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In Which I Do Not Impersonate Brian Sabean, But I Do Give Him a Bit of Advice

If I were Brian Sabean right now (and you know how I love impersonating Sabes), I am honestly not sure what I would be doing right now.

I think I called the Giants a kaleidoscope kind of team way back when in 2010 but now all I see is a tangled, tangled spiderweb.

Frankly, the whole toxicity-of-Rowand-and-Tejada thing really weirded me out, because the idea for the past few years with this team has been that chemistry is a complete non-issue.  I think people start hinting darkly at things like that when the team is doing badly, mostly, but I also think this team isn’t exactly the good old brotherhood any more.  Some changes may (may?  Will.) need to be made and the ownership change only thickens the plot.

So Sabean’s first offseason move (oh, less than 48 hours after the Defending World Champions thing vaporized) was to resign Javier Lopez to a two year deal, worth 8.5 million and extend Jeremy Affeldt for one more year.

Interesting, I say, very interesting.

If I had a beard (which I most certainly do not, for the record), I would be stroking it right now.  I mean first of all, HE DIGS THE LEFTIES.  And second, yeah, he seems serious about the pitching and especially the bullpen.  Like, 8.5 million serious.  Very serious, that is.

Personally, I like it.  Because I specifically like both those guys, but also because I don’t think the Giants need a big, attractive move (hello, Prince Fielder).  Those never work, except when they do, and anyway we just want a contender, right?  If this pitching staff is set right and Aubrey Huff develops a tendency to hit balls, that could contend right there.  So I think sticking to the core is a smarter way to go and this makes me feel, perhaps incorrectly, but still, that Sabes might agree with me.

Or I might agree with Sabes.  But I prefer the former.  You know.

Diamond Girl

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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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Retrospective on The Desperate Ballplayers of San Francisco

I finally watched the season finale of The Franchise on YouTube and I adored this moment. 

(Apologies for the mega-blurry screenshot.  You can see it here at minute 4:25.)

I didn’t adore the fact that D-Ro blew out his wrist.  It was Freddy Sanchez’s expression when he threw his helmet that I adored.  I mean, is that priceless or what?  I’ve always thought it would be terribly awkward to be in the dugout when someone goes off like that, but Freddy honestly just looks scared for his life.  Burrell’s raised-eyebrow expression is kind of hilarious too.  It makes me miss Sanchez even more than before.

Anyhow.  As they reminded us about one million times in the last three minutes of the show, it’s a wrap on it now, so I am giving you all my thoughts from the season of the show.  Are you ready?  No?  Well, here you go, anyway:

*A person is not a “story”!  The incessant talk of Ryan Vogelsong as a “story” drove me i-n-s-a-n-e.

*Barry Zito seems so sad.  The way they wrapped up his story was not inspiring or anything.  Isn’t depressing TV is bad TV?   I mean, you can watch the evening news and see that no one goes by that.  Just my humble opinion on the subject.

*Brian Wilson in obnoxious.  But then, what else is new?

*Freddy Sanchez is utterly adorable.  Matt Cain and Pablo Sandoval, too.  And Jeremy is exactly the kind of father I would have imagined him to be.

*Bruce Bochy cracks me up.  To no end.

*Those meetings with Sabes and Boch and Neukom seriously need someone to enliven them.  A stand-up comedian would work.  Or a girl with a blog with a long name and fourteen inch hair (I measured!).  That would be me.  In case you didn’t realize that.

Overall, I did enjoy the show.  But all that said, I don’t think it was the best they could have done.  I think way too much of it was clips from games and Brian Murphy narrating the season.  If they had taken full advantage of the reality TV format and delved into the clubhouse and on-the-road stuff more, instead of the families and the games, I think it could have been way better.

Remember Life of Brian in his hotel room, way back when?  That rocked. What about on the airplane?   Eating out on the road?  That’s the stuff I want to see.  More than, eh, Ryan and Nicole Vogelsong talking with a- granted, it was pretty, but still- weird backdrop of the city.

It is also worth noting that my thoughts become that much more disjointed on off-days, so I should probably go now.  Doesn’t it feel like ages since we’ve played LA?  And who else watched The Franchise and what were your thoughts?

Diamond Girl

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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About The AL Central (Yes, My Detroit Pride Strikes Again)

What’s that you say?  San Francisco has won two in a row, Timmy is in tip-top shape, Eli Whiteside is maybe-kinda-sorta stepping up to the plate (sorry, lame pun), they’re tied with Arizona for first place and the sun is still rising in the morning and setting in the evening?  Impossible.

Bizarrely enough, it’s true.

Timmy being good is not really surprising at all.  Vogey gets less unexpected by the five days.   Eli, I have always had a deep trust for, so while the rest of the world rocks, I am listening to Enya in peaceful serenity.

That’s why I like the Giants.  Rooting for underdogs is rewarded.  Never mind the waterfall-of-tears-inducing examples of Joey Martinez and Eugenio Velez, okay?

Anyway.  That’s all ancient history.  In reality, the Giants are now going on the road to face the Indians [correction: staying at home to face the Indians!  I was assuming the road, for some reason.], which I am scared about.  The Indians are the team who I cannot name one player from (sad?  Yes.) but who are sort of tearing up the Majors this year.  In case you need your AL Central dose (doubtful) Detroit has given them a bit of a run and they’re currently a game back in second place.  I am, of course, rooting for the Tigers because of Chrysler’s brilliant ad campaign that sparked Detroit pride in me.  I am, of course, rooting for the Tigers because of Chrysler’s brilliant ad campaign that sparked Detroit pride in me.  Weird, I know.  I’ve never been within a hundred mile radius of the city.  I am just an ad lover/sucker.

Speaking of innovative ads and by extension innovative technology?  I got the June/July issue of Fast Company today (Read it.  I mean it.  Best magazine currently on Planet Earth.) and they have an article called “Clash of the Tech Titans” about celebrities breaking onto the social media scene.  Guess who was in it?

They compare his triumphant return to Twitter to “the digital equivalent of watching a supermarket ribbon cutting.”  I agree.  Personally, you know I’m not Wilson fan, but I haven’t heard positive praise for his Twitter from even the biggest Wilson-ites.  He’s a big, popular, profitable personality and I’ve been surprised to see how little he’s utilized his Twitter account.   Bryan Srabian, the Giants Social Media director (I’m going to say it.  Is his name a joke?  I mean, really?  Way to close to Sabean Himself for comfort.)  needs to get on him!

You know what I really want to see?  Jeremy Affeldt tweeting him stuff about human trafficking in Thailand and then Brian tweeting back the clip of his appearance on George Lopez.

Okay, snarkyness over.

Have a great Thursday evening and wish me luck pedal-boating tomorrow.  If I overturn, it’ll be The Sister’s fault, right?

Diamond Girl

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con•tu•sion/kənˈto͞oZHən/

(Don’t worry about it.  I can’t read those pronunciation guides either.)

Happy Birthday to Dave Flemming and happy wedding to Dave Feldhouse!   They are both great KNBR people and I’d honestly rather sing their praises than talk about this game.  But putting something off never made it any better, so…

This one hurts.  Literally and physically.

Not a whole lot of other ways to say that.

Listening to Pat Burrell on defense brought back memories of the Roman soldiers stuffing parsley in their ears so they don’t have to ear the atrocious bard singing.  I seriously went looking for parsley during some of the worse moment of today’s game, but unfortunately (fortunately?) our house doesn’t really stock it.

So I listened (minus parsley) in a horrified little ball during the 8th inning and at the same time chanted “M-I-A-M-I” to get my mind off things.  I have a feeling Rangers/Cowboys/Mavericks come as a package, but Miami is more fun to say than Dallas so Texas is out of luck this series.

Back to the game.

The part that really horrified me was Brandon getting injured.  Me and contusion (Noun: A region of injured tissue or skin in which blood capillaries have been ruptured; a bruise.) are getting to know each other a little too well.

I could say our bullpen is a massive failure but the massive failure element, Jeremy, actually did really well today.  It was Romo who faltered.  And Javi Lopez.   We all have bad days.  I mean, I have days where I walk into doors excuse me to parking meters.  A few runs are nothing compared to that, right?  I’m just going to make some tea and dream about winning baseball teams and a dictionary in which the word “contusion” does not exist.

Tomorrow is Happy Timmy Day and two out of three wouldn’t be bad and June is a nice shiny new start.  Just shape up, bullpen.  One bad day is fine and understandable.  Two?  My patience wears thin.  And no more of those bruise things.  I mean it.

Diamond Girl

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