As the Giants’ season comes to an end, those of us who’ve lived and died with every pitch know the highs and lows of trying to do the near impossible… repeat as World Series Champions.  But they sure have been fun to watch.  There are new kids coming into their own.. Brett Pill, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford and Madison Bumgarner.  And Ryan Vogelsong has been the feel-good story of the year.  But I don’t think I’ve seen anyone play the game with more joy, more enthusiasm than the Panda.  Pablo Sandoval. He looks like he embraces every moment of every inning with a free-spirited, unapologetic love of the game, and it infuses those around him with the same spirit.  The other night, I saw his reaction when a teammate hit a home run.  With legs that must be bone-weary, the Panda jumped so high, his head hit the top of the dugout.  Watching Panda.. has been a joy.  Now, Brandon Belt?  He’s kinda dour.

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September 19, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Tom Nakashima's Blog | No comment

Take A Pill.. And Call Me In The Morning…

As the pennant chase takes a dark turn for the Giants, there’s a bright light on the horizon… or at least we hope there is.  And hope is a precious commodity now.  Giants minor league prospect Brett Pill, who will turn 27 tomorrow, finally made his Major League debut on Tuesday and hit the first pitch he swung at off the second deck of the Western Metal Supply Company.  Before Duane Kuiper got to “High Drive..” it was gone.  Then yesterday, ho hum…. he another home run. And he’s been in the bigs two days.  A lot of fans are wondering why he wasn’t brought up sooner….  he’s actually older than Matt Cain, Panda, Brandon Belt and of course Madison Bumgarner.  Guess he was biding his time.  It remains to be seen if a nickname will stick… “Pill The Thrill,” “The Pill-ager,” “Brett The Threat,”…..Well, if you keep hittin’, who cares?

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September 8, 2011 at 11:27 am | Tom Nakashima's Blog | No comment

The Silence Of The Lambs…

If it wasn’t so painful,  it’d be laughable.  Where’s Carlos Beltran?  Brian Wilson?  How about Andres Torres, Sergio Romo?  Is Miguel Tejada a double play waiting to happen or am I just being a cruel pessimist?  This is crunch time, and the Giants are playing their worst baseball of the year.  When the Pirates had a Ten Game Losing Streak…  the Giants were just what the doctor ordered.  Florida had lost 7 in a row…  hey, bring on the Giants.  You get the picture.  And Houston, who’ve already lost nearly 100 games… slapped the Giants around all week.  Had Panda not gone deep yesterday, I’m telling you, Bruce Bochy was on the verge of taking hostages and barricading a convenience store.  And stop saying the Giants are set to play some losing teams.  I promise you, they’re all lickin’ their chops to get at the World Champs.  I know we’ve got more than a month to go.  But with apologies to Yogi Berra…. It’s getting’ late early.

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August 22, 2011 at 11:28 am | Tom Nakashima's Blog | No comment

Giants On A Roll…

The Faithful got through the All Star Break… and you’ve got to admit, we’re feeling pretty good.  Ryan Vogelsong was introduced as an All Star (unthinkable in the spring), Panda ripped a solid double to drive in a run, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain got to rest…. and The Beard slammed the door.  Props to Bruce Bochy for runnin’ the show his way.  Oh, and the Giants, even with their impotent offense….. still lead the NL West.  And if you need a little more excitement, don’t forget tonight’s premiere episode of the Giants docudrama “The Franchise” on SHOWTIME.  Get an inside look at some of the young season’s highs…. and lows, including one of the most talked about incidents of the year, the devastating injury to Buster Posey.

July 13, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Tom Nakashima's Blog | No comment

Now I Have To Watch The All Star Game…

I guess the Major League All Star Game doesn’t carry the same weight as it did in the days of Henry Aaron, Mickey Mantle, Roberto Clemente and Willie Mays.  Some guys just don’t seem to want to play.  They need the rest instead.  I understand.  But this time, I’m gonna see FIVE Giants introduced, along with Giants skipper Bruce Bochy and his staff.  While it’s great to see Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum and Brian Wilson make the roster, last minute addition Pablo Sandoval has really got to be in seventh heaven.  The kid nearly ate himself out of a job last season, and rode the bench a lot during that memorable post season run to the Championship.  But I think the best story is Ryan Vogelsong, the washed up big leaguer who was cut, toiled in mediocrity in the Japanese League… and was a walk-on in spring training.  I imagine Giants fans will have goose bumps when he’s introduced tomorrow night.  Ryan Vogelsong is an All Star.

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July 11, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Tom Nakashima's Blog | No comment

Make Your Catcher Proud…

The furious, dramatic rally the Giants pulled off to tie the game seemed like an afterthought.  The soul of their team, young Buster Posey, was writhing in pain after a devastating collision at the plate.  The sellout crowd fell silent, as if a black cloud had descended on the park…as if Buster was the only thing that mattered…. because he was.  As someone in the clubhouse was heard to say..”It’s way serious.”  There’s no denying it… Buster Posey won’t be catching for the Giants any time soon.  So what now?  Do you kiss off the rest of the season?  Only losers do that.  It’s time for the players… and the fans… to suck it up.  Panda will return soon… maybe he continues to pound the ball.  Brandon Belt has to contribute, just as Buster did exactly a year ago as an unproven rookie.  Better at-bats… clutch hitting… keep the line moving.  No time to hang your heads.  Rededicate yourself.   Win this for your catcher…. the soul of your team.

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May 26, 2011 at 11:51 am | Tom Nakashima's Blog | No comment

The Misfits Are Back…

No one repeats as World Series Champions… at least that’s the prevailing wisdom.  But I wouldn’t bet against these guys, as they finally begin to defend their title tonight in La-La Land against the hated Dodgers.  Most of the Misfits return, and a young pup named Brandon Belt surprised everyone by making the opening day roster.  If they struggle early, not to worry.  ‘Cuz they’ve come back.  Seemed like Tim Lincecum was 0 for August last season…. and Panda hit into two double plays before breakfast.  Oh, and Buster Posey, Pat Burrell, Cody Ross, Javier Lopez and Madison Bumgarner weren’t even on the team on Opening Day last year.  Somehow, it all worked out, didn’t it?   If you don’t have Band of Misfits by Giants beat writer Andrew Baggarly, get it.

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March 31, 2011 at 11:45 am | Uncategorized | No comment

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