Monthly Archives: October 2014

Musings of a shameless homer

As a sports writer, I’m not always a homer. It really depends if my team’s involved or not. Especially if they’re winning. Why should I be any better than Charlie Sheen?

Last night’s Giants’ game was amazing. Shades of Bobby Thompson’s “Shot Heard ‘Round the World,” not that I’m old enough to remember that. But I’ve seen the film.

Here are four reasons why this year’s version is my favorite Giants team of the new millennium (whether they win the World Series or not):

1) I know who the major players are. In 2010, Posey, the Panda and that longhaired pitcher Tim Lincecum were all new to me. The only players I was familiar with were Barry Zito and Brian Wilson. Even then, I only knew about Brian Wilson because everyone in the world did, thanks to that odd beard.

And who the hell is Bruce Bochy? I thought he managed the Padres?

Sure, I knew Posey, Lincecum and the Panda in 2012, but I still wasn’t familiar with Hunter Pence. He’s on the Astros, right? Is he any good?

2) The 18-inning game against the Washington Nationals — along with an iPad — gave me time to catch up with the entire 2014 roster. Did you know Brett Bochy, Bruce Bochy’s son, is on the Giants’ inactive roster? And Travis Ishikawa made his major league debut with the Giants in 2006, and even won a World Series ring with the team in 2010 before being sent down to the minors a year later. After a stint with the Brewers, he came up to the majors again with Pittsburgh this year, but was released again before resigning with the Giants in April.

Oh, and in the last three games of the 2014 regular season, Ishikawa was moved from first base to left field. Just in time for the playoffs. Wonder if that’ll work out?

3) Game four of the NLCS series. Especially the sixth inning. Amazing. Best game I saw all year until …

4) Game five of the NLCS series. Improbably, Ishikawa hits a walk-off home run. There are five home runs in the game, three by the Giants, two by St. Louis. Despite all that offense, the game was largely a pitchers’ duel between San Fran’s Madison Bumgarner and Adam Wainright of the Cardinals.

I don’t know what’s going to happen in the World Series, but I love this team.

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Of course, like most true baseball fans, I’m happy to see the long-suffering Kansas City Royals make it to the big stage.

Besides, back in the ’70s I used to hang out with a guy whose brother was on the Royals. A big blond carpenter who stood about 6-2, lived in El Segundo and looked like he could knock a ball out of the park himself (in fact, he did play some minor league ball). What was his name again?

Oh, I remember now. John Brett. No shit.

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Wed Wiver Wivalry is for wosers

Amazing.

The local media — specifically some unheralded writer in the sports pages of the Austin American-Statesman — got it right. We should no longer call the football game between Texas and Oklahoma the Red River Rivalry. We should call it the Red River Showdown.

I hate that name, Red River Rivalry, hate it. It’s not fair to make everybody talk like Elmer Fudd. So Showdown it is.

That is, unless we want to grow up and call it the Red River Shootout once again. What the hell’s wrong with that? It’s not like it’s called First, We Kill All The Redskins.

Whoa, whoa, Tex. Settle down. Little over the top there.

The Red River Shootout suggests a game with a lot of passing to me, not a game where linebackers sport Uzis. What’s wrong with people?

That said, if we want a modern politically-correct name, I have other suggestions.

— Texas OK Chainsaw Massacre (Oklahoma leads 9 to 5 since the year 2000)
— Red Neck Rivalry (at least I can say it)
— Like a Dallas Game, But Better (speaks for itself)

And my personal favorite,

— Crackers At The State Fair

It’s not my favorite Longhorns game, you know. I prefer Texas v. Oklahoma State (because I hate Mike Gundy and T Boone Pickens) or Texas v. Texas Tech (because I always like to watch Tech play). Last year, I slept through the Texas-OU game. Sorry. If you want me to cover it, put it on later in the day or at night like satan intended.

At any rate, if I can’t cover the game, at least let me pronounce it correctly.

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The return of the Killer P’s

Wait, what?

I guess I meant it’s the return of the killer bees. I mean Killer B’s, as in Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio and some other guys whose first or last name started with B back in the ’90s. Back in the day.

Look. I live in Texas. I may not be an Astros fan, but I get who the Killer Bees were.

But tonight, after the Giants defeated the D.C. Nats to gain a berth against the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS, a fan held up a sign that read, simply, “The Killer P’s.”

Wait, what?

Are the San Francisco Giants the Killer P’s? Let’s think this through. Buster Posey. That’s one. Hunter Pence. That’s two. The Panda, that’s three. And even though the Panda’s last name is Sandoval, his first name is Pablo, so there’s another P. And didn’t they also trade for Jake Peavy?

Holy hell. I don’t think I’m finished yet. They’ve got a reliever by the name of Petit. And the second baseman’s name is Joe Panik.

And what about Perry Ponds? See? I always go too far.

But they are definitely the Killer P’s, aren’t thay?

Besides. Did I not mention Juan Peres? And PacBell Park? What? It’s now called AT&T Park?

Wait, what?

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Love the MLB wild card, love the World Series

Don’t you love the MLB wild card game? Don’t you? It’s like two game sevens. And as an added bonus, you don’t even have to capitalize the words wild card. I love it. Sure, it’s an utter mockery of the 162-game regular season, but who cares? It’s good TV.

Also love the World Series (which good breeding and the AP Stylebook mandates we capitalize). Love it. Best four out of seven games. I suggest we leave it that way.

Kind of don’t care much about everything in between though. Wish I did, but I don’t. Will I watch these games? Depends. How far will my team, the SF Giants, go? I’ll definitely watch all the Giants’ games.

Things could be better, you know. The MLB playoffs start with a bang with the one-game wild card, why not continue it? The division series could be the best two out of three, and why not change the ALCS and NLCS to the best three out of five as well? After all, during the regular season most series are just three games, four tops.

Wait. Here’s an idea. Why not make everything a one game series until the World Series, which of course should be the best out of seven, always. Think of the interest it would generate. Every baseball fan would watch every game. And there would only be four playoff games in each league leading up to the World Series — one wildcard, two division series games, and one league championship game.

Wait a minute. Hold the phone. What if we just took the team with the best winning percentage in the National League and faced them against the team with the best winning percentage in the American League after the 162-game season is completed and had them duke it out in in the World Series — with no playoff games whatsoever.

Has that ever been tried before? And if so, did it work out?

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Notes: How about that 18-inning game between the Giants and the Nats, huh? This is why baseball is called a pastime. Emphasis on time. Fortunately, my team won, but 18 innings is one hellofa commitment.

I don’t know what we do about this. We basically watched a double-header in one game. Maybe it should count as two games. In which case, the series is now done.

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