Here at McCovey Chronicles, it's become an annual tradition on the final Friday of the regular season to offer up our thanks to our fearless leader in Giants fandom,
Mike Fontenot Grant. And by "an annual tradition" I mean, "six years in a row I've spent an ungodly amount of my employer's time putting together this sycophantic highlight reel." I don't even get paid for it, you know. Oh, sure, Grant sends some McCovey Bucks my way as a quid pro quo, but it turns out the Apple store doesn't consider them legal tender.
With the Giants one win away from their first playoff appearance in the history of the site, I considered delaying this fanpost until either a) their championship parade down Market Street or b) Francisco Liriano no-hits them in Game 7 of the World Series. However, the MCC mods, who want it so bad they can taste it, insisted I stick to my regular kiss-ass schedule.
And so I give you "Grant Brisbee 2010: It's Magic Inside, and Llamas Are Watching...Always."
On Opening Day, it's helpful to remember how freaking lame logic can be sometimes. Logic says that Aubrey Huff, coming off the worst season of his career, isn't likely to be better than Travis Ishikawa was last year. Logic says that Aaron Rowand and Edgar Renteria might not even be at rock bottom yet. Logic says that Bengie Molina will get 600 at-bats because some sort of celestial force hates us all. Logic says that young pitchers don't just arrive fully formed, dipped in the River Styx, and ready to win Cy Youngs in their first two full seasons.
Wait, but that last one happened despite the logic. Which is my point. Sometimes logic needs a big ol' wedgie. Sometimes it's best to grow a freaky, bunker-in-Wyoming beard of irrational hope and give Occam's Razor a rest.
Sanchez gives up five walks in five innings, wriggles out of trouble every five seconds, and gets great bullpen help to go along with some run support
Several players leave the clubhouse to go out for drinks
Cain: Wait, fellas! Hold the door!
No one holds the door. The door slams shut in Cain's face.
A slow, sad Vince Guaraldi song starts to play
[Todd] Helton looks like a guy who would dance at a Collective Soul concert, occasionally leaning over to the guy next to him and saying, "Man, I love grunge!" Simply awful.
The Padres are the speed and defense team that the Giants want to be, but they actually have players who can run from first to third without a break for buffalo wings at second.
Whatever. I'll be in the tub. And by "tub", I mean "drinking fifteen fingers of Maker's Mark."
Last year, the San Francisco Giants lost a game against Mike Hampton. Tonight, you lost a game against Todd Wellemeyer. We are now even and consider this matter closed.
The San Francisco Giants
5/15: Brian Wilson vs. Kaz Matsui
At some point, I'll think, "Hey, do you know who made our pool beyond the right field fence? God. So eat it. We shouldn't lose to your unchosen asses." And that point will be about five seconds ago. So when we do lose, it will spark an intense theological debate. If there's a god, maybe it likes tacky artifice and brainless gimmicks. It would explain a lot, actually.
I think it will be a while until we see a pitcher going this well (Jimenez) against a hitter going this poorly (Rowand) -- it was epic abuse. It was like watching the Lincoln/Douglass debates with Pedro Guerrero replacing Stephen Douglass.
You're still watching these games? I scheduled this post-game thread four weeks ago. Here's how the rest of the Giants' season is going to go (spoilers):
Giants hit poorly, pitch well, lose. Giants hit poorly, pitch well, win. Giants hit poorly, pitch well, win. Giants hit poorly, pitch well, lose. Giants hit poorly, pitch well, lose. Giants hit poorly, pitch well, lose. Giants hit poorly, pitch well, win. Giants hit poorly, pitch well, lose. Giants hit well, pitch well, win. Giants hit poorly, pitch well, win. Giants hit poorly, pitch well, lose. Giants hit poorly, pitch well, lose. Giants hit poorly, pitch well, lose. Giants hit well, pitch poorly, win. Giants hit poorly, pitch poorly, lose. Giants hit poorly, pitch well, win. Giants hit poorly, pitch well, lose. Giants hit poorly, pitch well, lose. Giants hit poorly, pitch well, win. Giants hit poorly, pitch well, lose. Giants hit poorly, pitch well, win. Giants hit poorly, pitch well, lose. Giants hit poorly, pitch well, win.
Then comes July.
Oh, you're still watching? But I've told you how it all ends. Go to a museum. Read a book. Build a ship in a bottle. Do something else.
Of course, Pat Burrell was 2-4 for Fresno tonight. He'll probably fix things.
Everyone in the ballpark knows that Rowand will swing at the low, outside breaking ball. The pitcher can stand on the mound and scream with a Cockney accent, "With your permission, guv'nor, I'd like to throw a low, outside breaking ball" as the Jefferson Starship song "You're About To See a Breaking Ball Out of the Strike Zone" plays over the PA, and the player will still swing and miss at the low, outside breaking ball.
Posey said that Zito threw the ball "well." Not good, but "well." Be still my grammar nerd heart. He's a 60 on the 20-to-80 grammar scouting scale right now, but he has 80 potential, which would mean he'd use "whom" correctly every time.
Imagine having a significant other for six years and splitting up. It wasn't messy, but that doesn't mean you don't want to impress your ex every time you run into her. Yet every time you see her, you just happen to be drunk in a Home Depot, throwing up in a showroom toilet. Just one of life's little coincidences.
So congratulations, Barry Zito. You ran into your ex, and you were wearing an Armani suit and smelling of fresh summer meadows. Damn, that has to feel good.
Since May 29th, when Buster Posey started his first game, the Giants have averaged over five runs per game. It would be a fallacy to imply that Posey is entirely responsible for the improvement, but it would also be a fallacy to imply that Posey has limitations. Could Posey create a curveball with so much break that even he could not hit it? Philosophers can waste hours debating that question, right after they ring you up at Borders*.
*guffawed the English major
Also of note: Buster Posey is now a platoon first baseman. He'll start against lefties. Thank you for your concern.
For the last time, the Cliff Notes on how Bochy works: Vinny Castilla was a smoldering husk of a player, but Bochy kept playing him. The GM of the Padres was all, "Hey, did you ever think about not playing him?" And then Bochy was all, "Hey, Poindexter, you gave me these players, so I'll play the ones I think help the team. If you don't think I should play a guy, get rid of him." And then the Padres GM was all, "Fine." And Bochy was all, "Fine." Then Vinny Castilla was released, where he was quickly signed by retirement.
So this is what the alternate universe looks like. When Craig Counsell made an error to help the Giants avoid a double play, a wormhole opened up. So here I am, not drinking bourbon over a discouraging Giants loss and writing a post that isn't the most amazing thing you've ever read. I'm scared to go outside. Cars will be driving people, and birds will festoon the ground. Festoon, I tell you.
The late-inning rally, started by Aaron Rowand, was...
My favorite excuse for why Posey couldn't catch yet was the implication that he just couldn't call a major league game yet. I pictured Bengie Molina in front of a 8'x10' dry-erase board the night before a game, drinking coffee and writing an 80-page treatise on how Tim Lincecum should pitch to Corey Hart, while Posey stayed up all night drinking Hawaiian Punch and designing an awesome course for Excitebike.
Good game, Giants. Good game, Bengie. This is like running into an ex when it's clear that everything is going absolutely swimmingly for both parties. You got a promotion? Good, well we just bought a 5,000 sq. ft. house. Good, well, our kid just got into Yale. Good, good, that's swell, and my spouse doesn't make the same monkey faces during intercourse that you did. Good, good. I'm glad it's all working out. That's what the Molina trade/Posey liberation feels like right now.
Phil Cuzzi had a dreadful game. If he were a shortstop, he would have had six errors. If he were a reliever, he would have given up nine earned runs. If he were an umpire, he'd be a disgrace. Oh, hey, I guess that last one fits. But there were other reasons fo the loss. Freddy Sanchez could have done anything other than hit a weak dribbler with the winning run in scoring position. Brian Wilson could have had a quiet tenth. Eli Whiteside could have called for a fastball instead of five sliders to Ike Davis.
No, just kidding. It was the umpire's fault. The Giants won. The Giants swept the Mets after a dramatic ninth-inning comeback.
I didn't think Bochy had the Billy Martin-sized combo of brains and huevos to go out and call Don Mattingly on a technicality. But Bochy found a way to take away the opponent's morbidly obese rook by pointing out that the king didn't castle properly. Or something.
There's magic inside. And a little alchemy. Maybe some dark arts. And a big, fat, dusty law book that no one pays attention to except for the slow-moving guy behind the desk. It's like we just watched Charlie Brown pull the ball away from Lucy.
How in the world was that game only three hours? That game had more runs than the bathroom next to a concession stand in a Florida stadium.
This team is filled with goofballs and miscreants. Feel-good surprises and golden organizational darlings. The pitching staff has a long-hair and a country boy leading the way, ‘70s-cop drama style. Flotsam and driftwood from the past two offseasons have floated by the cove, finding their way onto the roster and producing like All-Stars. The tea leaves that blew around the Candlestick Park concourses foretold of the catcher who is finally here to rescue us all and help us ascend. The third baseman is a mirthful, jolly fellow. The shortstop wants to bite Russell Martin's nose off.
This might be the most likable team I've ever followed.
Point: There are legitimate reasons to not want Belt up. Heck, I kind of agree that it's too soon. I'm just playing devil's advocate because that's the job description. The biggest argument is that he'd get Poseyed if he came up. He'd get, like, sixteen at-bats between now and the end of the season.
Counterpoint: Damn right he would. I'd see to that.
Point: Wait a second, why is your voice so deep and anesthetizing...
turns on lights
Point: Oh, god.
Counterpoint: The temp agency called me because someone was sick.
Point: There's no temp agency! Get out of my bed! And why are you wearing my wife's negligee?
Counterpoint: I was told that Counterpoint was the girl. I was getting in character.
Point: Get out, get out, get out!
Pitcher to watch
Luke Gregerson? Tim Stauffer? Clayton Richard? Wade LeBlanc? Jon Garland? Joe Thatcher? Mike Adams? Ryan Webb? What kind of private school lacrosse team crap is this? Are they all going to stand on their chairs and recite "O Captain! My Captain!" before they take the mound? I bet they listen to Dave Matthews as they tie their sweaters around their neck.
That game should have come with a warning not to operate heavy machinery after watching it.
Calm, Rational Thought: Look, Cody Ross is still a good player. These things happen.
Pure, Unrestrained Emotion: RELEASE HIM. TIE HIM TO A VOLCANO AS A SACRIFICE.
Calm, Rational Thought: Ross is a good fielder. Even Willie Mays misjudged balls. Even Roberto Clemente had the occasional weak and errant throw. These things happen.
Pure, Unrestrained Emotion: SEND HIM TO FRESNO. NO, SEND HIM TO SAN JOSE. NO, SEND HIM TO THE HIROSHIMA CARP FOR A PLATE OF DELICIOUS UNAGI.
Calm, Rational Thought: Look, it was unfortunate that he misplayed the ball, but we need to look at the bigger picture. It's a long season, and...
Pure, Unrestrained Emotion: GRIND HIS FINGERS INTO A POWDER THAT CAN BE SOLD ON THE BLACK MARKET AS AN APRHODISIAC. MAKE HIM WATCH "MAD ABOUT YOU" RERUNS WHILE STRAPPED TO AN ANTHILL.
Someone peeled the monkey off Tim Lincecum's back, took him to the bar, and just got him ripped on banana daquiris.
It was coming back to life, this miasma of death and rot. It twisted, looked up, and then coughed. The warlock stepped back. He knew that whatever was in that breath would kill him, whether by science or sorcery. But as quickly as the creation came to life, that life expired in a puff of grey mist.
The room smelled like a dead whale, rotting and dormant. The mass of flesh quivered in a death rattle before expiring. The warlock then put it between a steamed bun and charged $5 for it at various concession stands throughout Dodger Stadium.
Padres: I'll just leave it here, and I'm not going to pick it back up. So if it stays here...
Giants: Well, I guess it's just going to stay there.
Rockies: We'll take it.
Padres: Fine. Then just leave it there. No one will have it, then.
Rockies: We'll take it.
Rockies: So we'll just take this then.
Giants: Hey, uh, Juan. Can you keep an eye on that for a while?
Juan Uribe: Yep.
Rockies: Wait, what are you doing? We'll take that. We don't mind.
Juan Uribe: Keeping an eye on that thing. Stay back.
Rockies: Take it easy. We're cool.
Diamondbacks: I like turtles.
I'm sick of the Padres winning, and I'm sick of how they do it. Take those "fundamentals" and cram them. Real men assume that the first pitch of every at-bat is going to be a belt-high fastball and swing accordingly. Real men run like gout-stricken insurance salesmen instead of professional athletes. Real men think that blooping two-out base hits with runners in scoring position is only something that nancy-boys do because their fathers didn't pay attention to them. Don't you want to be real men, Padres? Yeah, I didn't think so.
So here's when we scream into the darkness. Maybe the shark will eat us. Maybe we'll harpoon the shark. Maybe we'll jump over the shark on water skis in a hilarious, never-before-seen bit.
Mike Murphy: Okay, so here's your uniform.
New Giants Player: Great, thanks.
Mike Murphy: Here's your Giants hat.
New Giants Player: Cool. Looks good.
Mike Murphy: Here's a coupon for 10% off of Beach Blanket Babylon tickets.
New Giants Player: Uh, thanks.
Mike Murphy: And here's a bag of powdered suck. Please, don't open that until you play the Padres.
New Giants Player: Uh. I'm pretty sure I don't want that.
Mike Murphy: Yeah, I'm not sure why we give that out. Still, take it. You know, just in case.
The Padres have 13 road games and seven home games left. The Rockies have nine home games and 10 road games left. This makes a difference because the Giants keep a set of baseballs in a vat of seal urine. And as Casey Stengel once noted, "Baseballs that are waterlogged with seal urine don't travel as far when hit." This is why the Giants play so well at home (42-27 this year, even though I don't remember going to 27 games.) It's not cheating if you don't get caught.
Here's the fear, though: After the Dodgers were in town, here come the Brewers. Like, after throwing Emperor Palpatine down some sort of OSHA-unapproved shaft, we get to have an arbitration hearing with an Ughnaught about a worker's comp claim.
Oh, it starts out innocently enough. Some friends are passing out 1-0 games at a party, and you don't want to be the square. Then you start up with the 1-0 games when you're at home alone, just to take the edge off. Then you find yourself with a couple of 1-0 games in your car right before work. Before you know it, you're stumbling down an alley, breathing the fumes from David Eckstein bloop singles. That's 1-0 game rock bottom.
Prince Namor: I would like to build a ballpark for an expansion team in Atlantis.
Prince Namor: It would be underwater, of course. And we would use oars instead of bats. And there wouldn't be grass, just long, flowing strands of seaweed. Also, pods of dolphins would watch the game from the dugout, and they'd make horrific dolphin shrieking sounds while shining laser pointers in the eyes of opposing batters. Also, the game wouldn't be determined by how many runs each team scores, but rather if it was the pitcher or hitter who could fit the most scallops in his mouth in the bloleventh inning. Also, there's a bloleventh inning now.
Rockies executive: I'd like to build a ballpark in Denver.
I’m nauseous now just thinking about this weekend. One win. That’s all the Giants need.