October-West weekend

Originally Published: October 1, 2004
By Jim Caple | ESPN.com

Welcome to October and a final weekend of West Coast baseball so wild it should require a Richter Scale measurement.

Down in Los Angeles, the Dodgers and Giants, first and second in the NL West, renew baseball's oldest and greatest rivalry with the chance of each team once again being able to ruin the other's season. Up in Oakland, the Angels and Athletics are the first teams since the 1980 Phillies and Expos to be tied for first place while entering a season-ending series against each other. And way up in Seattle, Edgar Martinez closes out his distinguished career while Ichiro closes in on the 84-year-old single-season hit record that George Sisler set before the Yankees played in their first World Series.

As if all that weren't enough, we've also got the Angels and Dodgers suspending a couple of their best players for bad behavior, Los Angeles closer Eric Gagne taking a cortisone shot for a sore shoulder, Oakland fans picking fights with the bullpen and Barry Bonds finishing up another season for the ages.

Heck, with all that going on, Oakland fans may even show up at the ballpark.

In fact, given all the confusing possible scenarios, it may be difficult to keep reality separate from fantasy this weekend ...

Eric Gagne
Eric Gagne's shot in the arm could boost the Dodgers.

Friday
Oakland -- With the players union still fighting for Jose Guillen's reinstatement, the Angels suffer another devastating loss when management abruptly suspends the Rally Monkey for showing up manager Mike Scioscia by tossing a chair at Oakland hecklers in the family section near the bullpen. Oakland takes a one-game lead by winning the series opener 7-5 in front of 7,623 passionate fans, some of whom are not armed.

Los Angeles -- The Dodgers fail to clinch the NL West title by losing 8-3 to the Giants when they accidentally pitch to Barry Bonds. Worse, when Bonds' home run lands in the Dodgers bullpen, Eric Gagne and Wilson Alvarez suffer season-ending shoulder injuries while fighting over the ball.

Seattle -- Ichiro breaks Sisler's record by singling three times while driving to the ballpark. He singles two more times while stretching, four times during batting practice, three times during the pre-game spread, once during the National Anthem, four times during the game, once during the postgame interview, twice in the shower and five times on the drive home. The Mariners strand him on base 25 times, however, and lose 4-2.

Saturday
Oakland -- The players union and the Angels reach a compromise in the Jose Guillen dispute. Guillen is allowed back in uniform but he won't be allowed to play. Instead he'll replace the suspended Rally Monkey. With the Rally Guillen cheering from the dugout, the Angels move back into a tie for first place after Oakland starter Mark Mulder tries to pick David Eckstein off first base and Vladimir Guerrero leans over the plate and hits the pickoff throw for a two-run homer in an eventual 4-2 victory in front of a Witness Protection Night crowd of 8,349.

Seattle -- One night after breaking Sisler's record, Ichiro takes the game off and gets three hits.

Los Angeles -- The Giants beat Los Angeles again when Shawn Green and the rest of the Dodgers choose to sit out the game in observance of scheduled starter Edwin Jackson's 6.75 ERA. The Dodgers team chemistry is also damaged when Alvarez sues Gagne over possession of the Bonds home run ball.

Sunday
Seattle -- The Mariners honor Edgar with a touching pre-game ceremony in Seattle. In between Edgar's receiving a rocking chair and a fully-loaded Hummer, Ichiro gets two hits.

Oakland -- It's Ankle Monitor Day at the Coliseum, with the first 8,000 fans receiving a free Athletics' logo ankle monitoring device to wear while serving out their house arrests. The Angels win the AL West title when a fan throws a baseball onto the field and Guerrero slams it over the left field fence for a 5-4 victory. Anaheim's playoff hopes are damaged, however, when the record crowd of 9,236 turns over the Angels bus and set it ablaze after the game.

Los Angeles -- With the score tied 4-4, the bases loaded in the ninth inning and 15,000 fans already driving home, the Dodgers intentionally walk Bonds to give the Giants the victory and force a one-game playoff for the NL West title. On a positive note, Gagne and Alvarez agree to shake hands, share the home run ball and sell it together on eBay.

Monday
San Francisco -- Adrian Beltre homers in the ninth inning to give the Dodgers a dramatic 7-6 victory over the Giants to win the NL West title. Milton Bradley celebrates the championship by throwing bottles of champagne at the Giants fans.

Tuesday
The playoffs begin. Ichiro gets five more hits even though the Mariners didn't qualify for the postseason.

Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

Jim Caple | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com