I watch the Series. I haven’t missed the Series in years. Even in the cooler. When I’m in the cooler they run it there or they’ll have a riot. What’s the matter with you guys? Come on, be good Americans! — Randall McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
A few random thoughts on the World Series and the San Francisco Giants, who could erase over a half-century of futility (and make me a very happy man) in the next week …
* People have been pointing out the difference in the attitudes between the last Giants team to go to the Series (2002) and the current pennant winners. The ’02 team had solid but unspectacular pitching (all five starters won 12 to 14 games and had ERAs between 3.23 and 4.51), but was largely based around the slugging (and egos) of Barry “THIS Man Is an Island” Bonds and Jeff “I Was Just Washing My Truck, Honest” Kent. This team sports a lineup of mostly low-maintenance journeymen backing up a pitching staff of stars and potential stars, and the clubhouse atmosphere is reportedly pretty chummy. Hard to believe it’s the same franchise.
* Still laughing about Chase Utley’s ire at getting plunked in game 6 of the NLCS. Apparently he was the only person in the Western world who thought Jonathan Sanchez was trying to hit him — after Sanchez had spent the previous two innings demonstrating that he couldn’t find the strike zone with a diagram and a GPS. Get over yourself, Chase.
* A sense of how Giants Fever is spreading: like me, Sean’s new teacher Mr. Giordani is a Giants fan. At the start of each visit, it’s been a bit of work to get him to stop talking about the team’s chances and focus on helping Sean learn the alphabet. I figure it’ll pass once the Series is over, so I’m not making a big deal of it.
* A few of my Twitter posts, written during the last two games —
- (During the fifth inning, game 1:) I dunno — tonight the Invincible Cliff Lee sure looked awfully … vincible.
- (Later in game 1: after Tim Lincecum’s bouncer flummoxed the Rangers’ SS and continued SF’s big inning:) Elvis Andrus error! The wheels are falling off the Rangers like they were the Bluesmobile!
- (Game 2, after the Rangers’ pitcher’s second at-bat:) There’s comedy, and then there’s watching AL pitchers trying to bat in the WS. Some ug-u-ly hacks there, CJ Wilson.
- (After the game 2 walloping — definitely a little giddy here:) Does anyone have a BIG spatula? Someone needs to scrape what’s left of the Rangers off the field.
By the way, if you find my columns too serious sometimes, my Twitter feed is the place to go — I reserve it for one-liners, snark and short-form silliness (plus links whenever I update this blog). Enjoy.
* I may be a Giants fan, but I have the utmost respect for the Texas Rangers, and congratulate them on no longer being the oldest team to never make the Series. They’re a great squad and clearly love each other — as evidenced by their celebrating using ginger ale instead of champagne so outfielder Josh Hamilton (who’s a recovering addict) can participate without worry. Very classy. (And with precedent — the late ’90s New York Yankees sprayed non-alcoholic drinks for at least one of their big wins out of respect for Darryl Strawberry. I’d be amazed someone hadn’t brought that up on the TV broadcast of the World Series … except that it is, after all, on Fox …)
* Fox’s coverage, as always, has been mediocre at best — Joe Buck reading out loud from the graphics on the screen, Tim McCarver spouting dumb cliches and botching those half the time, replays taking minutes to show. As always, the lowlights have been courtesy of McCarver, whom I thought couldn’t get worse without suffering a major stroke or something. Even Buck snapped at him once during the NLCS. The national pastime would be better served if Joe stuck to the NFL — and Tim were stuck in a nursing home.
* A great joke for anyone who caught the endings of both League Championship Series: Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Howard walk into a department store. The sales clerk says, “can I help you, sirs?” A-Rod and Howard say, “nah, just looking.”
* With S.F. up two games to zero in the Series, I have to think about what I’ll do if they win it all. First thing: shoot an e-mail to my friend Greg, the president of the local Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) chapter and a lifelong Dodgers fan. Something like, “please forgive me if I’m more insufferable than usual during the next meeting. I’ll try to keep a lid on it, but just in case …”
* Over at Internet Monk, Jeff Dunn has an interesting take on the two teams in the World Series, particularly Texas (no surprise there, since Jeff lives in Oklahoma). I liked his argument that the way the Rangers have dealt with Hamilton’s and Ron Washington’s troubles is a good example of what the Church is supposed to act like (but often doesn’t). You can also see some of my bon mots in the Comments section — and yes, I am standing by my “Giants in six” prediction. Though I certainly wouldn’t mind if they manage to do it in five … or even four …
* Finally, in case you skipped the iMonk article … I have a very short Bucket List as a baseball fan. I don’t have any parks I feel I have to visit, or monuments either (though I’d like to go to Cooperstown again — I went when I was only 14; I think I’d appreciate it more now — and hope to someday drop by the Negro Leagues Museum in Kansas City). But the three things I really, really wanted to witness before I died were:
- a post-season no-hitter.
- Bert Blyleven being elected to the Hall of Fame.
- the Giants winning a world championship.
Well, thanks to Roy Halladay, I got the first one — listening to it on my wife’s Walkman as I cooked dinner, shouting updates to her at the other end of the house. #2 looks likely to happen when they announce the results of the next ballot in January; Bert missed by only five votes last time, and that usually means he’ll get in the following year. If San Francisco wins two more against Texas, as a baseball fan I’ll be playing with the house’s money for the rest of my life. And I’m only 40. Good things, man … good things.
* Finally, a little note to Brian Sabean, for all the times over the last several years when I’ve said you needed to be replaced … clearly this is why they pay you the big bucks, and why I sit at home and play fantasy ball instead of being an actual general manager like you. I apologize — you were right and I was wrong.
And boy am I glad you were right. Two wins to go — hummmmm-baby!