Friday, August 31, 2012

At the Wrong Place in Chicago

The game's over and folks who work haven't even got a chance to get home and tune in yet.  No matter, we lost.  I guess it had to happen.  Madison Bumgarner was sent to Chicago ahead of the team (who reportedly arrived about 3 am) so he could get some sleep.  Rather than sleep though, maybe he immediately went out and got some Chicago cuisine.  Or maybe not.  In any case, Maddy's game was not crisp.  He gave up 5 runs (4 earned) in four innings on 85 pitches.  That was enough for Chicago, as the Giants only could manage 4 on the day.  The cubbies tacked on another one for 6-4 final.  I guess we had to lose one somewhere along the way after winning 8 of our previous 10.  We chalked up a 18-10 record for August and that is pretty good.  The Los Angeles team, meanwhile, added six billion dollars of salary since July 31 and achieved a 14-13 record with one to play.  If only such hubris could be equally punished in places like Tampa.

Meanwhile, Buster Posey continues to show America what a real leader is like.  He was on base 5 times as a result of 4 hits and a walk.  He collected 75% of the Giants' rbis.  Pablo Sandoval collected one on a sacrifice fly.  A few years after I graduated from college, I went to Chicago for a friend's wedding.  Some buddies picked me up at the airport and we went immediately to the lakefront and got stoned.  Then we went to the Shedd Aquarium, which was totally awesome.  Unfortunately, on the way to the airport, I had thrown a bag of pot and my sunglasses in a side pocket to my suitcase, and when it came off of the conveyor belt at baggage handling, they were gone. I'm still mad at United Airlines for not having my ticket for my flight home.  They didn't care. I've been now waiting for 29 years for them to go out of business like they keep promising, but now they have merged with Continental, ruining a perfectly good bunch of frequent flyer miles of mine because I do not want to have anything to do with United.  I guess that's not really about today's game, but I thought I would pass it on.  Chicago has some great stuff but the cubbies are not one of them.  Traditional, yes.  Cherished, yes.  But not great in the sense of "really good baseball team great." Wrigley has ivy, but is otherwise a dump.  And the cubsfans, don't get me started.  Had I been in Chicago today, I would have much preferred to have been viewing thisThis guy's nickname just has to be "The Beav."

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Comeback Kids

The Giants made it two come-from-behind wins in Houston with a 3-run 7th inning, erasing a 4-0 deficit. It was a lot of little things, but mostly it was a good team playing a bad one, and the good team prevailed. Hunter Pence got the big hit, fisting a ball up the middle to score the go-ahead run. I knew it would take around six runs to fend off the scrappy Astros, and I was happy to see the lads tack on some more. Not much left to say about Joaquin Arias, the man has seized his moment. Ryan Vogelsong got smacked around a bit, but hung tough and got eighteen outs, sparing the 'pen. That guy is a stud! My man WillyMo is back just when the club could use a reliable righty reliever. I say go with Guillermo.

Brandon Belt got four hits. Love it. Giants have won ten of thirteen. No complaints there, either.



Half a sixpence . . . is better than none

Hunter Pence launched a three-run homer in the 1st inning in Houston last night, a real moon shot that hit high up on left-field wall. The Giants had already scored a run, but you never have enough in this game. The plucky no-name Astros chased Barry Zito in the 3rd and made a game of it. Six Giants relievers subdued them eventually, and Joaquin Arias got a big two-out, two-run triple in the 6th to seal the deal. Give that man a cheroot! He's earned it. Pence has hit two homers as a Giant, both of the half-sixpence variety, and has managed to drive in 19 runs in his 27 games. But the .219/.274/.352 line is getting old. It does look like he's making better contact these days and the at-bats seem to be trending upward, but the team is really going to need something closer to his career averages real soon. He racked up 304 total bases in 2011! Let's hope another night at Minute Maid Park helps.

Angel Pagan led off the game with a double, and Marco Scutaro followed that with a bunt. I like to think he was trying for a hit--I don't get the logic of sacrificing someone to third base. The man is already in scoring position, and he's a fast runner. Why give up outs so early in a game? Teams win more often when they score first, I get it. But playing for one run means you only get one run. When the Houston Astros, one of the historically-worst teams in baseball history, can score four runs off a good pitching staff, playing for one run at the beginning of a game is, in my view, a loser's tactic. I'd rather see Scutaro hit in that situation. He's patient and selective, and I trust him to find a ball he can hit the other way if nothing to his liking comes in. A grounder to the right side at least has a chance of going through for a hit, and he's running out a .328/.356/.432 line as a Giant. Why give yourself up when you are one of the best hitters on the team? It wasn't Kershaw vs. Bumgarner at home, fer chrissakes. That's a hitters park down there. Thankfully Pablo Sandoval got a bloop for the RBI and Buster Posey walked to give Pence his chance. It's a quibble, I know. One of the things I like most about Ol' Boch is he's not big on bunting. (A game like last night really makes you appreciate how well he and Rags handle the pitching staff.) The Giants got the win and kept the pressure on LA, and that's what matters most.

A sweep would be sweet. Go get 'em, Vogie! And swing the bats, lads. Another sixpence ought to be enough.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Rook Gets It Done

Hector Sanchez got the big hit in the 9th to bail out Matt Cain and the Giants. Brandon Belt, no-longer rook, and Joaquin Arias, veteran rook, got the other big hits. It was a close one. Matty was on the hook for the loss, getting Cain'd like it was 2008. But the youngsters delivered in the clutch. Baggs had a tweet that said the Giants were 2-50 when trailing in the 8th inning before tonight. The Dodgers lost in Colorado for the second straight night, and the Giants lead by 3-1/2, their biggest lead of the season. I missed most of the game tonight, but I did get to see that ridiculous 5-6 foul pop fly out. Pablo Sandoval muffed it, but managed to swat it in the air, and Brandon Crawford plucked just before it hit the grass with a face-plant dive. You must watch it if you missed it. Panda gets the assist, B-Craw the putout. (On a foul pop fly out.) Whenever our rookie shortstop makes a play or gets a hit, I curl the fingers of my left hand in an arthritic hook, snap my arm up in a spastic salute, squawking, raven-like "B-Craw! B-Craw! B-Craw!" It's most satisfying. It think it could be the next thing.



p.s. Matt Cain.

Monday, August 27, 2012

On to the Eighth

I'm a little tardy with my innings post. No excuses, lads. Here we go:

1st inning: 9-9
2nd inning: 9-9
3rd inning: 12-6
4th inning: 10-8
5th inning: 10-8
6th inning: 9-9
7th inning: 12-6

The Giants stood at 71-55 (.563) after beating the Braves in the first two games of the series. Nothing like a five-game win streak to make an inning look good. As you can see, it's the second time the team has gone 12-6 over the 18 games. The club looked bad, however, in the final two games, and start their penultimate inning with two losses.

8th inning: 0-2 with 16 to play.

With 34 games to go, the Giants are up in the NL West by two over the Yankees Dodgers. The mega-spenders have crashed the party, and gone "all-in" on 2012. I'm not too concerned about the rest of the haul, but Adrian Gonzalez is the real deal. He improves their lineup quite a bit. They now have serious mashers at four spots. One thing the Giants don't do is hit home runs, and that is a major weakness. Josh Beckett goes tonight for LA in Colorado. There was a time when he was an elite pitcher and World Series hero. He hasn't been that guy lately. If he turns out to be "the diamond in the rough" it will give them a huge boost. Let's hope his poor form continues.

The Giants, right now, are playing just shy of .555 ball. If they stay on that pace, that's 19 more wins or a 90-72 record. The Dodgers would have to go 21-13 (.618) to match that. It's going to be close. Very close. The Giants have to stick to what they do best and that's pitch well. They have to be strong in the field as well. It would be nice to get more home runs from Hunter Pence (and Pablo Sandoval). All they need is one good month from the FNG. And some good starts from Tim Lincecum, too. In fact, he could be the difference-maker. If he can deliver half a dozen solid outings from here on out I think the Giants will wrap it up before the final series in LA. If not, figure on the first week of October deciding the 2012 season. I'm not planning anything for those three days and I hope you aren't, either. I know the 'pen has looked a little shaky, but I think we have the guys to do the job. They just have to deliver. They know the stakes, and it is time for everyone to kick it up a notch. Kruk said on TV "you can't buy chemistry." True, but you can buy talent. LA has done that. Now we'll see if the Giants cup runneth over with intangibles.



Sunday, August 26, 2012

Getting Tired of Tim

Start # 27   Loss  (7-14)    5 innings (90 pitches)  5 hits  3 runs  2 walk   4 strikeouts

Granted we had very little chance to defeat an impressive Tim Hudson, but, thanks to a once again hapless Tim Lincecum, the contest was over early.  So, the Braves salvage a split by whoopin' us 7-3, and we luckily keep our 2 game lead over the smog-suckers. Tim threw approximately 87 pitches in the first inning, give or take a dozen.

Exhaustion is the best word to describe my current attitude towards Tim.  I already went through shock, denial, anger, denial again, and then a really short period of apathy. (Sigh, that was nice...) This season has been like a journey through the Rings of  Freak Hell and I feel like a newly recovered addict.  "Hi, my name is Jon and I am a Freakaholic.  I have'nt had a decent dose of Timmeh all season long!" Ah well, no sense in complaining. I guess i will just do what everybody else is doing...wait and see.

The bad: Clay Hensley is el stinko lately. I have no confidence in that guy.  Is there a September call-up that can take his place? Please!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Minor Win / Loss

Madison Bumgarner did not fare well in his quest for win #15 today, and the loss was mainly his fault.  Maddy put a couple guys on in the first, then buzzed through the second.  Then, in the third he walked a pitcher who had been on base only two times this year and was batting south of 0.050, Mike Minor.  Then a K, then another walk.  Jason Heyward then hit a three-run home run and the Giants trailed the rest of the game.  Giants picked up a run in the fifth, and pitched into the seventh.  Then he allowed the aforementioned Minor to hit a double and score on the ensuing single.  The Giants needed a parade of relievers to get through two and two-thirds innings to send Bruce Bochy back below 0.500 as a manager.  Mijares looked pretty good (the second of five relievers).  Kontos, Henley, Affeldt and Hacker did not.   The Giants added 2 in the seventh, the Braves added 2 in the eighth and then tacked on 1 in the ninth for good measure.  On some days, our offense might have made a difference, but not today.  Scutaro, Posey, Arias and Belt got hits, as did Blanco in a pinch-hitting role.  Pagan, Sandoval and Pence were not able to reach base.  Kinds sloppy, kinda weak.

Maybe Madison did not quite have it going after his stellar start in Los Angeles last time.  I guess if the description of your team's starting pitching varies between stellar and less-than-stellar, you are doing all right.  Let's win this series tomorrow, Tim.

Giants Win! Dodgers Make Crazy Trade!

So you have this creepy guy who moves in to the rental next door and he lets the lawn die and the weeds grow and the trash pile up, and he ties up a couple of scary looking pit bulls in the back who bark all the time. And he drives a huge diesel 4x4 pickup that rumbles and rattles every time he pulls in or out of your shared driveway, and since he's a crackhead he does that at least six times a day and late at night and early in the morning. And he's got this prison build, huge arms and neck that you can only get from 'roids or six-hour daily workouts, and he has skinhead tattoos on his face, too. Then his "friends" start coming over at all hours and they play death metal and yell a lot and get in fights. So you think maybe you'll get a shotgun and keep it around just in case, and you start thinking about a handgun and you even ask your deputy sheriff friend about how hard it might be to get a CCW permit. I mean, you're hella creeped out and and worried about when the dude might go off and inflict mayhem on you and the rest of your terrified neighborhood.

That's what this Dodger trade feels like. It's obvious they are the Richie Rich of the NL, and can just paper over holes in their lineup with humongous wads of cash and have absolutely no care at all about long term finances. It's now-now-now in LA-LA land. Three games out? No problem, just get a $100M first baseman. Pitcher might be hurt? Throw $50M at it. Guy on the DL at $20M/year? Just pencil him in for next season. Wow, George Steinbrenner lives. And he lives right down the road at Chavez LAtrine. The Dodgers want it all now, there's not a thought about next year's budget in this process. Hell, they probably don't even have a budget. It's "get 'er done" Hollywood-style. Look at the Washington Nationals: management want to shut down their ace in the middle of a pennant race because they are worried about his health. The Dodgers think management means "just get a new one."

It's irritating when the collection of billionaires who run the Giants won't fork over the big dough for the right guy. I mean, c'mon. You bought the Ferrari and it's got $1500 wiper blades--shut the fuck up and buy the goddamn things. But they are who they are--this team is going to stay within operational expense parameters, thank you very much. They aren't going to open their wallets. The revenue stream is going to pay for it or they will make do with what they've got. It ain't bad, mind you. The Giants are big spenders compared to most clubs. We've got a good thing going as fans of this outfit. But LA has upped the ante. Hell, the weight of their chips just broke the table! It's a brave new world, now. The West Coast Yankees just stumbled in the front door of your party with a fresh keg and then puked on the carpet.

Meanwhile, back at AT&T, pretty little ballpark of that quaint, well-mannered, thrifty Giants club, a baseball game was played last evening. The fans had a lovely time watching their upright, manly lads defeat the visiting squad. Both clubs were firm and resolute, displaying virtue and courage in the contest. Respectable organizations, these, with long histories and famed ancestral ballplayers. There were rumors, of course, of the new neighbors, but one doesn't rush to judgement in these circles, no, that would be ungentlemanly. But you can be sure their loins were being girded for the battles to come.
Then he caught up two strong spears edged with sharp bronze
and the brazen heads flashed far from him deep into heaven.
And Hera and Athene caused a crash of thunder about him,
doing honour to the lord of deep-golden Mykenai.*
Agamemnon and the lads had a bit of a fight on their hands with the Trojans, but they figured out a new angle at the end. Looks like the Giants might have to as well.


*Iliad, Book XI, 43-45, trans. Robert Fitzgerald

Friday, August 24, 2012

Three Full Games

Dodgers didn't play last night so the good guys picked up that half-game and now hold three-of-a-kind to their mere high card. Bet it all now, I say, and rake in that pot! Barry Zito continues to confound analysis--when he's good he beats a great team like the Braves. And when he's bad, well, he's bad. He's just so Zitovian! Curve balls, "fast" balls, slow balls, left-handed slurvy slop, etc. How does GameDay know what to call his pitches? Sure, he can pop off world-class Uncle Charlies, and he'll have a job in the bigs as long as he can do that, but the rest of his "repertoire" is so unremarkable it's a wonder he gets anyone out. It's all about pitching, not throwing, eh? Timing, location, movement, that's the mix, and he's a Master Mixologist. I wonder how he does with cocktails? I think it is pretty cool that pitchers can get guys out without having ridiculous stuff. To be fair, Zeets can throw a pretty ridiculous hook, but no one would confuse his pitches with, say, Justin Verlander's. Big game, big start, big win. Way to deliver, Barry-Z! Oh, and that was a lovely two-base hit from rookie backstop Hector Sanchez to cap a four-run rally that was so 2012 Giants. A walk. A single. A strikeout. A bunt hit and RBI from Hunter Pence! A two-base error! A cue shot down the line! And it ended on a line-drive double play. So 2012 Giants. No boring three-run homers for this bunch.

Keep it rollin' Giants, keep it rollin'.


p.s. If I'm not mistaken, it's "Feliz Cumpleaños" for our own Brother Bob, eh?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

RMC Sweeeeeeepstakes!

That was fun, eh? I can get used to sweeping the Dodgers. Way to go, Giants!

I promised I would put together a little contest for the site this week, and I can't think of a better time than right now. Matt Cain got the win in the final game of the set in LA, and this trivia quiz is in honor of no. 18 and El Perfecto. How fortunate we are to have Matt Cain on our favorite ball club. Did I mention he was signed through 2017?

I just received my DVD from A+E Networks Home Entertainment/MLB Productions in the mail this afternoon. You can check it out here, that is, here:

Pretty cool, wouldn't you say? Don't you want one? Heck, it's a $12.99 value (plus shipping)! And all you have to do is answer some questions. In this age of Google, Baseball-Reference, and Wikipedia, all trivia contests are easy, so get cracking! First two people to answer all ten correctly win the above DVD of El Perfecto. You can enter multiple times, but you have to put in all ten answers every time. I'll go by the blog time-stamp to pick the winners. Post your answers as comments on this blog post. Note: I don't actually have your prizes--you'll have to send me (via your snail mail address so I can forward it to them so they can send it directly to you (Continental US only). Got it? Have fun and good luck.

All answers are individuals associated with the San Francisco Giants.
  1. His first name is actually Dustin. He's from Mississippi and has a son named Whit.
  2. Duane Kuiper had his own nickname for our now-disgraced left fielder.
  3. This Syracuse grad took over the mic when Flemm's failed for Bond's 715th HR.
  4. The East Tennesse State Buccaneers have produced two Giants. One was Atlee Hammaker. The other was part of the deal that sent Dusty Baker to the Dodgers.
  5. This Giant lost part of his fingers to a table saw and still tried to play baseball.
  6. He's the oldest of the Rojas boys.
  7. Both are from New Jersey and both threw no-hitters, but only one led the league in WHIP.
  8. He was drafted by the Giants but pitched against them in the 2000 LDS.
  9. His latest project is “The Restless Kind.”
  10. This Original San Francisco Giant makes a mean BBQ.



Wednesday, August 22, 2012


The Giants pull off the sweep, stuffing the Smogsuckers behind a career night from Joaquin Arias. The 27-year old well-traveled utility man hit a two-run homer in the 1st, an RBI double in the 6th, and a two-run double in the 7th. He also made a brilliant stop at short and threw out Shane Victorino in the 3rd (aided by a nice catch from Brandon Belt). The man is on fire! With the team having undergone a painful Melkotomy recently, it is great to see guys step up. And I am also happy to see the team look much better in the field. Justin Christian made a Blancoesque diving catch in the 7th to save a run, but it isn't just the highlight-reel plays. These days the Giants are catching the ball and making the throws, something they had a lot of trouble with earlier in the season. (Hunter Pence gifted LA a run with a poor play on a fly ball by Andre Ethier, but it was 8-0 at that point. He needs to get his bat going.)

Matt Cain had a funny night, retiring nine of the first ten without breaking a sweat, then giving up leadoff hits and falling behind the big hitters for the next four innings. But he did what he always does and that's get the outs. Matty made the pitches and the guys made the plays and it was 8-1 after seven and 101 pitches. Ol' Boch let him hit in the bottom of the inning but replaced him with Clay Hensley to start the 8th. It was the right thing to do with a big lead and a superheated pennant race still ahead, but the Dodgers tacked on a three-spot to show some life and chase the next guy, Jeremy Affeldt. Fortunately, Santiago Casilla saved the 'pen from ignominy and got the final five outs, finishing with a flourish by whiffing Matt Kemp. Like I said, in the wake of MelkyGate, it's nice to see guys step up.

Hector Sanchez caught Cain for the first time this season as Superman Buster Posey sat out with a hamstring strain. Let's hope that's a minor thing--hamstrings can be kryptonite, just ask Kemp. The Giants played some great baseball in LA. I was thrilled when they took the first two, and like the rest of us got greedy for all three. Sure enough, the club delivered. Great starting pitching and early leads are a nice combination. The Dodgers scored only six runs total and played from behind from the first inning of the first game. They were owed a whuppin', don't you think?

Atlanta comes to San Francisco for four starting tomorrow.



p.s. Look for my trivia quiz (with prizes!) tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Three Ball Tim

Start # 26   Win!!  (7-13)    5.2 innings (87 pitches)  5 hits   1 runs   1 walk   4 strikeouts

In a game that crackled with play-off intensity, the Giants took game #2 of this big series, 4-1, and extended the lead to 1.5 games over the smog-suckers. Boy howdy, we sure are a tough team on the road.  Clutch hitting, spectacular defense and superb pitching all seem to be the norm when we face the big, hostile crowds.  That certainly may prove to be a big factor in the post-season.

Part of the intensity that I mentioned has to do with Tim Lincecum and how he was handled tonight.  A glance at his numbers seems to reveal a strong performance. And it was pretty good ... in fact, his first five innings were almost flawless.  It seemed like every time he got three balls on them (and that was often), he found a way to get the out. Until the sixth. Then his command went bye-bye, he gave up a few singles and he got a pretty quick hook.  I can't really say it wasn't deserved, after all we have all lived through the freakish nightmare of this season.  Still, it was a move that never would have happened any other year.  Another aspect of the new Tim, I suppose.

The good:  Angel Pagan continues his current hot streak, tonight with three hits. Perhaps even more surprising was Pagan's perfect one-hop throw to nail A.J. Ellis at the plate.  Hector Sanchez blocked the plate beautifully. However, the true player of game was probably Santiago Casilla.  Two dominating innings that effectively crushed the dogger's hopes.  If Casilla returns to his earlier form, we regain our game-changing bullpen.  That is the best news of the night

Another really nice thing about tonight... Matt Kemp is human!  He looked down-right mortal, Thank Willie.

Hey! The snakes just lost!  A good night.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Excellent Pitching - Advantage, Giants

In the sixth inning of tonight's game against LA, Clayton Kershaw led off the inning with his second hit of the night.  Shane Victorino came up next in the lead-off spot, and hit into a fielder's choice.  Mark Ellis promptly hit a line drive to right for an out.  Victorino, hoping that the lightning arm of Buster Posey wouldn't strike twice, again tried to steal second, but this time was successful.  This was only the second time the doggers had a runner in scoring position, but this time Matt Kemp was at the plate.  Yeah, it was tense, maybe for everyone but Madison Bumgarner.  Matt Kemp struck out.

Madison Bumgarner was superb.  8 innings, 123 pitches.  4 hits, no walks and 10 strikeouts.  Clayton Kershaw wasn't bad either.  He gave up 6 hits in 8 innings, but also gave up 2 runs to the Giants.  He walked none and struck out 10.  You said you wanted a pitchers' duel?  You got one.

Matt Kemp was 0-4.  Madison gave up 2 hits to Clayton Kershaw and 2 to their third base guy, Luis Cruz.  Belisario came on in relief of Kershaw in the 9th and struck the side on 12 pitches.  Romo came in for the Giants, got Mark Ellis to strike out and Matt Kemp to ground out.  Then he hung a slider to Hanley Ramirez who stuck it deep in the bleachers.  Fortunately, Javier Lopez was there to make quick work of Andre Ethier.  Ha!  Giants back in first.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Outta Gas in SD

The Little Engine That Could couldn't quite do it today. It ran out of gas after the first inning. Ryan Vogelsong had another uncharacteristic start and the Giants never got anything going against old antagonist Clayton Richard. I'm not concerned about Vogie, everyone has ups and downs. He'll get his groove back. The lineup really looked flat, they will need to swing the bats a little better in LA. The Giants go to Chavez LAtrine down in the standings by 1/2 game, and the first man they'll face is Clayton Kershaw. Super southpaw Madison Bumgarner gets the match-up. It's crunch time, mates.

In other news, I am expecting a review copy of a DVD of Matt Cain's perfect game very soon. It's put out by A+E Networks Home Entertainment/MLB Productions, part of their "Baseball's Greatest Games" series. I don't usually do anything promotional on this site, but they contacted me about running a giveaway and I couldn't pass it up. Matt Cain! C'mon, Matt Cain. Anyway, I've got a trivia quiz put together that I'll post soon. There will be two winners and each will receive a copy of the video from A+E. Sound like fun? Details to follow.



Last Man Standing

Giants win a war of attrition in San Diego to stay on top. It took 11 players and 7 pitchers! The only position player not used was Hector Sanchez. This 13-man staff is a little weird, but with the 'pen being a bit unsettled I can understand it. Nice to see Santiago Casilla throw well, they are going to need him. Man of the Match Award again goes to Joaquin Arias for three hits (including a homer) and three runs batted in. The biggest play of the night, though, was FNG Hunter Pence's double to drive in Buster Posey (who had doubled) in the 9th to make it 8-5. That turned out to be the difference as Jeremy Affeldt gave up two runs with two outs in the bottom half to make it a nail-biter. Clay Hensley had to bail him out. Affeldt has been very good lately, but he apparently lost his mojo after a close call on what he thought was a game-ending strikeout. Can't let that happen, lad, those "late-and-close" situations call for a cool head. Pence has a career .818 OPS and is sporting a .217/.263/.348 line in his 17 games with the orange-and-black. Time for him to give us a big lift. Buster can't do all the heavy lifting. Posey is a legit MVP candidate--how often to you see catchers hit like that? Vogie goes for the sweep today.



Friday, August 17, 2012

Investment Advice

I'm a mutual fund kind of guy. That whole Wall Street investing thing is all jibber-jabber to me. People start talking about p/e ratios and candlesticks and I wanna beat the bleeding pee out of 'em with a bloody goddamn candlestick in the bloody fecking conservatory, the gobshites. So I do the mutual fund thing. Dollar cost averaging and all that, very Andrew Tobias, you know? I read this book by Burton G. Malkiel, A Random Walk Down Wall Street, where he picked stocks by tossing darts at a page of NYSE listings and he did as well as most index funds. That shit fucked with my mind and when I meet with my financial/retirement advisor I tell him "just get me in them mutual funds." I mean, I'm an amateur, and there's nothing pros like better than an amateur playing in the markets. Poker players love a fish--they can string him along and only land him when he's all played out. So I like safe. And boring. And consistent. Like mutual funds.

Which brings me to Matt Cain. He has his highs. He has his lows. But overall, he's a steady performer. Good to have in the portfolio. You are going to get your money's worth with MattyC. MaCain. MtCn. MaCa. MTC. How would he be listed if he were a mutual fund? And you know he'd have low annual fees, he's just that kind of guy. Check out his Career Average Game Scores:

Year    Age   GS GmScA
2005     20    7  62.9
2006     21   31  53.3
2007     22   32  54.7
2008     23   34  53.5
2009     24   33  58.3
2010     25   33  58.4
2011     26   33  58.9
2012     27   23  60.3
8 Yrs        226    57

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 8/17/2012.

If that were a prospectus, I'd be invested already. That's a damn fine track record. Tonight's Game Score was 76, his fourth best of the 2012 season. Matt Cain is a damned fine ball player. He got some mad pitching skillz, bro. The Padres are ripe for the plucking and the Giants need to commence gobbling. You put the hurt on the bad teams and hang in there with the good teams. Thus speaks Saber-thustra. Ten runs, fifteen hits, it makes a man giddy. Eight innings, four hits, one run--what's beyond giddy? Way to go, Matt. Way to make me look good for picking you as my number one guy.



p.s. Be on the alert for a special post this weekend.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

How are the mighty fallen in the midst of battle!

The Melky story was too good to be true, apparently. Not that I ascribe all of his recent baseball accomplishments to chemical help, this guy was a major-leaguer (a Yankee starter, no less) at the tender age of twenty, so he's obviously a talented athlete. When you work hard on your natural abilities, good things happen, and you could see that Cabrera had re-dedicated himself to his craft after some poor seasons. The drugs? Well, who can say what they do and what they don't? Color me skeptical. Sure, PEDs work, just like all drugs, otherwise no one would take them. But do they make mediocre guys All-Stars and MVP candidates? No. But I suspect they help a guy stay on top and keep an edge. Being great, in baseball, is mostly about being average. That is, if you are average most of the time and great occasionally, you will be the best in the league. Then again, we don't know if Melky was on some kind of regime with testosterone, or whether it was a short-term attempt at a "fix," or what. We know nothing about that and probably never will. It was a huge risk on his part, and it is likely he will lose out on some lucrative offers this fall. Then again, he will likely still be a major-league baseball starter somewhere, even in San Francisco, which will mean he'll still get paid a few million bucks for a year's work. We'll never find out if Melky made a rash decision or a calculating one. We can't get inside his head, or know all of the things that led to his choices.

We do know that his violation of the drug policy is a huge blow to the club, even if his performance on the field can be replaced. His unusual name, effusive style, and outstanding play won him a lot of fans. Fans don't win or lose pennants, of course, but they are part of the equation. Teams have to market themselves, and they need marketable guys. So much for that, Melky. Giants fans know all about steroid scandals, and no matter how you personally feel about PEDs, we are all sick of such things. No one is naive enough to believe that drug testing will get drugs out of baseball--there is too much money at stake for PEDs to ever be gone from any sport. But it would have been nice to have a break from it! When Manny Ramirez was a Dodger and got busted, I know I was happy about the fact that someone else besides Barry Bonds was tied to PEDs. Man, did I get tired of talking about Bonds! I didn't really care that the Dodgers were hurt by ManRam's violation. I was just glad to be vindicated. Sort of. I mean, no one listened when I told them that the MVP of the 2002 World Series (Troy Glaus) was named in the Mitchell Report. Gee, should the Angels get an asterisk on their trophy?

But I'm not here to write about drugs in sports. That's too long and too tired of a topic. In the case of Mr. Cabrera, "do the crime, do the time." He took the risk and he got burned. Am I angry? No. He's a grown man and can do what he wants. Am I disappointed? Absolutely. The Giants had a beautiful thing going with him in left and hitting third. I'm a grown man, too, and even though I devote a lot of time, energy, and emotion to the San Francisco Giants, I'm not going to lose sleep over Melky Cabrera. (I will lose sleep over the Dodgers being in first place!) After all, teams lose guys all the time for all sorts of reasons. Think Aubrey Huff. But, damn, this was looking like a pretty good team even with all the recent poor play. They are going to have a hard time making up for his lost production. Still, it is not a lost season. The race is wide open and the talent is there to win. I'm sad. Very sad. It's not as fun, now. But I'm still here, even if Melky isn't.



Thou hast heard my voice: hide not thine ear at my breathing, at my cry.
--Lamentations 3:56

(The title is 2Samuel 1:25)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Lactose-Free Tim

Star # 25   Loss  (6-13)    4 whole innings  8 friggin' hits   4 runs   1 walk   5 strikeouts

Please pardon the weak attempt at humor in the title.  Believe me when I say there will be nothing else that I could possibly mention today that might be pleasant or positive.  In a season of seemingly never-ending drama,  the Giants have (hopefully) hit the bottom...and, gee, lucky me, I get to chronicle it. Okay, so let me just get this done with (and then I can quickly take a shower!):

1.  The Giants and Tim Lincecum lost to Stephen Strasburg and the impressive Washington Nationals, 6-4.  Tim was simply outclassed by the new "future" of the NL pitching ranks.  He is just so fucking hittable this year! Calm down, Jon...  Timmeh is not even the worst news of the day, oh no, not by a long shot.

2.  Melky Cabrera has had his spectacular season stopped, and possibly the Giants play-off hopes, by a huge stupid ass mistake.  To his stupid ass credit, he does seem to own up to it and, oh say, not blame some testing protocol crap.  Who knows how it will hurt the 2012 Giants ... but won't Melky feel it bad come next year at free agent time?  Looks like those fans with the funny Melkman outfits can sell them on eBay.  They won't get to wear them again at AT&T.

That's More Like It

Last night, Madison Bumgarner returned to form, pitching the Giants to their first win this season against the Washington Nationals.  You had to wonder if we were going to be able to win against this team, but Mr. Bumgarner showed the same cool that got him a world series victory in his second career complete game.

The Nats got a run in the seventh, it was "earned", but sort of maybe not really.  The ball was hit to right-center, Pence maybe should have caught it, it was within his reach, but he didn't.  No matter, by then it was two to one, largely because of Brandon Belt.  Brandon B. doubled to score Hunter Pence in the second, then singled to score Pablo Sandoval in the sixth.  On both rbi hits, he got thrown out trying to stretch it one more base.  Belt went 3 for 4 on the night though.  Madison pitched the ninth after Cabrera, Posey, Pence and Belt all scored to make it 6 to 1.

Downsides:  Madison failed to put down a bunt in the eighth.  What, that's it?  Pretty much, although Belt needs to be a little more circumspect in his baserunning, but then again, he got 3 hits and 3 rbis. 

Upsides:  So, so many.  Rested relievers.  Madison bouncing back from his last start.  Belt and Pence both hitting.  Pablo's back.

Lasting image:  Madison Bumgarner's smooth, smooth delivery.  108 pitches, 6 K's, 1 walk (ninth inning).  Yes!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Two Touchdowns Will Do It

I'm usually ready to call it a game when the score is 14-0, even if they miss the extra points. Ryan Vogelsong's beautiful streak ended tonight, and I come to praise him, not to bury him. What a superb run of pitching we've seen from him these last two seasons, and what many more outstanding efforts we will see going forward. The Vogelstory has been told, it needs not retelling. The Vogelsaga has been written, it needs not rewriting. The Vogelsong has been sung, it needs not karaoking. I thought of Madison Bumgarner and that crazy game last year where he gave up hits to the first eight guys--he turned out OK after that. The Nationals showed they can do it all and are the real deal. You'd think the Giants would have realized that after the lovely series in D.C. last month, but no, they are a stubborn bunch. Uh, hello, this is a great team, OK? Let's put together a wee bit better effort tomorrow, eh?


p.s. I went to this game. I was a high school kid. My brothers and I won the tickets for walking twenty miles for a muscular dystrophy fundraiser. Maybe it was another cause, I can't recall. Candlestick still had astroturf, and when only a few thousand showed up it was like watching a game in a tunnel. That was bad, especially since it was an hour's drive to the ballpark. The Cardinals got 23 hits and scored 17 runs, and wore light blue, tight-fitting uniforms. It only lasted 2-1/2 hours though, about 45 minutes shorter than last night's game.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Heating Up

It hit 100 here this afternoon, the hottest day of the year so far. Things are getting hotter and hotter in the NL West, too. Both the Giants and the Dodgers took two of three from their weekend opponents and the one-game separation in the race continues. Barry Zito looked perfectly Zitovian in his 5-1/3 innings, but the real mess came when relievers George Kontos and Clay Hensley got the ball, turning a 4-3 lead into a 6-4 deficit. Fortunately the Giants exploded for five runs in the 8th to subdue pesky Colorado. Until their bullpen meltdown, they did not play like a .366 club. The winning rally started when a pair of rooks--Brandon Crawford and Hector Sanchez--got back-to-back hits to open the inning against Matt Belisle. I thought Sanchez' ball was going out, then I thought Dexter Fowler was going to catch it, but it bounced over the fence just out of his reach. Men in scoring position with less than two outs is not the Giants forte, but this time it all worked out. The Rockies went with Rafael Betancourt after Melky Cabrera's grounder up the middle brought in the first run, and you knew Buster Posey would deliver in his plate appearance. It was an epic 10-pitch battle before the sac fly tied things up, easily the most dramatic sequence of the game. I remember thinking, with two on and two out after that, a three-run homer would be just the ticket. FNG Hunter Pence sure needed a big hit for his new team as the .149/.163/.234 line was looking a little weak. Fortunately he sent the crowd home happy with the winning bomb. I can't wait for his bat to heat up.

The Washington Nationals, the best team in baseball, come to town for three big ones starting tomorrow.



p.s. How about Brandon Belt (.260/.360/401) with four hits and a walk? Get hot and stay hot, man!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Total Team Effort

Matt Cain had an easy first five this afternoon, facing just 17 hitters, and by then the Giants were up 5-0. In the 6th he loaded the bases and gave up a run, but the Giants scored again in the bottom of the inning to break it wide open. It was a more Cain-like line (7-1/3  7  2  2  1  6, Game Score 61) than we've seen in a while. I would have taken him out after seven, even though he'd thrown only 84 pitches, as these are the dog days and every inning you save now you gain in September and October. Sure enough, he got rocked a bit in the 8th and Ol' Boch had to go to the 'pen, but it all worked out. The Rockies are not a very good club and the Giants really need to take advantage of the mismatch and gain some ground in the race. The Buster Posey Shock & Awe Show continued its brilliant run, and Colorado even obliged with an intentional walk. Man, that guy can play. He hits a huge homer and throws out a would-be base stealer, too! Note: Buster in the lineup, 13 hits, 9 runs; Buster on the bench, 3 hits, zero runs. Coincidence? I think not.

Everyone contributed to the win, which was nice to see after last night's lackluster effort. Joaquin Arias gets my Man of the Match Award for some fine situational hitting in the 2nd (sac fly to open the scoring), a single and run scored in the 6th, and a fabulous triple (and another run scored) in the 8th. Good day with the stick for the glove man (I'll forgive the error in the 9th). Way to go, no. 13! Big weekend for the Cain Posse what with the El Perfecto Presentation last night (lovely little event, by the way) and the studly start today. Matty also chipped in an RBI single and sac bunt just to show off for his family, friends, in-laws, out-laws, ex-coaches, groupies, hangers-on, and, uh, the thousands of paying customers. Ryan Theriot had two hits, Angel Pagan had a two-run triple, Hunter Pence got a big RBI hit, and FNG Jose Mijares took care of Carlos Gonzalez in a clutch spot. Everyone in the starting lineup got a hit and the first eight guys all scored a run. It takes a village, man.



p.s. My analysis has determined that the Giants CAN score runs at home. They are averaging 4.5/game on the current homestand.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Home Disadvantage Tim?

Start #24    Loss (6-12)    7 innings    6 hits    3 runs    2 walks    3 strikeouts

I hate to admit it but I must not be much of a baseball analyst. Tonight's loss, 3-0 to Colorado, leaves me without much to say. Tim was OK, not terrific. The top five batters in our lineup failed to get a hit. We ran ourselves out of what little hope we generated. Ummm, nobody got hurt.

There must be something else I'm missing. I know the media will be going crazy over the lack of offense at home. It is quite a big differential, especially after the last road trip. But, come on, isn't it just a number fluke thing. Is there a good reason that we hit fewer balls at home? Is it really a topic of interest? You tell me. After all, how should I know? I'm a crappy baseball analyst.

The good: Totally non-baseball!! My Ever-Lovin' Wife is back after FIVE NIGHTS gone on a wild belly dancing adventure. I am out of here!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Domo Arigato, Mr. Vogie-boto

I often joke with my friends that Ryan Vogelsong is not human; that he is clearly a robot. I may have been selling him short. Isn't there something more consistent than that? Like a force of nature; say, gravity or evolution. Tonight's performance, a masterful whipping of the powerful Cardinals, 15-0 (yes, you read that correctly), is yet another example of the best #4 pitcher EVER. Obviously with a genuine laugher like tonight, the offense takes center stage. Rightfully so, as Marco Scutaro had a career best 7 RBI's, Angel Pagan and Ryan Theriot each scored 3 runs, Melky Cabrera got a couple hits (again!), Hunter Pence delivered two early run scoring hits, and, of course, Buster Posey got blatantly pitched around and received 3 walks. Even both Brandons looked good. Yet, I still can not get over Ryan Vogelsong. Is he the best pitcher on the staff this year? Does he have the best fastball control of ANYONE in the league right now. He is ripping off a Juan Marichal-like streak of consistency. His grim emotionless face during games may give him a robot-like demeanor, but his season to date is super-human.

The Barry & Buster Show

Barry Zito put together another good start, this time on the road against an outstanding lineup. Think about it: Rafael Furcal is the worst hitter they have, and he has a lifetime .751 OPS. Those guys can rake, top to bottom, but Zeets mesmerized 'em and evened up the series. He had his usual big, looping 12-to-6 curve ball as well as a flatter, lower one that seemed to snap right at the end and drop out of the zone. Barry-Z was putting both right in the glove. There were several that Buster set the target for and didn't move a millimeter to catch them. Those pitches set up the fastball and he was hitting his spots with that as well. He even whipped out an occasional 73 mph slow ball (changeup?) that sort of fluttered out in front of the plate and fell away. In all, it was a big performance, especially after the ugly loss in the opener. LA lost to the Rockies again and the Giants are back to a 1-1/2 game lead--the Dodgers have scored one run against them at home in the two games.

Buster Posey launched another moon shot to continue his ridiculous hot streak. He has that relaxed, languid style that almost looks like he's moving in slow motion. What a treat it is to watch that guy! Barry Bonds had that short, compact stroke, and preternatural quickness. The ball would just jump off his bat. Being a pull hitter, even his monster bombs left the yard in a hurry. Buster is the opposite--he hits with power to center and right-center, and his homers have that soaring quality that send the outfielders racing back only to look up and see the futility of further chasing. Half the time Bonds hit one they'd just give it a glance and a shrug. Krukow talks a lot about his "inside-out approach" and it is impressive how he can hit the other way with power by "leading with the knob." This guy is a catcher, fer chrissakes, and you don't get seasons like this very often from such a premium defensive position. We are seeing historic production from our wunderkind, a kind of year guys like Pudge Rodríguez and Carlton Fisk used to rack up. Check out that draft class again. Do you think the Giants made the right pick?


Monday, August 6, 2012

The Final Fifty-Four

1st inning: 9-9
2nd inning: 9-9
3rd inning: 12-6
4th inning: 10-8
5th inning: 10-8
6th inning: 9-9

Sunday's win behind Timmy in Colorado finished the first two-thirds of the season (Game 108). It was a bit of a rough patch, that 6th inning, and tonight's affair was the first of the 7th inning and the first of the final third of the season. The Dodgers won't be gentlemen about it, they have no intention of letting the Giants have the last dance to themselves. They are going to have to be called outside for an ass-whuppin' before the good guys get the goods. It's going to require everyone on the team to step up and be studly. With Tim Lincecum emerging and Pablo Sandoval returning one can feel good about the Giants chances.

Then there's Matt Cain. It's no secret he has not been the same guy since El Perfecto. He made a nice splash in the All-Star Game, as did the rest of the orange-and-blackers, but the starts since then have not been up to snuff. To wit:
Date    Opp Rslt    IP   H  R ER BB  SO HR HBP  BF GSc
Jun18   LAA W5-3   5.0   6  3  3  4   4  1   1  25  43
Jun24   OAK L2-4   7.0   3  1  1  2   7  0   1  26  72
Jun29   CIN L1-5   6.2  11  5  5  1   7  2   0  32  38
Jul5    WSN L5-6   6.2   6  3  3  1   4  2   0  26  53
Jul15   HOU W3-2   6.1   5  2  1  1   6  0   0  25  62
Jul21   PHI W6-5   8.0   5  5  5  2   4  3   1  30  54
Jul27   LAD L3-5   7.0   9  3  3  0   2  0   0  29  49
Aug1    NYM L1-2   5.0   7  2  2  3   5  1   0  23  47

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 8/6/2012.

Now that's some pretty good pitching. For most guys, that is. 51-2/3 IP, 52 H, 24 R, 39 SO, 14 BB, and  9 HR over 8 starts will get you a regular gig in the majors (52 average Game Score). But Matt Cain is no longer just another regular. He's earned the right to be paid like an ace and to be treated like an ace and that means he now has to pitch like one. (Matt gave up 9 total home runs 2011, for example.) It's not like any of these starts were Zitovian meltdowns, although last week against the Mets came damn close if not for some lucky breaks and good fielding. Tonight was about as close to a meltdown as Cain gets. All players go through rough patches, and if this is as rough as it gets for Matty I can hardly complain. But stretch drive is here. The pennant race is on. This is when it gets decided. The Giants will have to get Master Cain back out there for the 7th, 8th and 9th innings.

Tonight in St. Louis against an excellent hitting squad our boy could not finish the job. He'd get to two strikes or to two outs (or both) and give it up. They wore him down and chased him in the 6th with a patient, relentless attack. Normally we see Matt hold his own and get those big outs, but this is not the same Cain we watched in the first half of the season. Is he tired? Hurt? Or just on the bottom end of a long slump? We never have the answers to those questions, do we? There's a lot more on big righty's shoulders these days. It used to be nobody noticed, and when they did, they undervalued what they saw. You win a World Series ring, an All-Star Game, and pitch a perfect game, people pay more attention. Teams pay more attention. (Not to mention the gargantuan contract and the scrutiny that comes with that.) The marquee name on the squad has a rough first half, the second name on the list gets bumped up. It's the big leagues, you can fly under the radar for just so long. Looks like everyone has Matty in their sights right now. He's going to have to fine tune that out-making machine real soon, and get back to delivering the kind of starts he's spoiled us with so many times before.

7th inning: 0-1, 17 to play.


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Gritty Tim

Start #23   WIN  !!!!   (6-11)    6 innings   5 hits   1 run    5 walks   3 strikeouts

WOO-HOO!  Two Tim Lincecum wins in a row!  That hasn't happened since April 23 and 28.  Yes, of this year!  Timmy certainly didn't have his best stuff (10 baserunners in 6 innings is not wonderful), but he kept the damage to a minimum and lead the Giants to the win, 8-3, and a gratifying three game sweep of the hapless rookies.

It isn't great that Tim had a miserable 36 pitch, 2 walk, one wild pitch first inning. But it is great that he is finding a way to survive that kind of thing now.  It wasn't too long ago that a bad inning meant doom to the Freak.  Is the "new" Tim going to have to live with this new ugly high WHIP lifestyle?  It is beginning to look that way.  Krukow will love it; all that manly talk of toughing it out and fortitude, blah,blah.  Oh well, the good news is Timmeh is now 3-1 with a 2.48 ERA in his last five starts since the ASB.  Definitely a nice trend ... not Vogelsongian, but nice, indeed.

The good:  This is a good chance for me to continue my Hunter Pence love-fest.  Today's contribution included a pair of RBI doubles.  One was a beautiful smash off the right field wall.  It appears that he has a Buster Posey-like ability to crush outside pitches.  Gives me shivers just thinking about it.  I know Hunter is sure twitchy in batter's box ... not exactly pretty... but the results are SWEET!

Oh, by the way, Melky Cabrera and Buster Posey look like World Champions to me.  It is a privilege to get to follow these guys.

11 and 11

Madison Bumgarner looked good last night and the Giants hitters continued to barrage the Roxies with runs.  You need to do that in Coors Field.  Maddy went six, and probably could have gone a few more.  In that time, he threw 106 pitches and gave up only 1 run, a sixth-inning bomb to a young Rockie, shortstop Josh Rutledge.  He gave up only 5 hits on the day, and K'ed 7, but the dog days, you know.  Besides, the Giants were up 6-1 at that point.  Good thing they weren't finished scoring, though, as the Rockies immediately began picking away at that lead, scoring 2 in the 7th, 2 more in the 8th and one in the 9th.  Fortunately, the Giants added 4 in the 8th, with rbis by Pagan, Theriot, Posey and Blanco, and a bit of an assist from third baseman Wilin Rosario.  One more in the ninth on a bases-empty shot by Angel Pagan made it 11 runs.  The Giants left 11 men on base, which I think is more than they put on base in some series of recent memory.

Hits!  The Giants got 17 of 'em.  Every one of the starting hitters contributed, as did Brandon Belt.  Madison Bumgarner did not get a hit, and I bet that pisses him off.  Pagan, 4 for 6 with 3 rbi.  It really, really helps to have him hitting.  Posey, 3 for 6 with 3 rbi and a home run (in the first, to get the Giants rolling).  Impressive, you say?  A .500 clip is pretty much what Mr. Posey has done since the All Star break (.453).  Jeff Francis, a mainstay of the Rockies rotation, got the L.  Again, we go into the third game of a series, again seeking a sweep.  Man, this team can be schizophrenic.  Looked like crap last week, now in Coors Field, away from our "home field advantage" we are good again.

One concern remains relief.  Penney got a short hook last night after giving up 2 runs in the 7th inning.  Hensley was worse, giving up another 2 in 1/3.  Romo replaced him, immediately gave up a hit, then righted the ship and made it through the 8th.  We also used two pitchers in the 9th, Lopez and Casilla for the final out.  I'm sure Bochy would have rather had a bit more relaxed, cruise control sort of a last few innings, but c'mon, it's Coors.  Another concern:  LA.   They went and picked up Joe Blanton and put a waivers claim on Cliff Lee.  They have money and will spend more than they have, and be allowed to by MLB, I have no doubt.  Not quite sure how MLB can approve trades in fire sales like they do, but they probably make different rules for different teams.  In any case, I actually feel bad for Philly fans.  Not because they are in last place, but because the owner has decided to piss all over the fan-base's support and sell anything that isn't nailed down.  Speaking of which, Hunter Pence had his first hit as a Giant.  I expect many more.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Thirteen Ways to Win

I love the number thirteen. I was born on Friday the 13th, fer chrissakes. Trece been berry berry good to me. The Giants got 13 hits and scored 13 runs, and hey, it made me happy. Then they bitched it all up by hitting more and scoring more. Save a few for tomorrow, eh? Mostly I wanted to write about how Ryan Vogelsong is the best pitcher on the San Francisco Giants. Sure, he got slammed for a big four in the 7th, but it's Coors Field. I mean Coors Fucking Field, as in that Goddamned Fucking Coors Field. You give up a four-spot there its like a one-spot everywhere else, right? Vogie loses his quality start streak but keeps his six-inning streak going. What a beast! Matt Cain was clearly the best Giants pitcher up to El Perfecto and the All-Star Game. But he has been off his game of late, and The Voge-ster has been Mr. Consistency. Since April! He's out-Cained Cain. The guy has been absolutely brilliant in 2012, following up his "flukey" 2011. I remember watching him last season and thinking "this guy can really pitch." This from the genius who thought Pete Falcone and Ed Halicki were Cy Young Award material . It's nice to be vindicated, despite the fact that I really don't give a shit. All I care about is WINS in the goddamn win column. Way to go, Giants, way to win!


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

You Have To Stay Strapped In, Man

I am a passenger
And I ride and I ride

You've been there. You've gone a few drinks over the limit. Hell, more than few, and you are waiting for the bomb to drop. Or you took that extra tab because the first one wasn't working, and it's just tickled your cortex and said "Here's, Johnny!"  The shit hasn't hit yet, but it will, and you know it won't be good. You'll stumble around, unable to talk. Or you'll curl up in a ball and yip like a puppy if someone strays near you. And the aftershocks--something mild, like a dry-heaves hangover, or a little more fun, like temporary psychosis--will come, too. And you know this, and it feels real bad. And you're stuck. Fucked up. Hella fucked up, with no place to go but down someplace worse. That feeling, that dread, that "what have I done to myself?" moment has got you by the short hairs and you just have to ride it out and take what comes.
I am a passenger
I stay under glass

That feeling I was talking about? That's what tonight's game felt like. Every moment was one of fear, and loathing. Matt Cain looked ready to implode on every pitch. He lasted only five innings, his shortest start of the season. Every Met got pitches to hit and pitches to laugh at, and got lots of them, over and over again, and every inning recapitulated the entire season in a comic opera of great pathos and sensitivity. Every half inning, that is, as the Giants worked on their offense-minimizing strategies to great success, and the batting thing moved along briskly and didn't interfere with the rest of the show.

We'll be the passenger
We'll ride through the city tonight
See the city's ripped insides
We'll see the bright and hollow sky

It's a commitment. You have to stick it out. There are going to be games like this. Again. And again. This isn't the last time you will want to gouge out your molars with a Leatherman tool rather than watch another batter. So get over yourself already. Enough with the melodrama. We're grownups here. Professionals. We don't do those stupid adolescent stunts anymore. When we go over the line, we know it, we plan it, we live it, we love it. Cinch up the harness, mates, you ain't goin' nowhere.

Oh the passenger
He rides and he rides
He looks through his window
What does he see?

Fer chrissakes, Giants, win the next fucking ballgame.


p.s. Thanks to Iggy Pop for inspiration.

He sees the stars and hollow sky
He sees the stars come out tonight
He sees the city's ripped backsides
He sees the winding ocean drive . . .