April 8, 2011RATTO ARCHIVEGIANTS PAGE GIANTS VIDEO
Just so we all understand each other, what the Giants provided Friday in their 5-4 12-inning pie fight victory over the St. Louis Cardinals was not torture. Torture is dead as a concept, and as a word. Move on, citizens.
RECAP: Wild home opener -- Giants walk off vs. Cardinals
If it has a name, and it should given the exertion you put into holding onto Torture a year later, it should be simply Rowand.
Yes, for A. Ryan Rowand, the 24 million piata who, if he is being greased to disappear this season, is making it hard for the Giants and their barely-sated clientele to dismiss him so easily. He still has some bite, and a hunk of your leg.
Sure, you could go with Bochy, since he and St. Louis manager Tony La Russa engaged in a game-long three-dimensional chess thrash that emptied both dugouts of available position players except the appendectomy victim (Matt Holliday) and the invisible catcher (Eli Whiteside).
Or you could with Wilson, for the Giant reliever who engaged in (and ultimately lost) an extended life-and-death struggle with home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman. He fought Dreckmans strike zone with indifferent results and thanked his after he left the game with a valedictory that only Cee-Lo Green could love.
But theyve been done to death the hat, the beard, all the props even the most ardent Gallagher fan could embrace.
Save for Rowand, whose only real prop, if you can conjure it, would be a hammock, which is what he looks like hes laying upon in the batters box. And somehow, Fear The Hammock doesnt translate.
No, only Rowand will do, and since you all had too good a day to dare call it torture, Rowand it shall be.
After all, it was Rowand who won last years home opener in the 13th with an infield single, moments after hitting Atlanta catcher Brian McCann with a swing as he tried to throw Juan Uribe out at second.And it was he who walled a 1-0 fastball from Brian Tallet with the bases loaded to score Nate Schierholtz in the bottom of the 12th Friday, making him the first player since 1977 to have successive Opening Day walk-off hits. If you guessed Toby Harrah of the Rangers as the previous one, go get yourself a drink. And then go out on a date. Youre clearly too focused on baseball.But never mind the game-winner. He also nearly won the game in the 10th with a hard smash that went right to left fielder Allen Craig, playing third in one of St. Louis manager Tony La Russas craftier gimmicks, the five-man infield. It is Rowands luck that Craig made a diving stop and forced a rundown to retire Andres Torres.But it is Rowands luck in 2011 that he got another crack at it, and delivered.If thats a metaphor, then so be it.Rowand has never found his happy place in San Francisco, from the moment when he signed the 60 million contract that rendered him a dollar sign rather than a player. He became a focus for all the Giants miscalculations, and his biggest crime was fighting against the tide too hard and too inflexibly. The more he fought, the worse it got, and the worse it got, the more he fought until he became a dead ballplayer walking.His name brought scorn, derision and demands that the Giants break a record for most salary eaten in one contract, which they have not done. That of course led to guesses as to how much salary they would eat, which led to guesses about when it would time to eat that salary, and when Cody Ross rises from the disabled list that speculation will rise again.But Friday was a moment when even his most strident critics had to acknowledge that there is still value in him, that he is not yet a spent force, that he is not a living example of worse money after bad. Maybe it wont last long, but it may have lasted long enough to give the Giants a battle cry for The Year After.Rowand. For the guy who cant be killed no matter how many people try.And if Rowand wont do, maybe the word that best describes his time here as a compromise candidate.Tortured.I mean, at least youll save on the shirts, right?