2010 World Series

What’s the matter with Cliff Lee?

Well, he isn’t a bum. He also isn’t Sandy Koufax or Bob Gibson. He isn’t unbeatable, perfect, or any better than Roy Halladay, Ubaldo Jimenez, Roy Oswalt, Adam Wainwright or Mat Latos, pitchers the Giants similarly dispatched at least once in 2010. He isn’t going to pitch three games in this series, even if he was comfortable doing so. Cliff Lee also isn’t a guy who can back up foolhardy statements such as these:

So, Cliff, what can you say about a lineup that lacks power and speed but gets it done? Why are these hitters dangerous, if you believe they are?

“I think they’re dangerous,” the Rangers’ ace said, “because they’ve got really good pitching.”

Well, better than the pitching you displayed last night, anyway!

And I was there in the bleachers, section 138. In a year where I’ve seen a game that ranked in my bottom three all time, and top three all time for games seen in person, it made sense that the World Series game I saw with my dad, stepmom and fiance ended up trumping them all.

What’s a way to describe how we felt without using the “roller coaster” cliche? Because after floating into the stadium and watching the pregame stuff, Tim Lincecum started out the game like he had just celebrated 4:20 in the clubhouse with a couple huge bong rips (I smell a theme!). When he ran Michael Young back to third instead of completing what should have been an easy rundown for the second out of the first inning, the crowd was floored. Not quite defeated, but almost resigned to our fate that Game 1 was probably going to be a 3-0 complete game victory for Mr. Lee. Were the Giants suddenly not-ready-for-primetime players? It was so similar to the feeling everyone had when Pablo Sandoval was unable to back up quickly enough to the same base the last time the Giants played at home.

(Side note: I think whenever Sandoval backs up like he did in Game 5 of the NLCS, there should automatically be a beeping noise similar to when a large van or other type of service vehicle gets put in reverse.)

What a weird feeling after the Rangers scored again in the second inning. I would have felt guilty for the whole self-pity angle since we were clearly lucky to even be in the park for obvious reasons, except everyone else was close to crying in their beers as well. Then Freddy Sanchez started on his double-hitting rampage, and the place just erupted. It was like someone took the muzzles off 43,000 excitable puppies.

My parents stayed the night after the game in our living room, and this morning I fired up the Tivo and we watched all the best moments of the game up to Juan Uribe’s beautiful home run (which landed about 10 rows below us and 10 feet to our left), just to see how the crowd noise translated to television. And I’m happy to report, it translated. Talk about loud. If you combine the chills I got last night with the ones I got while watching parts of the game this morning, it’s a wonder the part of my skin used to create goosebumps still works.

My voice, it doesn’t work. At all. I sound like I spent last night drinking Everclear and smoking three packs of Newports. I started getting the “yelling headache” last night around the 7th inning (very similar to the crippling headache I suffered from screaming like a lunatic at the last game of the year when the Giants clinched the NL West). Luckily my parents took my fiance and I to Fly Bar last night at 11:30 for an extremely satisfying meal of pizza, hummus and Big Daddy IPA. Otherwise I might not be functional today. Wait, that would mean I actually am functional today. Forget what I just wrote.

Huff, Huff, Ross

— Of course, Texas thinks none of us are functional, or that we’re all functional stoners. Check out this Texas reporter’s indignant, um, report if you haven’t heard it already. Josh Hamilton is pretty much throwing it out there that if he relapses, the smoke he smelled at AT&T Park would be the reason why. Yes, I smelled marijuana smoke last night. I also smelled it this morning at least five times while walking from Alamo Square to 4th and Market, where I work. In other news, pot smoke was also smelled today at locations such as Haight St., Golden Gate Park, and every single apartment building in the city. How is this news? Candlestick Park, the Coliseum and the Cow Palace were always known for the amount of pot-smoking that went on. Why should AT&T Park be different? This is Northern California, where tobacco is bad and marijuana is pretty much expected.

— One guy who looked like he had a contact high was Vlad Guerrero, at least on defense. I love how Ron Washington thinks it’s a good idea to start him in the outfield for one of the two games in San Francisco. It’s like admitting it’s a bad idea, then doing it anyway. Washington must be high or something.

— Last night proved a few things about these teams’ bullpens: the Rangers’ pen isn’t anywhere near as deep as what the Giants faced in the first two rounds of the playoffs, Sergio Romo won’t be grounded anymore, and Ramon Ramirez probably shouldn’t face live hitters until February.

— It was almost as if the Giants gave up all those late runs just to please a crowd that looked so forward to seeing Brian Wilson enter the game. If the cheers and BASG traffic are any indication, he’s become the most popular guy on this team. Or, at least the one who elicits the most curiosity and the noisiest reactions.

— You haven’t lived until you’ve joined a mosh pit at a baseball stadium that includes your dad. When Uribe hit that ball I knew it was gone immediately, and I started jumping up and down like I suddenly had Shannon Brown’s hops. I also knew it was a party when my dad and stepmom started watching the game while standing on the bleacher bench in front of us.

— Strangers with whom I shared a high five last night: somewhere between 10 and 30.

— Rangers fans I saw looking mighty glum after the game: somewhere between 10 and 30. Guaranteed there’s at least five times more Giants fans in the Ballpark in Arlington than there were Rangers fans last night at AT&T.

— It got forgotten with Uribe’s home run and Sanchez’s 4-hit night, but Buster Posey’s single to centerfield to knock in the second run of the game was huuuuuuge. I can’t wait until Posey has one of his breakout games in this series, and Fox damn well better show Bengie Molina’s reaction after each double.

— Pretty rare that Tim Lincecum picks up the win on a night when his earned runs allowed surpassed his strikeouts. It was that kind of night.

— Tony Bennett made me a fan of “God Bless America” last night. Well, almost.

— Another moment I’ll never forget, in a game full of them: when Cody Ross came close to decapitating Lee with that line drive up the middle.

— You could tell just by watching Ross strut around the outfield before the start of innings, looking into the bleachers — he really enjoys being Cody Ross in San Francisco right now. And who can blame him? We’re all enjoying everything about San Francisco these days, even if Texas isn’t.

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