Thursday, October 28, 2010

They Might Be Giants

Louisa Thomas throws her support to the San Francisco Giants, a ragtag collection of freaks.
The Giants call their style of baseball “torture,” their star “the Freak,” their NLCS MVP “Cody” (I don’t care if that’s his real name). I’m smitten with a kid named Buster Posey. Willie Mays, the “Say Hey Kid,” would fit right in. The Giants hit home runs, or not at all. And their pitching! This team plays baseball like it’s a great game of catch with diverting interruptions. The whole team is weird and improbable. After Juan Uribe homered in the eighth to break a tie in game 6 of the NLCS, Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel said, “The big blow was by what’s his name? The shortstop.” Never mind that Uribe was playing third base.
As good as reason as any. My girlfriend, who grew up in San Francisco, is beside herself about her hometown team's unexpected success. Like Louisa, she adores Buster Posey. She likes, too, Little Timmy, as she and her mother call the Giants ace. I'm most impressed with Brian Wilson, the man with the Beach Boy name and the colored-in beard. The man who snuck past Ryan Howard an improbable, intrepid 3-2 slider on the decisive pitch of the National League Championship Series.

Wilson is odd and erratic, a throwback to the relief pitchers of my childhood. Characters like Mitch Williams, Randy Myers, Rob Dibble, Roger McDowell, John Wetteland, all of whom were a bit off-kilter and wholly unafraid. Wilson often refers to himself as The Machine in homage to a character in "8MM," Joel Schumacher's movie about snuff films, and brags about being a "certified Ninja" and a "mental assassin." Fittingly, then, Wilson came up with the inspired, ironic motto Lousia referenced above, a slogan that belies the Giants' underrated ability and collective cool under pressure. "Giants Baseball: Torture."

So perfect, so true. I mean, what's not to love?