I watched the 2000 Giants annihilate opponents at Pac Bell. The weak link in the lineup was Marvin Benard. He had a .342 on-base percentage. There were nine players with ten home runs or more. The team scored 925 runs.
There are some obvious explanations. Bonds. Kent. Burks. The 2000 Giants had a shortstop with 20 home runs -- about two dozen more than the 2012 Giants were pencilling in from their shortstops. But the park never seemed oppressive, whether it was Felipe Crespo or Russ Davis at the plate. It never seemed like a planet with its own gravity.
The 2012 Giants have scored three runs at home this season. One of them was on a balk. One of them was on an error. One of them was on a subpoena. Things are different now, 12 years later. So different.
But what is different? Just tellllllll us. I don't get how AT&T Park is now the most extreme pitchers' park in baseball, and one of the most extreme in the history of baseball. Was there a resolution passed? Did we all vote? Everything was normal, we turned around, and now the Giants play in Petco Park on heroin. Asleep, incoherent, rolling around in its own sick.
Theories, all of them horrible:
Fences are too deep, or whatever
Oh, shut up. The Giants have had good offensive teams in this park. The Giants won a World Series while playing in this park. The year they did it, they lived off the home run. Dingerz or bust. Burrell, Ross, Uribe, Huff … dingerz or bust. It doesn't have to be Bonds.
This team isn't built for AT&T
So, what, they're built for Coors Field? That's the paradigm for the 2012 Giants, just give them six acres of outfield and moon air? Not buying it.
Just one of those things
I can almost buy this. It's sample size. It's a quirk, a fluke. Just one of those things. Future generations will look back at 2012 and wonder what in the heck happened. There's a graph that's all up high, and then it's all, whooooop, and then it's back to where it was. That whoooooop is the bottom of the port-o-potty where we dropped our cell phone. It'll be a funny anecdote in a few years, just you watch. Right now, though … well, crap.
But maybe the pitcher-friendly AT&T Park is just a mirage. It's a case of a guy not getting that hit when he should have, and that other guy hitting into all sorts of hard-hit outs. Hey, things can still get squirrelly over 81 games, much less the 56 the Giants have played at home this year.
Weather conditions? Wind patterns? Gull guano? Shifting of the magnetic poles?
Honestly, something completely inexplicable probably has the lead here. For years and years, the Giants played in a park that acted neutral. When the Giants went on the road, they scored just as much as they did at home, and it wasn't a freaky-low total to begin with. They were a normal team. They could laugh at the Padres and Mariners and their cavernous caverns.
How the Rockies scored their runs: two-out hits. Aggressive base running that worked. A couple of doubles down the line.
The Giants path to a Friday loss: no two-out hits. Aggressive base running in hilarious spots that most certainly did not work. Nary a double.
That sure seems like one of those things. Two-out hits, boy, they'll git you.
But AT&T Park is suddenly one of those things, a presence, the elephant in the waiting room of the narrative. The Giants can score on the road, but they sure as heck can't score at home. They go on the road, and they out-Rockie the Rockies in Rockie-Land. They come home, and gosh almighty, there goes that radiation sickness. Where does that come from?
What a turd. The best part? We didn't even have to mention Tim Lincecum. He was, you know, just dandy. A non-story, which is kind of the best Tim Lincecum story right now.
At some point, the Giants are going to have to score more than no runs at AT&T Park. Maybe they should just call it Pac Bell Park again. Maybe that's the whole problem. Back in my day, we didn't have any AT&T Park wireless-receiver parks. Nosiree, Bob.