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Murph: Coping with a baseball-less ‘Opening Day’

© Gary A. Vasquez | 2018 Mar 29

Today would have been the day.

At 1:10 pm today, you would have tuned in to KNBR 104.5 FM/680 AM at your workplace. You would have been working, of course, because it’s a Thursday afternoon. You would have heard Jon Miller on your radio, broadcasting the 2020 San Francisco Giants season opener at Dodger Stadium, against their ancient rivals, the Dodgers.

(When I say ‘ancient’, I mean it. These two teams have disliked each other since their first meeting in 1890. And hello there, President Benjamin Harrison.)

I’d also say you’d have heard Dave Flemming today on the radio, but our guy Flemm is in demand, and might have been at an ESPN opener elsewhere. Go, Dave, go!

Or you would have snuck a video stream to your workplace. You would have heard the debut of NBC Sports Bay Area’s “SplitKast”, with our guy Duane Kuiper in Los Angeles and our guy Mike Krukow at the NBCSBA studios in San Francisco. How awesome that will be, and would have been today — a chance to keep Kruk and Kuip together, despite Mike’s travel restrictions because of his mobility.

In other words, the family would have been back together. The same group that’s been family since Miller joined in 1997; the same family for the entire run at China Basin.

The great news is, this, too, shall pass. Society and sports will be back. The coronavirus will be defeated by our enduring stubbornness and community spirit. We will play baseball again, fellow Americans.

The tough news is, we didn’t today.

As the great poet Nuke LaLoosh once told us: “Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes it rains.” Think of today and the next several weeks as one big rain delay.

The tarp, sports fans, will come off one day. We will play again.

But I’m with you, in feeling the pang. The talented Grant Brisbee wrote an evocative piece in The Athletic about what today at Dodger Stadium would have been like, and he wrote how there would have been sun. I liked that. It’s true. The Giants in their grays and the Dodgers in their whites would have been brightly lit by that Southern California sun. It’s a heck of a look. Love it.

Funny enough, we all have so many bad memories at Dodger Stadium. Clayton Kershaw, over and over. Justin Turner’s ridiculous red beard. Cody Bellinger’s ridiculous talent. Some of us go way back to the Steve Garvey-Ron Cey-Tommy Lasorda years, when the Dodgers were kings and the Giants were paupers, beaten over and over while the relentless organ of Nancy Dell bleated out absurd tunes we only associated with Friday night beatdowns of the black-and-orange, narrated by Gary Park on KTVU.

Dodger Stadium — blecch.

And yet, you’d give anything to see Gabe Kapler’s crew take the field today at Chavez Ravine. That’s the other thing: how would Kapler’s Giants look? How would the endlessly-coached, new age, tech-startup 2020 Giants look? Would they fit Kapler’s mold of comprehensively prepared players, from nutrition to science to analysis to competition, dazzling us with their sophisticated approach and perfectly-placed shifts? Or would they be a mishmash of bargain bin players and creaky veterans not nearly as talented as the Dodgers, overwhelmed like the 2019 Giants in that final weekend last year, when L.A. outscored Bruce Bochy’s last weekend, 20-2?

You’d give anything to see. You’d even give anything to see Clayton Kershaw, the ultimate Giant-killer, the greatest Giant-killer who ever lived. That herky-jerky windup, arms, glove and knee high, then right foot hovering over the rubber, then the lunge to the plate — unhittable for anyone in black-and-orange. Today, you miss it.

Maybe today would have been the day that Evan Longoria and Mauricio Dubon and Wilmer Flores would have roughed him up. Why not, right? Sometimes hope is a strategy.

I miss it all. But we will be back. Remember — there is no clock in baseball.


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