setup and, two plays earlier, gone for the "Longest Yard" dropkick. Anything to shake it up. Besides, then Larry Coker could have run up to the Bobby Bowden and said: "What was that?" And Bowden could have said: "Dropkick." And Coker could have asked a ref: "What's that worth?" And the ref could have said: "Three points." And Coker could have thrown his hat to the ground and screamed: "Three points? Bulls---!"

Sorry. I just really enjoy "The Longest Yard."

Meanwhile, the alma mater tripped up against Oregon because of a missed PAT and a missed field goal with under two minutes to play. Nice.

As soon as Congress finishes voting to approve G.W. Bush's plan to blow up the world, they can work on a resolution to Ban The College Kicker.

5. Final LCS thoughts
Fair play to the Angels. Somewhere in another universe, Gene Autry is dressed like that Fox voodoo guy, violently stabbing a doll of Dave Henderson, over and over, cackling in delight.

Meanwhile, Benny Santiago is paying a clandestine visit to his voodoo adviser, who happens to be that Fox guy, all dressed up in the hat and beads and makeup. Benny asks: "What do you think about Game 5?" And the Fox guy's response will be mute, except to violently stab a voodoo doll, over and over. Santiago can only take that as a good sign.

Now, somebody hand me my Thunder Stix.

Brian Murphy of the San Francisco Chronicle writes the "Weekend Water Cooler" every Monday for Page 2.



Brian Murphy Archive

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Murphy: Whackos in a Ligue of their own

Murphy: The Cooler throws a Tony party

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Murphy: Celebrating our youth in the rearview mirror

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