Two Games For the Price of One: The San Francisco Giants Play 17 Innings On Orange Friday, by Chuck Strom

Johnny Cueto

Last Friday, the San Francisco Giants played the Cincinnati Reds in a game that went 17 innings and ended after midnight, when Buster Posey hit a home run and allowed everyone remaining to go home and get some much needed sleep. I stayed for 14 of those innings, leaving only because I didn’t want the ferry to return to Vallejo without me. It would seem that such a game would have been an excruciating affair, but there was actually a lot of excitement to it, including three balls hit by the Giants in extra innings that were caught at the wall. One, by Posey, went all the way to the 421-foot sign in right center field—a dinger in any other park. Even so, the evening took a toll on the fans, prompting the man in the seat behind me to observe that the empty expanses in the stands reminded him of the old days at Candlestick Park, where attendance at weeknight games often barely cleared ten thousand in a stadium that held more than sixty. How times have changed.

Buster Posey

The win was a rare bright spot for the Giants, who have face-planted out of the gate this season with a 15-24 record, leading only the San Diego Padres and the Atlanta Braves in the current National League standings. Reports of the Giants’ demise have begun to appear in the blogosphere, suggesting that their championship window, if not closed yet, is down to the narrowest of openings, with the implication that the franchise should consider a roster blowup in order to restock a depleted farm system. A bad month has a way of inspiring panicky thoughts such as these, and the picture may look a lot different in as little as a week if the Giants manage to build on what is now a three-game winning streak in their series starting tonight against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the one team whom the Giants have played relatively well against so far this season. Still, the early-season struggles have been a reminder of how even the most dynastic teams in baseball can crash from one year to the next. The Giants are not yet the 1965 New York Yankees, but their front office may be pondering contingency plans just in case.

Chuck Strom

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