opening day 2023
Friday, April 07, 2023
I posted Music Friday a day early because today is the Giants' home opener, and that takes precedence over music.
Beginning in 1980, and going through 2019, I attended 40 consecutive Giants home openers. There were good ones and bad ones ... the Giants won 25 of the 40. There was a one-hitter by Matt Cain, there was the first game at the new park, there was the game where Barry hit #660. Barry had a feel for Opening Day drama ... in 1993, in his first Opening Day at-bat in a Giants jersey, he homered. And in 2002, he hit a walk-off homer to send the fans home happy. There was the ridiculous game against the Padres in 1983, where the Giants fell behind 4-0, and then 13-3, and then 16-6, only to bring the tying run to the plate in the 8th before losing at last. And, of course, there was 2011 and 2013 and 2015, when championship flags were raised in celebration of the previous year's World Series wins.
Then things changed for everyone in 2020. Opening Day didn't happen that year until July, and there were no people in the stands. Fans returned in 2021, but I was still way, plus my streak had already been broken. Then last year, I decided to return, and was greeted with a walk-off victory.
And so today, it'll be Opening Day #42 for me. Things change, even in baseball, and this will be the first time the Giants open against an American League team. I'll try to remember to post a picture or two later today.
roger angell, 1920-2022
Saturday, May 21, 2022
It is foolish and childish, on the face of it, to affiliate ourselves with anything so insignificant and patently contrived and commercially exploitive as a professional sports team, and the amused superiority and icy scorn that the non-fan directs at the sports nut (I know this look -- I know it by heart) is understandable and almost unanswerable. Almost. What is left out of this calculation, it seems to me, is the business of caring -- caring deeply and passionately, really caring -- which is a capacity or an emotion that has almost gone out of our lives. And so it seems possible that we have come to a time when it no longer matters so much what the caring is about, how frail or foolish is the object of that concern, as long as the feeling itself can be saved. Naivete -- the infantile and ignoble joy that sends a grown man or woman to dancing and shouting with joy in the middle of the night over the haphazardous flight of a distant ball -- seems a small price to pay for such a gift.
-- Roger Angell
opening day update
Friday, April 08, 2022
music friday: baseball
Friday, April 08, 2022
Willie didn't just get a song about him, he appeared on it!
This was a popular song in 1962. Note that while the Dodgers beat the Giants in the song, the Giants beat the Dodgers to win the 1962 pennant.
It's arguably the biggest clunker in the history of Bruce lyrics: no one calls it a speed ball, Bruce.
Bruce reportedly liked this quite a bit:
Thursday, April 07, 2022
It was Sunday, September 29, 2019. It was the last game of the season for the Giants, who hosted the NL West champion Dodgers (who would lose to the Nationals in the post-season). The game was meaningless ... both teams had finalized their positions for the year. The Giants were done, the Dodgers had more to play. But the ballpark was packed, because it was Bruce Bochy's last game as manager.
There was a heartwarming ceremony after the game, with close to 50 former Giants showing up to give their thanks for Bochy. (One of them, who played for Bochy for two different teams, was current Dodger manager Dave Roberts, who came out for the party wearing his LA cap. Barry Bonds grabbed it off his head and threw it into the outfield.)
The best in-game moment came in the bottom of the 5th. Clayton Kershaw came out to get some work in for the Dodgers, and after retiring the first two batters, Bochy seized the moment, and sent Madison Bumgarner out to pinch-hit in what would be his final appearance as a Giant. Madbum worked the count to 3-2 before lining out to third base, and as he and Kershaw left the field, they both nodded in each other's direction with a tip of the cap.
Fast forward to April 3, 2020. I had tickets to attend my 41st consecutive Opening Day. But by the middle of March, everything shut down for COVID. The opener was postponed until late July, and when play resumed, there were no fans, only cardboard cutouts. By 2021, things had returned to something resembling normal, but I was still staying inside as much as possible, so I didn't attend a single game of that exciting season.
Tomorrow is the 2022 Opening Day, and once again, I have tickets. The Giants will raise their 2021 NL West pennant, the umpire will say "Play ball!", and I'll be at my first baseball game in 2 1/2 years.
Wednesday, November 03, 2021
Thursday, October 14, 2021
It's being called the biggest game in the long, 100+ year rivalry between the Giants and Dodgers. It isn't on TV here, so that's out. I can listen to the game, though. Problem is, the game starts at 3:07 AM Nerja Time. So I'm guessing I'll catch an inning or two when I wake up at night to take a leak. In the meantime, no matter the outcome, this has been a terrific year for the Giants.
Here's something to reminisce, from one of the best moments I have ever attended:
even among the greats, joe morgan stood out
Monday, October 12, 2020
Sam Fels has already said a lot of what I think here: "Joe Morgan, championed by the analytics he hated, passes away at 77".
Maybe Morgan never realized that the analytics he degraded as useless would tell you he was the best second baseman of the modern era by a distance.
His death will certainly wash away his belligerence as a broadcaster, and it should. Because the actual baseball is what’s important. And Morgan is one of the best to ever do the actual baseball.
That’ll be his legacy.
I'm sure there will be plenty of fine articles ... that's just the first one I saw. Joe is remembered fondly here in the Bay Area. He moved to Oakland when he was 5. I attended Merritt College in Oakland for a semester when I returned to school in the mid-80s. Joe was one of its most illustrious alumni ... memory is probably wrong as usual, but I remember there was a big picture of Morgan on the wall of the library.
Joe Morgan was the greatest second-baseman in my lifetime. Added to his many accomplishments, Giants' fans remember him for his time with the team when he was in his late-30s. In particular, this highlight is shown at the ballpark to this day:
Wednesday, October 07, 2020
It might be time for a baseball post. I've barely posted about the game this season. Once the beginning was postponed, I called up memories of a few Opening Days of the past, and when the season finally began, I wrote about missing an Opening Day after going to every one since 1980. I didn't think the season should have been played, but ever the hypocrite, I watched the Giants games anyway. And it appears MLB did a decent job keeping people healthy. Some of the new rules are screwy, although I welcome a universal DH. But it doesn't really matter unless they carry the dumb rules over into next season.
But without being able to attend a game (first time since 1977, I think), and with everything goofy, I didn't pay much attention. I like what I've seen of Gabe Kapler and his team of coaches, I have faith in Farhan Zaidi, and the future looks good. But I haven't drawn much inspiration from the team.
And, since I've always been a Giants fan first and a baseball fan second, I'm barely paying attention to the playoffs. I'd like to see the A's do well for my sister Chris, although they are already on the brink of elimination. I don't care about the Astros cheating, so I'd be happy to see Dusty Baker finally win a World Series. Over the years, I've picked up some friends and family who are Dodger fans, and the Dodgers are great again this year ... I really don't want them to win it all, but I expect they will, and I'll actually be happy for those friends and family.
But really, my favorite part of this baseball season comes from a guy who was released and who then retired. Hunter Pence, Forever Giant. The day after his retirement, he showed up on a boat in McCovey Cove to root for the Giants. In 2020, it doesn't get much better than that.