Saturday, July 16, 2011


I watched the MLB All Star Game this week because five San Francisco Giants made the All Star Squad. I don't ever recall watching another All Star Game, though I must have watched the 2007 All Star Game because it was played at the Giants' AT&T Park. I was staying at the Ancestral Digs that July, and my Dad wouldn't have missed the game on a bet!

I do remember being amazed by all the watercraft on McCovey Cove for the Home Run could barely see the water for all the kayaks, canoes, inflatable rafts, floating homemade putting greens, and all sorts of wacky stuff. I suspect I saw the Home Run Derby Flotilla online, not on TV...the Flickr photo sharing site I'd wager.

Back to today...Of the five Giants All Stars, two played in the game. Giants' skipper Bruce Bochy was the NL All Star's manager because the Giants won the World Series. Four of the five Giants' All Stars are pitchers, so it's no wonder Bochy let them for closer Brian "Fear The Beard" Wilson who pitched for the save, insuring that the National League Team will enjoy Home Field Advantage in the next Fall Classic.

The Giants' red hot infielder, Pablo "The Panda" Sandoval brought his 21 game hitting streak to Phoenix for the All Star Show, and didn't disappoint. The Panda smacked a ground rule double in his only at bat, driving in a run. The National League won the game 5-1...home field advantage secured. With the All Star Break over, Sandoval hit the first pitch he saw Thursday in San Diego for a single. Panda's streak is now 22 games...and counting...but I digress...

I tuned into the game after the "Red Carpet", in time for as little pre-game gab for the announce crew as possible. I won't go off about whether a Red Carpet belongs in baseball...

I was struck by how many of the All Stars were sporting scruffy beards. It was kinda quaint I remember thinking. In fact there were beards of all stripes from scruffy to The Beard. I hadn't expected to find anything thought provoking on the All Star Game broadcast, that's for sure...I mean they had a red carpet! Must everything on TV become a reality show or an awards show?

Hold on...I've got things all mixed up! The scruffy beards were at the All Star Game. The Red Carpet was for the ESPY Awards. Sorry, I conflated the bad...suddenly I've got beards on the brain! No, not BirdBrain! Honest!

They always warn that "TV will rot your brain"..."they" might be right! Idiot Box, indeed. Conflation is becoming all reality shows and award shows. How long can it be before we see "The Daytime Teenage Single Mom Hoarder's Ice Road Trucking Gator Hunter Awards"?

Last night, I got a chance to watch the first episode of Showtime's new reality show "A Season With The Giants". The show will follow the team all season as they defend their title.

The show starts with the Giants celebrating their World Series victory before the show begins to introduce the players. Necessarily, there was quite a bit of injury talk because injuries seem to be the theme of the Giants' season so far.

The show looked at Barry Zito's comeback from a foot injury, how Zito was left off of the Post Season Roster during the Championship drive, and looked at his rehab routine.

Zito was profiled during this rehabilitation, through his first game back in Chicago vs the Cubs. Barry spoke at length about his pre-game shaving ritual! He always pitches freshly shaven.

Beards? Shaving? All this caused all my nostalgia synapses to start firing...when I was a kid in the mid-60's, baseball was a radio sport. The ballgames were rarely on TV then. Radio loves baseball, and there's plenty of time during ball games to slip in short advertising spots. Back in the day, lots of these spots were for shaving cream and razor blades...oh and Chevrolets.

Even as baseball's Owners are trying to outrun the game's old-timey agrarian roots with loud NBA-style sound and fury pumped into the parks at every opportunity, I felt just a little bit of that old-timey peace and tranquility while watching the bearded millionaire All Stars playing on the field. There's real comfort and peace on a baseball field if you know where to look or listen. Baseball, always changing...always the same...

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