It's always a fun night when Pablo Sandoval puts on a show. He's the antithesis of Carlos Beltran, who is one cool cat and never breaks a sweat. Can you imagine Beltran with pine tar on his helmet or his uniform crumpled and soiled? Never. Can you imagine the Panda intent and contemplative on the bench? Impossible. One of the things I like most about baseball is the variety of characters who populate the field, and the differences in style and temperament the game seems to accept. I like the large variation in physical types as well. In baseball you get everything from Mike Fontenot (5'-8", 165 lbs.) to Kyle Blanks (6'-6", 270 lbs). Take a look at any soccer team--everyone is the same (other than the keeper). They are all six feet tall and 13 stone as the Brits would say. American football selects for freakish size, as does basketball. Take a look at Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal (throw in Novak Djokovic as well)--they are clones! Baseball is one of the few sports where the athletes don't have to look like they just stepped out of a Tour de France commercial. Thank Bog And All His Holy Angels And Saints for that, eh?
Ryan Vogelsong labored, but hung tough and got big outs despite having some command issues. I like that guy and I think he's going to give the club 200 innings next year. Brandon Crawford looked great at the plate, and Brandon Belt got some late redemption with a lovely opposite-field bomb in his final AB. He'd looked awful before that. Let's see these guys every day, dammit!
Five wins in a row comes a bit late for the playoff hunt, but it will certainly help keep the Dodgers in third place, which makes me happy. LA is seven back in the win column and six back in the loss column with 13 to play. Giants have an even dozen left with three in the LAtrine next week. Finish strong, lads. Speaking of teams with an ownership crisis, who knew the Giants would have this ugly falling out with Bill Neukom? If you saw any of the press conference it was obvious that he was very upset and was biting his tongue and mouthing the usual press conference jibber-jabber instead of saying anything substantive. I'm just a humble schoolteacher and have never worked in the corporate world, so I have no fucking clue what the culture is like and what actually goes on in boardrooms. I do know that multi-millionaire businessmen, like professional athletes, aren't regular joes. They see the world through a different set of lenses than we do. So who the hell knows what went on? I suspect it will be some time before we get all the facts--if ever. I do think dumping the guy who presided over the long-sought World Series title is tacky. "Nice job, Billy, now scram." At the same time, Larry Baer was both Peter Magowan's and Neukom's right-hand man, so if anyone is "up to speed" and ready to run with the ball it is him. In that sense, I'm not going to fret too much about the games the suits play. This off-season was going to be a real test for ownership and management anyway, what with the looming cost of keeping the core together and the need to improve the lineup. The farm system is still being run by the same guys and the scouting department is still intact. There's still Boch & Sabes (for better or for worse). I'm still here, too.