First: I'd love for Aubrey Huff to get hot and stay hot. It's the most obvious second-half improvement to hope for.
Second: Madison Bumgarner's W/L record really irritates me, even though I know it's like looking at map of a flat earth and wondering where ships go when they fall off the edge. I'm glad he didn't take a loss.
Third: My favorite at-bat in the game was Pablo Sandoval working a full count in the 11th and driving a pitch to the opposite field. It's absolutely beautiful when he's hitting like this.
The rest: When Huff hit the ninth-inning home run off Heath Bell, I was excited. You were excited. We were all excited, all internet-hugging and stuff. It's exciting to watch a ninth-inning home run against the vaunted Padres bullpen of doom.
And I thought, say, Heath Bell doesn't allow a lot of home runs. When was the last time he allowed one?
Looked it up. He hadn't allowed one at all this year. Wow. Not once. That's pretty extraordinary. And it got crazier. He only allowed one last year. He doesn't allow home runs, yet he gave one up to the first baseman who is hitting like a backup catcher? Awesome. Amazing. Baseball!
Should have stopped there. Should have just marveled at how good Heath Bell is and watched the rest of the game, happy that Huff put a good swing on a hanging breaking ball. But that stupid voice kept nagging me. Gee, when was the last time Bell allowed a home run at all? Stupid voice.
There. There was the last home run that Heath Bell allowed. Juan Uribe hit it last April, and it gave Giants fans hope. Then David Eckstein hit a walk-off home run in the tenth, and we knew that the season was cursed*. Cursed! I realized that Bell is a jerk who likes to mess with Giants fans because he's a jerk, and that the only reason he allows home runs is that he gets bored.
Once I realized this, I sat back and waited for the Padres to win in extra innings. The Padres were going to win, and there would be a miasma of yellow and brown swirling around at home plate, as if the devil's septic tank cracked to confirm that the end times were at hand. Kind of put me in a bad mood.
I waited for a Padresing that never happened. This game was a moment of clarity. I liked to proclaim loudly that there wasn't a Padres curse, and then I watched each game as if it were a proven fact that a Padres curse exists and is calculable to 83 decimal points. I can call myself a man of science, I can laugh at the people who don't change their underwear during a winning streak, and I can turn my nose up at those titanium necklaces. In the end, though, I'm just as likely to rattle chicken bones together as anyone else.
Rather, I was. Totally over that now. The Padres are just the Padres, not some kryptonite-filled truffle. They're a good pitching team that can't hit, just like the Giants except less so. And if they don't have their top-to-bottom magic bullpen, they're not the same Padres team. I'm not scared of this team. I'M NOT SCARED OF THIS TEAM!
*Offer applies to the first half of 2010 against the Padres only and select road games against the Rockies. Cash value 1/100th of one cent. Everything else that season was pretty awesome. Also, this game tonight was hella cool.