San Francisco Giants Hitters...An Unlikely Cast of Heroes
There's no doubt the pitching staff is the best part of the Giants in 2010. They led the majors with a team ERA of 3.38.
Earlier this year I wrote an article comparing the pitching staff to pop culture figures. My personal favorite was Brian Wilson, whom I compared to Sonny Corleone from the Godfather movies.
But not enough respect is paid to the Giants' offense. From top to bottom, their lineup is a formidable one.
What other playoff team boasts a Juan Uribe or Pablo Sandoval in the eight hole?
Furthermore, in July the offense led the majors in runs scored, and in September they led the league in home runs.
The offense is good enough, in fact, that they had the luxury of leaving off one of the best hitting prospects in the minors, Brandon Belt, from their 40 man roster for September.
So what exactly does a pop culture comparison to the hitters look like?
Aubrey Huff: Han Solo
In 2010, there was no better mercenary in the universe of professional baseball than Aubrey Huff.
He was the cocky, smooth-talking, red-thong-wearing rapscallion who led the offense from day 1 to day 162.
Sure, the last few years he had been captured by Darth Vader, old Tampa Bay, frozen in carbonite, and sold to Jabba the Hut, Detroit and Baltimore.
But Brian "Princess Leia" Sabean helped him escape to San Francisco, and the Rebel Alliance Outpost at Willie Mays Plaza.
Now, after ten years, he will finally taste the postseason.
This mercenary ain't done yet. Giants fans are looking for a few more lasers, and one final ride off into the space-set with the Millennium Falcon!
Juan UUU-Ribe: Dolemite
No player in MLB puts "both cheeks" into his swings more often than Juan Uribe.
Speculation is among his harem that he actually has three glutes!
Which is why big Juan is surely Dolemite himself.
The crazy thing is there's always some trashy hooker (that is, an opposing pitcher) mouthing off to the king pimp himself.
How many hos Uribe gotta smack around 'fo they never throw him a challenge fastball again?
Andres Torres: Speedy Tor-Zales
Even though Torres already has a pretty good nickname, "Andres the Giant," he deserves another more fitting one.
Everyone appreciates that the smallest Giant swings the largest bat and hits Big Boy home runs, but Torres' best asset is his speed.
Speedy Tor-zales terrorizes opposing pitchers as the "fastest Giant in all of Puerto Rico... and the rest of the world!"
In his acceptance speech for the prestigious Willie Mac award, Tor-zales was asked what his secret is.
He simply smiled and said, "arroz y frijoles, hombre."
Buster Posey: Iron Man
Before Posey came to the Giants from Fresno, the offense was in desperate need of a double espresso.
Of course, when you win the Golden Spikes award, the Johnny Bench award, and are drafted 5th overall, expectations are that you will be the messiah.
It's an amazing accomplishment, then, that with the literal expectations and hype of a rock-star superhero, he was a quad-spresso and dominated his entire rookie year.
No player since Ken Griffey Jr. has played with as much hype and then lived up to it from day one. Not Jason Heyward, Stephen Strasburg, or anyone else.
So only the moniker "Iron Man" truly fits Posey.
Buster Ballgame isn't bad, and "Hey, Hey, we want some P-osey" (from Murph and Mac) is surely the funniest, but I'll stick with Iron Man, who also dons a suit of armor after all.
It honestly wouldn't surprise me to see Posey win MVP of the World Series, NLCS, or NLDS.
How many times in the history of baseball could we say that about a rookie?
Pat Burrell: RoboCop
In dystopian Tampa Bay, where they have to pay fans to watch baseball, Pat Burrell was ambushed by the deathtrap of DHing.
The fans and media cornered him in an abandoned warehouse, then sadistically blasted him to smithereens with shotguns and a point-blank bullet to the head.
They shipped his dead body back to the Bay Area for his funeral. But the Giants intercepted the shipment, and brought him to California Pacific Medical Center to undergo an experimental procedure.
A few weeks later, Burrell was in the Giants lineup. But where the old Pat the Bat existed, a new half-robot-half-man emerged.
You can call him Robocop or Robo-Pat.
With his new body and technologically enhanced brain, Burrell has dominated, leaving the thugs in Tampa Bay praying they don't have to see him again.
Freddy Sanchez: Wolverine
Freddy Sanchez possesses preternatural vision, amazing agility, and reminds everyone of a small bear.
Sure, injuries kept him down at the end of last year and the beginning of this year, but he eventually returned and proved his detractors wrong (including me).
Of course, they probably didn't know he had adamantium in his bones, a Gold-Glove-caliber claw on his left hand, and an amazing ability to regenerate his tissue.
On a team of Giants filled with mercenaries, warriors, and pirates, Wolverine might be the toughest.
Pablo Sandoval: The Jaguar
When Barry Zito first nicknamed Sandoval the "Kung Fu Panda," he forgot Sandoval is from Venezuela.
Jaguars are indigenous to Venezuela, making "The Jaguar" a more apt nickname.
Plus, it's cooler.
It's time to retire the Panda moniker.
The Jaguar will be looking to feast on Atlanta pitching, who he hunted down for a .333 BA and .972 OPS during the 2010 regular season.
Travis Ishikawa: Neo
Blessed with a natural Yin and Yang, Ishikawa dominated pinch-hitting in 2010.
He will surely be called on for some critical moments during the playoffs.
Giants fans hope he is indeed "The One."
Nate Schierholtz: Iceman
Nate Schierholtz is Mr. Cool himself, the Iceman.
He's come up with clutch hit after clutch hit, and shown that he really does have ice in his veins.
Plus, he plays great defense, and has a laser arm.
Just ask Ryan Howard and Chase Utley.
Eli Whiteside: Gandalf
Best known for catching Jonathan Sanchez's perfect game, Eli Whiteside is a wise and experienced backup catcher.
My female friends call him a fine Silver Fox.
Mike Fontenot: The Fantastic Mr. Fox
The wily and fantastic "Mr. Fox" has produced from day one, and filled a much needed "fox" hole for the G-men.
He will be counted on in the playoffs, where his experience and red hair will come in handy.
But the real question concerning Mr. Fox is: Do the drapes match the thong?
Jose Guillen: Roadblock, GI Jose
When Guillen is zoned in, he doesn't hit line drives, he hits bazooka drives.
Everyone was worried about his attitude before he got to SF, but he's been nothing but princely.
He'll be a valuable asset in the playoffs with his experience and muscle.
Cody Ross: Maxwell Smart, Agent 86
When Cody Ross smacked a dinger off Matt Cain earlier this year for the Florida Marlins, then famously flipped his bat, he earned the ire of Giantdom.
It was only revealed later that Ross was a secret agent, a spy working on behalf of the Giants.
Now he's back home after a successful interstate mission, and coming up big for the G-men.
Edgar Renteria: The Legend
At this point, Renteria is like your cool older brother who's gotten up there in age.
He doesn't peel the hot girls anymore, or take you out for a 40 with his older buddies, and his belly sticks out a little bit, but you know that deep down he's still the legend he always was.
Aaron Rowand: Thor
Whether it's running into walls or taking fastballs to the face, nothing seems to faze Rowand.
Where most guys would have packed it in while riding pine for the entire month of September, Rowand not only stayed positive and focused, he came through with a pinch-hit home run in the biggest game of the year up to that point, Saturday versus the Padres.
He is the embodiment of a professional warrior.
Eugenio Velez: Jason Bourne
After taking a foul ball to the head earlier this year, Velez got a concussion.
Giants fans just hope he remembers who he is.
Hensley Meulens: Buddy Love AKA The Nutty Professor
Given the Giants are a team with a lot of aging veterans, hitting coach Hensley Meulens didn't have an easy task.
He experimented with various concoctions, then finally came up with the perfect formula for the fountain of youth.
He mixed together "flax seed oil" and "arthritic balm," and BAM BAM! the balls were flying over the fence.
He calls his formula the "creamy clear" and makes it out of a laboratory in San Mateo called Malco.
Relax! I'm kidding.Can't anyone take a joke anymore?!
In all seriousness, he did what every hitting coach does when they need their team to perform...bribe them with women and money.
Bruce Bochy: Mr. Miyagi
You never know what Bruce Miyagi is thinking because he's very even keel.
They say that's what you want in a baseball manager, because the season is so long and emotional highs and lows have no place.
But if you study his eyes during a game, you will see the internal intensity of a preying lion.
He knows his team's strengths and weaknesses like Lindsay Lohan knows the inside of a drug house.
I wouldn't bet against this Sensei.