Sunday, May 24, 2009


Not So Memorable Memorial Day Weekend

The Giants rolled into a six-game road trip that took them to San Diego and Seattle, two of the most pitcher-friendly ballparks in the world. Hitting home runs in that place is harder than beating this bleeping game (seriously, angry nerd's damn near impossible). The Giants: a team with an almost comically anemic offense, hitting in two of the most spacious, frustrating baseball fields known to man. Yeah, how else did you think this was going to go?

The first time I ever visited Petco Park, to watch the Braves and Padres play in 2006, its reputation as a place where offense goes to die had already been firmly cemented. It was well-known by that point that the last portion of Ryan Klesko's career was essentially one long running joke, the punchline being the big league frowny face he was sporting walking back to the dugout when every one of his long fly balls was caught at the warning track.

When I saw a game there, imagine my surprise when five home runs were hit (one of them a 475-foot blast by Andruw Jones that I believe is still the Petco record-holder for distance) and the Braves ran up the scoreboard to the tune of an 11-3 victory. The previous day, the score was 15-12, and the third game of the series ended at 10-5. What? I felt like I'd entered some sort of bizarro San Diego, some sort of pocket universe where runs were easy to come by.

Petco Park has now become a nightmare zone for the Giants, much like Coors Field used to be, and I dread when the Giants have to face the Padres there. Not only is it just frickin' impossible to muster runs, the Giants somehow always find a way to lose in ridiculous ways. It all started here. They blow saves, they give up game-altering hits to the crappiest of players, and...oh yeah...Scott Hairston kills them in every way possible. Seriously, when Hairston came to bat against Brian Wilson with the bases loaded Thursday night, I should have just turned off the radio, but my inner masochist kept me around to endure the inevitable. It was more painful than watching Adam Lambert disgrace U2's "One" on live TV.

At Safeco, against a miserable team with an equally pitiful offense, the Giants dropped two of three, and I missed the one win because I was out seeing the new Terminator movie.* I was around to watch the horrid 12-inning fiasco on Friday night and this afternoon's loss to King Felix. The weekend drops the Giants to 19-24 and the hopes of being a sneaky contender are falling fast.

The Good (boy is that ever relative).

Aaron Rowand is hitting again, perhaps rejuvenated by the move to leadoff. Fred Lewis is hitting with power, finally. Pablo Sandoval is still hitting, but he's hurt again. The starting pitching is still solid, for the most part. Matt Cain is finally getting the run support and the breaks he's deserved for two years. Jeremy Affeldt is still awesome, but Justin Miller has almost been as good.

The Bad.

The offense, obviously. Brian Wilson is just a mess right now. That commercial airing now where Lincecum flips the ball to him in the meat locker and tells him to finish off the hapless executive is an 11 out of 10 on the mind-numbingly pathetic scale. Jesus Guzman's glove is worse than anyone could ever have imagined, and that's saying something, because we all figured he was the second coming of Dick Stuart, anyway. I've seen people whiff epically while striking out, but never when receiving throws from the second baseman while trying to play first base. The Giants still don't have a home run from a first baseman this season, and we're almost in June. That's embarrassing beyond words.

Stankeye will be at Mays Field tomorrow for Memorial Day. I'll be sitting in the right field arcade seats with my Tim Lincecum jersey, busily cheering on the good guys. I'm rather pissed that I missed Lincecum by one day, and instead get to watch the inevitable never-ending conga line of Atlanta baserunners resulting from Jonathan Sanchez's inability to find home plate. Oh well, come say hi if you're in the vicinity. Or throw beer at me, whatever.

*Which, shockingly, is not bad at all. Being a fanboy of the first two films, I was really expecting the worst, especially from a film directed by McG, but it delivers the goods, with some pretty solid action sequences.

It is one of those movies, though, that if you
really start to think about it, the cracks start to show. Like, when John Connor and the good Terminator dude are storming the machines' compound at the end, and all the machines know that they're there, why the hell do the machines only send one terminator in to kill them? Why not send like a hundred?

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