Dave Attell has a routine about what happens when you leave a party too early. "Ohhhhhhhhhhhh," the person on the other end of the phone cries the next day. "Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. You should have stayed, man. You should have stayed." Everything fun happens when you leave. It's a party truism.
There are people out there who would normally watch a Saturday afternoon Giants game during the season, yet they declined to watch this one. The Giants are out of it, after all. Meaningless game.
Should have stayed, man. You should have stayed.
An inside-the-park homer!
/noisemaker toots sadly
Don't take this for granted, you fool. An inside-the-park homer, don't you get it?
Oh, nuts to you. If you can't appreciate the glory of an inside-the-park home run, you don't care about the season ending anyway. For me and several of the other addicts around here, an inside-the-park homer is why we watch baseball. Not explicitly. But everything that makes an inside-the-parker great is what makes baseball great. Start with the setup. Pitcher vs. hitter.
That's Chris Rusin, ordinary pitcher. Except he's absolutely dominated the Giants this year. He's the Jeff Bagwell of pitchers, which makes no sense. He's facing Kelby Tomlinson, surprisingly effective part of the Giants' future. Calling balls and strikes is an absolutely enormous man. The stage is set.
Rusin finishes like his pitching coach was Jerome Robbins. Because when you're a jet, you're a jet all the oh crap I left that ball over the plate, didn't I?
At the risk of extrapolating too much out of a season and change of Duffy/Panik/Kelby, let's appreciate that every kid coming out of the farm seems to have the ability to wait for the ball to get deep and drive it to the opposite side of second base. Tomlinson didn't try to extend the bat and pull it. He didn't try to poke it to right, either.
This is the new AT&T Park Moneyball, I'm calling it. Pepper them gaps with line drives.
I used to deliver newspapers in a neighborhood with a pit bull named Slayer. Slayer's owner was the drummer in this band, and Slayer wasn't leashed that often. Or at all. Slayer liked to chase dorky blond kids on bicycles.
That was a bad route.
The ball in that screenshot is like a diacritical mark over the "o" on the sign. It's already over the head of the Rockies' outfielder. I'm not going to look up his name because it's October and both teams are out of it.
That was also a bad route.
It looked like a triple until this.
Professional baseball players, staring at the ball as it rattles around. The guy on the right used to be on the left. The guy on the left used to be on the right. And for a split-second, they had a you-got-it/you-take-it moment. That was exactly as much time as Tomlinson and Roberto Kelly needed.
Maybe. I mean, I'm no expert, but it sure looks like he's closer to second than third in this shot. And I started to panic that Kelly was going to send him for some reason. As the anthropomorphic cars leered at us from the background.
That's where D.J. Lemahieu was when he got the throw and made the relay. Look at all that grass. Sweet, sweet grass. You know it's going to be cold soon, right? Baseball is so much fun.
That was the next shot! Kelby can run. Kelby can run fast. He makes good faces, too.
I've referred to this season as a "dumb" season, or a "stupid" season, or a "godless, poisonous season of decay" in these recaps before. But that's all for show. It's been a pretty cool season, really. And in the bowels of January, remember this shot, from a meaningless game, in which both teams were really fighting against themselves and helping the other team get a better draft pick.
Even in that context, baseball was so very cool. Tomlinson slid to the inside, like a wizard, and he had an inside-the-park home run.
Which is basically the coolest play in professional sports, other than maybe the goalkeeper scoring a goal in extra time, but that's Europe stuff. 'Round here, we like inside-the-park home runs. Keep that picture in a locket over your chest for the next five months. Guy diving, guy catching, ball sailing. What's going to happen? Dunno. Watch a little, see what comes of it.
* * *
Jake Peavy is the perfect fifth starter right now. Competent, reliable in his unreliableness, but never unreliable in his reliability. Chris Heston was a bit of a bummer at the end of the season, even if his plan for next year (more weight, more strength, more preparation for the grind) is sound. Matt Cain is still a total enigma, just as he's been for a year or two now, so it's probably not a great idea to expect 2012 brilliance again until you see it.
Peavy in games like this, though, makes you feel better that he's coming back. He will have his uses. He will allow the Giants to win 3-2 games. He should probably not pitch in an elimination game on the road if you can help it, but he's still got something to offer.
The only problem is if the Giants pretend he's a third or fourth starter. Or, good gravy, a second starter, which they most certainly wouldn't. I've never seen a pitcher throw 50 pitches to get six outs so consistently. Which is fine if the four pitchers ahead of him are shouldering the burden.
He's probably an asset, though. That's how his 2015 season ends. With us thinking, yeah, this guy's probably okay. Considering how the season started, that's not a minor development.