Come along with me as I try to remember a game from 15 years ago. It features a sneaky GIF.
The latest Giants rumor is something like "The Giants are interested in bringing back Angel Pagan." Well, yeah. Stay tuned for breaking updates like "The Giants are still interested in bringing back Angel Pagan" and "Angel Pagan's agent left a voicemail for someone in the Giants' office." I don't remember an offseason like this, where the Giants are primarily interested in their own free agents and little else. This could be a pretty boring offseason, he said just days before the Bumgarner/Upton trade.
In the absence of news, all I have to share for the weekend is a GIF of a video I just found. And even though I watched every game in 1997, I don't remember this game at all. How do you not remember this game? First the GIF:
That's Tony Peña pretending to set up for an intentional walk, then pulling an invisible chainsaw before he walks out to the mound with a poop-eating grin. Brian Johnson looks disgusted, as he should.
This game took me a while to find because John Hudek pitched only one game against the Giants in 1997/1998, which was the only time Johnson was on the Giants. But the Astros lost that one game, which meant there would be no reason for Peña to come out and celebrate after a final out. I couldn't figure it out.
The answer: That was the second out of the inning. Peña was such a dillweed that he couldn't contain his mirth at just how damned clever he was.
But this game had everything, and I have no idea how I didn't remember it. The reason Johnson figured an intentional walk on a 3-2 count made sense with runners in scoring position was because this was the period in which Johnson was hitting like a proto-Posey. The Giants had a 2-1 lead in this at-bat because Johnson hit a solo homer in the seventh to break the tie.
After that pitch, I'm pretty sure 19-year-old Grant stomped around and swore a lot, perhaps threatening Peña with all sorts of bodily harm. I took my baseball pretty seriously back then. But the next batter, Stan Javier, was walked intentionally (for real), and with two outs, Darryl Hamilton singled home two runs. Did the neighbors call the cops on me because I was yelling "SUCK IT PENA" at the top of my lungs for five minutes? Probably. But you'd think I would remember that.
The inning ended when Stan Javier was caught stealing home.
This is a game I should remember, dammit.
Rod Beck -- raise your glass -- got the Astros in order in the next half-inning. The Giants didn't lose any ground, staying two back from the Dodgers. Tony Peña ended up paying for his crimes against baseball, managing the Royals for several years.
There are two points to this: First, I wish that video for all of this stuff were easily accessible. Second, you're going to get old and forget everything, too, so you might as well start getting terrified now. Another sub-point: I'll pretty much take any excuse to write about the '97 Giants.
Update: I was at the game. That's why I couldn't remember the intentional walk. I was sitting behind the first-base dugout, and I must have missed the intentional-non-walk shenanigans. I remembered that I was there after reading the game story, which mentioned Hamilton's amazing catch. Now that I remember. It's one of the best catches I've seen in person. Still don't remember Javier getting caught stealing home, though.
The good news is that I didn't drink away the part of my frontal lobe that contained this game, which I was kind of scared about. The bad news is that you read all of that for some reason.