Shockingly, after the most tumultuous week of August baseball any of us can remember, the Giants and Rockies are all tied up. All it took was yesterday’s nail-biter, which doubled as one of the best times I’ve ever had at a Giants game — and you know a game is great when you say that after sitting in Section 334 (View Reserved behind the left field foul pole for those who aren’t familiar with the layout at Mays Field).
It would have been fun anyway, since the reason 16 of us were sitting together all the way up there was to celebrate my Nana’s 88th birthday. 88 years old, and still watches every game while keeping score. So tailgating and watching the game with the family was already, ahem, worth the price of admission. ButÂ to see her grab a stray broom on our way back to the car, with a big smile on her face, made this series sweep that much more satisfying.
The most amazing thing I learned today isn’t that Edgar Renteria is still alive, but that my 20-year-old cousin Heather has never seen the Giants lose at AT&T Park. By her estimates, she’s about 15-0. So even though I cringed when my uncle said it was a “guarantee” that the Giants would win with Heather in tow, he definitely knew something I didn’t. Sure, he made that proclamation when the Giants were up 9-5 (not when they were down 5-2), but even after Renteria misplayed that pop fly in the ninth inning I felt much more confident in the Giants’ chances than I normally would, thanks to Heather’s mojo.
If the Giants were smart, they’d hire my cousin as a good luck charm and take her to every game, home and away. It’s a guarantee that she’d make herself available for this, and the Giants could use all the help they can get. And even with travel and hotel included, Heather would cost WAY less than Freddy Sanchez. Hell, she’d demand a fraction of what Ryan Garko is making, and she’d probably be a more effective hitter at home if the Giants needed a lift off the bench.
Yesterday was the perfect example of the contrasts the 2009 Giants have presented throughout this season:
— A pitiful offensive showing to start the contest, with Jason Hammel getting through the first five innings in about 18 pitches, followed by a 7-run explosion in the 7th and 8th innings.
— Matt Cain was surprisingly hittable (although fly balls were really carrying all afternoon), and nobody from the bullpen was what you’d call lights out. Still, the Giants still recorded 12 strikeouts, with Brian Wilson even hitting 100 mph on the gun (although at Coors Field that same pitch probably would have registered at 88 mph).
— Bruce Bochy out-managed himself in the 6th with runners on second and third with no outs, when he sent Bengie Molina up to pinch-hit for Nate Schierholtz simply because there was a lefty pitching (by the way, Molina’s OPS vs. left-handers is .854, while Schierholtz’s is a Bondsian 1.158). Then Boch sent Ryan Rohlinger to the plate with the bases loaded and nobody out in the 8th, and he smacked a single to left-center. So we’ll call it even.
— The weather started as a mixture of overcast conditions and short periods where the sun mixed with the east coast-like humidity and made us feel like we were in a steam room. Then as we joyously left the park, the entire area became colder and more blustery than an average April evening at Candlestick.
All these contrasts make sense when it comes to the Giants, since this week started with 14 innings of doom, and ended with San Francisco somehow making up 4 games in the standings over 5 days. I almost feel guilty for my reactions after Monday’s game, bringing up Bay Area curses and wallowing in self-pity. A curse is when terrible things happen that don’t make sense, not when a group of franchises settles for mediocrity and achieves that goal.
Still, sports is the world of superstition, where holding the remote control in one’s hand for an entire game makes sense if it led to good things in the past. And baseball is filled with the most superstitious athletes and coaches of all (except perhaps for golfers). If anybody on the Giants reads this, just contact me and I’ll give you Heather’s contact infoâ€¦and if you want to give her an extra ticket to each game for her favorite cousin, I’m definitely available.