Hang Loose, yourself!
By Brian Murphy
Special to Page 2

Thirty-nine thousand feet over the Pacific Ocean. Cooler, packed with guava juice, in the overhead bin. A complimentary cocktail from Aloha Airlines on the serving tray. A return flight to California from Maui, a place so perfect that if any other plot of land on Earth tries to call itself "God's Country," its residents deserve to be stoned to death with coconuts and leftover ice cubes from empty mai tai glasses.

Timmy Chang
Maybe the flight crew was still excited about Timmy Chang's 403-yard, four-TD game in leading Hawaii over Tulsa.
So, is this heaven?

What are you, nuts?

I'm in hell! I've got room-and-board in the seventh level, dwellers! I'm in sheer, flaming hell! The flight left Maui at 2 p.m. Hawaii time -- otherwise known as the exact time of the first pitch of Game 2 of the World Series!

My flight attendant might as well be the ghost of Sam Kinison, patrolling the aisles in a beret, trenchcoat and orchid lei, leaning into my seat and screaming: "YOU'LL NEVER SEE GAME 2! BY THE TIME YOU LAND, IT'LL BE OVER! YOUR TEAM IS IN THE SERIES FOR ONLY THE SECOND TIME IN YOUR LIFE, AND YOU'RE MISSING THE ENTIRETY OF GAME 2! AH! AHHHHHHHHH! AAHHHHHHH!" I wish I had Kinison, truth told. Instead, I've got The Guy Who Has No Clue That The Giants Are in The World Series. I've got Mr. Flight Attendant who is more hellbent on serving the, and I quote, "Hoisin BBQ Chicken?" or "Marketplace Meatloaf?" -- and apologizing in advance if my choice is not available.

Yo, I've got your marketplace meatloaf right here, pal.

Now get me a damn Series score!

I've asked twice now, and been politely rebuffed by Mr. Flight Attendant, who, I'm sure, if asked to throw a baseball, would throw it like the Sean Hayes character from "Will and Grace." He's made the empty promise to "ask the captain," but I know what's going on in that cockpit. Captain Atu and his co-pilots are roasting a pig in a makeshift luau pit, rehashing the play-by-play of Hawaii's big win over Tulsa from Saturday night, and have no eentrest, brah in my silly little mainland game.

It's 6 p.m. Pacific now, and who knows what historic events are unfolding at Chez Disneyland? Has Bonds gone yard again? Has Troy Glaus continued to do his Frank Howard-on-creatine thing? Has Russ Ortiz changed expression on that placid mug of his? Has Kevin Appier thrown so many split-fingers in the dirt in front of home plate that resident gophers have filed an official complaint with the SPCA and Major League Baseball?

I don't know. I can't get a score. I can get "Marketplace Meatloaf," but I can't get a score.

(By the way, just asked for a score. Third time. Got the "Uh, sir, we're trying to serve our customers here, so you can let us do our job and stay out of our Marketplace Meatloaf grills right now?" Hey, Waiter Boy. What do I look like, chopped Spam? I'm a customer. I want the damn score. What part of "Aloha spirit" don't you understand?)

Some of you may think: What the hell are you doing in Hawaii when the Giants are in the Series for only the second time in your life, anyway?

Or, more to the point, what the hell are you doing flying home during Game 2, when the Giants are in the Series for only the second time in your life?

I know what you dwellers are thinking. You think I deserve this poi-flavored pain, don't you?

Tim Salmon
News of Tim Salmon's two-run homer in the eighth inning of Game 2 would have to wait.
What sort of ball fan schedules his flight home from Hawaii during Game 2? Worse, what sort of ball fan leaves the mainland during the opening weekend of the Series?

Cut a braddah a break, will ya? My boy Robbie scheduled his wedding in Maui months ago, back when the Giants were nothing more than a 10-games-over-.500 club more known for the Bonds-Kent Smackdown than any October promise. There was little indication they would show the hearts of lions to blaze through the National League playoffs. And if it makes you feel any better, my babe and I spent all of a Saturday in Da Islands locked up in our hotel room, sweating through Game 1. Our wedding cohorts spent a pristine afternoon day in a private plane over Molokai, swam in the seven pools of Hana, snorkeled and took a kahuna-sized bite out of the Islands. Me and my babe? Room service and Tim McCarver.

There is this silver lining: I Tivo'ed the game at home. If this flight goes much longer without a score, I'll go high-wire and try to make it through without hearing. Then, through the airport, through the baggage claim, through the drive home: No radio, no scores, no nothing. Maybe, just maybe, that's the answer. Home near midnight, then fire up the TiVo.

Except for the fact that Mr. Flight Attendant just came by:

"Seven to five, Angels. Sixth inning," he said.

I'm screwed.

"Check that," he said, "Giants just tied it up."

I'm a wreck.

On to the Weekend List of Five:

1. World Series observations, Part 1
Bill Bellamy, Peter Facinelli and Tiffani Thiessen
Longtime Angels fans Bill Bellamy, Peter Facinelli and Tiffani Thiessen of "Fastlane."

  • Things began smashingly, didn't they, when Fox rolled out The Ramones' version of "California Sun" in the pregame show. Those Converse-wearing longhairs from New York City outdid every solid Beach Boys tune, every bogus "If You're Going to San Francisco, Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair" lame-o ditty and made themselves honorary Golden Staters with that cover. By the way, if you're going to San Francisco, trust me: Don't wear flowers in your hair. Don't even think about it. We clear on that?

  • Team introductions went off without a hitch, though I'm reminded that the single greatest team introduction ever was, without question, last year's New England Patriots "Storm the Field Together" effort at the Superdome. That was straight out of "Braveheart," man. Bill Belichick should have been wearing a kilt.

  • Nice to see the cast of Fox's upcoming series "Fastlane" made it to the tilt. Man, how'd those guys get tickets? Can you believe all the cast members of "Fastlane" are such huge ball fans? And can you believe they all got seats together? That is awesome! I'm gonna watch "Fastlane" now, for sure!

    2. World Series observations, Part Deux
    Tim Salmon, David Eckstein, Scott Spiezio
    Tim Salmon, left and Scott Spiezio try to stretch out David Eckstein.

  • Whose idea was it to throw Barry Bonds an inside fastball first time up? Nice thought. Hey, we'll catch him sleeping! He'll never expect it! Might as well throw a bin of spare ribs in front of Shawn Wooten. Let's hope Bonds' first Series AB puts a sock in all those killjoys who question the guy's ability to perform on a big stage. As if his entire postseason hadn't already. As if his career numbers in September didn't already. As if his entire career didn't already. We clear on that, too?


  • Does David Eckstein hang upside down from a bar in the clubhouse before games, mimicking Bobby Brady's attempts to get taller? Seriously. If Danny Almonte faced David Eckstein, he'd shout to the opposing dugout: Hey, send the varsity next time! Of course, by the time Eckstein had battled his way through his early-innings AB and gotten that ground ball to the right side to advance Adam Kennedy, I was filled with a deep and massive admiration for the kid. Eckstein plays the game beautifully, and I promise to tip him an extra dollar at Christmastime the next time he comes collecting for his paper route.

  • During one of Scott Spiezio's at-bats, the talk turned to Sandfrog, Spiezio's garage band. I know Sandfrog. I covered Spiezio when he was with the A's, and Sandfrog was in its earlier, less commercial days. I long for Sandfrog's pre-World Series albums. And how about McCarver? He made reference to "The Sandfrogs." McCarver. So square, man.

    3. An apology
    I re-read last week's Cooler, in the harsh light of day.

    Dwellers, I need to apologize.

    Angels fans
    Years from now they'll be talking about Thunder Stix as baseball fans', and Brian Murphy's, lapses in judgment.
    In no way, shape or form do I endorse the use of Thunder Stix. I am not, nor have I ever been, a member of the Thunder Stix Users Party.

    Clearly, the adrenaline rush produced by the ball flight of Benito Santiago's Game 4-winning home run in the NLCS caused unclear thinking patterns. Such a rush can cause embarrassing turns of events -- not unlike the awkward lunges, fueled by alcohol, you've made at hot chicks in bars, or not unlike those best man toasts that bleed into the profane.

    Hey, Sinatra had "L.A. is My Lady." U2 had its "Pop" tour. AT&T hired Carrot Top.

    And I had my Thunder Stix column.

    Can you find it in your hearts to forgive me?

    4. Obligatory football interlude
    Carson Palmer
    Carson Palmer and USC whipped Washington and its one-horse offense Saturday.
    Flipping the dials, caught Keith Jackson doing the 'SC-Washington game. Still doing games! He and Pat Summerall combined have had more fake retirements than Roberto Duran. The beauty of Jackson is, it's 2002 and he's still working -- to perfection -- his grizzled Old West act. When UW's star receiver Reggie Williams caught another pass in the first half, Dan Fouts remarked that the Huskies were turning to Williams quite often. Said Jackson, surely a wad of tobacco wedged in his cheek, giving shape to his silver, handlebar mustache: "It takes more than one horse to drag a wagon all day."

    Beauty is, Jackson lives in L.A.! He's dropping those bons mots, then heading over to Sky Bar to work on a deal with his agent, before driving over to Brad's and Jennifer's Malibu mansion for a screening of "The Good Girl" over some sushi. Awesome.

    Also: Have you pondered an NFL weekend in Hawaii?

    Get your best pals, roll out to Maui, turn it into an all-night mai tai fest, stay up partying, and, presto! At 7 a.m., NFL action on the big-screen. Wager to your heart's delight, catch the "late" game at 10 a.m. over Hawaiian Eggs Benedict, nap before the Sunday "night" game at 2 p.m., then back out for mai tais at sunset.

    I'd say that plan is strong, to quite strong.

    5. World Series Observations, Part e

  • Gene Clines' banshee scream might be the best audio ever produced by a big-league dugout. Really, is there any other appropriate reaction for one of Bonds' Godzilla shots than to, and I quote the Giants' batting coach here, say: "AAAHHRRKKGGHH!" Everything else has been written, parsed, overanalyzed and blathered to death. So, when in doubt, just say, "AAAHHRRKKGGHH!"

  • Caught Michael Eisner in the private box with Tim Allen. Please, please, please let it mean we get "Santa Clause 3" next year. Please! Don't tease us, you comedy kings. Please let it be true!

  • Listen. I know this is a business. I know the drug helps men's lives. But could we be a little more judicial with the timing on those Viagra ads? In the middle of the ninth, with the Giants up 4-3 in Game 1, three outs away from their first World Series win since 1962, I really, really, really don't want to be reminded of Raffy Palmeiro's erectile dysfunction.

  • Well, well, well. Ain't this the damndest thing? Four-and-a-half-hour flight, and only as he announces our descent into the Bay Area -- just as he announces our descent into the Bay Area! -- the pilot comes on to say: "Well, folks, it's a final. We had told you 9 to 9 in the bottom of the ninth, but that was incorrect. The game is actually over. The score was 11 to 10. A final ... the Angels won."

    A loud groan throughout the 737.


    After all that?

    Are you kidding me?

    Who's my pilot? The Fox voodoo guy?

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



    Brian Murphy Archive

    Murphy: Pounding those Thunder Stix

    Murphy: All wet, and lovin' it, at the Ryder Cup

    Murphy: Whackos in a Ligue of their own

    Murphy: The Cooler throws a Tony party

    Murphy: Put a Big Apple in The Cooler

    Murphy: Celebrating our youth in the rearview mirror

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