Dozer, the bulldog

Dozer, the bulldog
Dozer: Spring training is upon us!

Backstage at Reggae on the River, 2017...

Backstage at Reggae on the River, 2017...
The author of Mark's Work

Hollyhocks

Hollyhocks
Why I grow flowers

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.
Air-borne bees

HeadSodBuster and BossLady at the coast

HeadSodBuster and BossLady at the coast
Love is the greatest power.

Beauty abounds!

Beauty abounds!
Crossing the Eel River at French's Camp

If you've seen one butterfly, you've seen 'em all, said no one ever.

If you've seen one butterfly,  you've seen 'em all, said no one ever.
Butter in the fly...

July Jewels

July Jewels
Bees to the Kingdom

My souvenir from Reggae on the River, 2017

My souvenir from Reggae on the River, 2017
Something I have always wanted...

Mahlon Masling Blue

Mahlon Masling Blue
My friend and brother.

Mark's E-mail address

bellspringsmark@gmail.com

Friday, August 19, 2011

San Francisco Giants Baseball # 19: We Don't Need No Ice Cream Socials

We Don't Need No Ice Cream Socials 
The Giants are happy to be getting out of Atlanta, recognizing that if the playoffs were beginning in the immediate future, we would soon be out of the picture.  However, we still have thirty-seven games left, and that is close to one-fourth of the season.  There is a lot of 2011 left, and after last October’s improbable march to the world series, I do not wish to discount the Giants‘ chances.
The other morning I suggested that the Giants were not likely to benefit from the fact that the remainder of their schedule features teams with losing records, except for the six games we still have left against the Diamondbacks.  However, I have re-evaluated my thought process, and decided that I was incorrect.  That's the same thing as being wrong.   Allow me to explain.  


      All major league baseball teams are comprised of superior athletes with extraordinary talent.  The teams that rise above the others, contain catalysts of one form or another, which elevate them to a slightly higher plateau.  However, all teams have potential to defeat any team in any specific contest.


       As early as this weekend, we could do some ground-gaining in our division, because Arizona has to play three against the same Atlanta team that just punished us, while San Francisco has to play the Houston Astros.  The Giants have the better end of the deal.  In one of the scheduling oddities of the season, the Giants have not yet played the 'Stros, but will do so seven times in the next ten games.  The Giants would be wise to ignore the fact that Houston has the dubious distinction of possessing the worst win/loss record in the major leagues.  
The instant the Giants start to anticipate a series along the lines of an ice cream social, they will perform as they did when the Pirates came to town, staggering under the assault of yet another team, gunning for the world champs.  I rechecked the schedule and verified the fact that there are no events, aside from baseball games, to be found.  So I sure expect the World Champion Giants to take the field tonight to play ball, 'cause we don't need no ice cream socials.
The Pirates, unlike the Astros, are one of the teams in the middle of the pack, a unit which has improved dramatically, but is still one or two components away from top form.  The Giants must take these kinds of teams seriously, because all major league teams have excellent elements, and must to be able to perform competitively on the same playing field, or else the fans would stop attending.
This means that teams like the Astros, even with the worst record in baseball, still win a third of their games, and can rise to specific occasions, as the motivation warrants.  Houston has precious little to play for this season.  They have an equal number of players on the roster as the Giants, and they all play 162 games.  A team with a losing record faces a greater challenge to stay focused and positive through that long schedule.
Therefore, a team like the Giants makes their job easier, because there is a different atmosphere at the ballpark.  There will be many Giants fans in the stands, and there will be a pleasant tingle of anticipation in the air, as the reigning champions of baseball swagger/stumble their way onto the field.
Yes, the Giants were unquestionably the best in baseball last October, but that was yesterday, and yesterday is not as important today, as the mustard on your hot dog, when you are talking about this year's standings.  What is important is that the Astros are a team of major leaguers, two of whom recently parted ways, Jeff Keppinger going to the G-men, and Hunter Pence to Philadelphia (abandoning a sinking ship).
With our offense sputtering the way it is, an individual pitcher or two can make any given series very painful, as Mike Minor and Tim Hudson showed.  Houston also has individuals who are capable of providing them with as much of a chance, in any given series, as any of the contending teams.
This brings me back to my earlier observation, that I may have been hasty in my assumption that a weak schedule is counterproductive for a contending team.  All major league teams consist of the most superior players available on any level.  Defeating a team of these superior athletes, whether any specific group contains the absolute best or not, develops confidence.
Confidence is the swagger in a team’s purposeful stride out onto the field at the start of the game.  Winning ballgames hones that sense of confidence.  A team that has the last fourth of its season left, has plenty of time to rest some dinged-up players, plenty of time to establish winning ways, and plenty of time to let that chemistry develop, before the playoffs begin.
Championship teams get to the top because circumstances align themselves in such a way, that they can achieve confidence.  Once success has been established, that confidence plays a huge role in future contests, be they of the one game-or the 162 game-variety.  The Giants need to use last year’s success as a springboard for the final fourth of the season, to gear up for the upcoming playoffs.
San Francisco did not make the schedule, but they sure had to play it the way it was designed.  Therefore, they have already played the toughest teams, in an unbalanced manner, leaving the weaker teams still left to play.  Go ahead G-Men, be the neighborhood bully, and beat up on the weaker teams.  Let’s see if you can’t recapture that confidence, that swagger, that winning produces, and then recapture that magic.  I’m talking about the magic that had us not stop believing, until we crammed ourselves into an open square in downtown San Francisco, while a city and a region wept with joy and relief.
 
 

2 comments:

  1. And maybe the gods of health and good times will make sure that Brian Wilson does not end up on the disabled list...... love your attitude, Markie!

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  2. JT, your request has already been addressed by the gods, and Brian will be back in a very short time. My attitude is not mine; it is on loan to every Giants fan, available at an instant's notice, from an inexhaustible source. That source, of course, would be the vestibule of the Church of the Almighty Pitcher, services tonight to be conducted in Houston, commencing at 5:10, with the blessing of the baseballs, by the home plate priest. Good luck, Giants, and may the spirit of Willie Mays go with you, and with us all. In the name of Timmy, Buster and Nate the Great, now and until the world series ends, amen.

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