Saturday, July 11, 2009

Tip of the Cap to Jonathan Sanchez

On a July 10th, 2009 night @ AT&T Park, the Giants were scheduled to play their Western Divsion rival, San Diego Padres. The Padres, currently occupying the cellar of the Western Division, aren't a good draw unless the Giants were in San Diego. Especially since the Giants were filling the void of a disabled 300-game winner in Randy Johnson with a pitcher whose unlimited potential had staked him to a 2-8 won/loss record, with an earned run average (ERA) of over 5 runs per start. I'm speaking of Jonathan Sanchez.

Earlier in the day, on the KNBR680AM-Gary Radnich show, a caller couldn't understand why there were so many empty seats when Tim Lincecum was pitching. It was Radnich's contention that when you're playing a last place team during a time of economic strife you can only expect, (maybe) 1,000 diehard fans willing to attend.

With that in mind, the jewel of a diamond on Third Street and King, at Willie Mays Plaza, should have been half-full (half-empty...depending on if you're a glass half-full or half-empty kind of gal/guy) if not for the Friday factor.

Jonathan Sanchez' family thought enough of the game to fly in from Florida to see #57 pitch. They saw this game as Jonathan's "second chance."

Isn't it funny how it works in the game of life, one man's injury is another man's opportunity?
Like with Wally Pipp and Lou Gehrig, strange things can happen. (Pipp wasn't feeling good so Gehrig was inserted into the line-up. But not for one game, but over 2,000 consecutive games. In the words of one-time Yankee broadcaster, Mel Allen, How about that?)

Sanchez lost his starters role due to insonsistent showings and it introduced us all to Ryan Sadowski, a man Mike Krukow dubbed as "the Big Sadowski." So now the local media-folk refer to Sadowski as Dude-A-Reno or His Dudeness or simply Dude.

Then Randy Johnson tweaks his shoulder swinging a bat, of all things, and Sanchez gets his second chance.

In his second chance Sanchez throws a complete game, no-hitter, while striking out 11 and walking none (0). The only base-runner allowed was on an in-between hop to Juan Uribe (Jose's nephew) that he couldn't handle. E5 was no shame for the nephew of the man known to Giant fans as UUUUUH-REEE-BAY. Because on the offensive end, #5 was a major contributor to the Giants' 8 run total.

Another contributor was Aaron Rowand. A player who was struggling mercifully at the plate until manager Bruce Bochy inserted him into the leadoff spot on May 20th. Since then he's been among the leaders of all major league leadoff hitters. Rowand had 3 hits and 3-runs batted in along with a sparkling catch in the 9th inning to preserve Jonathan Sanchez' no-hit bid.

Last, but certainly not least, was the contribution of a player who is every bit as popular as another Latin who arrived with the San Francisco Giants when they arrived from New York in 1958. (I'm speaking of Orlando Cha Cha Cepeda.) The current favorite of Giant fans everywhere is Pablo Sandoval, the chaw-chewing Panda. Pablo's mammoth 3-run homer broke the game wide-open. (When I heard the play-by-play of Jon Miller, it sent chills up and down my spine. That with the background noise of the crowd erupting into a crescendo only the Panda could elicit and then the curtain call, well, it was something to remember.)

And to all of those fans who bothered to attend last night's game, regardless of who the Giants were playing and who was slated as the starting pitcher for the Gigantes, congratulations!

You got your just due, a memory that'll last forever.

Kevin J. Marquez