The SF "Entourage": Comparing the Giants to the HBO Show Characters
The popular HBO show "Entourage" is four episodes into its sixth season and the San Francisco Giants have 54 games left in their season.
With this correlation of fours, I think it is time we do a comparison between the San Francisco Giants players and the characters from the show "Entourage." Who is the Vince of this Giants team that is the figurehead of the group? Who is the fiery Ari?
Some comparison may be a stretch, and I'm sure there will be occasions where you will scratch your head and say "What?" Just bear with me, though. If you are a fan of the show, and a fan of the boys in black and orange, then this is definitely something that should be up your alley.
Vincent Chase: Tim Lincecum
Much like Vinnie Chase in the group of friends from Queens, Tim Lincecum is the "star" of this Giants team, and deservedly so.
While Vince was getting fame in Hollywood from starring in movies like "Head On" and "Aquaman," Lincecum was doing his own star work last year, where he went 18-5 with a 2.62 ERA and recorded 265 strikeouts.
And if that wasn't enough, Lincecum has built on the larger-than-life image he created last year by having another great season so far this year with the Giants. He is currently 12-3 with a 2.18 ERA, and was the starting pitcher for the National League in the All-Star game.
For the past year-and-a-half, the Giants have fed off "The Freak." When he is doing great on the mound, and mowing guys down at the plate, the Giants play with a heightened sense of confidence.
When Lincecum doesn't have his best stuff, often the Giants lineup picks him up the best they can, similar to the way the boys picked Vince up after "Medellin" tanked at the Cannes Film Festival.
Who knows if Lincecum picks up the same amount of "suitors" Vince does when he is off the set. However, it's safe to say that the amount of media attention Lincecum gets certainly rivals, if not passes, the fictional movie star.
Eric Murphy: Matt Cain
While Vince is the star of the show, the guy that is the face of the group, Cain is second-leading man, much like "E." And like Eric, Cain prefers to keep his impact in the background. He isn't as big a face as Lincecum, doesn't have the Sports Illustrated cover or the NL Cy Young (yet), but it is impossible to think that this Giants team would be what it currently is without Cain in the rotation.
Like Eric, Cain has not had an easy path when it came to being the pitcher he currently is. While Eric couldn't get any respect from talent agents and movie producers while representing Vince as his manager, Cain could get no run support from the Giants offense.
After going 13-12 with a 4.15 ERA in his first full year in the Major Leagues in 2006, Cain went 7-16 and 8-14 his next to two years, despite having an ERA of 3.64 and 3.76 in 2007, and 2008, respectively.
Now, as Eric gets more respect from his peers in the movie industry, Cain is getting more run support from his Giants teammates, which has resulted in a breakout season for the Giants' second-best pitcher. Cain made the All-Star team this year, and going into Friday had a 12-3 record with a 2.25 ERA.
As Eric is no longer "The Pizza Boy from Queens," Cain is no longer considered by critics as a "middle-of-the-rotation guy." He is someone that certainly deserves to be in the discussion of the National League's top pitchers.
Turtle: Pablo Sandoval
Turtle may be the most surprisingly enjoyable and worthwhile character on the show. He is a loyal, funny, charismatic figure in the group that accomplishes a lot more for the guys than people give him credit for.
Sandoval does a lot of the same things. Even though his growing celebrity increases with each home run he hits, and as he hones in on catching Hanley Ramirez for the NL Batting Crown, he still is relatively an unknown name in the baseball world.
Yet much like Turtle, Sandoval does all the little things that keeps this Giants train rolling.
Turtle does things like drive all the guys around, keeps everyone loose, and makes sure that Vince and Drama always have a fair amount of weed on stock in the house.
Sandoval keeps the Giants offense going, provides surprisingly sparkling defense at the hot corner, and gives the clubhouse a jovial environment that was absent during the Barry Bonds days.
Sandoval doesn't go completely unrecognized. While Turtle gets his share of gifts as compensation for his loyalty and contributions (he got a new car from both his hot Sopranos-starring girlfriend and from Vince, all in the same day), Sandoval gets a fair amount of "Panda Loving" from Giants fans as they sport Panda masks, shirts and even costumes all over AT&T Park.
Say what you want about both Turtle and Sandoval's statures (e.g. they're a little "big-boned"). There is certainly a lot to like about both these guys.
Johnny Drama: Aaron Roward
Surprisingly, there are a lot of similarities between Johnny Drama and Aaron Rowand that go beyond just looks (don't they look similar, though?).
Drama, for most of his career, has been known as an underachieving actor who was grossly overpaid and was thought to never have an impact in the Hollywood world again after his show "Viking Quest" was taken off the air.
Rowand for most of his career has been known for crashing into walls than his actual play. Furthermore, despite a solid first half last year, many Giants fans have gotten fed up with Rowand, as many fans clamored that he was overpaid and was underachieving in his tenure as the Bay Area's everyday centerfielder.
Yet Rowand is a key contributor to this Giants team, much like Drama has been to the group of friends.
When the offense has struggled at times, Rowand has been key in helping recharge the lineup. Last year, he did so in the first half, and this year, his move to the leadoff spot helped the Giants spark their hot June.
Drama helped the group of friends in a similar way, as he housed all the guys when Vince went unemployed after the disaster that was the "Medellin" premiere at Cannes.
Furthermore, much like Drama with the other three guys, Rowand is a figure of experience and leadership on the team. He has seen his share of ups and downs from Chicago to Philadelphia and he understands his role in terms of helping this Giants team develop, even if it comes at the cost of his own individual accolades. Drama may not be as successful as his half-brother Vince, but it goes without question his advice his valued (even if not initially or admittedly by the other guys in the group).
Ari Gold: Barry Zito
Ari Gold is a well-traveled agent who has seen and gone through his share of movie and television stars throughout his tenure. Barry Zito is a well-traveled pitcher that has seen and gone through his fair share of hitters throughout his Major League career.
Much like Ari in the group, Zito is one of the figureheads of the group and usually the voice of the team. Like Ari, he has had his share of successes, and he is more than willing to speak on other guys' behalf, even when he probably doesn't want to.
However, Zito and Ari do have their share of failures. Zito has failed to live up to his $126 million contract that he signed in 2007, and Ari has failed in getting all the right things for his clients, Vince especially. However, despite these setbacks, both guys keep their heads up, and remain confident when they go to work and do their thing.
Another subtle quality both Ari and Zito share is that they are loyal to their group. Despite all the criticism Zito has received in San Francisco as a Giant, he has remained loyal to the Giants organization, and most importantly, his teammates. He isn't just a pitcher in the rotation, but he is a clubhouse leader that not only the younger pitchers can approach, but other players on the team as well.
Ari is very similar. He could be the insensitive, "Jay Mohr from Jerry Maguire" agent who could care less about Vince and his crew. However, he treats them more like friends rather than clients, a key sign of his loyalty to the group that has remained loyal with him.
Now, if only Zito can get ticked off and tell a reporter or teammate to not bother him unless "Carmen Electra calls for an emergency..."
I don't think I can say the rest, but I think you already know what the last two words are.
Lloyd: Andres Torres
Much like Lloyd on the show, Torres is often taken for granted by Giants fans. However, like Lloyd, Torres does all the little things that help the Giants stay in games. He is a sparkplug on the bases, he is a great outfielder that covers a massive amount of ground, and he is a tough out whenever he gets to the plate.
Going into the year, Torres was not thought much of by the fans, much like Drama did not think much of Ari hiring a male secretary to replace Emily. Torres hadn't played at the major league level since 2006, and even then many thought he wouldn't last long, especially considering he was a leadoff-type that had never had an OBP over .300 in his career.
However, Torres, much like Lloyd on the show, has really surprised everyone. While he is only batting .247, he has a .337 OBP and a .809 OPS. Furthermore, he has been a key late-inning defensive replacement and pinch runner that has been valuable in close games this year.
Maybe Torres won't like being compared to a homosexual, Asian male secretary, but I assure you Andres, there is a lot of honor in being Lloyd. He is the Gehrig to Ari's Ruth. Without Lloyd, Ari wouldn't be who he is as an agent today. Without Torres, the Giants might not be the kind of team they currently are either.
Billy Walsh: Brian Wilson
Billy Walsh is a crazy, inexplicable director who is talented, but makes you squirm because you don't know what he is capable of doing when he is directing movies or writing scripts (uhh...Silo ring a bell?).
Brian Wilson is a crazy, inexplicable closer for the Giants who is talented, but makes you squirm in the ninth inning because you don't know what he is capable of doing when he trying to nail the coffin in a game.
He may mow them down by striking out the side with 98 mph fastballs, or he may walk the house and blow the game. It really is unpredictable with this guy, and you kind of wish there was somebody else closing out games for the Giants other than Wilson.
Yet, despite how unlikeable he may be, you still like Wilson because like Walsh with independent movies (sans Medellin), he gets the job done. It may not be in the prettiest way, and may be in a fashion that will leave you frustrated to no end before it's over, but nonetheless the job gets done.
Look at his stats: 41 saves last year, 27 saves this year. He's getting the job done.
Look at Walsh's stats too: one Sundance Award, one massive cult hit in "Queens Boulevard," and a successful string of '70s-style porno movies.
Wilson and Walsh are almost like two peas in a pod, if you judge them by their accomplishments alone.
Andrew Klein: Jeremy Affeldt
I know Andrew Klein is a pretty new character to this show, but he and Jeremy Affeldt are eerily similar in so many ways that I couldn't leave him off this list.
For starters, Andrew Klein was once a very successful agent in the industry. However, he hit a bad streak, and was thought that he would be nothing close to what he once was. (When Ari lobbied to Babs for the Miller-Gold Agency to hire him as an agent, Babs refused because in her words, "He was a loser").
Affeldt's career looked promising during his second season in Kansas City. However, unable to find a role on the team, he bounced around to Colorado and Cincinnati. While he didn't do bad on those teams, he never really found a definite role on this teams.
Now though, Affeldt has found his role in San Francisco as the eighth-inning setup man, much like Klein has found his role as the premiere television talent agent at the MGA.
Yet, just as there are questions with Klein's infidelity affecting Ari and the agency as a whole, there are questions with Affeldt and whether or not he can hold up for the rest of the year. He has had a lot of close calls, and there is that sinking feeling he may implode when the Giants need it the least.
Let's hope that doesn't happen with Affeldt, and that Klein gets back with his wife. I mean, I know this agent girl is hot, but the wife he has is pretty darn hot, too. You might as well stick with the wife and avoid all the headaches.