taking throwback literally

On this date in 1988, the Giants and Dodgers played a doubleheader at Candlestick before 50,000 fans. The first game started at 5:35, so you knew it was going to be a late night ... and it was, beginning on Tuesday but not ending until the wee hours of Wednesday.

As is always the case, my memories are hazy, but looking through Google, I find those memories mostly supported by evidence. Those of you who remember Candlestick will understand that it was cold. Fans regularly came dressed in layers, and as I recall I wore shorts (it was July, after all) but had warmer clothes, including long pants, in my backpack. At some point during the first game, I announced that I wasn't going to put on my long pants until the Giants won. Since the Dodgers won both games that night, I never managed to get my long pants on. The temperature for the second game was 49 degrees. It didn't end until 1:21 AM ... I don't know what the temperature was by then.

The first game was a pitchers' duel between Terry Mulholland and Orel Hershiser, tied at 1-1 until Rick Dempsey hit a 2-run homer to put the Dodgers ahead. The Giants grabbed a run back in the bottom of the 8th, but it all fell apart in the top of the ninth. Craig Lefferts, pitching his second inning, started the inning giving up a home run to Jeff Hamilton, after which he put the next two batters on. Scott Garrelts came in to pitch, and gave up a 2-run triple to Steve Sax. Finally, to pile on the embarrassment, Garrelts was then called for a balk, with Sax trotting home with another run. (To understand about balks and 1988, check out "Balks: The Story of the 1988 Major League Baseball Season" by Theron Schultz.) The Dodgers ended up winning, 7-3.

The second game began at 9:10. The Dodgers scored four runs in the 4th inning, but the Giants slowly came back to tie the game, 5-5, in the bottom of the 9th, leading to extra innings. (Did I mention it was cold? That I had on short pants? That we had now moved into Wednesday?) No one scored in the 10th. In the top of the 11th, Garrelts (back for his second appearance of the night) gave up a lead-off double to Franklin Stubbs. A ground ball moved Stubbs to third base with one out, bringing Dave Anderson to the plate.

Garrelts was called for a balk. Stubbs crossed the plate. Dodgers 6, Giants 5.

After the balk, Giants manager Roger Craig and pitcher Mike Krukow, who was on the DL, were ejected. The Dodgers ended up winners by that 6-5 score. The elapsed time between the first pitch of Game One and the last pitch of Game Two was 7 hours and 46 minutes. It was cold. I had on short pants.

Accounts vary, but there were around 30 arrests and 100 fans were escorted out of the park. I've always had one memory that I assumed must be false, but according to the book 100 Things Dodgers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die by Jon Weisman, that most amazing of all my memories was true. A fan in the lower deck, close to home plate, caught a foul ball and threw it at the home plate umpire.

A lot of stuff was thrown on the field. That foul ball was the one that looms largest in my memory ... he gave up a souvenir! ... by throwing it at the umpire! But there were more infamous items being thrown. In particular, batteries. Dodger left-fielder Kirk Gibson was a popular target ... this is when Candlestick had that empty space between the left-field fence and the bleachers, a space that was filled with joyous kids when a home run came their way, but on that night, the space allowed unruly, pissed-off, drunken fans to climb on the fence, the better to locate the target of their missiles.

Gibson was later quoted as saying, "I've got to go out there again tonight. I'm not saying anything."

The best quote, though, came from Giants president and general manager Al Rosen. Rosen won an MVP award as a player, and was remembered as a bad ass who was Jewish and was always ready to fight opposing players if they offered up anti-Semitic insults. Rosen had spent four years in the Navy during World War II, and was a part of the initial landing on Okinawa during that war. He knew what he was talking about. After the doubleheader, Rosen said, "The beach at Okinawa was safer".

Little kids never again flooded the space in left field after home runs ... the Giants filled the space with barriers for the next game, and never made the space available again. The Giants, who at the time were the defending division champions, ended up in fourth place, while the Dodgers went to the World Series, where Kirk Fucking Gibson hit one of the most memorable home runs in the history of baseball (the fucker). There was some good news ... after 1988, the Dodgers didn't make it to the World Series again for 29 years (and when they finally made it, they lost), while during the same time period the Giants won three World Series. In a new park. Candlestick itself served as the home of the San Francisco 49ers for many years. It was demolished in 2015.

In 1999, as the Giants played their last season at Candlestick before moving to their new park, the Chronicle interviewed some people about their memories of the old dump. One of the best was a guy named Jesse Stirling:

My most vivid Candlestick memory would have to be the twi-night double-header against the Dodgers: an evening so rowdy, it ended the phenomenon of everyone jumping out of their seats to catch home run balls hit beyond the left field fence.

In a move never to be repeated by Giants management, a doubleheader was scheduled against the Dodgers on July 26, 1988, with both games taking place after nightfall. This meant 18 solid innings of drinking for the Giants faithful. Throw in two Scott Garrelts blown saves in a span of four hours, and you have a recipe for disaster. In the middle of all this was a young lad (me) and his dad. 

I saw no less than seven fist fights around me. Every curse word imaginable was hurled at the few Dodger fans who dared to brave the cold Candlestick night. Trust me, those Dodger fans weren't making a peep by the second game. The crowd was screaming "Beat L.A." so loud, it sounded like a rock concert at college.

A drunk guy sitting two seats away from me caught a foul ball, and the crowd started chanting, "Throw it back!" The mob mentality prevailed, and with a beer in one hand, the drunk proceeded to whistle a throw toward home plate that barely missed the home plate ump.

In left field, Kirk Gibson was getting pelted with everything from batteries to empty whiskey bottles. Fans were running out of their seats, climbing the chain-linked fence, and throwing stuff at Gibson's head. This is while the game is going on!

It was out of control. They put the barricades up in left field the very next game. The drunk who threw the ball onto the field was cuffed and escorted out of the park faster than you can say, "Humm baby."

The evening even made its way to the Urban Dictionary:

battery chucker
No-Cal, (Northern California) Fan, for his perceived tendency to throw batteries at opposing players, especially those from So-Cal. Mostly Giant's Baseball Fan.
 
Here is the game played the previous night (Giants win!):


opening day #39

Today I'll attend my 39th consecutive Giants home opener. The Giants have won 25 and lost 13 so far. Several players made their major-league debuts at one of these games: Juan Bonilla, Mike Couchee, Joey Cora, Jim Steels, Jose Guillen, Joe Martinez. Seven games have gone into extra innings, with the home team winning six of them.

I was going to pick a few highlights from over the years, but as I checked out old news stories, I realized that one opener stood above all others. I'll get to it in a second, but first, some of those highlights.

April 17, 1980: Giants 7, Padres 3. The only thing I remember about my first Opening Day is that I had a broken foot, and seats in the nosebleeds.

April 11, 2000: Dodgers 6, Giants 5. Dodger fans like remembering this one, known as the Kevin Elster Game. Elster, who had been out of baseball for a year, hit 3 homers in the first-ever game at what was then called Pacific Bell Park. It still belongs on my highlight list, precisely because it was the first one at China Basin. Barry Bonds liked the new park ... he hit a run-scoring double on the first pitch he saw, then homered in his next at-bat.

More Barry Bonds Games: In 2002, Barry hit a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 10th to send fans home happy. And in 2004, this happened:

Aaron Rowand: Aaron Rowand was an unlikely hero. The center fielder, in his third season with the Giants, had been a bit of a disappointment. In 2010, the Giants played the longest opener in terms of innings played, and in the bottom of the 13th, Rowand did this:

The Giants went on to win their first World Series since coming to San Francisco. In the 2011 opener, Rowand was at it again, this time in the bottom of the 12th:

Objectively, the best performance by a Giant on any Opening Day I attended came in 2012. Matt Cain faced 28 batters and retired 27 for a one-hitter. The only hit against Cain was by the opposing pitcher, James McDonald, who had a career BA of .110 over six seasons. (Cain wasn't done. Later in the season, he threw the first perfect game in Giants history.)

But my pick for my best Opening Day? 1993.

By the end of the 1992, the Giants looked like they would be leaving town. They were sold to investors from Florida. But the sale was denied, a group of locals bought the team and kept them in San Francisco, and they started their new reign by signing Barry Bonds.

Appropriately, the Giants' opponent for their 1993 home opener was the Florida Marlins, playing in their first season.

The Grateful Dead sang the National Anthem. Sherry Davis made her major-league debut as the PA announcer, the first full-time female stadium announcer for a major league baseball team.

Barry Bonds came up in the bottom of the 2nd for his first Candlestick at-bat as a Giant:

And in the bottom of the 11th, Darren Lewis singled home the winning run, giving the Giants a 4-3 victory.


game seven

I was going to wait until the final game of the World Series to write this, but there's no reason for that, so here goes.

In the arts, the audience might disagree about the quality of a work ... you know, taste preferences ... and certainly, when we walk out of a theater, for instance, our mood will be affected by what we've seen. But in most cases, there is no heartbreak, unless the work has purposely elicited such a response.

It's not like that with spectator sports. The audience for a sporting event consists of two groups of fans who are supporters of one of the teams/athletes, with a third group of "neutral" fans. The three groups are looking for different things. The supporters want their representatives to win, which sets them on opposite sides from each other. The neutrals just want "a good game".

This is especially obvious during the most noteworthy, "historic" games. Giants fans remember the 1962 World Series as one of heartbreak. Just ask Charles Schulz, who loved the Giants and who ran two separate Peanuts comics about the last out of that World Series. You see, the Series ended when Hall of Famer Willie McCovey hit a line drive that was caught by the second baseman for the Yankees. Two months later, in Peanuts, Charlie Brown despairs. "Why couldn't McCovey have hit the ball just three feet higher?" After another month, another strip: "Or why couldn't McCovey have hit the ball even two feet higher?" There was a work stoppage in baseball in 1981, and the Giants' radio station broadcast the radio recording of that game, only, without telling us, they edited the audio of that last play so McCovey's line drive got past the defense, giving the Giants the World Series. I remember listening to this and just about crying. (It was another 29 years before the Giants finally won the World Series in real life.)

Giants fans remember the 1962 World Series as a bad one. Yankee fans think about it with joy, if they remember it at all (they won a lot in those days). The neutral fan probably thought it was a minor World Series, known as much for the bad weather as anything else. (The next time the Giants played in a World Series, there was an earthquake.)

In the 2002 World Series, the Giants were in the driver's seat, with a 3 games to 2 lead over the Angels, and a 5-run lead in Game Six. Disaster struck (from a Giants fan perspective), the Angels came back to win the game, and then won Game Seven and the World Series. Angels fans remember that Series with joy ... it was their team's first championship. Neutral fans remember it fondly as well ... it was a classic. But that Series haunted Giants fans for at least 8 years.

The Giants finally won a few Series. In 2014, they went to Game Seven against the Royals, trying to win their third Series in five years. A legendary performance by Madison Bumgarner gave the Giants the win, with the Royals leaving the tying run on third base as the game ended. It's one of the great moments in Giants fan history, and it will always be remembered by neutral fans as one of the great Series games. But Royals fans hated that game. I know some Royals fans, and I admit, I was happy for them when their team won the World Series the next year.

Pick a sport, and the above is true. In the 1994 World Cup final, Brazil and Italy played 120 minutes without either team scoring. The great Italian player Roberto Baggio missed a crucial penalty, and Brazil were the champions. I'm sure Brazilian fans were happy with that victory, just as I'm sure Italian fans have never forgotten Baggio's miss. The neutral fan? Well, 120 minutes of scoreless soccer isn't likely to be remembered as a great match.

Spectator sports have winners and losers. A great movie or song or painting makes winners of us all. But not sports.

As I type this, the Astros lead the Dodgers, 5-0, in the final game of the 2017 World Series. Some neutral fans are saying this has been one of the greatest World Series of all time, and when tonight's game is finished, those fans will remember these games with fondness. The fans of the winning team, whoever that will be, will never forget this Series. Neither will the fans of the losing team. But they'll wish they could forget. I remember when Kirk Gibson hit that famous home run off of Dennis Eckersley in the 1988 Series. Eckersley was my favorite player, and Gibson's Dodgers were my most hated team. It was bad enough that Gibson hit the homer. But as he rounded the bases, I knew immediately that I'd be seeing that damn thing the rest of my life. It was too good of a moment, a moment that Dodger fans and neutral fans alike can still get excited about. And sure enough, whenever you see highlights of baseball's post-season, there's Kirk Gibson, rounding the bases. Makes me want to puke, every time I see it.

Sometimes, I wish I was a neutral fan. I'd be spared the heartbreak. But then I remember 2010, when the Giants finally won the World Series after being in San Francisco for 52 years, and I'm not sorry I have a rooting interest.

 


throwback to 1980

I wrote about this 12 years ago ... thought I'd just cut-and-paste for Throwback Thursday:

25 years ago today [ed. note: now 37 years], I attended a double-header at Candlestick Park that shows the way sports works its way into our lives not only in large ways but also in small ones.

1980 was a nondescript season for the Giants. They got off to a slow start, and by June 29, they were already 11 games out and well on their way to a fifth-place finish in a six-team division. On offense, they had Jack Clark, Darrell Evans and very little else ... the pitching was a bit better, with Vida Blue and Ed Whitson having decent years (and making the All-Star team) and the bullpen pitching well.

Anyway, a bunch of us decided to take in the double-header, which was against the hated Dodgers. My then-brother-in-law Randy came with us, and my then-sister-in-law [ed. note: actually she's my niece] Julie (lotta "thens" in this story) ... Julie was attending her first-ever baseball game (I guess she was also attending her second-ever baseball game). I don't remember who else went. The only thing going on for the Giants was the impending retirement of Willie McCovey, who was closing down a Hall of Fame career, and would be leaving the game at the All-Star break, which was a little more than a week away.

McCovey wasn't in the starting lineup for the first game. That spot belonged to Rich Murray, a 22-year-old pheenom who had just come up to the majors earlier in the month. (Murray's tenure as McCovey's replacement didn't last long ... he only played 57 games in the majors, and is mostly known now as Eddie Murray's brother.) The game was to-and-fro, Bob Knepper dueling with Don Sutton, and as the Giants came to bat in the bottom of the ninth, the score was tied 3-3. (It should be noted that the prospect of extra innings at a double-header wasn't quite so frightening in those days ... the game I am currently describing, for instance, only lasted 2 hours and 12 minutes.) The Dodgers brought in Bobby Castillo to relieve the tiring Sutton, and after a leadoff single by Rennie Stennett, Castillo retired the next two hitters, bringing up the pitcher's spot in the lineup.

And pinch-hitting for Bob Knepper was Willie McCovey.

There were 50,000 people at the park that day, and this was what we'd come to see: our old hero taking one last shot at our archrivals to the south. McCovey had managed only one homerun all season, the 521st of his career, but I think we can be forgiven for thinking hoping begging praying that he had #522 somewhere in that tired body.

And Castillo pitched to McCovey, and he got ahold of one. It went flying towards the right-centerfield fence, and 50,000 of us leapt into the air while Rennie Stennett circled the bases towards home. And then, since this is real life and not a made-up story, the ball fell just short of a homer, bouncing off the fence for a double that won the game for the Giants.

And I remember that game to this day.

Everything after that was anti-climactic. The Giants were shutout by Burt Hooton in the second game, and McCovey did not make an appearance. The most legendary occurrence in that second game was that Randy, who's gotta be like 6'5", fell asleep, which is hard enough with 50,000 people making noise, and even harder when you can barely fit into the seat in the first place. I've never let him forget that little nap.

The next Thursday, McCovey played his last game at Candlestick, and I played a little hooky to be there. In the third inning, with Jack Clark on third, Mac dribbled a ball past Dan Driessen at firstbase for a single and an RBI, his last at Candlestick. In the top of the 8th inning, McCovey went out to his position, and then, while everyone stood and cheered, Pheenom Murray came out to replace him. (There were 26,000 of us, not bad for a midweek day game.) Stretch McCovey was gone.

McCovey had one last shot in him, it turned out. On Sunday in Los Angeles, in his last game ever, he pinch-hit late in a tie game and lifted a sacrifice fly that gave the Giants the lead. It was his last major-league at-bat.


38

Today I will attend my 38th consecutive home Opening Day for the Giants. I went to 20 at Candlestick Park ... if I make it to the 2019 opener, I’ll have 20 at China Basin, as well.

Honestly, I don’t even know how this happened. I love baseball, but I’m not a big fan of the endless nostalgia that accompanies it ... no Field of Dreams for me. I can’t remember what inspired us to go to the 1980 opener. The Giants had a good 1978 season, but went back in the crapper in 1979. While I wouldn’t have known this at the time I bought my tickets for 1980, the team opened with six losses in seven games on the road. Something else I couldn’t know in advance: I broke my foot. And our seats were nosebleeds.

But the game was fun. The visiting Padres had two future Hall of Famers in Ozzie Smith and Dave Winfield. The Giants had one of their own in Willie McCovey. The Giants also had a few favorites: Darrell Evans, Jack Clark, Vida Blue. Vida went the distance, and the Giants won, 7-3. Like I say, it was fun, enough so that when the 1981 opener came around, I was there again. That game went 12 innings before the Giants lost, 4-1. 1981 was the awful year when the season was split in half. There was every reason to skip the 1982 opener. Yet for some reason, I made it to my third straight.

The Giants squeaked out a 3-2 win. More important was the rest of that season, for 1982 was a thriller that went down to the final weekend before the Giants finally fell. That season may have cemented my adult attachment to the game, and ensured I’d go to a lot more Opening Days.

But even then, I wasn’t thinking of a streak. Three times in a row is barely worth noticing. Truthfully, I can’t remember just when I realized I had something going. But eventually it happened, and Opening Day became a personal holiday. It’s hard to pick out the most memorable moments in the first 37 openers I’ve seen. There was 1999, the last opener at Candlestick, with homers by Marvin Benard, Barry Bonds, and Rich Aurilia. There was the flabbergasting first opener at the new park, when a journeyman named Kevin Elster, who had sat out the previous season, hit three home runs for the fucking Dodgers to lead the Giants to a loss. (They lost all five games on their first home stand, before rebounding and making the post-season.) There was 2002, when Barry Bonds sent us all home with a two-run homer in the bottom of the 10th. And 2004, when Barry hit the 660th home run of his career, tying him with Willie Mays. In 2012, Matt Cain carried a perfect game into the 6th inning, when the opposing pitcher pushed a weak grounder into the outfield. He was the only base runner Cain allowed that day.

And last year, when the Giants overcame a four-run deficit against the Dodgers on their way to a big 12-6 victory.

Who knows what to expect today for Opener #38. I’ll make one prediction: if new coach Barry Bonds shows up in uniform, he will get the biggest ovation of the pre-game introductions.


throw me back to the ball game

I wanted Cleveland to win, because an old friend of mine who died some years ago was a lifelong fan of the team. But as I watched Game Seven, one of the greatest baseball games of all time, I knew I didn’t really care who won, as long as the game never ended.

Wright Thompson wrote a great piece about the Cubs (“In Chicago, the final wait for a Cubs win mixes joy and sorrow”). Anything Wright Thompson writes is worth your time ... everything I’ve ever read of his resonates.

When the Giants won their first World Series in San Francisco in 2010, I kept saying over and over to myself, “I never thought it would happen”. I was five years old when the team came to San Francisco, and New York didn’t count for me, so I had been waiting 52 years for a championship. That was a long time. Because of that, I understand some of what Cubs fans are feeling today. Their wait was historically longer ... twice as long as the SF Giants, plus another four years. But while the news outlets managed to find a few who had been there for 60 or 70 or 80 years, most Cubs fans had been devoted to the team for something less than 52 years. Many of them weren’t born 52 years ago. Some of them only became Cubs fans a month ago (which is perfectly fine). I felt like our 52-year wait was the equal of the misery of Cubs fans, at least for people like me who had been around for all 52 years.

What Thompson’s piece reminds me, though, is that there is one crucial unique element that the Cubs bring to the table. Ancestors.

So many of the stories Thompson tells are about dead people. Tale after tale recounts how Grandpa waited his whole life for the Cubs to win, but he died eight years ago and never saw it happen. (The Onion understands this ... they ran a piece titled “Millions of Drunk Cubs Fans Rioting in Heaven Following World Series Win”.) It’s wonderful, how many Cubs fans are taking the time to remember their ancestors who are no longer here, who missed the moment.

And ancestors is what Giants fans didn’t have in 2010. Basically, I was my own ancestor. My 52-year wait marked me as someone who was there from the beginning ... you couldn’t go back any farther than me. When the Giants finally won, I thought of my fellow, living, Giants fans who had suffered for so long.

But when the final relief of your suffering must allow for dead parents and grandparents and uncles and aunts ... well, that’s why 2010 is important for Giants fans, but 2016 is important for people who rooted for the Cubs in 1909.

So I can pretend to understand how Cubs fans feel, but ultimately I don’t think anyone but Cubs fans know what today feels like.


don't throw back that ball, keep it

The baseball season is over for Giants fans, but I can still drag out a happy memory from 2002, a season that didn’t end well. It was the third year I had full season tickets, which meant I went to every home post-season game, including Game 4 of the NLCS against the Cardinals, which was played 14 years ago today, October 13, 2002. The Giants were up 2 games to 1 in the best-of-seven series. The Cards’ SS was a future Giants’ post-season hero, Edgar Renteria. The starting pitchers were Andy Benes for the Cardinals, in what was to be his final game as a major-leaguer, and Livan Hernandez for the Giants.

The Cardinals jumped on Livan for two runs in the first, and Benes held off the Giants until the sixth, when two straight walks sent him to the showers. J.T. Snow doubled off of reliever Rick White to tie the game, which is how it stood until the bottom of the 8th. White was still pitching, and in fact had retired six straight after Snow’s hit. There were two outs, with the dangerous Barry Bonds at the plate. You youngsters out there might find it hard to believe, but those of us who there during the latter part of Barry’s career won’t be surprised by what followed. Bonds had been walked 198 times during the regular season. He had been walked four times in five games in the NLDS against Atlanta. The Cardinals walked him seven times in the first three games of this series, and they walked him again in the 6th inning, when he scored after Snow doubled. So here in the bottom of the 8th of a tie game, two outs, no one on base, pitcher has retired six in a row ... and St. Louis manager Tony “The Genius” LaRussa walked Bonds intentionally.

Up came Benito Santiago. Benito had three hits including a homer in Game One, and two more hits in Game Three.

This happened next:

The Giants went on to win, 4-3, and won the series the next day, setting up the ill-fated World Series against the Angels. Benito Santiago was named Most Valuable Player of the NLCS.


she saved the world. a lot

This starts out being about sports, but it wanders, so here’s a spoiler warning for Penny Dreadful.

The Warriors lost their title to the Cavs. I didn’t like it while it was happening ... as I said at one point on Facebook, I didn’t want a good game, I wanted a Warrior victory, the bigger the better. And so it was a good game, even a great game, and LeBron James is the best player of his era, and his team accomplished something great. I am happy for the fans in Cleveland who have waited so long. Actually, I’m not happy, but one day I will be. It helps that 1) we got to celebrate just last year, and 2) the entire season up until these last games was such a joy.

Another thing that helps is being a fan of more than one sport. So while the Warriors lost, the Giants have won 8 in a row, and 27 of their last 35 (a record for the San Francisco team). They are for the moment comfortably in first place.

And the U.S. men’s national soccer team has made it to the semi-finals of the Copa América Centenario, where Argentina awaits them on Tuesday. That gives us 40+ hours to imagine what it might be like for the USA to beat Messi and company.

So it’s not bad being a Bay Area sports fan right now, even if the Warriors game hurts.

The NBA season is over, but it will return. And tonight, after the sadness of the basketball game, there was the Season Three finale of Penny Dreadful. Showtime claimed it was two hours long, but it was just two episodes shown back to back. While the first episode, and half of the second, featured interesting stories about the show’s many characters, along with the usual excellent acting, Eva Green’s Vanessa Ives was noticeable by her absence. And since we knew everything was headed for a showdown with Vanessa, Dracula, and our intrepid heroes, it felt like a bit of stalling ... come on, I kept thinking, get down to it. When Green finally showed up, we were reminded why Penny Dreadful has, above all, always been her series. There were all the great fictional characters thrown together: Dr. Frankenstein, his monster, and the Bride ... Dorian Gray ... Dr. Jekyll ... The Wolfman ... Dracula and Dr. Seward and Mina Harker and Van Helsing and Renfield ... I half expected Abbott and Costello to show up. But in all of this, Eva Green rose above the rest. She was the best thing about a very good show.

And yes, here come the spoilers, and yes, I was speaking in the past tense in that last sentence. For Vanessa Ives died to save the world from evil, rather like Buffy in “The Gift”. Buffy was resurrected, of course, and hey, Penny Dreadful features Dr. Frankenstein, so I suppose Vanessa could come back. But it was her death that finally ended Dracula’s reign of darkness, and it was explicitly Christian ... her last words were that she could see “our Lord”, whose battle she had fought her entire life.

Much has been made of late about how frequently television series use “surprise” deaths of important characters these days, but even in that context, Vanessa’s death snuck up on us, even as it seemed inevitable. More surprising were the words that appeared on the screen at the end of the episode, after we’d spent a few minutes trying to imagine Penny Dreadful without Eva Green. “The End”. Surprise, surprise. Showtime managed to keep that under wraps. I hadn’t even noticed that Penny Dreadful had yet to be extended for a fourth season. I just assumed it would happen, given that Showtime has a well-deserved reputation for letting their best shows run long past their sell-by date. But it turns out that Penny Dreadful is expensive, and it doesn’t get many viewers in the right demographics. I love Eva Green, but she’s 35 years old, and the other main characters included the likes of Timothy Dalton (in his 70s), and Patti LuPone and Wes Studi (both in their late-60s). It felt like Josh Hartnett was there to appeal to the younger crowd, but heck, he’s older than Eva Green. Add the fact that most of the characters came from turn-of-the-last-century literature, and I suppose it would be asking too much for young people to take a shine to it.

I mean, I went to Twitter to find fellow fans to mourn with, and everyone was talking about Game of Thrones. Truth is, I barely know anyone who watched Penny Dreadful.

So it’s gone, an A- series that flirted with an A. And the Warriors are gone, at least until next season, an A+ team that slipped to a B+ at just the wrong time. But there are still the Giants, and the U.S. national team. And Game of Thrones, and Outlander. And hey, Orange Is the New Black is back! Mourn for a day, but then see what joys await us.

Saved image from Tweetium (8)


music friday: walk-up music

Here are some of the songs used as walk-up music for Giants players. I’ll use the starting lineup on Opening Day, at least the guys whose songs are listed on the team website (to be honest, I think it’s a little outdated).

Denard Span: Fabolous, “Ball Drop

Buster Posey: Brantley Gilbert, “Hell on Wheels

Hunter Pence: White Zombie, “More Human Than Human

 

Brandon Belt: Jay-Z, “99 Problems

Brandon Crawford: Elle Goulding, “Burn

Jake Peavy: Bruce Springsteen, “Badlands

Angel Pagan: Calle 13, “Baile de los Pobres

 

Let’s toss in pinch-hitter Gregor Blanco: Nova y Jory, “Aprovecha

 

A favorite at our house, the music that is played when pitcher Sergio Romo enters the game: Banda MS, “El Mechon

 

And finally, this is played after every Giants home win: