A friend of mine was near AT&T Park shortly before the commence of Game Three of the NLCS. He reported on the outpouring of fans sporting their Orange and Black—one of whom was no doubt Ashkon milking every last millisecond of his 15 minutes of fame—and in particular, a fire truck adorned with Giants flags.
My first thought: Was the truck summoned by Phillie fans to extinguish Cody Ross?
There is no doubting it statistically. There is no doubting it viscerally. Ross has been the team’s most productive hitter this postseason. In the 5 Giants wins so far, he’s personally driven home 6 of their 14 total runs (plus another in a loss). He’s got 4 bombs in the last 4 games. He’s done just about everything one can do to become a hero short of lifting a school bus off a collapsed bridge (and since the San Mateo Bridge has been repaired, he may not get the chance)!
Yet, I must take a couple of issues with the Cody Ross phenomenon.
#1) Stop calling him Babe Ross, Boss Ross, or any other silly moniker that labels him as anything other than what he is: a solid player on a hot streak amongst a lineup full of cold teammates.
That’s what we are watching: a HOT STREAK. Hot streaks have shelf lives. They are finite. He is going to cool off sooner or later (preferably later, obviously). Nobody’s going to be calling him “Babe” or “Boss” should he go 0-for-8 over the next two games, so why do it now? Nobody’s going to be sporting his Suge Knight bearded bald head look should he go 0-for-8, so why do it now? No brain-dead groupies will be holding up “Marry Me” signs should he go 0-for-8, so why do it now? No one will remember Cody Ross even existed should the Giants not make it out of the NLCS, so why pretend the guy is the greatest player the Giants have ever employed?
This is why so many marriages fail: the parties involved go all-in when things are at their peak, never once considering the valley that may lie ahead…
I know he’s been a huge reason why the Giants are now up 2-1 in the NLCS and you best believe I’m grateful for his thunderous bat. In no way do I mean to sound negative. That said: if Ross pulls another August 30 snafu in the outfield and costs us a game, I promise you fans will turn on him faster than he turned on Roy Halladay’s fastballs. I can hear the “Ross Is Loss” bunch now.
Let’s just treat the guy the same and not build him up too high, because it’ll be that much worse should he come crashing down to Earth—for him and for us fans.
#2) Announcers and sportscasters: Stop pointing out all the “no-hitters” he’s broken up during the postseason. Three so far? WRONG.
A game should never be considered a potential no-hitter until at LEAST 5 hitless innings have been thrown—in other words, when it’s more than halfway complete. Are NBA teams who don’t score on two straight possessions in a scoring “drought”? Of course not. This is like a kid “almost drowning” because he took a bath.
Ross didn’t break up Derek Lowe’s no-hitter in the 5th inning of NLDS Game 4—he merely recorded the Giants’ first hit! As for the Halladay game—how can you break up a no-hitter in the THIRD INNING? It can’t be a no-hitter if the thought hasn’t even crossed the pitcher’s mind yet. It can’t be a no-hitter if they haven’t even gone through the batting order at least once. If you start crediting guys with that kind of “accomplishment”, you can’t just do it with Ross. You have to credit Omar Infante for breaking up Tim Lincecum’s “no-hitter” by leading off Game 1 of the NLDS with a knock.
It’s a case of media working way too hard to glamorize Ross’ heroics, and it’s gotta stop, before somebody inflicts us with “Not only is that the 4th no-hitter that Babe Ross has broken up this postseason, but it’s the 4th one he’s done so with an RBI hit. And all of those RBI hits have either put the Giants ahead, or helped them close a deficit.”
Now I sound like Tim McCarver.
Speaking of McCarver, every postseason he provides us with a nugget or three that would have us believe he spends more time with Tim Lincecum in the offseason than he lets on. And yes, I do mean doing THAT.
In Game 3, he proved he has hopped onboard the Cody Ross bandwagon as much as anyone when a promo for the FOX show “Raising Hope” appeared on-screen. From McCarver: “How fitting that “Raising Hope” appears just as Cody Ross comes up to bat.” As if we Giant fans don’t believe in anyone else on the team and are counting on a guy we barely knew existed to carry us to the World Series. Classic McCarver. WHY WHY WHY does KNBR have to have that 10-second delay?
In closing, Matt Cain’s performance in Game 3: fantastic. It was clear he’d have a great game when he painted the inside corner on Placido Polanco twice for the leadoff K. The main trouble Cain ran into came of his own making: hitting Victorino in his ribs and having 2nd stolen as retaliation (a rare bad throw by Posey allowed it). But Utley the Invisible grounded out to end that threat. Later, he’d nick Carlos Ruiz’ elbow, which probably felt like a bug bite to the Phillie catcher, then walk the pinch-hitter Ross Gload before going 3-0 on Victorino.
Vic swung 3-0, fouled it, then grounded out to end that threat. Javier Lopez came on and erased Utley and Ryan Howard almost as masterfully as he had in Game 1. And ol’ Honest Abe wrapped up the win, but not without a scare from Jimmy Rollins, who banged one off the bricks but was held to a single by Nate Schierholtz and his bazooka arm—win for the good guys. Cole Hamels was not bad—he even caught a popup!—but Cain and crew were just better. Rowand and Renteria were given starts and both contributed hits and scored.
So while Ross got us on the board first, credit goes to several of his teammates: to Aubrey Huff for augmenting it with an RBI hit of his own—one he needed. I don’t know if Freddy Sanchez’ ball to Utley was an error or not, so I’ll give them both credit for providing us with run #3, and to Rowand and Renteria for digging out the splinters, hitting and scoring. And way to go, Barry Bonds, for dropping by and tossing out the first pitch. Though we’re better as a team now than in his final years, it was he who made the mid-2000’s bearable, and often enjoyable, to watch. Bonds was the best show on the planet for a long time, and no matter how it ended—or why—we fans got our money’s worth with every swing Barry took. Giants: go out and give a repeat performance today; even if means more Ashkon, WHUP THEY ASS.
(I promise that’s the last time I’ll quote Bonds’ TMZ soundoff)
About the Author
Written by Joseph Davis
I've been a Giants' fan since 1990; I still remember my first game at Candlestick as if it were yesterday (Robby Thompson homered and the Giants downed Houston 7-3). Pushed for us to get that elusive championship and at last we GOT IT! You can see me on the softball field every week sporting my orange and black, and I'm raising my little girl to not follow in her A's-fan-mom's footsteps!