One to Go…

Juan Uribe has signed a 3-year $21 million deal with the Dodgers.  

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My first real Giants break up.  I was under no illusions that this team would stay the same forever. Heck, it didn’t’ stay the same throughout the season. But I also knew it would be weird to see players I’ve come to love wearing someone else’s uniform, a freakin’ Dodgers uniform, no less.  
I’ll miss his ability to hit clutch, and I love him at third base way more than the Panda.  On the other hand, I’m glad the Giants didn’t spend that kind of money to resign a 31 year old who hasn’t had a .300+ batting average since his debut in 2001.  
Speaking of resigning old players, I’m not AS stoked as I was last post about Huff returning, now that they’ve announced that the deal consists of a 2-year $20 million contract.  I don’t think I would have paid that much.  There’s a reason it’s called a “career year” (singular).   Let’s hope it pays off.  
Ch..ch..ch..changes.  Now we need a new shortstop. 
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Questions

Man post-post season is ridiculously boring, isn’t it?  Even Jane Heller has been reduced to move reviewing.  There could be news if someone would actually do something, but so far there’s just unanswered questions, like…

1) Will Aubrey Huff and Juan Uribe like their offers and come back next year?
2) Will Jonathan Sanchez, Andres Torres, Cody Ross, Mike Fontenot, Ramon Ramirez, Santiago Casilla, Javier Lopez and Chris Ray come to arbitration agreements?  
3) Will Zito learn to pitch again or will they downgrade him to an 8 bazillion dollar bench warmer?  
4 Will Pablo Sandoval be playing next season or will he eat himself out of baseball during the break?  
5)  Will Mark DeRosa…do…um…anything?  
Heck, I’m so bored I’m even watching to see what happens to Jeter and Werth!  I think they should come to the Giants.  Yeah right.

2010 TYIB Awards

Pitching won the World Series and yet not a single Giants starter is amongst the nominees for MLB’s This Year In Baseball Awards.  Who comes up with the nominees?   It almost seems too silly to participate in the voting, but of course I did.  If you’d like to vote party, here’s a handy-dandy cheat sheet.  Remember you can vote more than once in each category, so make sure you tag every Giant!

STARS

Rookie – Buster Posey
Closer – Brian Wilson
X-Factor – Pat Burrell
Executive – Brian Sabean
Manager – Bruce Bochy
Postseason MVP – Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Cody Ross, Brian Wilson
MUST C

Postseason – Tim Lincecum, Buster Posey, Edgar Renteria, Juan Uribe, Brian Wilson
And there you have it.  Apparently there was nothing to see from the Giants until they hit the postseason.  Awesome.  

The Torture is Over

I’m supposed to be preparing for my trip to Seattle.  I have tons to wrap up at work, I have packing to do, but I can’t concentrate.  How the heck am I suppose to accomplish anything after last night?  

I started by listening to it on the radio on my way home from work.  Cliff Lee was back.  Uh oh.  This is going to be tough.  Sounds like we’re coming back to San Francisco and I’m going to miss it.  Damn.
But no, Lincecum is in full force too!  Three up, three down.  The Freak is on the mound and he’s taking no prisoners.  He saw Cain and Bumgarner’s shut outs and he wants a taste.  This is going to be a tight race.  
For seven innings they battled, neither giving up a run.  This is what everyone wanted in the first game.  This is what everyone wanted when Lincecum faced Halladay.  This is a pitcher’s duel.  
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Then in the 7th, the first slip.  Ross and Uribe hit singles to center field.  Could this be the opportunity?  Huff bunts…BUNTS a sacrifice and the two men on gain a base.  Ross is so close to putting a run on this board.  I couldn’t sit, I couldn’t watch, I HAD to watch.  Burrell up.  Oh no, why is he still playing?  Maybe this will be his time to make up for his post-season.  Sacrifice fly?  Get someone home?  C’mon Burrell!  Strike out.  Ack.  So much for drama.  Edgar Renteria up. Now would be a good time for a home run, I really said that. He hits it out of the park.  Where there were no runs scored by either team, now there are three and they are Giants runs.  
OMG!  And it’s the 7th.  We can hold them until the end.  We do it all the time.  This is our thing.  We have it!  
Lincecum gets excited and Nelson Cruz knocks one out of the park.  Whoops!  Okay so the lead is getting tighter, we can still do it.  Ian Kinsler walks. Oh no, Lincecum is losing it.  The Rangers are going to issue out some payback now.  
Nope!
Lincecum reigns it in and adds two more strikeouts to his belt, ending the inning before more damage is done.  He also takes care of the 8th.  I’m thinking, much like Bumgarner the night before, he probably could have knocked out the 9th too, but Bochy sticks with tradition and brings in Wilson to finish it off.  
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No champagne, no jumping up and down, I just sat there on the couch soaking in the surreality of the moment.  I watched all the post-game coverage, I watched the awards given out in the Rangers hidecloset, I did some dishes and listened to Jewel, which has nothing to do with baseball but somehow helped satiate the excitement that was consuming me.  
I dreamed about baseball. I woke up thinking about baseball.  I’m not going to get anything done.  I’m going to be in Seattle with no underwear.
But who cares?  THE GIANTS WON THE FREAKIN’ WORLD SERIES!!!!!
Watching the World Series last year, when my baseball obsession was starting to blossom, I thought and wrote the following:
I got home in time to see the Yankees win it and watch the post-game hoopla and I got to wondering what it would feel like to have a team you had an investment with in a game like this, win or lose.
Who the heck could have thought that it would happen the very next World Series?  I can’t even believe.  I still don’t believe it.  I’m not sure it’s sunk in completely. I have no idea how to even communicate my thoughts on all this.  I feel like I could write an entire book on these guys in one sitting, while at the same time I’m struggling just to put a coherent sentence together.  
I love this team.  I love everything about them that everyone is now latching on to. I love the misfits, the team made up of rookies and players nobody wanted.  I love the beards and ‘fros and pandas and freaks.  I love that every person on the team contributed in some way.  When someone was slumping, someone else rose to the occasion.  They’re all superstars.  I’ve followed them from Spring Training to the top of the world.  I never want this band to break up. 
In some ways this might be a horrible season for me to have started caring.  It can only be downhill from here.  It’s not like this can happen every year, right?
“Why not?” ~ Buster Posey

Giants-Rangers Game 2: Cake Walks

I am completely confused as to what’s going on.  This is not Giants baseball as I have come to know it.  20 runs in two games?  Not that I’m complaining, mind you, it’s kind of nice actually.  Is this what games are like for other fans?  Lots of runs, great defense, no torture?  I could get used to it, but on the other hand, the pessimist in me is waiting for the other shoe to drop.  

It started out like a normal Giants game.  No runs for the first four innings, both Cain and Wilson (C.J. Wilson, now our Wilson) shutting out the competition.  Then Edgar Renteria decides to relive his past World Series experience and knocks one out of the park. 1-0, still a normal Giants game.  That run ultimately won the game BTW, but let’s keep going.
Bottom of the 7th, Juan Uribe, the other “old guy” on the team with post-season experience, knocks a single into right field and Cody Ross scores.  2-0 Giants.  Okay now, from past experience, the goal now is to keep those measly two runs and prevent the other guys from catching up by using our awesome bullpen to shut them down, sealing the deal with Brian Wilson.
But then the 8th happened.  Like this:
  • O’Day now pitching, strikes out Torres.  One out.
  • Freddy Sanchez up, strikes out.  Two out.
  • Buster Posey, single to second base.  Still two out.
  • O’Day replaced by Derek Holland. Nate Schierholtz walks.  Buster to 2B.  Still two out.
  • Cody Ross walks, Posey to 3B, Scheirholtz to 2B.  Bases loaded.  Still two out.
  • Aubrey Huff WALKS.  Posey scores.  Scheirholtz to 3B.  Ross to 2B.  Still two out.  SFG: 3, TEX: 0.
  • Holland out, Lowe in.  Walks Juan Uribe.  Scheriholtz scores.  Ross to 3B. Huff to 2B.  Still two out.  SFG: 4, TEX: 0.
  • Renteria singles to LF, Ross and Huff score.  Still two out.  SFG: 6, TEX: 0.  
  • Lowe out, Kirkman in.  Aaron Rowand triples to RF, Uribe and Renteria score.  Still two out.  SFG: 8, TEX: 0.
  • Andres Torres doubles to LF, Rowand scores. Still two out.  SFG: 9, TEX: 0.
  • Freddy Sanchez strikes out swinging.  Three out.

The Texas bullpen just died or something.  Giants score 7 runs in one inning, two from walks.  It was like one of those cake walks at the community fair, where everyone is just walking around in circles waiting for the music to stop.  It finally stopped after 7 runs.  Of course, as I said above, only 1 run was needed to win this game, so the 8th inning was just icing, but an icing that certainly boosted confidence and hopefully sucked some life out of Texas.  I guarantee you there will be a pitchers meeting before Game 3.  

Fear the ‘Fro again, people!  Matt Cain performed another shut out, keeping his post-season 0.00 ERA intact.  I’m so glad the world gets to see how awesome this guy is.  (Well, the world that’s watching, because y’know.. the Yankees and Red Sox aren’t in it this year.)   Ian Kinsler almost knocked one out of the park in the 5th, but he was about 10 cents short and the Ranger remained scoreless.  
Series Date Tm Opp Rslt Inngs IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
2010 NLDS g2 Oct 8 SFG ATL L,4-5 GS-7 6.2 7 1 0 2 6 0 0.00
2010 NLCS g3 Oct 19 SFG PHI W,3-0 GS-7 7.0 2 0 0 3 5 0 0.00
2010 WS g2 Oct 28 SFG TEX W,9-0 GS-8 7.2 4 0 0 2 2 0 0.00
21.1 13 1 0 7 13 0 0.00
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/29/2010.
Matt Cain everyone!
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Speaking of awesome pitching, and I don’t think I ever have spoken about this guy, but how sick is Javier Lopez?  His crazy pitching style had me from the beginning, but I always overlook him in my posts because he generally only pitches for one or two at-bats.  But they’re always smoking.  He takes out left handers like a freakin’ ninja with Chinese throwing stars.  His sideways looking bullet eliminated Hamilton’s last chance to get something going in the 8th.  It was a beautiful thing.
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So the Giants are 2-0 so far.  Everyone around here is getting all cocky again, just like they did in the NLCS. I hate that, personally. I guess I’m too negative to celebrate before anything is official.  Of course, all the premature back patters were right about the NLCS, so maybe they’ll be right about the World Series too.  I heard on the way to work this morning that a 2-0 lead has happened 51 times in World Series history, and of those 51 2-0 teams, forty have gone on to win the title.  Pretty good odds, but how much you want to bet the Giants were one of those 9 teams who didn’t make it?
Not to be negative though.  Be positive. But not too positive.  Everyone keep wearing the same hats, sweaters, lucky socks; whatever you’re doing keep it going.  Don’t change your routine now.  We’re in Texas now.  Enemy territory.  Don’t look ahead, focus on the next game.  Keep your cool, your determination, look for those lucky breaks to feed on.  Wait…who am I talking to?
GO GIANTS

WORLD SERIES WIN COUNTER
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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. 

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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!

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