Giants/Rockies series preview

Ever since it was established that there may indeed be magic inside this thing we’re in™, this series has been watching us. Judging us. Haunting us. We’d check out of a hotel, and this series would be in the lobby, leering at us. We’d pull up at a red light, and this series would pull up next to us and just stare. We smiled as the Giants went on the road against the NL West and ran the gauntlet -- two of three in Los Angeles, two of three in Arizona, and three of four in San Diego -- and this series just laughed as it picked its toes at the foot of our bed. And now it’s here. September baseball in Coors Field.

Yick.

First up, a little housecleaning: The Rockies aren’t messing around with the humidor. Just stop. That would be a conspiracy too vast to keep quiet. It’s still just a little ridiculous that the process isn’t monitored, though, because it leads to quotes like this:

MLB doesn't monitor the process in person, and Kahn said the umpires' attendant is a Rockies employee. So what's to prevent the Rockies from slipping in a non-humidor ball when the team needs a big rally?

"The integrity of the manager (Jim Tracy) and coaching staff would prevent that," said Kahn, a former A's employee and graduate of Oakland's Bishop O'Dowd High School and Cal State Hayward.

Oh, gee. That should shut up the conspiracy theorists. If a team is putting a ball in a humidor, a mesquite smoker, a mud bath, or a delicious and spicy marinade with the express purpose of affecting how the ball plays, it’d probably be a good idea to have the process monitored. I don’t know if Jim Tracy is the kind of depraved man who would use the turbo buttons on a NES Max to break tackles in Tecmo Bowl. Appealing to his moral fiber isn’t exactly an infallible rhetorical strategy. "Just trust us" also doesn’t find its way into a lot of scientific journals.

But I don’t think the Rockies are substituting humidoctored balls for dry, super balls whenever they feel like it. Just, uh, trust me. I’m just glad that the days of nonstop, 10-8, arena baseball games are over.

Prince Namor: I would like to build a ballpark for an expansion team in Atlantis.

MLB: Okay.

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.

MLB: Okay.

Rockies executive: I’d like to build a ballpark in Denver.

MLB: Okay.

Both scenarios are equally ridiculous, yet one actually happened. For years, there were 29 baseball teams, and one calvinball team. You’d get all into a season, and then you’d have to go into Coors Field. Regular flyballs became home runs. Pop-ups became bloop singles as outfielders tried to cover the vast acreage of the outfield. You’d get a seven-run lead in the most important game of the season, and then you’d expect to blow it. It wasn’t baseball. If it was a variety of baseball, it wasn’t fun to watch.

So all praise the humidor. The Rockies had a crazy home field advantage before the humidor, and they have a crazy home field advantage now. Coors Field is still a pretty substantial hitter’s park. That’s fine. At least it’s baseball.

I still hate Coors Field, though. Evil things go on there. I watched a couple of decades worth of baseball that was played at Jack Murphy Stadium, but I can’t remember a single Padres home run there that broke my spirit. Coors Field tends to breed those kinds of home runs. They breed them in an underground lair, feeding them the blood they’ve secretly collected from ex-Giants catchers like Brent Mayne, Kirt Manwaring, Matt Nokes, Steve Decker, Jeff Reed, Scott Servais, Bobby Estalella, and Yorvit Torrealba. They breed the home runs, and then they release them into the ecosystem, where they threaten us all. It’s just not right.

Man, I hate when the Giants play in Denver. But I felt the same way before the Giants went into Petco Park, but then they took three of four in the most important series of the season. Well, what was the most important series of the season. The Giants have a chance to bury the Rockies. The Rockies have a chance to make up some serious ground. It’s on.

I’ll just be wretching in the corner. Don’t mind me.

Hitter to watch:

Yorvit Torrealba isn’t on the Rockies any more, but he’ll still get a bases-clearing double for them on Saturday night. Just watch.

Pitcher to watch:

Rafael Betancourt has a 3.90 ERA. Well, that’s okay. ERA isn’t really the best way to evaluate a reliever, but it seems like he...wait, an 85/8 K/BB ratio in 57 innings? What manner of witchery is this? That’s just freaky. I have no idea how his ERA isn’t 0.01.

Prediction:

The Rockies won’t pass the Giants during this series. I don’t know why that makes me feel more comfortable, but it does. At worst, the Giants will still come out of the series ahead of the Rockies. Sure, if they get swept, the Braves and Padres will probably vault way ahead in the race, but at least the Rockies won’t get the satisfaction that comes with overtaking a division rival. Ha! Still, it’d be a lot cooler if the Giants could win a couple of games in this series.

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