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Fabulous Noses and Fluidity in Pitching (AKA, the Alexi Ogando Post)

So it’s less than two hours until game time and to say I am amped would be an understatement.  I am so amped it is not even funny.  (And I only had one coffee today, so this ain’t a caffeine thing.  Probably.  It was a big coffee, after all, so you can never be sure.)  As you probably know by now, I don’t have cable, so tonight’s Giants-Rangers matchup is going to be the first game of the year on TV for yours truly.  As if Giants-Rangers wasn’t exciting enough to start with.  Seriously, these people are trying to give me Baseball Fan Collapsing Syndrome or something.  I have my mini blueberry muffins and a glass of milk and my flat iron at the ready, just in case it gets real close and I need some stress-relief.

The icing on the cake, in a purely non-actual cake sort of way, is that Alexi Ogando is pitching for Texas. (Texas in Arizona, that is.  Spring. Training. Is. So. Weird.)   He is currently sporting a 7.20 ERA, but I have serious faith all the same.

Let’s just say I adore him.  Even aside from the obvious fact that he has a fabulous nose, there is his long and fascinating story to the big leagues (which you should read about here, if you haven’t already) and then the actual fact of watching him pitch.  The fluidity of which returns all my childlike wonder about pitchers and how they move.  For lack of a better way to say it, he is ah-mazing.

But this does, of course, lead us to the usual quandary: who am I rooting for?  So I’ll just give the usual answer: that remains to be seen.  I cannot promise anything right now.  When I get plopped in front of the telly, my Multiple Fandom Disorder tends to kinda-sorta-really rear its head and there’s nothing I can do then, right?  Right.  I should probably get a shrink.  But it will have to be after a bunch of mini-cupcakes and one heart-wrenching baseball game.  Maybe then.  I’ll be in a better state of mind and actually able to discuss normal things like Ryan Vogelsong and Freddy Sanchez and DL stints and train wreck games (cough, last night, cough). 

My very favorite train wreck photo, used with alarming frequency last season.

For now, though, I am pushing train wrecks from the mind and baseball as the rain blows in.  I love you too, San Francisco weather.

Diamond Girl

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10 Things I Am Adoring About Spring Training

So!  My fish is now safely back in his bowl and I am ready to rock and roll once more.  I’m catching up on the baseball news I missed while I slept (and slept and slept) and I think things are looking pretty fabulous for the Giants.  Blogging Spring Training is always a very welcome challenge to me, but a challenge all the same.  Aside from (doesnotjinx) injuries (doesnotjinxagin), the Giants always look pretty fabulous to me, just by nature of the fact that they are wearing baseball uniforms and throwing balls and swinging bats.  I mean, would it really be fair of me to demand more of them?  In addition to that, I hate writing Spring Training game recaps almost as much as I hate reading them, so those are out the question for my blog.  Before you snatch my baseball fan card out of my hands for that particular bombshell, allow me to explain myself.  Game recaps tend to be a snooze, unless they have lots of hilarious quotes in them and since I don’t have all-access passes to the stadium or anything, I don’t have my own quotes.  Lastly, there’s a lot of downerness.  Especially when Timmy and Vogelsong and Surkamp are all basically questionable human beings.  (Ballplayers, that is.)

So!  This is all to explain why I’m writing the list below.  To fill the obvious void I see.  Okay?  Okay.    

Let’s proceed, then.  10 Things I Am Adoring About Spring Training.  Here goes.

10.  It’s Spring Training.  And there are bees.  I could just stop the list right here.

9.  The pitchers all throwing two innings and us all whooping like mad.  I totally do it, but it still cracks me up every time.  Let’s just say we get to see a lot of different pitchers out there every game.

8.  It reminds me of the drama of years past.  I’m talking Michael Young vs. Jon Daniels, Albert Pujols vs. Cardinals, Barry Bonds vs. The Rest of the World.  There have been some epic battles and this time of year always brings them back to mind.  There’s no warring quite like Spring Training warring.

7.  The hideous black uniforms.  Just kidding.  I don’t like those at all.  I hate those.  But I had to mention ‘em all the same.  Fashion faux-pas of extraordinary proportions must be brought to light.  Just because I wear all black all the time doesn’t mean baseball players can pull that deal off.

6.   The pictures.  By the time the regular season rolls around, I think the media figures we are over the feel-good TwitPics of assorted players doing assorted things (read: nothing).  But we’re not.  We’re really not.  We love them at all times.  ‘Specially now.

5.  Battles of the first base sort.  I still have an affinity for Aubrey Huff, Brandon Belt poses with baby giraffes, for Pete’s sake, and I have been quite taken with Brett Pill’s game.  So my stance on the 1B battles is TBA.  But I am enjoying the show, for sure.

4.  Half of my besties is back, of course.  Which besties, you might ask?  I’m talking about Jon Miller and Dave Flemming, of course, Baseball Broadcasters and Besties Extraordinaire.  Dave isn’t dropping in until Opening Day, but Jon should keep me going until then.

3.  Baffling, cryptic comments from everyone and anyone.  Am I really the only one who feeds of those hilarious, masked statements from All People Who Have Connections to Baseball?  The offseason drivel just doesn’t hit the spot like this does.

2.  Buster Posey being alive and kicking and baseball-playing.  ‘Nuff said.  Tomorrow, which is supposed to be his first start of the spring, is going to be legen… wait for it, wait for it… dary!  Seriously.  Legendary.

1.  Yu Darvish.  Yep, that’s me, the Giants fan.  But seriously, I was just so absolutely, terribly excited to see his first start and will continue to be excited about his next 500 starts.  I love me some Yu.  And I want to prove that Jon Daniels was obviously completely in paying him a billion and one dollars.  Personal stake in this, y’all.

Diamond Girl

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Forty Minute Podcasts and the Joe Nathan Fan Club President! (Hint: It’s Not Me.)

For today, I am just going to hand off this this gold nugget of an interview from ESPN Dallas, with Rangers general manager Jon Daniels.  It’s forty minutes long, so they go more in depth than is usually possible in a radio interview and it also means that you need to go devote forty minutes of your life to it (time well spent, trust me) so I should probably let you go.

But first… I snorted noisily when I heard him say they were committed- again!- to Neftali starting and Joe Nathan being the closer.  My sister, sitting nearby, inquired as to the noisy snorting.  When I told her, I also added a choice, Who even likes Joe Nathan?!  (Sorry, Joe.  I’m sure you’re a wonderful guy.  I was just annoyed at the moment.)

Anyhow, a few minutes later, I got an email with this screen grab from aforementioned sister.

She has appointed herself president of the Official Joe Nathan Fan Club, too.

Don’t I possess a fabulous sister?

Diamond Girl

p.s.  Go listen.  Seriously.  Or I will track you down and feed you cupcakes until you die.

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You Know, Yu Knows Plus Some Vaguely Out of Place Golden Globes Talk

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012 is the deadline for the Rangers and Yu Darvish to come to a deal and it may be a historic day.  Or it may not, but either way, it should be interesting.  You know.  Yu knows.  Well, I don’t know if Yu knows yet but I’m sure he knows a little more than we all do because the Rangers have been characteristically mum about the negotiations.

At this point, I am seriously hoping they are able to work a contract out.  I’m getting excited about the idea of seeing Darvish pitch over here and I think it would make those Rangers a whole lot better as well.

If you are out there, Jon Daniels?  (Or even if you aren’t.)  Do us all a favor and sign Darvish.  If nothing else, we’ll get a season full of Yu jokes.

Then again, if it doesn’t work out with him and the Rangers, maybe they’ll be all the more motivated/have the funds to go after Prince.  I do rather like Mitch Moreland, but Prince in that lineup would be, as Josh Hamilton put it, “pretty ridiculous”.

Not to mention, they both have very good, late-night-joke worthy names.

All is well in Ranger-Land.

In movie award show land?  Not so much. 

I filled out my Golden Globes ballot for tonight and came to the regrettable conclusion that the only category I really care about the year is Best Soundtrack, which has to go to Howard Shore forHugo or I will boycott for the next hundred or so years.

Speaking of Things Which Should Not Win: Moneyball.  Which took a perfectly solid concept and put Brad Pitt (‘nuff said) in it and confused everything about it that was simple.  And made itself an instant member of the Atrocious Baseball Movie Hall of Fame.  You know I couldn’t stand it.  I’ve said that before.  But with the award season here, my feverous feelings have come right back up.

Then there is the ultimate, existential question: who is better looking?

If it wins anything tonight, I will… yep, you guessed it.  Boycott.

At this rate, it seems alarmingly likely that I will be boycotting this show in future years.

Let’s just say it’s been a rather unfortunate year in film.

2012 has got to be better.  What with The Hobbit and… The Hobbit.  And The Hobbit.

Can you tell I’m a little bit excited?

Maybe Elijah Wood will show up in another green velvet suit tonight and make my viewing time worth it.  A girl can dream.

Diamond Girl

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Wrapping Up the Winter Meetings

I am already going into post-Winter-Meetings-depression mode.  That means dried apricots with whipped cream (very good) and staring dismally at the wall and pondering the meaning of life (not good at all).  As I’ve said before, the Winter Meetings are pretty much my favorite time of the year so I’m always sad when they come to a close.  But I can’t lie, right now I’m also a teensy bit happy.  Because all that drama is a little unsustainable, you know?  Which would explain the endless revolving door of reality shows on TV.

Anyhow, now all the GMs can go back to their cool offices and hang out in sporty-wanna-be-sunglasses, communicating by phone and email and all that.  Probably for the best.

Today was obviously a big one, because both Pujols and C.J. have settled on the Angels of Anaheim and signed ten and five year deals respectively this morning.

Swish is a bit surprised.  So am I.

At first I was in mega-Diamond-Girl-rage state because, yes, Dipoto we know you are new and want to show off a bit, but that’s kinda-sorta extreme. 

But after a little while I went into mega-Diamond-Girl-mellow state and decided that the Rangers still have the division in the bag.  I am sure of it.  Positive affirmations go far, you know.

I was never huge on C.J. in the confidence department anyway and they’re going to have Albert long after the Kardashian’s get pulled off air and skinny jeans go the way of shoulder pads.  This is for the best, Diamond Girl, this is for the best.  (Me talking to myself, right there.)

“Our goal is to win, but within a responsible business model,” says Jon Daniels.

Right.

Everything will be okay.

With the Giants, meanwhile, I can’t say I am sure about everything being okay.  Sabes says they’re done for the offseason (no Christmas gifts for use long-ish suffering fans?!) and that puts more than a few question marks on my world view.  There is, unfortunately, only one first base on the diamond so Huff/Pill/Belt will have to fight that one out in the boxing ring, I guess, and then I’m a wee bit skeptical of Crawford at short and of the Cabrera/Pagan/Schierholtz outfield.  Basically the whole team.  No biggie.

But I’m all into them positive affirmations today, so you know what?  I think the NL West is up for grabs and the Giants could very well grab it.

There.  We are all leaving the Winter Meetings as winners.

Winning.

Yeah.

That.

Diamond Girl

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