You know how during the NLDS games I talked about the national baseball media–how they kept counting the GIANTS out–and yet…well…here we are in the NLCS! The pundits said before every game the GIANTS played against the Nationals that the GIANTS couldn’t possibly win. Except once. The one time they said we were sure to win, because Bumgarner was pitching–we lost. You should understand why, then, it makes me nervous that the so-called “baseball experts” are saying the GIANTS could win this. I wish they would just shut-up. Leave us alone. In fact, like I said in an earlier post–I prefer it when they say the GIANTS can’t win. I know you think I’m crazy–and that may be so, but what does that have to do with anything? Crazy doesn’t make me wrong.
Still the GIANTS won last night’s game. Bumgarner was on the bump and he was brilliant. He pitched 7.2 innings–giving up 4 hits, 0 runs and 1 walk while he striking out 7. Romo came in to take out the last batter in the 8th and Casilla pitched a 1, 2, 3 shut down 9th. The GIANTS offense got the job done by putting hits together and taking advantage of some Cardinals’ mistakes and misses. In the 2nd, Pablo scored on Ishikawa’s pop up that had the Cardianals’ 3rd baseman go for the diving catch and coming up with a handful of grass; Hunter scored when Blanco reached on a fielding error. Brandon Belt plated Posey in the 3rd with a SAC fly. The final score was:
GIANTS 3, Cardinals 0
The GIANTS caught a couple of breaks in last night’s game. I’m not saying it would have made a difference in the outcome, but the score might look different. In the 7th inning, Bumgarner carried the ball to 1st, tagging the runner before they reached the base–Bumgarner ran smack into the runner, or actually, the runner ran into Bumgarner while he was applying the tag. The runner was called out. The Cardinals cried obstruction and asked for a review. The call was upheld. There were runners on 2nd and 3rd when the next hitter came to the plate. At one point it looked like Buster and Bumgarner got their signals crossed–the broadcaster and analysts said that Bumgarner started his motion, then stepped off. A balk. Either the officials didn’t think it was a balk, or they didn’t see it, because it wasn’t called. The runner at 3rd stayed where he was and the hitter struck out to end the inning.
When the baseball analysts, media and so-called experts said “no way can the GIANTS beat the Pirates in the Wild Card game” and “the GIANTS can’t possibly take the Nationals in the NLDS” I was fine with it. In fact it made me very happy because my superstition is all about not “counting your chickens before they hatch.” I may go as far as saying “I like our chances” but even that makes me skittish.
Baseball is a sport that is steeped in many traditions and rituals–which come from superstitions. Pablo has his plate appearance ritual, Vogey has his enchiladas. Some players refuse to change their socks if they’re winning. Or shave their facial hair. Joe DiMaggio made sure to touch 2nd base every time he headed out to centerfield. Some players make sure they don’t touch the foul line when coming from or going to the field–by jumping over it. In the spirit of TMI, Jason Giambi wore a gold woman’s thong to get himself out of slumps. The list goes on, and mostly it involves eating certain foods to ensure a win–with Justin Verlander it’s Taco Bell and Justin Morneau ordered a particular turkey sandwich from a particular sandwich shop. One superstition, widely practiced today was authored by Ronald Reagan when he was starting his broadcasting career right after college. He thought it was bad luck to talk to a pitcher during a no-hitter, and wouldn’t even talk about it on the radio. Bottom line: I may be crazy, but I’m in pretty good company.