I’ve got an aging nemesis throwing a masterpiece against the Giants, terrible Fox coverage, a garage sale, dogs and cats living together- mass hysteria!
As if working full time isn’t enough fun, I decided to take part in a community-wide garage sale this past weekend. I was soon asking aloud why I would ever take it upon myself to worry about haggling over one dollar for a ceramic cat when I’ve got Steve Trachsel licking his chops before Saturday’s game. I really had to focus and, instead, was doing my best to sell wicker baskets and faux fur neck shawls. (Relax. They were my wife’s.)
Before getting into it about the game, something needs to be said about patrons of garage sales, and I’m not talking about those who are simply looking to save money by getting a good deal on day-to-day necessities. I’m talking about the pumpkin-heads who look forward to garage sales for the sole purpose of going to garage sales. They’re the ones wearing a purple 1982 Podunk County Blueberry Festival t-shirt who offer you fifty cents for the wooden oven-pull you made in 7th grade woodshop. For these people, I gave them a great deal like asking for full, retail price. Did they really need a set of gold salad tongs? I’d sell it to the struggling chef for a buck an hour later, anyway.
After a long day in the sun and the worst farmer tan I’ve ever had, I hunkered down to count my cash and watch the Giants exorcise an old demon, namely Steve Trachsel, who perplexed the Giants in the one-game playoff at Wrigley Field in 1998. Even more perplexing was the decision to start Mark Gardner in that game, but that’s a Dusty-bashing to be had at a later date.
Lo and behold, Trachsel did it again as the Giants hacked, blooped and missed pitch after pitch while he averaged only 10 pitches per inning through six. Trachsel had transformed Pac Bell into Jurassic Park, as he resembled a dinosaur having his last bit of fun chewing up Giants hitters with his nondescript breaking balls. I had counted over $300 of my garage sale booty as the Giants limped out of the 6th inning and was too furious to enjoy the fact that I still had a nice stack of cash remaining to count. Little did I know that Fox Sports was going to up the fury ante.
In the final third of the game, Barry Bonds came up with a chance to get the Giants back in the game and, of course, Art Howe called for 4 pitches out of the strike zone. The hometown fans booed. Fox announcer, Steve Lyons (best known for mooning an umpire and a horribly wooden performance in “For Love of the Game”), went out on a limb by saying that if a team thinks walking Bonds will beat the Giants, that they should do it, and the players are really here to do a job and not to entertain us. True, but Lyons’ points are simply examples of those tired throw-aways that announcers say to fill dead air, but his tone suggested that he was imparting sage-like wisdom upon his captive audience. The melodious sounds of Vin Scully and Jon Miller are a part of the game. Steve Lyons, on the other hand, is a dental drill. And he was making me lose count of my cash.
The Fox broadcast went from bad to worse when the Fox powers-that-be started playing the players’ accompanying theme music. For example, Rich Aurilia was ready to step into the box and Fox continued to play “Woke Up This Morning” by Alabama 3 during the at-bat. You’d think hearing the first few stanzas would be enough, but Fox insisted on playing the song until Aurilia finally (and mercifully) grounded out. Then it got worse in the bottom of the ninth when Fox decided to play what I think was the score to “Spider-Man”… for the entire inning. It could have been the “Josie and the Pussycats” soundtrack for all I cared and it would have had just as much relevance. Is Lyons is so bad that his broadcasts need filler music? I could only sit and hold my filthy wad of garage sale cash and absorb Fox’s new benchmark for trying to appease casual baseball fans with the attention span of a ring-tailed lemur. Watching the Giants revert back to their listless hitting was bad enough, but having elevator music accompany Armando Benitez’s fastballs took the cake. And the music didn’t enhance my final garage sale haul of $550, either, but that was enough to satisfy me all by itself.
Music or no music, the Giants hitters showed some disturbing signs on Saturday (and on Sunday, too, when Tom Glavine took slightly more than 5 minutes and 12 pitches to dispose of the Giants). Their selectivity is nil, and sputtering at the hand of an old foe like Trachsel and a rudderless team like the Mets makes it worse. Monday’s match-up at the BOB will get no easier for the orange and black as they face Curt Schilling. If the lack of hitting continues, I’m concerned the Diamondbacks are going to call Mike Scott and have him pitch Tuesday. At least the Diamondbacks could turn around and sell him in their own garage sale, but they’d be hard pressed to match my P. Diddy-like fortune from Saturday.
Keith Larson writes for SFDugout.com because he's lived and died with the Giants since 1972. He welcomes all words of praise and insult at firstname.lastname@example.org, but mentioning anything having to do with Game 6 is to be done with extreme caution.