National Pastime

We got through the housesitting last week without a hitch, and now Katrina and I have been focusing on the apartment hunt. There have been a few possibilities that have been eliminated, and we have a few more options to look into this week. Having lived either at home or in college dorms our whole lives, we are pretty inexperienced at this whole thing, and I’ve been surprised at how apartments in roughly the same price range can vary from “simple-yet-decent” accommodations to “Oh-God-the-minute-you-are-here-at-night-the-muggings-begin”.

Katrina and I have had our squabbles about the apartments, because we want different things out of them. I want an apartment, something with a bedroom, kitchen, and central room, perhaps in a community, with access to things like electricity, cable and Internet. It sounds like Katrina is looking for a house with yards and room for dogs and a big kitchen. That’s great, but we still have the same amount of money, so the places she likes with what we can afford are total dumps, littered with the refuse and broken dreams of their previous owners. She doesn’t seem to have a problem with this, but I do, so DRAMA. I’m sure we’ll get it sorted out, but for now we’re still looking.

Obviously, the biggest news this week for me was the fact that the San Francisco Giants swept the Detroit Tigers in the World Series. It was extremely gratifying to see them not only beat, but decisively beat the team that was supposed to wipe the floor with them. The Fox commentators were so damn smug before Game 1 (heck, before that, when the Giants had just finished beating the Cardinals), convinced that the well-rested Tigers, and especially the undeniably great Justin Verlander would have an easy time taking the series. Even I wouldn’t have believed San Fran would even get to the series a few weeks ago (and said as much), but here they are.

I suppose, technically, I was one of those bandwagoneers who became a Giants fan as they were making their historic World Series run in 2010. To my credit, I started paying attention as early as the last series of the regular season, against the Padres. Unlike this year, the 2010 NL West standings were much closer, and the Giants had to beat the Padres, or there was going to be a tie-breaker game… In San Diego. But San Francisco pulled it off with drama and style, and I was hooked.

The rest of that postseason is history, but it was spectacular. The Atlanta Braves (and, again, the national TV announcers) underestimated the Giants, and were so busy looking ahead to playing the Phillies that they managed to lose the National League Division Series. The Championship Series (against the Phillies, as everyone had predicted) was a tight one, but the Giants just kept rolling. The 2010 World Series was almost an afterthought, as they beat the Texas Rangers 4 games to 1.

I ended up missing most of that series, as I was helping out the local theater group with an elaborate haunted house they were running the week of Halloween; that same week. I don’t regret it, the haunted house was a blast, and Game 5 was on November 1st. I remember listening to the final pitches on the car radio as Dad and I were driving to the airport to pick Mom up from her flight from Hawaii, struggling to hear as the AM station cut in and out between repeaters.

This year wasn’t as historically significant (after all, this was mostly the same group of guys who won two years ago), but I was more emotionally invested this time. I’d been through a down year when they didn’t even make the playoffs, and I’d even talked my Dad into taking us to a game when we had reason to be in San Francisco. I am a full-on Giants fan now. (For the record, the game I saw was Vogelsong’s stellar 1-hitter against the Oakland A’s.)

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This was also a postseason of drama for the Giants. Having lost brilliant-but-crazy closing pitcher Brian Wilson to Tommy Johns surgery early in the year, and with former ace Tim Lincecum severely underperforming, things looked bad for a team whose talent mostly came from pitching. But hitters appeared, late in the season, when they needed them most. Marco Scutaro, Hunter Pence, Pablo Sandoval, and Buster Posey all contributed in a big way, and formerly written-off pitchers Barry Zito and Ryan Vogelsong stepped up, and Lincecum found himself again as a near-perfect relief pitcher.

They beat the Cincinnati Reds by winning three straight games in Cincinnati, one loss from elimination the whole time. They beat the St. Louis Cardinals (last year’s World Series champs) after being backed into a corner again, winning three more “win-or-go-home” games. And they beat the Detroit Tigers, fresh off a sweep of the hated Yankees, besting one of the greatest pitchers in the game today, with a sweep of their own. Pablo Sandoval, the “Kung Fu Panda”, hit three home runs in one game (two off the aforementioned Verlander), putting him in the company of Babe Ruth (who did it twice), Reggie Jackson, and Albert Pujols (who did it last year). Madison Bumgarner and Ryan Vogelsong (with bullpen support) both shut out the Tigers. For a team that everybody assumed was the underdog, this wasn’t just a win, this was a domination.

I love baseball.

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4 responses to “National Pastime

    • We were still housesitting for the first half of the series, and for the last two games I prevailed upon some of the neighbors who actually DO have TV, and they were nice enough to let me watch the games at their house.

  1. I know I already commented on the Facebooks, but I just wanted to comment on your “bandwagoner” comment. If anyone proves that not all new fans are “bandwagoners” its you. You stuck with the orange and black through the fluster cuck that was 2011 so it’s safe to say you aren’t fairweather. I kind of hate the hate on all new fans.

    Also, your Oakland comments remind me there are other people out there who can still appreciate all of Bay Area Baseball. As aesthetically unpleasing as it was, I miss the days of these hats being prominent.

  2. Great post. The Giants were awesome in their post-season games and when they showed the Tigers how baseball should be played. Excellent pitching and fielding. Love the guys.

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