Brandon Belt

Listening to the Giants in enemy territory

I’m writing this from the San Diego Airport, where Alex Smith was in line behind us to go through the TSA nonsense (I should be careful, they’re probably monitoring me through the free WiFi) with his wife and son, who Alex was holding in what *looked* like an attempt to shield his face. Smith was also wearing his ever-present San Francisco Giants cap, pulled down around his eyes. A San Diego native repping the Giants. Pretty common story around here, as Petco Park is overrun by hordes of loud and proud Giants fans about 10 times every season.

What’s the deal? They look pretty terrible this year, but that usually isn’t the case. San Diego isn’t the smallest market and they have a gorgeous new park. While loyal Padres fans exist, why aren’t there more of them? The amount of money spent on the team’s payroll could be a reason, although that’s kind of a chicken-or-egg situation — maybe if the Padres played in front of a packed house more often they’d spend a little more on players.

This morning I dropped my wife off at her aunt’s in Newport Beach, and she went with her mom and sister to San Diego to go wedding dress shopping (her sister’s getting married next April). I had nothing to do and the weather throughout Southern California was on the meh side, so I drove to San Diego to wait for the women to complete their mission, listening to the Padres radio broadcast.

Bob Scanlan (the color commentator) was okay, but after listening to Ted Leitner for a couple hours, the lack of enthusiasm in San Diego makes a little more sense.

There’s a reason why the Giants and certain other teams splurge for elite broadcasting talent. Baseball provides a platform for the great announcers to shine, but announcers who provide nothing make listening to the game a chore. It’s a lot like the differences between good and bad teachers/professors.

If I wasn’t as interested in the Giants, I would’ve flipped the dial to something else. So boring. However, there were a few interesting things said about the Giants.

1. During the pregame show, they mentioned how Clayton Richard needed to throw strikes, but make sure to keep the ball on the corners or else the “aggressive San Francisco hitters” would do some damage. Can’t blame the Padres announcers for using the a-word in regards to the Giants, since they didn’t collect  their first walk of the series until Posey got a free pass in the 6th on Sunday.

2. The crowd of over 42,000 was mentioned, and it was noted that large gatherings are the norm at AT&T. “That’s what happens when you win a World Series,” Leitner lamented.

3. Leitner mentioned that Posey was not “fleet of foot” before suffering the ankle injury, and he’s even slower now.

4. Pablo Sandoval’s first inning home run was described with all the excitement of a bunker shot during the Waste Management Phoenix Open (no, I didn’t make that tournament up).

5. This last note isn’t about the Giants, but they played a public service announcement between every half-inning. They’d alternate between one spot advising pregnant mothers to get an HIV test and another advising on how to avoid getting Dengue Fever (don’t let puddles of standing water sit in front of your house, people).

Out of the loop observations

— It’s been a weekend of family get-togethers, so I haven’t been able to watch the Giants throw a single pitch since Thursday. Wish I could’ve seen Tim Lincecum last night. That strikeout-to-walk ratio was kind of ugly (5/4), but 8 shutout innings without allowing an earned run is a great sign for a guy everyone was freaking out about, no?

— R.I.P. Panda’s Hitting Streak. 20 games. Maybe now he can put some multi-hit games together. Of the 21 games where he’s collected a hit, in only a third of those games did he have 2. He doesn’t have a 3-hit game this season, but that won’t last. He had five 3-hit games in September (actually, one of those was a 4-hit game).

— Joaquin Arias keeps hitting, which is terrible news for Brandon Crawford.

— If Brandon Belt won’t start against left-handers now, with Aubrey Huff on the DL and getting the most important hit of a close game the night before, is there ever a time where he will?

— Madison Bumgarner struck out 6 on Sunday after his first four starts yielded only 11 strikeouts. Not that I was worried, but others were.

— Raise your hand if you predicted that Melky Cabrera would lead the Giants in walks in April.

— Three saves in four days for Santiago Casilla. Ladies and gents, we have a closer.

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