I'm up in the Bay Area for Labor Day and if the Giants are playing, rest assured Poppy is watching them.
The Giants have played a bunch of tense 1 run games recently... and they've all been superbly pitched games. Ergo the Giants are being true to form and scoring about 3 runs a week.
And with each pitch, Poppy watches the game with a pessimism that would make Eeyore say "CHEER UP!"
The other day against Milwaukee, Aaron Rowand came to the plate with two outs and a runner on second.
"Oh man here's Roward. This is an automatic out. The Brewers should just walk off the field now!" Poppy would say.
Then Rowand laced a game tying single which made Poppy's jaw literally drop.
Next at bat for Roward, Poppy would be grinding his teeth.
"Here's Roward... he's terrible."
I'd remind Poppy that he tied the game with a single, but Poppy literally shooed me away. And when Rowand grounded out weakly to end the inning, Poppy pointed to the screen as if to say "See!"
And of course when the 9th inning comes around, Poppy leaves. Oh, he will want to have pitch by pitch updates, but he can't be in the same room with the Giants with only a one run lead.
They have won the past two games and are lingering 1 game back of Colorado... and Poppy's mood fluctuates between euphoria and utter despair (sometimes in the same at bat.)
One thing you can say about Poppy is that he is the antidote to the Northeast bias in baseball. If it doesn't happen in the NL West, it doesn't even pass through his radar.
We were talking the other night about other teams in baseball... and whenever the American League would come up, he'd just wave his hand. "I don't know anyone in the American League."
I pressed him and went down team by team.
Sure he knew the big players (Jeter, A-Rod, Ichiro, Vlad, Halladay, Big Papi.)
And he also knew Joe Mauer of the Twins who he thinks should be in the argument for best hitter in the game (and it would be hard to argue with that.)
And he kind of knew the identities of some other players.
The Red Sox have an MVP named Melloya (aka Dustin Pedroia.)
They also got a good player for Manny named Moss (Jason Bay.)
And the Red Sox have that guy Becker (I am assuming Josh Beckett.)
The Rays have that third baseman (I am assuming Evan Longoria.)
They also have the guy stealing all of the bases. (Carl Crawford.)
And the Royals have that guy who is going to win the Cy Young. (Pretty safe to say that meant Zack Grienkie.)
But Miguel Cabrera, who is batting .339 with 28 homers and 84 RBIs for the first place Tigers elicited a "Who?" from Poppy.
Curtis Granderson, the Tigers spark plug, got a "Never heard of him."
Six time All Star and former batting champion Michael Young got a shrug.
And Poppy did not believe that someone named Justin Morneau actually won the American League MVP. "Stop!" he said, as if this were all an elaborate prank.
Yet he rattled off a bunch of players from the Rockies and Diamondbacks and Padres... and of course knows the Giants and Dodgers left and right.
All baseball that is played
a) East of Denver
b) with a Designated Hitter
simply doesn't register.
And Poppy's reasoning for not knowing the American League just shows how entrenched he is in West Coast baseball.
"Well if the A's were better, maybe more people will know about the American League."
That's right. If the team with the worst stadium, TV deal and radio contract I have ever seen got their act together, the AL would be in the nation's spotlight.
Folks, Poppy has passion! Poppy loves his Giants and his NL West ball.
So come on, Giants! Start scoring some runs! Keep winning these games!
Poppy will be there until the end (not that he'll be WATCHING the end, but you know what I mean!)