The city's hottest club was AT&T Park. Club promoter The San Francisco Giants went all out. It had everything: bobble heads, double rainbows, an Olympian wearing a World Series ring from the Big Red Machine, LPGA players hitting golfballs at MLB players, Nuschler Face, a pair of little girls saying " the Dodgers" in unison, a Pablo Sandoval triple, and -- .. -.-. .... .- . .-.. / -- --- .-. ... . / -.-. .- - -.-. .... .. -. --. / .- / ..-. .-.. -.-- / -... .- .-.. .-…
What's -- .. -.-. .... .- . .-.. / -- --- .-. ... . / -.-. .- - -.-. .... .. -. --. / .- / ..-. .-.. -.-- / -... .- .-.. .-..? That's when Michael Morse tries to catch a fly ball.
But if you didn't watch the game and feel as though I'm overstating things, please know that you are wrong. One small example of your wrongness:
Panorama of AT@T Park ... Rainbow brought to you by Duane Kuiper. #SFGiants pic.twitter.com/uLGppGCbUX— Joe Posnanski (@JPosnanski) April 26, 2014
Look at that purdy picture. That's a nice image for a Friday night game at the yard on a kinda soggy day in the bay.
The telecast could hardly slow down for that image, too, because there was so much happening.
We even got a couple of callbacks to "DAG YABEL GOT 'IM!", a latter-day Duane Kuiper gem of a call (in case you are unfamiliar with the reference). The entire broadcast and everything in-stadium save the game itself was designed around him, in fact, including his children throwing out the first pitch. And why not? He's Duane Yabelin' Kuiper and we're lucky to have him. Sports broadcasting can be done a lot of ways, most of them wrong or just flat-out bad. Although you're more likely to have a picture painted in your head or taken on a flight of fancy by Vin Scully (and even Jon Miller), you'll definitely feel like more of a peer or buddy when you listen to a Duane Kuiper call. He's not your dad (Michael Kay), he's not your grandpa (Hawk), he's not a car salesman (Bob Carpenter), he's not the guy who knows your secrets and has blackmailed you for a job (Joe Angel) or the guy who hung out with all the cool guys during high school but was never cool himself (the Marlins dude) or that creepy old guy at the food court who won't stop looking at your sister (Ted Leitner). He's one of us, but he's also one of *them*: the ex-ballplayer who knows how to keep you entertained but not because he thinks he's better than you or knows more than you. Duane Kuiper is an effortless entertainer. He makes the game enjoyable at times when maybe it's just boring and he magnifies your frustration without indulging in it when something like Eugenio Velez, Emmanuel Burriss, Aaron Rowand or Miguel Tejada happens.
And why not honor him with a bobble head to signify a baseball achievement that many others could claim but few if any could elevate. Of course Duane Kuiper hit only one home run in his career. If he had hit 2 or more or none at all then he wouldn't be Duane Kuiper.
Tonight was a gosh darn party.
Everything cool and weird happened in the stands, though, because on the field, the Giants pretty much had this game under control.
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Tim Hudson was awesome tonight and has been awesome so far this season. 9 total runs allowed in 37 innings. About 69% (tee hee) of his pitches have been strikes.
Of course, Livan Hernandez pitched 7 innings in each of his first 5 starts in the 2002 season. And we all know how 2002 ended: with thunderous applause!
Still, Hudson is slinging it and has been impressive from an efficiency standpoint. I love that the first stat highlight of the broadcast involved the zero walks he's allowed, because of course he was going to issue at least 1 tonight after that note. Sure enough, he walked Carlos Santana twice, because he's so smooth.
He had a rocky first and a rocky sixth, but in both cases, the inning after the rocky ones were ice cold ground ball exhibitions. He looked like he had a little trouble with the lefties in the lineup not because they are tough outs (though they are tough outs) but because when he tried to get inside with sinkers they would hang. He managed to get his two seamer inside to front door them on strikeout pitches, but Bourn's triple in particular was a bad pitch we've seen before. I wonder, and not in a wondering way of criticism, why Hudson likes to hang in there with the lefties when a lot of pitchers would just stay away from hitters as much as possible. I wouldn't dare quibble with the results, of course. It's just interesting to note what a veteran prefers and executes based on experience, talent, and most obviously, confidence.
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Hunter Pence, Michael Morse, and Pablo Sandoval had nice games. Very nice games indeed!
It was perfect that one home run was hit on Duane Kuiper Bobble Head Night and I'm glad it was Morse because I cannot think of a starker contrast to playing days Duane Kuiper's skill set. He, like Hunter Pence, had some nice right-center action on his hits and when the ball's slicing that way, it's hard not to get excited.
I'm happy mostly that Pablo got that triple and was batting right-handed when it happened, but another part of me just liked how he looked overall. He slashed a high fastball foul off of Carrasco in his second plate appearance that looked like a pitch Unable To Hit Pablo would've swung through or laid off, not confidently whacked at like the Pablo we know. Maybe tonight's a sign that things are looking up, but then again, maybe not. Still, it was nice to see him get a little momentum going (into third base).