Leah Garchik Loves Barry Zito

September 19, 2007

The image “http://www.sanfranciscosentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/06/barry-bonds-2-3.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

… Or Barry Zito has a very good publicist.

To wit, here is part of the Chronicle columnist’s article today:

Meanwhile, photographs by pitcher Barry Zito (quickly becoming a boldface regular) are featured in the first issue of the Men’s Book, San Francisco magazine’s new periodical offspring. Two of the pitcher’s shots are of himself, one’s a woman pulling down her dress and the third’s a teammate in what appears to be the bathroom. “If his pitches miss the mark on game day, he has the lens to fall back on,” says the magazine.

And the following excerpt was in yesterday’s column:

Montblanc is making a series of special edition pens, the sale of each (for $615) to include $149 to be donated to UNICEF. Famous individuals from all around the country are donating their signatures to be engraved on these pens. The Bay Area’s chosen personality – drum roll begins here and gets louder – is Barry Zito.

And two weeks ago, during the Barry Bonds ceremony, guess who had a cameo?

Despite this season’s showing, the honoree’s teammates, who arrived together in a bus, strolled in to awestruck gasps, and Barry Zito was immediately surrounded by admirers. I asked if he minded that by the time he’d become a Giant, the team, the “Bar-ree, Bar-ree” chant had been taken. “I think I got Zito,” he said. “Two syllables, that works.” That “admirers” is meant literally; he’s rock-star handsome with a kind of mane of shiny brown hair. “Great use of gel,” I said to my pal S.C. “Great use of genetics,” she said.

Conclusion: Barry Zito is a PR machine and Leah Garchik hearts him.

And here we thought that he had shed his “Rick Vaughn from Major League 2″ status. Is it possible that we were … wrong?


The Giants And Zito Are Thriving In The Post-756 Era

August 28, 2007

The scruffy Barry Zito didn’t get the win, but the Giants beat the Rockies for their fifth win in a row while Zito continued his hot streak: seven innings, four hits, one run, seven k’s and perhaps most importantly, just one lone walk.

The Giants, in the midst of a stretch that sees them playing 30 games in 31 days, are easily playing their best ball of the year, which makes us wonder just how much of an effect the Bonds Home Run Extravaganza Circus Fun Time had on the team.

Some number-crunching:

  • Pre-756, the Giants had a .432 winning percentage (48-63).
  • Post-756, the Giants have a .571 winning percentage (12-9).
  • Pre-756 Zito averages (24 appearances): 5.5 innings per game, 3.16 earned runs, 3.67 strikeouts, 2.62 walks
  • Post-756 Zito averages (four starts): 7.0 innings per game, 1.5 earned runs, 5.75 strikeouts, 1.5 walks
  • Pre-756 Zito ERA: 5.13
  • Post-756 Zito ERA: 1.92
  • Pre-756 Matt Cain ERA (22 starts): 3.93
  • Post-756 Matt Cain ERA (four starts): 2.33
  • Pre-756 Barry Bonds: .277 average, 22 HR in 384 plate appearances (17.45:1)
  • Post-756 Barry Bonds: .352 average (12-34), 5 HR in 50 plate appearances (10:1)

Obviously, the sample sizes should be acknowledged, but considering that the recent surges have come against playoff contenders (Atlanta, Milwaukee, Chicago, Colorado) in the doldrums of the dog days of summer, there’s something here (optimism?) nonetheless.

Giants turn it up in eighth to beat Rockies, win 5th straight [ESPN]

Earlier: A New Bearded Wonder [Say Hey]

[Photo Courtesy: Official Site]


A New Bearded Wonder, An Old Barry Unearthed!

August 23, 2007

The KNBR Morning Show pointed this out earlier today, but we thought we’d share the photographic evidence: Barry Zito’s recent surge/success/sprezzatura is almost decidedly a result of his newly-grown beard. Last night, he tossed yet another gem (eight innings, two runs) against the first-place Cubbies. Of course, the Giants still managed to blow it, but Zito clearly (hopefully) has his confidence back.

And you know why?

The Beard brings Swagger.

We saw what it did to Baron and the Boys during that magical playoff run.

Think about it. Last week, we spent some time comparing the 2007 Giants with the team from Major League. You fabulous commenters, however, made the best call of the day: pairing Barry Zito with the yuppified version of Rick Vaughn from Major League 2. Perfect fit, right? Right.

Well now, just like the end of the sequel, the Wild Thing version of Barry Zito has returned.

For Rick Vaughn, it took a leather vest, zigzag haircut and orange glasses.

For Barry Zito, it just took a shaggy beard for him to rediscover the free-wheeling, guitar-strumming, always-smiling Barry Zito everyone knows and loves.

We missed you Barry. Welcome back.

(Bonus: Here’s the video clip where the Wild Thing returns. It’s in Italian, but since everyone knows the lines anyway, it makes it even better.)

[Photo courtesy: AP Photo/Ben Margot]


Giants Roundup: Adventures In Dodgerland Begin Tonight!

July 31, 2007

The image “http://www.dodgerblues.com/images/gagne-tucker.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Despite the Giants’ firm grasp on last place, the Dodgers’ success, Brad Penny’s 13-1, 2.51 line, the Bonds fiasco reaching its boiling point and Ray Durham’s reluctance to return our fan letters, we are really looking forward to this three-game set. Maybe it’s because we need a break from the Dog Days of Summer. Maybe it’s because the odds say the Giants gotta beat the Dodgers sometime.

Nah, it’s just that whole Giants-Dodgers thing.

  • On September 17, 1997, Barry Bonds’ now-famous “twirl home run” knocked the Dodgers out of the race and scarred them for nearly ten beautiful years. [LA Times]
  • Barry might not play tonight, which would really piss off Dodger fans. [SFGate]
  • On August 2nd, before the series finale, the Dodgers will hold a two-hour pregame steroid awareness clinic on the field for youngsters. Subtle AND classy, those Dodgers. [100% Injury Rate]
  • What if … the Giants had moved to Tampa in ’92? [The Sporting Orange, via Deadspin]
  • We’re not the only Zito Apologists out there! [El Lefty Malo]
  • Rod Beck’s family received a very warm welcome in the Bay this weekend. [ESPN]
  • A-Rod isn’t exactly a lock to break the record that everyone thinks he is. But he likes strippers. So he’s got that going for himself. Which is nice. [100% Injury Rate]
  • Even though the A’s and Giants appear to be in similar dire straits, Bruce Jenkins thinks Oakland is in a much, much better position. We’re inclined to agree. [SFGate]
  • An open letter to Jay Mariotti, who called Giants fans “unconditionally glorifying sheep.” [McCovey Chronicles]
  • On Sunday, Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci wrote that hitting number 756 outside of San Francisco would be a disaster. So, about that … [SI]
  • Oh, and Buddy Boy will be in attendance tonight. [ESPN]
  • BREAKING: Matt Morris traded to Pittsburgh for speedy centerfielder Rajai Davis. [MSNBC]

Clip Of The Day: Barry Zito Sings

July 25, 2007

Insert your “Barry Zito is like Richie Valens because they both crashed-and-burned once they got paid” joke at your own eternal peril.

Anyway, here’s BZ singin’ the Beatles.

[Note: We can't really tell if it's Barry Zito. But the youtubes wouldn't lie to us twice in one title, would they?]


The Zito Apologist: Second Half MVP? Cy Young?

July 18, 2007

http://sanfrancisco.giants.mlb.com/images/2007/03/31/QnLpotYu.jpgDear Bay Area Fans,

Seven innings. Two runs. Zero walks. 81 strikes, 109 pitches.

“That’s how I pitch when I am who I am.”

With yesterday’s dominating victory over the red-hot Chicago Cubs (despite the best efforts of the Giants’ anemic bats), we feel completely comfortable saying that Barry Zito will have an outstanding bounceback second half. His record currently stands at 7-9; we predict 16 wins.

Here’s to launching the Zito Re-Bandwagon. Get excited. Is it possible to have the best starting pitching in the league but still be the worst team in the league? We’re about to find out.

Sincerely,
The Zito Apologist

P.S. The Giants are currently getting slammed by the Cubbies. Matt Cain is the new Barry Zito. And Barry Zito is the new Matt Cain.


Giants Roundup: Worst. Train Wreck. Ever.

July 17, 2007

bonds.jpgAs you might be able to tell, ever since the Dodgers swept the Giants this weekend (giving them 11 wins in a row at Pac Bell), we’ve been kind of avoiding discussing the slow torture that is your 2007 Giants, which is odd because usually train wrecks are fascinating and completely watchable. In any event, here’s the Giants news, divided into two distinct halves, because if you’re anything like us, you have days where you’re tired of the Bonds coverage.

Bondsian Section:

  • Barry Bonds has not started in any of the ESPN-televised games this season. Coincidence? [Epic Carnival]
  • Jesse Jackson and Barry Bonds prayed together. Oddly enough, they both asked God for Apple iPhones. [SFGate]
  • When it comes to lady companions, Derek Jeter is jealous of Barry Bonds? As Jessica Alba, Mariah Carey and Jessica Biel as evidence, we’re gonna go with a simple “no.” [NY Daily News, via The Big Lead]
  • Those screweverybody.com idiots are getting more press. Someone light Bill Simmons on fire. [SFGate]

Non-Bondsian Section:


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