You Hit, You Play

July 11

And we’re back … Aloha means “hello,” and it also means “cash or charge.”

***

If there’s one axiom in baseball that never gets old, it’s this one: “you hit, and you play.” It’s especially true for the offense-deficient Giants. It’s the reason Buster Posey is now a fixture and Bengie Molina is in Texas.

It’s also the reason Travis Ishikawa is getting more chances, and he deserves them until he proves otherwise. My respect for Ishikawa increased by leaps and bounds this year. He barely made the club and barely played early this season, but he kept his mouth shut and stayed focused. He batted over .400 as a pinch-hitter and posted a .379 average with 10 RBI’s on the last road trip.

By the same token Pablo Sandoval deserves to sit or be sent down to Fresno, until he proves otherwise. My vote would be to send him down so he can regain his confidence and get in some swings. If that means sending up a Jesus Guzman, so be it. If Guzman can hit, he can stay.

***

I’ve already declared the Giants a “dog that won’t hunt.” After a 7-4 road trip, they’re in fourth place but as we hit the All-Star Break they are only four games out of first place. I’ll be happy to be proven wrong, but remember this: they beat a Milwaukee team with very shaky pitching and a fading Nationals squad

The emergence of Posey has been a major difference the past couple of weeks, but unless Sandoval gets his act together or the Giants acquire another bat, I believe my statement will hold.

***

It was quite an experience watching the World Cup final at my brother-in-law’s house on his new 3D television. 3D took on a special meaning when the camera scanned the crowd for the female contingent of Spanish fans. And no, the vuvuzelas don’t get louder in 3D.

As my blog pointed out on New Year’s Eve, 3D would be one of the major developments for sports fans this year, and the World Cup was its first major event. I had to take the glasses off at halftime, because I was getting a bit bug-eyed. Or maybe it was the ugly soccer.

The Netherlands tried to bull their way to victory against a smoother Spanish team, and they almost did. Arjen Robben was stoned by Spain goalie Iker Castillas on a breakaway, a shot he would normally bury.

The Dutch received nine of a record 14 yellow cards in the match, and Nigel De Jong should have received a red card for kicking Xabi Alonso in the chest in the 28th minute. Finally, Clockwork Orange paid for its version of soccer anarchy. A red card issued to John Heitinga in extra time put them a man down and set the stage for the only goal of the match by Andres Iniesta.

Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert could tell you — that’s the karma train coming around and running over the Dutch.

***

Last Wednesday, as I hiked with my in-laws in Maui’s Haleakala National Park, through the Bamboo Forest on the trail that passes the Seven Sacred Pools of O’heo Gulch, this question was posed to me:

“So, what do you think Lebron James is going to do?”

Holy crap. I can’t even go on the freaking Road to Hana — hell, the Road PAST Hana — without feeling the grasp of the tentacles of the Lebron Hype Machine. Even in paradise, there was no evading the overkill. It was one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen in sports.

My answer, by the way: “I guess he’s going to Miami, but first I have to get this rock out of my shoe.”

I won’t add to the volumes already written and said on this topic, except this: stars are more important than teams in the NBA, and have been for a long time. They call the shots, and they influence the direction of the game.

The Miami Heat are now known as Lebrayne Wash. ESPN got its highest ratings for a “news” program for “The Decision,” fans in Miami went gaga, and fans in Cleveland caterwauled, even though they couldn’t have been surprised he was going to a party town — and a place with no state income tax.

All this noise over an advertising “brand,” a millionaire who doesn’t want to raise a team to a title, but rather cash in on a partnership that he presumes will carry him to a ring.

Vanity, thy name is Lebron.

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