Ruminations on the San Francisco Giants and the game of baseball, written by someone who knows both
23 October 2010
A Week at the Cove
Tuesday's game is still a blur. I got the day off work but had to bang out a PowerPoint before I left from San Jo in the morning, so brunch with my season ticket partner was out the window. We just started drinking. There was a funky haze lingering over the entire Bay Area that gave me pangs of fear... The daytime start meant the extra tickets we'd purchased and put up on StubHub were virtually worthless. Ducats were going for less than face online, and the lot was no better. We ended up selling low and eating $30. But at least we know some real fans got in. We don't mess with the scalpers. This town is full of vultures, vultures everywhere... We entered just as the jet fighters were buzzing the yard and settled in right along with Matt Cain, who looked his usual stoic self. When Babe Ross broke the ice with an RBI knock in the fourth, a sort of calm settled over the Cove — a thunderous orange calm, to be sure, but a calm nonetheless. Funny, a guy on the mound who'd never beaten Philly facing a lineup stacked with power, and we were one confident bunch with a 1-0 lead. Huff Daddy and Freddy Sanchez upped that to 3-0 — with an assist from Chase Utley, who's become quite the reliable adventure at second base — Javy Lopez shut down the big bats, and Weezy sent the kids home happy. The postgame was marked with two dinners, three bars, old friends, new friends, and an assortment of adult beverages that conspired to send me home with a silly smile stuck on my face...
How classic was that? 21-year old rookie pitches his heart out. Offense scrapes out a lead. Bullpen squanders the lead. The bats come screaming back. The Phils punch in a run to tie it late. Walk off win in the ninth. Too many storylines for a team of reporters to cover... It started for me with the National Anthem. The previous day, I'd regretted for the first time my regular bathroom trip during "God Bless America". I'll be honest, I'm as patriotic as the next guy, but songs where the separation of church and state is so blatantly ignored only serve to aggravate my sensibilities. So I use the opportunity to relieve myself and try to make it back to my seat in time for "Take Me Out To The Ballgame". But on Tuesday, as I was letting it out, I heard a familiar crooning pumped through the PA. When I got back to my seat, my lady friend had a silly grin on her face. I'd missed Zooey Deschanel. Fudgcicle. Oh well, the result of the game made me forget my regret real quick. But later that night over dinner, some newbies to the scene wondered aloud who would do the anthem the next day. I told them I would be shocked not to see Huey Lewis and the News before this playoff run was done. The next day, around 4:50, I sent one of the newbies a tweet: Called it. Long story short, I had a good feeling about this game the whole way... Of course, the wives in the Phillies family section in front of us did everything they could to kill my buzz. As I've mentioned before in this space, our season tickets are perched at the top of Section 104, which just happens to be where the opposing team reserves tickets for their loved ones, friends, and hangers on. My ticket partner and I have been known to do a good amount of what you might call "ragging" on this section. But we always keep it clean, and we try to keep it intelligent. This being the NLCS, we had a lot of immediate family members below us, so tensions were already pretty high before a pitch was even thrown. The team had flown in bodyguards to watch over the section during the series, and San Francisco's Finest were flanking the aisles at all times. For three games, we sat in the safest section in the park. And we didn't get the boot once. A miracle, really. Course, it helps to know your usher and make nice with the bodyguards during the game. But nothing could've prevented one of the wives from losing her shit around the bottom of the fourth and turning to us with her middle finger in the air and the f-bombs flying. After that, it was on. I felt bad about it later, especially since we kinda made her cry, but we kept it clean, we kept it intelligent, and most importantly, we kept it loud. You simply don't make it personal with the fans in a hostile environment. They're lucky we didn't puke on them...
We were late getting in. That's where it started. Yes, we scored early and Timmy looked possessed, but something was just not right. Maybe it was the rain, a strange October drizzle that seemed to hang around like an unwelcome house guest planted on your couch and eating all your food. Then came the third inning. Timmy plunked Ruiz with two strikes, and that empty feeling that had been building all day in my stomach bubbled over. I knew we were going to lose. Even as we staged a comeback. Even as we put together chance after chance, I knew it was a futile effort. We were going back to Philly. Even the wives in front of us knew it to be true, and though we chanted for them to "Go back to Philly!" the night previous, now that seemed the embodiment of our worst nightmares. I sunk inside myself and got very quiet, came alive at the appropriate moments, but mostly tried to let the game, the moment, the season sink in. After all, that could be the last time I saw that field in 2010. That could be the last time I saw that team. I wanted to remember the fun times. I didn't want to think about this latest round of torture. As the Philly bullpen cruised through the final innings, I took it all in, and I made a pact with myself: if we screwed the pooch in the City of Brotherly Love, I would not allow it to dictate my mood for the next six months. I would take it like a man and brush it off my shoulder like Jay-Z. We'll see in the next couple days whether or not I have to live up to my end of this bargain with myself, and if I can...
> Fact: The Giants are 0-2 this postseason in games when orange pom poms are the free giveaway.
> So, how are the Giants doing on fulfilling my series prediction? Well, let's just say that baseball loves to obfuscate, which is precisely why I don't believe in attempting to predict it. I still hold to my call that the best scenario for a San Francisco victory was a five-game series, but I have to admit defeat nearly across the board. I was fairly spot-on in my call for Game 1. The boys "kicked the ball around" — as Marty Lurie would say — and made my Game 2 pick look like wishful thinking... which it was. Matt Cain did not disappoint my prognostication, but the offense did, and Game 3 kept me on course for an all-around win. Game 4 didn't play out quite like I expected, but then again, it didn't turn out like anybody expected. Game 5, well, f**k. So it's back to Philly. And since I didn't make a call for Games 6 or 7 because I didn't want them to happen, Here's my take:
> Watching the game at home today. Probably alone. I don't know what it is, but something about going to a bar and watching with a bunch of rowdy fans has always turned me off. Probably because both times I did that during the '02 series, we lost the freakin' game...
Enjoy the torture, everybody.
The Last Tweet... (A new feature)
Oct. 20th, 2:19 PM
@ArcadeDreams The Sun wasn't going to come out today, but Cody Ross was cold. #sfgiants #NLCS
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