Cliff Lee

Giants/Phillies All-Star rivalry heating up

If you all will excuse me, I’m going to channel Bill Simmons for a moment (and not just because of the name of this site, which originally was “” until I convinced my girlfriend that while I enjoyed the gesture, the new site she created for me needed to have a different name than the most popular sports writer in North America).

Last night was a “Good Will Hunting” moment for all Giants fans. When Pablo Sandoval hit that home-run in McCovey Cove, it was like he was saying to Charlie Manuel “Well I hit a home run. How do you like them apples?”

Every Giants fan, especially the ones who spent untold hours voting for Sandoval to make the All-Star team over Shane Victorino, channeled their inner Ben Affleck. After the homer, which none of us had any part in, it was like we all in our minds walked up to Manuel and yelled “How you like me now?!?!”

Yep, our boy Panda is “wicked smart.” Or wicked strong. Whatever. The point is, the Giants and Sandoval got their revenge in the best possible way, with a moon-shot to right field and a surprisingly easy (and spirited) 7-2 win.

It’s clear the Giants were upset with Manuel after he selected Jayson Werth to replace Carlos Beltran after Sandoval finished second in the extra voting, especially after the World Champions already had like eight position players already on the NL All-Star roster.

But even though Jonathan Sanchez didn’t mean to throw high-and-tight all those times last night (he had no idea where the ball was going after the fifth inning), the rivalry jumped up a level from All-Star snub anger to he-threw-at-my-dome vitriol. Tyler Walker almost brained Ryan Garko in retaliation (hopefully this means the Giants won’t bring him back for the 23rd time), and the rest of the 4-game series between these two playoff hopefuls should be VERY interesting.

Too bad tonight’s pitching matchup — Ryan Sadowski vs. Cliff Lee — means the Phillies will probably even up the series without too much trouble, but who knows? The Giants, for the first time since perhaps the Dusty Baker era, are playing as if they’re not just a unified team but a team that won’t take any guff from the opposition.

The Phillies have already been that type of team for over a year now, and that’s what it will take to defeat them in the playoffs….if Sandoval can lead the Giants into the postseason, that is.

(Oh, and since we’re talking about ESPN, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the WWL’s True Hoop Blog picked up yesterday’s column on Marco Belinelli getting traded to the Raptors. Wonder what the Raptor Truthers think about my comments about their team loving Euros more than American college girls studying abroad.)

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