Monthly Archives: March 2012

10 Things I Am Adoring About Spring Training

So!  My fish is now safely back in his bowl and I am ready to rock and roll once more.  I’m catching up on the baseball news I missed while I slept (and slept and slept) and I think things are looking pretty fabulous for the Giants.  Blogging Spring Training is always a very welcome challenge to me, but a challenge all the same.  Aside from (doesnotjinx) injuries (doesnotjinxagin), the Giants always look pretty fabulous to me, just by nature of the fact that they are wearing baseball uniforms and throwing balls and swinging bats.  I mean, would it really be fair of me to demand more of them?  In addition to that, I hate writing Spring Training game recaps almost as much as I hate reading them, so those are out the question for my blog.  Before you snatch my baseball fan card out of my hands for that particular bombshell, allow me to explain myself.  Game recaps tend to be a snooze, unless they have lots of hilarious quotes in them and since I don’t have all-access passes to the stadium or anything, I don’t have my own quotes.  Lastly, there’s a lot of downerness.  Especially when Timmy and Vogelsong and Surkamp are all basically questionable human beings.  (Ballplayers, that is.)

So!  This is all to explain why I’m writing the list below.  To fill the obvious void I see.  Okay?  Okay.    

Let’s proceed, then.  10 Things I Am Adoring About Spring Training.  Here goes.

10.  It’s Spring Training.  And there are bees.  I could just stop the list right here.

9.  The pitchers all throwing two innings and us all whooping like mad.  I totally do it, but it still cracks me up every time.  Let’s just say we get to see a lot of different pitchers out there every game.

8.  It reminds me of the drama of years past.  I’m talking Michael Young vs. Jon Daniels, Albert Pujols vs. Cardinals, Barry Bonds vs. The Rest of the World.  There have been some epic battles and this time of year always brings them back to mind.  There’s no warring quite like Spring Training warring.

7.  The hideous black uniforms.  Just kidding.  I don’t like those at all.  I hate those.  But I had to mention ‘em all the same.  Fashion faux-pas of extraordinary proportions must be brought to light.  Just because I wear all black all the time doesn’t mean baseball players can pull that deal off.

6.   The pictures.  By the time the regular season rolls around, I think the media figures we are over the feel-good TwitPics of assorted players doing assorted things (read: nothing).  But we’re not.  We’re really not.  We love them at all times.  ‘Specially now.

5.  Battles of the first base sort.  I still have an affinity for Aubrey Huff, Brandon Belt poses with baby giraffes, for Pete’s sake, and I have been quite taken with Brett Pill’s game.  So my stance on the 1B battles is TBA.  But I am enjoying the show, for sure.

4.  Half of my besties is back, of course.  Which besties, you might ask?  I’m talking about Jon Miller and Dave Flemming, of course, Baseball Broadcasters and Besties Extraordinaire.  Dave isn’t dropping in until Opening Day, but Jon should keep me going until then.

3.  Baffling, cryptic comments from everyone and anyone.  Am I really the only one who feeds of those hilarious, masked statements from All People Who Have Connections to Baseball?  The offseason drivel just doesn’t hit the spot like this does.

2.  Buster Posey being alive and kicking and baseball-playing.  ‘Nuff said.  Tomorrow, which is supposed to be his first start of the spring, is going to be legen… wait for it, wait for it… dary!  Seriously.  Legendary.

1.  Yu Darvish.  Yep, that’s me, the Giants fan.  But seriously, I was just so absolutely, terribly excited to see his first start and will continue to be excited about his next 500 starts.  I love me some Yu.  And I want to prove that Jon Daniels was obviously completely in paying him a billion and one dollars.  Personal stake in this, y’all.

Diamond Girl

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This Is Just a Note to Say…

(The colors are lookin’ a little strange- for optimal viewing of special note, click on the image itself.)

 

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Brandon Belt’s Not-So-Subtle Message of Mayhem

As those of you who have been reading this blog for a year or more know (if you are one of those, well, thank you!), the beginning of Spring Training can be a jittery time for me.  It’s just like seeing someone you haven’t seen in a long while and wondering, Will we still like each other?  I mean, I’m completely in touch with my Giants over the offseason, but that moment of the first pitch is still another whole ballgame.  No pun intended, believe it or not.

That’s why I was pleasantly surprised this year to find that my usual jitters had disappeared in a poof! of orange and black smoke.

It probably helped that my first game was actually the second game overall.  Blame the people over at Little League ump training who are quite probably A’s fans.  (Just kidding, people at ump training!  Sorta.)  I thought I would get to hear some of the first game, but the clock was not on my side and I ended up clean missing it.  I came back to a nasty sunburn and no ballgame.  Talk about buzzkill.

Upside?  When I settled in with my Giants fleece blanket- in the 80 degree weather.  Yeah.- for today’s game, I wasn’t scared in the least.  I was just so completely ready to get this game started that my nerves flew out the window and instead I ended up grinning like the crazy fish lady that I am and whooping my heart out when Joe Martinez came in to pitch.  Yeah, I know he was pitching for the Diamondbacks and all, but in my mind, he’s a Giant forever and always.  I hope he does smashingly well this year, against everyone but us and most especially against the Dodgers.

I also whooped my heart out for, well, everyone on the Giants, in case you’re wondering.  Even the ones who I wasn’t sure I’d heard of.  Hey, as long as they claim to be Giants I’m down to be a fan of theirs.  Such is the way of the Kool-Aid we call Spring Training.

And, oh, can we talk bees for a second?  If you haven’t heard the story yet, I’ll clue you in quickly:  a swarm of bees decided to make the field their new home for a cool 45 minutes or so and left pretty much everyone at the stadium in either the get-me-out-of-here camp or the get-them-out-of-here camp.  United we stand and divided we fall.  So we fell for a while.  A boatload of people and fire departments later then, they were disposed of.  We stood again.  It did, though, take multiple attempts to goad the pesky bees with lemonade and cotton candy.  No joke.  I told you Spring Training is weird.

Angel Pagan also got me as a fan for life with this quote (quote and photo from MLB.com): “I didn’t know what to do.  If I get stung by one, that means I’m going to get stung by a million. I was right next to the bathroom in case I had to lock myself in.”

I.  Love. This.  Guy.

Personally, I am of the opinion that those killer bees were none other than our own killer B, Brandon Belt, who is obviously a werebee and is sending not-so-subtle messages to Sabes and Boch that if he doesn’t get more play time during the season, mayhem will follow.

Yeah, that sort of mayhem.  Pre-cise-ly.

Lastly!  Kevin of www.westsideculture.mlblogs.com sent in this photo to me from Saturday’s Spring Training opener for the Giants.  I could not, obviously, pass up a chance to talk about Chris Stewart, so here ‘tis.  Chris Stewart rocks, mais non?

Diamond Girl

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Playoff Expansion, First Spring Training Game, Conspiracy Theories and All That Good Stuff

Spring Training is one of my favorite times of year (well, spring, but spring is synonymous with Spring Training, right?) because of all the promise and optimism it brings, but also because of the endless news buzzing it creates.  After a long and quiet winter- if you’re a Giants fan, that is, because we’re rather sleepy in the winter like that- it’s endlessly lovely to hear real, concrete news.

I’m not talking about injury news, though, Dan Runzler, Tim Lincecum, Brian Wilson, Freddy Sanchez, Ryan Vogelsong et al., so don’t go getting any ideas.  I would choose a rainy, snoozy news day over a They Are Falling Like Flies day any time.

What I am talking about?  Playoff expansion, for one.  Bud Selig has gotten down to work, following his extra (baseball) life which he was granted over the offseason, and the extra wild card deal was finalized today.  I felt surprisingly ambiguous at the time of the announcement because, heck, it’s March 2nd and the Giants are playing their first Spring Training game tomorrow and the world is beautiful and the playoffs could not be farther from my mind, but as the day went on, my feelings changed.

Which, I am kind of guessing, was part of MLB’s plan.  Ready for my conspiracy theory?  Okay, here goes: MLB is doing this when everyone is out of their permanently touchy offseason modes and still basking in the glow of baseball being back, so as to soften possible backlash.  And it seems to have worked, actually.  Which, yes, could have to do with the fact that we were all expecting this by now or just that no one is genuinely outraged, but that is far of a less compelling thought.  I vote for my conspiracy theory, anyone with me?

Anywho.  The reason I’m not for those extra wild cards, I suppose, is both a pro and con of the whole thing.  I think it makes it all even more a crap shoot, to use a Billy Beane-ism.  People are saying it’s exciting because it makes the playoffs even more “everyone’s game”, which is true.  And I see the appeal of that.  I’m sure that extra wild card team will win the World Series from time to time and it will make for a fabulous story.  But with the 162 game format, I’m more of the opinion that we should shy away from that whole crapshoot thing.  Winning big in baseball is about perseverance and I like it that way.  I think this just changes the game.  For better or for worse?  Who knows.  Only time will tell.  (Other half of me:  Duh!  For worse!  But I’m trying to be all non-judgmental here, so just forget I said that.)

Onto lighter and brighter things, I am soamazinglystokedforthegametomorrow.  I will probably be missing the majority of it due to more umpire training, but I will hopefully be catching- in a purely non-Buster-Posey-ish sense- the beginning.  I’m not even sure what to say about that, except that I’m not even thinking about winning or losing or injuries just… baseball game.  Baseball game.  Say it aloud and grin to yourself.  Do it.

(Try reminding me of that whole “not about winning or losing” thing in September.  Actually, don’t.  I can be snappish, on occasion.  That sounds like an occasion.)

Diamond Girl

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