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In Which the Giants Sputter to Life, Zito Goes James Franco and I Express Confusion About the Importance of The Ring

It had gotten to the point where I was going to suggest some new alarm clock rings for the Giants players to get them out of their funk.  Fortunately, that won’t be necessary, for the time being, because we got a nice little W today.

There were good moments and bad moments; the primary good moment being Tim Lincecum and his fabulous right arm.  The offense also sputtered to life, minus Pat Burrell (sorry, had to get that in).  I am tentatively optimistic about the defense and I am not worried about the bullpen.  They’ll be okay.  They’ll make me panic and eat pickles and (nearly) tear my hair out, but I am quite confident in my bearded guys right now. 

Speaking of beards… today’s facial hair news is that Sergio Romo updated his beard into something even stranger and I figured out with what the inspiration- or at least doppelganger- is for Zito’s mustache.  It’s this actor who I really, really can’t stand.   His name is James Franco. You may remember his from his Academy Award hosting.  Or you may not.  He didn’t really talk.  I hope I’m wrong because otherwise I am utterly stumped as to why someone would try to look like him.

(Photos aren’t working right now, so you’re going to have to do your own sleuthing until the system gets up again.  Google “barry zito mustache” and “james franco mustache”.)

Looking ahead.  April 8th (you know.  The special day where the world celebrates the coming of yours truly.) is the home opener and there will be a lot of festivities, I’m sure.  I’m know I’m a spoilsport, but I am not hugely excited for all that.  When the playoffs and the World Series are about baseball, I love it.  Afterwards, when it becomes nostalgia and rings and TV appearances?  (Never got The Ring obsession at all.  This is not Middle Earth, right?)  Not so much.  It’s the 2011 season and there are games to be played and much to happen.  This weekend we can celebrate.  But then we need to get down to work.  It’s never too early to take first place.

Diamond Girl

p.s.  I would like to get a chance to speak with whoever came up with the 3:35 start time and say a thing or two to them.  And make them sit for three hours in this wind watching Little Leaguers slaughter each other in the twilight.  I did that today.  It was semi-brutal.  They deserve to live through that too.

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The Exhibition Game With 39,000 In Attendance

No, I wasn’t the girl going up the escalator in the seventh with cinnamon roasted almonds in my hand and tears in my eyes.

Okay, fine.  I was.

Let’s just say I was really happy to be back.  As were 39,000 other people.  39,000 people at an exhibition game.  That’s sort of a lot.  It didn’t seem that full when I was sitting down, but when I walked around, it was a madhouse.  And I can’t even count how many people walked into me.  I’m not that short.  I don’t get why people walk into me.

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If it looks like I think am in an Arctic Winter to you, you are absolutely right.  It was freezing cold.  I am now cured of my wanting those nuts ever again.  Craving is gone.  They were, uh, fine.  Just fine.  And yes, I had almonds.  Because they were out of walnuts.  What else is new?

Right.  Exhibition game.  It wasn’t that different from a regular game except the players were wearing their Spring Training jerseys and there were no photos on the scoreboard.

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That was weird.  It felt vaguely like they were just doing that to remind you it wasn’t a regular season game.  But maybe there was a good reason.  The real reminder that it was March 28th was the fielding.  The hitting and pitching on both teams was basically really good, but nobody could field.  There were no errors but a lot of sloppiness.

And the moment when Tejada and Sandoval ran out into shallow left to try and catch a ball and Burrell just stood there with a “battle it out, brothers” look on his face.  Nobody caught it.  That was one pitch after the exact same thing happened in right.

It was a really good game and a good night.  Now if you’ll excuse me… I’d better go do some Normal Person stuff before heading over to the Coliseum later this afternoon.  It’s Zito vs. Gonzales.   I. Am. So. Excited.

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Isn’t that most beautiful view?

Diamond Girl

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Why AT&T Park Needs a Garden, Why Belt Should Stay Down and On Painting Andres Torres’s Toenails and Confessing to Pat Burrell

My father called this little news piece to my attention yesterday.  It’s a nice idea, but I initially didn’t understand it and thought it meant something else.  Let me explain.

I love things that grow.  If your store has potted plants, I will buy everything you sell.  Even maxi skirts.  I hate maxi skirts.  But I love plants.  This photo from Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook page (yes, I stalk Zuck.  Your point is?) is of a restaurant with a tree in the middle.  I drooled.

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So when I read the article about the Mariners promotion, I initially thought, They’re asking people to bring soil to start a garden at the stadium?  That. Is.  So. Beyond. Great.

They’re actually giving away soil.  But now the idea is in my head.  It could be a little vegetable garden.  I’m sure they could get volunteers to take care of it and the players could all have a plant they sort of sponsor.  Like “Pat Burrell’s Pumpkin” and “Javier Lopez’s Tomatoes”.  You know.  Stuff like that.  It would add a slightly rustic vibe to the park and have some benches.  It would be slightly enclosed, like the mini diamond for toddlers at AT&T Park and you’d obviously have to have a ticket to the game to go in it.   Things that grow make every space a little nicer to be in.  You’d just have to figure out how to keep the seagulls out.  Good luck on that.

The Giants are hitting some bumps in the road in various areas of their play and this is sort of a bad time for that.  I mean, there are worse times like during a pennant race in September, but this is a bit of an end-of-Spring-Training nightmare.

And there’s the whole Brandon Belt thing.

I personally think Belt will the start the season in AAA, and rightly so.  As far as I can tell, the 2011 team has been built without the idea that Belt will be a defining factor.  Sabean signed a first baseman for three more years in the offseason.  I’m sure he projects Belt contributing- perhaps even majorly- this year and certainly 2012/13, but the team is just structured to work without him, I think.  And two relatively minor injuries shouldn’t change that.  There are many, many internal options and I don’t think it would hurt Belt to see a few more weeks/months in AAA.  It feels ever so slightly panicky to put him on the Opening Day roster.

Of course, Opening Day roster is the roster for one day.   The next day, it can change.  It’s more symbolic.  And symbolically, I think it’s better for Belt not to be there.

And the Neftali Feliz saga?  No comment.  ::shakes head::

Diamond Girl

p.s.  Just checked out the Giants 2011 commercials.  It’s an interesting campaign.  Sort of taps into every fan’s daydreams.  But do you remember that “I’m a Mac and I’m a PC” commercial where PC talks about capturing a family vacation with a pie chart and Mac says, “I feel like I was there!” ?  That was sort of my reaction (watch what I’m talking about here at 3:07).  Then again, if anyone gave me that chance to paint Andres Torres’s toenails, I would so do it.  Confess to Pat Burrell?  Not so much.

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His Name is Bonds. Barry Bonds. And Guess Who Looks Pretty Darn Cool in the Desperate Ballplayers of San Fran Trailer?

(Please send your healing thoughts Eugenio Velez’s way.  A friend who is a Dodger fan- yep, I consort with Dodger fans, on occasion- alerted me about his injury today.  Hope it’s not as bad as it initially looks.)

I always think of Bonds as “the other Barry”.  I guess that was Zito’s title, but I’ve always been a Zito fan and never been a Bonds fan.  And I find this trial really, really fascinating.   I’m not much of a legal buff myself but I’ve found myself following this all closely. 

FAQ about the trial:

*Is Anderson being paid off?

*Bonds didn’t know he was using steroids? 

*HGH isn’t a steroid at all?

*Was that you (Diamond Girl) who arrived late to the jury carrying a Victoria’s Secret bag?

I can only answer the last one and the answer is no.  I am not serving on the jury.  I am not, actually, old enough to serve on a jury.  Even if I were, I am really anything but impartial.  In addition to which I do not shop at VS.  So no, it wasn’t me.

And my answer, which is by no means backed up by anything, to the question about him knowing or not knowing is: there are lies, damn lies and fiction.  That line is courtesy of journalist/writer/professor/connoisseur of strange news Adam Peneberg who is basically a rock star in my mind.  Read Viral Loop.  And subscribe to Fast Company (he’s a staff writer for them).  And hey, if you have the SAT score and the money, go to NYU.  He’s brilliant.

Everyone’s been slamming Tejada these past few days about his marginal spring.  I obviously haven’t seen him play, but I am guessing we should get used to it.  I don’t think he’ll be terrible, this year, but I don’t think he’ll contribute a whole lot.  He’s too normal.  Which sound terrible, but it’s the truth.  He was just a middle-of-the-road free agent and the Giants team is basically Wack Land.  I just don’t think Tejada was a good fit, playing-wise(it’s not like his play has surprised anyone this spring, really) or clubhouse-wise.

That said, I don’t think it’ll stop the Giants from competing (not gonna say winning, people, so give up on that hope) in 2011.  The pitchers might just want to work on pitching the strikeout/fly ball/groundout-to-anything-other-than-short.  Not too hard, right?

Diamond Girl

p.s.  I saw the first trailer for the Desperate Ballplayers of San Fran (actually named “The Franchise”.  Lame.) today and I have just two things to say:

a.  Is that all Pat Burrell can do?  Drink water/beer/unidentified substance while obviously thinking he looks very cool?

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b.  Barry looks cool.  Really cool.  The hair is fascinating.  What else is new?

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This is for you, Eugenio (and a little bit for you, Executive of the Year) and Why Dave Groeschner is Due for a Mohawk

So this post was going to be for Eugenio Velez and then I read that Jon Daniels was named Executive of the Year by Baseball America and so I had to mention that first and foremost.  Congratulations to Jon and the whole Rangers organization.  Very much deserved.  It’s Time, and all that.

Anyway.  I miss Eugenio already.  Which is weird, because he hardly played last year, but I still miss him, you know, being there.  I know there is still the possibility that the Giants will sign him to a minor league contract, but I doubt that will happen.  At first I was very sad to hear they had non-tendered him but I’m trying to look at a bright side.  Hopefully he will find an organization that does need and want him now and has room for him in the majors.  I think if someone puts some confidence in him and gives him a real chance he will be a strong MLBer.  (Don’t breathe a word about his bunt attempts.  Seriously.  Don’t.)  And I do have a few teams on my wish list of who signs him.  Ahem, Doug Melvin or Jon Daniels?  Y’all should sign Eugenio Velez.  To see him in Brewer Blue or Ranger Red would make me very happy. 

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Meanwhile the Giants did tender Andres Torres, Jonathan Sanchez, Cody Ross, Javier Lopez, Ramon Ramirez and Santiago Casilla.  Ray and Velez are the two who were not tendered.  Both Burrell and Fontenot were signed to one year, one million dollar deals.  It looks to me (and probably to everyone else on the face of this beautiful planet) like Sabean is trying to re-sign everyone and keep the idea the same.  The problem I see with that, as I’ve written about before, is they’re not misfits anymore.  They’re players who won the World Series and are earning some nice money now.  Will it work again? 

Then again, there might be some big moves still ahead for the Giants.  Sabean tends to surprise us like that.  So you know when we’ll find out?  Yeah, you guessed it.  The Winter Meetings.  Three days.  I am still giddily excited.  Stay tuned.

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And it’s Day 8 and the snowflake earrings are still in my ears, in case you were wondering. 

Diamond Girl

p.s.  Dave Groeschner is due for a mohawk.  In the Inside the Clbhouse:  Hitters from January, he tells Pablo that if they go to the World Series, he’ll get one.  They went to the World Series.  Heck, they won the World Series.  He totally needs to get one now.

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