"And that's the story of how the Giants never won another game at AT&T Park."
"What about the blood rituals?"
"They were unsuccessful."
"How many seagulls did they burn in the Great Sacrifice?"
"At least 100,000. You could taste the burning feathers in your mouth for a week"
"But they never won at home again?"
"Not until they sank the ballpark and built a new one out of human bone and earth."
"Yes, my child."
"The new ballpark smells bad."
"It sure does."
"But I'm glad they can win baseball games at home again."
"Me too, kid. Me too."
There is an index card next to me as I write this. The words on it read: "Baseball can be fun. The Giants have given you a lot. Do not whine too much." This is my reminder to keep the losses, the downs of every season, in perspective. The Giants had a no-hitter last week. They had the postseason runs before that, with no-hitters and perfect games mixed in. They've given us MVPs, Cy Youngs, and a Rookie of the Year. They've broken career records for us, and they've broken single-season records. And they've done this all in one of the most beautiful ballparks ever created.
The index card reminds me of this.
It's a good thing, too. Because in the middle of the sixth inning, I said the words, "Why am I watching this?" out loud. Have you ever met someone who vehemently hates baseball, who is offended that anyone would dare enjoy the sport? They're obnoxious, and they're out there, so danged proud to hate baseball. That's the kind of game those people expect every time. Make a list of the most exciting Giants moments in the game.
- Brandon Crawford's diving stop and throw
- Brandon Crawford's other diving stop and throw
- An infield hit from Norichika Aoki that scored a run
- Angel Pagan got two hits
- Some kid dancing in the stands
- The 877-KARS-4-KIDS song got stuck in my head
- I forgot to sift through the dried beans last night and bit into a small rock during dinner
For the fourth straight game, there was absolutely nothing fun about baseball. The good times will come again, but right now, this team is mostly unwatchable. Do you remember what it was like to root for a team to score more than two runs in a game? Seems so long ago.
The last time the Giants scored two runs or fewer in this many consecutive home games was 2010, when they did it seven consecutive times. Except the Giants actually won two of those games, and they weren't shut out in any of them. If the Giants got to combine their last 42 innings of offense at AT&T Park, they still would have lost this game.
Baseball can be fun. The index card tells us so.
Baseball isn't a lot of fun right now. The games are very, very long. Have you noticed that? Lop off a couple innings and shorten the schedule to 100 games. Put a dunk tank in center and electrify one of the bases in one inning every game. I have ideas about this sport. Call or text, Rob Manfred. Because I kind of get why the kids are playing their video games instead of watching baseball.
Pretend that you're a manager, and you want to remove Tim Hudson from the rotation. The Giants aren't going to do it for a little while yet, but pretend you've seen enough. What do you do?
It's hard to imagine him in the bullpen for the first time in his career, figuring out how to alter his daily, weekly, and monthly routines as a 40-year-old. The Giants use their bullpen too much to hide someone who's completely useless.
It's impossible to imagine the Giants releasing him. He's a solid citizen, and it takes a lot of prolonged awfulness for the Giants to release a veteran. Think of how long it took for them to ditch Miguel Tejada, and that involved a minor mutiny involving a bunt sign. And now remember that Hudson isn't nearly that bad. He's just, well, not very good.
A phantom injury? That sort of ethical skullduggery is sketchy when any player is involved, but this player is in the final season of a career that's going to pick up more than a couple Hall of Fame votes.
So, again, what do you do? It's not an easy choice, and there aren't any perfect answers. All I know is that it's pretty hard to watch Tim Hudson. He's the San Francisco Giants of Giants pitchers right now.
Bruce Bochy, in the post-game press conference, responding to a question about Yusmeiro Petit.
He's so valuable.
The Giants are now 4-15 in Petit's appearances. Of those four wins, three of them were decided by six runs or more. Bochy elaborated:
He's so valuable where he's at, and that's why we've left him there.
Petit is not valuable where he's at. The Giants could have replaced him with the worst reliever on the River Cats this season, and they might have lost one more game. They could have replaced him with a dozen different pitchers in the organization and have the exact same record.
In this role, Petit is valuable in two situations: 18-inning games, and games where the Giants get blown out early but come back. Those two situations happened last postseason, and it emboldened Bochy to keep using the strategy. It is not an effective use of this particular pitcher, who is probably one of the three best starters on the team.
This has been your scheduled Yusmeiro-Petit-is-being-wasted grumbling of the week. We now return you to ... whatever in the hell else there is to write about in this game.