Written by Andy | 15 April 2011

Sorry this post is a day late, but hopefully the off-day means that it will still be relevent and that everyone hasn't forgotten Wednesday's win over the Fodgers.  See, it's just that after the game, I was online perusing Vegas odds when I came across something pretty interesting.

*Heat trade Lebron to the Warriors for Andres Biedrins, citing his "above-average hair" -    18 to 1
*Pittsburgh Pirates:  2011 World Series Champs -  37 to 1
*Albert Pujols demands trade to Royals on grounds that he's tired of seeing Billy Butler get a paycheck -  62 to 1
*After being swept by Celtics, Carmelo tells reporters he wishes he'd stayed in Denver - 88 to 1
*Tim Lincecum tweets that he beaned Uribe on purpose and if he had the chance, he'd have hit him again and "put some stank on it" - 137 to 1
*Boston Red Sox finish the season 2-160 -  355 to 1
*Oakland A's outdraw San Francisco Giants by 2 million fans due to "Coco Crisp Afro Bobble-Head Month" -  888 to 1
*Giants win a game by getting homeruns in the same inning by a right-handed Pablo Sandoval and an either-handed Mike Fontenot - 5,633,223,111 to 1

It's magic inside, I would say.


Most of the talk around the NL West these days centers on whether or not the Rockies are for real.  Well, it's because of analysis like the following that you get your GIants news from 24 Days of Magic.  The Rockies are not for real because it's April and they are winning.  That's not how the Rockies are successful.  They are supposed to be bad right now, or at least simply mediocre, stay mediocre through August, and then win 56 of their final 30 games.  Worked in 2007.  Worked in 2009.  Almost worked in 2010.  Why would 2011 be any different?  By starting 10-2, the Rockies are assuring themselves of a 4th place finish.  I would say 5th place, but Arizona is as bad as advertised, which is to say, they are better than last year and still very, very bad.

I admit that when I read the standings this morning, I had a quick thought that went like this: "we're only one game out of the wild card!"
I will not be looking at the standings again until July.
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Written by Andy | 13 April 2011

I went to my first Giants game of the year last night, and in the words of the Russian dude on the DirecTV commercials, it was "Epic Win."  Igor tells me that in fact most Russians do not have miniature pet giraffes, but as Igor himself is not Russian and as Russian soldiers no doubt have invaded Igor's village many times, I think he is just a tad bitter and very jealous that he himself does not have a miniature pet girrafe.

Anyway, Bruce Bochy's insistence on pitching left handers against Marcus Thames aside, yesterday's game was fantastic.  Yes, I love Aaron Rowand (for now).  Buster Posey getting three hits restores some of my faith in humanity.  Pablo still looks good.  Romo was back to being nasty.  And, most importantly, Brian Wilson came in and showed the Dodgers what a real closer looks like.  But most importantly, I had a good time.  I had fun.  And that got me thinking...are Giants fans the luckiest fans on earth?  Yes. 

To channel Bill Simmons, I will break down what fans would want from their team in a perfect world into five categories.
1.  A fun atmosphere.  In other words, there is something unique or festive about attending a game.  The fans are either knowledgable or loud or both.  Nobody relies on the scoreboard to tell them when to cheer.
2.  An attractive venue.  Doesn't have to be state of the art.  It can be old school.  But it better have charm or be well designed. 
3.  A winning team.  A fan can only be so "lucky" while watching the Pirates.
4. A young team.  All fans want to see youth and project possibility into each successful at-bat or pitching performance.  Winning with old guys is ok, but youth is better.
5. An interesting/likeable team.  Fans want a team with personality, and preferably good personality. 

So let's take all 30 teams and start crossing them off.  By my calculation (and remember, I've been to all thirty baseball stadiums, so my calculations are actually somewhat informed and not just the rantings of a Giants fan who thinks Sacramento is the East Coast), the following teams qualify under category 1:
White Sox
Red Sox
(Note, the Mets used to qualify, but their corporate stadium has sucked the life out of their fan base....that and their terrible team)

Of those, how many can be crossed off by Category 2?
Brewers.  Just because a stadium is new doesn't mean it's nice.  The fact that people died building Miller Park doesn't help.  Having a giant slide in the outfield is just goofy.  Yes, I know, we have a Coke Bottle slide.  But that's a small distraction from an otherwise perfect park.  The slide in Milwaukee fits in a little too seemlessly.
A's.  I think we've all been there.  Sorry A's fans.  It's not your fault.  You just have a little too much of a committment to excellence, if you will.
White Sox.  One of the only newish parks that is completely uninteresting.  No outfield wall quirks?  Really?  Yawn.

So we have left:
CATEGORY 1 and 2
Red Sox

Category 3 helps narrow it down.  How lucky are Indians fans?  Exactly.  Same with the Orioles and Mariners.  Let's see...any one else we can eliminate?  Oh right.  The team that hasn't won a championship in 102 years.

Red Sox

Of these, how many have a core of good young players?  The Giants have at least 8 good young players.  The Dodgers have 3.  Let's pretend that's enough to qualify just so we can rip them in Category 5.  The Cardinals have 1 good young player and he only pitches once every 5 games.  The Phillies have no good young players because Domonic Brown hasn't played enough games yet to show anyone if he's any good.  The Red Sox have....????  Yankees?   Cano and...


Personality?  We got personality up the wazoo.  The Dodgers?  Not so much.  Matt Kemp is a celebrity dater.  Ok.  Casey Blake is a jerk.  Nice....Andre Ethier has "special" hair.  Jonathan Broxton eats puppies.  Clayton Kershaw looks like he was in Deliverance.  Name one likeable Dodger.  One.  You can't do it.  And yes, James Loney looked absurd in his little warm hat last night.  Welcome to the Bay Area, James. 
Let's pretend for the moment that the Red Sox and Yankees weren't eliminated by Category 4.  Who do they have?  By my estimate, the Red Sox have Pedroia (who gives awesome interviews) and Papi, and the Yankees have Swisher.  Robinson Cano doesn't talk.  Derek Jeter isn't a positive personality.  A-Rod is a trainwreck.  Mariano Rivera is likeable if you're into being bored by consistently good performance. 

Now, you might be thinking that maybe this is just because baseball players in general are boring and that the current Giants roster is a fluke of circumstance.  Skipping hockey which is a stupid sport and football which obscures all the personalities of its players except the quarterbacks and the attention hogs, let's try the same formula in the NBA and see if we get any teams that qualify on all five counts like the Giants.

Golden State
Los Angeles Lakers
San Antonio
New York
Dallas (that's a stretch, but ok)

CATEGORY 1 and 2
We'll just keep all of them since the quality of a basketball arena is far less relevent than in baseball

San Antonio


Derrick Rose is a cheater, but he plays hard.  Do you root for a guy who's name sounds like "Joker" and who is the son of a French Tennis Star?  Ok.  Are the Bulls anywhere close to being as likeable as the Giants?  No.

We're lucky.  I wouldn't change places with fans of any other team in any other sport.  I even got free garlic fries last night.  Man, writing this post makes me want to start singing Journey.

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Written by Andy | 12 April 2011

Once upon a time there was a great land of enormous beauty on the shores of a great ocean.  This land was filled with many different types of people, and all of them lived together in peace and understanding, even though they looked quite different and even sometimes had different values.  In the North lived the peaceful Tree People, who were quite short and agile and liked to swing from tree to tree and live in chorus with the woodland animals common in that part of the land.  In the east lived the Dust Dwarves, who were also quite short but considerably larger around the mid-section and who toiled in the fields.  In the west, on the beaches of the great ocean, lived the elves and humans who lived in modern cities.  And to the south lived the Ogres, who were peaceful Ogres and who strove constantly to clear Ogres of the bad name they have gotten through centuries of prejudicial fairy tales.

The land was ruled by a great King, but he was democratically elected.  Every election, he won with approximately 87% of the vote, but it was not a rigged vote.  The 13% who voted against him were idiots, though they were conveniently spaced throughout the kingdom so as not to burden any one village with too many idiots, and to give the non-idiots a sense of self-confidence by comparison.  The King was beloved but he was also very old and one day he decided he did not wish to be King anymore, in part because he very much enjoyed playing golf and very much did not enjoy budget meetings and being King unfortunately was not as glamorous as it appears on The Tudors.

So the King ceded power temporarily to his son, Prince Gomber, who everybody but the King could see was one of the 13%, if you will.  Upon assuming power, Prince Gomber immediately began wearing funny hats, which everybody in the Kingdom agreed was a very bad sign because throughout history, the one constant among despotic leaders is that they always wear funny hats.  There was much murmuring in the Kingdom as to the Prince's motives, and much concern that he would attempt to pit the various ethnic groups against each other in order to retain power and not face an election campaign which he would surely lose because his aides had already told the media that his slogan would be "Gomber: One Bajillion Points of Light."

Sure enough, Prince Gomber began to do just that.  First he told the Tree People that the Dust Dwarves were attempting to cut down their trees and build farms instead.  Armed guards began to show up in the tree village to "protect" the local residents.  Then he told the Dust Dwarves that they would have to move further east because their current land was needed for Elvish settlements.  And then he told the Elves that they were in danger of a war with the Ogres because the Ogres are bad people and it says so right in this book.  And he held up a book about a goat and showed it to everyone.  

Pretty soon, the Prince's Elite Gomber Guards had shown up all over the Kingdom to protect everyone from each other.  Then they began to raid the homes of suspected "domestic terrorists."  When some residents fought back against the Prince's guards, he declared a Civil War was at hand and he hastily adjusted his funny hat while declaring that all residents of the Kingdom were either "with us or against us.'

War came to the Kingdom.  The Tree People were driven from their homes in the trees and forced to live even farther north, where people are very weird and blow duck whistles while they scream about how good their shoe-money-funded university is at playing football.  The Dust Dwarves were pushed farther east into an arid desert where nothing can grow except hotels and houses of ill-repute.  The Ogres were scattered and thrown into camps and the Elves were enslaved and made to serve as valets and cooks for the Humans.  Meanwhile, the Prince began to destroy all that was good about the Kingdom.   A once great land filled with meadows and mountains, hills and valleys, spectacular beaches and breathtaking forests was now a lake of fire, burned and destroyed in the name of National Security and Industry.

Moreover, the great culture of the land was destroyed.  All that was good was declared bad and all that was previously taboo was now mandated.  Systems of education were replaced with propogandistic training facilities.  Museums were replaced with statues to Prince Gomber and his fluffy cat Mr. Meatballs.  Libraries were burned.  Parks were made into parking lots.  And sports stadiums sat empty, used mostly for torch-lit rallies and military exercises.

And then one day it happened.  The Prince declared that from this day forward, all citizens would be required to spend all of their free time worshipping Prince Gomber.  As a result, all other forms of entertainment would be banned.  Televisions and movies were made illegal.  Boardgames were burned.  Basketballs and soccer balls were turned in to police stations and footballs were punctured by local "Youth Brigades" en masse.  Yes, the Prince banned sports.  He banned baseball.  And as a result, because of this, the Giants never, ever, ever, had to face Clayton Kershaw, ever again.

The End

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Written by Andy | 12 April 2011

You might have noticed that last Saturday, the Giants wore hats and jerseys with gold letters.  Apparently, if you win the World Series, you get to wear gold once.  Kind of like being Miss America with the crown.  Sort of.  Are you picturing Freddy Sanchez in an evening gown?  Please stop.

Anyway, if you want to buy a gold hat for yourself and maybe show it off to your friends who root for other teams ("what's that?  your hat doesn't come in gold?  Oh, but it comes in pink?  That's original."), go here.

Winning the World Series means we'll never have to be bored with Giants wardrobe options ever again.

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Written by Andy | 11 April 2011

I can't really write a plea for restraint to Giants fans contemplating a revenge assault on any Dodger fans crazy enough to attend tonight's game.  I can't write that plea because my readers are not really the "beat-up-a-Dodger-fan" type.  See, I recently polled my readers to find out more about them, and here are the results.


Read Harry Potter   84%
-Are related to Eric Surkamp    35%
-Get really excited when talking about advanced statistical analysis   53%
-Have cried because the Giants lost   78%
-Have cried because the Giants won  29%
-Have ever just hauled off and beat the living crap out of somebody because they were wearing the wrong color   0%

That's how Ivory Tower out-of-touch I am.  I really can't even plea with people not to beat up Dodger fans tonight because to me, the notion of hurting somebody because they like a different baseball team than you is so absurd it's almost funny.  It's not funny, obviously, after the events of ten days ago.  But it's completely absurd.  Really?  Have we lost that much perspective on life?

Here are a list of reasons why it mightbe OK to beat somebody up:
1. They are about to beat you up
2. They are hurting somebody and you want to stop them
3. They are about to press the red button that will launch nukes from your submarine, your first mate has relieved the captain of command, everybody's fighting each other, and while you're worried about pissing off Gene Hackman because he scares you, you're more worried about nuking Russia because of a misunderstanding.

That's it.  That's the entire list.
No, "he hit me with a pitch" doesn't qualify. 
No, "he's a Dodger fan" doesn't qualify.
No, "but he just said 'Giants suck!'" doesn't qualify
And no, even "but he just traded Francisco Liriano and Joe Nathan for the world's biggest jerk!" does not qualify.

I don't think Giants fans are any more on the spot tonight than Dodger fans were responsible for what happened last week.  The bottom line is that tonight, 99.99% of Giants fans will do exactly the right thing, and maybe one idiot will do something stupid.  Hopefully it won't cause permanent damage.  Hopefully nobody's life we be ruined.
I wish my words had more sway over the people who might be contemplating stupidity tonight.  They don't.  But if anyone's ever thinking of dressing up as a hybrid Tim Lincecum-Harry Potter, going to the game, and waving a wand and shouting "stupefy!" every time Timmy throws a changeup and simultaneously trying to meet women, I could probably talk him down from the ledge.  Sigh.  It's tough being so influential... 

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Written by Andy | 10 April 2011

After watching San Francisco welcome the World Champion Giants back home, I have to think the rest of the country is realizing that the smug "see?  they got lucky last year" proclamations after a 1-4 start might have been a bit premature.  And not to get too sappy, but it's not just Buster Posey and Tim Lincecum who deserve credit for that....it's all of us.  Because together, we're Giants.  And it's Magic Inside.  Humm Baby.

Watching the bottom of the 9th last night, I didn't particularly believe we were going to come back and win.  But I wasn't there.  I was at home.  And from the looks of it, the 42,000 Giants fans at AT&T Park disagreed.  You can't put an exact value on that kind of energy, but having watched sports my whole life, I can say with sincerity that the momentum that comes with that type of fan support is critical.  After Posey singled, Pat Burrell worked a walk.  With each pitch, the noise level grew in the park, and if I'm Pat Burrell, I get more confident with each pitch.  And if I'm Ryan Franklin, I start to get a little anxious.

So yes, it IS Magic, Inside.  We're going to have some tough road trips this year, but this series, win or lose today, reminds us all that the Giants are going to have a safe place to land after those brutal trips.  We were good at home last year.  Heck, Pablo Sandoval was a .330 hitter last year at home, and Pablo Sandoval didn't do ANYTHING well last year.  This year, as Defending World Champs, we're going to be dominant at home.

I'm not yet a Miguel Tejada fan.  But my hatred of him is melting a little.  My hatred of Miguel Tejada is a frozen carton of ice cream and now somebody (Miguel Tejada) has put it on the counter and while I still can't get any of the ice cream out without bending my spoon, it at least doesn't have icicles sitting on top.  That's progress.
Same with Aaron Rowand, though his .500 average so far comes with the caveat that last year Edgar Renteria started the season 39 for 50 or something like that and then didn't get another hit until late October.  Those are approximations of the truth, sort of like how the phrase "The Cardinals Are A Unwatchable Trainwreck" is an approximation of the truth because they still do have Colby Rasmus and he's really good at almost catching fly balls.
Let's hope Andres isn't out too long.  That's 2/3rds of our outfield on the bench, and 82% of the team's quantity of "nice."  Buster has the other 18% and he's not catching today.  I'm waiting for a brawl to break out...

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Written by Andy | 10 April 2011

Sorry, Colby Rasmus.  You might have caught that ball in San Diego, or St. Louis, or Chicago.  You might have caught it in Miami. 

Not in San Francisco.

We've got magic coming out of our eyeballs.

Torture?  We've got that too.

But we also have magic.

More tomorrow, hopefully.  For now, check out Eric Surkamp's line from his first AA start:

4ip, 3h, 1bb, 0er, 10ks.

He was removed due to pitch count issues.

Nice job, Eric!  We're rooting for you.  And if Zito doesn't have it tomorrow, we will swear at the television and think longingly of your spike curveball.

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Written by Andy | 07 April 2011

Well, we finished the year's first road trip 2-4, although for some reason it feels like we're 8-1.  Does it not feel that way to you?  You're not thinking about it right.  We lost close games.  We were on the road.  We had injuries.  Everything went wrong.  And we're 2-4.  It could have been much worse.  Ok, I guess it could only have been 1 or 2 games worse, but still, you get my point.  Or maybe you don't.  Maybe you're an idiot.

So let's rate the road trip.

Tim Lincecum
Matt Cain
Aaron Rowand
Freddy Sanchez
Pablo Sandoval
Sergio Romo
Guillermo Mota
Javier Lopez
Ramon Ramirez

Buster Posey
Aubrey Huff
Andres Torres
Jonathan Sanchez

Brandon Belt
Jeremy Affeldt
Barry Zito

Pat Burrell
Santiago Casilla
Madison Bumgarner

Miguel Tejada
Dan Runzler

Brian Wilson

What does a "Z" Grade Mean?
It means Let's Rage.

Here's the stat that really gets me:
Pablo Sandoval batting Right-Handed: .250
Pablo Sandoval batting Left-Handed: .438

I'm not a platoon guy, but watching Pablo hit right-handed screams for some Mark DeRosa time.  And going 0-4 with 2 strikeouts and a couple double plays is not going to help the Panda's confidence. 

Ok, so Aaron Rowand gets an A.  As long as Bochy doesn't take Andres Torres out of the lineup, I'm ok with giving Rowand enough at-bats to remind us why we don't want to give Aaron Rowand a bunch of at-bats.  I hope I'm wrong.  I'm not.  But I hope I am.  Then again, when he pinch-hit the other day against Luke Gregerson, my reaction was to yell at the radio: "you're sending Aaron Rowand up to hit against a guy who throws nothing but sliders??  Are you insane?"  And then he got a hit.  Who knows.  Maybe he's on roids.  Maybe he stole Cody Ross' playoff mojo and then kicked him in the calf to boot.

Casilla's injury delayed the inevitable choice of which pitcher to send down.  That's probably good news for Dan Runzler.  When Cody Ross comes back, however, I have to think Nate Schierholtz is heading to the waiver wire.  And if he's not more valued by opposing GM"s than was Travis Ishikawa, that means he's heading to Fresno.  Otherwise, he might be headed to Houston.  Which is like Fresno with better BBQ.

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Written by Andy | 06 April 2011

Yesterday my friend Marcus pointed out that losing 3-1 to the Padres is a great thing, because it means everything is just like last year, when we won the World Series.  That got me thinking...

The Padres are like our weirdo Wing Man.  See, last year, we went to the same bar we always go to, hoping we'd finally not go home drunk and alone.  There, sitting in the corner, was the beautiful Baseball Gods, wearing an alluring red dress. We tried to talk to the Baseball Gods, but the Padres kept running up behind us, dumping water on our head, or messing up our hair.  They would walk up and pretend to make conversation and then fart loudly and tell the Baseball Gods it was us.  They would pretend to be our friend and say embarrasing things to the Baseball gods like "well, we love the Giants.  We always have.  I mean, it's not very often you come across a grown man willing to admit he still wets the bed!"

We all assumed the end result would be that we would leave the bar, once again, drunk and alone.  But then something weird happened.  The Baseball Gods felt sorry for us.  They decided the Padres were boorish and immature and that we were the team they wanted to make out with in October.  And let me tell you,we spent most of October with the Baseball Gods, and most of that time was spent in the backseat of our Camaro.  It was awesome.

All thanks to the Padres.

So when we lose 3-1 to the Padres and leave 48 men on base, you can picture the Baseball Gods looking at us over their drink with a touch of sympathy and a touch of attraction.  And you can picture the Padres running around the bar hitting on random women and making an ass of themselves.  And eventually getting thrown out by the bouncer (Carlos Marmol).  It's all OK.  After all, if we start beating the Padres, maybe we lose that sympathy.  Maybe we become the big bully who nobody likes.  And that never works.  I mean, the Yankees are the biggest bully there is, and they've only won 27 championships in over 100 years.  So Cosmic Justice is nothing to sneer at.

Yesterday was as good an example of any of Giants fans being off their game.  In this case, it was me.  It was the 7th inning and we trailed by two runs.  I thought "ok, we still have a chance."  And then I remembered.

At one point, I think Gregerson threw 18 sliders in a row.  Nice.

We have to get back in shape just like the players.  So, Giants fans, are you still on your game?  Here's a quiz to help you assess your mental Giants preparedness.  Or something.

It's Tim Lincecum vs. Tim Stauffer today.  This means:
a) Giants win!  Timmy is better than what's his name.
b) We probably win.  We've got the edge.
c) I'd say we've got a good chance to win.

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Written by Andy | 04 April 2011

The Giants have had better weekends.  They've also had worse weekends.  I'd like to think optimistically and say that despite the fact that a ton of things went wrong, we had pretty bad luck, we lost three close games and won a blowout, we didn't have Brian Wilson or Cody Ross, and that we were on the road against a decent team, we probably should have emerged 2-2.  It's really not that bad.  But here's what I've been hearing from others.

Text:  "The Wild Kingdom Defense Strikes...

Email:  "If you know that there is at least a slim slim possibility of Brandon Belt playing first base at all this season, you have to give Aubrey Huff a ton more looks in the outfield.  That's just plain organizational mismanagement."

Email:  "I was actually going to see if (you) could create one of those one second video loops where it shows the clip over and over repeatedly - like that one of Panda tripping over second base - of Tejada's swing on that pitch.  I think that would be a great media clip to start a "new" feature on (the) website called TORTURE.  Whenever we're feeling good about a 6-game winning streak or the Giants being in first place, we just go to that tab on the website and remind ourselves of our own mortality."

Email:  "God bless the Giants.  And here I thought I'd be reaching for things to complain about this early into the season."

And the winner:

Dear Bochy,
What were you thinking exactly?  Did we really need that to just happen?  Consider the following:
-Marcus Thames crushes lefties
-Dan Runzler is a lefty
-The majority of your bullpen is well-rested, not to mention that Romo has yet to throw a pitch this year and Mota should be getting replaced in three days
-The Dodgers lack any decent left-handed options to bring off the bench to counter a switch
-You have two more lefties in the bullpen, should you feel the need to use one against Ethier next inning.
Still, you decide to put the ball on a tee for Marcus Thames.  Why? 
Although, I don't fault you for leaving Burrell in Left and Huff in Right.  That was just unfortunate. 
A 1-3 Giants Fan

And I think that's the bottom line.  Is starting 1-3 a big deal?  No.  But this series left a bad taste in our mouth because the negative results stemmed mostly from things that either seemed unncessarily stupid or, worse, spell long-term potential doom.  Huff's misplayed fly ball is the perfect example of both.  Why didn't he get more reps in spring training?  That really is stupid.  It's as though the whole world was saying "wow, Brandon Belt is really good, if he has a good spring he might make the team" and Sabean was sitting in his office going "lalalala" until the last week at which point he said "hey!  This Belt guy could make the team!"  So preventable mistake:  Check.
And long term potential doom?  Check.  When Ross comes back, the defensive problem is largely solved.  But then who sits on the bench?  Burrell and his 81-home run pace?  Huff?  Belt?  Ross?  And is this somehow going to result in Aaron Rowand playing center field and batting leadoff?

Panda looks....ok.  Not good.  Not terrible.  There's hope.  He really shouldn't bat right-handed ever.  But Tejada looks just awful.  Everything I thought was bad about him is bad.  And when he did get a hit, he did that "spotlight" thing that the Padres did last year.  Thanks, Miggy.  Giants fans really want to see our players imitating the 2010 Padres.  Why don't you throw some Elk horns on your head while you're at it.

At least we're out of LA and on to better things.  Who do we play next?  Oh $#%#%.   

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