In the year 2038...
A GRANDFATHER and GRANDSON step off the hovertrain from San Juan to San Francisco. The Grandfather puts a hand on the Grandson's shoulder to guide him down the walkway and to the ramp out of the SuperSubway (which is a combination subway and Subway). The Grandson, distracted by the visual data zipping by his retinas thanks to his iPhone 15S, finally looks up as they go up the turboescalator. The digital projection sign displayed overhead reads "THIS WAY TO AT&PRISM PARK!" The Grandson frowns.
Grandson: A baseball game ?
Grandfather: That's right. When I was your age, entertainment wasn't just SnapChat and snitching on your neighbor to the government. We had baseball. It was the entertainment my father used to take me to when I was bored, and I used to take your father to games when he was bored, and today, I'm gonna take you to a ballgame.
Grandson: Does it got any sports in it?
Grandfather: Are you kidding? Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, True Love, miracles....
Grandson: Doesn't sound too bad. I'll try and stay awake.
The Grandson deactivates his subdermal wi-fi receiver.
Grandfather: Oh. Well thank you very much. Very nice of you. Your vote of confidence is overwhelming.
* * *
The first third of this game had all the makings of an instant classic, that much is certain. Madison Bumgarner practically willed the Giants to win that game through sheer pitching dominance where he was perfect through 4.2 innings. This, after the Giants committed one of the most egregious baseball blunders since, well,
You see, in the game of baseball, managers compose a lineup card -- a list, if you will -- that states in what order the batters are to bat in the contest. This lineup is then posted in the team's clubhouse and later handed to the home plate umpire as confirmation. The opposing manager receives the lineup at this time. During all this, the batters have had a chance to view the lineup in total, learning whether or not they are even playing in that day's contest. They can see, clearly, where they are to bat during the contest. Their teammates, too, can see where they are batting. The field manager's assistant coaches also have the opportunity to see this list. Perhaps they even have input into its composition at some point before the manager finalizes it. And yet...
Today's #SFGiants lineup: Blanco cf, Scutaro 2b, Posey c, Sandoval 3b, Pence rf, Belt 1b, Torres lf, Crawford ss, Bumgarner p— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) July 6, 2013
#SFGiants bat out of order. Posey called out after hitting RBI double. Sandoval 3rd, Posey 4th on official card. Posey up again, flies out.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 6, 2013
FOX has mic on home plate ump. Posey: "I'm third everywhere, the clubhouse, scoreboard ... "— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) July 6, 2013
Righetti explained on @MLBONFOX that #SFGiants’ players saw wrong lineup posted on "newfangled" electronic scoreboard in clubhouse.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 7, 2013
Somehow... SOMEHOW... the quality assurance in the Giants' clubhouse aaroned the bed completely. Old Man Righetti's claim points to a data entry error. THAT'S HOW WE GOT PEOPLE BLITHELY PUSHING FOR AUSTERITY MEASURES, PEOPLE. Also, it sounded like this new computer system or digital lineup display (which, perhaps, mirrors the stadium scoreboard at all times) was just installed in the clubhouse today. Come on. That's a colossal blunder by AT&T Park IT, if accurate. You've got to install new tech when people are away and then train them on it the moment they get back. You can't force them off their analog horse midstream or whatever.
But the Giants batted out of order and it was and will remain embarrassing. Not embarrassing enough to mask the putrid performance by the whole team of late, of course, but certainly enough to call into question the abilities of the people running the show. How could you let this happen, Bruce? Shown up by Don Mattingly (which I pronounce "muh-TINGLEY") of all people? That's like Andres Torres losing a race to Ruben Rivera. And Ron Wotus, come on! I'm on your side! We all are! YOU WERE THE CHOSEN ONE (to replace Bochy down the line). And Buster... my sweet Buster. Pablo... well, I mean, I get that part of it, actually.
As noted by the broadcast, the rulebook does not compel the umpire to note or call attention to a player batting out of order. Here is the specific rule comment Tim McCarver noted:
Rule 6.07 Comment: The umpire shall not direct the attention of any person to the presence in the batter's box of an improper batter. This rule is designed to require constant vigilance by the players and managers of both teams. There are two fundamentals to keep in mind: When a player bats out of turn, the proper batter is the player called out. If an improper batter bats and reaches base or is out and no appeal is made before a pitch to the next batter, or before any play or attempted play, that improper batter is considered to have batted in proper turn and establishes the order that is to follow.
The batting order boner came after Marco Scutaro bunted Gregor Blanco from second to third. First inning bunts, y'all. It's come to this. Those two moments combined in the first inning led me to believe we were in for some sort of Dante's Inferno meets Wiseau's The Room-type event. What we got instead was another stellar performance from Madison Bumgarner and just enough offense from the Giants' inert bats that stuck to the desired script for every Giants game.
Still, something to ponder here: are the fellas just burned out? Has Bochy peaked? Has mental fatigue, physical deterioration (either from age or injury) forever limited the guys' effectiveness? I'm talking about the whole team. The bad play -- and, really, it's not even uninspired play or "guys who are clearly pressing" (this is a good manager cliche that we don't trot out enough in our snarky cheap seat analysis, by the way) -- from virtually everybody on the 25-man roster can't all be attributed to simultaneous slumpulation. The game has a mental component. To believe or assume otherwise is ignorant. Are the Giants simply tapped out mentally right now?
* * *
In 1,000 years we'll put a book titled The Arms next to The Iliad and The Odyssey on our digital bookshelves, and it will be about Cain, Bumgarner, and Crick. Madison Bumgarner might come off the page as being more unbelievable than Odysseus and Achilles. He's really, really, really, ridiculously great. And only this year does that Blink 182 song apply to him.
The FOX gun claimed he hit 93 and 94 several times today. I'm choosing not to believe a national broadcast's velocity meter because broadcast networks overhype reality to gain viewership by design. HOWEVER, his snot rockets were in flight and that was certainly an afternoon delight of a pitching performance.
I could wax poetic about Madison Bumgarner or wax my body hair into his image all day, but instead I'll leave you to look at highlights of his work today and share stories in the comment section below about where he made you feel tingly when he struck out Yasiel Puig for the third time.