Results tagged ‘ Giants ’
(Sorry I didn’t get this posted until today. Pretend it’s still yesterday.)
I could talk about my two hits today in the first game of spring. That felt pretty good.
But because the Academy Awards are on Sunday, I thought I’d share my picks so you can win the pool at your Oscar party.
Best Actor: No question it’s Matthew McConaughey. He was awesome in Dallas Buyers Club. It’s the best performance of his career.
Best Actress: I’m picking Amy Adams because I think she’s a really good actress but I wasn’t blown away by her performance in American Hustle. And I didn’t see Blue Jasmine or that Osage County movie because it looked stupid. And Sandra Bullock was being Sandra Bullock and I didn’t really like Gravity. Getting lost in space is my biggest fear. I would never go into space. I think Bam-Bam’s stupid if he does it. That fear comes just ahead of being burned alive. I heard it takes 15 minutes to burn alive. Actually I have to say I’m probably more afraid of a mid-airplane crash and plummeting out of the sky. So that’s ahead of being burned alive. Lost in space, mid-air crash and being burned alive. That’s my order.
Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto. He was so good you completely believed his character. The best part of Dallas Buyers Club was the acting. I was hooked on all the characters the whole way through.
Best supporting baseball player: Adam Dunn, who plays the bartender when Matthew McConaughey meets Jared Leto. (I just read that he’s actually going to the Academy Awards.)
Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Lawrence. She’s great.
Best Picture: My top three are Lone Survivor, Twelve Years a Slave and Dallas Buyers Club. It’s really a toss-up, but I’m going with Twelve Years a Slave in part because I like historical movies.
I think I’ve told you before that during the season I am not a morning person. I have a reputation of being a grouch in the morning. So you might be surprised to know I was at the park for a yoga class at 6:15 a.m. on Tuesday. I had to get up at 5:30. The truth is that during spring training I become a morning person because all our games are during the day. I go to bed by about 10. Sometimes I have to force myself to go to bed that early, but I’m really working on getting better sleeping habits.
This is the first year we’ve had yoga classes. They’re on Tuesdays and Fridays at 6:15 for any player or staffer who wants to come. Tuesday was my first class. There were probably a dozen of us there. I hope to get to the Friday class, too. My lower body is not the most flexible lower body on the team. So I’m hoping to loosen those muscles.
I did yoga once before, two years ago at a Giants conditioning camp in January. So I was a little familiar with it and did better than I thought I would. Hunter was behind me, so I couldn’t see him. I’d say Gary Brown was the best of the guys I could see. But I held my poses a little longer than he did. So I’d have to say I dominated.
I don’t get too deep into the mind-body part of yoga. I’m from East Texas. We don’t do stuff like that.
I’m trying to eat better, too, this year. Mostly it’s about having a good eating schedule – regular meals and snacks instead of hauling in the food in two meals. Instead of my energy going way up and plummeting, I’m hoping to be more even throughout the day.
And I’m cutting back on Red Bulls. I’m not giving them up altogether but I’m not going to drink them just out of habit. I’ll have one only when I really need a boost. Like this morning. I woke up and didn’t feel real great. So I had one. It was great. I love opening it up and smelling it. I get energy right away just from the smell.
Tomorrow we have a day off, which I’ll spend with Haylee. Our wives stay at home all day waiting for us to get there. So if we have a little time to spend with them, that’s what we’re going to do.
Hope you got to see the highlight of today’s game. Look for it on YouTube or somewhere if you haven’t. Josh Reddick made maybe the best catch of the year. Maybe the best I’ve ever seen in person. Mike Morse – robbed twice. But it’s good to get your bad luck out of the way now.
Hope to post again soon.
I’m writing this – dictating actually – before the media show up to interview us, an annual thing the day before FanFest. But I flew into the Bay Area a few days early for two reasons: To find a house to rent in the East Bay for the season, and to shoot commercials for the Giants.
First, the house. Haylee and I lived in an apartment near the ballpark last year. We couldn’t have our dog. It wasn’t that dogs weren’t allowed. But Lilly is awful. She has bad separation anxiety, and when we leave her alone she screams at the top of her lungs for about an hour straight. We can’t share a wall with anybody when Lilly’s with us, so she stayed with my parents. But in the offseason I had a midlife crisis about my dog. She’s a mutt that, if I had to guess is a beagle/dachshund/rat terrier mix with kind of a squatty, feet-turned-out stance of a basset hound. I love my dog, and I realized if I kept leaving her in Texas during the season, I’d miss three-quarters of her life and that made me really sad. So we’re going to find a house with a yard this season.
As for the commercials, I’m convinced the Giants sit in a room and say, “How can we humiliate these players when they get here?’’ Or maybe just, “How can we humiliate Brandon?’’ Then they come up with the worst things possible. I had to dress up like a giraffe. I had to dress up like a fan with a big mustache and look like a lumberjack. And I had to dress up like a Gamer Babe. I wore baseball pants under the dress but it was still very tight. Of course it showed my big butt. And the front part wasn’t as loose as you’d want it to be. In the commercial I was sitting then standing and it’s not like you have time to adjust yourself. I hope they have a good editor. At least I got to sit with a bunch of fans, who are in the commercials. That was the best part.
You will notice when you see me that I now have facial hair. I started growing it in November with my buddies back home. Mine got really thick and bushy – not like Sergio or Brian Wilson – but I got to the point where it was bothering me. So I trimmed it. And I cut my hair. It doesn’t stick straight up any more. I’m going for the grown-up look.
I worked out hard during the off-season. Right now I’m as strong as I’ve ever been at this point in the year. I always want to do better than I did the previous year in all aspects of my game but also in weight-training. I’m definitely heavier – most of it’s good weight but if you live in Texas, you know some of it’s Mexican food. I got back into the batting cage after New Year’s, working mostly off a tee. You’re basically laying down a base for spring training so you feel ready to dive right in. This off-season seemed really long, and for the past few weeks I’ve really been feeling the itch to get back on the field.
The highlight of the off-season was moving into our house, which my dad has been renovating for us. We’ve been living with Haylee’s parents, who are great, but it’s really nice to have our own place.
I have a room above the garage that I guess you’d call a man cave. It has three televisions to watch all the football games, a pool table, a kitchenette and these really, really comfortable beanbag-type chairs called Lovesacs. I use to go into the Lovesac store and sit on the chairs and wish I had one. Now I have two.
I can’t end this without a few quick movie reviews.
American Hustle: Haylee didn’t like it a whole bunch. Not a lot of action going on. Not a lot to get your blood flowing. But I thought it had a good plot. Two-and-half stars (out of four).
Wolf of Wall Street: You can pretty much watch a porn movie and that’s what you got. There was a good movie underneath it all but it was so over-the-top and explicit that the story was just lost. After a while you’re like, “Move on, we get it.’’ They could have cut out an hour of the movie and it would have been a lot better. One-and-a-half stars.
Anchorman II: I’d heard mixed reviews on it. I know people who did not like it at all and people who said it was OK for a sequel. I absolutely loved it. I laughed the entire time. I love every single one of those characters, especially Will Farrell and Paul Rudd. They’re two of my favorite comedy actors. Three stars.
Captain Phillips: It was kind of long and there were times I got a little bored, but overall I liked it a lot. Two-and-a-half.
Ride Along: Kevin Hart plays the main character. It’s a cop movie where this guy wants to marry the cop’s sister. So the cop says you can ride a long with me and if I think you’re worthy I’ll give you my blessing. It was pretty good. Not the best movie, but you’re entertained enough. Two stars.
Gravity: It was nice and short, maybe 90 minutes, and it keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire time. Three stars.
Twelve Years a Slave: Really, really good. I went to see it late at night by myself because Haylee didn’t want to see it. It was my favorite movie of the off-season. Great story. You’re rooting the whole time for the guy to get out of that situation he was in. It was pretty tough to watch at times, but that’s what made it so good. You felt like you were there. Three-and-a-quarter stars.
Just to let you know, I hardly ever think a movie is four stars. Tombstone is definitely four stars. I’d say The Place Beyond the Pines is almost four stars. Also Macgruber gets almost four stars. I laugh my butt off every time I see it.
OK, off to catch up with the media. Hope you’re coming out to the park for FanFest tomorrow. It’s a really cool event for the players because we get to meet fans face-to-face.
I’ll check in again during spring training. Thanks for reading.
Whatever you’ve read about the rookie hazing in Times Square, believe me, it was better. If I was one of the rookies, I’d have hated it. As a bystander it was one of the best things ever.
They were wearing just speedos, cowboy boots, a cowboy hat and guitar. That was it. It was way worse than what we had to do when I was a rookie. We had to wear full body suits—these nylon things that stretched from your toes to the top of your head like the costumes for Blue Man Group. It covered your body but was revealing at the same time. It showed every bump. Not a good look. We were walking around a part of San Diego that was packed with people. I got separated from the group somehow – I think I went into a restaurant to go to the bathroom and they left me.So I was walking by myself in this bright-colored, very revealing body suit. You can imagine the looks I got. It was the most awkward thing ever.
But it wasn’t nearly as bad as this year’s hazing. You wouldn’t believe how many Giants fans were in Times Square. Tons. They recognized the veteran players, and we told them to hang around to see the show. So our guys had a nice big crowd around them.
Their main goal was to find the real-life Naked Cowboy and get their picture with him. So they did that. Then there was the Naked Cowgirl. She was about 80. I’m not kidding you. She was naked except for pasties. That was weird. There were also a couple girls dressed up like Vegas showgirls with nothing on but body paint that didn’t cover up anything. There are an amazing large number of naked people in Times Square.
The rookies had to collect a certain amount of money before they could change into their regular clothes. They played the guitar, did whatever they could to get money. Roger Kieschnick was pretty successful. Heath Hembree was talking to everybody and anybody. I think Johnny Monell and Juan Perez actually enjoyed it. They were really good sports about it.
A lot of the wives made the trip to New York. Haylee and I went to see The Lion King one night after a day game. It was pretty spectacular. The only thing with the Broadway plays – at least the two I’ve been to – is they’re always packed. I can’t stand sitting for two and a half hours and not move. At the movies, I can get up and do whatever I want. But in a Broadway theater, if you’re in the middle of the row, you feel you’re stuck there. The people behind me were tiny and I’m huge, so I was trying to slump down in my seat. So it was feeling pretty cramped. But the show was great.
We ate beforehand at Ted’s Montana Grill, anoutstanding steak house owned by Ted Turner. And we saw him in there! He was sitting right near us. It was like seeing Santa Claus at the North Pole.
Yesterday before the Dodger game back here in San Francisco, Haylee and I ate at Olive Garden. Great as ever. I always pay a little extra now to get alfredo sauce with my breadsticks. I don’t know what I’d do if they stop giving free breadsticks. I go to places for free appetizers. That’s a fact. That’s why I go to Mexican restaurants. You get chips and salsa.
I don’t know how you’re doing in your fantasy football league, but I’m not a happy owner right now. I’m in three leagues, and I’m behind in all of them. I have great players, but they’re playing terrible. They’re not gelling. They don’t have good team chemistry. I’m going to have to call a team meeting. Get these players together and figure something out.
In the Giants fantasy league, I’m 1-2. I reallydidn’t want to be part of the Giants’ league because I was already on two other teams. But I got talked into it. I can be talked into almost anything, by the way. I’m a follower.
On the off day Monday, I saw the movie Prisoners, so here’s the review.
Two families’ daughters get kidnapped, and the whole movie is about the families trying to find these kids. It was two-and-a-half hours long, but there wasn’t a time I was bored because there are twists and turns to keep you interested. And the ending it pretty good. It’s kind of predictable but not completely. Hugh Jackman and Terence Howard are really good. There are some torture elements in the movie, so if that bothers you, you might want to watch out for that. I can see why the torture is in there, though. I mean, if you were in the same situation, what wouldn’t you do to find your kid? Haylee liked it, too, which says a lot because she hates movies.
Three and half stars. Maybe 3.75. But let’s go with 3.5. It loses half a point for the semi-predictability. And at one point there was something in there that they were really beating to death and they needed to move on.
See you at the ballpark for these final few days. We’re finishing pretty strong, I think, and looking forward to a fresh start next spring.
The good thing about the rainout in Cincinnati is that we got to come back to San Francisco earlier. Nothing like landing at SFO and riding the bus back to the ballpark after a miserable road trip. Haylee was still out of town visiting family back in Texas. And Bumgarner’s wife, Ali, wasn’t back yet either. So me and Bum had a date.
We took scooters down the Embarcadero to the Ferry Building. He hasn’t gotten his scooter yet, so he rode Haylee’s little baby-blue one. He looked cute. He’s huge and the scooter is tiny. He had to hunch way over to reach the handlebars. We went to Gott’s but the line was too long. So we went to a great Mexican place on Howard – and I can’t remember the name! They’re always so nice to us. I’ll pass it along when I remember.
As usual, I saw a few movies on the road. There’s a little movie group now, so I don’t go alone as much. It’s mostly Kontos, Javy, Hunter, Crawfordand me. When you’re on the road, you can go a little stir crazy because it’s just room/baseball field, room/baseball field. So you want to just get out of your room. If we have an off day, we’ll plan what we’re going to see. Otherwise, it’s just whoever’s around when you’re thinking about going.
In Colorado on the off day, I went to see “This Is the End’’ again with Crawford and Kontos. There’s a part in there that might be the funniest movie scene ever, though it might just be funny to guys. I don’t know. I can’t really describe it tastefully. But it’s between Danny McBride and James Franco. They’re yelling back and forth at each other, and you literally start laughing at the beginning and it goes on for at least a minute and you’re laughing so hard for at least a minute straight and it hurts. I laughed so hard I could barely breathe and tears were coming down my face and I almost fell on the floor. I’ll say this: It’s about what guys sometimes do when they’re by themselves and the result of what happens when they do that. I’ll leave it at that. It is just so original. I wish I could find it on YouTube and play it on a loop all day.
That scene is right up there with a scene in “Wanderlust’’ with Paul Rudd and Jennifer Anniston. It’s the one where Paul Rudd is talking to himself in the mirror. I pretty much consider those the funniest scenes of all time.
In Cincinnati I went with Kontos and Hunter to see a film of stand-up comic Kevin Hart. And on Thursday when I got home I saw “The Heat’’ with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy. I think this is Melissa McCarthy’s best movie. Better than Bridesmaids. Haylee got home Friday before our game, and she wasn’t real happy when I picked her up at the airport and told her that I went to see it without her — even though she had told me it was okay. I think she was just grumpy about leaving her family and so it probably wasn’t the best time to tell her I had seen the movie. She’s fine now.
It was great to see Bum pitch so well yesterday and get us the win. Obviously we really needed it. It’s not like we were in this dungeon of doom and we were never going to get out of it. But it’s not been very fun the last few weeks. There’s no doubt in this clubhouse, though, that we can win the World Series with this team. You realize you’re going to have times when you’re not playing well. Everything usually averages out — as bad as this is, we plan on having a run where we’re just as good on the other side.
When you see a light at the end of the tunnel, like we did with our win yesterday, then things start to click. You don’t know who it’s going to be to get it going. Last year, somebody different stepped up every day. Yesterday it was Bum.
Who’s it going to be today?
Thanks for reading!
There’s no explaining what’s going on right now. Usually what’s contagious is winning. Like what we did last year. What the Cardinals did the year before. A few guys start going good. Then a few more guys. And soon everybody in the lineup is a threat to break the game open at any time. I don’t know the science behind it. Maybe you’re feeding off each other’s energy. All I know is the domino effect exists because we’ve lived it.
But I’ve never seen the flip side, what’s been happening the last few weeks.
The truth is we actually feel as confident as ever. I was 0-for-whatever when I went up to the plate in the ninth inning with Homer Bailey throwing a no-hitter. I was certain I was about to break it up. Absolutely sure. Well, you know how that turned out.
The point is we’re as confounded as you are. We had a hitter’s meeting with Bochy and Bam-Bam in Colorado. We’re doing everything we can. I watched video of myself comparing recent at-bats to ones earlier in the season. I noticed I was lifting my hands too high during my load, which caused my shoulders to go up, which meant I used my shoulders to swing instead of my hands. I worked on it and felt better at the plate in Cincinnati. My first at-bat there I hit a line drive into center. I thought, OK, finally! I thought it was a double. I’m rounding first, look over and see Choo running it down. Another 0-for day.
That’s baseball. When it’s not going well, it’s really not going well.
Very glad to get a hit yesterday to break the streak, but obviously we need to string a few together.
Away from the field, I take a break from the game by playing PSP. Of course, I’m playing the MLB game. I don’t keep precise track of my record in PSP but I have not lost 10 of the last 11. Baseball is a lot easier when all you have to do is push a button.
I also relaxed on our off day in Colorado by going to see “This Is The End’’ with Belt and Kontos.They’d already seen it but thought it was so funny they wanted to see it again. It was hilarious. A good escape for a few hours.
We have Bum on the mound today against the Dodgers. It’s amazing that as bad as we’ve been going we’re still only five games out of first. Anyone can win this division. It’s going to be a great second half with everyone contending.
A lot of people ask me about Puig. As a fan, which I still am, you always like to see players like him. He reminds me a lot of Mike Trout. He even runs like him. I was on the bench (when I jammed my fingers sliding into second) when he had his first at-bat against us. He swung what looked like a protection flick on a change-up to send the ball foul. I thought, “Wow, that’s going pretty far for flicking it foul.’’ Then it sailed fair into the stands for a home run. I was like, check that guy’s bat. I couldn’t believe it.
I could do without seeing any more of that in person this season. He can save it for Arizona and Colorado and San Diego.
I’ll end this by telling you we’re working as hard as ever. We’re as confident as ever. And there’s still half a season left to play. We have too many great players to continue the way we have. This is the same team that was so good at making comebacks last season and earlier this season. You can’t make a comeback unless you’ve fallen behind. Time for the comeback.
It’s great to take two of three from the Padres and make up ground. The Marlins are coming in next, and even though they don’t have a great record, they’re not a team we can take lightly. Since nobody in our division has taken off with the lead, now’s a good time for us to make a move. When we get everybody back in the lineup, that will be a boost right there.
I did my usual movie binge on the road. On our off day in Pittsburgh, I saw two movies back to back. I saw “Purge,’’ which was disappointing. And “Now You See Me,’’ which was really good. I saw “Star Trek’’ on another day. I’m saving the Jonah Hill/Seth Rogan movie for the next road trip.
Other than seeing movies and playing baseball, I basically slept. When we’re back east, I’m awake all night and sleeping during the day. I guess it’s the time change. I don’t adjust well. I can play just fine, but my sleeping is all off. Three nights in a row, I fell asleep around 7 in the morning. I watched TV all night — movies, sitcom reruns like Seinfeld, Everybody Loves Raymond, Frasier. I keep watching and watching and I never get tired of them.
Haylee met up with me in Atlanta after spending time with Ali Bumgarner in North Carolina. She texted me a video of her driving a backhoe. I don’t know if they were building something or planting something. Looked like she was just digging a hole. It was just funny listening to her and watching her try to do it. “I don’t know what this thing does! I forgot how to do it!’’ But actually it looked like she did a good job.
She also rode a horse. I don’t know if she had ever ridden one before, to be honest with you. Other than that, I have no idea what else she and Ali did. All kinds of hillbilly stuff is my guess. But I think they had a good time.
My dad came to Atlanta. He drove up with some of his co-worker buddies. So we hung out with them. We had night games, so we went out afterward. Which was great. Less time to kill later on watching TV.
Tonight I’m attending a dinner with Haylee and a few teammates at the park here for AT&T. I think Crawford, Affeldt and Lopez will be there, too, and Bochy. It’s always better to go to these events after a win. We’re much better company.
I’ll be watching from the dugout today, only the second time this season I’ve done that. And the first time because of an injury. When I jammed my right-hand index and middle fingers trying to steal second yesterday, I couldn’t tell right away if I could still play or not. The trainers said they weren’t broken, so I went back out for the start of the next inning. Good thing nothing came to me. The pain had arrived full force. When Cain struck somebody out and we were throwing the ball around the infield, I had to chuck a palm ball to Scutaro. I couldn’t use either finger.
It kind of bothers me that some people said it wasn’t a good idea for me to be sliding headfirst. I’ve been sliding headfirst my entire life. And I’ve never been hurt until now.
There’s a good reason why I and so many other players slide headfirst. When you’re going full speed, your body is leaning forward. So the fastest way to reach the bag is to build on that momentum by diving forward – rather than leaning back to slide feet first. Also, if you have to change direction to avoid a tag, you can maneuver more easily with your hands than your feet.
I looked at the tape afterward to see how I jammed my fingers this time when I had never done it before. Like most runners, I slide with my hands open and fingers up – like a “halt’’ gesture — so that my palms hit the edge of the bag. On the tape, it looked like the fielder brought his glove down onto my two fingers before I reached the base, so they jammed into the side of the bag. Bad luck.
Maybe I’d consider holding my batting gloves in my hands, essentially creating fists, so my fingers wouldn’t be exposed. But I think the natural reaction when you’re sliding is to reach out with your hands, so I’d probably end up just dropping the batting gloves.
My prognosis is “day to day.’’ We can’t afford another injury in this lineup. But between yesterday and today there’s been no improvement. I hope the healing process kicks soon, like in the next few minutes. In the meantime: ibuprofen.
Just a note on facing my sister’s boyfriend in Pittsburgh. As you might have read, my sister Amy has been dating Pittsburgh’s rookie pitcher and former Number 1 draft pick Gerrit Cole since they were classmates at UCLA. So she was at the game when he made his Major League debut against us last week. So was Jalynne, Jalynne’s mother and Gerrit’s family and friends. Amy tried to be neutral as she possibly could. She told me the Giants could win the other two games of the series, but she wanted Gerrit to win his debut. Which he did. The first time I was up, he broke my bat with a 97-mph fastball up and in. But I got a hit off him later.
After the game, Gerrit’s parents hosted dinner at a steakhouse across from the park. He was very professional, not gloating or anything. He’s not like that. When I showed up at the restaurant, I had a gift for him: my broken bat, signed.
Hope to see you at the park. Hope I’m in the lineup.
I didn’t do much on my off days on Monday or yesterday. Just relaxed. But Jalynne and I had a great time two Sundays ago at my friends’ wedding.
Getting there, however, was an adventure.
The ceremony was scheduled for 6 p.m. We had a 1 p.m. game at AT&T. I figured I’d have plenty of time to make it to Wente Vineyards in Livermore. Cain had been solid the last month or so, and when he walked three of the first four batters, I thought, “Oh, no.’’
The game went three hours and thirty-seven minutes. When we made the final out, it was already close to 4:45.
I bolted into the clubhouse. Didn’t put any ice on my arm. Went straight into the shower. Got dressed. Went to my car, where I had my tux. Iwas a groomsman. (I didn’t want to put the tux onin the clubhouse. Would have been embarrassing.)
I drove to Livermore, probably breaking a few traffic laws on the way. I had let one of the other groomsmen know I would probably be there right around six. He said they’d drag their feet (not that any wedding starts on time anyway).
I pulled up at 5:58, got somebody to park my car for me and went in with my tux on a hanger. I had about four guys helping me get dressed with all the tux stuff. I was ready by 6:10.
Then we waited on the girls. A shocker, I know.
It was an awesome wedding. I’ve known the groom, Matt, since high school. He was the best man at my wedding. And I’ve known Ali, the bride, since middle school.
Jalynne and Braylyn were there, plus my mom and two of my sisters. They had a photo booth with a bunch of props like hats and wigs. We got into the spirit of things, and Jalynne tweeted out a photo of us being ridiculous.
Now to baseball . . .
I thought I’d share a few thoughts on facing a knuckle-baller like R.A. Dickey. I’ve been asked why a good knuckle-baller can make Major Leaguers look like fools. It’s because you have no idea where the pitch is going. I’ve always heard that when you face a knuckle-baller you look for pitches that are up because they’re going to fall into the zone for a strike. The ones that look like strikes are going to drop, so you don’t want to get suckered into swinging.
Dickey, though, can throw a harder knuckleball that just stays high. You think it’s going to drop, so you swing, and you end up flailing at a pitch sailing over your bat. But he also throws a knuckleball that drops straight down. He throws one that drops and goes away. And he throws one that drops and goes in. You have no idea where any of them are going.
You might have noticed that the Jays’ starting catcher didn’t play. I’m sure it’s because he doesn’t even know what the ball’s going to do most of the time. They put a backup catcher in there who’s more experienced – and who uses a huge glove like a first-baseman’s glove to wrangle in the pitches.
Dickey kills you with his different speeds, too. No matter what the speed, the pitch looks exactly the same coming out of his hand. Against us, he threw from 66 to about 78. That’s a 12-mph difference on the same pitch. Pretty rough as a batter. Think of a guy throwing a fastball at 88 and then 100. That just doesn’t happen.
So my mindset going up against him? I’m still trying to figure it out. I don’t have a hit off him yet.
I was asked, too, about going to the mound on Wednesday in the second inning with a runner on first. What was I talking to Zito about?
Zito had pointed to Scutaro, which indicated that if Zito fielded a comebacker, he expected to throw to Marco, not me, at second. It’s important that a pitcher establishes who’s going to take the throw so he knows who to look for. Otherwise, he could throw it to the wrong guy and the ball ends up in center field.
You might think it would be simpler to always have me take the throw on a comebacker to avoid confusion and to maximize our chances of turning the double play. But sometimes I’m positioned toward third base – for a right-handed pull hitter, for example — and might not be able to get to the bag quickly enough. So the pitcher will let us know he’ll be looking for the second-baseman to take the throw.
In the situation Wednesday, Rasmus was coming to bat. A lefty. But because he’s hit Zito to the opposite field a few times, I moved more to the right than I normally would for a lefty. So Ziti pointed to Marco, figuring he would be in a better position to take the throw.
I went to the mound to tell Zito that I was fine to take the throw, that I wasn’t over too far. If there had been a particularly fast runner at first, then maybe I’d want Marco to cover. But that wasn’t the case. We quickly got it straightened out and I returned to my position.
Rasmus flew out to Hunter, as it turned out. But you have to make sure everybody on the field is on the same page on every single detail. One error, as we all know, can break open an inning.
OK, now that you’re all nodding off, I’ll stop here. I love all the inside baseball stuff, but I’m sure not everyone else does. Thanks for reading it.
See you at the park when we get back.
P.S. I tried to think of a good answer to island girl’s question in the comments section about prom and graduation, but I really don’t have any interesting stories. (I did not give the valedictory speech, in case you were wondering.)
We’re flying to Arizona this afternoon for the start of a long road trip. Haylee’s flying out today, too, but she’s going with Ali Bumgarner to Ali’s home in North Carolina while we play in Arizona and Pittsburgh. When we go to Atlanta, Haylee and Ali will drive down and meet us there.
So I’ll probably spend this afternoon at the new Star Trek movie. There’s an unbelievable theater next to our hotel in Phoenix, the AMC Esplanade. They serve food and have these big recliner seats. You could go to sleep if you want to. There’s a movie called The Purge I hope I can see this weekend. It takes place in the future, and for a 12-hour period everything is legal, even murder. So people are pretty much bunkering in their houses trying not to get killed. It sounds pretty interesting because you just don’t see something like that very often. When a movie comes out and it’s just not the norm, I want to see it.
On our day off Monday, I went with Haylee to Great America in Santa Clara. I’m a big roller coaster guy. Haylee’s not nearly as enthused about it as I am, but she goes. Afterward, we had dinner at Benihana with my host mom from when I played in San Jose. I always have a good experience there. It’s fun watching them flip the shrimp and the other food. I want them to flip the egg in my mouth. I didn’t ask but wish they did it. I love edamame, so I get that as an appetizer. I don’t do sushi. My wife and host mom get that all the time. I get the beef, fried rice, no mushrooms, lots of onions.
Afterward we went home and watched The Bachelorette. It’s just the second week, so we’re still sorting out our favorites. There’s a guy called Reality Steve who predicts the winners and gets it right every time. I’m sure he has someone on the show who tells him who wins. I’m waiting for him to come out with his predictions so I don’t have to watch the rest of the show. OK, that’s not true. I always tell myself I’m not going to watch it, then I do and end up liking it then watching it again. So it’s a vicious cycle.
I like The Bachelor more than The Bachelorette because I’d rather watch a bunch of girls going after a guy than a bunch guys going after a girl. But I happen to really like this Bachelorette, Desiree. I liked her when she was on the Bachelor. She was my favorite. She’s sweet as can be. I love sweet girls. I married a sweet girl.
Guess I should get a little baseball stuff in here, too. It was great getting the pinch-hit double in St. Louis. When you come through like that, you’re happy you helped the team out. We needed the win. And it gave a win to the starter, which is an added bonus.
I’ve gotten better at pinch-hitting. The key is to stay in the game mentally while you’re on the bench for two or more hours. What I do is go through at-bats with a teammate. I’m physically in the dugout, of course, but I’m mentally at the plate. I might be looking for a first-pitch fastball. If it’s not, I lay off it. Then I continue to the next pitch: What am I looking for now? Basically have the at-bat with the batter, thinking along with him strategically. I’ll also watch at-bats on TV to see what the pitches look like straight on. It keeps you in the game. Then when I think I’ll be going in, I take some swings and stretch to get my body loose.
All you can do while you’re on the bench is to prepare as much as you can. When I was standing on second base after the double, I thought, “Thank goodness I did something to help the team.’’
Heading off to the ballpark to ride the bus to the airport. I’ll let you know how The Purge is if I get to see it. I have a good feeling about this road trip. For one thing, we don’t face R. A. Dickey.
The good thing about a baseball season is it’s 162 games.
That can be the bad thing about it, too.
When you’re on a really rough skid like we are, it can feel like you’re on the bus in “Speed.’’ You’re just hurtling. There’s no time to step back and get yourself righted.
I got home from last night’s loss around 12:45, fell asleep around 1:45, got up at 8:15 and was back at the park by 9:30. During a baseball season, you don’t usually get a breather just when you want it, or need it. You’ve got another game to play. Then another and another.
But that’s the good thing about 162 games, too — you’ve got another game to play. And another and another. You can redeem a loss almost immediately. You don’t have to dwell on the mistakes and missed opportunities. You can get the bat and glove right back on your hands and wipe the slate clean. You can start a winning streak.
Losing streaks and winning streaks are kind of equally mysterious – why they happen, why they end, why they began. You put in your work the same as always. You’re as competitive as always. You’re focused. You’re prepared. All of it. Then the game unfolds in unexpected ways. As Marty Lurie says, “That’s baseball.’’
I don’t see guys in here hanging their heads. We all have short memories. We have to. You probably wouldn’t last very long if you didn’t. I go home after every game – good or bad – and see Jalynne and Braylyn and forget about what happened on the field. They wipe the slate clean. I come to the ballpark the next day with a new attitude, ready to play. I think my teammates are the same way.
Today is getaway day. We have a three-hour flight to St. Louis, then play a night game there tomorrow. It isn’t exactly a night game for us because of the two-hour time difference. It’s a late afternoon game California time. So again, a pretty short turnaround.
Then we’re back to SF Sunday night and have an off day Monday. We play two games here against Toronto and have another off day Thursday. I have absolutely no plans for the off days. I’m just going to relax.
I had a great time our last off day, which was last Thursday. Jalynne, her sister Jamie and I went to Sonoma to do some wine tasting. I’ve lived in the Bay Area all my life and I had never been to either Sonoma or Napa.
I know. Pretty amazing.
Here’s how it came about. Jalynne watches “The Bachelor.’’ I say “she’’ but I actually got sucked into it, too. We got in touch with Ben, who was the Bachelor two seasons ago. He and a few friends and family have a winery called Envolve in Sonoma. Ben’s a big Giants fan, so he invited us up. We spent the afternoon at his tasting room on the square in Sonoma. I’m not a big wine guy, so I stuck mostly with the whites. Maybe I’ll grow to like the reds but I’m not much of a drinker in general, so it might not happen. We had a great time, though, and afterward had lunch at The Red Grape.
It’s about an hour or so til game time. I’m going to grab some food. Then we’ve got Zeets on the mound. I like our chances.