My Good Luck Charm

Pure excitement.
My girlfriend is a sports fan. That's one of the things that takes her to that next level of awesome that any guy who has dated a sports girl can tell you. She's not a groupie. She's not a jersey chaser. She asks questions, and not stupid ones. And so when I fell into tickets for tonight's game and realized it would be her first time watching the Giants, I had to go. It turned into a test.

We've been to a football game, which was amazing, so I knew that she can at least make the most entertaining sport an enjoyable experience. We went to a Warriors game, but it was raining and we had to leave at halftime. It wasn't even her first time at AT&T Park. She's been going to the Cal games all last season. So when we went to the game tonight, and she willingly ditched her hometown Angels to put on my Rich Aurilia jersey and rep the G-men, I knew it was going to be a good game.

The big test is the game. It's a spectrum that has a very slim span of "entertaining." Blowouts aren't fun. Slugfests can get old. Tonight's game was the opposite. Usually, to an outsider, pitcher's duels are boring. No homeruns, no rallies, no exciting things. But on Wednesday night, apparently my constant fawning over Mattcliff Cainlee rubbed off on my fair companion, who peppered me with questions about Cain's contract extension, the reason for the designated hitter, and (regrettably) Brandon Crawford's dreaminess.

Let's recap the highlights:

7:05 (first pitch) - I'm trying to find my ticket, she's trying to find me. Apparently "Juan Marichal" means nothing to some people. I also forgot what street I was on, so my directions were completely wrong.

7:25 (entering stadium) - We enter through Willie Mays Gate, not realizing that we have already missed half the game.

7:45 (food time) -
We got da combo.
8:15 - It's supposed to be like, the third inning. Instead, it's the bottom of the fifth and Brett Pill hits to the wall in center field for a ground-rule double. She's excited. Then I yell at Theriot, Schierholtz, and Crawford for grounding out to shortstop. She's embarrassed.

8:30 - FFFFUUUUU guy who proposed on the Kiss Cam.

9:15 - The game started two hours ago. It's the top of the ninth. Cliff Lee is leading off. I explain pitch counts, and she understands. Again, keeper. We realize that the bus we're taking home doesn't leave until 10:30, and that we might at the bus waiting instead of it waiting for us.

9:30 - "Wait, is that the same guy?"

9:31 - Buster Posey single! :)

9:32 - Brett Pill double play. :(

9:37 - Carlos Ruiz doubles, eliciting a groan from the crowd. After the sacrifice bunt, it takes like two seconds for me to explain lefty-on-lefty matchups. Then Javier Lopez gets Thome, and Hensley gets Mayberry to ground out. "I've never been to a baseball game like this. Nobody's doing anything."

But there was no impatience. There was no complaining. There was interest. There was curiosity.

9:45 - Belt singles. Pagan reaches on an error. Winning run on second with Melky Cabrera up.

9:47 - Galvis is too short. Or Cabrera is good at hit placement. Either way, people are happy, and jumping up and down, and cheering for a Giants win in the shortest longest game ever.

I wouldn't be surprised if I hear a big sigh of relief and "FINALLY" but instead we spend the walk out of the park talking about how it was a historic matchup, how things like that never happen, and how much I like how she likes baseball. IT WAS FANTASTIC AND I'M LUCKIER THAN MOST

Did I mention she's a Sharks fan too?

Also, Matt Cain.


This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things

Giants fans.

I feel like a couple days ago we were like, OMG I can't believe we got Crawford and Belt and Posey and Pill and Belt is starting and the front office actually listened and we got everything we could have asked for!

And now they're going to be like, sure we'll give you that...just wait.

And we were worried, and then Barry Zito made us confused but not worried at the same time, because the pitching bounces back right? It always bounces back.

Then Tim Lincecum came out and was like, "Hey, here are all those runs Barry forgot to give up yesterday." And the bullpen said, "Oh us too! Here's the runs we didn't give up last YEAR." 

Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy will hold a press conference before the home opener. We will get scolded. 

"See what happens when you go young? All your old players get worse! And all of your good players go bad. It's because there's less curmedgeonliness and Gold Bond. Crazy kids and their TV."

I hope this stops. MadBum, make me smile tomorrow.



That's Exactly What We Thought Would Happen

Lincecum Bumgarner Cain Vogelsong Surkamp Mota Zito's Gem puts the Giants in the win column.

Yeah...this guy.
Not the two-time Cy Young Award winner. 

Not the 22-year-old phenom.

Not the guy who was just rewarded with the 5-year extension.

Not what we would have expected. Not what even Zito expected, who didn't go out in the postgame interview and spout anything about how he "knew it was in there somewhere" or that he's "really been working on a couple things and it all just came together." 


Zito says, "Anything is possible."

And that's pretty much how happy I was to follow this game. Zero runs. Zero walks. Two runners in scoring position. 114 pitches. 71 strikes. That's how it's done.

It wasn't even as if I was waiting for Zito to implode. The Giants were up 7-0, and even though it was Coors and the Rockies, there's just something about the Diamondbacks that make me more nervous. And it was a seven-run lead, not a six-run lead. You know how Tony LaRussa also played to the five-run lead? It was like that. Six runs? A chip-away comeback wouldn't surprise me. Seven runs? Not gonna happen. 

So then after the game I heard all of the commotion and saw all the factoids. The last time Barry Zito threw a shutout, I was in 8th grade. I was 14 years old, trying to throw that curveball from the right side in Pony Baseball. That was 2003. That was a long time ago. 

Zito improves to 113-6 ALL-TIME with 4+ runs of support. His record with the Giants since he signed his deal in 2007? 44-61. You know what that means? The Giants don't score! And that's why Zito's record has been bad! Also, that he has a tendency to pitch really, really badly sometimes.

Anyway, what can we take from this game? I mean, it's only Spring Training the first week of the season. Am I expecting Zito to crash and burn and give up 11 runs in two innings next start? No. But I'm also not expecting a return to 2002. I've moved past the point that Barry Zito can tease me into thinking he can dominate the league again. But he's not Pat Misch. Or Ryan Sadowski. And that's fine with me. 

Instead, here's my letter:

Dear Barry, 
Yesterday was really nice. It would be great if you could do that again like, once every five starts. I'd be OK with that. If you're that Zito 20% of the time, it'll be a good year. Also, no pressure. 
Hope that wasn't all a big joke! 


Giants Give Fans What They Want...Fans Now Speechless

So, you know that feeling when you have an expectation of what someone is going to say and you have an argument all prepared for someone:

How are they going to screw it up this time?
And then they say exactly what you wanted them to say, but not what you were expecting them to say, and they're all like:

Check THIS roster out.
And then you're about to be like "Well what about this?" but then it sinks in that they told you what you wanted to hear and you're like:

"......COME AGAIN?"
That's pretty much how my day went yesterday with all the Giants roster moves and news. And it left me searching for the ammunition I usually need to fire a couple quick ones back at the front office, and all I can come up with is..."But Chris Stewart was really cool, and I liked him."