Monday, September 06, 2010


Flashback: Spring Training 2009

Let's rev up the DeLorean and take a trip all the way back to Spring of 2009, a time when the Giants hadn't sniffed a winning season in seemingly forever. In an attempt to add depth to their middle infield (and after finding other, Bocockian options unsatisfactory), the Giants signed utilityman and erstwhile White Sox cast off Juan Uribe to a minor league deal. Many fans, if they had any reaction at all, simply shrugged off the move as an irrelevance. Your friend, Paulie, on the other hand, was frothing at the mouth and ready to go on a Brian Sabean-destroying rampage.

Let's be perfectly clear on this. I absolutely hated the Juan Uribe pickup back when it happened. Hated it. I believe I had some pretty uncomplimentary things to say right here. Uribe was coming off of a horrible 2008 in which he helped kill the White Sox in the playoffs with his hopeless flailing (he was replacing the injured Joe Crede at third base). He also hadn't been any good at the plate in three years, and by all measures his defense was on the decline. His 2006 season offered one of the most grotesquely bizarre hitting lines you'll ever see, as Uribe hit 21 home runs but walked just thirteen times and put up a hideous .257 OBP.

Some assumed he'd just be brought in as a part-timer or a warm body in Spring to prevent Emmanuel Burriss from getting too complacent as he fought for the everyday second base job. I wasn't fooled, though. Knowing the history of Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy and their love for veterans and that magical grit or whatever other strange, baseball-savvy odor they emit, I knew Uribe was going to get way too many at-bats. I hated the signing like few others, despite it's relative low risk. As the 2009 season dawned, I sat back and waited for Uribe to fail, fingers poised over keyboard with evil intentions in mind.

My how things have changed. One thing is assured when you get into the business of being an armchair expert, typing nonsensical, drunken ravings about the Giants in your underwear at hideous hours of the morning: you're going to be wrong quite a bit. Uribe still employs that beer league softball swing, but when he uses that swing to belt game-winning bombs off of obese Dodger relief pitchers in critical stretch drive games,'s never felt so good to be so frickin' wrong about a player.

--I loved seeing Nate Schierholtz be the hero in today's extra-inning win over Arizona. His 11th-inning frozen rope triple plated the winning runs, and this only a few innings after he was picked off first base in embarrassing fashion by Dbacks catcher Miguel Montero. I've ranted and raved over the past two weeks about how I think Schierholtz should get more starts because of his glove (he hasn't started a game since late-July), and hits like today's might provide the incentive for Bruce Bochy to get him in the lineup and tack Jose Guillen's worthless butt to the bench.

--After today's stellar showing, Madison Bumgarner now has a tiny 2.25 ERA in eight starts on the road, as opposed to a less-than-sparkling 5.24 ERA at home. This is probably a complete fluke, as most pitchers tend to pitch better at home than on the road (not to mention Bum's home ERA is inflated a little by that gawdawful start against Cincinnati). Still, I demand that, until further notice, we stop referring to Bumgarner as MadBum, and instead bestow him with the moniker "Mad Max". As in, The Road Warrior.

Oh hell yeah...

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