And so another Giants season draws to a close. This season has turned out to be, um, somewhat ever-so-slightly infinitesimally less successful than the one that preceded it. How do we know this? Is it because we think Mallet Fingers is a good name for a band? Is it because "how's the TANK going?" is our new way of saying hello? Is it because of this:
No, the reason we know the Giants will not be parading down Market Street this fall is because Grant has just spent the past six months telling us. He has chronicled this team's feckless, torpid playing of "baseball" in his usual, inimitable style. If anything, he's been funnier and more incisive than ever, making us laugh, cry and think while we down shots of Jameson, turn our Scutaro rain globes upside down and then right side up again, and watch our World Series DVD on infinite loop.
For the ninth year in a row, let us take a day to appreciate the man who makes spending all this time sitting in our moms' basements that much more rewarding. Here's to you, Grant.
An Opening Day with a shutout and a tie-breaking home run from Kershaw is the kind of game everyone will remember in 20 years. I wish I had a classier, more erudite analogy, but all I can think about is Eddie Murphy's friend in Delirious. Okay, Dodgers. You got me. Alright. My mouth was open. My mouth was open on that one.
We've been joking about Pence being an arachnid or alien, and it was good for a few yuks. I've been secretly worried that we were running the joke into the ground. But here's a new take: time traveler. He's not from our time. Was he normal in his time? Did the traveling change him? What did he have to do? What did he sacrifice to come here? Soviets? Are the Soviets involved?
Time traveler. He might be from the future or from the past, but he learned to play baseball in the '50s.
Lincecum's going to be great unless he's awful unless he's just okay. So like all weenies, we'll split the difference and go with 'okay.'
Wait, no, screw that ...
/takes shot of water drained from parade snow globe
/starts seeing 50-foot-tall Matt Hollidays
/stands on roof in underwear, waving Darren Lewis-model bat at winged Latoses
If the Giants win the World Series in 1987, there is municipal pride and support like never before.
If there's pride and support, there is a groundswell of support for a new stadium.
If there is a groundswell of support for a new stadium, something awful gets built because it's the '80s and everything is awful.
Right now, we would be arguing about a stadium proposal to replace the worst stadium in baseball.
So the 1987 Cardinals were more like Sam from Quantum Leap, just trying to steer us in the right direction. Thanks, 1987 Cardinals!
Do you think that Marco Scutaro went up to Matt Holliday and stared at him like Harpo Marx until Holliday said, "What?", all annoyed, before Scutaro replied, "Mmllaaaaawwl," opened his mouth, and stuck out his tongue, revealing a World Series ring?
Probably. That probably happened.
Every bad word over the last six years, every comment made by opposing fans making fun of Barry Zito, every snigger and chuckle at his name. Barry Zito collected them all and stored them in a glass jar. Before Game 5 of the NLCS, he shook the absolute crap out of the jar and opened the lid. All of those nasty comments shot out of the jar like a swarm of bees in a Wu-Tang video or Wicker Man remake. They spread around the world seeking revenge. Sweet, sweet revenge.
Of course, the revenge bees are coming for you too, eventually. They'll be a while, but they're coming. You should probably get a screen for that window.
Nate Schierholtz almost impaled Jeremy Affeldt with two consecutive broken bats. It was like something from a Final Destination movie, and now shards and splinters are going to follow Affeldt wherever he goes because he "cheated maple's design."
That's not how Affeldt would get injured on a play like that, though. If the bat pierced the rosin bag, and the dust got in Affeldt's eye and caused an infection ... now that's how Affledt would get injured. Or if the bat flew into a seagull, whose corpse made Affeldt slip and fall on his shoulder.
Affledt's not going to let a measly bat get him.
[Angel Pagan is] like a Puerto Rican Hunter Pence after going through Tom Cruise's class in Magnolia, and I don't think he gets enough credit for the crazy eyes, awkward motions, and overall hilariousness.
At some point in 2009 or 2011, you watched a Giants/Padres game. The final score was 1-0, and one of those teams scored only because they had a punchcard that gave them a free run for every nine they had over the previous month.
"And that's the story of when Bruce Bochy ate Jerry Meals."
At the end of the start, after all the action had finished,Jonathan Lucroy and Carlos Gomez were walking away from the field in the final shot, drinking cups of coffee, shooting the breeze, and talking about the death of Barry Zito's win streak. It was the standard denouement of a police procedural. Nothing too interesting.
But you should have stayed around for the credits. After the last name floats up off the screen, the cameras pan back to the pitcher's mound. Brief pause, and then, A HAND comes out of the dirt. It's the win streak's hand. It isn't dead yet. Cut to black. The lights go on in the theater. Everyone's stunned. The streak might have been killed, but now it's undead, roaming the countryside, looking for brains. And for bats to flail at changeups and dookieballs. But also brains. Because it hurts my brain to think about Barry Zito, automatic win, so I try not to.
My dearest Mat,
It is Day 15 of our trip, and we still have not found the scoundrel who absconded with the second "T" in your first name. Be advised that we remain vigilant. Should we encounter the thief, my plan is to blind him with the reflection shining off one of the inset diamonds on my face. For I am a World Series ring, and I have powers.
I do so regret that we were never meant to be together, so I shall continue my quest to find your missing "T", even if it takes me around the world. I feel it is the least I can do.
On a lighter note, here I am in front of the Eiffel Tower!
Sincerely, The Ring
I JUST MET A GIRL NAMED MARIIIIA AND SUDDENLY THAT NAME ... WILL NEVER BE THE SAME ... TO MEEEEEEEE
Here is a picture of a tortilla with Matt Cain's likeness on it. It was found by villagers somewhere in some place. We should probably make a pilgrimage there this winter.
And then the Giants scored one run against Ramon Ortiz, who works for a temp agency and gets paid in corn.
Good gravy, what just happened? The last thing I saw was Tulowitzki pointing in the Rockies' dugout like the jackaninny that he is, and the next thing I know, I wake up in a flaming altar behind the Hall of Fame as I'm being breast fed by Christy Mathewson. At least, that's what it felt like.
In the top of the ninth, I fell asleep sitting up during Pablo Sandoval's at-bat, and I woke up with Buster Posey on second base. I'm going to experiment more with this form of time travel and report back.
To be placed on every seat down the foul line from now until the end of time:
But I will point out a couple things:
1. When a pitcher walks an American League pitcher to put a runner in scoring position, a trap door should open up on the mound, and the offending pitcher should get sucked into a pneumatic tube that empties over the Bay. Also, the game should be immediately forfeit in favor of the team whose pitcher took the walk.
2. No, that's the only thing I can think of.
This game was a Zen koan. When a schleprock pitcher like Tim Lincecum meets a team of schleprocks like the Blue Jays, which team is going to have the darker cloud following them around? Can God make a schleprock so unlucky that another schleprock looks unlucky by comparison? Let's get some popcorn and see.
It's a game like this that makes you feel like all Lincecum's needed has been a little command and a little luck.
A little luck like a 190-m.p.h. line drive into the glove of Pablo Sandoval that was tossed out of the give of Marco Scutaro that somehow turned into a double play while Alfonso Marquez was thinking about the porcine imagery of Upstream Color or how to beat the water temple in Ocarina of Time or why we have belly buttons or if Catcher in the Rye is ever going to be made into a movie or whatever in the absolute hell Alfonso Marquez thinks about when he's supposed to be watching Marco Scutaro drop the ball. That kind of luck.
Scouting terms that I've just made up about Arroyo:
- His hands have a bit of the "jabberjaw" going on, as they glide through the zone like a wisecracking shark
- His glove is a classic "Physical Graffiti" type at short -- probably would have been better combining all of those tools into one album instead of overextending himself with a double album
- His arm is "mauve", though it has a chance to be "burnt umber" with work and practice
- He probably doesn't have "any power," nor will he "develop any."
Pitch face: "European who has never thrown a baseball before"
The Pirates can pitch. The Giants cannot.
This'll take some getting used to, alright. Though the blow is cushioned by the fact that the Giants have a decent-to-good offense this year, and ...
/Pablo Sandoval breaks foot on improperly cushioned fact
1:25 Mark McGwire wants to bite Kirk Gibson's nose off. Matt Williams is holding them apart. It's like Girl Talk was a programmer instead of a DJ, mixing Super Smash Bros. and R.B.I. Baseball.
The Giants are hosting the Padres for a three-game series. Here are the starting lineups for Monday's game:
LF - Gary Brown
C - Hector Sanchez
CF - Darryl Hamilton
2B - Freddy Sanchez's severed head
1B - Brett Pill
RF - Glenallen Hill
3B - Chris Dominguez?
SS - Tomas de la Rosa
P - Shane Loux (left-handed)
CF - Will Venable
LF - Max Venable
RF - Ozzie Venable
1B - Cito Gaston
C - Look, the point is that everyone on these two teams is injured
3B - Chase Headley
SS - Except for Headley, of course
2B - Even though he's been close to the worst hitter in that lineup
P - Pitcher with fraying ligament
After all that, Posey came into play first base. The better defender left the game so the Giants could get the pitcher's spot up sooner. Then there was a bases-loaded walk. I woke up under the scoreboard with a seagull going through my wallet.
Cain even gave up a home run to Logan Forsythe, who is a timber magnate from Canada, not a baseball player.
Track I is an instrumental. It starts with an oscillating Minimoog run, ascending and descending, back and forth, until the drums kick in.
Track II is 14:01, and it's broken up into several movements or "suites." It starts with Juan Perez being bitten by a mechanical owl, who carries Perez to his maker. The maker creates a new arm for Perez out of fire and palladium.
Track III is 9:48 and about Perez's time at Western Oklahoma State College, where he hit .465 with 37 homers in 215 at-bats one season. It features a bagpipe solo from Danny Almonte.
Track IV is an 18:38 track about his time in the minors, as he traveled on the backs of wyverns from Eastern League stadium to Eastern League stadium for years.
Track V is :40, and it's mostly just sounds of Mark Kotsay's youth being hit with a mallet.
Track VI is 11:33, and it ends with Perez stabbing Yasiel Puig through the heart with a flaming sword before he flies off on a wyvern of fire.
It's mostly in the style of power-metal like Manowar or Helloween, but it has some softer moments, too.
Horrible person: THAT BASEBALL IS COMING TOWARD ME.
Horrible person: I CAN GET IT. AND THEN PEOPLE WILL LIKE ME.
Horrible person: /interferes with ball in play
AT&T Park security: Okay, sir. You're going to have to come with me.
Horrible person: A SMALL PRICE TO PAY FOR A FREE BASEBALL.
AT&T Park security: Please put your hands around this flag pole.
Horrible person: OKAY. WAIT, YOU CAN'T ARREST ME. WHY ARE YOU TYING MY HANDS TOGETHER AROUND THIS FLAG POLE?
AT&T Park security: /starts gluing french fries to the horrible person's face and neck
Horrible person: WHY ARE YOU GLUING FRENCH FRIES TO MY FACE?
Horrible person: I HAVE REGRETS. OH GOD NO, NO, NO.
I'm picturing a bunch of nerds in a bunker somewhere, working on baseball's version of the Manhattan Project, trying to discover how to get Yasiel Puig out.
Scientist #1: I don't know ... look, all I'm saying is that we should at least try a foshball.
Scientist #2: And I'm trying to tell you, I have no ******* idea what a foshball is.
The Giants, meanwhile, look like they're swinging a hula hoop at a golf ball when they have runners on base, and their bullpen is like something that would happen if the titular character of The Island of Dr. Moreau had a Guillermo Mota fetish.
From the article:
"Brian, it's your cousin, Marvin. Marvin Sabean. You know that new way to lose ballgames you've been looking for? Well, listen to this!
/holds phone up to Chamberlain's outing"
That's okay. When a guy named No-Hit Stanley comes in the league, they'll hit all kinds of homers off him. Life is funny like that!
Team's carcass in alley this morning. Well-struck line drives to burst stomach. This division is afraid of me. I have seen its true face. The stadiums are extended gutters and the power alleys are full of blood and when the infield finally scabs over, all the runners will be safe. The accumulated WHIP of all my walks and hits and walks will foam up about our waists and all the fans and pundits will look up and shout "Save us!"
And I'll whisper, "no."
- Matt Cain
If you're voting for Puig, you're voting for this:
Joe Buck: puuuuuuiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiig puig puiiiiiiiiiig drone drone puig puig drone drone puiiiiiiiiiiiiiiig
Tim McCarver: In my opinion, what he doesn't do when he's approaching the warning track is as unimportant as what he didn't think to do when approaching the warning track, which makes him the most exciting player since Bobby Tolan, at least with regards to warning tracks, in my opinion.
Joe Buck: /rolls around on floor, eyes in back of his head
Joe Buck: puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig puig
If you think about it, there had to have been incredibly shitty Greek playwrights. They wanted so badly to be Aeschylus, to write an epic that would last millenniums, to speak to the human condition and remind us why we're all alive. They ended up writing the 450 B.C. equivalent of Pearl Harbor.
This was one of those epics. The set fell down in the second act. Fires broke out large and small. Whenever the main character wasn't talking, he was standing upstage, looking to see if he knew anyone in the audience. A horrible, turgid mess.
wait they've moved on to mentos commercials why were we not informed
A batter into his return from the disabled list, Santiago Casilla walked the bases loaded to get to Paul Goldschmidt. I don't know about you, but I did a rail of Tony's Creole Seasoning and laughed and laughed. At this point, you're a masochist if you do anything else.
The Giants, having played an extraordinary amount of bad baseball to this point, are just 4½ back. The NL West is being taught by one of those hippie professors who doesn't believe in letter grades, and the Giants still have a chance to get a "magenta-tinged sunset +."
Still looking for rock bottom? You know they play 162 games next year, too, right? Ha ha ha, this could go on for years. You might be a young sprite right now, but you'll eventually wake up covered in Funyun dust and gray hair, with a 1344 x 756 GIF of Ryan Theriot's slide looping on your monitor. You'll be in a bar trying to pick up on someone 30 years younger than you by telling anecdotes about Aubrey Huff's underwear.
Do you know where you are? It's the year 2018.
No. No. Oh, god, no.
And the Giants just won the World Series again.
Wait, how? Really? No fooling?
Kyle Crick pitched Games 1, 4, and 7 of the World Series to win the MVP. Nicholas Gordon was the MVP in the NLCS.
Who is Nicholas Gordon?
The Giants' top draft pick in 2014. You see, if Brandon Belt catches that ball and runs to first for the last out of the game, the Giants trade Kyle Crick for Ervin Santana. They don't make the playoffs, but Santana helps them win a couple more games, so the Giants pick #12 instead of #10. They draft Skance McCown, who never advances past A-ball. They make the playoffs once in the next 20 years, where they're bounced in the first round by the Cubs.
The error saved the team, my child. The error saved the Giants. The most divisive player on social media ruined Social Media Night, but he did it for you.
I wanted him to enjoy Social Media Night with us.
Because he was carrying you.
You were supposed to ask ... never mind. You get the point. If no one makes that error, the Giants make all the wrong decisions. This is how it had to be.
This is your mom getting drunk and making out with Tommy Chong, but with more hair.
If you want to take the analogy further, this move during this season is like your mom making out with Chong in the back of the court while you're getting arraigned for larceny. It's awful, unspeakably awful, and then you have to look in the back and see that?
When you're rolling around in a pit of your own misery and self-pity, think about the Brewers. Think about their season. Because I can do this:
Boy, the Giants sure are awful this year.
/turns rainglobe over
/giggles and claps hands
/laughs at Matt Holliday for an hour
/unwraps cigar, mixes tobacco with confetti
Pence is 30. His new deal would start when he's 31. If you've never paid attention to his swing, here's a slow-motion GIF of it:
Look, it's not me, it's you. And if it were up to me, we'd be watching Eugenio Velez right now. Why not? Lost season, everyone. We're basically throwing things into the campfire to see what explodes. And if it meant no more Francoeur, I'd welcome back Eugenio Velez with open arms.
That's how serious this has become.
Look into my eyes. I would rather watch Eugenio Velez.
Maybe the Giants can get a Matt Harvey at #7. All they have to do is continue ...
/Hector Sanchez swallows shin guard
... playing ...
/Guillermo Moscoso walks hitter on-deck
... the worst ...
/Gregor Blanco swings at moth
... baseball ...
/every starting pitcher allows six homers at the same time
It's never a good idea to compare pitchers to Ryan Vogelsong. He went to the moon on a staircase made from the skulls of his enemies, retrieved the sword of gloaming, and came down to make more skulls. That doesn't happen every year.
/first wheel comes up Barry Zito
/second wheel comes up Guillermo Moscoso
/third wheel comes up Jean Machi
/earwigs crawl out of bottom of machine
/earwigs envelop you
/earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs earwigs
You: What would it take for another championship?
Baseball Gods: lol
You: No, I'm serious.
Baseball Gods: Oh, man. It'll cost you. Are you sure you want to go down that road?
You: We're just talking, here. Right?
Baseball Gods: Okay, okay, let's see. First off, last place the following year.
Baseball Gods: Dodgers win the division.
You: Wait, wait, wait. The Series, too?
Baseball Gods: Out of our hands. But maybe.
You: Fine, whatever.
Baseball Gods: Mind-numbing games. Stupid errors. Ghastly situational hitting. Bullpen failures.
Baseball Gods: Matt Cain is bad.
Baseball Gods: Matt Cain is bad for a half.
You: I don't know ...
Baseball Gods: Hope in the beginning of the year. A lot of hope. And then the last place happens. Quickly.
You: That's pretty standard, I guess.
Baseball Gods: Madison Bumgarner is cursed with the Mark of Cain. He'll pitch well, but he'll never win another game. Or something like that.
You: I want Ryan Theriot to score the winning run in the World Series.
Baseball Gods: Oh, that'll cost you. Buster Posey gets hurt if you want that.
Baseball Gods: Nothing big. Just a fingernail torn off.
You: Gah. Oh, Buster, I'm so sorry.
Baseball Gods: Oh, wait. Jeff Francoeur.
Baseball Gods: You'll be back.
Baseball Gods: YOU'LL BE BACK.
Historian: There was competition, always competition. And Belt had to prove himself over and over again. Which is tricky to do when you're a streaky player.
Historian: There weren't prospects to replace Belt, per se. But there was always someone threatening to take his job for whatever reason.
It was disappointing, but only for a few seconds. Yusmeiro Petit was five inches away from a perfect game. That wasn't anything we expected to read in our lives. That's kind of why we follow baseball.
Everyone who attended that game should get a Croix de AT&T. That's a garlic fry with a safety pin through it, covered in seagull feces. Eat it, drive it through your septum, whatever. It's yours, you've earned it.
If the Giants lost this game the way they looked like they were going to lose this game, it would have been a special, dull kind of miserable. It would have been the kind of miserable that would have stuck to your subconscious like chewed gum, and it would have made you turn away free tickets in 2016, even if you weren't exactly sure why you were doing it.
Friend: You want tickets to the game? Crick's pitching.
Subconscious: That Rockies game from 2013. Bunch of runners, no runs. Boring. Deathly, deathly boring.
You: Oh, can't, have dinner plans. Thanks, though.
Subconscious: He is not your friend. Do not believe his lies.
You: I should get going.
Subconscious: He wants you to experience something like that Rockies game from 2013. He means you harm.
You: So, I'll just be ...
Subconscious: Stop him, or he'll just do it to someone else. Stop him. Forever. Stop him forever. End this. Do it. Do it. Do it.
After the season, there's probably a post coming on the most discouraging losses of the season. The 16-inning loss to these Mets, for one. But don't sleep on the game where Wheeler completely dominated the Giants at AT&T Park. That was someone banging on your front door. "METAPHOR-GRAM. PLEASE OPEN UP. METAPHOR-GRAM."
A 210-foot home run to deep second. Oh, that's not a Padres thing. That's the Padres with a remote-control wall. They'd giggle and titter as they moved the walls in every half-inning, like they were playing a game of Fireball Island. The Yankees weren't the Padres. They were just horrible people.
The slow gas leak of a caining. The feeling as you realize the familiarity of it all, the improbable mixture of drowsiness and rage.
The pillow over the face of expectations. The single tear that rolls down your cheek, even as you know you're doing the right thing. Good night, gentle expectations. You are malformed and awful, and you must not infect the others.
The irrepressible-jock-itch-during-a-job-interview that is this season. So awful. So uncomfortable. So ready for it to end.