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Brad Pitt as Billy Beane is like Hayden Christensen as Stephen Glass + Three Pearls of Wisdom from Moneyball

And the Winter Meetings are flyin’ by…  I am loving the fact that baseball is once again at the forefront of people’s minds although, as numerous people have noted (Mychael Urban and TR Sullivan both wrote great articles about this) there seem to be a lot of weird rumors coming this week, perhaps perpetuated by bored beat writers.  No matter.  It’s very fun for me to watch general manager after general manager interviewed because I’m a player transaction geek.  I am now stalking Jed Hoyer.

But who chose the hotel?  There are so many shots of it on the MLB Network and pictures of it everywhere.  They could at least have chosen a pretty building.  To me, the happiest place on earth would not have hideous architecture. 

I would also just like to say that I think Brad Pitt as Billy Beane is ridiculous.  Billy is more charming and better looking, to boot.

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Though I know I am obviously in the overwhelming minority of the female population when I say that.  It’s like Hayden Christensen playing Stephen Glass.  Except I like Christensen, so I don’t mind.  And Shattered Glass is an incredible movie so I can forgive it.  I’m not really sure how Moneyball will be as a movie, but I’m looking forward to it.

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The real Stephen Glass on the left, Hayden Christensen, of wood-board Anakin Skywalker fame, on the right

So this all reminded me how much I love the book Moneyball and the three pearls of wisdom I always remember from it.

“‘Why should noise have any more effect on the hitter than the pitcher?’ says Billy, a little testily. ‘If you’re playing away, you can just pretend they are cheering for you.’

Haven’t we all wondered this?  I sure have.

“‘In the last ten years guys started covering their lips with their gloves,’ snaps Billy.  ‘I’ve never known a single lip-reader in baseball.  What, has there been a rash of lip-reading I don’t know about?’

And last but not least…

“The new pitcher, Ricardo Rincon, gets two quick outs and gives up just one run on a sacrifice fly: 11-7.  With two out and runners on first and third, Art Howe [the manager], walks out yet again.  This time he calls for right hander Jeff Tam, newly arrived from AAA, to face the right-handed Mike Sweeney, who is, at the moment, leading the American League in hitting.

“‘ Why?  [says Billy] They take all this lefty-righty crap too far.  What’s wrong with leaving Rincon in?'”

Now I’m looking at the movie’s IMDB listing and seeing that someone named Sergio Garcia is playing Jorge Posada.  This is getting weirder by the second.  I need to go back to reading that Alex Rodriguez is going to get traded for Joe Martinez.

Diamond Girl

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Happy Birthday, Ryan Braun! + Extra Wildcard?

Slow news day, in the sports world.  I don’t know if anyone gets really excited about the Manager of the Year Award- well, probably the people who win do, but I don’t- and since my Twitter feed always tells me who won the award before they announce it on the mlb.com show, the suspense is non-existent (my fault for looking at my Twitter, but still…).  So I was basically in snooze mode, baseball-wise, until I realized: it’s Ryan Braun’s birthday!  I am a huge fan of his.  So happy 27th birthday, Ryan!  In case you’ve forgotten, I Love U.  And here are your virtual birthday brownies.  Enjoy.


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I’ve been reading all this stuff about the possibility of adding another wild card to each league.  Honestly, I’m against it.  What I’ve read is that it would be a one game playoff or a three game series to determine the wild card winner and since a series that short can easily go either way, I think it could lower the quality of play in the later playoffs and detract from the interest of the teams that really deserve to be there.  I don’t think the second wild card team would deserve to be there.  What do y’all think?  Very curious to hear everyone’s opinions on the pros and cons.

Diamond Girl

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The Kaleidoscope Team

Well.  Wow.  What to say?  It was just me and my dad at home when the Giants clinched but we had the radios on in my room, his office and the room in between so that we wouldn’t miss a moment while we walked back and forth.  And there was lots of hugging and a few tears (those were mine) when the Giants clinched.  I was actually pretty mellow the whole game, surprising for me and I did not flatiron my hair or make brownies, though I did chew an undisclosed amount of gum.  Those are my three ways of dispelling nervous energy- what are yours?  I will need them a lot in these coming weeks.

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I adore this photo.  Just had to include it.

Of all the fantastic articles and great quotes published in the last 24 hours, this part of Andrew Baggerly (San Jose Mercury News) was my favorite by far…

For the first time since 1971, the Giants clinched a postseason berth with a victory in their final regular-season game; Juan Marichal pitched a five-hit complete game that day at old San Diego Stadium to make the Giants NL West champions.

“Yeah, but he didn’t hit a triple,” said Jonathan Sanchez, chin raised.

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I think that triple was so perfect for the last game of the year and the clincher because it really speaks volumes about the team.  I’ll admit, it always worries me when a hit by the pitcher or Aaron Rowand, for example, wins the game.  Because I wonder, If we’re relying on these unreliable hitters to win, what will happen when they do the expected, and get out?  I’ve basically come to terms with just being how the teams is and it works.  My new name for the 2010 Giants is “The Kaleidoscope Team”.  The definition I got on the internet for kaleidoscope is, “a complex pattern of constantly changing colors and shapes.”  Isn’t that so the Giants?

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I’ve also always marveled at how much a team comes to resemble its city, though most of the players and coaches are not even from the city.  But the Giants are just like San Francisco; diverse, a little quirky, but at the same time successful and classy.  The Yankees are a lot like NYC.  No explanation needed, on that.

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Corny as it may be to include a photo of the Golden Gate Bridge, a giant red bridge is kind of indicative of this beautiful city.

I’m proud of being a fan of the kaleidoscope team and living in the kaleidoscope city.  Let’s take this show on the road and display to the world how San Fran does things.

Diamond Girl

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Zito-Gollum + Meditation Day at the Ballpark + My Suggested Ballpark Menu

I didn’t think they were going to clinch last night and sadly, I was right.  I think the men in orange and black have trouble with expectations.  They were expected to win last night, so they lost, of course.  I also think last night’s game was influenced by the FOX people.  They may not have been in town yet, but you know, the evil spirit of Chris Rose may be far-reaching.  The crew also might have had voodoo dolls of Matt Cain, or something.  This is, of course perfectly planned for them. 

 

You know what else is perfect?  The comparison of Zito to Gollum.  Greatest article I’ve ever read… http://www.csnbayarea.com/10/02/10/SNC-Daily-Rundown-10-2-10/landing.html?blockID=323239&feedID=6900.  It’s by Brad Weimer of Comcast Sportsnet and I keep reading it over.  Perfect observations.  LOTR and SF Giants fans unite.

 

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The yard is loud, these days, by all accounts.  Which is why I think this is just the time for me to pitch my new promotional day idea:  Meditation Day.  This might not catch on for other MLB teams, but I think it would work really well here in San Francisco.  It would be a game where cheering is strictly prohibited and talking too, for the most part.  There would be no PA and little or no scoreboard stuff, so that there would be minimal distraction from the subject at hand.  It would offer the opportunity to center oneself and remember what baseball games are really about: the game.  Pumped crowds are fun for the first few innings, but not so much fun after God-knows-how-many beers in the late innings and in the parking lot afterwards.  I think a meditative crowd at an important game would be fascinating to see.  Some would argue that the team would have trouble playing without the vocal support of the crowd, but I think the silent, mental support would be very powerful.  Security would escort you out if you start cheering.  What do y’all think?

 

The other thing I want to talk about is, you know, food.  At the game.  These next few games may get pretty tense and if we get into the playoffs, that will for sure be tense.  And what do we all do when games get tense?  We buy more french fries.  Not me, actually.  I’ve sworn off all ballpark food, except a warm hot dog when I can’t feel my toes anymore.  But I could lose my life savings if I bought all my food there and it’s also not, you know, tremendously healthy.  So here’s what I usually bring to a game:

 

-Sandwich

-Broccoli (cooked and drained)

-Celery

-Grapes

-Brownies

-Water

 

You can say that I should just let go and eat whatever’s there, but if you’ve never munched piece after piece of celery at a ballgame, you seriously need to go do it.  It rules.  Never mind if you feel like a donkey.

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Okay.  I’m going to go patronize the satan-worshipers.  FOX it is, today.  Clincher?  Maybe.  Torture?  For sure.

 

Honestly, I think it could be the clincher.  As I tweeted earlier, “A day may come when Zito will fail at his goal… but it is not this day!  The words of Aragorn transcend time and universes.”

Diamond Girl

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Why I am in the Radnich Camp, Celebrity Sightings, Dave Flemming’s Coat & Why Mat Latos was Right

I went to the Giants vs. Diamondbacks game last night and also watched FP Santangelo and Rich Aurilia doing Chronicle Live, the Giants pre-game show.  You know how everyone has been saying the energy level at the stadium is really high?  I didn’t notice that as much inside as outside, on Willie Mays Plaza.  It was electric out there.  That might have had to do with the lights and mics and cords everywhere, but I prefer to think that it had to do with the crowd’s mood.  Mid-way through, a man in a suit started weaving through the crowd.  As he walked past me, I had an Omigod, is that…?  moment.  It was Gary Radnich, about to go on air with Chron Live.  Being the chicken that I am, I needed a little egging on, but I eventually asked him to sign my ball and he was very friendly and his unmistakable voice is even more unmistakable in person.  He told me that he can only stand Ralph Barbieri once a month, which I basically get, and posed for pictures and was totally nice to everyone.  I am firmly in the Gary Radnich camp from now on.  If you don’t like his show, switch your dial to 102.1 KDFC.  It’s what all the radios in my house were set to, until I changed them to KNBR 680.  Needless to say, there was some resistance to that.

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FP, the groom, with his best men.  That’s what their suits looked like.

Other celebrity sightings of the day are…

-          Dave Flemming, in the dugout wearing this beautiful, black coat.  He is the best dressed broadcaster, for sure.  I seriously nearly fainted when I saw him, just 20 feet away or so.  I listen to him every day.  I love him.  And his coat.

-          John Shea, in the press-box.  On computer.  Looking riveted.

-          Sean Astin.  Who I, sadly, did not actually sight.  But he was there.  That almost counts as a sighting, right?  I am not waiting for your answer on that one.

-          The Public House Patio.  That place is legendary.  It counts as a celebrity.  This was the first time I saw it.  Have not been on it yet, but that’s my next goal.

My brother also got a ball from Ramon Ramirez and I got a Darren Ford autograph.  Those don’t count as sightings though, because they weren’t incidental.

It was also save #47 for Wilson.  ::Cue House of Pain::

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This really deserves its own blog post but I want to talk about it in a timely way: Mat Latos’ controversial quote to the press.  “Baseball works in funny ways.  The only way I could honestly put it is, we could be like the Giants and go and change our whole lineup, put guys with ‘San Francisco Giants‘ across their jerseys.  We didn’t.  “We added two guys (Miguel Tejada and Ryan Ludwick).  We’ve been the same team all year.  We haven’t just gone and grabbed guys from other teams.”  You can hate me forever for saying this, but I basically agree.  It’s actually okay with me.  That’s how baseball works and it doesn’t make me angry, but it does make me a little bit sad.  The line-up is so different from opening day that it feels a little strange when Cody Ross hits a homerun.  Should I really be cheering for this guy?  For me, there’s no chemistry with the new guys (Cody Ross, Jose Guillen, Mike Fontenot, Pat Burrell are who I consider the new guys).  Everyone says the chemistry in the clubhouse is good, which is obviously what matters but I honestly have a hard time believing that.  I imagine some days it would feel like, Who are these guys, anyway?

I don’t think Latos was having sour grapes.  I think he was speaking his mind to the press, which may or may not have been the best thing to do right now, but I do agree with him.  What do ya’ll think?  And who’s going to listen to Uncle Gary tomorrow?

Diamond Girl

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