Since Barry Zito just gave up a 3-run homer and still hasn’t gotten anybody out in the first inning as I’m writing this sentence, what better time than now to post some pictures SGL and I took last night at the Giants’ 2-1 win over the Padres.
The game was like the weather last night — weird yet wonderful at the same time. Matt Cain took that ball of his elbow, leading to the surreal sight of Cain trying to throw a warmup pitch and firing the ball 10 feet over Eli Whiteside and into the screen.
The air was still at Mays Field last night, with a light 3-minute rain shower in the middle of the game making way for an indigo sky marked by a huge rainbow, which in our view (lower box, 35 rows up from behind the Giants’ dugout) started at the left field foul pole and ended at the Drop Zone-style ride at the Giants county fair in McCovey Cove.
Anyone reading this hardly needs a game recap, they all know the extremely well-rested bullpen came through and Pablo Sandoval hit an opposite-field home run as impressive as the mammoth blast he hit the night before.
What struck me last night (besides the realization after Cain left of how fragile and tenuous the Giants’ hold on playoff contention really is) was how you can change the Giants’ home from AT&T to Panda Park. Are you ready for a widespread pandemic (yeah, I know that was a stretch) of Panda-related souveniers? The marketing wizards have already started selling Panda stuff at “the yard”, but after the All-Star Break it’s guaranteed the Giants will be selling an obscene amount of Panda masks, t-shirts, posters and hats. Don’t be surprised to see the team plant bamboo out in Triples Alley.You want to build a bear? After the Break you’ll probably be able to build a panda!
In the crowd, I heard people saying the word “Panda” — I’m not kidding — 100 times. “Let’s go Panda!” has replaced “What’s the matter with (fill in the blank)? He’s a bum!” as the most popular chant at a Giants game.
We’re looking at a potential superstar, here. Young, supremely talented, smiles all the time, built like a bowling ball, and most of all has the most marketable nickname in sports.
Couple more things: First, to the fans down the right field line who tried in vain to start the wave last night, stop it. Let your wave-failure be a lesson to the men out there — just like in dancing, men should never throw their arms up into the air and make a “Woo” noise.
Second, Brian Wison is the team’s closer, and he should stay in that role as long as he’s on the team. To think, after a couple shaky outings everyone was ready to replace “Life of” with a combo of Sergio Romo and Jonathan Sanchez, now Sanchez is a starter again and Wilson’s last outing was a dominant 4-out save.
I’m not a fan of Wilson’s poorly-lit reality show, or the “Let’s Play” radio spot where he says that if he interacts with a fan that will make the fan’s entire week (maybe if the fan is younger than 13, but even then, Wilson can stand to tone down the self-love a little bit). However, he’s an above-average closer who capped off one of the most orderly, well-played bullpen games I’ve ever seen (well, besides that throwing error from Whiteside that scored the Padres’ only run…but since he caught a no-hitter the night before, we’ll let that slide).