Put it this way: after listening to the Giants struggle to come up with answers to questions about Melky Cabrera’s 50-game suspension for a positive test for testosterone (video reactions below), I walked back up to the press box. Within seconds, the sound of flapping was heard as a seagull about 10 rows away got stuck in an empty seat.
Flap, flap, flap, went the seagull. No dice.
“Somebody help him,” cried a woman in the press box.
Flap, flap, flap, went the seagull. Still stuck.
“Oh nooooo,” cried the woman. A man in the press box slowly stood up.
Flap, flap, flap, and the seagull escaped and flew toward the right field arcade. Free at last.
“Phew,” went every single guy in the press box who wanted no part of getting within inches of a large, frightened AT&T Park seagull. Including me.
Back to baseball
That 14-2 loss was pretty dreary, but the energy returned both to the team and to AT&T Park on Tuesday night. Madison Bumgarner showed all the promise of a historically good 23-year-old, the Giants collected 13 hits and they finally had a great lineup. Well, maybe not a great lineup, but a lineup that pushed them closer in terms of reputation to the Yankees than the Padres.
Then before today’s game, the Melk news spilled all over Twitter and, seconds later, the entire press box. As a result, most of the people in here barely watched the game. They’ll tell you they were, and have the game notes and scoring recaps to prove it, but all people talked about today was testosterone and what looks like a crushing blow to the Giants’ hopes of winning their second World Series in three years.
Thinking about that, it sounds ludicrous. The Giants, winning two World Series in three years? They still had/have a loooong way to go, but the way this season seemed to be shaping up (contending in August; productive hitters either coming into form, getting healthy or arriving via trade) it appeared that the sky really could be the limit. It still is, but that fog just got a lot pea-soupier.
Too good to be true. The Giants still may shock everyone and beat out the Dodgers and D-Backs anyway (or sneak in via the Wild Card), but the Cabrera-for-Jonathan Sanchez trade seemed to show the Giants were starting to understand how to build a Major League offense when options in the farm system were few.
Durable outfielders with a little power, a little speed, high baserunning IQ, 200-hit ability and a commitment to fitness? Yes, please. We’ll take the lot of ‘em. Unfortunately, humans with those qualities are few and far between. Actually, they may not exist in *clean* form currently, now that Ichiro’s career has started to slide.
Too good to be true. That was Cabrera, at least while he as a Giant. Free agent hitters won’t come here because it’s too hard to hit the ball over the wall? Cabrera was a force without clubbing homers on the regular. Free agent hitters won’t come here because it’s too cold? Cabrera was hot in Spring Training and never cooled off … until today.
Postgame: Bochy on Melky
There were more people in the media room after this game than I’ve seen since the day after Mark Purdy let everyone know that Bill Neukom was getting pushed out the door by Larry Baer and the executive committee. For a transcript of Bochy’s Melky-related quotes, check out Tim Kawakami’s blog.
I asked a short-term lineup question:
BASG: Besides callups, is there a chance that infielders, such as Belt or maybe even Scutaro could be moved to the outfield to help out?
Bochy: Well, Marco’s played some left field. We have discussed that a little bit. It’s been a while since he’s been out there. As far as Belt, is it a possibility? Sure, I think we’re going to keep all our options open. That’s probably not going to happen, but not to say it won’t happen.”
Postgame video: Javier Lopez on Melky (2:25)
I talked one-on-one with Javier Lopez for a couple minutes, and he had this to say (among other things).
“It’s a shocking moment. It’s kind of the nature of the beast, the life that we live, you got to look forward. You have to worry about what’s going on in the future and for us it’s just trying to focus in on San Diego on the weekend and try to have a good road trip. Obviously losing a player of Melky’s caliber is going to hurt but that’s part of the game, attrition is part of the game. Sometimes it’s a physical injury and sometimes it’s just a lapse in whatever judgment they might have had.”
Postgame video: Lincecum on Melky (0:28)
Lincecum didn’t want to talk, but I thought it was interesting that he called Cabrera “our best hitter.” Better than your battery mate, eh?
Postgame video: Posey on Melky (0:20)
“You know what, ultimately it just was a bad decision, and that’s all I’m really going to say about it.”
Postgame video: Belt on Melky (0:34)
“We really believe in our team … we still think we have a great shot at this.”
Postgame video: Belt on drug testing (0:17)
Question: Is there a part of you that wonders how something happens like this in this day and age?
Belt: “Yeah, kinda. A little bit. I don’t know a whole lot about it so I don’t think I know enough to comment on it, to be honest with you.”
And if you care about Wednesday’s game and how Lincecum threw almost 100 pitches over four innings…
Lincecum on Lincecum (0:25)
“I don’t think any one of my pitches was in ‘out mode’ today.”
Posey on Lincecum (0:28)
BASG: How did you feel about Lincecum’s performance, he kind of battled today.
Posey: “I think he struggled with his fastball command a little bit. Did a nice job of getting out of some jams. We’re going to need him. He’s going to be big for us as well, this last month and a half.”