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162 Things I Loved About 2011 In San Francisco Giants-Land

In no particular order, in honor of the 162 games of the regular season…

162.  The walk-off on Opening Day for the second consecutive year.  And provided some awesome entertainment along the way as I drove to Fresno to see the Grizzlies Opening Night.

161.  The new and improved Pablo Sandoval.

160.  The rather awesome drama and content they provided for their reality show.

159.  Heck, they had a reality show!

158.  They carried first place for a good long while, even though they didn’t finish with it.

157.  They had All Stars.  A whole bunch of them.

156.  They gave me bragging rights for life.   We got Carlos Beltran.  (Never mind what happened afterwards.)

155.  They kinda massacred the Chamber of Horrors, aka Coors Field.

155.  NATE.  That is all.

154.  Their hitting coach who takes, “Reach for the moon, if you fall down, at least you’ll fall in the stars” very literally.  Like, he’s-going-to-the-moon literally.  It’s sure to bode well for the offense in the future.

153.  They chewed gum at the White House.  It was strangely endearing.

152.  Heck, they went to the White House!

151.  They were so resilient I can’t even express it in words.  Well, maybe I could.  But I have a whole lot more of these to write, so I’m not going to get into it.

150.  Santiago Casilla and his epic and previously undiscovered closing skills.

149.  Brett.                                   

148.  And Brandon.

147.  And, oh, the other Brandon too.

145.  The multitude of B’s!

144.  The incredibly pleasant surprise that was Eric Surkamp in his first start back.

142.  And the incredibly pleasant surprise that was Ryan Vogelsong all around.

141.  Chris Stewart.  And his brainiac-ness.  And his overall awesomeness.

140.  The fact that AT&T Park exists and is amazingly beautiful.  Pays to remember that, every now and then, right?

139.  D-Ro having a few more special moments.  I really hope he’s back next year in some way.

138.  Madison and his trademarked first inning meltdowns.  And yes, that he was otherwise amazing.

137.  Bruce Bochy.  ‘Nuff said.

136.  Conor Gillaspie(The name!  The name!)

135.  Those special little moments when Guillermo Mota came in for long relief and just saved us all.

134.  Getting to see Travis Ishikawa one last time, when he got his ring.

133.  OH!  Yes!  The ring ceremony…

132 …and the mismatched, mint colored boxes the rings came in…

131. …and Sergio Romo goofing off at the ceremony…

130.  …and seeing Nuekom with his adorable bowtie there (though, unfortunately, it wasn’t orange) one more time.

129.  There was also Vogey’s lovely little speech when he got the Willie Mac Award.  

128.  Remember when Tim Flannery, third base coach, sang the National Anthem?  Epic.

127.  The crazy thunder storm/rain delay in Detroit.  And the way the broadcasters filled the empty time.  That was magical.

126.  Kepp’s walk-off vs. the Astros.  So there, Houston.

124.  Crawford’s grand-slam in his first game against Milwaukee.  Remember that?  Goosebumps and smiles.

123.  The prank Ross et al. played on Huff.  Which we got to see because of aforementioned reality show.

122.  Did I mention, THE GIANTS HAD A REALITY SHOW?

121.  When Brandon Belt met a baby giraffe and took pictures with it.  That may actually be my favorite moment of the entire year.  Seriously, how utterly fantastic?

120.  That they never missed a beat, even after the loss of Posey and then Sanchez.

119.  Timmy back to being Timmy, for the most part.

118.  And Timmy and Matt Cain both reached 1000th career strikeouts, which was fabulous.

117.  Finishing ahead of the Padres.  Vendetta?  Yes, vendetta.

116.  Romo shaving.  Because that may imply that other people will shave soon.

115.  coughcoughBrianWilsoncoughcough

114.  NATE.   Again.

113.  And Nate’s upper deck shot in Colorado that his brother got.  Too many awesome things about that to mention.

112.  Slightly irrelevant, maybe, but Jon Miller not doing ESPN any more meant that he broadcasted for KNBR on the weekends.  Which was enough to make the season, right there.

111.  Together, We’re Giant.  It actually grew on me.  (But It’s Time is still, and always will be, better.)

110.  The “sellouts”.  Because they seriously cracked me up.  Especially when the upper deck was e-m-p-t-y.

109.  The little Sabean moment in Moneyball.   When Billy Beane totally played the Giants.  My rational mind was outraged and the rest of me was snickering.

108.  Watching Pablo’s defense just reappear before our very eyes.

107.  Being there for Carlos Beltran’s 300th career homerun.

106.  And speaking of homeruns… Brandon Belt had a couple to remember.

105.  And when Brandon Belt made the club out of spring training and it felt like nothing could possibly go wrong.

104.  The fact that some people didn’t get injured.  Can’t think of any?  No, I’m sure there were a few.

103.  The fact that Aubrey Huff always has good years after bad ones.  Most definitely.  This bodes well for 2012.

102.  While I hated that the cost for parking doubled, I think it was because they won the World Series. And I do love that.  So, by extension, I love the new parking rates.  Sort of.

101.  The Churros guy.  If you’ve ever been to a Major League ballpark, you know what I mean.

100-50. Looking at the new lineup every day, usually with my mouth gaping wide open.

49.  The few nice Zito moments.  They were there.  And they were smile-inducing.

48.  The fact that the year after the championship, while it wasn’t exactly a success, was not a collapse either.  This was a pennant race right down until the end.

47.  Can I just say one more thing about Chris Stewart?  His first Major League homerun rocked.

46.  When Edgar came back, if only for a bit.  *sniffles*

45.  And remember when Uribe came back?  *sniffles again*

44.  I also liked riding my first roller coast (no, really.  It’s related.) because it drove home that this season was like a roller coaster.   Which is to say seriously headache inducing, but fun afterwards.

43.  I don’t know how this all worked, but I’ve been hearing Giants ads for the Not For Sale Campaign.  If they’ve partnered, then that is most certainly something I love.

42.  Jeremy’s rebound year.  Minus the frozen burger patties.

41.  That they didn’t do anything silly like start the season in Taiwan.

40.  That they rocked their doubleheader at Wrigley.

39.  Matt Cain ruled overall, as always.

38.  That they let themselves get swept by Milwaukee in May.  I’m sure they have a crystal ball and knew they wouldn’t get into the playoffs, but the Brewers could, so they gave them that series.  Very thoughtful, you know.

37.  When Pablo Sandoval decided to retweet people who said nice things about him making the All Star team and he retweeted me.  It made me a lot happier than it rationally should have.

36.  When Bruce Bochy got congratulated by Ryan Braun on winning the World Series (minute 1:40.  I know you want to see it.)  This is what I call icing on the cake, people.

35.  NATE.  One last time.  Sorry.

34-20. This is when Diamond Girl had to leave unexpectedly to sniffle in the closet for a bit at the realization that this is really the end of the 2011 season.

19.  Okay!  Back.   Let’s do a silver lining thing now: not winning the pennant means the target-on-back will lessen or disappear.  And these Giants do better when there are no Great Expectations.  Sorry, Charles Dickens.

18.  They also helped me and my new fish bond.  I am quite positive that the reason my fish seems to be liking me more is that we’ve endured the torture holed up in my room (yep, I said torture) together.

17.  That, by some luck, these players channeled enough thoughts about balking to Bob Davidson that he actually called a balk on that fateful June day.  And also gave me a great photo-editing opportunity.

16.  Emmanuel Burriss’s nickname-picky mother.

15.  That they did not take me up on my Hawaii Vacation/gold watches offers.  Which means they didn’t do that well, but it also means I won’t be in debt for the rest of my life.

14.  Totally random memory:  Pat Burrell and Eli Whiteside both hitting triples in one game.  Weird and great.

13.  The promotions their awesome TV network came up with.  Especially the Ultimate Tim Lincecum one.  (Which I, eh, won.)

12.  The players designing endearingly horrific t-shirts.

11.  That they drafted another good-name player in the draft.  That is Joe Panik.  If only for the name, it was a good pick.

10.  Walk-offs!

9.  And more walk-offs!

8.  And even more walk-offs!

7.   The power outage in St. Louis.  Now I really credit the Cardinals (read: Tony LaRussa) for that, but it was a Giants moment anyway.  And a darn memorable one, too.

6.  When Cainer demonstrated he actually does have the ability to dress well.

5.  All the opportunities they gave me to use my dearly beloved balloon-popping set of photos from Despicable Me.  Because seriously, I love those photos.  Even if it meant they broke my heart.

4.  Last thing about Chris Stewart!  I promise!  But I remember the first time I saw him do a throwdown to second.  And I think I thought it was cupcakes and brownies and cinnamon roasted almonds all mashed into one.  (And yet it was good.  All those foods mashed together probably, um, wouldn’t be.)

3.  Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking you shouldn’t let your kids watch baseball!  It’s educational!  I mean, this year I learned what “contusion” means.  Overandoverandoveragain.

2.  It was like a magical realism book (what is a magical realism book, you ask?  Read here and be enlightened.)  Stray bits of left over magic were everywhere.  And that’s even better than full-on magic, somehow.  (Although, yes, I like full-on magic when it means winning the World Series. But don’t interrupt my poetic-ness, please.)

1.  They gave me a lot to blog about.  A lot, a lot.  So I thank them for that.  And I thank you all for bearing with me and my weirdness and my love of strange foods and for reading and commenting here as well.  It’s been a brilliant, crazy year and more fun than I can possibly express.

Now, if you’ll excuse me… I need to go reminisce for a bit more and then find my antlers and morph into Ranger-Girl.  Bye-bye, 2011 season.

Diamond Girl

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If You Look Up “Stoic” In The Dictionary, You’ll See a Picture of Madison. And Sequined Rangers Flip Flops, If You’re Lucky.

Here’s the breakdown of Madison Bumgarner’s season, so far (with a tip of the cap to the people at www.csnbayarea.com who figure out statistics).

13 Starts

2 wins, 8 losses

3.25 ERA

The Giants have had three runs or less in ten of those starts

Two runs or less, in nine of them

One run or less in six of them

In five of them? 

None.

As a Giants fan, what part of that is surprising?   That he had actually had a whole fraction of a Major League season where he got some support.

And that he is unshakably stoic through the whole thing, à la Matt Cain.  He talks to the press every five days with a vaguely amused expression and his NorCarolina drawl and somehow makes you feel a little better about resigning yourself to the fact that he’s that starter on the team right now; the one who the first place team can’t just muster a few runs for.  Eventually, they’ll snap out of it.  If World Series winning/parade/celebrity-hood didn’t initiate you into Giantville, Madison, this should.

The real highlight of last night was, in my opinion, the return of Edgar.

Even in Cincinnati red (I think our colors suited him way better, for the record) he looked and acted and felt like a Giant.  He was injured a good chunk of the time and we all had plenty of complaints about him, but he was a World Series hero.  And his August 30th, 2009 grand slam against the Rockies is one I will never, ever forget.  It was the catalyst moment in that sorta-kinda playoff run and watching it again gives me goosebumps.  You can watch it here.

I feel like we’re overdue for a warm-weather (another sorta-kinda there) offensive outburst tonight.  Anyone with me on that?

Diamond Girl

p.s.   Would you buy clothes from this guy?  Would you buy anything from this guy?  (Even besides the the fact that I wouldn’t buy shirts that say “Designated Kisser” from anyone.)

If you’re looking for a fashionable, summery, feminine way and ever so mildly classy way to show your fandom, try these awesome  sequined Rangers flip flops from the official MLB shop.  I am in love.

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Jose Who? Five Things I Love About Brandon Crawford

Last year, the only rookie everyone talked about was Buster Posey.  He, uh, panned out.  This year, it was all Brandon Belt.  And as much as I like and respect Belt- and the season is still young, he hasn’t screamed, Impact!  Who has?  The one I lovingly branded (pun intended) The Other Brandon.  I may be speaking too soon, but I think if anyone takes us all the way, it’ll be him.  When Tejada started to be an obvious problem at short, the name Jose Reyes kept popping up.

Jose who?

We have a shortstop.

From, Single A.  Who hit a triple that was as close to perfection as anyone comes on a baseball field?  Keep Jose, Mets.  It would be weird to see him wearing other colors anyway.  This coming from a rabid 2007 fan of yours.

And Matt Cain’s game wasn’t perfect, but it was a beauty.  Five hits, one run, complete game win.  ‘Nuff said.

Anyway, since I can’t get over Crawford, I have made a list of five things I love about him.  Besides his obvious baseball chops.  Read on.

5.  The Hair.

I think he works hard at it.  It pays off. 

The best part?  Curly hair doesn’t seem to equal curly brains, because…

4.  He’s Got Brains

You know how people always go ga-ga over actresses or models who graduated college?  Granted, many more baseball players graduate but for whatever reason his major is on his Wikipedia article and it’s physiological science.  I don’t quite know what that means but it sounds brainy.  Interesting.

3.  He Signs…

…autographs.  Because he remembers being in the position of wanting ‘em.  I don’t begrudge players who don’t like to sign, but I do give points to people who go out there and do it.

2.  FISU World Champion

Whenever I hear about an MLBer who’s had success in another league, I am intrigued.  I know Nate Schierholtz competed in Beijing and that’s always been one of my main associations with him.  Crawford was on the US team when it won FISU World Championship in Havana.  Which means he’s ready to be a champion again, right? 

1.  He’s Toolsy

Fine, just kidding.  I’ve been watching the draft for three days but that doesn’t mean I use that word.  He’s just a flat out ballplayer.  I don’t know of any other way to say it. 

I think good things are in the team’s future.  But speaking of shortstops?  I really hugely miss Edgar Renteria.  So these next few days may be emotionally difficult.  Bear with me, okay?

Diamond Girl

p.s.  If I’ve failed to mention that I want a name like Conor Gillaspie, I will say it now.  I want a name like Conor Gillaspie.

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Why The Giants Are More Different Than Anyone Says and The Scoop on Ted Williams Ghost

Who’s sitting on a bed with a heating pad on their neck and Pandora looping in their ears?  If you guessed Barry Zito, you were incorrect.  That’s me.  With un-Zito- sympathetic-neck-problems.   Which doesn’t mean I’m unsympathetic to Zito. It just means my neck problems are unrelated.  In case you were wondering.

So.  Yes We Cain (shouldn’t that have a comma, incidentally?  “Yes, We Cain/Can.”  If I ever get to ask Obama a question, that’ll be it.)  Trust Matt to straighten things out.  Yesterday’s game felt nice and right and all the pieces made sense.

I can’t put my finger, quite, on what was wrong the past two days, but I kind of think the team wasn’t understanding each other.  The “we’re the same team, other than Uribe and Renteria” only takes into account who they lost.  Not who they gained.  While the team clicked very well down the stretch, they haven’t played 162 games together.  And as much of a bullseye as there is on the Giants back, it’s still three days into the season.  Everything went down so fast last year.  How can the team fare minus adrenaline?  I think very well.  But will it take a little time to work itself out?  Yes.  Maybe yesterday we got a glimpse of them working.

And the wacky quote of the week ?  CJ may have lost the best hair crown but he can still crack me up.

“I mean, it’s pretty much the same lineup they had last year with two new additions, right?  It’s not like all of a sudden they have the ghost of Ted Williams playing for them or something.”

Which does beg the question wouldn’t it be a big deal if the ghost of Ted Williams was playing for them, whether or not it was all of a sudden?  Even if he appeared gradually, limb by limb?

Diamond Girl

p.s.   I want to publicly apologize to Jon Daniels and the rest of the Rangers front office for my skepticism about the whole Beltre signing.  Grand slam, baby.

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No, That Game Did Not Shock Me, What Google Is For And On the 141st Most Common Baby Name in 1977

I wasn’t shocked that the Giants won that game last night.  Has anyone else noticed that the “underdog” always wins?  To an extent that we should just call ‘em the overdogs and be done with it. 

 

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Like everyone else on the face of this beautiful planet, I can’t stand the Fox announcers but I do enjoy seeing it on TV from time to time so this game was fun.  Aside from the fact that Edgar Renteria and Mike Fontenot always look like they’re about to cry.  Has anyone else noticed that?  With Renteria it’s sort of a constant look of melancholy whereas with Fontenot, it’s permanent moisture around his eyes.  Speaking of moisture… would someone like to clue me into why one would drink Gatorade and then immediately spit it out.  If it’s just a show for the cameras, then who taught those guys what fans like to see?  Um, not you spitting out a stream of Gatorade.

 

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Picture is slightly irrelevant because this player seems to actually be drinking his drink.  Which is not a weird thing to do, contrary to what you might think from watching sport’s broadcasts.

 

Today’s game is going to be a struggle for me because I’ve always been an Oswalt fan and part of me really wants his decision to go to the Phillies, because he saw them as a potentially World Series winning team, to pay off.  But he’s the only player from the team who I like, so I am going to try to root totally and utterly for Sanchez and the Giants.  Depending on the state of Sanchez’s chameleon facial hair, that may be more or less difficult.  Will keep you posted.

 

Lastly, for now, on the hair thing… Dear Cody Ross:  A shaved head and sort-of-kind-of-no-not-really beard may be acceptable for a rodeo clown, but, um, it is not in the NLCS.  I suggest you get rid of the beard, pronto.

 

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I was also kind of wondering if Roy was a really popular baby name in 1977, the year Oswalt and Halladay were both born so I looked it up and Roy was the 141st most common name that year.  Then I looked Halladay up and his name isn’t really Roy.  That’s a nickname.  Theory, invalidated.

 

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I would just like to put it out there one last time that I have serious Rally Rag envy issues.  If any generous people have an extra one, leave it by the Prada sunglasses at Saks Fifth Avenue on Union Square.  I spend a good chunk of my life there so I’ll find it within a few days and if you leave your name, I’ll give you a virtual hug.  And a real hug if you buy me some sunglasses.

 

I also came to the realization, when the Fox guys referenced “Giants Baseball:  Torture” that it has been way, way overused.  I love the phrase and think it very well represents the 2010 Giants but everyone just says it so much.  At the least, I hope people will stop telling the whole story behind it.  Because surely we all know by now and we can just use the phrase?  If someone doesn’t know and is interested, well, that’s what Google is for!

 

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Diamond Girl

p.s.  I just noticed last night that Wilson’s glove says, “WILSON” in big black letters.  It is dorky and adorable at the same time.

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And isn’t that just a fantastic pose?

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