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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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It’s Magic Inside, 2.0 and My Ivan Basso Moment

You know the way it feels when you lie down on the beach in perfect sunshine and there’s a bit of an ocean breeze, just so it’s not too hot and you wonder, does life get any better than this?  If that analogy confused you, it’s just that I’m missing the Malibu.  Darren Ford and Manny Burriss combined for the winning run this afternoon and watching minor leaguers have a moment of triumph at the major league level is a feeling like that.  It’s what baseball is all about, you know?   Ford getting a hit and then using his speed and Burriss walking that field at all after all his foot trials and tribulations are just beautiful moments.  I want “It’s Magic Inside” plastered all over those walls again.

I’m sad the Bay Bridge series is over because it is too much fun, but it is another landmark in the season towards the inevitable end that is exciting.  June baseball is comin’ up.  Now I’m hoping for a Giants- A’s World Series.  I don’t think the odds are super high on that (Oakland is in, um, last place.), but I would kill (not literally) to see that.

And then the question of why the heck the Giants walk off so much is still standing.  I am full out of theories.  Which is a first, for me.  I am perplexed, but in a happy kind of way.

I miss AT&T Park almost as much as Malibu.  Actually, more.  So I just bought my tickets for Tuesday’s game against the Marlins, who are a game and a half back in the NL East.  I am confident.  Isn’t it something how fast baseball can turn around?

The damper on the day was the 60 Minutes interview with Tyler Hamilton this evening which I watched because I come from a cycling family and I nearly cried.  It was so incredibly sad.  I never liked Lance Armstrong, personally, and none of what Tyler said came as a big surprise to me.  Cycling is just a broken sport and as a sports fan, it feels cautionary to me.  Obviously they’re different sports but my worst nightmare is watching someone do that about current baseball (leaving aside the steroid era, it’s happened).  Could they at least just not lie so blatantly?  (On a lighter note and speaking of dopers, I stood a few inches from Ivan Basso as he prepared for the San Francisco Grand Prix in 2005 and it was one of the greatest moments of my life.)

Diamond Girl

p.s.  I went thrifting for quirky clothes for a photo shoot the other day and came upon a beautiful Brewers cap and just had to buy it, even if it doesn’t look the least bit (and I mean the least bit) couture.  It’s making its debut this July.

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Could This Be Good?

I don’t think so.  But since I am a (sort of) eternal optimist and everywhere else on the internet you can read people who are dying over the news of Pablo Sandoval’s injury, I’m going to look at this from a different angle:

Could this be good? 

Sandoval’s been a really strong link in the line-up- and on the defense- so far, so obviously it’s far from ideal but… who knows?  Maybe Rohlinger coming up and Burriss and Fontenot getting more play time and moving Tejada around and perhaps bringing Belt up will provide just the shake-up that the offense needs?

I hope.

Crossing my fingers.

And about yesterday.  Have they forgotten, don’t they know?  I’ll say it very loud and slow.  They used to hit!  They’d and hit and then proceed to hit some more!  Great Scott! Gadzooks!  One half their lives was hitting balls! (Yes, I was watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory last night.)  But really.  There is no excuse for the endless 0′fers and I find myself murdering my tastebuds with these intensely spicy olives every time we lose like that.  Not okay.  If only for my tastebuds.  Here’s to a homerun fest today.

Crossing my fingers again.

 

 

Diamond Girl

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My Grizzly Birthday!

Let’s just say we had some quality entertainment on the way down to Fresno.


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It was maddening and riveting at the same time and I can’t say I cried when Wilson blew the save.  My team spirit when he’s pitching basically disappears.  Can’t bring myself to root for him.  But when Rowand walked-off?  Oh yes.  I was cheering.

The game actually didn’t seem that weird to me.  The 2010 Giants did that kind of thing a whole lot and Wilson was, of course, totally torturous.  During the postseason, they blew past everyone but the team doesn’t usually do things the easy way.  And that can get ugly.  Not to be a downer, or anything. 

I’ll also admit that I’ve never watched a banner raising before, but that one was beautifully executed.  And the banner, when it was folded up, looked exactly like the fleece Giants blanket I made a while back.  And how many times do you think they practiced the cueing of We Are the Champions to get it right?  Because it was so right.

Anyway.  Fresno.  It was great.  Really, really, great and totally different.  We were two rows from the field, by the bullpen and it was so quiet you could probably have heard a pin drop.  The fans don’t cheer.  Ever so occasionally, they whistle (that’s trendy, I guess) but the PA’s attempts to get cheers going were totally in vain.  It really refocused the game, though, and I could hear Jackson Williams (catching in the bullpen) and an unidentified person who was spotting them talking which was entertainment in and of itself.  It was a pretty tight game but the Grizzlies lost to the Las Vegas 51s 4-1.  Emmanuel Burriss who was tearing it up and, frankly, just looks like a big leaguer, set a Grizzlies record with four stolen bases in one game. 

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It was absolutely freezing (what else is new?) and we spent most of the game discussing how Brian Sabean/Bobby Evans/Other Front Office People get down there from San Fran.  Because it’s a long drive.  I kind of think they have a rock star decked out helicopter.  Of maybe they just use the airport.

I did have one big problem with the game and that was the trivia question near the beginning:

Which Grizzly went to the Pirates in the Javier Lopez trade?

I’ll tell you which Grizzly.  The one who I changed my background to Pirates-themed for, for a day, because I am such a huge fan.  Joe Martinez.  They didn’t have to bring that up.  It’s an emotional subject for me.  The question was multiple choice and one of the answers was Eugenio Velez and the PA guy pronounced it Ay-oo-gene-ee-o.  Do you think he did that every night when Velez was there?  Because that would have driven me insane.

This was my first minor league game and two things really struck me.

First, that these guys are so close to being Major Leaguers- plenty of them have been called up sometime- and still they are in a totally different stratosphere down there.  Why is everyone so uninterested?  There’s a really fine line between these guys and MLB players.

Secondly, they didn’t seem huge into team spirit.  Which makes sense, but felt strange anyway.  Neither team seemed that interested in who was winning.  I guess it’s really about individual player performance (which, of course, include teamwork.  Just doesn’t depend on the team winning.) but it still bizarre to watch.

It was really a lovely birthday and felt deliciously old style.  Like that stadium experience might have been that way, way back when.

 

Flowers and birthdays are a match made in heaven.

Catch y’all later.  The (discriminatory) Orange and Black Attack Team are rocking tuxes and that is big news. 

Diamond Girl

p.s.  Cliffy and A-Rod’s year book photos?  Too cute.

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