Tag Archives: sfgiants

Linceblog: Death march averted; SF Giants, Lincecum show no surrender in comeback victory over Rockies

Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum, the pride of Filipino-American baseball fans everywhere, had no idea he was pitching on what is known in U.S./Filipino WWII history as Bataan Valor Day—the day the U.S. surrendered Bataan to the Japanese, leading to the infamous death march.

That coincidence of history aside, Lincecum and the Giants could have easily given up Tuesday night with the Rockies ahead 6-2 in the 6th inning.

Instead, Lincecum regained his command just enough to keep his team in the game so the Giants’ offense could stun the Rockies 9-6.

“I thought he threw the ball great and he didn’t let the game get out of control,” said Giants manager Bruce Bochy speaking of Lincecum. “He kept us from going to the (bullpen) early, and gave us a chance to make that comeback and what a great comeback the guys made.”

Lincecum looked like he was in control from the start, but the second inning by his own estimation was “a doozy.”

After a nine-pitch first inning, Lincecum began the second with a four-pitch walk to Rockies slugger Troy Tulowitzki, the last two 91 and 92 mph fastballs that missed.

It would be the first of three walks that inning alone, including a walk to the pitcher Juan Nicasio. (“Pitchers should be outs,” said Lincecum later, frustrated by having walked Nicasio twice in the game). The self-inflicted trouble loaded the bases and was compounded by a two-run Dexter Fowler double, followed by a Josh Rutledge two –run single.

When I asked Lincecum the difference between his pitching between the first and the second innings, he knew right away.

“Rhythm, I guess you can say, that’s about it,” he said. “It wasn’t mechanical or just a timing issue.”

Lincecum said he righted himself by looking at video on his own after that second inning.

What did it show?

“Stuff I needed to see,” he said. No reason to give away any of his trade secrets.

He also said it wasn’t a matter of stamina.

“I think I’m where I need to be stamina wise,” Lincecum said. “But I can still get better at locating my pitches and erasing those five-run innings.”

Lincecum said after giving up those five runs, he was “just trying to settle in, be competitive and battle as long as I could.”  

Take away that second inning, the 4 walks, and the six earned-runs,  and his pitching line wasn’t all that bad: 104 pitches, 61 strikes, 43 balls, 7 strikeouts.

Bochy said he was impressed with Lincecum’s stuff and feels that in spite of missing time in spring training,  Lincecum is where he should be now.

Interestingly, I noticed how all the pre-game talk, the “Hector-Sanchez-as–DLC (Designated Lincecum Catcher)” was hardly worth a mention later.

Does the Hector for Posey thing really make a difference to Lincecum?

“Not really,” he said. “I got to go out and compete. Whether you got someone else in the outfield or catching, I have to do my job.”

The Giants didn’t miss Posey’s offense either, which at 5-24 (.208) hasn’t been great anyway.

In fact, the Giants, overall, were hitting just .231 and averaging under 3 runs a game for the first six games.  But on this night it wasn’t just the hot hitters: Pagan, Panda and Pence carrying the load.

Brandon Crawford delivered a three-run home run to left off reliever Adam Ottavino to get the Giants to within 1 run in the 6th.

And then in the 8th, the Giants scored 3 more runs on 5 hits.  The game saw contributions up and down the lineup, including Scutaro (3h, 1RBI), and Blanco (a bunt single RBI).

So the victory was a good boost for the team. And except for that one inning, a boost for Lincecum, too. He didn’t get the win, but he didn’t take a loss either.  A wash? If he learned a lot just watching film on that second inning, this game could be a gold mine.

He’s not totally back to his prime. But after two imperfect starts,  if  Lincecum keeps his poise and battles like he did tonight, his 2013 campaign should be far from a death march.

The San Francisco Giants parade and ceremony: Otherworldly

Any mass gathering like the Giants parade on Wednesday is all about size and color, to use John Stewart’s benchmarks.

Color? Orange and black, baby. But really, it was all colors. Is there a more diverse fan base in the universe. I saw blacks,Latinos, Asians, Filipinos, young, old, straight, gay, disabled.  (A Filipino woman in a wheelchair asked me to take a picture of the empty chair Tim Lincecum sat in).

It wasn’t an all-white or all male crowd. It was a living mirror of the Bay Area.

When it comes to size, the parade was Woodstockian. Half-a million strong? It moved and snaked, then settled at the Civic Center where to me it felt like the the Obama Inaugural–but about 60 degrees warmer.

The warmth, the love, the smiles. It was perfect for Giants fans. It was even good if you weren’t a Giants fan. People were just  happy. Work was stopped. Teachers played hooky. Muni was free

But the bottom line, after all these years, there was real joy in Mudville.

That wasn’t the general feeling of the day after a dismal mid-term election when the mandate of 2008 got neutered and the country was sent into a two-year phase of gridlock.

So I was looking forward to the spectacle as anti-dote. Sure enough, Gavin Newsom, who had real reason to celebrate the day after winning the Lt. Gov’s race, had the sense not to gloat and to recognize it was time for the politicians “to step out of the way to restore a sense of pride and joy to the city.” 

So why was Gov.Arnold Schwarzenegger there?  He was treated like a Dodger, naturally.And a politician. New governor, Jerry Brown, native son, and another victor from the night before, should have been there.

Then on came the Giants. They just had to walk on and stay awhile to bask in the crowd’s admiration.

Speeches? That’s the politicians’ downfall. Baseball players are not as articulate in front of the mike as you’d hope. They perform at genius level on the field. Far from great wits or raconteurs, they can lead a cheer,however. On this day gargantuan cheers were all that was necessary.

One by one the mike exposed the ordinariness of our champions.  So it was great that the speaking was kept short. Only Brian Wilson and his beard shtick sustained some interest.  Buster Posey was also thoughtful. He wanted to win it all again.

But Aubrey Huff knew what to say and do. He revealed his heralded rally thong.

I have issues about lucky underwear having had a few pair. I did wash mine during the World Series to the chagrin of  superstitious friends . I told them it’s lucky underwear. Not lucky dirt.

I was not close enough to check Huff’s hygiene. But he did produce the thong for all to see, our championship amulet.

When “I left my heart in San Francisco” played, it was all over, just  like it is after a game at the stadium.

People stayed on wanting more. These are tough times,after all.  True joy is in short supply.

But the Giants had left the stage and now it was time for the memories to take over.

An American fairy tale for a struggling country: San Francisco Giants, 2010 World Series Champs

 As a long-suffering fan and San Francisco native, I tried to replicate the team’s joy when the Giants won it all.  I jumped on the person next to me (fortunately, my wife) and then poured champagne (a bottle from BevMo’s .05 sale) on my head.  Wet? No worries. I had that thick orange towel they handed out at World Series Game 1 to soak it all up.

What a season. What a championship. 56 years it took? That’s just about my entire life.

So I’m still in a Giants semi-stupor, though it’s wearing off fast as I turn on the news and get a taste of reality.

Mid-terms, the stuff that counts, the direction of this country.  It’s all bad.

It’s the reason we need the Giants.

I voted last week so I didn’t have to think about real life too much today. I didn’t want a mid-term implosion to get in the way of my Giants’ euphoria.

I know I can’t stay in my Orange haze for too long, but the Giants’ story is just what this country needs. It’s a story of optimism, hope and belief. It’s a story of what happens when we all hope for the same thing and pull together.  In many ways, it’s a perfect fairy tale for a country struggling to stay afloat, socially, economically.

The Giants’ weren’t exactly royalty at the beginning of the year. They had some great young arms, but no supporting staff. No pop, no power. This team wasn’t suppose to play in October, nevermind November.

But there they were, a team put together with a recession budget. GM Brian Sabean was like a guy at the pick and pull, looking for parts to build a champion racer. He had a list and a credit card limit. He had already overpaid badly for Zito and Rowand in previous years. And even Renteria got too much.  So the Giants didn’t have the dough to build a Yankee-like coupe.  Instead, they put together a team that could race to the last day of the regular season and to Game 5 of the Series.  Castoffs? They were all grinders. Every piece was necessary and had a moment to shine at some point in the season.

But no real stars. Why that’s no good for baseball, as one commentator suggested.

The Giants and baseball may have a hard time competing with the violence of football. But they are reflective of a recession-age champion. It’s excellence built-on a budget. A team of hope. A team that the chardonnay sippers could love, along side the blue-collar bleacher bums. I sat with both during the playoffs. 

 First off, there is no team that has as diverse a fan base as the Giants. You look at the crowd and it’s not all of one type.  That’s how you know it’s San Francisco. I sat next to a young Latino teamster from the Mission, a Caucasian  female business owner from Potrero Hill married to an Asian, a white professional couple from the Peninsula.  A Korean immigrant and his born-here son from the East Bay. What kind of entertainment/team attracts that kind of mixed demos?

And after every victory, I must have hi-fived several hundred strangers after every home-run, run scored, or ultimate victory. No Purelle necessary. We were Giants family.

That kind of teamwork on the field, a sense of unity, is what was special about this team and their ballpark. Over 43,000 a night coming together over a victorious championship run is not as trivial as it seems on first blush. 

I admit I felt the same way in the  AT&T  stands as I did when I stood in 15 degree temperatures two years ago in the Washington Mall for the Obama Inaugural. There was a real sense of unity and hopefulness that I  hadn’t seen or felt  in a long time. There was no divisiveness, just talk of working together, of a brand new kind of politics. There were cheers, parades, speeches.

It wasn’t a game nor entertainment. It was for real. Where did it go? 

That’s why I want to hold on to my Giants’ feeling as long as I can. Because after today, I know the real world is not going to feel so great.

Oh, by the way, “The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!” And here’s how they’ll win the 2010 World Series

Giants baseball, torture? 

Torture is more torturuorus remotely, when you can’t see the game live or even on TV. Try getting the info on the web by Smartphone from a not so convenient spot. But there we were at the Millennium Restaurant’s backroom waiting for every download. And when the screen flashed that Howard struck out looking, there was no prompting needed. That was it. The Giants were in. The Giants fans in the room toasted, gave the Russ Hodges’ cheer, then returned to our tempeh.

But when I got home I wore out the DVR. I couldn’t get enough.  As a long-suffering native, I’ve been admiring this team’s four year  evolution from the arrival of Lincecum. It’s always been entertaining, but who wants to be a loveable loser?

 The final pieces didn’t come together until this May. First Posey, then Burrell, then Ross, Ramirez and Lopez. 

And now the team feels like a real team.  A real championship ensemble, a cast of characters with no real superstars like Giants teams of old. There’s no a Mays or a Will the Thrill or a Barry.  The Rangers are that type of team this year with Josh Hamilton. The Giants are crafted differently. It’s like Brian Sabean went down to the “pick and pull” to put together a race car. Hardly, a Ferrari, but when all the cylinders are firing, it’s enough to get to the finish line by a nose.

I predicted the Giants in 6 against the Phils.  This time, I figure the Giants will win the first two at home, with Lincecum and Cain. Cody Ross will again be a key performer, but Posey and Burrell will also liven up. And so will Pablo Sandoval. In Texas, the Rangers will show off their stuff and take two of three, with Lincecum winning game 5. The team returns to SF with a 3-2 series edge. Game 6 will be closed out by Matt Cain,  a nice antitdote to the mid-term election disaster that’s looming. We’ll all need an escape from the impending doom, and the Giants will be there to keep our minds off the heavy matters.  And why not, the history will be thick. The Giants win at home, the first time ever in SF, and the first time since 1954 for the franchise.

That’s the dream.  Believe it.

I’m taking inventory of what I wore on that night  Wilson struck out Howard. Lucky clothing? I think it was my  socks with the border collies on it.

My border collie’s  doesn’t  hit. But boy can he catch a frisbee.  His name? Coincidentally, it’s  just like the NLCS MVP.



Watching different media. Unbelievable how the Giants get no respect for going through Oswalt, Halladay and Hamels.  No love for the Giants from national media. But that’s good. The Giants are the underdog in the Underdog World Series.