Catcher's Interference

The Good, the Bad and the Mullet. The Giants leave Arizona in grand fashion with a dominating pitching performance by Jason Schmidt, and Diamondback players give us a moment's pause with curious comments, music and hairstyles.

The Good
Last night was not about the well being of the Giants. No, game 3 of the first series with their division nemesis, the Arizona Diamondbacks, was all about giving me a well-deserved laugher. Just once I needed a game with timely hitting, home runs and – the part I love most – no walks allowed. I think my wife needed it even more considering I've had the temperament of a Gila Monster for the last two weeks.

I like to think of game 3 as a Giant "I'm Sorry" Hallmark card to those who looked for a bridge to fling themselves after the first game when Arizona scored two runs without a hit (!) or nearly choked as Joe Nathan did his best impression of me pitching to Major Leaguers in the second game.

Thank you, Barry, for just being Barry. Now rest that ankle and get ready for the birthplace of Arena Baseball, i.e., Coors Field. (Stupid park!)

Thank you, Jason Schmidt. Thank you for showing me that you have the stuff to be a true #1. Ninety-eight miles per hour? In the NINTH? I feel the love!

The Bad
"I didn't pitch good. That's the only reason that we lost," Miguel Batista said. "Forget that Schmidt threw a great game. I could have done the same thing, hold the game to 0-0 until somebody scored for us."

Did Tino Martinez land one of those punches to Batista's head in St. Louis a few weeks ago? After all, everybody knows there was more than one reason why the Giants two-stepped all over the team that slithers.

Sure, we saw more than a few examples of Batista's ineffectiveness. One was Marquis Grissom channeling 1.21 jigawatts and transforming into the player he was with Montreal over a decade ago. Another was Barry Bonds smacking Batista's first pitch meatball for a three run double in the 5th as if he was swatting a dead smelt with a boat oar.

The true reason for the Diamondbacks' loss is this: Batista couldn't have accomplished what Jason Schmidt did for 9 masterful innings last night. Nor could he have thrown 98 MPH in the ninth against his opponent's best hitter. He thinks he can, but he can't. Take solace, Miguel, because there aren't many who can. Rocket and Pedro, certainly, but Miguel Batista? No.

Consider the invaluable lesson my college buddies taught me over a decade ago: Rule #1.

Rule #1 is simple: Don't fool yourself. When you think you can hit .490 in intramural softball when the last time you played organized ball was in 6th grade, invoke Rule #1. When you think you can secretly and successfully date two girls with less than 1,000 students living on campus, invoke Rule #1. If you think you can function just fine at work after a full night of vodka-cranberries and you're over the age of 30, invoke Rule #1.

If you think you can do "the same thing" as Giants' hurler, Jason Schmidt, and "hold the game to 0-0 until somebody scored for us…." Need I say more? Rule #1, Miguel.

And since when did Carlos Baerga earn his "In Da Club" batter's box theme music? Baerga!? "In Da Club"? Doesn't Luis Gonzales deserve the cool tunes before he gets in the box? He won the 2001 World Series, for cripes sake! Give Baerga "Rock Your Body" or a song with resonance that is befitting his usual role as a pinch hitter. Give him Roxette, for all I care. Just don't give him 50-Cent.

The Mullet

Then there's Steve Finley's hair. For the last 2.5 nights, I could have sworn he had a mullet. The man's thirty-eight years old and it looked like a mullet. He couldn't even blame youthful indiscretion for that. Initially I thought it was his hair that allowed Barry's double to get by him. I was aghast.

Well, it turns out that he didn't have a mullet. While watching Schmidt reduce his teammates into quivering hamburger meat, Finley's blank face and hatless head filled my TV screen. What I thought was a mullet was actually a long, swept-back coif, which was only slightly better than a mullet. All the guy needed was Seinfeld's puffy shirt and, yo-ho yo-ho, it's a pirate's life for Steve.

Even after my 5-minute diatribe railing against mullets and pirate hair-dos, my wife proceeded to inform me quite matter-of-factly, "He's kinda hot."

I cut her some slack. Hey, she's my wife. But if she looks at Larry Walker this weekend and says, "Ooh, he's cute," then it's on, man! It's ON!!!

Keith Larson writes for SFDugout.com because he's lived and died with the Giants since 1972. He welcomes all words of praise and insult at keith49ers@yahoo.com, but mentioning anything having to do with Game 6 is to be done with extreme caution.


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