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Spring Fling

When a spring training game is televised, it's the greatest treat in the world. Unless we ratchet up the effort-o-meter and catch a stray game in San Jose or Fresno, there aren't too many chances to see the minor-league pitchers the Giants have stockpiled. The Wednesday game against the Mariners was on television, presenting us with a chance to watch Merkin Valdez pitch. Maybe Pat Misch. Hey, maybe Scott Munter or Brian Burres could sneak into a game, showing the masses how they found some lower-level success last year.

Kirk Rueter. Jim Brower. Jason Christiansen. Matt Herges. Scott Erye. Those are the pitchers I got to watch? The members of Congress are currently piling out of a Volkswagen Beetle, honking their noses and spraying seltzer bottles all over the joint, trying to deal with what they feel to be a threat to the national pasttime. Yet, that five-pitcher debacle is what I'm subjected to. That's the travesty, people. When I am king, the man responsible for that letdown will be the first against the wall.

But, oh, the beauty of TiVo. If it had fingers, I would have already wrenched the ring off my fiancé's finger, and planned a sweet, sweet honeymoon with the digital gift from above. Gone were the Kirk Rueter nibbles and Julio Ramirez flails, as I sailed past the commercials to what I wanted to see. I kept hoping for Cain to come in, but had to settle for some late-inning appearances from Clay Timpner and Nate Schierholtz. Nothing of substance could be gleaned from the .3 seconds they were on camera. Barnacles.

That five is a fair approximation of the Giant bullpen, though. Brrr. Someone must have turned down the heat in here, because a shiver just went racing up and down my spine. The lineup looks like it can score some runs with a healthy Bonds, the rotation leaves plenty of room for optimism, and the bench is one of the more underrated aspects of the team. The bullpen has a much-welcomed addition in Armando Benitez, but the rest of the bunch remains. Perhaps instead of worrying about Marquis Grissom's range and bat, the night-jitters might be best saved for the Hergestic middle innings, where homerun balls dare to break gravity's oppressive curfew.

Double comment starter: Your biggest worry about the Giants, or player you are most excited to see in exhibition games.