Thursday, October 25, 2012

Black and Orange Cat-Foot

A panda bear's scientific name is Ailuropoda melanoleuca.

It means "black and white cat-foot", and yes, I just copied and pasted that from Wikipedia. So, if I attempt to translate Pablo Sandoval with Giants colors into Latin, my best guess is that it might be (as the title of this post suggests) Ailuropoda melanofulvus.

Unless of course, we prefer Gastropoda melanofulvus (black and orange stomach-foot).

Addendum to tactic #4 from yesterday: Bochy, give your talented hackers carte blanche to swing away the entire game.

2009 eTopps, just before Sandoval received his ursine identity
I was very happy to see that it looked like that nearly all of the Giants were working along the lines of the tactics I thought about yesterday. Watching Angel Pagan force Verlander into more than one at-bat over seven pitches was a sublime and subtle thing of beauty.

However, I was even more pleased to see Pablo Sandoval do what he does best. Forget tactics, strategy, or even conscious thought. I am perpetually entertained and fascinated with players like Sandoval and Vladimir Guerrero (He Who Hits Without Gloves), whose idea of plate discipline is knowing when to wash the dirty ones in the kitchen.

Guys like Sandoval have supremely gifted hand-eye coordination and world-class bat speed. These guys in their prime are among the most fun to watch. They must be so hard to pitch to; you can't out-think someone who's not playing mind games back at you.  They'll swing at nearly everything close to the plate (high and down the middle, low and inside, low and away, for starters), and all too often, they'll get a piece of it, if they still don't get all of it anyway.

The sad part is that these supreme hackers, as they age, start to quickly lose that near supernatural ability on which they've become dependent. Watching Vlad's brown-out of power preclude his now presumably quiet exit from major league ball, is a little sad. It's like watching your favorite old cat just not be able to catch prey like it once did.

However, Kung-Fu Panda's ability to tag anything in the zone is exactly the recipe required last night. A bamboozled and incredulous Verlander was worth every second of footage on the Phantom Cam.

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