It’s Not Over ‘Til It’s Over

Since I’m still holding out hope that the Giants will make it into the post-season (positive thoughts, positive thoughts), I thought it might be helpful to talk about exactly how the baseball post-season works.  I didn’t learn the specifics until the end of last season, and I’m still learning since baseball is always more complicated when you take a closer look.

There are two Major League Baseball leagues – the National League and the American League.  Each of these leagues is divided into 3 divisions – the Eastern, Central, and Western divisions.  At the end of the 162-game regular season (usually in the first full week of October), four teams from each League go on to post-season play.  These four teams are the team with the best winning record from each division plus a wild card team, which is the remaining team with the best winning record from any division.

Of course, ties complicate things (and as with most of baseball, it can get really complicated!).  If there is a tie for the lead in any division, there is a one-game playoff to determine which team advances.  If the tie is between teams that would be a wild card, they skip this playoff game.  The team that won the most games of the series between these two teams that season is declared the division winner.  If these games were split evenly, then the team with the better record within the division wins the title.  If they’re still tied, then the team with the better record in the last 81 games is the winner.  If they’re STILL tied, then they keep going back one game at a time to see who has the better record.  Last year, had the Giants not won the last game of the season (which I was lucky enough to get tickets for since it was a bobblehead game – thanks, Manny!), they would have been in a tie with the Padres, and we would have had to have a one game playoff to see if we went on.  But of course, we were able to pull it out at the last second, and the rest is history!  It was a double whammy for the Padres that day because not only did we win the division instead of them, they also lost their wild card spot because the Braves won that day (otherwise they would have been tied for the wild card with the Braves).  Sad day in Padres history = Sweet day for us!

Once we have our teams decided, they play a series of playoff games.  First are the Division Series games (ALDS and NLDS).  The first round pits the team with the best record against the wild card team and the second place team against the third place team.  If the wild card team is in the same division as the first place team, they will play the second place team instead (this is why we played the Braves first last year instead of the Reds).  They play a best-of-five series.  The first and second place teams have the home advantage during games 1, 2, and 5.

The two winners from each league go on to the next phase of playoffs called the League Championship Series (ALCS and NLCS).  They play a best-of-seven series.  The team with the best record gets the home field advantage for games 1,2,6, and 7.  Of course, there is an exception.  If the wild card team has the better record, the other team (since they were a division leader) still gets the starting home field advantage.  If you win this series, you win “the pennant.”  I’m hoping that the chant, “THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT!  THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT!” will ring throughout my house again this year!

The remaining two teams go on to the World Series.  This is another best-of-seven series.  The home field advantage for games 1,2,6, and 7 goes to the winner of the All-Star Game (and this year, it was the National League, so we will have starting home-field advantage – positive thoughts, positive thoughts).  The winner of this series receives mega major bragging rights, tons of champagne poured on them, massive pile-ons, and the Commissioner’s Trophy.  I got to see the Giants’ trophy up close and personal – here’s the pic (I know – it is impossible for me to take a serious picture).  I looked for Edgar Renteria’s blood on it (he got poked in the face with one of the flags during the post-game celebration), but I guess they cleaned it off.  The winners also get a very nice, diamond-encrusted, humongous World Series ring.

There’s another thing I learned just recently about the end of the season.  On September 1st, every team’s active roster expands from 25 to 40 players.  This is also referred to as “September callups.”  This expansion gives teams a chance to bring up some minor league players to give them some major league playing time.  The active roster goes back to 25 players once the playoffs start.  I got a clue about this when Brandon Crawford said on his Facebook page that he would be back on the team in September (yes, I follow Crawford on Facebook – don’t judge me!).  I started asking questions about this since I assumed the boy is not psychic.  Looking forward to having him back soon.  He’s got some mad defensive skills (not to mention he’s a cutie pie!)

On to the spit counts!  I have 2 for you today:

August 29th

Giants:

–         Lincecum 14  😦

–         Sandoval 3

–         Stewart 3 (HUH??)

–         Beltran 2

–         Vogelsong 1

–         Huff 1

–         Cabrera 1

–         Torres 1

–         Hayes 1

–         Wotus 1

–         Cain 1

–         Keppinger 1

Cubs:

–         Soto 9

–         Castro 7

–         Wells 4

–         Soriano 3

–         Byrd 2

–         Peña 2

Game Spit Master General = Lincecum at 14

That’s a total of 57 spits during a 2 hour and 25 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 2.5 minutes.

Why the sad face for Lincecum?  Not because he was the Spit Master General today, but because he looked like he was actually going to cry during this game, and the majority of the spits came from him in the dugout after he came out of the game.  Leave the poor guy alone in his misery!  And Mr. Stewart – why 17 spits last time and 3 today???  What changed?  Granted he only played in 8 innings this game vs. 9 in his record game, but a difference of 14 spits??  And he didn’t even start spitting this time until the 5th inning.  What am I missing?  Dave, did you tip him off that he was the Spit Master General last time?  Does he know I’m watching now?  Any other ideas, folks?

August 30th

Giants:

–         Stewart 17 (back to normal)

–         Vogelsong 7

–         Sandoval 5

–         Huff 2

–         Beltran 2

–         Rowand 2

–         Ross 1

–         Ramirez 1

–         Lincecum 1

–         Keppinger 1

–         DeRosa 1

–         Affeldt 1

Cubs:

–         Soto 19

–         Soriano 8

–         Castro 7

–         Garza 6

–         Marmol 5

–         Byrd 4

–         Barney 2

–         Wood 2

–         Ramirez 1

–         Peña 1

Misc.:

–    Umpire 2

Game Spit Master General = Soto at 19 (new individual spit count record)

Stewart led the Giants with 17 (tied his previous record)

That’s a total of 98 spits during a 3 hour and 5 minute game for an average of more than1 spit every 2 minutes (the new all-time high average).

It was a record-setting night with a new all-time leader and a high average spit count.  We had a spit battle going on between the catchers.  If Stewart had stayed in the entire game (he went out after the 7th inning), I’m sure he would have surpassed Soto.  Those Cubbies sure do enjoy their spitting!  They have more multiple spitters than any other team thus far.  Garza of the Cubs had the most disgusting spits yet recorded.  They were so gross I can’t even describe them without making myself sick.  They were bad enough that they should have pixilated his mouth and fined him for it.  We also had the first recorded Aubrey Huff snot rocket tonight.  He only had one, but I guess he’s following The Kid’s bad example.  Kat and Dan (my hubby) commented last time on how disgusting all the spitting and snotting are.  Still don’t understand why nothing has been done about it.

I forgot to mention something last time that I witnessed at the game on Saturday.  Pablo made a play where he got a ground ball, faked a throw to home, and then tagged out the guy running from second to third.  They showed the replay on the big screen, and after he faked the throw, you could clearly see him spit!  This was in the middle of the play!  My cousin, Manny, yelled out to me, “Did you count that one??”

I have a question – did anyone see the way the Cub’s catcher, Soto, makes his signals to the pitcher?  Several times he looked like he was giving coaching signals.  Most pitchers just put their hand between their legs and use fingers to signal, but he was touching his head, chest, and arms.  Anyone know why he was doing this?

Did you see Garza leaving the field with his face in his mitt obviously swearing up a storm after he allowed guys on base and gave up a run?  I’ll give him credit for trying to hide the swearing, but it in no way makes up for the nasty spitting.

Does anyone else feel like they’ve just been punched in the gut after watching a Giants game lately?  I can’t believe how depressing it’s been.  Can they get out of this slump?  Is it possible?  I’m holding out hope, but it’s really tough to see them struggling so badly, and to see the pitchers who are still performing well be so frustrated.  You can see the look on their faces when they give up a single run, like they’re saying, “Well, guess we lost another one,” knowing that they won’t get any run support.  Come on, boys, you have so many fans pulling for you.  Can’t you feel the love?  You were doing so well a month ago – get that back!  At least they won today, even after the announcement that Rowand and Tejada are being designated for assignment (Remember what that means?  If not, reread my Trade Talk blog).  I will actually miss both of them – Tejada because he reminds me of my dad and he has such spunk, and Rowand because of his crazy stance (my friend, Donna, calls him “The Pooper.”).  Madison did a fantastic job today, and Keppinger has been added to my list of favorite players.  He has made consistent contributions in both offense and defense from the day he came to the team.  Keep it up, Kepp!

My friends, Donna, Jeff, and Stefan are going to go see Money Ball with me.  I didn’t realize that it isn’t out until September 19th.  Dan says he’ll go if there’s beer involved (he’s not a big fan of baseball).  Anyone else want to tag along?  We can make a party out of it.  And I’ll be at the D-Backs games this Friday and Sunday (does anyone else think D-Bags when they hear D-Backs?).  Look for me – I’ll be carrying a sign that says, “Be the Honey Badger!”  If you don’t get that reference, check this out (beware – language alert – don’t show this to the kiddies or play it at work).  Please, boys, win some more before I post the next blog.  I don’t think my heart can take this any more.  GO GIANTS!!

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6 comments

  1. mannyax

    Just thank the Giants for last season. Now we know why teams do not stay together after they win a World Series. Here’s to them giving it their best for the rest of the season and if possible, sticking it to the Diamondbacks this weekend.

    Manny

    • giantsfancarm

      Definitely. Thanks for the comment (and for subscribing!). Looking forward to hanging out at the game on Sunday and gaining some ground on the D-Backs. We’ll have to come up with a new chant.

  2. jasejall

    Well, if you guys are going to the game Friday and Sunday, that means guaranteed wins because they win every time you guys go! I took a punch in the gut after I saw Lincecum lose to the Cubs this past week. I feel like the games I have had an opportunity to watch, the Giants have lost so, at least you are watching some when they win. : ) I hope to see you soon cuz, to talk some baseball since I have to pick your brain on some baseball knowledge. : )

    • giantsfancarm

      I think they’ll win Friday ’cause I’m there (and they can feel the love ’cause I’ll actually be right in the park), and then they’ll win Sunday ’cause it’s a bobblehead game. Manny said they win every bobblehead game. I think they should start giving out bobbleheads at every game! Would love to talk baseball (and give you a big hug) sometime soon, Honey. Take care.

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