Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Unwatchables

The “blecchh”-style noise hasn’t been invented yet that can accurately and fully encapsulate the horror that is the 2007 San Francisco Giants. Remember way back when the Giants’ biggest worry was whether Barry Bonds would bat third or fourth? I sure miss those halcyon days, don’t you? Back then the Giants had a double-play combination that was solid on offense and defense; a starting rotation with only one question mark—who would be the fifth starter?—and a healthy, again-effective closer; a longtime superstar whose every at-bat was worth stopping whatever you were doing to watch; a speedy and effective new leadoff hitter; a modest power platoon at first base; some good young pitching; and several other reasons we should be optimistic that the Giants could easily finish as high as third place.

Compared to now, those were carefree days, weren’t they? (The same could be said about the 2005 season, when they merely stank.) But now… wow. The worse they get, the more you think it’s impossible for them to keep getting worse, and the more they do so anyway. Last night’s game saw the Giants down 6-0 after two innings to the inexplicably good Milwaukee Brewers, with Tim Lincecum on the mound. First, know that I wish no success on the Brewers: I resent the Selig-induced idiocy leading to them switching leagues, and they’re still Selig’s team, no matter what anyone says, and Selig makes my skin crawl. But it’s really only worth complaining about those things when the Giants are playing reasonably well and one must complain about something.

Last night’s game ended up at 6-2, but it still brought to mind a major league Dads vs. Kids game, where the major leaguers, laughing all the way, lose 43-0, gleefully doing everything they can to make it easy for their offspring to hit and run all day long. It’s fun for everybody—which is what distinguishes it from last night’s Giants-Brewers game.

The details of last night’s Giants-Brewers game? What’s the difference? “Putrid Giants loss” tells you all you need to know. You don’t want to hear about Lincecum’s wildness or his teammates bringing dead flounders to the plate instead of baseball bats.

It’s way easier to switch over to TV shows about fictional people being murdered than it is to stick with a Giants game these days.

This team is Omar Vizquel hitting weak fly balls; Pedro Feliz whapping grounders to third with nobody out and a runner on second; Randy Winn, off his hot streak, flailing miserably for strike three; Barry Bonds popping up. It’s hit-and-run singles—ground balls hit exactly where a Giants middle infielder would be if he weren’t busy covering second. It’s Kevin Correia or Steve Kline giving up a huge base hit on the first pitch he throws; Jack Taschner giving up a key hit to the lefthanded batter he was brought in to face; Rich Aurilia or Ray Durham batting third but not hitting; curveballs bouncing crazily off the edge of the plate, getting away from Bengie Molina; the false hope generated by Russ Ortiz; knowing that a Giants rally, no matter how big, won’t be enough and won’t be sustained; and knowing, on those rare occasions when the Giants have a lead going to the last inning, that whoever comes in to close it out is not going to get the job done. And somewhere out there is a general manager, smiling in grim satisfaction, saying “I told you so,” but for the wrong reasons.

The 2007 Giants are what EEEEEE!—the concept, the website, the “almost” blog, the noise itself—is all about.

No comments:

Post a Comment