Home > Uncategorized > ‘The Franchise’ Episode 7: Barry Zito’s Tough 2011 Season, On And Off The Field

‘The Franchise’ Episode 7: Barry Zito’s Tough 2011 Season, On And Off The Field

Odds are that if you are reading this now, you’ve already seen this week’s episode of “The Franchise.” I’m writing this more than 48 hours after its debut, but for the sake of continuity — and to prevent myself from beating up myself all weekend about not getting around to writing about this episode — I’m going to write about this episode. And hey, if you haven’t seen episode yet, it’s all new to you, right?

Episode seven finds the Giants in peril. They have lost their grip on first place in the National League West and are fighting through their season-long hitting  slump* without so many regulars due to injury.

* I guess you can’t really call a season-long anything a slump. They are who they are, and the 2011 San Francisco Giants are not a good scoring team.

One of those ailing players is Barry Zito, who is the focus for the majority of the episode. This season has been the worst of his career for many reasons, and his overall failure since arriving in San Francisco is examined. However, Zito keeps a sunny disposition with the public as many keep calling for him to get sent packing.

“The expectations, I haven’t met them. It’s obvious and it’s not something I’m proud Of. I am proud of the fact that I keep going out there and I keep seeing the fans in an optimistic way instead of putting the wall up and saying, ‘You know what? Everyone go screw yourself.'”

Zito hasn’t pitched in the majors since July. During a rehab start this month, he sprained his right ankle. Badly. How badly?

Hmmm ... I'm gonna say that doesn't look right.

Much like Brian Wilson last week, we get another emotional father-son story thanks to Zito. Joe Zito has been ill since last fall and, wow, you can really how much weight he has lost because of his heart condition through photos the episode uses with Joe and a much younger Barry. It’s pretty stunning. Joe talks about his near-death experience — “From what I understand, I already died and I was on the table for eight minutes. And [the doctors] brought me back” — and the two really share a lot of genuine, touching moments together on camera. Joe still looks extremely frail, and Barry said he’s got a long way to go, but his spirits remain high. Joe starts to tear up as Barry gets set to leave. You know right there as they hug that at least one of them is wondering if that’s the last time I will my son/father.

One final really, really cool note about the Zitos: Barry’s love for music is hit on lightly because it’s a family affair. “I really am a master musician,” Joe says. He wrote and composed music for Nat King Cole in the early 1960, and Barry’s mother was a singer in Cole’s band.

  • Nope, these Giants don’t know how to score. They are on pace to being the franchise’s most inept offensive team in more than 100 years. As of the when  the episode ends — August 18 — the Giants have scored the fewest runs in the National League. Now on Aug. 26, they’ve topped that. They are behind the Mariners and have scored the fewest runs in all of baseball. So, yeah, that’s talked about at length. Meh.
  • Buster Posey’s life is chronicled as he is in the very early stages of his recovery from torn ankle ligaments. Just the fact that he is walking on his own without a crutch for 10, 20 feet at a time is considered big progress.

 

“It’s great, it’s a big milestone. But there’s so much more to do. I think I’ll have more satisfaction when I get down back in that squat again, I’m able to catch. I think that’s the big one that I’m really looking forward to.”

Of course, that is if the Giants LET him return to catching.

“It’s tough, for me it is, because you don’t want to say you’re not part of the team,” Posey says. “But you’re really not.”

Making his current state even more difficult is the fact that Posey is about to become the father of twins. He talks about how difficult it is to be the one who needs to be waited on instead of being a husband who can take care of his very pregnant wife. On Aug. 14, Addison and Lee Posey were born. Posey’s wife did say that one silver lining about Buster’s injury is that it allows him to spend time with his blossoming family.

  • Matt Cain gets his head shaved. Now, I’m not trying to be cute, but Matt Cain with a shaved head looks like Kane. I know that picture of Cain doesn’t show it; maybe it was just the way that Showtime captured him while at the barbershop. They shot him at an upward angle, and I think it has to do a lot with the similarities in their brow ridges … but I know what I saw!
  • The episode ended with a handful quirky quotes from Barry Zito, who makes you believe that he is medicated every time he talks. The best one:

“If you believe that, you know, if you wear your pink underwear you’re going to go throw well, you’re going to take extra confidence out there because you have your underwear on that day. If you don’t and it’s in your head and now you’re like 3-2, bases loaded, I didn’t have my didn’t have my underwear on. Crap.”

Zito also said that he remodeled his house in 2004 to look like a cross between “The Brady Bunch” and “Blow.”

Yeah, I can see that.

  • No Brian Wilson audio for the first time in the series, so the comedy meter was dialed down quite a bit in this episode, even with Zito’s best efforts. Of course, considering Wilson landed on the disabled list during the filming of this episode, even he probably wasn’t in much of a mood to chat.

Next week’s show is (GASP!) the season finale. And hey, here’s a shocking preview: The Giants are still sucking at the plate. Through Aug. 26, they have scored 21 runs in the past eight games.

Sorry if this post feels rushed. Ignoring the fact that the timeliness on this thing ran out probably about 24 hours ago, I just wanted to get this done after being somewhat off the grid. I guarantee that I’ll be posting more often than usual this weekend to catch up on the stuff I’ve missed over the past couple of days that deserve a stand-alone write-up.

 

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  1. Jgro
    August 27, 2011 at 12:34 am

    I’m so hoping the Brewers suck it up for a month so the Braves can play the D’Backs/Giants in the 1st round.

    • August 27, 2011 at 12:27 pm

      I think the D-Backs could be tough. I like that offense, Putz has been solid, you’ve got Hudson and Kennedy at the front end of that rotation. OK, so the Braves are just as good or better at all three phases, but I think it could be a good series.

      If the Giants somehow make it, they will get swept, no matter their pitching. But it would be at least hilarious if a team could win a division with that offense.

  2. Jgro
    August 28, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    That is why the NL West should just be defunct.

  3. Anonymous
    August 28, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    Defending World Series Champions – NL West SF Giants!

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