Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Ready for some Baseball?
Contributed by Auggie
The World Series starts tonight. Really. While the FOX network executives are probably swearing under their breath about the match up, there is always something to like if you are a baseball fan. For example:
1. The Yankees are not in it. From a ratings standpoint the Yankees are a big draw, but there is a large segment of the population that are sick of the Yankees (including yours truly) and would prefer to see anyone else. As a humane person I often feel sympathy for the losing playoff teams no matter how hard I rooted against them. But as the Yankee players sat in the dugout with glum faces while the Rangers were about to eliminate them in game six I kept waiting for that feeling to come. I’m still waiting. So long losers!
2. First time for Texas. This is the first World Series for the Texas franchise, in fact, before this year they had never even won a playoff series. It’s always good to see a franchise get its first championship, and it would be nice for the fan base as well. And with the Cowboys sinking faster than the Andrea Doria lets face it, they need something to root for.
[Note: I didn’t mean to disrespect the 49ers with my ‘sinking Cowboys’ comment. The 49ers are sinking even faster; thus, this series is a good diversion for both area fan bases].
An underrated aspect of having Texas in the Series: we all have an excuse to use Texas slang around the house when talking about the game. For example, if the Giants want to walk Hamilton to face Vlad Guerrero we can say “they’ll be sorrier than a one-eyed gofer in a cactus patch”. If the weather is hot in Texas we can say “It's been hotter'n a goat's butt in a pepper patch”. After a dumb move we could say “If dumb were dirt, he’d cover about an acre” or “He couldn’t pour piss out of a boot if you wrote the instructions on the heel”. So there’s that.
3. Weather. With the World Series now concluding in November, there is always the threat of a snow out. That shouldn’t be a problem this year.
4. Giant tradition. The San Francisco Giants have a great tradition, but at the same time they fall under the tortured franchise label. The Giants have not won a Championship since moving to the west coast in 1958, and in fact they have the third longest championship drought behind the more talked about Cubs and Indians. They’ve had their chances. In 1989 they went to their first World Series since moving to San Francisco but they were swept by Oakland, and the massive earthquake in the Bay area overwhelmed any interest in baseball. Then in 2002 they were six outs away before losing games 6 & 7 to the Angels.
Over the years the Giants have had some of baseball’s greatest stars; most notable are Willie Mays, Juan Marichal, Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda, Bobby Bonds, Gaylord Perry and of course Bobby’s son, Barry Bonds. While none of those players won a championship with the Giants they helped build a strong tradition and provided great memories for baseball fans everywhere. Ironically, if they win this year it will be without a major superstar, with the possible exception of Tim Lincecum. Speaking of Tim Lincecum . . .
5. Pitching. The Giants are built on pitching and set records this year. (I don’t know exactly what the records are and as a guest blogger I see no reason to verify my assertion). In any case, its pitching is really, really good, and it will be interesting to see if it continues against a good hitting American League club – especially the games in Texas when the DH rule is in effect. On the other side, Cliff Lee has been unbeatable in the postseason and is making history along the way. If he can consistently shut down the Yankees in the post season, he should be in line for a couple no-hitters against the Giants. I predict the scrappy Giants will beat him at least once.
Quick tangent: In September I blogged about the pansies in baseball after yet another inexplicable incident. In hindsight, I should have realized it’s specifically baseball pitchers giving the sport a bad name. Well, San Francisco pitcher Jonathan Sanchez reinforced that notion with his incident in game 6 of the NLCS. In fact, he moved to the head of the class (garden?). Words can’t describe how ridiculous his behavior was so I won’t even try. Back to the blog.
6. Josh Hamilton. Hamilton was once a can’t-miss baseball prospect before his life was nearly ruined by alcoholism. He beat his addiction and not only lived up to his playing potential but possibly exceeded it. He has a good chance to win the AL MVP award this year and is clearly one of the most feared hitters in the game. After the Rangers beat Tampa Bay his teammates were sensitive to his past struggles and sprayed him with ginger ale so he could participate of the celebration. (Of course they were probably drunk when they did it). If you like come-back stories, this is a good one.
I for one am looking forward to an interesting, and hopefully 7-game series.