Giants take a 2-0 lead in the second inning of NLCS Game 1

Leave a comment

The Giants loaded the bases with no outs in the second inning against Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright and were able to push across two runs to take an early lead in the opener of the NLCS.

Pablo Sandoval led off the frame with a double to right field which was very nearly caught by Randal Grichuk in right field. Wainwright then walked Hunter Pence and Brandon Belt dropped a single in front of left fielder Matt Holliday to load the bases. After Brandon Crawford struck out, Travis Ishikawa blooped an RBI single down the right field line, out of the reach of a triangle of Cardinal defenders.

Wainwright was nearly out of the jam after getting Madison Bumgarner — who hit two grand slams during the regular season — to line out to shortstop. However, another run scored when third baseman Matt Carpenter was unable to cleanly field a Gregor Blanco grounder. Joe Panik, the eighth batter of the inning, hit a sharp grounder back to Wainwright for the 1-3 out to end the frame.

Wainwright struggled in his previous start in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Dodgers, allowing six runs in 4 1/3 innings. He complained of elbow discomfort, but went out of his way recently to allay any concerns that he may be in poor health.

Consider the Concrete Donut

Getty Images
3 Comments

Ben Schulman wrote a long, interesting article about stadium architecture over at The Hardball Times today. He asks us to consider the old concrete donut stadiums — multipurpose parks like Three Rivers and The Vet — and to think about what we have gained by their near-extinction. And what we’ve lost.

The article starts out with what I feared would be too much misplaced nostalgia for the Brutalist, functional places that no longer exist outside of Oakland, with the now de rigueur references to astroturf and weird 1970s baseball. It backs away from that early on, though, and presents what I feel is a thoughtful look at the various approaches to building a ballpark. Stadium geeks and architecture geeks will find much to love here.

From a personal perspective, I have a love/hate relationship with newer parks. I spent a good deal of time going to places like Riverfront Stadium when I was a kid and do not miss them at all. But I also think there have been a lot of missteps in the last 25 years or so too.

Most new parks are pleasant and comfortable places to take in a ballgame, but so many of them are totally unimaginative and uninspiring from an architectural point of view. I am not fan of nostalgia, and so many of them — particularly the ones built in the 90s — were fueled by a great deal of misguided retro-ism that looks backwards. I suspect this is the case because either (a) no one had the guts or vision to look forward; and/or (b) they felt they could make easier bucks by catering to people who think everything went to hell once Eisenhower left office than by doing something bold. To be fair, there are examples of newer parks that eschew the faux old-timey vibe to greater degrees — Target Field in Minneapolis and Marlins Park in Miami come to mind — and I tend to prefer those to more backward-looking places. Again, architecturally speaking.

I think the sweet spot — and the linked article touches on this a bit — are ballparks which think bigger than the bland and dreary functionalism of the 1960s and 70s but which eschew derivative, traditionalist approaches. Parks which were built with then-modern sensibilities and saw their vision through without compromise. Dodger Stadium is a fine, modernist example of this. So too is Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, about which I wrote a few years ago. They had a great opportunity to do this in Chicago in the late 80s but muffed it. I think Marlins Park could fall into that category if (a) there is ever anything approaching memorable baseball there; and (b) if they stop being afraid of its bold aspects and stop trying to turn it into a vanilla monument to its vanilla owner. The common denominator, I suppose, is that these parks weren’t and aren’t trying to cater to the childhoods of local fans.

Anyway, good read on a slow news day.