Giants-Rangers Game 1: First Down

The Giants add another pitcher’s pelt to their wall next to Jimenez, Latos, Halladay, Oswalt and Hamels.  Here’s Cliff Lee’s new post-season stats:

Rk Series Date Tm Opp Rslt H R BB SO HR
1 2009 NLDS g1 Oct 7 PHI COL W,5-1 6 1 0 5 0
2 2009 NLDS g4 Oct 12 PHI @ COL W,5-4 5 3 3 5 0
3 2009 NLCS g3 Oct 18 PHI LAD W,11-0 3 0 0 10 0
4 2009 WS g1 Oct 28 PHI @ NYY W,6-1 6 1 0 10 0
5 2009 WS g5 Nov 2 PHI NYY W,8-6 7 5 3 3 0
2010 Postseason Series Tm Opp Rslt H R BB SO HR
6 2010 ALDS g1 Oct 6 TEX @ TBR W,5-1 5 1 0 10 1
7 2010 ALDS g5 Oct 12 TEX @ TBR W,5-1 6 1 0 11 0
8 2010 ALCS g3 Oct 18 TEX @ NYY W,8-0 2 0 1 13 0
9 2010 WS g1 Oct 27 TEX @ SFG L,7-11 8 7 1 7 0
48 19 8 74 1
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/28/2010.
That “L” on the last row? That’s the Giants.  Not only does nobody think the Giants are going to win this series, absolutely nobody saw them defeating Lee, especially in an 11-7 game.  The Giants don’t have offense, what was that about?
Even I’m somewhat baffled.  I’m not sure what any of it means.  I would have preferred that the Giants kept the 8-2 score they had in the 5th, that makes more sense to me.  The Giants strength all season has been their ability to keep runs at bay.  So it concerns me that after Lincecum leaves the game the bullpen gives up 5 more runs in 4 innings.  Yes, the Giants scored 11 runs and took the win, but can they do that all the time?  Are they going to have to?  They’ve only scored double digits fourteen times this season. 
On the other hand, I’ve heard the Rangers are pretty good about not giving up runs too, especially Cliff “third greatest post-season pitcher of all time” Lee, and yet they gave up 11.  So I really have no idea what to make of this game.  Maybe it was a fluke for both teams. 
I would like to think that the Rangers 3 runs in the 9th were mostly because Bochy didn’t put in Wilson right away, per usual, and I would like to think that the reason he did that was because the Giants were far enough ahead that he wanted to save Wilson and give other closers a chance to see some action.  Of course, it didn’t work out for Ramirez or Affeldt and Wilson ended up coming in anyway, but maybe those last 3 runs were “freebies” or something.  
Another “battle of the great pitchers of all time” hype that didn’t live up to itself.  Despite giving up more runs, Lee tied Lincecum in the hits department, dominated him in strikeouts and ultimately ended up with a slightly better ERA, even though he pitched one less inning.  But obviously, given the amount of runs in the game, neither star pitcher gave his best performance and the media was once again sad.
The tack-on offense was just amazing last night.  Consider that the Rangers had 8 hits off Lincecum but only generated 4 runs, while the Giants had 8 hits off Lee and generated 7 runs.  The singles and double just kept coming, and it always seem like it was when there were two outs.  Freddie Sanchez made World Series history by hitting three doubles in one game, generating three RBIs.  Posey, Schierholtz, Ross, Huff and Ishikawa all got to contribute RBIs and Juan UUUU-Ribe once again batted one out of the park with two on base.  God I love that guy.  He doesn’t always hit, but when he hits it’s always good.
uribe.jpg
Aside from the lame Fox announcers, two things I hated about last night’s presentation: 1) They completely skipped the opening pitch by Giants hall-of-famers in favor of focusing on two igits in the press box who, by their own admission later in the game, don’t know what they’re talking about.  How come I had to watch them instead of watching Orlando Cepeda, Gaylord Perry, Juan Marichal and Willie McCovey?  I don’t even know what they said.  Who cares what they said!  2) Didn’t get to see whether or not the crowd cheered when they announced Bengie Molina.  That was a discussion around the bay area all week, as to whether that would happen.  I heard on the radio this morning that they did in fact cheer his name, and I’m glad for it. I love the Bengie, even if he’s in the wrong colors.  
Speaking of Bengie, his latest blog entry is full of warm-hearted goodness.  My favorite bit:
The first time I was up, I wished Posey luck and he wished me luck. Then I looked out at Lincecum and touched the bill of my cap, and he touched his in response.
 
I had as special a relationship with Timmy as I have had with any pitcher. Maybe because he was so young when I began catching him and I became a mentor to him. We have texted since I was traded but I had not seen him or talked to him in person until the game yesterday. I had heard he had said really nice things about me to the press.
 
When he came up to bat for the first time, I stood and told him, “I want you to know that hits or no hits, win or lose, you’re my boy.”

“Hey, Be-Mo, I love you.”

Then we both got to work.

Awesome.  

Game 1 is in the bag.  Cliff Lee defeated.  The Giants are 1-0.  We’re still making the media scratch their heads in bewilderment.  Keep it up!  

GO GIANTS!


WORLD SERIES WIN COUNTER
nolanwin.jpg nolanpending.jpg nolanpending.jpg nolanpending.jpg
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Giants-Phillies Game 6: Onward

I painted all day Saturday. 
The wife and I just bought a new house, so my weekends have been
replaced by manual labor in an effort to make the house her own.  Labor makes me tired and I almost forgot that
Game 6 was even happening that day, but I managed to wake up and tune in to see
the Phillies score 2 runs off Sanchez in the 1st. 

Off to Game 7, eh? 
God damn it. 

I was tired, it had already been a long day, and the idea of
three hours of torture to cap off my evening did not appeal to me at all.  I turned on Star Trek.  This will be easier.  Captain Kirk always wins, even when he’s in
Philadelphia. 

It started off good. 
I managed to sit back, relax and enjoy watching the exploits from where
no man has gone before.  But then the
back of my brain started scratching. 
“Hey, what if something awesome is happening right now?  What if the Giants have hit eight home runs
in a row or something?  You’re missing
it!”  I brushed it off and kept watching,
but “what if…?”

I cave and flip to the game, “just briefly” I tell myself,
and it’s tied up 2-2.  I convince myself
that a tie is worse than losing, and it will probably go 12 innings now just to
get to Game 7 anyway.  I flip back to
Trek.  Captain Kirk isn’t doing so well
but I’m confident he’ll come through. 

I start switching back more frequently.  Every time there’s the briefest lull in Trek
action, I use it as an excuse to “let’s just quickly see how it’s going.”  Still 2-2. 
Over and over again, it’s still 2-2. 
Every time I switch back, there’s a new pitcher; Sanchez, Affeldt,
Bumgarner (BUMGARNER?) and it continues to remain 2-2.  

By the 8th inning, I’m watching more baseball
than Trek.  It was more torturous to not
know what was going on than it was to just watch the torture.  UUUU-Ribe hits a home run.  Captain Kirk will have to go on without
me.  Game 7 gets farther away.  Can we hold them? 

Lincecum is brought in to try.   Lincecum! 
One day of rest and coming in to help close?  Ridiculously unusual, and I’m not sure if it’s
a great idea, but I’m glad to see him anyway. 
He strikes out Werth.  But then
Victorino and Ibanez get on base.  Oh
no.  Then they call in Wilson.  Oh no again. 
This is too early for him isn’t it? 
It’s only the 8th. 
They should only bring him in when there’s three outs left, not
five!  Double play-YES! 

Three more outs and the World Series. 

Wilson’s back. Good, it has to be Wilson.  Ross Gload grounds out, two more to go.  Jimmy Rollins walks, oh no.  That’s okay, Wilson always has to have a
little drama, it’s part of his charm.  Palanco
grounds out.  ONE MORE TO GO.  Utley walks. 
OH NO.  There’s drama and then
there’s drama, Wilson.  Ryan Howard steps
up.  The crappy Fox announcers talk about
how he hasn’t done anything for the Phillies all post-season.  “Thanks for the jinx”, I think to myself, wondering
if this will be the moment where he decides to snap out of his funk and hit one
out of the park to keep his team in the game. 

pennantclinch.jpg

Strikeout!  Giants win
the NLCS!  World Series bound! 

The Giants come rushing off the bench and everyone jumps up
and down as the quietest stadium I’ve ever seen in my life watches their
victory.  My wife and mother-in-law were
all watching at this point, and even they commented that it seemed a shame no
one else was celebrating.  Were there no
Giants fans there?  Probably but
considering the massive sea of red, they must have been few and far between.  I didn’t expect fireworks or even applause
really, but man was that moment quiet. 
It’s a real shame they couldn’t have won it in San Francisco. 

Nothing against the Rangers, but they weren’t officially in
it until the other day and haven’t really been on my radar.  The Phillies have been the team to beat since
the Giants made it into the post-season. 
They’ve been to the World Series the last two years and have clinched
their division consecutively since 2007 and they were number one in the
National League this year.  They were the
hurdle the Giants had to get past as soon as the regular season was done.  Hats off to you Phillies, MUCH respect.  You didn’t make it easy.

Off to the World Series. 
Giants vs Rangers.  Posey vs
Molina.  “Haven’t won a World Series
since NY” vs “Haven’t won a World Series ever.” 
I know little about the Rangers, other than Molina’s been hitting and
Cliff Lee is full of win.  I’ll look into
them later.  Right now let’s just bask in
the joy of winning the NLCS. 
Aaaaaaahhhhhhhh….

P.S.

Congrats to Cody Ross for being selected MVP of the
NLCS.  You da man!

bossross.jpg

Down a Step

Well, it’s official!

standings20100521.jpgThe D-Back, of all teams, officially knocked us down a peg. Weird game. We lose by one run, which is ridiculously usual for us, but Golden God Tim only pitches five innings, walking five and surrendering five hits, including a home run. And even weirder, the score on both sides exceeded one run. In fact, at one point, both teams scored five runs back to back. Unheard of this season! Bochy ejected? Affeldt allowing a stolen run to home? Weird game.

isntthatweird.png
I was really expecting to sweep the D-Backs, not get swept. But it occurred to me that I should have known better. Here’s my theory on what happened. Behold this man:

james.jpgThat is my father-in-law. He’s one of those guys that are good at winning. He’s the guy who’s ahead of you in your fantasy football league. He’s the guy who’s going to take all your chips if you sit down with him at the poker table. He’s the guy who’s going to draw the elusive domino needed to go out in Mexican Train.

winner.jpgAnd this year he’s decided to get into baseball again, and since he lives in Arizona, he’s decided to be a D-Backs fan. And sure, they’re in last place, so one could argue that his winning powers aren’t all that. But that’s now how it works, folks. How it works is, he wins when it’s important. He wins when brother-in-law and I are dying to rub it in that the Giants creamed his team. THAT’s when his powers kick and we get swept. So again Giants fan, this guy is why we lost:

jamescloseup.jpgBay Bridge Series next! Would love a win or three, but fun either way. Zito’s up tonight, pitching against his old stomping grounds, hopefully doing better than he’s done previous:

Rk Date Tm Opp Rslt IP H R ER BB SO HR
1 2008-06-13 SFG OAK L 1-5 5.2 6 4 4 4 3 0
2 2007-06-09 SFG OAK L 0-6 4.0 9 4 3 1 2 1
3 2007-05-18 SFG OAK L 3-15 4.0 6 7 7 7 2 1

Apparently he doesn’t like being booed. But he’s doing great this year, reinvented himself, so here’s hoping he’s got thicker skin tonight.

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Rockin’ Weekend

Kinda.  Didn’t get the sweep.  I guess Jhoulys Chacin knows the crane kick because he shut us out for seven innings in the last game. 

cranekick.jpgSpeaking of shut out, no game two on television?  The one day I actually could have sat down and watched a good chunk of it, and it was know where to be found on Direct TV.  What’s that about?

tvsucks.jpgTrying to recap the last game on baseball-reference.com, but how do ya read all this stuff?  How can I tell who started for the Giants?  How can I tell who was pitching in the 5th when the Rockies scored 3?  That information has to be somewhere amongst all these numbers and abbreviations, but I’m sure not finding it. 

confused-baby.jpgAnyway, congrats to Cain for finally kicking *** in game two!  Only gave up one hit and zero runs in eight innings.  Fantastic!  And congrats to Zito for his first ever 4-0 record, with the help of Romo and Affeldt.  Cliff Lee thinks you’re all very cool! 

awesomepitchers.jpgOne final thought on this series…what’s with the jerseys?

rockiesjersey.jpgNow off to Florida to face the Marlins.  They don’t sound especially scary, so let’s not let them whup us!  Should I do the prediction stat thing again?  Meh, who cares?  What happens happens.  Our W-L% is .583 and the Marlins have a .520, so we should win, right?  Right?  Exactly.

Jeremy Affeldt – Video Star

Comcast SportsNet has been, of course, covering spring training for the Giants, and the other day Jeremy Affeldt gave a behind-the-scenes tour of Scottsdale Stadium, which I thought was pretty funny, and which is available online:

http://player.theplatform.com/ps/player/pds/GxeR8zNntw&pid=Va5_zJgVp7e264_R3VM_9ByEi0eCXqmC

Turns out this was just a warm-up for a new video blog series starring Affeldt called The Set-Up, which will be featured on the Giants home page.  Of course, MLB.com doesn’t allow the embedding of their videos, which somewhat sucks, especially since you’d think they’d want us to be putting them in the blogs they host for us, but here’s a link.

And here’s another one from CSN about the Giant’s hair issues:

http://player.theplatform.com/ps/player/pds/GxeR8zNntw&pid=hMQPVdO59UGnLqwxe4mJOkHwnWqXMDVT

2010 Fan Festivus for the Rest of Us

I made it to Fan Fest 2010!

fanfest2010.JPG
But first, let me start off by saying, I have been to many a convention, event, whatever you wanna call it, about many a subject matters.  All geek.  Comic conventions, sci-fi conventions, Star Trek conventions, I’ve been to them all.  This was my first sports event/convention.  Frankly, I don’t get the difference.  It’s full of the same exact fanboyish people (myself included) as all the other conventions I’ve been to.  I officially don’t get the difference between geeks and jocks.  You guys are all the same, sorry to break it to you.  The person obsessing about a baseball team is just as weird, cross eyed, smelly and socially awkward as the person obsessing about Babylon 5.  All the same stereotypes were there.  Seriously, it’s the same.  Sorry to break it to you, but can’t we all just get along now? 

 

jocksvsnerds.jpgLike I said before, I wasn’t sure if it was going to be my thing.  So what really sold it was the fact that it was free and it was on a Saturday where I had no conflicts.  I went thinking, worse comes to worse, I can leave whenever I want and I’m not really out anything.  I also didn’t really know what to expect, so I decided to have no expectations or “mission” on what I wanted to accomplish.  Ultimately, I ended up meandering around and taking it all in, checking out what it was all about, and I had a pretty good time doing it.  Rather than a play-by-play, here are some random thoughts about the experience:

AUTOGRAPHS – That was the big thing.  There were three autograph lines (or maybe two autograph lines and a photo line) and they were out the door.  I knew up front I wasn’t going to try and get autographs because I didn’t want to spend my first trip standing in line.  Good strategy because those lines were probably and hour + wait each.  On the plus side, you’d probably average about three autographs per line, on the down side, there was no control over what autograph you were going to get because they’d rotate out players as you were standing there.  But, if you love the team, I suppose it doesn’t really matter which team member signs your junk, right?  Next year I think maybe I’ll bring a baseball and do the line at least once, but I am glad that this year I decided up front not to worry about it.

LINCECUM – The man is definitely a superstar to Giants fans.  Every time he moved from one area to another, the stadium would erupt with cheers as if it were a full house, and it wasn’t even close.  Every time he was on stage, people would shout “we love you” or “pay him!”  I think there’s a new movement where people are wearing hats with long hair attached, in tribute to his locks.  I completely get why everyone is hating the Giants for haggling with this guy instead of paying him what he wants.  The love for him is just amazing.  (I think the Giants have every right to haggle, and I don’t think it’s as big a deal as people are making it out to be, but that’s another post.)  Here’s Lincecum being interviewed by KNBR:

lincecumfanfest.JPG
STADIUM – I’ve never actually been inside AT&T park.  I’ve seen the outside many times, but this was the first time I was able to peek inside the walls.  The last time I went to a Giants game, they were still playing in Candlestick and Will Clark was on 1st base. It’s a beautiful stadium.  The first thing I did when I got there, and probably one of my favorite parts of the whole experience, was step onto the field (which was devoid of grass) and look around.  Crazy to imagine a full stadium looking down at you while you’re trying to play a game.  No pressure!  I also made a point to stand on the pitchers mound and touch ever base (except home, because KNBR’s booth was sitting on it).  Here’s a pic of the stands from the pitcher’s mound:

pitchersmoundview.JPG
PLAYERS – First thing I saw on my way down to stand on the field was Tim Lincecum and Mark DeRosa in the autograph booth.  What a trip to see the guys that I’ve been writing about the last few months in person.  Equally a trip for me was that one of the gawkers standing next to me ask “who’s that dude?” in reference to DeRosa and I was able to answer him!   Go me!  Here’s DeRosa waiting to sign:

markderosafanfest.JPGAs far as player interaction, didn’t accomplish that much.  Mostly I watched them being interviewed by KNBR, but every time I sat there watching, I always felt like I was wasting the experience because I could have stayed home and listened to KNBR on the radio.  They probably interviewed everyone that was there, but I only sat down for Lincecum, DeRosa and  Jeremy Affeldt, and I mostly only did that because I had to sit to eat my overpriced snacks. 

On the Club level, there was another interview section, and one player, while waiting for his interview, was taking pictures and signing autographs.  I had no clue who he was, but I tried to get someone to snap a photo of me with him anyway, figuring I could look him up later.  I was next in line when he was suddenly rushed by a pack of kids.  So, figuring the children are our future, I let them lead the way.  But then after he was done with them, he had to leave to get interviewed, so I missed out.  I still looked him up though, of course, and it was Brandon Medders.  Oh well!

CONFUSION – I found the entire organization somewhat confusing.  It seemed very difficult to get around to the various areas where things were happening.  I never did find the batting cages, or the supposed clubhouse tour.  Every time I went to the Club level, I had to get directions from someone on how to get back down to the first floor.  Navigating from one side of the field to the other seemed like a maze.  I never saw Will Clark or Pablo Sandoval, though I suppose if I had sat watching KNBR all day they would have showed up.  That’s one thing though, that the geeks have on the jocks, better event organization. 

TWEETUP – The first annual Twitter Tweetup was kind of interesting, kind of not.  There was a lot of waiting, and then we got to see the Scoreboard Control Room and the Marketing and Sales offices, which were cool, but we kinda just walked through them and then it was all over.  No real explanation or guidance as to what we were looking at. Still, it was the first year they tried this, and it was somewhat last minute, so I’m glad I got to participate. Hopefully next year they’ll have the kinks worked out.  Here’s a pic of the meetup:

tweetup2010.JPG
ORANGE AND BLACK ATTACK – Okay not the actual organization, but just the wave of orange and black at this thing was impressive.  I, of course, had no Giants paraphernalia.  I figured whatever though, they’ll still let me in.  But when I got there and saw the sea of orange and black, I got nervous that I might get lynched if I walk in hat-less, wearing a green sweatshirt and bluejeans  So I swung into the Giants store before hitting the stadium and bought a hat.  I was shooting for an official 5950, but my head size wouldn’t cooperate, so I went with the 2010 batting practice variation, which had less size restrictions.  I’m not used to wearing a hat.  My head itched a lot, but at least I blended in!

battingpracticehat.jpgALL-IN-ALL – I feel like I’m missing lots of little things I should have written about, but oh well.  I’ve always enjoyed hanging out amongst fandom, and Giants fans are no expectation.  You can definitely feel the love!  It was a fun experience, I’m glad I went.  Different than past events I’ve gone to, as mentioned above, where I knew what I was doing and what I wanted to accomplish, but it was fun to spend the day meandering and soaking in Giants fanaticism.  Definitely got me stoked for the 2010 season to hurry up and start already!  

BTW, Charlie Brown really is a Giants fan!  

charliebrown.JPGMore photos from my Fan Fest 2010 trip can be seen here!

Chirp

Man, this off season stuff has kinda ruined the momentum on this blog, if not my new found enthusiasm for baseball in general.  This winter draft stuff is the only thing that seems to be happening, and the Giants are playing it too cool to where I don’t really have anything to say about any of it.  (And even if they were wheeling and dealin’, I’m probably still too ignorant to know what to say about it.) 

The MLB has Hot Stove winter meeting episodes or plays old games, neither of which has been very exciting for me.  (Though man, the 1982 White Sox uniforms were horrible, weren’t they?)

More awards, this time by the fans.  Jeremy Affeldt was voted 2009’s best setup man during the This Year in Baseball 2009 awards.

jeremyaffeldt.jpg 
Scary looking, ain’t he?  Now…what’s a setup man?