Baseball Thoughts

Watching Ken Burns’ Baseball on MLB Network.

The commercials show that they’re doing MLB divisional previews, which I think may be premature, with the Winter Meetings coming up and Spring Training a couple of months away.

If the Giants do not get Mike Stanton, maybe they should pick up free agents  Brandon Morrow and Curtis Granderson from the Dodgers.

There I was, the black grandson of a slave, the son of a black sharecropper, part of a historic occasion, a symbolic hero to my people. The air was sparkling. The sunlight was warm. The band struck up the national anthem. The flag billowed in the wind. It should have been a glorious moment for me as the stirring words of the national anthem poured from the stands. Perhaps, it was, but then again, perhaps, the anthem could be called the theme song for a drama called The Noble Experiment. Today, as I look back on that opening game of my first world series, I must tell you that it was Mr. Rickey’s drama and that I was only a principal actor. As I write this twenty years later, I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world. In 1972, in 1947, at my birth in 1919, I know that I never had it made.
― Jackie Robinson, I Never Had It Made

I do miss baseball.  As I do every year, after Thanksgiving Day.

I’m gonna play a couple of games of my 1967 San Francisco Giants season replay.

The Horse

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Long before everyone jumped on the Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner bandwagons, there was Matt Cain.

He was the ace of the staff during some lean times, specifically those years near the end of Barry Bonds’ career.

It’s odd to think of him as the longest tenured Giant, but he’s the one player left from the pre-World Series Champions era.

His career 104-118 W-L record with an ERA of 3.69 is more telling of the years that the Giants couldn’t score runs than anything else.  He’ll be remembered as a quiet leader on the team.  And of course for his perfect game in June of 2012.

I’ve always been a fan of his, but never got a shirt of jersey with #18 on it, because of my supposed jersey curse.  Over the years it was disappointing to see him pitch well time and time again, with no run support.

I’ll get to see him pitch in person one last time as he takes his final start this Saturday, September 30th, against the Padres.  Star Wars Day.

May the Force of others be with you, Matt Cain.  And thank you.

Oh What a Night

Glenn picked me up for the Giants game at the usual time.

The clouds in the distance looked dark and were cause for concern.

It appeared that there might be some light showers at game time.

There were, along with thunder and lightning, which caused the start of game to be delayed until 7:55pm.

During that time, we found shelter and ate our Cha-Cha Bowls.

The rain subsided and we returned to our seats for the starting lineups and the National Anthem.

The rain started up again during the anthem.

Chris Stratton retired the first Dodger batter, Curtis Granderson.

And then the downpour started again and Glenn and I hightailed it out of there.  It wasn’t enough to get soaked, and the temperature was warm enough that it didn’t feel as uncomfortable as it should have.

We stopped by the Dugout Store to do some browsing, but didn’t pick up anything.

Glenn dropped me off at home, where I got to watch the second half of the Chargers-Broncos game, which was more stressful at the end than it needed to be, with the Broncos blocking the game-tying field goal to seal the win.

After the game I switched channels back to the Giants game, where they said that the game would resume at 10:50pm.

Ack.

So I went to bed listening to a live Giants game instead of the midnight replay.

I woke up around 2:30am and heard the end of the game, Giants 8 Dodgers 6.

Woohoo.

Replay Baseball

I’m replaying Dwight Gooden’s rookie season in 1984, and I’m up to game #24 of his career: a road game vs. the San Francisco Giants, at Candlestick Park.

The opposing pitcher: Mike Krukow.

On this day, August 17, 1984, both pitchers went 9 innings, with no scoring.

In the top of the 10th, Krukow gave up a 2-run homer to Wally Backman, giving the Mets the lead.  Jesse Orosco pitched the bottom of the 10th for the save (his 26th), with Gooden winning his 11th game of the season.

Starting pitching lines:

Gooden: 9 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 12 K
Krukow: 9.1 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 10 K

I doubt my replay will turn out the same.  We’ll see.

Epiphany

As I sat there at AT&T Park tonight, during a game where the Giants were playing spoiler instead of contending for a playoff spot, I came to realize that THESE are the games that I enjoy watching and going to.

Prior to 2010, I grew up watching a lot of bad baseball in San Francisco, so I’m used to this.  It’s what’s comfortable to me as a Giants fan.

The three championships?

Anomalies.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that they’ve won 3 in 5 years, but for a majority of my lifetime, this never happened, nor did we believe that it would ever happen, prior to 2010.  The prospect of rooting for the Giants as a defending world champion was (and still is) a very alien concept to me.  It made me less relaxed at games, or watching at home.

But now that they’ve been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, the mindset changes, and while a majority of fans are disappointed, I find myself more relaxed and can enjoy the games.

Now, if we can do something about the idiots trying to start the Wave during the game…

10 Years Ago

Barry Bonds hits career home run #756.

This is my photo that I took of the moment, sitting in the upper deck with Glenn.

As I said the night this happened, Glenn and I have been present for a lot of Barry’s milestones:

  • First grand slam as a Giant
  • Career HR #500
  • Season home runs #71 & #72, but we were not sitting together
  • Career HR #600
  • Career stolen base #500, even though we had left the park, we were across McCovey Cove
  • I *think* we were present for career home run #700…

Sure doesn’t feel like 10 years ago.

Rant

I wish I could say that I’ve seen Giants teams play worse that this year’s squad, but that would be a lie.

And it doesn’t help that the Dodgers seem to have put all the pieces together for a deep run into the playoffs.

I guess we’ll see in October.

This wasn’t much of a rant after all.

I waited a while before typing the title of this post, and starting to type the post itself.

Baseball

My desire to play table top baseball appears to be directly influenced by how well the Giants and Mets are doing in real life.

Right now, both teams are below .500, with the Giants (38-63) dead last in the NL West, and the Mets (46-51) in 3rd place in the NL East.

Alas.

Baseball 2017

Giants suck.

So do the Mets, but not as bad as the Giants, which is why they swept this weekend.

So when do the Giants hit rock bottom?  All-Star break?