The Franchise, Episode 3: Torture is the Perfect Word

Aubrey Huff and torture: the two go together so well! (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

This episode opens with Cody Ross, Brian Wilson, and the team’s travel coordinator playing a prank on Aubrey Huff. Huff left his credit card somewhere, and the guys decide to tell him that someone took the card to Tijuana and charged $23k.

Before we can see the end of this "prank", it’s time to explore the inner life of Aubrey Huff. "…13 games over .500, how in the world’s that happened, the way we hit, is pretty amazing…it’s hard to say we score three runs, we’re banging it up pretty good that night, that’s pretty sad." You can say that again, Aubrey! I know I agree with you. Huff has had a lot of offensive issues this year, and he’s certainly aware of them. First, he started going to the cage more. Then he stopped sleeping well. And now, he calls it "a grind." They show clips of him doing badly at the plate, swearing like a sailor, and throwing something in the dugout. I think he MAY be frustrated. Has he tried constructing a voodoo symbol in front of his locker? I hear that works wonders. 

Of course, you can’t show all of that without giving him some redemption. In the first game of the second half, Aubrey Huff hits a home run to tie it up, and gets a base hit in the 12th inning to eventually win.  Huff’s troubles are over!

The show uses Huff’s offensive issues as a gateway to discussing the team’s offensive issues, and how that combined with their "stellar" pitching (their words, not mine!) leads to a disproportionate number of nail biting close games. The narrator calls it "a special brand of baseball." The Giants radio announcers call it "torture." Nearly half their wins have been by one run. Half. "You got a closer that, for whatever reason, he likes to make things interesting." Duane Kuiper, Giants broadcaster says to the camera. I don’t think he likes to make things interesting, Duane. I think he can’t control it. If he could, I’m sure he’d pitch better. Or maybe you’re right, he’s just a dick. I’m fine with either answer. 

This torture thing has some legs in San Francisco. Cody Ross says "I think torture is, I think that’s what fans come to the game for." I really think you may be wrong about that, Cody. I think fans come to baseball to see baseball, and to see a win. I don’t think they come with the intention of being put through the emotional wringer by their chosen baseball team. Or maybe I’m wrong, and fun is overrated. Giants fans bring signs to the ballpark that say "Torture Me". "It’s seems like this is why they make alcohol" Bruce Bochy says after a game. I often feel that way after hearing about the Giants. 

The Giants braintrust (Bochy, GM Brian Sabean, and several managing partners) are discussing the trade deadline. They don’t think that there is much in the way of "premium players" available, so whoever is the best in the pool of available players (regardless of whether or not they are actually a premium player) is going to demand a "king’s ransom". I’m sure Carlos Beltran is delighted to hear this. 

One of their priorities is a middle infielder due to the injury of second baseman Freddy Sanchez. Back on June 10th, Sanchez dove for a catch and dislocated his right shoulder. They couldn’t get it back in (yowza), so they had to take him to the hospital. The injury was severe, so they let him rehab his shoulder while living at home with his family in Phoenix, Arizona. They show some of the work that goes into rehabbing this injury, and I’ll admit, there’s a lot involved that I didn’t know about. He’s working toward getting well enough to avoid surgery, which would end his season.

And we’re back to the stupidest prank ever. Cody Ross is the mastermind, and they only show just a bit more, trying to build up some tension. It’s not working.

Aubrey Huff, pre-prank, is texting his mother. His mother raised him and his sister on her own. Huff’s father was killed pushing a woman out of the line of fire during a scuffle between a woman and her estranged husband. Baseball kept him out of trouble when he was young, and after seeing a Rangers game, he wanted to be a baseball player. Huff spent 10 years in the majors, all with losing teams, before his luck changed with the Giants. Awh! That’s Sweeney-esque!

Back once again to the prank that won’t die. Cody Ross is just digging into Huff, telling him what a nightmare this is for his credit. Once Ross and Wilson tell Huff that it’s a joke, he takes it well, but it doesn’t sink in right away, because it’s a really stupid prank.

Wow, Freddy Sanchez and his family have a sweet pool at their house. There’s a slide made of pretty stones, and palm trees! I want the Sanchez family to adopt me! But while Sanchez is rehabbing in Phoenix, Brian Sabean trades two prospects for Jeff Keppinger of the Astros. Keppinger will play second base, since no one really thinks that Sanchez is going to return this season.

Brandon Belt has the best quote of the episode. "I’m physically awkward, I’m emotionally awkward, I’m socially awkward, you know, anything you can think of I’m awkward at it. I’m very good at it, too." Nothing like honesty!

The Giants are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Jeff Keppinger. But his flight is late! Will he make it in time! Well sure, because he has enough time to tell the camera that he’s excited to be on a team that has a .500 record, let alone one that’s winning their division. I think if he sees the torture segment from earlier, he may change his mind.

But will the Giants make another trade? Will Brian Wilson dress like a human being when the team visits the White House? And will Aubrey Huff have any after-effects from the stupidest prank I’ve ever seen? Tune in next time!

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