Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A dynasty is born, just like we all predicted

Ha. What a lie. No one saw this coming. Well except for me, kinda.

I think once the ball got rolling during the NLDS though, we were all convinced that the Giants would take these playoffs and make them their bitch.

It's been the story all three times-- unfolding differently, yet the same. They just get rolling, the pitching shows up when it needs to, and the rest is history.

Of our three World Championships though, this one was the least expected, and the closest contested. Sure 2012 required multiple massive comebacks in the NLDS vs. Cincinnati and the NLCS vs. St. Louis, but the World Series was a 4-0 breeze against Detroit.

There were no such breezes in 2014. In fact, it was nothing but a strong and steady headwind.

The way in which this team ground out series wins one after the other, how they won big games on the road, and how they bounced back after tough losses was nothing short of incredible.

The way this mix of young and experienced players gelled together and turned this into another winner was unexpected, and a joy to watch.

Between Bruce Bochy's steady hand, Panda's consistency, and all the clutch plays-- Ishi's NLCS Walkoff, Panik's insane double play, Morse's unexpected contributions... it's just hard to put it all into words. But hey, that's October for ya.

This cute Colorado isn't worthy of Madbum.
And is there anything else you can say about Madison Bumgarner that hasn't been said already? He is a monster among men, a pillar of strength, and the type of dedicated, broad-shouldered, fearless man on which this country was built and why it has prospered.

High enough praise for him? Probably not.

Just like his World Series MVP present, the mid-sized Chevy Colorado. It could never be enough.

This is a metaphor for Bumgarner. Ford or Ram work too.
Get that man a Silverado 3500 dually 4x4 with the Duramax Diesel. Madison Bumgarner ain't no sissy gas engine. He's a big ol' American diesel capable of pulling 20,000+ pounds of steer. He has the torque and dependability to pull an entire organization and city with him. Without his brute force and excellence, this team would've been stuck on the side of the road in Pittsburgh.

If Bum is the truck, Bochy's driving, Pence is the fuel, Panda is the dual heavy duty batteries, and Buster is the tires. The rest of the players make up various parts, and Hunter Strickland is in the trailer passed out drunk and being carried along as dead weight. But enough of all that nonsense.

We'll all remember each World Series title for different things. For obvious reasons, nothing will top the feeling we got for the 2010 title. The delirium and euphoria of the first time could never be replicated. 2012 was the one we all got to enjoy, the icing on the cake. 2014 will forever be etched as the title that clinched the Dynasty-- the Madison Bumgarner World Series; the "House Money" run that no one expected. It is as unique and beautiful as the other two.

I can say that no matter what happens for the rest of my life as a Giants fan, that my life was made-- THREE TIMES-- and no one can ever take that away. Even if they never sniff another title as long as I live, I'm satisfied.

But I'll always want more. Let's do it again.








Tuesday, October 21, 2014

San Francisco Giants dynasty status four wins away

How did we get here?


I'm not sure I can answer without shaking my head incredulously and rambling uncontrollably. I'm not sure if the Giants themselves can answer that question. Although the simple answer may just be "Champion Blood".


To put it more simply, they just have "it".


"It" could mean anything. Difficult to define, but you know it when you have it. In the Giants' case you've got a great mix of players-- many of whom have won a World Series in San Francisco before. You have an excellent, and successful coaching staff-- one of the best in baseball. You've got a home field advantage, chemistry, an electric atmosphere, and a little bit of luck. It's in many ways, a perfect storm.


Kansas City may have "it" too though. They don't have the experience, the coaching staff, the big names, or the success. What they do have, however, is an exceptional mix of young players, who literally don't know any differently-- which could be a huge advantage. Fearlessness is something is to be feared by an opponent.


Furthermore, KC's style of play is conducive to winning close games-- much like the Giants. Bunts, stolen bases, hit & runs and the like all put pressure on defenses, on pitchers, catchers, and everyone else.


A single by Lorenzo Cain or Jerrod Dyson is more than a single. That single has the potential to take scoring position by force. Any further hits have the potential of driving in a run when a similar hit would only move most runners up. Couple that with a nasty bullpen, excellent defense, and timely hitting... well... the Royals start sounding a bit like the Giants.


As similar as these teams are in some facets, the Giants have a distinct advantage overall.


The advantage isn't about Bumgarner or Posey. This advantage isn't an intangible such as experience or chemistry. In fact, it has nothing to do with players at all.


The Giants' most significant advantage over the Kansas City Royals is Manager Bruce Bochy.


If you're reading this, you know I'm right. You've seen it, just like I have. You saw Bochy's steady calloused hand guide this mess of ship with a scurvy-afflicted crew and tattered sails straight into the World Series.


When this team started taking on water halfway through the season, his only response was, "Steady as she goes."

When people started jumping overboard and giving up. He didn't flinch.



Instead, he found a way to plug the holes with a Petit, a Peavy and a Panik, and made it into the Wild Card round to face Pittsburgh-- doing so without Matt Cain and Angel Pagan. He did so saddled with an ineffective Tim Lincecum, an injured Mike Morse, and Travis Ishikawa playing left field.

Even with this seemingly desperate situation at hand, his low, gravelly vocal chords barked out,  

"FULL STEAM AHEAD!"


And they haven't looked back.


After distinctly outmaneuvering and carving up inexperienced ex-Giants Matt Williams and Mike Matheny in the NLDS and NLCS respectively, the Giants' fearless old captain has Ned Yost squarely in his sights.


People who know things about baseball know that the Royals have accomplished what they have at times in spite of Ned Yost, not because of him.


Think of how we got here in the first place. Ishikawa hits a HR off of young starter Michael Wacha, who never should have been put in the game by Mike Matheny. Bochy never makes that move in a hundred years.


Well Yost made the same boneheaded move earlier in the playoffs with his young starter Yordano Ventura, who'd never made a bullpen appearance and was pitching on two days rest.


Again, the Royals are here in spite of Ned Yost.


I'm not going to sit here are tell you he's the worst manager ever and that he's useless. His players love playing for him, and his aggressive NL-style small ball parade has been successful.


I just know that Bochy knows what he's doing, and nearly everything he touches in the postseason turns to gold.


This will be the biggest difference in this series, and you would have a helluva time trying to prove me otherwise. With this unthinkable third World Series on the horizon getting closer and into view, the Giants have the Royals exactly where they want them. Forget the numbers, forget the talking heads. Remember where this team has been, and where you know they're going.

They're about to pull into port and raise that third flag; he flag of the Giants Dynasty.


The Giants didn't come this far to lose, and they're not going to. We have that Champion's Blood running through us, so let's saddle it the hell up. We're burnin' it down.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Giants "House Money" run boggles the mind, makes me happy

People will ask me in passing, "Getting nervous for tonight?" or "This must be nerve-wracking. Isn't it crazy?"






I've finally come to grips with my actual feelings recently, and they're not what I usually expect to happen.






Over the years, I've driven myself to tears and even to dry heaving over playoff sports. You could say I'm pretty into it. This year though, there's something different.


That feeling is, I'm just happy to be here, and I'm enjoying it, win or lose.






Obviously I want them to win the World Series, and I'd be disappointed if they didn't, but honestly, this most recent "even year" run is so unexpectedly awesome, that I'm happy no matter what. It's sort of the difference between the 2010 and 2012 title runs. With the first one, I was a nervous wreck and could hardly be around other people, followed with the euphoria and disbelief of victory being one of the best feelings I've ever experienced.






The '12 World Series? Whole 'nother ballgame. I enjoyed that one so much more while it was happening, because in effect, we were playing with house money.


I could already die a happy man after 2010, so 2012 was just gravy on this magnificently unexpected train to baseball immortality.






So you can imagine that this trend has continued for me-- as strange as that may seem.




No one, absolutely no one in their right mind thought that this particular Giants team would be 2 wins away from the World Series during the Great Depression they put us all through this season. It was such a low point of such sickening losing, that I almost just wanted the season to end. We all did. It was so depressing.






How could a team go from so good, to so horrific, to magically successful all in one season? It all defies logic, and because it makes no sense that we're here, I'm enjoying every bit of it.




I can't help thinking though about how much more nervous I should be; how I should be more upset when the ball doesn't bounce our way. Why aren't I a basket case like I used to be?




The answer is simple: we weren't supposed to be here.




Not only that, but we aren't beloved underdogs like the Royals either. America is soooooo over us. Luckily though, America is even more over the Cardinals, so I think people root for us by default.


But come Series time, America is rooting for those underdog Royals, or possibly Orioles, if they pull off the unthinkable. We're no longer cute and intriguing underdogs. We're weirdly successful and confusing to the mind.




We're the quirky, socially awkward team that's never been good enough on paper, but continue to run said paper through the shredder, then make accidental recycled works of art that sell for millions.


That's why I'm having such a good time. We're on the verge of creating another one of those accidental recycled masterpieces out of the paper we never look good enough on.


Dealer, let's let it ride. We're playing with house money.




Thoughts and musings


LOL Dodgers!




Seriously! How great was it when they lost? I was almost more excited about the Dodgers losing than the Giants beating the Nats. It was amazing.


Part of being "The Dodgerhater" means that those bastards winning the World Series is the worst possible thing ever-- similar to the feeling I got when the Seajerks beat the Niners en route to their Superbowl win. Damn you Broncos. Damn you for losing.




But I digress.




There's nothing better than the failure of such a star-studded group over overpaid a-holes. It damn
near brings a tear to my eye, it's so beautiful. Thank you Cardinals, thank you for that.




Also, thank you for Randy Choate's poor throw to first base.




Also, thank you for Mike Matheny's questionable managing decisions with pitchers.


----------------------------------------------------------------------


Bruce Bochy has apparently caught Mathenyitis, because he too has made some questionable pitching moves. You know, with the Stricklands, and the Romos and such.




My question isn't so much to do with those things, but WHY ARE TIM LINCECUM AND YUSMEIRO PETIT ON THE NLCS ROSTER IF THEY'RE NEVER GOING TO PITCH?


Lincecum, I get. He's a liability. Fine, don't put him in the game. But then why is a rookie who never pitched in Fresno getting the call? Why is Lincecum on the roster instead of oh, I don't know, SOMEONE WHO WILL PLAY?




It's truly bizarre to me.




Also, can we get Petit into the game? The guy has been nails, and he hasn't even been seen in the bullpen in Christ knows how long. What is going on here? Give me Petit after the starter gets the hook, and save Javy Lopez and Affeldt for lefties later on in the game. It's just plain weird.




Long series though. We'll see how it goes. Just an interesting use of personnel.




I won't question Bochy anymore though. If there's anyone who could turn Joe Dirt's lucky meteor into an actual meteor, it would be him.


PS: Joe Dirt's "lucky meteor" wasn't actually a meteor.







Saturday, July 26, 2014

Peavy, Uggla are low risk

Firstly, if you haven't read my piece about Mike Krukow. Please do so here. 

Now onto other stuff.

I wasn't very happy about the Dan Uggla addition. I felt like it reeked of desperation and that he wasn't much of an upgrade over Brandon Hicks or Adrianza. Maybe it's true. Maybe he won't find any semblance of his long lost stroke, and he'll strike his way out of his minor league deal. Who the hell knows? It's worth a shot, as Adrianza and the sadly broken Marco Scutaro have shuffled their way onto the DL, leaving a black vortex vacuum tornado thing at second base.

As Bochy told Kuip during the KNBR pregame show on Friday, "We're a little desperate, to be honest."

Well, I appreciate honesty. It's the same kind of honesty we've been getting from Brian Sabean during interviews. The ones where he essentially says, "Look our prospects aren't very good. We don't have a lot to trade. If we do try to get a Zobrist or a Price, or an Utley, we'll gut our system that sucked to begin with. Plus I've got an assload of money committed next year to guys like Cain, and I still have to figure out what to do with Panda, Morse, and Vogelsong's spot in the rotation. So just chill out and let me work."

I like when Sabean is honest.

For all of our trials and tribulations this season, it's still not that bad. The Blue Bastards aren't going away, but even after Friday's loss, the Giants are still in 1st place. Pretty remarkable for how bad they've been. That is simply a testament to A) How underachieving the Doyers are and B) How good this team was while firing on all cylinders.

Those cylinders may not ever be fully repaired this season, because labor costs are a bitch. So let's just rent a decent car in the meantime, alright?

Once you get to the Hertz counter though, you're like, "God renting a Chrysler 300 is expensive. That's like $300 a day! WTF? I could lease one for $300 a month! Okay, fine, I'll settle for the non-premium full-sized model. Those new Impalas are pretty handsome..."

Jake Peavy is an expensive rental, but he's a veteran, a former Cy Young winner, and an experienced NL West arm. Maybe something will click and he'll feel reborn. His 1-9 record doesn't look good at all, but his team sucked this year, and looking at his peripherals, it looks like he's had some bad luck. He also had to pitch in the AL East. Which is littered with hitters' parks and big time sluggers.

I'm not going to pore over stats here, but I'll say that yes, he's lost a lot off his fastball. It's the same issue Lincecum and Cain are learning to pitch with. It doesn't have the same effectiveness that it once did, forcing him to work with more offspeed stuff, which inevitably leads to more walks and hanging pitches that get clubbed.

But look, it's Peavy or Petit... or Kickham while Cain is out. The truth is unfortunately, we don't know what we can expect from Cain the rest of this season. It's a no brainer to me.
Hembree during his callup last year.

The other side of this is the prospects that we had to give up, Heath Hembree and Edwin Escobar.

I won't sit here and claim to be an expert on what these minor leaguers project as. I'm not a scout. I don't go and watch these guys pitch. All I can do is regurgitate what the experts say.

What the experts say is that Hembree projects to be a decent reliever. His ceiling is a decent closer or setup man, and his floor is an average right handed reliever.

We've heard about Hembree for years, and yet he's not a big leaguer. He has an ERA near 4.00 this year, and I think it's about damn time that he figured this stuff out, because he's apparently had the ability and arsenal to be successful this whole time.

Secondly, Edwin Escobar, a southpaw starter in AA who is related to Kelvim and Alcides Escobar is rated as the Giants' #2 prospect overall, went to Boston in the Peavy deal.

Seems steep.

Well it is and it isn't.

Baseball America seems to think the guy's ceiling is as a 4th starter. That's nothing to scoff at, but it's also pretty indicative of how absolutely piss poor this farm system is. Just as an example, our second best prospect projects as a 4th starter, and our best prospect, Kyle Crick, has some scouts wondering if he's a back of the bullpen reliever, and possibly not even a starter.

Recently the A's traded shortstop Addison Russell to the Cubs for Jeff Samardzija. He was their top prospect. Billy Beane says he's the next Barry Larkin.

Who does Kyle Crick project to be?  Escobar?

Certainly nowhere near the breadth of a Barry Larkin-type comparison.

That's why prospect rankings are so relative. This top prospect is Barry Larkin and the other one is Chad Qualls.

So yes, we gave up some solid prospects for Peavy, but as we know, starting pitching doesn't grow on trees and you have to give up something to get something. The Cardinals were also in on Peavy, and undoubtedly drove the price up. In addition, this team just doesn't have the pieces to make a huge Samardzija or Price move work. It's simply not possible.

So look, the team has plugged a couple of former all-stars into the dike's holes for now, and it's not very sexy, but it's going to have to do, because Zobrist and Price ain't walking through that door unless the Rays are in town.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Why Krukow's revelation nearly brought me to tears

I'm not a crier.

I'm a dude. I love baseball and beer, and Eddie Money and smoking pork shoulder for half a day, and I love football and America and hating the Dodgers.

I'm a lot of things, but I'm not a crier.

This is why I was so shocked at how absolutely emotional I became when I heard about Mike Krukow's degenerative muscle disease.

I was driving to work listening to KNBR, and I was nearly brought to tears. 

I got that weird feeling with the lump in the throat and the misty eyes. I was just plain crushed. Later in the day, I began to come to grips with my reaction and why I felt so horrible.

I just love Mike Krukow. That's what it is. I literally love the guy. I also love Duane Kuiper and Jon Miller, even Flemming.

I don't know about you guys, but these guys are a huge part of my life. I listen to them almost every day, and I can't remember a time where I didn't hear them broadcast a game 140+ days a year. Although I've never met them and they wouldn't know me from Adam, they are, in a way, family.

Kruk & Kuip are just the best. They really are. They make watching a game exponentially better. There is no better team in the world to broadcast a sport than these two, it's a fact. We're truly privileged to have our Giants games enhanced like this. 

This duo makes us laugh, they keep us positive, they keep us entertained. They were just as excited as us to win those championships. They're with us through the good times, and the horrendous ones. Hell. We can turn off the game if it becomes too much. They're the ones that are subjected to it until the end.

They're also great friends outside the booth-- just like we imagine them to be. Why don't you ask Steve Stone if he hangs out with Hawk Harrelson outside the booth. The answer would be a defeated but resounding 'no'-- probably with an extended sigh at the end.

That's why the part of CW Nevius's article about Kuiper being a "sherpa" and carrying Mike's bags for him-- because that's what teammates do-- gave me that same choked up feeling I got while I was driving. 

The idea that Mike Krukow, the funniest, most baseball loving-ist guy ever won't one day be able to toss a baseball in the booth or show someone how to throw a curveball is just plain heartbreaking. The idea that he some day soon won't be able to play golf or guitar or throw a baseball with his grandkids is just plain depressing.

No, he's not dying. No, he's not retiring from broadcasting. He's going to be okay for the most part.

It just really sucks.

Perhaps there's a bit of selfishness embedded in my feelings. 

I just recently came to terms with the fact that I didn't want anything to happen to Kruk, partially because my Giants experience wouldn't be as good. If he lost his trademark enthusiasm and humor, games just wouldn't be the same. Who would blame him if he did?

Fortunately, ol' Kruk doesn't show any signs of slowing down. In fact, it occurred to me that if there's a solitary soul in this world that could overcome such a lousy thing with flying colors, it'd be Mike Krukow.

Look at him after 13 inning games on the postgame wrap. He's still yukkin' and yakkin' with Flemming like it was the first inning, while Kuip is hilariously hunched over, ready for bed, and Miller stays as professional as possible. It's just plain remarkable.

As he told Bruce Jenkins of the Chronicle, "I'm the luckiest guy in the world - again," he said. "All I need to do is get in that room and talk baseball. It's my island. Once I get behind that chair, I am bulletproof, man. I am a young, vibrant man."

That's why I know I won't have to worry about Kruk. He's going to suck it up, the way I wouldn't be able to. He's going to keep entertaining us and keeping us positive, even when we feel like the sky is falling over some meaningless lousy road trip-- not because we want him to, but because he needs to.

It's the epitome of irony that someone who actually has the sky falling on him incrementally, to the point of an eventual wheelchair reality, won't lose the very things that have made him so beloved to so many.

And that, my friends, is why I love Mike Krukow.

Never change, Meat.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Ballpark Review - Chase Field

I witnessed a rare thing last Saturday. A Giants win. They've been few and far between these days, so I was thrilled to have seen it in person in Phoenix-- especially after witnessing their 456th loss in a row on Friday. It felt even better to win because I was surrounded by so many Giants fans. It felt like like a home game in many respects.

I haven't been to Arizona since I was a kid, so I was excited to check out Chase Field on a recent vacation there. We went to visit family, but I made sure to go only when the Giants were in town. Everything aligned perfectly for the June 20-22 series against the Diamondbacks.

Panorama with my phone. Notice all the orange?

I unfortunately didn't get to the yard early enough both days to do a full walkthrough of the park and check out the outfield or upper deck sections, which I like to do, but I had amazing seats for both games near the Giants dugout.

Firstly, on my way to the game, coming from the South off of I-17, I was completely shocked to see what a horrible area lies just to the South and West of Chase Field. We're talking hideous industrial/abandoned/razor wire slums that look like a desert-baked version of the hell surrounding the Oakland Coliseum or 1990s Downtown LA-- you know, before the hipsters moved in. I could not believe that an area so close to a ballpark that's been there since 1998 didn't revitalize one iota. There's no two ways about it, coming from that direction is just ugly.

That's pretty much where my complaints end though.

Once you locate somewhere to park-- either private lots along the way for $5-10 bucks (really!) or team-run parking structures, you're only a short walk to the park.

They give us nice graphics with the Golden Gate Bridge.

The first game, we parked in a 6 story team-run structure located directly across the street, and paid TEN DOLLARS! I can't even process how amazing that feels. In case you've lost touch, the Giants now charge $35 to park in their lots, and the walk is 2-3 times longer to the park, while the surrounding lots on the Embarcadero charge $20 for the privilege of you walking a mile past the really nice buildings and the inexplicable sewer smells.

The second night, Saturday, the garage we had previously parked in was reserved for parking pass holders only, so we drove across the street to the US Airways Center, home of the Suns, and parked there for $10. The garage was open because I believe their Arena Football team was playing that night.

From the arena structure, you're officially on the good side of town, and you walk past bars of boozers with misting machines and people selling Costco bottled water out of coolers for a dollar. It was a good scene.

One of the things I really liked was the area at the mouth of the ballpark. There's a restaurant/bar and they have bands that are playing live music right outside the entrance. It's foot traffic only, and with heavily attended games like we went to, it was actually a really cool atmosphere. Also, there were ZERO BUMS anywhere before the games and only a couple after. This was a very nice change from SF, where you have to walk past all the sad beggars with cats and dogs and missing limbs that you simultaneously feel horrible for and are sickened by at the same time. It's just not fun.

Walking into Chase Field is a very odd experience. The only other retractable roof stadium I've been to is Miller Park in Milwaukee. In Miller's case, the entrance into the ballpark feels similar, and you do feel indoors, but it's not quite as drastic a change.

Arizona is a place of contrasts. Outside, everything is dry and dead. Inside, everything is cool and nice. Somehow, cool clean water flows from your faucet indoors as the convection oven of an environment stirs up dust devils and dehydrates human beings outside.

That's the effect you get going into Chase Field-- out of the convection oven and into the-- shopping mall? Hockey arena? Oh right. Baseball stadium. It's a baseball stadium.

It's 105 outside, they scan your ticket, and you walk into 78 inside. It's awesome and weird at the same time.

Joe Panik's 1st ML AB!
Also awesome and weird are the wide concourses and corridors-- places where I could impersonate a California Condor or gesture wildly without fear of hitting another fan accidentally. This contrasts sharply with AT&T's extremely intimate concourses where we shuffle slowly amidst a sea of orange and black, trying not to run into anyone.

My girlfriend's favorite part though, was the lack of lines at the ladies rooms. I have to say, I too enjoyed not waiting 57 minutes for her to fight her way through lines extending 20 feet beyond the boundaries of the actual restroom.

Here's a novel idea! There are enough bathrooms and stalls and urinals for every man, woman, and child in the ballpark, and the lines are non-existent. Even when the lower bowl of the stadium was completely full of people, neither of us waited at all to pee at either game. I have to say, well done, Chase Field. I don't know how AT&T can improve on this, but they have to try. It's kinda ridiculous.

As far as the food, there are ample options everywhere. Maybe there aren't Cha-Cha Bowls or other interesting fare, but they have two foot corndogs and $30 massive Sonora Hot Dogs, and a frozen margarita guy with a tank on his back, and they also have garlic fries (which I'll get to in a moment).

Oh yeah and they have beer vendors in the stands.

I do NOT understand why California stadiums don't allow guys to sell beers to us in the seats. I try to be professional and not swear on this blog, but this is absolute HORSESHIT.

Do you have any idea how nice it is to flag down a beer man from the comfort of your seat? To order a rally beer during the game without sticking your ass in peoples' faces and inconveniencing everyone just to get a beverage?

Well I'm sick of this. CA needs to change its laws, and if it's not a law, then these stadiums need to get it together. We're going to drink beer at games regardless.  

Improve our quality of life, bring back our mobile beer vendors!

Back to the food though....

I intentionally didn't order the garlic fries at Chase, because I didn't want them to be better than what I'm used to-- which sets the bar pretty low. Unfortunately, AT&T's garlic fries have gone downhill these days. The Gordon Biersch days from Candlestick ain't walking through that door. Now they're prepared way in advance and for $8.50, you get soggy, cold fries that have a cup of raw garlic dumped on top of them. Sad, actually.

What I did get at Chase that I loved, was Fatburger-- which was the best ballpark burger I've ever gotten. Not quite In-N-Out, but very good. I mentioned this on Twitter, and received a couple responses that Fatburger was really good, but Shake Shack at Citi Field was better. Good to know. I look forward to trying it someday.

Obviously, the roof was closed for both games, and it is definitely a different experience seeing a game indoors. It's actually tough to quantify for people used to normal outdoor baseball. It's weird, but so, so comfortable. No fog, no sun, just baseball. It's not right, I know, but I could get used to it I suppose.

I also could get used to sitting in great seats all the time, which brings me to my next thought.

View from my "upgraded" seats via the MLB Ballpark App.
I want to make you guys aware of the MLB at the Ballpark App, which allows you to upgrade your seats. For those of you who don't know about it, you wait until exactly 30 minutes before 1st pitch, you "check in", and then click "upgrade my seats". This allows you to pick a general area to upgrade to. In my case, we had purchased cheap nosebleeds, and upgraded to the 16th row behind the Giants dugout for $20 extra per ticket. So essentially, for $40 a ticket, I sat in those seats. One helluva deal. Not sure how it will work here in SF, but I'd imagine places with fewer sellouts would offer ample opportunities for amazing seats.

The fans in Arizona are pretty passive. Probably half the people in the area are transplants, and it takes years and years to cultivate a fanbase. I don't necessarily blame them for being passive either, considering the crowd was between 30-60% Giants fans. I mean, what are they going to do? Try and shout us down? Be mean to us? It's futile. One of the craziest things I've ever seen.

You know when you're at a random ballpark and you see another Giants fan? You high five them, maybe ask them where they're from, whatever. Well every other person at Chase Field was a Giants fan, so it wasn't something you needed to do. Again, very comfortable place to watch a game.

On Friday, after they lost, we stuck around for the postgame fireworks show. They opened the roof, kicked the A/C onto full blast, and put on a pretty epic show by blasting them off the roof of the adjacent parking structure. And yes, the fireworks show was set to the Frozen soundtrack. Ah the irony.

I definitely enjoyed my time at Chase Field. I imagine the atmosphere to suck during a weekday game without anyone there, but we probably saw it at its best, with the Giants in town.

I did like a lot of the things about it-- it costs way less to go and sit in good seats, the concourses and bathrooms are easy to navigate, and you don't have to worry about people being rude or jerks. However, it just doesn't feel quite right. As comfortable as it is, baseball wasn't made to be played without sun or wind or fog. Nothing compares to the charm of and intimacy of AT&T Park, and comparing anything else to it just isn't fair.





Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A tale of two teams

What on earth is going on with the Giants? One minute, they're literally the best baseball team on the planet that can't lose. The next thing you know, they're basically the worst. It's time for medication-- for them and for us.

If there's one thing I can't stand, it's being jerked around. I can't stand you agree on one thing with someone, and the plan changes at the last minute. I want things planned out, so that nothing is left to chance. That's why I bring my auxiliary audio cord AND my USB cable with me on vacation in case my rental car doesn't have Bluetooth Audio or SXM.

Well, the Giants in this case had all the bells and whistles going, and my rental car was awesome. But something happened along the way, the screen went dark, and now I'm fashioning a noose out of my aux cord because of the lack of tunes.

Baseball is a harsh mistress sometimes.

There's really no way to explain how a team begins to collectively suck at the same time. It just happens I guess. It's the same thing that went on when we couldn't lose.

Unfortunately, now we're on a horrendous downslide.

The starting pitching has been horrendous, with an ERA hovering around 6.00. The hitting has been hit or miss, the power has disappeared. Their mojo has been lost.

You can blame it on Pagan's absence only to a certain degree-- because Pagan doesn't pitch. You can say we miss Belt, and we do, but Belt could hardly make a dent in these losing ways.

It all comes down to pitching, and until this rotation begins to not suck, we're in for an ugly second half of the season.