Barry Zito

Cheers to Omar and Indians fans

If a starting pitcher on your fantasy team gets a win but you forgot to put him in the lineup, does it actually count?

Thankfully for the Giants, Jonathan Sanchez’s dazzling outing against the Cleveland Indians most certainly counts, even though a certain BASG-owned fantasy baseball team left San Francisco’s second-best pitcher’s performance on the bench.

Serves me right for not setting my lineup. Rookie mistake.

The Giant who is furthest from rookie status had the perfect game today. Omar Vizquel was back at the Jake, where he spent the majority of his Hall of Fame career.

How about that suicide squeeze? Or his backhand play and throw to second base to get out number two in the ninth inning? Or when he ran and grabbed the mic from the singer of tonight’s “Star Spangled Banner” and started singing, “Just a young man sitting in an old man’s bar … waiting for his turn to diiiieeeeeee.”

OK, that last part probably didn’t happen, but I missed the “Star Spangled Banner” and something must have made those Cleveland fans so ga-ga over the man who sings Goo-Goo Dolls songs.

Nah, he was just that good with the glove — and Indians fans know they got to watch the best defensive shortstop of the 1990’s, maybe ever.

Can we agree that the Indians are the Giants’ sister franchise in the American League?

The Indians and the Giants have waited nearly the same amount of time between World Championships, the only difference being the Giants upset sweep of the Indians in the 1954 Series. Both teams share Duane Kuiper (and to a lesser extent, Matt Williams), and both fan bases are among the best in the league at acknowledging their heroes of the past.

Vizquel came into today’s game hitting .171, and left with a .167 average after going 0-for-3.

Doesn’t matter.

Vizquel received the same love Giants fans have given Will Clark, Robby Thompson, Kevin Mitchell and every other former Giant great that didn’t sign with the Dodgers (sorry Jeff Kent).

Sure, Emmanuel Burriss should play every single game of the second half, regardless of Vizquel’s resume or $5 million salary. But tonight Indian fans helped show Omar why he’s still playing his heart out for a losing team, and gave him the energy to lay down that squeeze and field that grounder from David Dellucci like a 24-year-old.

When Omar was jumping and twirling into his fellow infielders during the post game handshakes, he didn’t look 41. That’ll always be the most memorable thing about tonight’s game, along with the class shown by the fans in Cleveland.

Can Sanchez and Zito just trade salaries?

-If I had forgotten to start Sanchez during the fantasy baseball playoffs, this post would be decidedly less cheery: 7.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 8 K.

-Told you Vinnie Chulk was going to get the Hennessey treatment soon (he got designated for assignment today).

-If it wasn’t for Tyler Walker’s strikeout, this game is probably still going on right now.

-Brian Wilson is a little scary, but he is the only Giants reliever who can throw 97 mph at the knees.

-Let’s not all start patting ourselves on the back now: the Giants went 6-for-31 tonight.

-My favorite part of the game was when Jon Miller called Jose Castillo “Jose Vizcaino.” The only reason I probably care is I saw him last night when I watched my recording of the 1991 Giants/Cubs game CSN showed Saturday. The Giants were wearing uniforms from the 1920’s. The Cubs’ second baseman: Vizcaino.

-My favorite part of the 1991 replay: KNBR’s Bruce Magowan interviewing Ralph Barbieri (dressed up as a 1920’s mobster, looking much younger) who said, “When you get dressed up it gives you license to be a different person,” at warp-speed. Ralph’s either gotten old or he swore off caffeine sometime in the last 17 years.

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