By The Wife
I wasted 8 years in CA before becoming a Giants fan. Sure, I'd been to the occasional game. I'd drink some beers, chat with my friends, ogle some players and cut out somewhere around the 4th inning when the sun went down and it got too cold to sit in the park on a June night. TK is a big baseball fan, and eventually, through accompanying him to his 10-game a season habit and an abundance of free tickets through work, I finally learned to appreciate baseball for more than the Coca Cola slide and Cha-Cha-Bowls.
I learned it was called "Triples Alley", instead of "Cripples Alley" as I had believed. I learned what a ground-rule double was. I learned that Club level serves beer past the 7th inning and I can NEVER go back to bleacher living. TK taught me how to keep score and my knowledge and appreciation of the game grew. He taught me how to do this so he could go outside and take smoke breaks without missing any of the action. I went along with it because I was slowly starting to understand the game and it kept me focused, plus I figured if we ever broke up this was a tres datable skill I'd acquired.
Four seasons after we first started going to the games I'm now a bonafide, WE'RE IN THIS!! Giants fan. I was there for Barry Bonds hitting 700. I was there for Barry Bonds leaving. I was there for the shitty 2008 "rebuilding" season where we went to about 11 games and saw 1 win. I secretly reveled in it as I saw the team struggle and suck it up. This all helped my status as a true fan! Look! I'm here sitting through all this and still loving it. When they come back and win the World Series X years from now, that victory will be all the sweeter for having been here since the beginning of this new, scrappy team.
So, 2008 sucked and we (See?! I'm now that person I hated who referred to every game as "WE really have to win" even though I wouldn't know which end to hold the bat with) never had a shot at the post-season. More of the same was expected for this season, and yet, you know what? Here we are, about to enter September and the Giants are 3 games back in the Wild-Card race. Three!! We can do that! Maybe! And you know, what? If not, I'll still be there front-and-center next year as we continue growing and getting better. As we come up on what could be a possible post-season race for us, let's take a second to wind down and look at the Giants yearbook for 2009:
Giant Most Likely to get all deep and talk about the Circle-Of-Life when he's had too many drinks, because he's been through some shit, man!: Barry Zito.
Poor little rich boy, right? He became a free agent and was signed for $126 million and then had THE WORST season ever. Now, here's the thing: when you or I have a shitty day, we don't have the added pressure of 45,000 people booing us and writing irate editorials about it. Barry came back this season to look really good as a pitcher again, and yet he's still got to prove himself every single time he steps on the mound. It can't be easy to go from dating Alyssa Milano to being sent to the Bullpen, and yet he's picked himself up and says "it's all come full circle" and now he's "back to what he loved about the game" and blah, blah, blah. KIT Barry! You're still dreamy.
Giant most likely to pull you aside and give you Dad-like advice while boosting your self-esteem: Aaron Rowand.
I loved Aaron Rowand from the second he was signed. He just seems like somebody who's so THERE for the team and so positive, and he does all this while scaling walls like a spider-monkey and making seemingly impossible catches in centerfield. Save your no-hitter for you? Done!!! Break my nose while running into a fence to make a catch? With pleasure! I imagine he'd be the one to pump you full of the "Just be yourself. If they can't see what I see......." speeches that would make you tear up and then give it your all to make him proud. Total Dad crush.
Giant least likely to be at Lime after a game, yet apparently he's there all the time: Matt Cain.
I know, right? He told the Chronicle he loves going to Lime (as Zagat says "like eating inside an iPod") after the games with his fiancee. I can't picture him picking up those tiny little grilled cheeses with his big pitcher's hand, but I'm so glad this country boy has taken to SF, even buying a house in Noe Valley. Matt Cain pitched really, really well last year but couldn't get any run support, so it's nice to see him getting backup this year and becoming more confident. He has a quote on the wall inside club level that says the place he'd most like to visit is Australia. That seems like such a humble, small thing for a baseball player to request (Barry Zito, by contrast, would like to tame a puma and keep it as a pet one day) and maybe now he's getting a little more backup he'll dream a little bigger next season.
Cy Young award winner you most want to take home and make a sandwich for: Tim Lincecum.
He looks about 16 and yet has earned the names "The Franchise" and "The Freak" by coming from obscurity to winning the Cy Young. The kid can pitch. Timmy's actually older than Matt Cain which floors me when he shows up at the ballpark with his beanie, flip-flops and French bulldog (named "Cy" of course). I want to sternly tell him to just CUT YOUR HAIR ALREADY YOUNG MAN every time he steps out there this season, because Timmy, I am rocking the fine, flyaway hair myself and we just can't do length. Aw, bless!
Giant most likely to come from the Bullpen and be all, "Lost my starting spot, huh, bitches? Well how about a no-hitter?": Jonathan Sanchez.
I'm not immune to El Guapo's Josh-Hartnett-like good looks, but his pitching has left something to be desired, which saw him sent to the Bullpen this year. To see him pitch a no-no was definitely the feel-good moment of the year, and still makes me tear up a little every time I see the replay of him hugging Bengie Molina, hugging his Dad, or thanking Aaron Rowand for making that amazing catch in the 8th inning.
Giant most likely to leave it all on the field and be the best little-league coach EVER after retirement: Bengie Molina.
It's pretty well know that Bengie Molina takes every loss personally and is genuinely bummed when the Giants don't win. This guy gives it his all in every game, despite being able to run at less-than-breakneck speed. That's why he learned to only hit homers.*
(*not 100% accurate, but you know. He's good)
Giant most likely to be hit on for bearing a resemblance to Mark Ruffalo: Ryan Garko.
He took a while to warm up, but he's making some solid contributions to the team now. Not least of which is being a more than passable eye-candy replacement now that Kevin Frandsen and John Bowker have been sent back down. CALL ME, Ryan!
Honorable mentions are as follows:
Giant most likely to be on reverse steroids because he's so tiny, yet can swing a bat: Eugenio Velez.
Third base coach with most Bull-Durham vibe and ability to windmill his arms out-of-control: Tim Flannery.
Although it's not over yet, THANX FOR SITTING NEXT TO ME IN HOMEROOM. I WILL NEVER 4GET U GIANTS 2009. BFF x 1,000,000!!!! xoxoxoxo