Hands up if you've caught yourself thinking about baseball teams or players in terms of ex-girlfriends or significant others. It's weird, and you shouldn't do it. But I think in our weaker moments, we've all done it. Even worse is the hackneyed, horrid abusive-ex-significant-other analogy, but we shan't go there. Especially because the Giants are like a significant other who totally went to Jared.
This comes up now because, oh, hey, Nate Schierholtz. You're doing well. Mmm-hmm. Mmm-hmmmm. No, things are good. Things are really good. We won the World Series again, actually. I know, right? Yeah, it was fun. Not more or less fun as last time, just different. And how are you? Oh, you're on the Cubs? That's … that's great, Nathan. That's just great.
Don't know about you, but it's still weird for me to see Schierholtz in another uniform. He was on the team for as long as Jeff Kent, you know. As long as all three Alous, and longer than Kevin Mitchell, Royce Clayton, and Terry Mulholland, even though Mulholland was on the Giants, like, six different times. Schierholtz had 10 fewer at-bats than Juan Marichal in a Giants uniform. Which actually kind of impressive from Marchial's perspective.
Schierholtz was supposed to be Pablo Sandoval, by which I mean the guy who turned from a non- or semi-prospect into an All-Star. Because the Giants didn't have a lot of hot prospects when Schierholtz was a young player. They had throw-them-at-the-wall guys like Fred Lewis and Kevin Frandsen, Lance Niekro and Dan Ortmeier. Of all those guys, Schierholtz was the one with impressive stats. Or, impressive enough to get people interested, at least.
Here's the first starting lineup Schierholtz was ever in:
Dave Roberts - CF
Nate Schierholtz - RF
Ryan Klesko - 1B
Barry Bonds - LF
Ray Durham - 2B
Bengie Molina - C
Pedro Feliz - 3B
Omar Vizquel - SS
Noah Lowry - P
Six seasons later, and there's just one active major leaguer in that lineup. Four of the Blue Jays in the other lineup are still in the majors, all with starting jobs (if you count Vernon Wells). But for the Giants, it was Schierholtz who looked vaguely like a piece of the future, and that was it. People are still making Sabean-luvz-vets jokes in 2013, even though half the lineup is closer to 21 than 30. But that's because it's hard to get a lineup like that one up there out of your head. The youngest position player in that lineup other than Schierholtz was the 32-year-old Pedro Feliz. There was a 42-year-old, a 40-year-old, and two 35-year-olds. Damn straight we pinned irrational hopes on Schierholtz.
In Schierholtz's last game as a Giant, he drove in two runs. In his last at-bat as a Giant, he drove in a run in extra innings to bring the Giants within a run. They would eventually lose by a run. And that's a metaphor, if you force it. He came close to being a J.T. Snow-type -- a fondly remembered player who became a legacy player by virtue of longevity and being pretty okay. He was just okay. So close. So close.
That last game was the one where Scott Hairston hit two late home runs, by the way, and eliminated the Giants from the 2012 playoffs. It was certainly one of the lowest points of the year. Do the Giants trade for Hunter Pence if that doesn't happen? Probably, but who knows. Now Schierholtz is palling around with Hairston in the same outfield. Gross. If we're going to expand on the stuff from the intro, Hairston is the new guy on the scene. He rides a motorcycle without a helmet, works part-time at Arby's, and deals krokodil on the side. He's also an ass snake. Oh, Nate, what did we push you into?
I don't know much about the 2013 Cubs. But they have Nate Schierholtz now, and that's kind of interesting. It pushes the nostalgia buttons, for sure. Remember that time when the Giants had Nate Schierholtz. Man, that seems like it was eight or nine months ago. Seems weird to think about now. I'll always wish him the best of luck. Just not over the next few games.
Hitter to watch
You'd think it was Nate Schierholtz after all that. Surprise! Scott Hairston is on this team! That means we're on SCOTTCON 1, everybody. COCKED PISTOL is not a drill, this is MAXIMUM READINESS. It's funny, I just found the post-game thread for the Hairston two-homer game when I was searching for something else, and it is one of the most dejected threads in site history. Funny how things worked out. That guy, man. That guy.
Pitcher to watch
/flashes Burlingame High gang signs at Scott Feldman
/gets curt, hardcore nod back
/hides fact that Burlingame High gang signs are just pantomiming how you ask for extra foam
After two postseasons in which almost everything went the Giants' way, is it gauche to be fatalistic still about Scott Hairston? Probably. But he's going to do something that makes us put our fist through something. You should probably let the cat out before you watch the game.