I gotta say something. It’s not controversial or mind blowing, at least it shouldn’t be. And on the Captain Obvious scale, it’s riskier than a Joe Morgan platitude.
It’s something I feel in my bones, which, the last time I checked, are orange-tinted and, like my baseball heart, easily broken.
It’s something many of you must want to feel - perhaps even do, deep down, in those illogical reaches of your fandom. Something you’re afraid to say, as to avoid ridicule and the maddening light of hindsight.
So I’ll just come out and say it then, for you, this thing I feel so deeply:
Barry Bonds is about to get hot.
Not base-hit-here-and-there hot. Or, as he did last night in the first game of the Diamondbacks series, solid-contact hot. Not even fly-ball home run hot - the kind of shot that wouldn’t reach McCovey Cove but would find a way into the first row of Coors Field. No.
I’m talking Scottsdale strip club hot. Inappropriately hot. Rap song by Nelly hot. The kind of hot you see on attractive people’s tight shirts - hot spelled with three t’s.
Yes. Big Poppa is about to start hitting the ball with the authority and hotness of someone who, regardless of speculation and taint, is the best hitter of this current, bewildering era of baseball, and perhaps the best in the game’s history.
He is going to embark upon a five-home-run-week hot streak, and he is going to do it soon. Real soon.
What’s this you say? Barry Bonds has a .192 batting average? .269 slugging? An elbow the size of a grapefruit and a knee the size of two elbows positioned together to look like a drug-enhanced grapefruit?
He might go to jail, you contend, on account of perjuring himself? His swing is too slow, his hips flying open, his shoulders dipping in a desperate attempt to make up lost bat speed, to compensate for diminished pitch recognition? His reality-show victimhood a tired act? His long face, or as my Italian mother calls it, the muso lungo, just another sign of his overall relinquishment?
Ha. That’s pretty funny. You know. Actually thinking for a second that one or all of these factors might keep Big Poppa from hitting the ball harder than everyone else. Because listen:
Barry Bonds is about to get hottt.
As a fan of a ballclub that hasn’t won a World Series in nigh on three generations, I long ago shied away from rationality. From facts even. This is the nature of pure fandom. But you know what? I am more likely to be proven right than wrong. Because I have faith in the prover. In the same way most of you do, deep down.
The great misconception of Barry Bonds is that he is less than the sum of his parts. Or that he used illegal, robot-shaped parts to create this sum...Regardless, there seems to be a widening belief that Big Poppa’s performance over the first 12 games is indicative of his diminished physical and mental capabilities - that what we are seeing on the field is the result of a broken man, broken body, broken career.
Ha, I say again. 12 games. He’s off to one of the worst starts of his career and he still has a .488 on-base percentage. Hot hot hot. And how. And soon.
Baller of the Week:
Jamey Wright. One word: dirty. There might be inconsistency on the horizon for him, but after his performance this Saturday, he is the best fifth starter in the entire history of fifth starters not expected to be ballers. His line against the Dodgers:
8 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO, and only 100 pitches.
After a start like this, every single one of Jamey Wright’s women friends definitely gets tennis bracelets / trips to Venice, gets they windows replaced with...
Okay, enough Jay-Z lyrics. You don’t know why you do what you do, Jamey Wright, because you’re a baller.
Yeah, I said it. Inappropriate? Whatever. Eat it, L.A. The Giants scored 5 runs in three games, and you got beat twice? Brett Tomko, like the oldly dead Tupac, can sip on that Hennessey all he wants.
Second Honorable Mention:
Randy Winn. My Dodgers-fan friend keeps saying: “Randy Winn is not this good.”
4-for-6 and flirting like a schoolgirl with the cycle last night? A nine-game hitting streak and .543 slugging percentage?
Not this good like a fox.
Super-Duper-Double-Secret-Probation Honorable Mention:
The General, Todd Greene. The General would have received this special mention simply for the triple he legged out, catcher feet and all, which he smacked Thursday off Roy Oswalt of Houston. But he added two more hits. And to be blatant: Dock of the Bay is a huge supporter of The General, for reasons that include Spring Training hijinks too crazy to mention here, and we are looking for any chance we get to promote him.
Gratuitous Honorable Mention:
The dude who created the reenactment of Game Six from the 1986 World Series - via the video game RBI Baseball. Props to my boy Tom Hope, a writer at PhillyPurge.com, for sending this to everyone that ever played RBI as if history itself could be changed. I’m not gonna lie - each time I fire up my old school Nintendo with this cartridge locked in, I am 100 percent positive that a victory by the 1987 Giants over the Cardinals can somehow erase the memory of Candy Maldonado and a lost fly ball.
The climax of the reenactment is right on: a pudgy, pixilated representation of Bill Buckner weeping uncontrollably (as all fielders in RBI are prone to do) when he can’t make the play. Oh internet and the voice of Vin Scully - is there anything you two can’t make perfect?
Meathead of the Week:
Tyler Walker, part two. I would like to say, straight up, that meathead is a term of endearment. Little-brother-continuing-to-destroy-his-life-with-drugs endearment - but nevertheless, there is affection in this word.
And Dock of the Bay is a big fan of Tyler Walker. He’s got San Francisco in his blood. That’s deep. I mean, he’s the kind of guy who walks down the street in a 49ers jersey, the sleeves all gilded and ballered-out.
We want, more than anything, for Tyler Walker to act like he’s been there before - to close down opposing teams like it’s his job.
But his performance last night against Arizona - 2 hits, 2 walks, a bomb, and 4 earned runs in .1 innings - is tough to swallow. And a bullpen shuffle is on the way, since bear-man Armando Benitez is set to emerge from his controlled hibernation in the next few days.
Which means T-Dub and his 24.30 ERA might be on the way out. This is a bummer. Other fans have turned viciously on him; the message boards at McCovey Chronicles, the best little Giants blog/Photoshop gallery on the internet, are laced with a degree of personal vitriol not heard since the days of former starter Ryan Jensen.
But I’m not gonna bring up Tyler Walker’s blatant heaviness, his tendency to sweat too much, or even his mullet-esque blonde hair. I am going to say this directly to him:
Get the ball down, meat. Or else the next guy’s gonna hit one off the bull. And instead of winning a free steak, he’s gonna buy you a ticket directly to the minors, where, unlike in the Show, your 49ers jersey won’t be seen as colorful.
All right. 8 wins and 4 losses is an excellent start for this year’s ballclub, regardless of lackluster hitting, an inability to throw strikes, and already-injured pitchers.
Hmm. Thank the baseball gods that Big Poppa is about to start hitting like only he knows how.
Because we might actually be in trouble if he didn’t.
Tim Denevi is a die-hard Giants fan. Please e-mail him with your opinion on any issue at firstname.lastname@example.org
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