bunt sign

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The first time it happened by accident. Now, though, I routinely search the web to find out who has been eliminated before the American Idol results show airs here on the west coast, three hours after the live broadcast to the other half of the country. It makes it a whole lot easier to take Ryan Seacrestís puerile ramblings and insipid jokes if the ďsuspenseĒ isnít part of the equation.

Of course I still watch the show. I watch it because everyone else is watching it. Iím not ashamed to admit that Iím part of the national phenomenon, and that I get off on being in tune with the cool kids for once in my life. And I have to say that even though I knew two and a half hours early who would be leaving tonight, I still had tears in my eyes when the curtain came down.

I donít know about this ďsuspenseĒ business. There are definitely times when I donít want to know how something will end. The buildup can be greater than the conclusion, which is often anticlimactic. In a work of drama or narrative, I donít want to hear the ending, and Iíll fight you if you try to tell me. Some creative mind has made an effort to surprise or excite an audience, and I only want to be part of that experience. Iíll be watching the finale of Lost next Wednesday with everybody else, on the edge of my seat.

And, by the way, Iíll be TiVoing the Idol finale, which airs at the same time. I suspect Iíll watch it at 10:00 pm, right after Lost, but it wonít take me two hours to get through it. More like ten minutes

But hereís the confession it most pains me to divulge. I like knowing how a baseball game ends. Most of the time I watch the game live, so thereís no one to tell me the final score. I donít know any psychics, seers or soothsayers, so I have to find out who wins by watching the game. And that can be rewarding, Iíll admit, especially if something dramatic happens in the late innings. Once again, Iím on the edge of my seat.

But it takes nothing away from the experience if I miss a game live and then learn the result before I get around to watching the recording. I can still savor every pitch and every nuance — as long as the Giants win! Because frankly, if I have a game on tape and I know my team has lost, Iím not gonna watch it. Thatís just the way it is.

6 May 2005

May clouds.

As I mentioned back last summer, I would always watch the end of Jeopardy before the beginning, to make sure Ken Jennings hadnít lost that day. I wanted to see how he did it, but I also wanted to know I wasnít watching his swan song. I wasnít even sure Iíd keep watching after he lost, but I have. Now, I just donít care who wins. But next week, when Ken comes back for the finale of the tournament? Iím not sure what Iíll do. Peek, or be surprised. I havenít decided.

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Itís a good thing I did watch todayís game at Coors Field, because otherwise I wouldnít have believed the final score. 3-2? In Denver? The Giants got their first run after Rockies pitcher Shawn Chacon threw a pitch at Mike Mathenyís head. A couple of pitches later, Matheny rocked one out of the park, a la Rich Aurilia. Thatís my kind of player, a guy who can channel his anger like that. Giants starter Brad Hennessey gave up two runs in the first inning, but that was all the Rockies got.

The game hung in the balance in the fifth, when the Rockies loaded the bases with two outs. On a 3-2 pitch Hennessey got run producer Preston Wilson to fly out to end that threat. Thatís why I was surprised when Felipe Alou removed Hennessey after a two-out single in the seventh, with the score tied. I donít think you can take a pitcher out in that situation, after heís pitched his heart out to keep the team in the game, because he canít get the win for his efforts, only a loss if the bullpen fails.

This time, the bullpen didnít fail, and the Giants scored the winning run in the top of the ninth when Deivi Cruz, who had improbably been brought in as a pinch hitter and then asked to bunt, very properly ignored the sign and hit a run-scoring triple. Iím sorry, but if the manager is going to make bad decisions, sometimes the players have to take matters into their own hands.

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