Since the San Francisco Giants’ offense has been historically bad, people might gloss over Madison Bumgarner’s performance on Tuesday night in favor of novelties like Chris Stewart’s first home run of his career and Cody Ross’ first single since May. After all, the most surprising part of the Giants’ 6-0 win was the part that says “6.”
But it would be unfair to Bumgarner to ignore his brilliance on a night he actually got some runs. After all, he had to wait until the 4th inning for the first run of the game, and the Giants’ 3-run EXPLOSION didn’t even come until the 8th. By then Bumgarner was no longer the pitcher of record, already having been replaced by a pinch hitter in the 7th as Bruce Bochy tried in vain to add insurance runs that the Pirates were more than happy to hand over an inning later, with the type of defensive execution that marked the their 10-game losing streak going into last night’s forgettable affair.
Of the three games I’ve watched from the press box this homestand, this one was by far the most relaxed. Partly because it was Grateful Dead night, but mostly because Bumgarner is so far beyond the days when people worried about whether he’d be able to withstand the rigors of a full season after pitching more innings in 2010 than he ever had before. When Tim Lincecum’s on, every pitch is like an event. When Matt Cain or Bumgarner are rolling, it’s like baseball meditation. And Bumgarner put Pirates to sleep on Tuesday night with 10 strikeouts.
But you guys already watched or listened to the game, and since I once again had the honor of watching the Giants with an orange piece of paper around my neck that let me go places I wouldn’t be able to normally, it’s my responsibility to provide at least a few anecdotes from up here.
— Before Sunday’s game, all people were talking about was Tony Bruno. Before Tuesday’s game, it was Aaron Rowand, who went on KNBR pretty soon after I arrived in the early afternoon and blasted the Chronicle’s Henry Schulman (who’s been in the news a lot lately) for not coming to him first before linking to the article in the Chicago Sun-Times which made it look like Rowand wasn’t the biggest fan of San Francisco.
— Henry Schulman wasn’t here (and neither was Damon Bruce, so my hopes of seeing their Twitter skirmish come to life were foiled, unfortunately).
— After Rowand’s chat with Ralph and Tom finished I went down to the dugout to catch Bochy’s pregame interview (if you missed the videos of Bruce Bochy I posted, I don’t think we’ll see Carlos Beltran on Wednesday), and Rowand was chatting with some reporters. It was off the record and I was totally eavesdropping, so I can’t provide any quotes or anything. But as one of the parties involved noted, Rowand was “genuinely upset about everything.” That’s putting it mildly.
— The guy next to me (I don’t know who he is, honest) was playing online poker during the middle of the game. Of course, I was getting press box popcorn during Aubrey Huff’s home run (I saw Huff’s blast, just not from my seat).
— Before you roast me for leaving my seat to grab free food, let me point out two things.
1. Huff’s at-bats haven’t exactly been must-see events this season, his 3-for-4 effort on Tuesday night notwithstanding.
2. Above the popcorn machine they have about 10 types of flavored seasonings to choose from. You can sprinkle powders on your popcorn that taste like butter or multiple flavors of cheese, salt, pepper, tobasco, even yeast if you’re feeling like a hippie. It’s a snacking temptation few can resist.
— I almost met another Twitter friend in the press box tonight, but @gggiants said when he came by I wasn’t around. He guessed I was in the press box buffet line. He was absolutely correct. (Chicken and rice tonight with some salad, if you were wondering — but you probably weren’t.)
— Not sure, but it seemed like Mychael Urban was trying to get Shawn Estes to give him a smooch during the Kiss Cam segment of the game. Good team chemistry among the CSN crew.
— Vintage Ray Ratto: a kid walked by the press box and asked for his autograph. “Hate the ball that much?” Ratto asked. As he handed the ball back to the kid he said, “Drop this into a sewer before you get back into the car.”
— I tweeted that Pablo Sandoval should win the Gold Glove this year after a beautiful diving stop and throw to get Andrew McCutchen to end the 5th, and after that he committed 2 errors on much easier plays. “Ya jinxed him,” replied Carl Steward, who was sitting in for Andrew Baggarly. Guess I did.
— After notable plays, the PR staff will often get on the microphone and alert everyone of an interesting stat. After Bumgarner notched his 10th strikeout, a PR guy got on the mic and mentioned how it was Bumgarner’s second double-digit strikeout of the game, and his career high (11) was reached on June 26 against Cleveland. Well, I dropped that little bit of borrowed knowledge on everyone, at the same time two other people tweeted pretty much the exact same thing. I don’t know whether to be embarrassed, or feel like I’m part of a select club of media members who take information provided by team sources and broadcast it to the world as if they came up with the nuggets themselves.