2010 Opening Day in San Francisco

Well, Opening Day 2010 for the San Francisco Giants was absolutely and utterly spectacular. It was everything that I could ask for from a baseball game. The giveaway was great– Giants calendars which they give away every year for Opening Day. Not only that, the game went into extra innings — lasting into the thirteenth inning. It was also one of those games that it doesn’t look like your team will win, but they incredibly pull it out.

I came into San Francisco early from the East Bay, where I live, to do some errands and get to the ball park early. I ran my errands and walked down to the ball park early. I did stop off at a local bar, had a beer and a bloody Mary. I just wanted to “chill,” relax, and prepare myself for the upcoming game. I also was able to watch a replay of the infamous George Brett  “pine tar” game. He hit a home run off ace Yankee reliever, “Goose” Gossage in the ninth inning of a game in 1983. Brett’s bat had too much pine tar on it, and it was only supposed to go only so far up the barrel of the bat. Well, it went too far. And the clever Yankee manager, Billy Martin realized this. He got the umpires to call George Brett out. Brett, who lost his home run, went absolutely ballistic. It was fun to watch the complete and utter melt down of a player. I can only imagine that if I were George Brett I would probably have the same reaction. George Brett is a Hall of Fame player, with over three thousand hits, who had a great career with the Kansas City Royals winning a World Series with them in 1985.

One of the things that I love about baseball is when they do giveaways. Ever since I was a kid, I always thought that was just great!! You get to experience a ball game, plus you get whatever they are giving away. Every Opening Day the Giants give away calendars, which I absolutely love. I think that I have them going back since the mid-1980’s. It is also a great way to chart the year until the next baseball season. In a way, it is kind of sad, because I have all these calendars which mark the passage of time, but no World Series Championship. It’s a good thing that I’m persistently stubborn.

I also love the bunting (not during the game, although the Giants are playing some good small ball.) and the ceremony of Opening Day. I also love watching the teams stand on the first and third base lines. It was spectacular. I am not wild about the military jet fly over, but it is now tradition. Speaking of changing tradition, the Giants did do things differently this year. They opened the center field gate, and the players walked out from there.

The Giants played for the first five or six innings like they were asleep. I do not think that this is due to them actually being asleep, but due to the pitching of Atlanta Braves starter Tim Hudson, who was pitching great. To give you a little bit of baseball history, Hudson used to pitch in the SF Bay Area for the Oakland A’s, along with Mark Mulder and Barry Zito, who now pitches for the Giants. The A’s have had a tendency to trade good players early before they ask for too much money. This is one reason why the A’s have had a hard time winning baseball games along with keeping a fan base…in my opinion.

The Giants’ pitching was clutch when it needed to be. The starting pitcher, Jonathan Sanchez, threw okay– not great but not terrible. If he had gone longer in the game the Giants would have been better off. Sanchez had seven strike outs in four and two-thirds innings, which is not bad, but there were too many walks. The Giants’ relievers were effective the rest of the game, not that they didn’t get into trouble, but they got out of it.

One difference I saw in this game as opposed to last year was better situational hitting. At one point the Giants were down, 3-0, in the middle innings. They were able to get runners on second and third base with nobody out. The next two hitters each grounded out to the Braves’ second baseman scoring both of those runners to put the Giants back in the game. Very clutch!! and better than popping up or striking out. I do love productive outs!!

The Giants were 3-0 going into the game having swept the Houston Astros in the season opening series at Minute Maid Field. I do honestly get sick and tired of all these corporate names. I did find it ironic when it was initially named Enron Field, especially in the face of that company’s disgraceful economic collapse. It didn’t look like the Giants were going to be 4-0, especially when they were trailing 4-2 going into the bottom of the ninth inning.

Photo by Icon SMI

Juan Uribe, nephew of former Giants shortstop Jose Uribe (one of my favs) hit a lead off double against Braves closer Billy Wagner. The next batter made an unproductive out (Boo!) bringing up Giants shortstop Edgar Renteria, who has been scorching HOT since the beginning of the season. Renteria hit a game-tying two run home run into the second row of the bleachers, which caused utter pandemonium.

And the game went on and on…into the thirteen inning. There had been runners on base for both teams, but neither team was able to drive them in. At one point, Uribe was on first base having taken a walk. He stole second base, and went to third on an error by the catcher. There was some controversy that the batter, Aaron Rowand, may have interfered with the catcher. However, the umpire didn’t see it that way, so, the Giants had a runner on third with two outs and an 0-2 count on hitter Aaron Rowand. Rowand hit a ground ball to deep shortstop, and the shortstop was unable to throw out Rowand who slid into first base setting off a celebration as the Giants won the game!

It was a great Opening Day, and the longest one ever played by the Giants. I know that the Giants won’t go, 162-0, but it’s always nice to get a good start to a new season. Now that the Giants have finished with the Braves (they won that series 2 games to 1), they are now playing the Pirates at home (At the time of this writing, the Giants are now 6-1 after taking the first game against the Pirates on Monday by a score of 9-3). Then, it’s on the road to face the HATED Dodgers and the Padres, two divisional rivals. I will write about the Giants-Dodgers rivalry next time.

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  1. Theo

    April 14, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    The Giants put on a great pre-game show. I hope this is the year they outperform themselves on the field, though.

  2. Nick Kappel

    April 14, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Nice post here, Charles.

    As a Cubs fan, I can recall the excitement within me each time I visit Wrigley Field. To make it to Opening Day – or in your case, the last 25 ish opening days, would be an incredible experience.

    .-= Nick Kappel´s last blog ..Fantasy Baseball Insiders Tonight 4/13: Blue Jays’ Ricky Romero’s No-Hit Bid Comes Six Outs Short =-.

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