FanPost

8th Annual GRANT APPRECIATION DAY

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Oh, sure, E6D/Bryan Murphy has done some great work, steve S continues to provide sterling coverage of the Giants’ minor league teams, and rumors persist that pixels have died thanks to someone named "JT Jordan." But eight seasons into McCovey Chronicles, Grant is still the main dude here. Tens of thousands of words written over the 2012 season—what an accomplishment! Even if 75% of those words are either "Matt Cain" or "lol Dodgers."

It’s no small feat to be able to write humorously and insightfully about this team while the rest of us discuss Game of Thrones or NBC’s Thursday night comedies. And so once again we celebrate Grant’s output from Opening Day forward, from the 0-3 start to Matt Cain’s perfect game to the All-Star Game to Melky’s suspension to dozens of Hunter Pence exoskeleton jokes to the NL West title to...well, would a World Series ring for Shane Loux be too much to ask? Dude eats innings.

Grant highlights below.

[And since this is a day for appreciation, let us not forget the contributions to this site of Alex Lewis, about whom Grant wrote an eloquent tribute. If you can, please make a donation to the Alex Lewis Scholarship Fund..]

4/6:

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Day 1 - Subject does not appear to be infected. In good spirits. Responds to "Melky," as usual. Hit a home run and a double. Didn't outwardly react to puzzled groans from infected teammates. Stayed on his side of the bench, cautiously keeping tabs on the other people in the dugout.

Day 34 - Subject rolled over a ground ball to second base on the first pitch. Small amount of foam in the corner of his mouth. Infection possible. Seemed to understand the grunts and moans that his infected teammates use for language.

Day 58 - Infection confirmed. Subject now has telltale glazed look in eyes. Swings at everything. When runners reach scoring position on accident, subject puts one leg behind his head and swings with his eyes closed. Regular convulsions. Moans "groounnnnnderrrrrs" and staggers forward, similar in manner to his other teammates.

4/9:

20120409_jel_aq2_347_extra_large_huge_medium

"As my car was driving me to work today …"

"After eating an Arby's sandwich and not getting nauseous …"

"So Barry Zito pitched a complete-game shutout today in Coors Field, and the Giants supported him with walks and timely hitting."

4/11:

It sure seems like the Giants struggle against guys who count on hitters to get themselves out. It also seems like the Giants struggle against:

  • guys up from the minor leagues, filling in for one start

  • rookies in their first spin around the National League

  • veterans

  • hard-throwers

  • soft-throwers

  • medium-throwers

  • guys whose legal names use letters from a standard alphabet and not Wingdings

4/18: Matt Cain vs. Cliff Lee

4/21: And then Aubrey Huff played second base

4/27:

The most important factoid about him is you can use an online Enigma Machine emulator to take the ten letters in his name and decipher the universe's hidden message:

Screen_shot_2012-04-27_at_3

4/29:

I'm not going to make an argument for Theriot vs. Burriss or vice-versa. That's a zucchini soda vs. butternut-squash soda discussion. There are literally a million things that are worth arguing more. Literally. We're in Police Academy 4 vs. Police Academy 5 territory.

5/3:

Nate Schierholtz came up in the bottom of the seventh with runners on second and third with one out. MLB Advanced Media will not allow me to post a screen capture of the pitch he popped out on, so I'll have to make do with my best replication:

Screen_shot_2012-05-03_at_4

5/4:

The title of this post was not ever going to be "What will Giants fans do without Pablo Sandoval?" Because I know what we'll do. Fetal position. Thumb-sucking. Drinking. Watching something more interesting than the Giants' offense, like VHS-recorded Warriors games from last month on a TV with a broken vertical-hold. There aren't any secrets there.

5/9:

Maybe Joaquin Arias is the answer, but only if your question is "Hey, I'm writing a limerick. What rhymes with 'sparkling jelly ass?'"

5/11:

Bruce Bochy: Gentleman, our advance scouting team has gone above and beyond for us this time. See, we're facing a rookie pitcher. Patrick Corbin. He's made only two major-league starts to this point, and we forgot to set the DVR and record those starts, so now there's no way to retrieve the video.
Javier Lopez: Wait, can't you just pull the games up on MLB.com?
Bochy: In the absence of this video, our advance scouts managed to get secret video of Corbin's bullpen session this week.
Lopez: I'm pretty sure you can get this stuff online. Here, I'll pull it up on my iPhone.
Bochy: Many scouts died to get us this information.
Hitters: !
Bochy:
Wait, I meant donuts. Many donuts died at the hands of scouts, who were hired to get us this information.
Lopez:
Yeah, no, the real footage is right here on my phone. You don't need the bullpen video. Look. Here, I'll slow down the video so you can study his windup.
Bochy: Javy, put that glowing deck of cards down and pay attention, dammit. This is real footage from his bullpen session.
Shawon Dunston: You see how he's only throwing fastballs?
Nate Schierholtz: And right down the middle, too.
Dunston: Exactly. You have to be ready to swing. Go up there and expect a fastball in the middle of the zone. Every time. Every pitch.
Schierholtz: Yeah. Perfect. This is gonna be easy.
Hensley Meulens: /plays Angry Birds on Javier Lopez's phone

5/18:

Cupboysoon_medium

5/22:

Casilla-face_medium

The Santiago Casilla Instructional Hitting Video Vol. 1

5/23:

No one forgets the day they figured out that Barry Zito wasn't going to have an ERA under 3.00. It's like the time you caught your dad leaving the presents under the tree. Such a shock. You cried out, "But, Dad, we're Jewish!", but it was too late. He had already ripped the fake payot off his face and climbed up the chimney like a lemur, and you never saw him again. At least, that's how it was in my family. You probably went through something similar.

5/31:

I'm more qualified to analyze Tim Lincecum's seasons by comparing them to Led Zeppelin albums.

2007: Led Zeppelin I
2008: Led Zeppelin II
2009: Led Zeppelin III
2010: Led Zeppelin IV
2011: Houses of the Holy
2012: Some Drunk Guy Signing Songs From 'Coda' and Playing a Thumb Piano While Urinating on Your Only Copy of 'Physical Graffiti'

6/1:

The ledger shows that Bumgarner allowed two earned runs. He did not. If he were still on the mound when the two runs crossed the plate in the ninth inning, he would have followed the runners into the dugout, stared at them, and blew snot rockets until they sheepishly went back to their bases.

6/5:

I just stared at the Baseball Reference page for the San Diego Padres for 30 minutes. I did not cut a hole in a box and look at the reflection. I did not wear special glasses. This is my story.

Stage 1

Studying the stats

Screen_shot_2012-06-05_at_1

Stage 2

Light-headness, nausea, possible boredom and/or depression

Screen_shot_2012-06-05_at_1

Stage 3

The stats turn into one of those Magic Eye things, and you see a unicorn.

Screen_shot_2012-06-05_at_1

The unicorn eventually gets tired and takes a nap. So do you. When you wake up, you're covered in camouflage and bitterness.

6/10:

[Ryan Vogelsong]’s like a character from a Kurosawa movie. He's going to be standing in the middle of carnage, sheathing a wakizashi, and saying that he has to return home now. The warning signs were were all there. And by "warning signs", I mean "I've clearly watched too many Kurosawa movies, but, dammit, this fits."

6/14:

Matt Cain's Perfect Game

50 Awesome Things About Matt Cain’s Perfect Game

6/21:

Top Grooming Moments in Giants History

6/25:

The Dodgers fan cackled a bit. Sprinkled more ground veal on his popcorn. It's made from baby cows, you know.

Suddenly he's in the middle of a soporific Barry Zito special. It's like a running car in a poorly ventilated garage. You start to get a little sleepy, unsure of what's happening. The next thing you know, Zito's pitched seven shutout innings on three hits and three walks. Your night is gone. Three hours frittered away. There's blood coming from your ear.

6/27:

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mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} </style> <![endif]-->Guy pretending to be Showtime Exec: You should be terrible.
Tim Lincecum: Terrible?
Guy pretending to be Showtime Exec: Terrible! Career crisis! Everybody wondering if you're done for! And then ...you come back!
Lincecum: Huh.
Guy pretending to be Showtime Exec: Against the Dodgers! At the end of act two! To complete a sweep that vaults the Giants into first place!
Lincecum: Well, that'd be intere ... wait, I thought we weren't doing The Franchise this year?
Guy pretending to be Showtime Exec:
/runs, leaving cloud of dust and fake mustache behind
Lincecum: But that's a really good idea. And he was so polite!

7/2:

SECOND BASE — 1, Dan Uggla, Braves, 3,831,375. 2, Brandon Phillips, Reds, 3,164,460. 3, Jose Altuve, Astros, 2,397,322. 4, Freddy Sanchez, Giants, 2,289,147.

Freddy Sanchez can't open a car door without an elaborate system of pulleys and winches helping him grip the door handle. He still finished fourth.

7/5:

The Kansas City Royals have signaled to teams that they are willing to move closer Jonathan Broxton, major league sources told FOXSports.com.

ALERT. RAISE ALERT LEVEL TO MESACON 1. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.

Brox_medium

I KNOW LITTLE GUY. I FEEL THE SAME WAY. LET'S JUST FORGET ABOUT THIS GAME.

7/8:

After all of the offseason speculation and debating this winter, it's July and we're talking about Brad Penny replacing Tim Lincecum in the rotation like it makes sense. That's a Cormac McCarthy passage, right there.

Everything is ashen and choked with the hellfire of the prairie with the cinders floating down and singeing the hairs on the back of your neck that were already burnt black and Brad Penny might replace Tim Lincecum in the rotation and the sun hides behind the dust like a demon gunman waiting to spring out of his foxhole.

7/10:

The Do's and Don'ts of the Discerning Giants Fan

7/10:

The 2012 All-Star Game might as well have been three hours of Lou Seal in bondage gear, handing out stuffed pandas on camera. Matt Cain was awesome, and the best part might have been all of the long, warning-track fly balls -- the equivalent of calling xFIP at three in the morning and hanging up. It was beautiful.

7/16:

20120715_lbm_ag8_156_extra_large_huge_medium

"Emmanuel Burriss gets ready to swing at a 3-1 fastball"

7/18:

I'm going to teach my daughter to chant "U.S.A! U.S.A.!" whenever Buster Posey comes on the TV. At first, I was tentative because I didn't want to seem jingoistic or xenophobic. Baseball is an international game, and I have a lot of love and respect for the game because of that.

But I was born in the United States, and Buster Posey is the United States, which means I was born in Buster Posey, and I don't want to leave, and I'm like a joey in my mama's pouch, so warm and gooey and …

Sorry. Still tripping balls from the Crawford home run. Still teaching my daughter to do that.

7/20:

You know that old movie/TV trope where there's a guy holding a gun, and he's pointing it at two identical people, each claiming that the other one is the bad guy? It can be identical twins, or it can be some sort of time-travel escapade. Look, there's an entire Wikipedia page on it.

That's what I felt like with stats and scouting when it came to Lincecum. I knew the BABIP. I knew what my eyes were telling me. Not to get all straw hat on you, but I really have seen thousands of games in my life. I'm past that Gladwellian tipping point of 10,000 hours. Heck, you get past that after two Jonathan Sanchez starts. So I don't immediately discount the anecdotal evidence.

And the stats were saying, "Lookit the FIP! The xFIP! No one can be this bad. He's unlucky Juuuuust unlucky!" And I'd whirl around and point the gun at scouting.

The scouting would say, "Dude's terrible. Terrrrrrible. Hangs a buncha crap. Velocity down. Why are we even talking about this? Just give me an update on how Kyle Crick is doing and move on."

I'd whirl around and point the gun at the stats. This went on for a few months. The gun was a light gun that came with my NES. I ended up drinking all night and playing Hogan's Alley.

7/25:

Winning two out of every three games is…like M. Night Shyamalan rewriting the last third of every Hitchock movie. It turns out that the crop duster was being flown by aliens, sucker! And it makes you forget everything good that came before.

Here we are again, wondering if we should be happy about a good series in the face of a bad game. This is the most confusing good team I've ever followed.

7/30:

The Secret Genius of Marco Scutaro

7/31:

There are going to be people with lobster hats cheering for Pence. They'll pick up on the fact that Pence is vaguely creepy, vaguely invertebratey, and they will attempt to get on camera the entire time they're at a game.

But there will also be people wearing underwear on their heads. They'll have signs, "HUNTER PENCE'S UNDER PANTSES!" And they'll attempt to get on camera the entire time they're at a game.

Slowly, like clouds of gas moving across the vacuum of space, these two groups will meet. It will be a bloodbath. There will be carnage. And Hunter Pence will laugh and laugh and laugh …

8/6:

Pitcher to watch:
/flips over to open tab that has "____ is the kind of pitcher who counts on other teams to swing and make contact with pitches out of the strike zone, so the Giants are kind of hosed."

/command-a
/command-c
/command-v

8/9:

Brandon Belt: gangle gangle twitch strikeout
Hunter Pence: gangle gangle twitch double
Belt: gangle gangle twitch twitch?
Pence: (demonstrates) gaaaaangle. gaaaaaangle twitch … twitchtwitchdouble
Belt: (nods head) gaaaaangle. gaaaaaangle twitch…twitchtwitchwalk
Pence: (smiles) gangle! awkward gangle twitch!
Belt: (shakes Pence's hand and leaves, smiling) gangle!
Pence: gangle gangle twitch strikeout
Pence: gangle gangle twitch strikeout
Pence: gangle gangle twitch strikeout
Pence: Well, shit.

8/9:

Screen_shot_2012-08-09_at_5

8/10:

The 2012 Giants have scored three runs at home this season. One of them was on a balk. One of them was on an error. One of them was on a subpoena. Things are different now, 12 years later. So different.

But what is different? Just tellllllll us. I don't get how AT&T Park is now the most extreme pitchers' park in baseball, and one of the most extreme in the history of baseball. Was there a resolution passed? Did we all vote? Everything was normal, we turned around, and now the Giants play in Petco Park on heroin. Asleep, incoherent, rolling around in its own sick.

8/13:

A Navy SEAL is given an emergency kit before a mission. Inside the kit is a pill, a belt, a one-pence coin, and a penny. The SEAL takes the kit, looks at his commanding officer, and says, "Holy crap, Brad Penny sucks."

8/16:

Big, Important Opinions on Melky Cabrera

McCovey Chronicles: Hi. Question for Mr. Sabean. In the 2011 season, when Melky supposedly had a career year, he had the same plate discipline and power from previous years, but his batting average on balls in play was inflated tremendously. I mean, what are we to believe, that he is some sort of a ... (sniggering) … magic hitter or something? Boy, I really hope somebody gets fired for this blunder.
Bochy: I'll field that one. Let me ask you a question. Why would a man whose shirt says "World Champion" spend all of his time on a baseball blog for complete nerds?
McCovey Chronicles: (embarrassed) I withdraw my question.
McCovey Chronicles: /eats lunch and comments on it

8/28:

Screen_shot_2012-08-28_at_9

8/29:

[Hunter Pence is] chasing pitches out of the strike zone like he's Aaron Rowand with glaucoma who smoked medicinal marijuana because of the glaucoma but got so high he closed his eyes and curled into a fetal position on his bed to ride out the wave, which is much worse than regular ol' Aaron Rowand.

This heat map should tell you what you need to know:

9/5:

Then Bruce Bochy used my least favorite strategy -- the walk-the-bases-loaded gag. It wasn't just any walk-the-bases-loaded gag, either. It was a) with one out, b) to bring Santiago Casilla into a situation where he had to throw a strike b) against Justin Upton. That's like splitting a pair of rules cards in a back-alley game of blackjack.

And today's question is simple: What kind of power should we expect from Belt? My temptation is to take his spray chart and do something like this with it:

Screen_shot_2012-09-05_at_1

9/7:

Hitter to watch
So Adrian Gonzalez is an obvious candidate, but do you realize what happened since the last time the Giants and Dodgers played? They traded for Shane Victorino. What a perfect marriage of bacteria and growth medium. When he arrived in the Dodgers clubhouse, a clubbie handed him his new uniform. Victorino just laughed, tensed up a bit, and made a couple of grunting sounds. A Dodgers uniform oozed out of Victorino's pores and enveloped him. No need for that uniform, good sir. It was under there all along.

9/7:

Huff-theriot_medium

Still like Aubrey Huff. Still makes me laugh. In ten years, we'll marvel at the idea that the fans turned on him as quickly as they did, even if there was a logical reason at the time.

Also, Theriot looks like an owl. Am I the only one who's noticed that this year?

9/12:

Screen_shot_2012-09-12_at_9

9/13:

[It] seems to be in vogue to blame Bruce Bochy for running the rotation into the ground through overuse. And I get that. Because while I respect Bochy's NBFA* score, he really has been master of the one-more-inning-for-no-good-reason gambit.

* Not Being Felipe Alou score -- a proprietary metric I devised. Bochy grades out as a "1" on a scale of "Alou to 1."

9/19:

Buster Posey and the MVP

9/21:

Oh man oh man oh man. This is making me nervous again, dammit. Where's the chart? I NEED THE CHART.

<center><center style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; line-height: 17px;"><center style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent;">

<table border="2" style="margin: 8px auto; padding: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; border-collapse: collapse; border-spacing: 1px; border-color: #aaaaaa; text-align: left;"><tbody style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline;">

<tr style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline;">

<td style="margin: 0px; padding: 3px; font-size: 11px; vertical-align: top;"><b style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent;">If the Giants finish the season like this ...</b></td>

<td style="margin: 0px; padding: 3px; font-size: 11px; vertical-align: top;"><b style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent;">The Dodgers would need to<span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; line-height: 9px;"> </span>do this to force a tie ...</b></td>

</tr>

<tr style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline;">

<td style="margin: 0px; padding: 3px; font-size: 11px; vertical-align: top;">0-12</td>

<td style="margin: 0px; padding: 3px; font-size: 11px; vertical-align: top;">10-2</td>

</tr>

<tr style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline;">

<td style="margin: 0px; padding: 3px; font-size: 11px; vertical-align: top;">1-11</td>

<td style="margin: 0px; padding: 3px; font-size: 11px; vertical-align: top;">11-1</td>

</tr>

<tr style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline;">

<td style="margin: 0px; padding: 3px; font-size: 11px; vertical-align: top;">2-10</td>

<td style="margin: 0px; padding: 3px; font-size: 11px; vertical-align: top;">12-0</td>

</tr>

<tr style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline;">

<td style="margin: 0px; padding: 3px; font-size: 11px; vertical-align: top;">3-9</td>

<td style="margin: 0px; padding: 3px; font-size: 11px; vertical-align: top;">lol dodgers</td>

</tr>

<tr style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline;">

<td style="margin: 0px; padding: 3px; font-size: 11px; vertical-align: top;">4-8</td>

<td style="margin: 0px; padding: 3px; font-size: 11px; vertical-align: top;">no, seriously, lol dodgers<br>

</td>

</tr>

</tbody></table>

</center></center></center>

9/22:

Giants clinch the NL West

10/1:

Suddenly, a golden griffon appears in the sky. It beats its wings furiously, causing everyone on the the field to shield their face from the hurricane-force winds. Everyone except Angel Pagan, who somehow manages to concentrate, scale the wall, and bring back the wind-defeated, would-be home run. The Giants win the West.

On the back of the griffon is Wayne Franklin, except … different. He's wearing white robes, with long white hair and a pure white beard. In one hand, he is holding a flaming sword. In the other, the head of Steve Finley. Franklin the Pure calls out:

"No more, Dodgers. You shall torment me no more. I am a celestial wanderer now, making the universe right. Also, I am here for Shane Victorino because he is on the Dodgers now for some reason."

Before Victorino can object, the griffon grabs his head between sharp talons and flies off.

The Giants celebrate in a dogpile on the Dodger Stadium mound.

Also, the griffon drops Victorino from 1,000 feet.

10/3:

Don Mattingly: Have him walk Pagan to get to Scutaro.

Trey Hillman: Walk Pagan? But Scutaro is 75 for his last 76. Pagan's kind of slumping. Do we really …

Mattingly: Have him walk Pagan to get to Scutaro. He's 1-for-19 against Jamey Wright.

Hillman: When? When Wright was on the Giants and Scutaro was on the A's? When Scutaro was on the Blue Jays and he had an appearance against Wright when he was on the Royals? When Scutaro was on the Red Sox, and he hit a line drive against Wright straight to the Mariners' center fielder? What in the absolute hell does that have to do with right now?

Mattingly: Have him walk Pagan to get to Scutaro. Then bunt Scutaro over.

Hillman: That doesn't even …

Mattingly Bunt Scutaro over, then bunt Wright over to third, and have him pitch to Scutaro from third base. Scutaro doesn't have a hit against Wright when facing him in second-third-movable-mound situations. I have to go. My keepers are calling me. My handlers are bidding me home. I'll miss you Trey. There are others like you on my home planet. Bunt something for your wife. Tell her it's from me.

/Mattingly ascends

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