“I was dumbfounded by what was transpiring.”–Jakob Junis after last night’s wild win over the Dodgers.
Even before last night’s out-of-body experience…I mean, the Giants-Dodgers game at Chavez Latrine…it had been an insanely eventful week for the Giants, featuring two major league debuts in St. Louis (Keaton Winn and Luis Matos), a major injury to Mitch Haniger (leading the promotion of Matos), and the first Giants’ sweep in St. Louis in 25 years. But then last night’s bizarro world included:
- a Dodgers rookie jumping from AA to make his major league debut–and throwing six no-hit innings
- A rookie umpire behind the plate calling one of the most incompetent games I have ever seen, and that’s saying something
- Wilmer Flores hitting a two-run homer to wake up the Giants’ offense…after fouling a ball off his foot so hard that he had to leave the game and needs a CT scan today
- A bullpen game for the Giants that involved eight different pitchers, a rare blown save for Camilo Doval, and a first career save for Jakob Junis
- Huge contributions from three rookies (an RBI single by Casey Schmitt that gave the Giants a lead, walks drawn by Matos that started or extended rallies, a critical caught-stealing of Mookie Betts by Patrick Bailey) and from the old guard (Flores, Joc Pederson, and Brandon Crawford). Oh, and Austin Slater entering the game as a pinch-hitter…and going 3 for 3 with an RBI.
- Last but not least: one of the craziest plays you’ll ever see on both sides of the ball. About the only good thing to say about that play, besides the outcome (Giants got a key out and somehow no runs scored), is that Mike Yastrzemski calmed the situation down from RF and Junis collected himself enough to cover 3B and make the tag at the end of the rundown–and then finished off the inning. Words don’t do it justice, and you need Jon Miller’s call to really appreciate it.
Anyway–at the end of all of this craziness, the Giants have now won five straight for the second time this season, are a season-high five games over .500, and have made progress in the division and wild card standings. Maybe most impressive, they have now won seven straight road games and 12 of their last 14 on the road, going back to the successful road trip to Minnesota and Milwaukee.
Special Guest Interview with Crawnik!
You might remember during the offseason that Crawnik, known in real life as Mike Dickie, provided a series of guest posts about the 2022 season. During that time, he and I discussed me publishing an interview with him, so you could learn more about the Giants fan behind the posts. But life and work intervened, and we’re finally getting to it. I sent him some questions, and he emailed me responses, which I have lightly edited here and there for length. He also provided the photos from his Giants “man cave” at home. Hope you enjoy it!
Crawnik, DrLefty, & Surf Maui, Oracle Park, July 30, 2022 (Will Clark Day)
1. Tell us about yourself–what you do, whereabouts you live, how long you’ve been hanging out with TWG.
Thank you, Dr. Lefty, for this interview. I’ll try my best not to bore anyone!
Well, currently, I work as a welder, fabricator and painter on the government vehicles currently assigned to Travis AFB for the last 13 years. I retired from the Air Force in 2010 after 25 years. I’ve lived in Rancho Cordova (hello Sacramento-area peeps!) for the last 15 years. I’ve been hanging out with TWG since its inception. I want to thank you and Greek Giant for taking over the blog when “Extra Baggs” met its demise. The morning posts are something I look forward to.
2. How and when did you become a Giants fan?
I became a Giants fan in 1973. While living in Alameda at the time, the A’s were the talk of the East Bay, well, the Bay Area for that matter, but something drew me to the Giants. For as long as I can remember, there was just something so mystical about looking out across the bay and seeing the San Francisco skyline brimming in the sunshine. It was almost like the land of Oz or a forbidden city and the only way to get over there was driving over the Bay Bridge, which was like going into another state. Anyway, I was in awe of Candlestick Park (yes, really!). It was my first time seeing artificial turf, which looked cool at the time and I always liked the color orange. When I watched the Giants on Channel 2 back in the day, I waited for guys like Bobby Bonds, Gary Matthews and Garry Maddox play the outfield. Man, were they fast. They could hit, too. They were more exciting than the A’s. That’s when I knew that the Giants were my team! 50 years later, that passion still burns inside of me.
3. What is your favorite Giants-based memory? If you can’t limit yourself to one, maybe 2 or 3!
Wow, there are so many, I don’t know what to pick or where to start. So, I’ll pick three. 1) My first in-person Giants game in 1975 (more on that in a bit), 2) I attended the final series at Candlestick in 1999. There was not a dry eye in the house, including mine. 3) What else but the Giants winning their first World Series championship in 2010? Picking one or even three in a 50 year span is a lot harder than it seems. I know I left some out, but those are three that stick out to me personally.
4. What is the most important or exciting in-person Giants game you have seen, and what was memorable about it?
Well, this is a tie. Remember when I mentioned 1975? My stepdad’s father took me to my first Giants game. It was a doubleheader, so technically two games. August 24, 1975. Ed Halicki no-hit the Mets in the second game of that doubleheader. How cool is that for a “first” game? The other? Brian Johnson’s 12th inning walk-off home run against the hated Dodgers in 1997, which put the two teams in a tie for first place in late September. The Giants would go on and win the NL West; going from worst to first in a single season!
5. What was your most heartbreaking or frustrating moment as a Giants fan?
2002 World Series. Enough said. Honorable mention: the Giants playing their final game in 1992 with the news that they were moving to Tampa.
6. So why do you hang out with all of us misfits at TWG, anyway? What draws you here?
Misfits! That’s funny. I was drawn to TWG because a lot of the “old school” faithful that were on “Extra Baggs” joined our new blog and I found their wealth of baseball knowledge very informative and interesting, much like yourself and others (too many to name but you know who you are!). The daily banter of discussing a game that was just played is fun and there is some good-natured ribbing. I draw from all of that that and it makes us all smarter or baseball savvy, in a way. I also like the personal stories that each of us are open to share without any retribution. I really enjoy the TWG group outings at Sutter Health Park or at Oracle. It’s always nice to put a name with a face. We all come from different backgrounds and I feel like I know just about everyone on a personal level which makes TWG one big family. So, if we are all misfits in one way or another, we all share one thing: our love for Giants baseball.
7. When you look ahead over the next five years or so for the Giants, what are you most excited about? What are you potentially worried about? If you were in charge of a “five-year plan” to get the Giants where you as a fan hope they would go, what would be on that plan?
That’s a great question. I think the farm system becoming a feeder to the roster is exciting. One of the issues over the past decade or so has been how stale the product has become. IMO, that is due to the lack of prospect development. I think there is built-in fan equity for prospects compared to someone like Michael Conforto, who is essentially a rental in a sense.
I think in terms of a five-year plan, (and I am glad I am not in charge of this) is finding a way to build a more sustainable roster. I would really like to see the Giants have a top-ten or even top-five farm system, much like teams like the Rays or even, yes, the Dodgers and not just for one or two years. It’s great that the first wave is beginning to come, but what about the next wave? Who is involved there? And, finding a way to land a star player. The farm system is a great way to build a roster, but eventually, you’ll need to supplement it. A couple of World Series championships wouldn’t hurt either!
8. I know you have a long tradition of attending home openers plus a great T-shirt collection. Anything you want to tell us about that?
Well, the pandemic screwed up my consecutive home opener streak, but since 2020 was attended by cardboard cutouts (yourself included) and 2021 was only if one had their vaccinations. I was not in the age group, but we received our shots in May and were able to attend in June, so 2020 and 2021 will have an asterisk. I’ve been to every home opener since 1993. Mrs. Crawnik, for the record, has been to every home opener since 2008. It is tradition that we are both proud of. It’s Christmas, New Year’s and birthday all rolled in one!
As far as my t-shirt collection goes, yes, it’s quite long. It’s to the point that my Giants room looks like a scaled down version of the Giants Dugout Store at Oracle Park! Of course, Mrs. Crawnik sometimes rolls her eyes and says something like “Another shirt? Really?” It can get addictive, I’ll admit. While I don’t have an exact count, I would say I have over 100 Giants t-shirts, for starters. That includes every Opening Day shirt since 2000. I even bought one in San Diego when the Giants opened there in 2019. It has both the Giants and Padres logos on it. About 20 shirts from Spring Training, t-shirts from the 2010, 2012 and 2014 postseasons, 2016 postseason and the 2021 postseason. Of course, there are the assorted shirts I collect during the regular season as well. I also have a wide collection of hats. 15 from Spring Training, special event day hats, like Armed Forces Day and 4th of July, postseason hats as well. I still have the white corduroy hat from the 1989 NL championship that they gave away during Opening Night in 1990! There are about close to 20 jerseys hanging in my closet, jackets, hoodies and a rain jacket. You name it, I probably have it. Although I don’t have Bumgarner’s locker like our dear friend Surf Maui has in his home.
Here’s a funny fact. Right before the season starts, I take 5 different Giants hats that I wear during the regular season, rip up some paper and put the description of the hat on paper, put them in one hat, shake up the paper and Mrs. Crawnik pulls one piece out at a time and calls off that particular hat. In that order is what hat I wear to start the season. A different one each week for 5 weeks, then it reverts back to the first one I wore. Exceptions are City Connect Tuesday and special event days. Crazy, I know.
9. Are there any questions you wish I’d asked you, and if so, how would you answer?
I really can’t think of anything else at this point in time, unless you wanted to ask me if I have any hobbies, or what do I do in my spare time, and that would be traveling (we do a lot day trips on the weekend), watching shows on Netflix, Apple TV (big fan of Ted Lasso), working out on our Peloton, running, reading, attending concerts and just relaxing. My music interests have a wide variety, from James Brown to Metallica, but no rap, but some country.
Dr. Lefty, thank you for this interview. It was a pleasure to answer your questions and I hope I gave the TWG family a good glimpse into the life of Crawnik, one of many of the endearing misfits on my favorite blog representing my favorite team playing in my favorite city. Humm Baby!
Crawnik’s Giants “man cave.” Photos courtesy of Crawnik.
Thank YOU, Crawnik–for your service, for the interview, and for being a great member of our TWG community.
Giants at Dodgers, 6:10 p.m. at the Latrine
Alex Wood vs. Bobby Miller
If the Giants couldn’t get one (1) hit against the kid from AA that looked like he should still be in high school, I shudder to think what stud rookie Bobby Miller might do to them. And of course we’re rooting for Alex Wood to look great so we can trade him–I mean, so he can bolster our rotation, which needs a bit of bolstering.
Last night’s rollercoaster of a game had 2021 Dodger-Giant vibes. I, for one, am entertained. Lefty out.