Five tips for success

By watching the Giants, there are invaluable opportunities to better your lives, get obscenely rich and savor life's unexpected pleasures.

You've bitten your nails to nothing, thanks to the Dodger series. Inter-league play resumes this weekend (Insert snoring). Times are tough for Giants fans, so here's some sound advice to become a better fan and human being. Bon apetit! (Sorry. The Warriors just bungled their 978th consecutive draft by selecting a Frenchman in the first round. I'm just trying to warm up to the concept… It's not working.)

Tip 1: Enroll in an art class
Just how much money does Todd MacFarlane have? I'm serious. Was Spawn that much of a cash cow that he can throw three million bucks here and almost half a million there at stuff that's going to be stored on his living room shelf? I can see how maybe Stan "Spider-Man" Lee's or Bob "Batman" Kane's estates could be brimming with Ben Franklins, but Todd MacFarlane!? Get me the number of this guy's financial planner and an application to the University of Comic Book Artistry. I think MacFarlane's on to something.

Tip 2: Shag flies. Daily.
At the very least, MacFarlane finally ended the shenanigans, posturing and tantrums of Alex Popov and Patrick Hayashi, the so-called owners of Barry Bonds' 73rd homerun ball. MacFarlane, though, didn't really do Popov or Hayashi any favors by purchasing it for a "measly" $450,000. After taxes, each of them will pull in $168,750. Too bad their legal fees cost approximately $250,000 each. When looking closely at the replay, Popov appeared to catch the ball but in the ensuing melee, the ball came loose and ended up in Hayashi's hands. If you want to catch an historic homerun ball, practice, practice, practice. Hone your outfielding skills to other worldly levels and you will literally transform your cruddy mitt into a golden glove. Remember, though, that holding a piece of baseball legend isn't about the big pay off. Just ask Popov. According to him, "This is about history. You're the ones who are turning this into a story about money." Sounds to me like Popov got exactly what he deserved: Nothing. Learn to catch, Alex.

Tip 3: Take deep breaths
It's a good thing that my wife and I are taking childbirth classes in a few weeks. I'll need to perfect the breathing exercises before Moss, Alfonzo and Aurilia make me blow a gasket. The only thing that put a damper on Barry's 500th steal and the Giants' thrilling victories in the first two games of the Dodger series was Damian Moss' utterly clueless effort on Wednesday. Even more troubling is that the wild Aussie has no idea what is wrong. Is it me, or do you also think a capable pitching coach like, say, Braves pitching coach, Leo Mazzone, would be able to pick apart Moss' mechanics and provide instant trouble-shooting? Righetti, do something. Anything. Help me help you help Moss. Get in there and watch some tape, already! Breathe, breathe, breathe… relax. Furthermore, it's official: Edgardo Alfonzo is this year's Shinjo (who was last year's Benard). The man is not even close to putting loud contact on the ball. Rich Aurilia has hardly fared any better, although his average – while paltry – looks DiMaggioian compared to Alfonzo's. With the Giants leading the league in leaving runners on base (605 and counting), Alfonzo and Aurilia represent more than just a big piece of that stinky pie. With Jeff Kent's departure, they were to pick up the slack by feasting upon fastballs pitchers dare not throw to Barry. Instead, they've perfected the fine art of batting helmet throwing and fast sprints to the dugout. I'd thrash Jose Cruz, too, but he got a brief reprieve with that diving catch to rob Lo Duca on Monday. Breathe, breathe, breathe… I'm calm. Really.

Tip 4: Kick ‘em when they're down
By failing to separate from each other after 6 games in just over a week, the Giants and Dodgers left the back door of the National League Western Division wide open a little too long. That unwelcome guest with loads of pressure packed postseason experience otherwise known as the Arizona Diamondbacks have plopped themselves right in the Giants' lap. You have to tip your hat to D-back Manager, Bob Brenly, for piecing together a line-up laden with rookies and aging players that have more than proven themselves ready for a run at the division's leader. Whoever runs Arizona's minor league player development needs a hefty raise and all expenses paid, showgirl-filled weekend in Vegas. Something tells me their rookie hurler, Brandon Webb, would never echo Jesse Foppert when Foppert characterized his last outing by proclaiming, "I felt good for one batter, then a little erratic." With the division up for grabs and a possible postseason run at stake, is that what you want to hear from a Giant starter? It wasn't long ago that the Diamondbacks were 10 games out but thanks to the little things like Foppert's good batter-bad batter approach, the West is a three-team race. Take your heart pills, Giants fans. You'll need them by August (if not sooner).

Tip 5: Good things come when you least expect it
Since Moss all but dropkicked pitches to the Dodgers when he wasn't serving up watermelon-sized changeups, the only solace to be had on Wednesday had nothing to do with baseball. No, it was an unexpected little gift handed down from the president of ABC Sports, George Bodenheimer, when he announced that Lisa Guerrero of Fox Sports would be taking Melissa Stark's sideline reporter position while Stark is away having a baby. If any of you have seen Guerrero during Fox Sports' updates or on "The Best Damn Sports Show Period", you know why I was doing a jig in my living room (and, no, it's not for her volunteer work at Cedars-Sinai Hospital). Go to Yahoo!, pull up every website of hers you can find and prepare for the love ABC is giving you for the cold, winter months. Are you ready for some LISA, um, I mean, FOOTBALL!



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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