Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Anxiety Attacks

I’m feeling both a little down, and a little edgy today…I’m chalking it up to baseball’s All Star Break, and the first rest day of the Tour de France. Our continued cold, gray weather isn't helping either...and my favorite morning chuckleheads of chat radio, Armstrong&Getty have the week off too.

Sunday’s Stage 9 was one for the books…I never thought I’d see a France Television car run into the leader of the race! The darn car sideswiped Juan Antonio Flecha, who did a textbook tuck and roll and avoided serious injury. Behind him, Johnny Hoogerland wasn’t so lucky. He somersaulted ass over teakettle across the roadside ditch and landed in a barb wire fence!

Both men toughed the day out and finished. Johnny Hoogerland went straight from the podium  to the hospital and was rewarded with 33 stitches. (despite his off-road mishap, he earned the climber’s polka-dot jersey)

At the end of the day, Team Garmin-Cervélo's Directeur Sportif, Jonathan Vaughters said: "Professional cycling is brutal and beautiful. It cannot be one without the other".

My trouble is there was no Giants’ game for me to unwind to after I took in the Tour late Sunday night, and no ballgame Monday while the Tour took the day off.

The Home Run Derby only exacerbated my anxiety (good thing that fool’s friends grabbed him before he fell to his death into the lower deck!)

Seein’ the Giants' Pablo Sandoval in the game warmed me up a little, as did his ground rule double, but I need my whole Giants team…torture and all.

Giants' manager Bruce Bochy sent the runners for three stolen bases in one inning, and the National League won the game giving the NL home field advantage in the next World Series. 

Giants' closer Brian Wilson pitched for the last two outs. His beard was featured prominently at both ends of the big broadcast. Wilson is developing into one of baseball's great characters, a hyper-oddball if you will.

OK, even though it was played in Phoenix, it was all brite lights, big city, and though entertaining, didn't really mean that much to this Giants Fan. Oh, the home field advantage can't be discounted, but it wasn't Giants' baseball.

The Giants, and their radio and TV broadcasters, like their City, are homey and almost cozy like a small town. Giants and their fans are like one big goofy family, and you miss all that on these long breaks.

You see, the Giants were starting to really cook going into the All Star break, and the games were really entertaining. Guys were getting their mojo back at the plate, the defense was getting solid, and the casualties were coming back off the DL and IR. I just hope the break doesn't chill their momentum!

For baseball teams as well as bicycle racers, there sometimes is a paradoxical result from days off. For the bike racers during a Grand Tour, their bodies are used to grinding out the miles for 5-6 hours every day, burning 10,000 calories or so. Sometimes the Rest Day upsets the whole apple cart.

Baseball teams when they're "on" become highly tuned machines with lots and lots of moving parts. Now, throw in baseball players' legendary adherence to superstitions and rituals. Any discombobulation of routine or ritual, and the fleeting balance can vanish all too easily.

The Giants resume league play Thursday on the road against the San Diego Padres. I can't wait. In France, Wednesday will be the last day for the sprinters...the roads tilt up Thursday, and Le Tour will be in the Pyrénées for the weekend.

Thursday evening, I'll be feeling all simpatico with The Narrator in Steinbeck's "Cannery Row" when he summed up by saying: "Once again the World was spinning in greased grooves"...Play Ball!

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