Monday, May 3, 2010
This is a submission by Julian Perez, who is an avid Dodgerhater reader and commenter. As this blog is for fans, by a fan, I thought it fit to open up the floor from time to time to a reader with something to say. Anyone is welcome to submit something for consideration if they are interested in doing so. Email me here.
Well ladies and gentlemen, it may still be a little too early to say it but I am too excited to wait… Barry Zito is back! The former All-Star and Cy Young starter that was signed after the 2006 season to the largest pitching contract in Major League history (at the time) has been sub-par since signing with the Giants, to put it nicely. It is certainly a difficult thing to live down a record of 31-43 in your first 3 seasons when you are making $20+ million a season.
I will be the first to admit that I have taken plenty of shots at Zito throughout the last few years. Many will also argue that he had a good season last year and that many of his losses were due to lack of run support. The fact of the matter is that so did all of the starters in 2009, and yet Tim Lincecum won a Cy Young with only 15 wins while Matt Cain posted a 2.89 ERA and made the first All-Star game of his career. That being said, I think most fans are in agreement that Zito has sucked since crossing the Bay Bridge over to San Francisco.
Zito is a well-known head case and many thought that the transition of teams, cities, and leagues as well as the aforementioned contract would take its toll on Zito. Throw in the fact that Dave Righetti decided it would be better to change Zito’s windup, and it quickly seemed that the Giants had signed a guy who would soon be the most expensive #5 starter ever! To make matters worse, with a 7 year/$126 million contract and a no-trade clause he is basically impossible to trade.
This season, something has clicked though. His fastball has gained a few miles per hour and his curveball is looking the sharpest it has in his career. This is in addition to the fact that he is not walking guys while attacking the zone. This in turn is allowing him to go further into games. Zito is finally looking like the guy we stole away from the Yankees, Mets, and Red Sox that fateful off-season a few years back. You can just see it in the guy's face when he is on the mound. He used to look stressed every time he went between the chalk lines, but this year he's having fun... and it shows. He took a page out of Lincecum’s book and is enjoying the fact that he is making more money then God to throw a baseball around.
He also has a swagger about him that any elite pitcher must have. This first became evident during spring training this year when the first pitch he threw to Milwaukee Brewers slugger Price Fielder was a fastball to the ribs as retaliation from last season. Last year I doubt Zito would have done that. If he had, he probably would have tipped his cap and apologized in hopes Fielder wouldn’t eat him. I don’t think I have seen Zito smile once this year.
If Zito can keep up this hot start he's thrown together in 2010, the Giants will have possibly one of the best starting rotations ever and will be a scary team to face in September. Also worth mentioning is that Zito has a postseason career record of 4-3 with an ERA of 3.25. Again, it is probably too early to talk about, but one can only drool over the possibility of Lincecum, Cain, and Zito as a 3 man playoff rotation with Jonathan Sanchez in the bullpen.
The Giants have finally unearthed the guy they expected to get 4 years ago. An All-Star "top of the rotation" guy who can lead his team deep into the playoffs.
I will state it once more for all of you non-believers… Barry’s back!!!
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Just got back from SoCal on Sunday evening, and would like to share my experience of Dodger Stadium with you. If you're already following me on Twitter, you probably saw my in-game twittering about the disturbing things going on around me at the park. If you don't, I'll fill you in here.
I'll preface this report by saying that I hadn't been to Dodger Stadium (I'm pretty sure) since 1993. As I spent 4 years of my early childhood in Thousand Oaks and my father had company tickets, we went to games a few times a year there to take in baseball... mostly Giants games as I recall. I pride myself on my ability to remember crazy details about things from long ago, and this story is just as crazy.
The last game I went to at that stadium was the final game of 1993-- the Solomon Torres game.
Even at a young age, I knew what was at stake, and I remember going to the game with my dad and procuring tickets from sleazy scalpers. The game was so in demand, that we couldn't even find seats together. Although the end result was crushing, it was a vivid Giants-Dodgers memory from long ago. I remember the fans doing the wave and the beach balls, just as well as the fascist ushers who stabbed the balls immediately. To a little kid, it is amusing, but to a baseball fan, it's just disgusting. With that said, here's my little in game diary, beginning with my arrival to the park with my quoted twitterings from the game against the Pirates on Saturday.
WARNING: Giants fans will be sickened.
We arrived about 10 minutes before start time, and not only was the traffic on I-5 non-existant (in a bizarre scene), but Stadium Way was smooth sailing, and there weren't any sleazes in the parks on the way to the parking lot. The dudes I went to the game with had never seen it like that before, and I always remembered the drive in there as awful. They characterized it as "eerie". Obviously, fans couldn't be bothered to show up on a nice Saturday night.
We paid our $15 bucks to park in the lot and proceeded to park between two cars, about 300 yards from the exit. As I had previously read an article about the Dodgers cracking down on stadium violence and excessive drunkenness, I knew that we probably couldn't get out of the car and drink outdoors, as is the American custom.
What I didn't know, is that the Blue Bastards have morphed from a bad organization to something even more twisted and heinous--- a cross between the DMV, a 5'5 crooked CHP officer who got beat up in high school, and Robert Mugabe.
My buddy Sisto's friends who were with us warned me to keep our beers down as we hunkered down in the car... you know, just trying to drink a Coors Light tallboy before going in. There were jerkoffs in golf carts zipping around the massive parking lot, which was about two thirds full of cars, but totally devoid of any fans.
Just then, a dude comes up and knocks on my window as I hastily hide the beer in the cupholder under some sort of Google Maps printout that had been long ago designated useless.
Parking Lot Nazi: Hey, how you guys doing? Got any alcohol in here with you?
Us: No sir, just a couple of empties. We were just listening to some music.
Parking Lot Nazi: Yeah? Okay. (peering around, pressing his face up against the glass of the rear passenger glass). Well what about that one there in the cupholder? That's not an empty.
Us: Well, no, okay, you got me.
Parking Lot Nazi: Pour it out. All of it. Yeah, just throw it on the ground, scavengers will come and and get it.
The two parking lot nazis then wrote down all of our names, our places of residence, noted the year, make, model, and license plate of Sisto's car, while stating that we wouldn't be cited.
The nazi then said, "Okay. Go into the stadium now. You can't stay out here anymore--"
"But, we already poured out our beer, can we at least get some tunes going, and smoke a cigarette or get a lipper going?" I interjected.
"No." The nazi said flatly. "You have to go into the stadium now, or we'll have to ask you to leave."
IS THAT UNBELIEVABLE OR WHAT?????????? I obviously wore my Giants hat to the game, but it was on backwards at the time, so there was no way that he saw it. They're just jerks to everyone. $15 for parking, $30 tickets, and God knows how much on beer and dogs and whatever, and the Dodgers organization just gives its fans the finger. No wonder these people are so damned miserable. Sucks to be you!!!! Suckers...
Now for the twitterings and pictures of this vile place beginning with buying tallboys at Ralph's in Burbank:
@TheDodgerhater: Dude. There is an illegal underground car washing operation going on in the subterranean Ralph's parking lot in Burbank.
@TheDodgerhater:Parking lot nazis stole our beer within 5 minutes of our arrival and the usher pointed me the wrong way.
@TheDodgerhater:Just ordered a "Giants Dog" and paid with my BofA Giants debit card at Dodger stadium. Reed Johnson's entrance song is Cypress Hill.
@TheDodgerhater:Dodger fans have finally stopped filling the stands here in the bottom of the 4th and have begun the wave while their team hits.
@TheDodgerhater:Fans have moved on from the wave to watching a beach ball get hit around in the stands. Morons.
@TheDodgerhater:Dodger fans are now throwing napkins, bags, and other assorted garbage from the upper deck to the loge to see it float down.
@TheDodgerhater:A paper airplane thrown from the upper deck missed Hong Chih Kuo's head in the bullpen by 3 inches. Unbelievable.
@TheDodgerhater:The left field pavilion boos the rest of the fans lustily when they can't sustain the wave all the way around.
@TheDodgerhater:And in the top of the 8th with an apparently insurmountable 5-1 lead of the Pirates, the fans have begun streaming out.
@TheDodgerhater:Just knocked a beach ball over the railing and yelled GO GIANTS! I got booed by the whole section and part of the pavilion. Got 1 cup thrown at me.
I tell you folks, after witnessing this place again after so many years, I just thank my lucky stars I was born a Giants fan. We've got it so good. Not only do we live in God's country, but our stadium is soooo much better, our fans are decent human beings, and although the parking lots cost waaaaay too much, at least they leave you alone out there to booze and hang out, the way it was meant to be.
Expect some real team articles this week.
I invite you to share your own experiences from Chavez Latrine in the comment section.