Being BubbaFan: Blaze vs. Giants


Well, then, you know it's gonna be a good day.

Bakersfield Blaze ("The Guillotine" Justice French, 0-0) at San Jose Giants (Hector Correa, 1-0).

Slidin' Billy and the Blaze were headed to San Jose, so I got some tips from BubbaFan (thanks, BubbaFan!) and took my camera to the game. It was a good time -- the Wednesday night crowd was small, so there were no lines for food, and plenty of room to move around.

There were only a couple of Reds fans in the stands (hi Mike!) but they were all knowledgeable and unusually good-looking. They were all there to see this guy:


This slowpoke only has 54 steals.

Although fans of a certain age appreciated this guy, too:


Toothpick? I don't need no stinkin' toothpick.

There was quite a bit of teaching going on before the game, which was good to see. Ken Griffey knows a thing or two about baseball.


Son, listen to the man.

The Guillotine took the mound, but had quite a bit of trouble finding the plate. He would end up walking three in 3 2/3, while striking out none.


Maybe you should get some of those wooden rails, to guide the blade?

Second baseman Devin Lohman counts as a veteran on the team, back for a second year.


As a matter of fact, yes. My hair is perfect. Thank you for noticing.

B-Quick shows bunt, but pulls back and eventually takes a walk to lead off the first.


As is his wont, he steals second.


Make that 55, sucker.

and third. Well, he tries.



The quick and the dead (meat).

This would be a continuing refrain -- aggressive baserunning, often ending badly. Still, that's what I paid my money to see -- Billy gets on base, steals second, tries stealing third. Worth my admission ticket right there. And we still have 8 more innings!

Juan Duran is a very big boy.


Meet El Presidente.

Travis Mattair (@mooser3226) manned 3B. Seems a long shot to make it to the majors, but he drew a couple of walks tonight.


My tough-guy look makes me all Rolen-y.

In the 3rd inning, after a single, a walk, and a wild pitch, Tucker Barnhart (@tucker_barnhart) found himself on 3rd base. There was a guy there who knows a thing or two about baseball, so Tucker listened up.


Turned out that sage advice was unnecessary, because Bryson Smith got hit by a pitch, scoring Tucker, and bringing Theo Bowe to 3rd base, where I had a nice view.


Now, Donald Lutz moved up a level, apparently, so Dominic D'Anna was playing first. He came up with the bases loaded, and a new Giants pitcher Danny Sandbrink.


And drew a walk, scoring Bowe. Juan Duran singled, scoring two easily, but Senior waved D'Anna in all the way from first:


Not even close. Inning over. Still, the Blaze score 5 runs in the inning, which is pretty good. The Guillotine manages to hold it together, without being dominating:


...while Billy looked pretty good at short. He had a couple of nice plays, and never looked bad. If this guy can stick at shortstop, he'll be something special.


With 2 out in the 4th, Theo Bowe lays down a bunt.


Bowe knows bunting.

He reaches on an E-1, turning over the lineup and bringing Mercury to bat. Bowe promptly steals 2nd...


'Cuz that's how Pete did it, that's why!

Even though B-Ham looks a bit scared, he delivers a single to score Bowe.


Breathe in, breathe out.

But it's the weirdest play ever. The pitcher decides to set a screen across the baseline, but the umpire says his feet were moving. Illegal screen, two shots, the run counts.


Stupid catchers always get to block the plate, while I gotta stand out here like Charlie-freakin'-Brown. Screw that. Common, pansy! See if you can get through me!

After that, the Guillotine ran into a dicey situation of his own. Walk, single, walk, single, a run scores. Then, Giants C Andrew Susac (once ranked 30th overall prospect by Baseball America) honked a grand wanger over the left-field wall. Celebration ensued.


The resulting scoreboard was unusual, to say the least. Both teams had more runs than hits!


Also, I would like to point out that Municipal Stadium, where the SJ Giants play, has fantastic outfield walls covered with kitchy ads for local businesses. Well, and Comcast. How cool is that? Also, they do dumb stuff between every inning, to the joy of Bill Veeck. My favorite is when Giants players throw baseballs at the headlights of this old truck. If they break a light, a fan wins a hundred bucks!


Meanwhile, back at the game, Devin Lohman is on second when Dominic D'Anna singles to the second baseman. You can see the 2B making the diving play here, and Devin is getting the windmill. He heads home.


Aaaaand he doesn't make it. And it ain't close, folks.


In the 8th, Juan Duran singled, then was waved home on a Jaren Matthews double.


Senior is like the anti-Don Quijote. He loves the windmill.

Duran scored, but it was close. Jamie Walczak came in for the two-out save. He hit 93 on the stadium gun.


Jamie shut them down in the 8th and 9th, and the Blaze come out with a win.


And there was much rejoicing.

Bottom line: there was a whole lotta runnin' going on. 2 SB, 3 CS, two outs at home, and two more that were really close. It was a great game on a lovely night, and a really good time. I hope the next time the Blaze comes through, a few of these guys are no longer on the team!

Well, if you've gotten this far, I hope you've enjoyed the photography. Again, thanks to BubbaFan, and you can find more pictures of the game right here.

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