It was a difficult ninth inning, but the Giants beat the Cardinals, 4-3. To me, the story of the day was not so much the players who participated in the victory, but the haunting echo of Giants now lost to the sands of time/the Florida Marlins.
Bruce Bochy pulled nominal closer Brad Hennessey early in the ninth inning in favor of lefty Jack Taschner. Then, he replaced Taschner with Randy Messenger to get the final out. Messenger got it done, and everyone went home unhappy in St. Louis.
Messenger was acquired for the Giants old closer, the hated Armando Benitez. Both pitchers are hard to watch. For Benitez, it was his incompetence on the mound, but also his bloated frame, his repellant, fleshy body. Benitez's corpulence sent a message to fans: "My salary is $7.6 million, but not a penny of that goes to exercise equipment."
Messenger is hard to watch mainly because he has a gross beard, a thin line of facial hair that traces the line of his jaw. He could easily shave it off and look normal, whereas Benitez would face a long road of dieting, jogging, and probably a series of painful liposuction procedures before looking decent.
However, Benitez is fat due to laziness, poor diet, gluttony, what have you. Messenger's awful beard speaks to a fundamental weakness in his character, some broken thing inside him that says, "I took a great deal of care to make my face look like this. I believe that for an adult man, someone who appears on television, who is a role model for children, this is an acceptable way to look." Benitez can diet; that part of Randy Messenger's psyche won't just go away.
In other exiled-and-hated Giants news, former middle infielder Neifi Perez
tested positive for a controlled substance and was suspended. It is profoundly sad that Neifi, who Aaron Gleeman persuasively argued as the worst hitter in baseball history, only achieved those "heights" with the aid of performance-enhancing drugs.
It is mind-boggling to imagine what a drug-free Neifi Perez's would do offensively, since the only way he could hurt his team more on offensive would involve kneecapping his teammates in the on-deck circle, running the bases backwards, and relaying the third base coach's signals directly to the opposing manager. He already slides head-first into first base all the time, so that's covered.
The Tigers are "punished" by being deprived of Neifi's services for the next 25 games, which might be enough to set them apart from the other AL Central contenders. We miss you, Neifi.
(Baseball posts will now be simulcast over at Humm Bloggy.)