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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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5 Cooler Cars for Brian Wilson and an Over-Under on Michael Young

There are so many things I could write about today.  The fact that AJ Burnett is either delusional or his therapist told him to repeat positive affirmations to anyone and everyone.  The fact that the World Class Good Guy seems to be morphing into a World Class Bad Guy before our very eyes.  The fact that Mat Latos is on a bizarre anti-SF rampage.  And then the whole, “is Aaron Rowand mad?” thing (although no one except me seems that fascinated by that).  What I actually want to write about is the thing that made me wonder if there was indeed a minimum age to be in the Majors.  Apparently, they let pre-adolescents in.  Or at least, people with very preadolescent senses of humor.

Andrew Baggerly of the San Jose Mercury News (who, by the way, is killing all the other writers with his coverage of Spring Training) reports that Brian Wilson’s new ride is a fully decked out police cruiser.  With a loudspeaker.  On which he announces his arrival in the morning with, “I’m heeeere!”

If I gave my little brother a toy police cruiser for his birthday, yes, he might do that.  But that is no excuse for Brian.  My brother is 20-odd years younger than him.  That’s not what they mean when they say, “unlock the child within you”.  At least I hope it isn’t.

If he thinks the Obamas having a water dog is not cool, then I would like to say that driving a police cruiser is, um, not cool either.  Just saying.  Don’t want to get arrested.  Don’t want to get arrested.  Don’t want to get put in Bad Fan Prison.  But that is not cool.

So, of course, I made him a list of 5 cooler cars.  If you are slightly or very puzzled by this and the last paragraph, watch this quick episode of Life of Brian.

5.  Ferrari.  I don’t actually get the obsession with Ferrari’s and that they’re everybody’s dream car.  Except for the name.  I melt for Italian names.  (My father just alerted me that his parents had several Ferraris, which I was not previously aware of.  I know about the Emilio Pucci dresses and the Chanel boots they have passed down, but, until now, nothing about the hip cars.)

4.  Prius.  This is the cool of the future.  ::Joe Martinez yells, “The car from the Ghost Writer!”  I ignore::  Set the trends, Willy!

3.  A Chrysler.  I am being a shameless ad sucker here, but I am still into that Superbowl Chrysler ad.

2.  An old school VW bus.  You know, the kind Timmy wanted.  They may not think that’s cool down in Hollywood but it’s way cool up here.

1.  And Joe said that coolest one of all.  The car from The Ghost Writer.  I have referenced this before, here.  That beautiful car has an intelligent GPS that will lead you to the murder spot of your predecessor at work.  If that isn’t cool, what is?

There.  No one can accuse me of not giving useful advice now.  I just got you your baseball news and a list of cool cars, lumped into one.

I am calling grocery stores all over the Bay Area trying to find one that stocks mass amounts of popcorn.  This Michael Young saga may last a long time.  I still have my Team Jon shirt, but I’ve run out of popcorn.  Over or under, 40 days and 40 nights?  ‘Cause I need to know so I can stock up.

Diamond Girl

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Michael Young and Jon Daniels Channel Their Inner Teen Girl

For lack of a better phrase: What the hell?  No way can the Desperate Ballplayers of San Fran live up to this.

You know how teenage girls do this thing where they have a fight and then start relaying cryptic, snide messages to each other via a willing mutual friend?  Yeah.  I have a little experience with this.

Anyway, if you squint, then it would seem like Michael Young and Jon Daniels are getting in touch with their inner teen girl.  And relaying their cryptic, snide messages through a willing mutual friend; the press.

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I was inclined to take Michael Young’s side on all this, even though I like Jon Daniels a lot, but after seeing his list of the eight teams he could be traded to I changed my mind.  Three NL West teams.  Rockies, Dodgers and Padres.  But not the Giants.  If Young is that intent on avoiding my two favorite teams, I have a hard time siding with him on this.  San Francisco is a beautiful city with a good team, nice(ish) management with a minimal history of pushing 6″1 guys into corners (big corners, huh?) and we harbor no hard feelings about him helping us win the World Series. 

So I am wearing my Team Jon shirt, eating popcorn and enjoying the show.

Just kidding. 

It seems inevitable at this point that Young will indeed leave Texas and that’s probably for the best with how much bad blood there is.  I hope the Rangers are able to fill that hole, because I think it could make or break the team in 2011.  It’s sad, Michael was a quintessential Ranger, but I hope it works out as amicably as possible in the end and Young is happier where he ends up. 

Baseball is a business.  Rinse and repeat.  3.0.

Diamond Girl

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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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