To watch a Giants game at Mays Field these days, you have to have a sense of humor.
Anybody who can do the most elementary of math equations could predict a Giants loss last night. The Giants’ home offense plus Barry Zito on the mound against his former team equals a sure loss these days.
I was in the bleachers in a section full of good-humored souls, during a game where the peripheral distractions proved more entertaining than the contest on the field.
Actually, I take back that earlier statement about Section 143 being full of happy people, because there was an unhappy couple a few rows away from where we were sitting that still may not be on speaking terms.
It all started when a girl poured her beer on a couple guys in front of her. The guys turned around and thought the girl’s boyfriend was to blame, so of course they poured their beers on him (meaning so far about $25 of beer had been wasted). This made the boyfriend quite angry. Angry enough to challenge the guys in front of him to a fight, and angry enough to pour his own beer on his girlfriend when she tried to break up the fracas.
But nobody would become as upset as the girlfriend was after her beer-bath. She started hitting her boyfriend, who was tough enough to challenge two men to a fight, but was smart enough to know when to flee. He took off running from his angry mate, heading to the concourse before security finally intervened and removed each of the soaked individuals.
Zito was his normal self, mixing periods of extremely competent pitching (innings one, two, four and five) with two innings where his control would vanish and a good outing became another unsatisfactory one.
The A’s would add a run in the seventh off Vinnie Chulk to make the score 5-1, but the game was over when Zito walked in a run in the sixth, the height of embarrassment for Giants fans who could barely look their Oakland counterparts in the eye as the game wore on. Soon shame would turn to self-loathing, shown when I heard this chant from about ten seats to my left:
“What’s the matter with Zito? He’s a bum!”
Normally I’d join in, since the chant is one of my favorites, but not when the object of derision is a Giant. But that’s how far it’s come. The sad truth is the Giants need their pitchers to hold opposing hitters to two runs or less if they want to win a game at the ballpark by McCovey Cove, and Zito usually fails that mission by the third inning.
Even the sprinklers gave the Giants less than half a chance of winning, turning on before Fred Lewis was allowed the chance to strike out against Huston Street (which he did, getting caught looking). The sprinklers spraying in all directions around the infield was another nice bit of comic relief for Giants fans who certainly needed it.
Even though the lifeless Giants would lose to their crossbay rivals, the most vivid memory for those in attendance will be a bewildered Street trying to find a path to avoid getting as drenched as the beer fighters in section 143.