Still Alive and Dealing
This is only August 3, and yet the expression, the dog days of August, would already seem to apply. That's fine and dandy, because we might as well get that right out there on the table. Baseball is unique, in that the season is so much longer than in any other sports agenda. A schedule of 162 games does more than just tax the body; it taxes the heart and the soul.
As any Giants fan knows, this is a new era for us, and I intend to do my best to remind you, that until last year, we would have approached this juncture of the season with a fair amount of cynicism. Yes indeed, been here, done that. First place still, in August? A share of first place? Heavens to Mergatroid, we'll take it. Not that we would necessarily have expected anything to come of it, but we would still have been happy.
This season, to some, a share of first place would seem irreverent, as in, "Is nothing sacred?" Are we not the anointed? Step out of the way, please. Unfortunately, teams like Arizona, and its most formidable leader, Kirk Gibson, will raise their scaly heads up and create a ruckus, or a rattle, if you prefer. They are not going to go away, thank the baseball gods. Bring 'em on. We mistakenly thought it was the Phollies who were the main competition, but what's new? Some team had to replace the Padres, as the charlie horse that continues to nag the forward progress of los gigantes.
So, we are just going to have to look in the collective mirror, and start assigning chores. Who has got some heart to spare? Ryan Vogelsong? He of the minuscule ERA, is an excellent candidate and could jumpstart this team in the time it takes to fan Juston Upton, with the bases loaded and two outs.
How about Nate, and his ability to hit the two-strike pitch in the two-out situation? Amazing things continue to envelope this player, who seems to have iced Gatorade in his veins. How about the upper-deck shot in Colorado, that landed ten rows from his visiting brother, when Nate didn't even know he was there? How about Nate's arm?
How about Cody Ross, and his ability to ramrod the Giants through the playoffs last fall? He came out of nowhere, but he is still here. He's here, as is Huff Daddy, the Panda, Andres and the rest. And when you lump Matt and Timmy in with the "rest," you know you are not talking about the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The last thing I would want to do, is fire up the rattles of the Snakes, so I will be careful here. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Mr. Gibson, and his motivational power. But the D-backs are not last year's Giants; they are this year's challenger. We, who sat through last season, expecting (maybe) a repeat of the past fifty-one years in San Francisco, now have every reason to believe, that the team that we followed last year, is still alive and dealing, at this very moment.
Last year we had no more reason to believe that we would win the whole show than any other year. That has changed. Yes, Buster is on the shelf, as is Freddy.
But J. Sanchez is back. Do not forget that opponents last year had the worst batting average in the NL against him, and his ability to strike out opponents. Even if he walks the tight rope frequently, Sanchez is a dominating presence on the mound when he is on. Don't forget the acquisitions of all three of our new guys. Chemistry can take time; some reactions occur instantly, as in a Pat Burrel. Others may take more time, like a Carlos or an Orlando, and that's OK too. We have plenty of time.
There are still 52 games left in the season, one for every year that we played in San Francisco, prior to winning a Crown, and I think that is adequate time to allow the chemistry to propel us into the postseason again. After all, we have until the last day of the season. Is there any other path that the Giants are likely to follow than that?
I don't think so, either.