October 31, 2012
The Freaks and Geeks Go All the Way
Well, and what did you expect? It’s Halloween, and the Giants wear black and orange.
Yes, I know, those are not stats. But to push on this a bit harder: it’s costume week, and the time of the dead, and the Giants dressed the part. Look at them. Brian Wilson, who is spending a year-plus dead, has the fake-looking beard, and Sergio Romo went trick-or-treating in the closer costume (beard included) Wilson used to wear. Pablo Sandoval went as the power hitter he used to be (his ISO dropped 70 points this season and he hit 12 home runs). In Game One he went as Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, and/or Albert Pujols.
Barry Zito went as the pitcher he used to be, outpitched his latter-day Cy Young counterpart, and got an RBI single off him for good measure. His face was cadaverous, his voice haunt-quiet in interviews. Yet the guitar-playing lefty with the long hair could also have been going as Billy Crudup playing the guitarist for Stillwater in Almost Famous, if you added a mustache; and Brandon Crawford—also longhaired, also seventies—could have been going as Zito’s Stillwater bandmate-frontman, played by Jason Lee.
You might as well throw into Stillwater the longhaired, .321-slugging Ryan Theriot (Quiet Riot, no?), who went to Game Four dressed as DH—yeah, sure, okay—and of course hit the 10th-inning single that led to him scoring the game-winning, series-clinching run. The player who drove him in was the guy the Giants acquired midseason partially because Theriot wasn’t good enough to play regularly.
Instead of going as himself, a two-time Cy Young starter, Tim Lincecum (yet another longhair, and why not? This is San Francisco, home of the Grateful Dead), went as a relief pitcher. You know how that went: almost perfectly, and quite famously. With his baseball cap on, Lincecum looks like he has hair extensions. In 2010 he went to the playoffs as Ken Rosenthal. There’s something about the Freak that seems quite ornery, though, under the costume locks and the bowtie and the crazy mechanics that look like a guy whom I sometimes think learned how to pitch by watching tennis players serve.
Gregor Blanco went to the World Series as Melky Cabrera, basically, and hit the big triple that plated Hunter Pence to open the scoring in Game Three. He also made catches—or rather, catches! The two diving catches; the running catch against the wall wide of the left field foul line, where the ball plopped into the heel of his glove in the ninth inning of that same Game Three. Not a can of corn; kandy korn. (Brandon Belt, one game later, went as Gregor Blanco for one at-bat, hitting a triple of his own that plated, yup, Hunter Pence and opened the scoring in Game Four. It was Belt’s only hit in 16 plate appearances in the World Series.)