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4.05.2005

Omar Fu 

I just got back from the faux-brick yard, where Schmidt and Lowe pitched to a draw until the Dodger defense got their silly mitts all over everything. Two late-inning errors, two late runs for the Giants, and we were rewarded with a snappy little 4-2 opening day win while basking in the kind of weather that makes people who work in little office cubicles question the poison of their ambitions.

As sloppy as the Dodgers were on D, the Giants were as buttery as a bowl of French vanilla and as crisp as a cold tangelo. Fonzie backpedaled efficiently -- if not quite swiftly -- to snare a Ledee pop-up that looked destined for no-man's land and perhaps score a run. Matheny pounced on a strike-three slider in the dirt and threw Izturis out at first. Snow ran half way to Millbrae for a foul pop and nearly caught it, Jerry Rice style, near the bullpen mound. Standing ovation.

But the topper...oh, mama, they warned us about this guy. When the Giants signed Omar Vizquel, everyone said wait 'til you see him make plays. He does stuff no one else does. "Yeah yeah yeah," I thought. "Stop gladhandling me. He's 38 years old. Please trade for Vernon Wells."

If the double play he turned in the 9th inning is any indication, we'll be dropping our jaws a few times this year. He took a lazy underhand relay throw from Durham, jumped with legs splayed to either side to avoid Jeff Kent's bullrush slide, and short-armed a throw in mid-air right at Snow's belt buckle.

It's one thing to make a Derek Jeter-style jump-throw when the player knows he's going to jump and throw in rhythm, but Vizquel seemed to improvise the throw in mid-air. There was some awkwardness to his body angle, a minute adjustment he made, and the throw was as strong as if he'd taken a couple steps to wind up.

I'd love to get the image -- Vizquel in mid-air, legs akimbo, arm cocked -- and burn it on a T-shirt, the way the silhouette of Michael Jordan dunking became the ubiquitous Air Jordan logo. It would be the symbol of all that is cool and graceful and dangerous about baseball, with hints of ballet and martial arts and the fear of a moustachioed redneck in a hard blue plastic helmet crashing into one's genitals.

If Keanu Reeves woke up in San Francisco after getting a zillion terabytes of information pumped into his head, he would open his eyes and say, "Whoa. I know Omar Fu."

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