In this baseball game, Pablo Sandoval hit a long, no doubt, three-run homer, reminding us of old times. Matt Moore threw a fine game deep into the seventh inning, reminding us of old promise.
Buster Posey stole home. Sort of.
The Giants won by a lot.
And you were so convinced that this team wasn’t fun to watch.
Growing up, I was an idiot. Still am, but it’s a much more restrained variety of idiot. When I was a kid, I was a hyperactive goof, the kind of idiot who would cover himself in paste and roll in a pile of staples just to get three pity laughs. I was constantly in trouble, constantly in detention, and it was all in the service of being an absolute idiot.
Along my merry idiot path, I would come across other idiots. They were easy to spot, and I knew their game. They were desperate for attention and validation. I understood their desire to be liked, and I also knew the self-destructive tendencies that came with that. How the need for attention turned people off and turned them away. It was a vicious cycle, and I could totally tell which idiots were trapped in it with me. And I hated them.
What I’m getting at is the White Sox are a bad baseball team. I can smell it on them. They kick the ball. They miss the ball. They swallow the ball (probably). It’s easy to spot because, hey, that’s our bit. You’re stealing our bit! Get your own bit! While I don’t want to take anything away from Friday night’s deserving heroes, I can certainly spot the baseball teams that will cover themselves in paste and roll in a pile of staples. The White Sox did that at least once an inning, by my count.
It’s okay, White Sox. You’ll see the other half of the mirror’s reflection before the series is over. Don’t take offense.
That doesn’t mean it wasn’t fun to watch the Giants do well, though. Pablo Sandoval being on this particular team really does feel like two-fifths of the original Warrant lineup ripping through “Cherry Pie” at the county fair. No one is happy about the present. The future looks pretty bleak. But at least the miserable present reminds us of the past, right? Sandoval was 0-for-39, man. Oh-for-thirty-nine. It was close to a major league record, which is pretty amazing for a hitter known for making contact on balls over his head.
The thing about that, though, is that I certainly didn’t want him to fail. There is no pleasure to be taken from a failed experiment. Heck, it made sense. He isn’t 40. There are extenuating circumstances regarding his downward spiral, with different injuries and lost opportunities mixed in. He made more baseball sense than Pat Burrell, for instance. So I don’t begrudge the Giants or the front office for mixing a nostalgia-and-why-not cocktail at the end of the season, when all the best third base options were hurt, hurt, or hurt.
That he would fail in the kind of way that would threaten a major-league record, well, that’s the kind of gallows humor that gets me out of bed. But I didn’t like it. I wanted to see him happy.
Yeah, like that. Look, I was never on Team How Dare You after 2014. And if Sandoval hit .330 with passable defense on the Red Sox’ dime, I would be very much into it. It would make up for them snatching Bill Mueller and making him a part of franchise lore. That guy won a batting title with 19 homers for the Red Sox. He won a Silver Slugger award with them! That’s not fair. So to make up for it, uh, here’s Pablo Sandoval making an All-Star team again.
Except he wasn’t playing like an All-Star. He wasn’t playing like an All-American. He was straight taxi squad, at best. And I’m absolutely sure it was wearing on him. If he blows this chance, screwing up historically with the only franchise that was willing to welcome him with open paws, it’ll mess up his career even worse than it was messed up. If he wasn’t desperate, he should have been.
And then he got a hanging curveball. Oh, what a sweet hanging curveball.
Historic slump over. Lead acquired. Smiles had by everyone. I’m not sure if Sandoval is going to be on the Giants’ bench next year. I’m not sure if he’s going to be on a 25-man roster. But for a few minutes, it all made sense, and, heck, I’m still watching. I still enjoy the replay of Michael Morse’s home run from April, too.
When it comes to the 2018 Giants, it’s probably more important that Matt Moore pitched well again. He didn’t have the nuclear strikeout stuff — and the White Sox do that paste-and-staple thing, remember — but he kept the pitch count reasonable, and he got outs when he needed to. He wasn’t offered a lot of help in the seventh inning, but he kept the White Sox from doing too much damage.
I’m still of the opinion that the Giants have no choice but to pick up his option and hope that 2017 was a bad dream in multiple respects, for multiple parts of the organization. So every time Moore pitches well, it’s kind of a big deal.
Also, Buster Posey stole home. Kind of. Henry Schulman makes a strong case that it should have been a stolen base, but he omits the most salient argument, which is this: C’mon. Let Posey have a stolen base of home. Seriously, just give it to him. C’mon.
You can’t argue with that, and I dare you to try.
Lost in the maelstrom of that play was that nobody was sure what to do because Hunter Pence totally struck out looking.
I’m not a big fan of using Gameday to call balls and strikes, but the eyeball test had them as obvious strikes, too. The umpire was reacting to the catcher moving his target, not the pitch, and that’s how the Giants scored most of their post-Pablo runs. So I can’t get too upset about Posey not getting a stolen base.
On the other hand, c’mon. Give Posey the stolen base. Because if you don’t, all we have is this sequence on Gameday.
Hunter Pence walks. Buster Posey scores on the throw.
While that’s funny, I’m not sure if it’s as funny as Buster Posey stealing home.
Okay, it’s pretty funny.
Look, it was all funny.
The Giants won by a lot, and several interesting things happened while it was going on. That’s all we can ask for, and if you spent a Friday night watching it, you don’t feel like a dummy after all. Hooray for that.