I call him Obi. Ever since that extra inning game way back when... The Giants were down one in the bottom of the thirteenth inning with two outs and Feliz was at the plate pinch hitting. Something happened and I started talking about Star Wars with a friend. Ironically, I've never seen Star Wars and have never been a big fan of Star Wars... but there I was, talking about Star Wars because once I did, Feliz drew a walk. We continued to talk about Star Wars and before we knew it, the Giants won.
Obi! Obi! His new nickname may as well be Offensive Weapon. Like other Giants fans, I've had my share of cringing and shakiness when Feliz is called upon to pinch hit. Heck, I still haven't forgiven him for his lack of designated hitting skills in Game 7... All of this will take a while to sink in.
Not to mention the countless times I had to turn away from the TV when Feliz sat on 0-2 counts because I know he'll swing and miss on the next pitch... Or when he misses a ground ball shot right at him... Or the time when he couldn't even execute a hit-and-run play correctly... Or the many times Alou has depended on him to hit late in the game and how many times his at-bats were wasted outs. I was really starting to wonder how insane Alou was for wanting to give Feliz more at-bats because of his performance in Spring Training... Can you tell I was still bitter about Game 7?
Well, he certainly made me eat my words for about a week. He's doing a darn good job of redeeming himself... After smacking three homeruns in two days against Oakland, he comes back and becomes responsible for half the runs scored against the A's to help his fellow rookie teammate, Jerome Williams, get his first major league shut out.
Homeruns... The thing that makes baseball fans go "ooo..." and "ahhh..." Roundtrippers are what everyone goes to the ballpark to see. Nothing better than to hear that bat crack and to see that ball fly up and through the air out of any outfielder's reach. Even though Feliz's jack above the twenty-four foot wall in right field will be overshadowed by Barry Bonds' majestic shot into the Bay and Jose Cruz, Jr.'s recall to life in the batter's box, we must not forget another thing that Feliz did. He came through in the clutch for the Giants. HE GOT A BASE HIT WITH RUNNERS IN SCORING POSITION! Boy, was I excited, the Giants finally got some runs on the board without spanking the heck out of baseballs.
What does this mean? Happy times for the Giants... Or... Feliz times. With Edgardo Alfonzo struggling as he is, what will happen to Feliz? Wait, what am I saying? One week ago you couldn't get me near Feliz with a ten-foot pole, and now here I am, contemplating on whether or not Feliz should get more starts. I love Fonzie and he surprisingly scored lots of brownie points quickly from me once I started watching him play because I was having a difficult time with someone else at third base other than David Bell. Well, that quickly went out the window... And even though I will stay strictly behind Alfonzo through his slumps, I can't help but wonder the possibilities of what Feliz can do.
This can go either way, as we've all seen. Feliz can hit two jacks in one game and come back the next day colder than my ice cream sandwich going 0-5. But so far this season, this young player has shown growth and maturity, being more consistent and patient than he's been before, and he's certainly giving the Giants a breather about getting a good substitute for third base, and maybe even first base now. There was never much of a question of having Feliz on the field, it was a matter of whether or not you wanted him at the plate. Well, now we have our answer.
I am by no means jumping on the "Let's all cheer for Pedro now because he's good now" bandwagon. This kid's still got a long way to go, but it's great to see how humble he is and how much he's developed. He doesn't get too full of himself to forget that he's playing on a team and that the only reason he needs to perform well is to help his team win- and maybe to get some more playing time, but which player doesn't think that? There's still a lot of growing to do for Feliz, but it seems like he's going in the right direction. Feliz... Or, happy times for the Giants, indeed.
Sara Kwan was born in San Francisco and raised in the Bay Area. She currently writes game recaps, other articles, and is the Giant Prophet for SFDugout.com. Any comments or questions about the article, baseball, or the meaning of life can be sent to Sara at email@example.com
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