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It’s That Time of Year Again. When They Make Roster Cuts and I Ask for Your Money.

First, a little personal announcement before I get into all the fabulous drama that is raging in Giants-land right now.  One of a few reasons I’ve been a bit MIA lately is that I’m doing a project in honor of my birthday, which is coming up on the 8th,and it’s a wonderful time-eater, but a time-eater all the same.  This means, of course, that it’s that time of year again when I ask you for your money and promise you something absolutely irresistible in return.  Last year, it was Fair Trade chocolate and this year, it’s earrings, made by women who have been rescued from human trafficking in Thailand.  Here is my video about it:

It’s a cause close to my heart because it presents economic solutions to the complex issue of slavery in the world today, by providing futures for former victims and alternative industry in the country of Thailand.  And a tip of the white beanie to Giants leftie Jeremy Affeldt for getting me on the modern-day abolitionist bandwagon a few years back.  (Yes, that’s a baseball connection!)  Jeremy is very involved with the wonderful organization, the Not for Sale Campaign, which is a great info resource for learning more and getting involved in this fight.  Their website is: www.notforsalecampaign.org.  

If you feel so inclined, you can donate via PayPal (info on the website at: www.apriceonyourdreams.wordpress.com).   My fish and I would thank you greatly and you or a lady in your life would adore these earrings.  Trust the Lover of All Things Prada on this one.

Onwards to All Things Baseball!  I can’t believe we’re a week away from Opening Day and am terribly excited.  Watching the roster get whittled down to the final 25 is rather nerve-wracking experience for me but fascinating all the same.  It feel s a bit like our fate is being set into stone, never mind the fact the roster will change a thousand times during the year.  This roster setting is still the biggest one.  Until the playoffs, of course.  Of course.

Like all the other legions of Giants fans, I am very, very curious to see what happens with The Brandon Belt this year and also to see if the team can reach a deal with Matt Cain before the season starts up.  The word yesterday that they might go with neither Whiteside nor Stewart as the back-up catcher also made my jaw drop, just a little.  I am partial to Stewart, as y’all know, but if the Giants want to move in the, eh, youthful direction, I am not opposed to that at all.  Which is to say, I suppose, that I also see a potential silver lining to Freddy Sanchez starting the season on the disabled list.  I am still waiting on the silver lining to Vogey being put on the DL as well, but I will let you know if I find one.

If I’m lucky, who knows, it could be a golden lining.  Or a golden ticket. 

Yes, I think I might just be able to get used to that idea.

In the meantime, although I have said I’m not entirely adverse to the idea of Cain becoming a free agent, I think I have grown a healthy dislike of Larry Baer.  I seem to be behind the curve here, but better late than never, right?  Anyhow, Baer is easier to blame than Sabean.  Sabean drafted the Core Four for the Yankees and, yeah, won the Giants a World Series.  That too.  Baer has installed fake falcons.  Which are kind of a cool concept, admittedly, but kind of completely beside the point, too.

Diamond Girl

p.s.  And, hey.  If you any of you are feeling especially generous, you know what I want for my birthday.

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At Turns Banged Up, Cuckoo and Terrible

Just as I was starting to think we might get through Spring Training with minimal disastrousness, everything started to, well, fall apart.  That’s what I get for trying to be optimistic.  The offense has started snoozing enthusiastically, the pitchers are pretty much looking at turns banged up (Vogey), cuckoo (Zito) and terrible (Zito again, plus a bunch of other starters and a few relievers).  There’s no such thing as a free pass, huh?  I am just trying to visualize this as the spring equivalent to the dog days of August and convincing myself that everything will be all ironed out by the Opening Day.

Cross your fingers with me, m’kay?

In other news, I have another example of the strange but undeniable fact that the Giants and I obviously mystically connected.  Case in point?  Just as they get all injured, I get a nasty fever and cold.  Seriously, people.  This is eerie.  I spent last night making pesto with badly ground basil, watching Annie Hall and then promptly sleeping for thirteen hours or so.  The fever has faded now.  The Giants might try that, you know, if all else fails, because I am totally feeling better now.  Who knows, some Woody Allen could do wonders for Brandon Belt’s sore hip!

The thing that’s really been on my mind lately, though, is the peculiar phenomenon of the Overperformer in Spring Training Who Makes Opening Day Roster Against All Odds.  John Bowker comes to mind, but there’s really one almost every year.  If I were not still groggy and sick, I would try to get some statistics on this front, because I am honestly extremely skeptical of these guys.  Really, how often do they end up succeeding?  Is there any good reason to believe that a little while longer in the minors would be terrible for them?  I’ve been thinking about this, of course, because of Hector Sanchez, who is, admittedly, tearing it up with the bat and the Giants need that badly.  But I think I am rooting against him playing in San Francisco on April 9th all the same.  If nothing else, it makes for a much better story for the papers/Tweeps if he comes up in May, a la Buster Posey.  And if something else, he might do a thousand times better.  Stewart and/or Whiteside can do a perfectly good job keeping the bench warm, while Sanchez gets ready.  This is what I vote for.

Diamond Girl 

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Report: Sabean Has Kansas City Sympathies!

Hello, blog and blog readers!  It’s been a little while, hasn’t it?  Well, a few days.  I am young and silly and see a few days as an absolute eternity, so bear with me. 

Anyhow, I have spent these past three days eating mini-cupcakes with green frosting – which, as far as I can tell, are the only upside to St. Patrick’s Day – and listening to Jon Miller on the radio, broadcasting Giants games from rainy Arizona in equally rainy California.  I love the rain and all, but this is still a little extreme.  Enter knit blanket, knit wrap and thick, knit socks.  I am all cocooned and almost warm.  So!  Time to write a blog post.

As I’ve said before, I’ve been largely encouraged by San Francisco’s showing in Spring Training so far.  There have been no massive train wrecks yet and I don’ t feel eliminated from contention on March 19th (in fact, more like completely in contention, what with extra wildcard and all) so the world feels like a bright place, indeed. 

Other than the one big ol’ raincloud and I’m not talking about the one outside my window.  I’m talking about the one named Frederick Phillip Sanchez, Jr.  I’m talking about Freddy Sanchez, peeps.  He’s ache-y and pain-y and injury prone.  We all know that.  But this latest news is still a buzz-kill of massive proportions.  I am a big believer that the mystical powers of Freddy Sanchez at second base = duh, winning so Bruce Bochy’s recent quotes that he may or may not be ready for Opening Day not good news at all.  At all, at all.  Sure, success in 2012 is going to be tied into a whole bunch of guys, not just Sanchez, but I think he’s a key element.  Right up there with Aubrey Huff and Buster Posey’s Ankle.

I’m also a tiny bit worried about the recent trade rumors swirling around Chris Stewart and Eli Whiteside and the Royal of Kansas City.  Which is not in Kansas, for the record.  Not making that mistake again.  It does seem more likely that it will be Whiteside, if anyone, because he has a relationship (no-hitter, y’all) with Jonathan Sanchez, but there’s a possibility it could be Stewart instead.  This may or may not be a terribly popular opinion, but I would really rather not lose Stewart.  I have a deep and long-held belief in Stewart and would like to see at least one more year of him in a Giants uniform as back-up catcher.  I think we might see good things.  Not Buster Posey’s Ankle level, but good all the same.

This does leave me wondering, though: do I sense a trend?  Has Brian Sabean moved his sympathies from the Mets (see:  Zach Wheeler, Andres Torres, Ramon Ramirez) to the Royals (see:  Jonathan Sanchez, potentially one of our back-up catchers)?  Does this mean the Royals are soon going to be filing for bankruptcy and Sabean feels badly, so he’s going to trade loads of our players to them?  The mysteries, the mysteries.

Diamond Girl

p.s.  C.J. Wilson has lost his Best Hair Crown for good for tweeting the loveable Mike Napoli’s phone number out as a “prank”.  I love a good prank as much as the next person, but I have to say I am 100% on Napoli’s side on this.  There’s funny and then there’s basically nasty.  This falls in the basically nasty category, or so my non-existent tarot cards say.

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Settling the No. 5 Spot the Old-Fashioned Way

Can you jinx something if you were really, seriously, totally joking?

(I was when I predicted the sweep, in case that wasn’t clear.)

Anyhow, the Giants sure looked like they’ve been jinxed. I am a sort-of eternal optimist, but not only has the offense been snoozing with RISP, the pitching was more than a little shaky too yesterday. The Phillies are making life hard here in San Francisco.

Understandable, then, the real news from last night was the brawl. I mean, I’d rather talk about a brawl than a 9-2 loss too. I’m not usually into fights, but that one was kind of great to watch. Whiteside, for whatever reason, always struck me as really mellow. I was surprised by his involvement. And the Phillie who put him in a headlock. Good television. Unlike the rest of the game.

I think the big questions that came out of the game, though, are, Major funk? (to which the answer is: yes.) and is Jonathan Sanchez really a step up from Barry Zito? I can’t decide. They have a bigger investment (ahem, very big) in Barry but Sanchez is younger and has more potential. Plus the no-hitter, which earns anyone a few brownie points. It’ll obviously depend on Sanchez’s other starts before Zito is eligible to come off the disabled list, but the whole fight thing got me thinking: we should settle this the old-fashioned way. One-on-one combat.

No, not combat like that. No fighting involved. Like a cook-off. Or a sing-off. Or a design-clothing-off. Iron Chef, American Idol and Project Runway all wrapped into one, starring two San Francisco Giants. I bet the ratings would beat The Franchise by a mile.

Here’s how I’m imagining it would play out:

Round 1, Cooking:

Zito: Cooks lumpy looking omelette. B-

Sanchez: Heats up noodle soup in microwave. F

Round 2, Singing:

Zito: Sings Crash Into Me, Dave Matthews Band. Slightly painful. But playing of guitar slightly redeems performance. C

Sanchez: Sings the Giants win song. Gives a whole new meaning to painful but receives points for cute choice of music. D

Round 3, Designing Clothes

Zito: Designs an odd plastic-y yellow suit, somewhat resembling a raincoat. He says it’s high fashion and leaves it at that. C

Sanchez: Designs a cool looking street-punk-trendy outfit. B

If you put it that way, I think we have a clear winner in Barry Zito. Or if you’re more of a traditionalist, then maybe we could just do a pitch-BP-and-players-rate-who-does better thing?

This afternoon’s game is nationally televised and the Giants are now .5 a game ahead of Arizona. Deep breaths, people. Deep breaths.

Diamond Girl

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3 + 3 = 3 Wins + Mandatory Low Point In Trailer When Main Character Cries Or Almost Cries If He Is Tough Guy Brad Pitt So He Can’t Actually Cry

I don’t drop “Baseball Gods” a whole lot.  But when people hit triples, they always feel like little gifts from Baseball Heaven.  And has anyone else noticed that they do tend to come to people who really, really need them?

Like Pat Burrell  who is rumored to be the odd man out later this year and Eli Whiteside who has, well, big shoes to fill.  And he isn’t really fillin’ them.  Then Billy Hall’s (am I coining Billy?) magical half hour with Bam Bam seems to have paid off, which comes at a nice time when Freddy pessimism is at a 2011 high.  I am all for the holistic, natural approach and have (some amount of) total confidence that the shoulder can heal on its own but it’s good to have some, ahem, backup.

Which means that this night of three basers notched MadBum his third win of the year and a 3.21 ERA.  Sometimes I have the urge to bang the heads of the offense together but then I remember that they do things like hit key triples and I go to my punching bag (laptop keyboard) instead.

We are on our way to sweeping the Diamondbacks, which is a phrase I would have been petrified to utter a few days ago.  This is good.

Zito is moving up in the world and will be starting in AAA Fresno tonight.  I guess this must be his first time pitching for the Grizzlies and I think he’ll fit in.  No snarky-ness there.  Barry and Chuckchansi Park just seem like a match made in heaven.  Still, I’d be lying if I said I don’t feel like the clock is ticking down to doomsday.

The first Moneyball movie trailer hit the web yesterday my skepticism about it is fading.

I think it looks really good, actually.  The hairdresser captured Billy Beane’s vaguely volumized hair perfectly and even if they look nothing alike otherwise (yeah, that’s a big cause of mine) they do kind of make the same expressions.

And am I the only one who thinks doing this looks incredibly fun?  Even if that is the mandatory Low Point In Trailer When Main Character Cries (Or Almost Cries If He Is Tough Guy Brad Pitt So He Can’t Actually Cry).  So I don’t think it’s supposed to look fun.  But it does.

Someone else commented that the field looks suspiciously dark in this walk scene and why doesn’t the stadium have any lights?

True.

I will be in the theater opening day, I think.  I’ve only done that for one other movie, Takers, and it was unwarranted.  That was a terrible movie (not to mention Hayden Christensen’s character was the first of the bank robbers to die, which tempted me to demand my $8 back, but that seemed petty).  I have hope, though.  I kind of think this might be my first baseball movie love.

Diamond Girl

p.s.  Congratulations to former Giant/Grizzly Jesus Guzman on his call-up to San Diego!

I remember seeing him during his two weeks up at AT&T Park in 2009 and enjoying watching him play.  Wishing him much success.  I mean, some success.  Enough for him to have a happy career but the Padres to keep on their last place, sub-.500 ways.

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