I finally went to my first game of the season. It's ridiculous that I waited until June, but toddlers and work can grind a fella into a fine powder. Powder likes to sit on the couch and not deal with crowds.
I got into a conversation with someone in a neighboring seat, and we talked about 2000 a bit. It made me realize that of the all the things I remember about 2000 -- Kevin Elster, J.T. Snow waving his Pyrrhic home run fair, Ellis Burks -- if I had to pick one thing about that season, it would be Not Candlestick. The seasons, whittled down to a word or twenty:
2000 - Not Candlestick
2001 - Dingerz! Barry!
2002 - :(
2003 - Wire-to-wire, said with the same sense of creepiness and foreboding as the old guy from "Requiem for a Dream."
2004 - Wayne Franklin
2005 - Uh oh. The beginning of the end
2006 - Maybe Shea Hillenbrand will help?
2007 - So, Bengie Molina is really the youngest starter in the lineup? Really?
2008 - Uncle
2009 - If only they had an average offense ...
2010 - We traded for Michael Main!
So right now, "Aaahh! My everything is hurt! Aaahh!" has the lead. But I'm hoping that at the end -- if "repeat" isn't our fate -- that "Ryan Voglesong. Seriously. Ryan Vogelsong" becomes what I remember about this season.
It's about to be the most amazing story I've ever followed as a baseball fan. I tried to ratchet back the hyperbole before I typed that, but, really, what's the competition?
- Historically great pitching staff wins World Series
- Historically great hitter becomes super-duper-sweet-magic historically great through performance-enhancing drugs
- Lance Niekro doesn't hit that well
Vogelsong is a) a former Giants prospect, traded for b) a player who helped the Giants win a pennant and c) had an elbow explode before d) pitching pretty meh in Japan before e) pitching awfully in Triple-A before f) deciding he was Tom Seaver.
The part of my brain that's waiting for him to regress is losing this war. It's going to remain in there somewhere, shouting things I can't hear like John Cusack at the end of "Being John Malkovich," but right now I'm in awe. This is the kind of thing that can salvage a season filled with horrific injuries. If the Giants fall just short, there's still a chance that we can remember this season for Vogelsong! rather than injuries. Right now, injuries have a commanding lead, but ever start that Vogelsong puts up like this makes him creep closer to the top.
And with each start of five innings or more/two runs or fewer, he's putting himself in some pretty elite company, though Mat Latos near the top kind of ruins everything.
So in conclusion, I think I'm going to write a book titled, "Ryan Vogelsong: What in the Absolute Hell?' Dude's fun to watch.