Do you feel better now? Yes? I knew it.
Being on vacation has left me a little out of the loop on all things baseball (all things anything, for that matter) but when I woke up this morning, I only had one thought. It was, It’s Opening Day, of course. And lying in the pool all morning, it began to feel like spring at long, long last. I am stranded without CSN Bay Area and out of KNBR range, but I figure I can just live off of the fumes. Even down here in SoCal, there are some serious fumes. Sure, there’s Dodger Blue everywhere but are also some Giants vibes making their way down the coast.
Speaking of Dodger Blue, by the way? I stumbled upon a fabulous exhibit of photographs by Herb Ritts yesterday and although I did really enjoy it, all of his photos in the exhibit were black and white. And when you are, as I was, surrounded in bright Dodger Blue everything – from hoodies to skinny jeans to hair – it’s kind of a distracting contrast. I was sorely tempted to ask each and every one of them why on earth they would be fans of the Dark Side and give them coupons to move to the Bay Area and become Jedi and wear the ever-classy black (as in orange and), but I thought that might not go over terribly well. So I just steered appropriately clear. Dodger fans are strange creatures, you know. Just don’t tell the people whose house I have currently invaded that I said that. They might throw me and my ten pairs of shoes (for a three day trip. Yeah.) out.
One of the Ritts’ photos, featuring Naomi Campbell. I repeat, ever-classy black.
Anywho. I am just drumming my fingers and counting the moments right now. Very soon I will have survived another offseason and that is not as easy as it looks. Hugs and shots of hot chocolate all around. This is going to be The Year Sabean Realizes It’s Good to Play the Young’uns, right? Then it will be a good year indeed.
Or, as Henry Schulman put it on the eve of Opening Night last year, “Hey. By this time tomorrow Game 1 of the season should be over and we’ll know if the Giants will repeat.” If I were into tats, I think I might get that in a nice, modernist font to flash to my fellow fans all the time. Or non-fans, for that matter. It has universal appeal, mais non? Okay, maybe only universal-ish. But that’s something.
Most-Definitely-Not-Tanned Diamond Girl
So I chose a kind of a weird time to go on vacation. While some of the biggest decisions in recent Giants-fan memory were coming out, I was walking to and from the pool and kinda-sorta trying for a tan. (No luck there.) When I finally started catching up, I started looping my Enya and went to Twitter. It’s probably a good thing I had the über-calming music going because, well, my jaw pretty much dropped at the initial 25 man news. And just as I was picking it up off the floor, I read the Chris Stewart news. I am still attempting to connect jaw to rest of head and it’s not working terribly well. Whoa, whoa, whoa, for lack of a better way of putting it. I did not see any of this coming, but I am happy with it, all around. The Giants are looking pretty young and energized going into Opening Day and what else can you really ask for? (Other than pre-steroid scandal Ryan Braun starting in left, but hey, you can’t have it all.)
I’m sad to see Chris Stewart go, because I was rather partial to him, but I am also always glad to see guys go the Yankees. It feels like sending them to a family member’s house, rather than to a complete stranger, to use a slightly strange analogy. That is my inner New Yorker speaking, don’t mind it. So in many ways, I’m actually happy for Stewart and wish him safe travels with the Yankees.
Here is my happy waving GIF, because if you don’t laugh, you might cry. Not that I cry about baseball trades. Usually. Let’s not talk Bengie Molina and I’ll be fine. Don’t get between me and my catchers, people. People being Brian Sabean.
And now! I’m a couple hours late this year, but I’m going to do some predictions now. I like to do them before the season kicks off, but just bear with me. It’s not like the first few innings of a game give me any edge on the rest of you who predicted a few days ago, so!
East: Philadelphia Phillies
Central: St. Louis Cardinals
West: San Francisco Giants
Wildcards: Colorado Rockies, Cincinnati Reds
East: New York Yankees
Central: Detroit Tigers
West: Texas Rangers
Wildcards: Tampa Bay Rays, Cleveland Indians
See? No need to worry that I have an edge, prediction-wise. I am so terrible with ‘em that the timing makes zero difference. But now I have put them out there and can cringe over them for the next six months or so and it just wouldn’t be baseball season without that. Have you all made predictions? Put them (or a link to them) in the comments so we can commiserate/I can get completely jealous of your brilliance. ‘K? ‘K.
Happy Pappy Opening Day!
Ever-So-Slightly-Tanned Diamond Girl
Well, so, yes. My crystal ball is a lemon. My prediction that Matt Cain and the Giants would not be able to reach a deal before Opening Day was flatly wrong.
Then again, when life give you lemons, you are supposed to make lemonade. I’d say Matt Cain’s brand-new extension with the Giants, worth 100 million+ and stretching over five years, is some pretty fantastic lemonade. Take that, crystal ball. The timing, of course, was also rather impeccable. If Giants fans were not already completely amped to have the team back home, we are now completely completely amped. I am mixed up in a mash of work/write/pack/other assorted random things and cannot make it to AT&T Park tonight, but I can feel the orange-and-black love in the air and it is wonderful. Matt Cain deserves some pecan rolls and a big ovation. I can get the pecan rolls out of the way right now, but the ovation may have to wait a bit. Stay tuned.
Speaking of packing… I am roadtripping in honor of the springtime tomorrow and will be holed up in Dodger-land for Opening Day. I appreciate your sympathy. It’s going to be pretty horrible to be surrounded in Dodger Blue all the time, even if it is on a fabulous Malibu beach.
Also, may I just say one quick thing about Ubaldo? I’m honestly not on either side here, because I have an irrational distaste of Tulo (not completely irrational: remember when he had Party in the USA as his walkup music?) and as much as I do like Jimenez, I think throwing at someone is just bad sportsmanship. So it’s sort of a pick-your-poison thing for me. But if Jimenez had to throw at Tulo for some ethical reason that I am unaware of, then I don’t get why he did it at a game when Bud Selig was in attendance. I mean, was Selig there for the March 29th Rockies-Indians matchup? Somehow, I doubt it. (Rockies-Indians in that fascinating, y’all.) And purely from an evading-justice perspective, I would have suggested to Jimenez that he suggest subtly to his manager to be put in in that game and I suspect he might have gotten a much lighter punishment. Not that I am aiding and abetting or anything.
Sure, Indians manager Manny Acta said, “Guys do not play different if the Commissioner is at the game. The majority of the guys didn’t even know he was there,” but I can’t say I believe that. Who could miss the President-style motorcade and the Brewers pride, radiating all over the stadium?
I kid, I kid…
I went out today and actually sat in the sunshine and had a picnic. It’s been raining here in the Bay Area for what feels like forever, so it was pretty amazing. I finished “Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World” by Michael Lewis (which is absolutely, fabulously good and you should read it right now, even if your eyes cross at the word “subprime”) and then I caught the end of the ballgame and felt rather wonderful. I love many things about Spring Training, but I also cannot wait for the real thing to begin and for all the final roster cuts and all that jazz. I also can’t wait for the Giants to be back in San Francisco. You are free to call me crazy, but let me finish first. I do not generally consider myself a psychic, but when the Giants are in town? I can totally feel the presence. Now I also believe that eating these Vitamin C gummy bears actually keeps me from getting sick, so I am probably not a source. But it’s all psychological, so who can really argue with me?
Anyhow. This year, rather than repeating last year’s Goodbye Spring Training – which you can read here, if you are so inclined – I am going to infuse a little bit of optimism into the (theoretical) mix. Ready? Okay. This is 10 Reasons I Am Excited Right About Now. The “now” I refer to is 5:55pm on the day the Giants played their last Spring Training game of 2012. You’re welcome, historians 5000 years hence.
10. Zito’s new mechanics! Yeah. April Fool’s. I got you there, right? Right?
9. All of the various injured players re-proving themselves. Along with the young guys who just crack the team, the injured players have got to be some of the most fascinating storylines of the year. Lookin’ at you, Buster Posey.
8. Speaking of which, Buster Posey. Can I (for once) speak for the whole of the Giants fanbase, when I say we are tremendously, tremendously stoked?
7. The Bruce Bochy show. KNBR listeners, you know of what I speak. Non-KNBR listeners, why the heck don’t you listen?
6. Interleague Play. I still object on some sort of deep, moral grounds, Bud Selig, but since the Giants get the AL West this year, I am borderline mollified for the time being. Aside from the obvious they-are-playing-the-Rangers, I’m interested to see the matchup with the resident Interesting Team of the year, the Angels. Who also have quite a nice dining area which serves basically cold hamburgers, for whatever it’s worth.
5. The draft. It’s still many months off, but the beginning of the season does signal how it’s getting closer and pretty soon, we’ll be treated to the draft breakdowns in the media and all that fun stuff. July, it’s Emily calling, can you please come a wee bit sooner?
4. The Hobbit movie. Well, I am.
3. Never using the Despicable Me balloon scene photos again. Because the Giants are not going to disappoint me that way this year. Positive affirmations are everything, people.
2. More animal themed hats at AT&T Park! And that right there was my second April Fool’s. Aside from the obvious fashion-faux-pas-ness of them (it’s hard, you know, to adequately match an outfit to a giraffe-print hat), there’s the issue of short people like yours truly not really at all being able to see over them. Consideration is key, People Who Attend AT&T Park. Because we’re getting back… together and all that.
1. Since I don’t want to be lame and say the smell of fresh grass… I’ll just say cinnamon roasted walnuts. Not the ones they sell at the park, mind you, because I am boycotting those because of labor issues with Diamond Foods, their manufacturer (not to be confused with Diamond Girl), but the other brands you can buy at the grocery story. They are dee-lish-us. And I am excited. Excited excited.