Playoffs, Here I Come!

What an exciting time it is for my boys!  Not only did they win the NL West Division Title, but they also kept the Dodgers from having a chance at the playoffs last night!  WOOHOO!  So proud of all of them!  It was so much fun to watch the champagne being sprayed that Saturday night (especially since Eli got in on the action on camera when Matt Cain got him good!).  And yesterday, Barry Zito was so hyper the entire game.  It was so fun to see him enjoying himself.  And it looks like New-Kid-On-The-Block George Kontos has a good chance of making it onto the playoff roster after last night.  He was so pumped up when he came off the field.  You could feel the overwhelming joy emanating from him as he realized that he had proven himself worthy.  More about Mr. Kontos later.

I’ve been to 2 games since I last blogged – the Padres games on September 21st and September 23rd.  Yes, that’s right – I bookended the game where they clinched.  It was hard not to cheer for the Dodgers on Saturday so that they could clinch on Sunday when I would be there, but I kept composed and didn’t go there.  I went to the game with my sister (Kathleen) and two of my brothers (Nick and Paul) on Friday night.  They treated me to the game as an early birthday present.  I didn’t even know where I was going until Thursday as my sister just told me to hold open that night.  It was like a baseball road-trip reunion for us.  We had excellent seats behind third base.  I even took a mitt, but none of the foul balls got anywhere near me (not that I would have known how to use said mitt if one did anyway!).  We had a great time, my boys won, and I even got to watch Eli warm up relief pitchers up close.  My siblings are the greatest!

At that game I got to witness a beautiful Angel Pagan moment.  He came over to the fans with a ball and planned on giving it to a kid in the stands.  The dad made a motion like he was going to catch it for him, but Angel motioned to him to step aside and let the kid catch it.  He threw the ball to the kid and he caught it.  So cute!  You can tell he really loves kids.  It endeared Angel to me even more.

Then I went to the game that Sunday.  This had been planned a month in advance.  Ginny and I took her almost-97-year-old mom (Eleanor) to her first game at AT&T Park.  She is a huge Giants fan and had been anticipating the day ever since we told her we had gotten the tickets.  She’s in a wheel chair, so it was tricky getting tickets, but it was really easy to get her around the park.  I made her a sign that read, “97-years-young Gamer Babe.”  She carried it with her everywhere.  People were even stopping to ask to take their picture with her.  At first I was bummed that the Giants decided to rest everyone that day and they put in the second-string players.  But then I realized that this was a plus for both Eleanor and me – she loves Brett Pill and I love Eli, and both were in the starting lineup that day!  Plus Eli hit a sacrifice fly to take over the lead at one point!  Alas they didn’t win that day, but they almost came back late in the game to make it exciting.  And a day at the park is always a good one!  So glad that everything worked out and that Eleanor enjoyed herself.  We will definitely make sure she gets to at least one game next season.

Regarding Mr. Kontos, before the game, the three of us wandered around the Promenade to give Eleanor a tour of the park.  When we got to the little ball field by the Coke bottle, we noticed George Kontos and Ron Wotus talking to a group of kids gathered on that field.  As the two left to go back to the dugout, Mr. Kontos walked within 2 inches of me!  What a cutie pie!  Definitely had to control my butt-pinching instincts there!  Ron Wotus isn’t bad, either, for an older guy (sorry – the hormones in me just leak out sometimes).

I thought that game would be my last of the season, but that changed today.  My sister and I decided to get tickets to the NLDS game on Sunday!  We’ll be sitting in the sky behind home plate, and I am so thrilled!  This will be my first playoff game ever.  It will be awesome to cheer them on in person.  I also entered the lottery to be able to buy post-season tickets, and yesterday I got notification that I was selected for a chance at NLCS tickets!  Kathleen, Nick, and Paul also entered the lottery, but only Paul and I were selected.  You have a chance at purchasing two tickets on a first-come, first-served basis.  We both got on the website as soon as we could today, and ended up in a virtual waiting room.  It seemed like it took forever waiting on that page, but after about 15 minutes we each got our chance to purchase tickets.  The best available at the time were standing room only, so we both got two each.  Frankly, I’m still amazed that we got tickets at all.  So if the boys make it to the NLCS, we’ll be there at the second home game (probably would be Thursday night) standing and cheering our little hearts out!  I really think they are going to make it because everything had to fall in line for me to get those tickets today.  First, I had to be chosen in the lottery.  Second, I ended up not getting a job today, so I was home to get in that virtual waiting room and then purchase tickets.  Third, I had to get lucky enough to get in there to get tickets (they chose people randomly who were waiting in the virtual waiting room).  All the stars are aligning for them to go all the way!  I’ll also be put back into the lottery for World Series tickets.  If you want a chance at those tickets as well, you can put your name in the hat by going here.  Good luck to all of us, and especially to my boys!

I have the final three spit counts of the season for you.  I’ll summarize the results and announce the overall Spit Master General and Thanks For Not Spitting award winners sometime soon.  Here you go:

September 20th

Giants:

–          Sandoval 12

–          Pagan 6

–          Zito 3

–          Scutaro 2

–          Arias 1

–          Posey 1

–          Bumgarner 1

–          Belt 1

–          Hensley 1

–          Theriot 1

Rockies:

–          Colvin 8

–          Moscoso 6

–          Blackmon 3

–          Pacheco 1

–          Rosario 1

Misc.:

–          Umpire 4

Game Spit Master General = Sandoval with 12

That’s a total of 52 spits during a 3 hour game for an average of 1 spit every 3.5 minutes.

September 22nd

Giants:

–          Sandoval 8

–          Scutaro 7

–          Pagan 7

–          Posey 5

–          Bumgarner 4

–          Belt 4

–          Theriot 3

–          Nady 2

–          Penny 2

–          Casilla 2

–          Affeldt 1

–          Romo 1

–          Vogelsong 1

Padres:

–          Baker 5

–          Brach 3

–          Werner 2

–          Alonso 2

–          Forsythe 1

–          Maybin 1

–          Boxberger 1

–          Vincent 1

–          Mikolas 1

Game Spit Master General = Sandoval with 8

That’s a total of 64 spits during a 3 hour game for an average of 1 spit every 2.8 minutes.

This was the game where they clinched the division, and everyone was getting in on the spitting.  I guess tension brings out the saliva.  Since Madison pitched during this game, I couldn’t help but do a snot rocket count as well.  The count was 9.  I think that is a new record for him.  Maybe his allergies were acting up.

September 25th

Giants:

–          Pagan 6

–          Sandoval 5

–          Lincecum 3

–          Theriot 3

–          Scutaro 1

–          Bochy 1

–          Kontos 1

–          Hensley 1

Diamondbacks:

–          Collmenter 4

–          Upton 3

–          Montero 3

–          Eaton 3

–          Kubel 2

–          Goldschmidt 2

–          Hill 1

–          McDonald 1

–          Wheeler 1

Game Spit Master General = Pagan with 6

That’s a total of 41 spits during a 2 hour and 50 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 4.1 minutes.

One of the Giants’ coaches has appeared in the spit counts several times and I did not know his name.  When I went to the last game with Ginny and Eleanor, it was Fan Appreciation Day and they were giving out team photos.  Lo and behold there he was.  His name is Anthony Reyes, and he’s an assistant trainer.  He needs to focus on his training and keep that saliva where it belongs!

I’ve noticed a new spitting phenomenon recently being practiced by Pablo Sandoval.  I actually saw it in person at the game I went to with my siblings as he did it right in front of me.  He chews gum when he’s playing third base, and when he comes off the field he spits the gum out of his mouth and hits it in the air with his mitt.  Yeah.  For the next unsuspecting player to step in.  Can’t you wait until you get to the dugout?  Is it just me??

Speaking of Pablo, did you see that spectacular catch he made during the game where they clinched the division?  He ran after a pop foul ball, reached over the dugout railing for it, caught it, and flipped over the railing into the dugout, maintaining his grasp of the ball.  And all this was accomplished while he blew a bubble!  It was appropriate that they gave away the Pablo Sandoval gnome that day, and the gnome is also blowing a bubble.  Too funny, and pretty darn amazing!

I don’t know if you remember me talking about the Presidents race that they have at Nationals Park (home of the Washington Nationals – where my boys will be going to play part of the National League Division Series.  Gotta think positive!).  Of the 4 presidents, Teddy Roosevelt never won.  Ever.  In 525 races of the presidents.  But that losing streak ended today.  Teddy finally won!  Granted he had the help of a miniature Philly Phanatic who tripped the other presidents, but he still won!  The Let Teddy Win campaign was finally successful!  Hope he celebrated with a stiff drink and a loud “Bully!”  Thanks to my brother Paul for bringing this to my attention.  If you’d like to see Teddy’s triumphant win, here it is.

Buster won the NL batting title today.  What a race it was until the end between him and Andrew McCutchen.  He has been on fire lately!  It’s just kind of sad that this title is tarnished due to Melky’s transgressions.  But Buster definitely deserves it.  Love that guy!!

There’s one term that I’ve heard often by broadcasters and wondered what it means.  Have you heard them say, “That guy got a seeing-eye single?”  I looked it up, and it means a soft ground ball that finds its way between infielders for a base hit, as if it could “see” where it needed to go.  Gotta love that baseball lingo.

Another term I didn’t understand was “outfield assists.”  They would mention that so-and-so had so many assists that game.  I found out that an outfielder is credited with an assist if he fields or touches the ball (after it has been hit by the batter) prior to the recording of a putout, even if the contact was unintentional.  So if the ball hits an outfielder and then someone else makes the throw to get the runner out, the hit person will still get an assist.  But I guess that doesn’t happen very often, so it is a valid measure of an outfielder’s value.  They mentioned in the game on September 25th that Hunter Pence was tied for 3rd place in the National League for outfield assists.  Not too shabby, Kid.  Thanks for helping out your teammates.

Have you noticed all the hand motions some Giants players make when they get a hit or someone generally does something noteworthy?  Andrew Baggarly wrote an article about them recently that explains all of it.  Check it out here.  And apparently Buster Posey wants no part of it, so the players do it to him all the time to tick him off.  Just like brothers!  Love those crazy guys!

I was extremely disturbed the other day when I noticed that they are showing that Comcast SportsNet commercial where Ray Ratto pats Andrew Baggarly’s butt again.  I thought it was gone forever, but no.  They’ve brought it back.  Ray was doing an online chat the other day, and I decided just for fun to ask him about it.  My question was, “Why would you ever agree to do that Comcast commercial where you patted Baggs on the butt?  Big bucks?”  His reply:  “That wasn’t a pat.  That was a full on slap.”  I hate that guy, but you have to admit that was pretty darn funny.  And he can actually laugh at himself.

I also got up the nerve to finally call in to KNBR and ask a question.  There have been so many times when I’ve had a question but I was driving and couldn’t use the phone or I didn’t have time to be on hold.  I called in to the Marty Lurie Show one day when Bill Laskey was a guest.  You may remember that I met Bill when I went to the Ryan Vogelsong picture op.  They took my call, and I told them that I had met Bill on that occasion, and he actually remembered it and said, “Didn’t I say something about the old and the new?” which was correct.  I couldn’t believe he remembered!  Anyway, I asked them if since Santiago Casilla was over his blister issues that he might be reinstated as closer since it seems the relief pitchers aren’t totally behind the pitcher-by-committee approach.  I heard Bill start to say that Casilla is comfortable as a mid-reliever, and then I was disconnected!  I didn’t have a radio nearby, so I couldn’t hear the rest of their comments!  Vinnie had actually been listening that day and heard me, and he gave me kudos, but he didn’t remember what the response was.  What did they say??  Oh well, now that I’ve done it once, I’ll do it again.  It was fun and they were both really gracious.

So the Division Series starts on Saturday.  This is so exciting!  I know my boys can do it, and I’ll be watching every minute.  Who will emerge as the stars of this series?  What do you think?  So many of them have really turned it on these past few weeks, it’s anyone’s guess.  Keeping my fingers crossed that Eli makes the 25-man roster.  Probably won’t, but I can hope!  Good luck, Boys!  You can do it!  I’ll see you in person on Sunday!  GO GIANTS!!

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