DETROIT — For the first time in the 14-year history of the Hank Aaron Award — given annually to the best overall hitter in each league — both winners were busy facing one another in the World Series.
At a news conference held before Game 3 at Comerica Park, MLB commissioner Bud Selig, executive vice president of player development Frank Robinson and Hammerin' Hank himself presented trophies to the Giants' Buster Posey and the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera for their offensive prowess in 2012. Interestingly, Cabrera and Posey took turns at the podium, rather than sharing it. They did shake hands during a ceremony at home plate before the game.
Posey led the National League with a .336 batting average while hitting 24 home runs and driving in 103 runs this season. Cabrera won baseball's first triple crown since 1967, leading the American League in average (.330), homers (44) and RBIs (139); he was honored for that at the news conference, too.
"I'm just humbled that Hank Aaron knows who I am," Posey said. "Growing up in Georgia, he's a legend everywhere, but even more so there."
CAN'T COOL DOWN A HOT TEAM
It was nippy in Motown on Saturday — 47 degrees at first pitch, with a steady wind blowing out to right field.
OK, that's not quite wintry. Icicles were not hanging from the dugout rails. But look at it this way: Game 3 was the coldest Giants postseason game at least as far back as the 1989 playoffs, when temperature became part of the official game box. The players wore hoodies while shagging balls before the game, and some wore knit caps while they took batting practice.
"Yeah, I haven't worn sleeves the whole year, fortunately, but that's going to change," Max Scherzer, Detroit's projected Game 4 starter, said before Saturday's game. "I'm going back to all the tricks I did in college (at the University of Missouri) — numerous 40-degree games there. It'll be a challenge, just like what everybody has to do to battle this cold weather."
TO HECTOR GO THE SPOILS
Hector Sanchez found himself in an unfamiliar position Saturday night, with his bat at the ready and his glove safety tucked away for another day.
In the first game at the American League site in this Fall Classic, Giants manager Bruch Bochy made Sanchez his designated hitter. The second-year player had filled the DH role just once before, in a 4-2 loss to the A's on June 24.
Before the game, Bochy explained that Sanchez got the nod over the other leading DH candidate, Aubrey Huff, because he's a switch hitter. Huff bats from the left side, a disadvantage against Anibal Sanchez. Lefties hit .243 against the Tigers starter this year, while righties hit .291.
"He's given us a lot of quality at-bats, big hits when we needed them," Bochy said of Sanchez before the game. " ... I just remember so many clutch hits that Hector has given us, and so I just felt like he's earned this."
AND NO PINEAPPLE, PLEASE
Among the more lively World Series bets is the one wagered by the Raceway at Sonoma and the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, both of which stage IndyCar races.
If the Giants close out the Series, Belle Isle will send pizza from Detroit-based Little Caesars, as well as 12 turkeys for donation to Glide Memorial Church of San Francisco. If the Tigers come back to win, the raceway in Carneros will ship a generous assortment of Ghirardelli chocolates, plus 12 turkeys for a homeless shelter in Detroit.