San Francisco Giants Newsbeat
Friday, October 31, 2014
This is a pretty remarkable video, one that will surely give you chills if you have any connection to a sports team. During the first set of Phish’s show at San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, the San Francisco Giants were on the verge of clinching their third World Series in five years, cementing themselves as a modern-era dynasty.
As “The Moma Dance” kicked in, Pablo Sandoval caught the final out in foul territory, setting off the celebration. In the age of social media, smart phones and whatever else you kids use nowadays, news spread like wildfire throughout the venue, creating a noticeable roar during the song. Phish caught on and launched into an instrumental of “We Are the Champions” before dipping back into “Moma,” cementing one of those special, memorable moments for those fans.
Watch the replay below. The final out occurs at the 3:20 mark, and “We Are the Champions” begins shortly after.
Thursday, October 30, 2014
I missed Christy Mathewson somehow but caught almost everyone else, down the years—Lefty Grove, Carl Hubbell, Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Jack Morris, Curt Schilling, Randy Johnson—but here was the best. Madison Bumgarner, the Giants’ left-handed ace, coming on in relief last night in the fifth inning of the deciding seventh game of this vibrant World Series, gave up a little opening single, then retired fourteen straight Kansas City batters, gave up another hit, and then closed the deal. The Giants won, 3–2, claiming their third World Championship in five years. It was almost his third victory of this Series—the scorers had it that way for a time, then gave the W back to Jeremy Affeldt, the left-handed reliever who was still the pitcher of record when the Giants went ahead in the fourth. Bumgarner, who lost a game along the way, in the Divisionals, on a little throwing error of his own, winds up at 4-1 for his October. He had won a game in each of the Giants’ World Championships, in 2012 and 2010, and now, at twenty-five, stands at 4-0 in the classic, with an earned-run average of 0.25. He was pitching on two days’ rest but also on manna: possibly the best October pitcher of them all.
Sure, we can talk about this: we’ve got all winter. Christy Mathewson threw three shutout victories for the Giants in the 1905 World Series, and won two more games (while losing five) in the Series of 1910, 1911, and 1912, but, as Matty would point out if he were here—he was famous for his fairness—even at his best he would not fare well against the enormous, toned-up athletes of our day.
I don’t know what it felt like watching Mathewson pitch, but watching Bumgarner is like feeling an expertly administered epidural nip in between a couple of vertebrae and deliver bliss: it’s a gliding, almost eventless slide through the innings, with accumulating fly-ball outs and low-count K’s marking the passing scenery. It’s twilight sleep; an Ambien catnap; an evening voyage on a Watteau barge. Bumgarner is composed out there, his expression mournful, almost apologetic, even while delivering his wide-wing, slinging stuff. Sorry, guys: this is how it goes. Over soon.
I don’t know how to bring this up, but attention must be paid, as Mrs. Willy Loman used to say. In the last line of my pre-World Series post here, I startled myself with a prediction: the Giants, because of their bullpen, would win this in seven. Yes, exactly so— and who now wants to step up with a wayd-a-minnit objection, claiming that Madison Bumgarner, though he actually emerged from there —we saw him— did not exactly represent the Giants’ bullpen last night? Eat my shorts.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
O.K., a blowout, but who knew? Every year along about this time, friends start asking me, “Who’s going to win tonight? Whadda you think?” But of course I have no clue. Baseball’s absolute unpredictability makes amateurs of us all, and after the Royals’ wholly unexpected 10–0 shellacking of the Giants in last night’s Game Six we can all get ready for the finale tonight with cheerful idiocy. Both starting pitchers—the Giants’ Tim Hudson and the Royals’ Jeremy Guthrie—are veterans who know that they will be gone in an instant, with plenty of time ahead for duck-hunting or sleeping in or a second-grade play, at the first signs of a wobble.
Go, Royals! Stay, baseball. The players on both teams will be cheerful during B.P. tonight, with the end of their long journey in sight, but a last game is always tougher on the rest of us. Get some sleep after.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
These have been fun games, though. Watching Bumgarner, whose amazingly extended lefty delivery begins with the held ball detouring toward short center field, I decided that his great stuff is equalled by the calm and the air of mournful apology with which it’s delivered: Sorry, guys, but you’ve got no chance. It’s quiet when he’s pitching, with little to note beyond the flow of strikeouts or pop-ups or ground balls, delivered without gesture or a change of expression, and the click of another passing inning is like someone closing a door in the next room.
No one is having more of a blast than Hunter Pence, who started off with a home run in the first inning of the Series and has more or less kept it up ever since, running the bases with his mouth open and his eyes alight, making unexpected closing-ground catches in right, and, with his black stockings accenting that half-open stance and slash at the ball, batting .474 in the Series to date. His pop eyes and thick curls reminds you of a young Donald Sutherland, and what he’s telling us is, “Man, am I hot! Watch—here’s more!”
I could say almost as many complimentary things about the young Royals, but let’s hold that for the next two games—two more, please, everybody, here before winter. In passing, I’ll throw in that Lorenzo Cain’s catch of Pence’s line drive to right in the fifth inning last night was as good as any outfield play so far in this upscale Series. It took only seconds—the ball was drilled—and Cain, racing hard after a quick jump, stuck his glove up and back-handed the ball almost directly over his head, leaning in midstride to give himself room.
As I’ve been saying here, thank you.
Monday, October 27, 2014
Just in time for Christmas! Wonder how they came up with $69 as a figure?
Saturday, October 18, 2014
Last night also put the quietus to that numbing “small ball” we kept hearing from the game announcers all summer, in a season dominated by enormous heat-radiating relievers and resulting low scores and shrivelled offense. You can win games like this, to be sure, as these Giants had been telling us. They’d scored the winning runs in the previous two Cardinals games without anything knocked out of the infield: on a wild peg by Cardinal reliever Randy Choate, and, a night later, two botched plays by first baseman Matt Adams. Wicked laughter is O.K. but not exactly nourishing, and you could almost hear the “Aw right!”s from the massed San Francisco fist-bumpers when their second baseman Joe Panik delivered a two-run homer in the third, putting them briefly ahead, by 2–1. It was the first Giants home run in two hundred and forty-three plate appearances and only their second in the post.
But I’m leaving out the splendid pitching, I see, and the redemption and the luck and the human interest and more. Onward: we’re entering an irony-free zone.
Friday, October 17, 2014
Shorter Schoenfield: Don’t confuse “fun” with “awesome.”
So these aren’t great teams. So this is arguably the worst World Series matchup ever, as far as quality of teams. Giants fans can disagree, but if this was a great team, why did the Giants put themselves in the dice roll of a wild-card game? Why couldn’t they beat out the Dodgers for the division title? Royals fans can point out that their team has won eight postseason games in a row, but if the Royals are a great team, why did they put themselves in the dice roll of a wild-card game? Why couldn’t they win two more games and beat out the Tigers for the division title?
In the regular season, the Royals were ninth in the AL in runs scored and fourth in runs allowed. The Giants were fifth in runs scored and sixth in runs allowed. There’s a reason neither team won 90 games.
Now, that said: This should be a fun World Series between two evenly matched teams with intriguing reasons to root for each. The Royals, for so long the hapless Royals, are a likable bunch of young players, speed demons and defensive geniuses with that awesome bullpen that puts the fear into opposing teams and fans. You get the feeling that if you don’t beat them in six innings you’re not going to win. Everybody starts anew in the postseason and the Royals have played some of the most exciting baseball we’ve seen in years in going 8-0 in the playoffs. They overcame a 7-3 deficit to beat the A’s in the wild-card game and then beat the 98-win Angels and 96-win Orioles. They deserve to be here.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
To be honest, I’m not sure if this says more about Tim Lincecum or the struggling, offensively inept San Diego Padres.
I mean, if you were to grade each no-hitter on a degree of difficulty scale from 1 to 10, factoring in the strength of the opponent, the ballpark and the weather, a no-hitter against the Padres at AT&T Park on a gray, hazy day would have to be a 1.
Still ... a no-hitter is a no-hitter, they’re always fun and there’s always a good story behind each one. Retiring 27 major league hitters without giving up a hit is a terrific accomplishment, even if no-hitters have become more prevalent in recent seasons and even if this one came against one of the worst offensive teams (maybe the worst) in modern history.
for his generous support.
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