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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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10 Totally Awesome Things About Last Night

10.  Santiago Casilla.  In case I’ve failed to mention it before, I am not much for Brian Wilson.  In addition to which I fully subscribe to Billy Beane’s theory about how replaceable closers really are.  To think that the Giants are on a five game winning streak in September minus Wilson gives me the tiniest bit of glee as well as good ole’ pride for Casilla, because he is so shining right now. 

9.  Pablo. 

8.  Vogey the Hitter strikes again!  2 for 3, baby.  Hitting pitchers make me happy dance.  Not literally.  I do not dance, happy or otherwise, in reality.

7.  Pablo.

6.  It was just a really great way to start off the mega-roadtrip.  I’m sure the stats would prove me wrong on this, but I think winning the first game of the roadtrip is a big game changer.  Maybe because they listen to better music after they win and that’s helpful, somehow…?

5.  Pablo.

4.  I have a bit of a Rockies vendetta.  Especially after they traded away Ubaldo, who I had a bit of a soft spot for.  So going into Coors Field (The Chamber of Horrors- remember that?) and beating them like that was just awesome.

3.   Pablo.

2.  ::looks around, then whispers::  We are getting crazy close to the Moneyball release!  Which makes me much more excited than it rationally should.  Now don’t tell anyone I told you.  It’d ruin my street cred, people.

1.  Pablo!  Pablo!  Pablo!

Much love for the Panda.  That is all.

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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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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Moral of the Story? Chill the Heck Out.

I was going to say that Panda was not at all express and he took his sweet time, but look what happened when he finally did arrive but that seems in poor taste now.  Seeing as the Cubbies won.  After all that.  Wilson blew the save and then Ramon Ramirez blew whatever else there was to blow in the 13th.  The offense crossed the line from “sleepy” to “fast asleep” and Matt Cain’s performance of seven shutout innings was largely forgotten.  Not to mention his 1000th strikeout.  That was entirely forgotten.

There.  Did I cover it all?

No, I think I missed this part: the Giants recently went on a seven game winning streak.  As we end June and sneak up to the All Star Break, they’re in first place, two games ahead of Arizona with 46 wins and one of the best records in Major League Baseball.

Moral of the story?

Chill the heck out.

Yep, the game was basically terrible and your totally staunch closer blowing a save would make any division lead feel insanely tentative, I think.  Don’t panic yet, friends.

Bochy promised “changes ahead”.  I can’t decide if that’s a tactic to comfort the homicidal/suicidal Giants fans after a game like this or he really means it.  I also don’t know whether I like it or not.  If he means stirring the pot a little, mixing up the lineups, getting a few fresh faces in there and demanding an answer from Sabes about why he likes Bill Hall, I’m all for it.  If it means mini-trades (not Nate!  Not Nate!  Not Nate!), acquisition of DFA’d players or something else like that, then I’d rather he just stuck with talking about it, not doing it.

By the way, the mini-Uribe drama the other day got me looking at his stats and… oh.  I’m sad to see him in a, um, slump like that.  But still glad he isn’t going to be back in orange and black in the imminent future, seeing as there’s a lot of money to be paid to him.  Incidentally, I don’t think what Sabean said really totally shot down the rumors.  He said he hadn’t spoken to Ned Colletti in weeks.  But if it’s true that he doesn’t answer his phone, then maybe Ned left messages offering Uribe or something and he just hasn’t called back?  Sorry.  I had to throw it out there.

I have to check out now.  I did the PA announcing for a Little League All Star game for the first time last night (yes, someone dropped Renel on me) and that somehow qualifies me to teach another person to do it tonight.   Wish me luck with that.  I am armed with a kid-friendly playlist featuring lots of Owl City and some other secret weapons in case things get ugly with the parents.  I mean, how am I supposed to know there are that many ways to spell the name “Rider” and they’re all pronounced the same way?

Diamond Girl

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