Wednesday, April 25, 2012

On the Middling Reds

The baseball season is remarkably long. And yet a lot can happen in a week, which is the amount of time between the last post here and this post. I spent some time kicking around ideas about how the Giants look remarkably improved on offense, how they've won each series since they left Arizona,  and maybe I even pondered how to write the saga of Brandon Belt in iambic pentameter. It could work. Just imagine Alfred Tennyson patting Belt on the shoulder and reminding him: "To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield." We all know what he'd mean--although appropriating Tennyson's "Ulysses" to describe Belt's career in the majors isn't that comforting.

Most of this feels moot as I type after the first game against the Reds. After this 9-2 defeat it's hard not to conjure the collapse of last August, which started in Cincinnati with a sweep that ended on a dismal 9-0 loss on July 31st. 

This factor was bothering me for some reason until Sam LeCure through a pitch behind Buster Posey. I understand the whole hit by pitch retaliation thing, I suppose. I get angry and yell at the screen when it happens to my team, I hem and haw about mistakes when, for example, last year Ramon Ramirez launched some fire at Shane Victorino. 

But before you start hitting batters and retaliating you've got to think about your priorities. I know Joey Votto's their million dollar man, but what in the world would Danny Otero be hitting him for? Do the Giants need to punish Votto for his two strikeouts and the walk he had up to that point? So he can wake up and clobber a two run home run (like Buster Posey)? No. Are the Giants and Reds rivals? No. 

And that's when it clicked. It's not August. It's not 2011. Leave that behind. Maybe take one or two games, but when the Giants return home to San Francisco to face the Padres, they won't be a team made up of Aaron Rowands, Miguel Tejadas, and a pair defensively skilled but offensively challenged back up catchers. The Giants are a better team this year, and they've got a season to win. A few games against the Reds won't change that. If the Reds are keeping score on hit batters in the top of the ninth of a 9-0 game that they are winning, if that's their priority, well, let them defeat themselves. Leave them in Cincinnati as the middling team that they are.

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