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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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Typical Pitching Stuff?

Synonyms for injuries, for your viewing pleasure:

abrasion, abuse, affliction, affront, agony, bad, bite, blemish, boo-boo, bruise, burn, chop, cramp, cut, damage, deformation, detriment, discomfiture, disservice, distress, evil, fracture, gash, grievance, hemorrhage, ill, impairment, indignity, injustice, insult, laceration, lesion, libel, loss, mischief, misery, mutilation, nick, ouch, outrage, pang, ruin, scar, scratch, shock, slander, sore, sprain, stab, sting, suffering, swelling, trauma, twinge, wound, wrong

Last night, Whiteside went down.  He doesn’t have a concussion but he does have a scraped lip and dizziness.  Yikes.  That is all.

The Giants did, however, win last night with a whole lot of sac flies and a brilliant performance from Matt Cain.  Runzler’s return was not exactly triumphant and Affeldt was far from brilliant, but the final score was 7-5, which means I can exhale for the first time in this series.

My mind was on Wilson a lot, though.  The rumor going around is that Brian thought he had blown his arm out and would need Tommy John surgery again.  And, I mean, he went to see Dr. Tommy Jo–, I mean Dr. Andrews in Florida.  From there on, the news has all been positive, with the team saying it’s just “typical pitching stuff” and such.  But it leaves a nagging worry with me that he thought he’d blown it out.  Really?  Typical pitching stuff?  I guess I wonder if this problem will magnify in the future.  No way of knowing and for now I just hope he gets healthy and remembers how to close games but it does all leave me with a little bit of a question mark in my mind.

On the bright side, (well, not for rabid Belt fans but for the team trainers then) Rowand and Nate are in tonight’s lineup and Kepp is available off the bench.  They all appear to be doing much better and there are no DL trips in sight.  Which means that maybe- just maybe- this is going to blow over.   Happy Tim Lincecum Day, everyone.  The Giants have the chance for a split.   The world is getting brighter!

Diamond Girl

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This Post Includes a Photo of a Real Live Passenger Pigeon from 1898

The year 1914 was filled with really important events, like World War I and Charlie Chaplin’s first big screen appearance, peppered with other- only arguably important- things like the creation of Mother’s Day and the last known passenger pigeon dying at the Cincinnati Zoo.  She was named Martha.

That’s Martha.  Or her cousin.  Or something.

Per Wikipedia, this all is.  I don’t, you know, remember that.

That year, the Phillies had a bit of dismal season, finishing at 74-80, 20.5 games out of first place.  The Boston Braves (Boston Braves?  What?  So. Weird.) won it all at 94-59, for whatever it’s worth.

Them Phills also had a streak of 19 solo home runs, one that no one was ever able to match, though I’m sure some teams have tried (lookin’ at you, Pirates and your 17 straight losing seasons).

That is, until tonight!  Pablo Sandoval did the honors with a first inning solo shot.  Now I don’t want him to get the wrong idea, seeing as I really do like it when he hits homers, but that is really, really, genuinely terrible.  I don’t think I’m overreacting here.  When I said snoozing with RISP in the past, I think I should have said dead with RISP.  Runners in any position!  Even if they’re on first base, that counts!  You know that, right, Giants?  Oh, you didn’t.   No wonder.  All is forgiven, then.  Get to it next game.  Please.  And thank you. 

And if you want to make some basically classless and totally snarky comments about the Marlins stadium, I actually wouldn’t mind that.  I mean, seems to be working for CJ. 

Diamond Girl

p.s.  It very literally (okay, not literally literally, but you know what I mean) breaks my heart to hear Cain saying “it was my fault”.  Six innings, two runs isn’t brilliance or anything but with any sort of offense that’s a totally fine outing.

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Why Barry Is Like An Ice Cream Cone in the Sun, Blonde JD and Other Assorted Second Halfness

Well… so… mini-blowouts, blowouts and tight games.  We’ve gotten some pretty good entertainment this weekend.

July 15th, 2011.  In the scheme of blowouts, Giants vs. Padres game ranked with some of the best.  If you’re looking at the 6-1 final score and wondering what’s up with me, then just believe me when I say that felt like a blowout/offensive explosion, overall nice game.  We could call it a mini-blowout.

July 16th, 2011?  That’s maybe a more classic blowout, featuring a Padres win, a 11-3 final score and a Zito meltdown of vaguely epic proportions.  Painful doesn’t cut it.  I mean, I would say that one blowout deserves another, except if that was going to happen, couldn’t we have at least scored a nice round 10 runs or something, before we gave it right back?

And then July 17th, 2011.  Let’s just say the two teams together left 18 runners on and neither got even one extra base hit.  It was a nail-biter and the Giants won 4-3 in the 11th with a suicide squeeze.  That kind of game.

I think whether or not you’re a Zito fan like me, his start has to be disappointing and the one real downer of the series.  It has so felt like he might be getting something good going.  I said his third start back from the disabled list would be the catalyst, but I was wrong.  This is what everyone’s going to remember.

Let me give you my favorite Zito analogy.

Zito when he’s doing well is a chocolate ice cream cone.

But when he goes… he goes fast.  Like an ice cream cone in the sun.

Let’s do a little brightsideness!  The offense has looked encouraging.  While Pablo’s hit streak ended on Friday, he got it right back going, Tejada has looked- dare I say it?- okay, actually and Fontenot’s been a total sparkplug.  Even Aubrey’s gotten a few hits.  You have to get those sad games like Saturday’s out of the way and the Giants just took three out of four from San Diego.  That feels absolutely magic to say.  Not to mention that Matt came out victorious in the Matt vs. Mat matchup.  Small pleasures, you know?

And don’t look now but he Rangers are on an, eh, 11 game winning streak.  Say that aloud for good measure, okay?  I am excited about this because a) that that means they have an identical record to the Giants (World Series re-match, anyone?) and b) I have a sneaking suspicion/dream that Jon Daniels will die his hair blonde again.  And make pictures available to the media.  In the meantime, this will have to do.

Diamond Girl

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