In “Bull Durham”, you may remember Crash Davis getting his team a “rainout” by flooding the home team’s field just so they could take a day off for mental heath (and to chase those figure skaters). While many would have preferred not to see the largest blackout in U.S. history help avoid a three game losing streak, your San Francisco Giants definitely needed some time to regroup and lick their wounds.
In strictly a baseball sense – and not to diminish the calamities that may have occurred as a result of the east coast power outage - having Thursday’s game cancelled was not the worst thing to have happened to the Giants. Like the Durham Bulls featured in Ron Shelton’s film, they needed a rainout of their own after two dismal showings in Shea Stadium with the likes of Roger Cedeño, Mike Piazza, Cliff Floyd, Jason Phillips and Ty Wigginton doing their best impression of Murderers Row. (Raise your hand if you’re ready to add Shea Stadium to the Giants’ Houses of Horrors list currently composed of Coors Field with an honorable mention of Pro Player Stadium. G’head, raise ‘em high.)
You’d be fooling yourself if you thought the Giants’ sluggish performance in New York was limited solely to the last two days. After their 11-1 homestand where they beat the ba-jeezus out of the Diamondbacks, Rockies and Pirates, they’ve only managed to win 7 of their last 16 games and have watched the Diamondbacks shave 2.5 games off their lead. Sure, they still lead the NL West by 9.5 games but Giants fans know nothing about a safe lead, be it in a game or divisional race. It’s okay to squirm in your seats. You’re Giants fans, remember?
Despite Felipe Alou’s assertion that the team is “in a funk and (needs) to play between the lines to get rid of it,'' the aches and pains associated with the dog days of summer are beginning to take their toll.
On the disabled list are necessary cogs to the Giants’ machine, such as Rich Aurilia, Kirk Rueter, Ray Durham and Felix Rodriguez. Sore arms and groins include those of J.T. Snow and Jason Schmidt. Benito Santiago’s 38-year-old frame, I’m sure, is feeling like old chewing gum that has hardened, been kicked around in a schoolyard and left to slowly decompose in a tepid pool of spilled cafeteria milk. In a word, bad. Jerome Williams, in his first year as a Major Leaguer, has hit a wall by not winning a start in over one month and losing sight of the strike zone in alarming fashion.
And then you have Barry Bonds heading home to be with his ailing dad, Bobby, who is apparently taken a turn for the worse in his long bout with cancer. While Bonds remains Herculean on the field, the man must be overwhelmed with grief. Who wouldn’t be? Other than the New York media who was put off by him shooing them away from his locker after his 2-homer night on Tuesday, only a person devoid of heart couldn’t see and understand that Barry has feelings along with 500 homers and 500 stolen bases. As a result, Bonds is now on the Bereavement List for at least 3 games (and the third Giant to have occupied time on this dreadful list this year).
Now the Giants head to Montreal to face some old demons, namely Livan Hernandez (who cost the Giants two games in last year’s World Series) and the team that fired Alou two years ago. With a day’s rest and an incentive for a little payback, four games with les Expos de Montreal may get them out of their two-week funk.
Hopefully the team slept peacefully as it caravanned out of Gotham’s darkness on Wednesday night. With the injuries and off-the-field anguish currently surrounding the team, they’ll need every last wink.
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.
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