Giants' Present vs Future, Pence Comes Home, Do We Have a Chance?

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Episode Transcript

Benjamin: Hello Giants fans and welcome back to the San Francisco Giants edition of For The Fans By The Fans, a podcast where we bring you your weekly dose of all things San Francisco Giants baseball from the fans' perspective. I'm a lifelong Giants fan and your host, Benjamin Shapiro. This is a special day for us here at the For The Fans By The Fans podcast. The show has now over 20 episodes. It's been downloaded 2000 times and today we're going to be interviewing the first guest that we met through the FTFBTF website. According to the message that he sent us through our website, Kevin Wong is a Giants fan who in his words is well versed in the team, including the future and present. Do the Giants have a chance when Bumgarner and Pence get back into town? What does Pence's role look like moving forward? These are the things that Kevin would like to talk to us about, and we're happy to welcome him onto the show. But before we find out if Kevin knows the difference between a fast ball slider and a curve, I want to remind you that this podcast is brought to you on behalf of our friends at Fanatics

Benjamin: Fanatics is the global leader in licensed sports merchandise. They have the world's largest collection of official sports apparel from all the leagues, teams and players you'd love. So if you're anything like our new friend Kevin and you want to Madison Bumgarner jersey, you can head over to, and they'll kick as a couple of bucks when you buy your Giants gear. You can also click on the link in our show notes, which will redirect you to fanatics and they'll help us out when you make a purchase. So with that said, Kevin Wong, our new friend. Welcome to the FTFBTF podcast. 

Kevin: Thanks for having me. 

Benjamin: Yeah, man. Honestly, I'm psyched. Everybody else that we've had on the show I've either known before starting this podcast or they've been friends of friends and we really don't know each other. So can you tell us a little bit about who you are and how you became a giants fan? 

Kevin: I've been a giants fan since I would say 89. It's my first opening day. My first experience, I think it's through baseball cards. That's kind of how I got into it. What I do now is I do comedy. 

Benjamin: Where do you do comedy? What type of comedy? Tell us a little bit more about that. We're going to make you tell some jokes before we get outta here. Oh God. Yeah. It's going to happen 

Kevin: comedy since 2010. Stand up. Stand up comedy. 

Benjamin: Awesome. All right, and where are you from? I'm from here. I'm from the bay area. Okay. So lifelong giants fan and a comedian. Let's do probably the worst thing we could ask. We're going to give you a little pop quiz to start off to test your Giants knowledge. So question number one, there's three besides Madison Bumgarner, which giant starter won a game in the 2014 posts season. Was it number one, Tim Hudson too? Ryan Vogel Song Three. Jake peavy or for Matt Kane? 

Kevin: I remember struggling in 2014. I remember came not being present. I don't think he did much. NPV wasn't much either. 

Benjamin: I might have to go with Hudson. The answer is three. Jake peavy, who through five and two thirds scoreless game, one of the nlds against the nationals. Jake pvb. Max Scherzer to start the nlds. Wow. He got game. You've got game one? Yeah. Because Bob Gardner was the wildcard pitcher against Pittsburgh. Okay. Question two, if you get this, I'll be amazed. When the giants joined the National League in 18, 83, what was their team name? It was a 

Kevin: chase. Manhattans or they were in New York. 

Benjamin: Who's your favorite comic book? Character. And where does he live? Oh, Gotham's that New York Gotham's. You're tough. These are honestly the hardest questions I could find. The giants won the first ever intern league game. What team did they play? Texas. You think Texas knows the Indians? Was it really that classic giants Indians matchup. Wow. Leads us into a little NBA. Uh, are you a basketball fan? Are you enjoying the bay area versus Cleveland Competition this week? 

Kevin: I would say yes, but it's for selfish reasons. It's just I'm tired of Lebron. I'm tired of it, but in a way, yeah, I guess so. I mean four times. This is our fourth in a row, so it's a little mundane. 

Benjamin: Yeah, it's hard to believe that the golden state warriors getting to the final and potentially winning is getting mundane, but I do feel like this is a little repetitive because we're playing the same team and honestly I don't think the cabs are a great team. 

Kevin: Actually it's different this year. This is Le Bron that he's got four other guys that coby used to piss on. It's true. Him and four other guys that coby couldn't take to the post season. So the playoffs. So that's a different team. 

Benjamin: I think that this is one of the worst finals teams excluding Lebron. It's probably the worst two through seven rotation I've seen and I think Kevin loves a good player, but let's not kid ourselves. He's not the second best player on a championship winning team. Right. But that said, let's talk a little bit about giants. Whose your favorite giants player 

Kevin: present all time or 

Benjamin: why don't we go all the time and then you can give me a favorite player on the team next. 

Kevin: Oh, I started written for them in 89. So it's hard to not say maze, but it might be Clark Will Clark. 

Benjamin: Yeah. Well Clark, my childhood idol will always be my favorite place, Paul players. So we can agree on that. I see that you have a large collection of bobble head dolls. I do. Tell me a little bit about that. Why do you collect the bobbleheads? What are your favorite? 

Kevin: It just kinda happened, I guess I remember my first one was a jt snow. I drove down from San Ramon out to San Jose. This is before when we had internet, so I mapped out this old lady's House and bought a jt snow. I don't remember how much it was, but I was the first one and it Kinda grew a funny story with one of the bobble heads and it would be the Bocce bobble head. I had that when it first came out, went to the stadium giveaway. I didn't open it. Bruce Bocce to me was a padre. He played for the padres. He managed the padres. He still lives in San Diego, so I never really gave him enough credit. Then the giants won the world series, went to the post season, still didn't give him enough credit until it was the all star game and I saw that he brought the whole coaching staff with them, I think. Yeah, like 14 giants at the All Star game and I was like, all right, this is the guy. He's a giant now, so I opened them out of the box and his head falls off. 

Benjamin: In fairness, if it's anything to scale, it's probably a gigantic head. It was. It was. Was there actually a body or did they just give you the bottle head? There's a body. There is a body. Tell me some of the other bobbleheads any good stories for collecting them? What's the farthest you've gone to get a bobblehead? 

Kevin: Not very far. They're all local. I think that would have been. It would have been San Ramon to San Jose would have been the furthest. I've driven for a bobble head. There's a couple of interesting ones. I think the 87 reunion team, there was only 5,000 of those. I picked one up this weekend. Now some bumgarner this guy, for some reason, this guy's like super expensive. 

Benjamin: There's a madison Bumgarner San Jose giants. 

Kevin: It came out in 2010 for the San Francisco giants on June seventh as the skateeum giveaway and this now it goes for like 125 bucks. That's crazy. That's the 1:25. I've seen it up to 2:25, but I got this for 75. 

Benjamin: Nice. I've actually sold a couple of bobble heads on Ebay and I have a handful of collected in my apartment. They're not in the room I'm sitting in right now, but in my house we have, let's see, the Jerry Garcia, San Francisco giants. Bobblehead madison bumgardner lugging logs, which was a giveaway after running a half marathon. You have that one too? Did you run the race? No, I just picked this up. Oh, that was the hardest race I've ever run in my entire life. I turn out. I ran that race. I didn't realize it. I had motto, so I got six miles in. I, I run a fair amount and after six miles I just bottomed out and I absolutely like dragged my heels for like seven miles to get that thing. How much did you buy it for? I want to say 35. Oh fuck me running. I swore again, I told my buddy's wife that I wouldn't swear on the podcast. I'm sorry kate. 

Kevin: It's worth it though. I think you did something and you earned it. I mean there's sentimental values of some of these. Like this guy, you'll never forget that you had mono. 

Benjamin: I will never forget that. Running that race. It was awful. Right. So tell me a little bit more about your favorite giants players. Who would you put on the Mount Rushmore of giants? 

Kevin: Is it San Francisco and New York or is it. 

Benjamin: It is your personal mount rushmore. You get foreheads to Chisel and rock and remember forever. Okay. 

Kevin: God, this is tough. Obviously. It's going to be amazed. He has to be up there going. I have to say Christy Mathewson. Well, Clark and Barry Bonds. 

Benjamin: I love it. I start with. Well, Clark, I've asked this question to a couple people and then if it's my mount, he's the first base place face. 

Benjamin: He was my childhood hero. How did this come about? How did I become a will Clark fan? Yeah. One of my earliest memories of sports, I remember somebody asked me who my favorite giants player was and I said Chili Davis and I think it was 1986, which was we'll Clark's rookie year and my dad knew that Chili Davis was an older player that probably didn't have a high ceiling and will Clark was the hot rookie and that he was going to be a big deal and he was going to be on the team for awhile, so I remember my dad being like, no, I think your favorite players will Clark. And I was like, okay, he's my favorite player now and it just stuck and I played first base. I wanted to be left handed. He had an amazing swing and like the hit against Ms Dot Williams when I was nine years old was like the greatest thing to ever happen. 

Benjamin: So the jury had that flip book or they had the motion because we didn't have internet back in 89, 98 to like wear the same motion. You flip it and it has that swing and it goes out of the park. I didn't, but I want it now. I feel like I've gone on to fanatics and I'm going to go check if they sell, we'll clock pop up books. I think I still have it somewhere. Nice. Yeah, so will Clark would be my first. The best era of giants. Baseball is the decade that we're in and I think the player that's most emblematic of that era is buster posey. I would put him on bonds is the best player I've ever seen and I don't care whether he took steroids or not. I think you have to give the nod to the older era and so I'd put Willie mays even though I never saw willy mays play like I've seen highlights of the catch and the giants won the world series and now everybody says he was the greatest player, but for me I'm giving a nod to the fact that baseball is long and has been here for a long time and is passed down from generation to generation and I want to respect that. 

Benjamin: So that's my four. I like it. Well, you know, I've had a chance to think about it a fair amount being on the podcast and I've asked that question to a couple people, but I like that you had some older players and Christy Matthews is not one that I necessarily had on mine, but I like the baseball knowledge. So tell me how do you think the team is doing so far this year, this year that are playing accordingly because it had a ton of injury. So I think this is as good as he can have it right now. I mean mad boom goes out for two months, panics. Been out for awhile in and out. Hunter pence hasn't really been fixed yet, which is last belt. I guess it's coming back in like a week. It's belt to yearly weird injury. Let's be honest. A complete full season healthy. It's always some sort of weird injury. 

Benjamin: He's got a little Jeremy I held in, um, in that case where like the slicing his hand with the hamburger patties and like falling down the stairs and throwing out his back belt gets hit in the face and then the next year you get to another concussion in batting practice. Like somebody threw a ball off his head before a game. The guy just needs to keep his head down. He's our new bubble boy. The new bubble boy. Yeah. They need to put a little extra bubble wrap in his bobblehead panics kind of the same way too. I totally agree. He's off injured. And the interesting thing for me is you got Hanson coming in as a second baseman, hit seven home runs. I know panics made all star game and he's good defensive second basement and he's won some championships and he's been on the team for awhile, but it's also got high trade value and if you've got another asset, like, I dunno, what do you think? 

Benjamin: I don't see Hanson being an everyday player. I think we might expose them to it. Kinda like how Kennedy got exposed as an everyday player. He's not one, I think these guys were backups. I think you might need to platoon them in some way to where that they get acclimated to playing every day, but I do agree panics, Godson, trade valley, but I don't think it's high enough to get something good in return. If they were going to trade for Giancarlo Stanton this off season, panic was included in that trade. I know. I mean, to me that means other teams are like sweet will take us to 72nd baseman who plays 100 plus games, but not 160 a year. I think panics, a high ceiling guy, but I think that we might have some depth at second base. Here's the weird thing for me, this season giants has been injured frequently, but I feel like they've actually built a fair amount of depth. 

Benjamin: Who Do you want to see playing every day? Who's your starting lineup? Not Batting order, but I guess I'll start from the outfield. I'd like to see Mac. I like to see touch and Corky is not doing too bad this year. He's had a rough couple of weeks, but until I think the last week and a half he's been hitting over 300. He's got some pop play, some good defense. I think he's been the best center fielder. I've been very disappointed with Austin Jackson. I think secretly dugger we're all waiting for and we heard that he was a good prospect. I. I'm wondering if and when they will bring him up, but we might not have the best center fielder on the team yet. Well, they know about Hillier Ramos is the prospect that killed somebody? No, that's on hill via Alona. Oh, okay. So tell me about Julio robins. 

Benjamin: He's supposed to be our future. He's as calm as Willie mays. He's 20 years old and I'm not sure which country came out of what. We gave them a ton of money thrown out that he's going to be. Willie mays is a bold, bold statement that says comp. He's going to be one of the top five players of all time in baseball. He's supposed to a five tool player. Well, I, I would settle for. He's Angel Pecan. Oh Wow. I would settle for a good quality center fielder. That's kind of what I see. Dugger. So walk me through the rest of your starting lineup. You Got Mac, you got gorkys and you got cut, which means you got pence coming off the bench and you got Jackson coming off the bench. So let's go through the infield. Well it's obviously Longo at third short be cross. Got It. Second base. 

Kevin: I'm going to go with your Hanson. 

Benjamin: That's aggressive. I know 

Kevin: I feel the same way about panic, but I do think panic does do something on the field and I think he needs playing time. I think if you give them sporadic time, he's just going to go cold. 

Benjamin: Don't forget panic started off one of the first two games for the giants. The first one with a home run off Kershaw. Yeah, right. You know, he came into the season, locked in and was basically carrying the team and the beginning of the year I think I'd still probably put panic in at second base. The one that I have a question mark about and I feel like I'm setting myself up to get laughed at his laundry at third base. I actually have gone back and forth with whether long gory is one of my favorite players on the team. I think he has a really high ceiling. On the flip side, what we've seen so far this year is that Pablo is actually a competent hitter sitting about 30 points higher then Longoria and if he played every day, my feeling is that power numbers might end up equaling out at the end of the season. I'm going to pump the brakes on that. If you put a gun to my head, I'd put long Longoria at third, but I will make a case that Pablo might be a higher average still with power third baseman. He's probably getting the benefits of good matchups, but I'll take that. Tell me about first base 

Kevin: that's got to be built cabinet breakout year this year, and I don't want to jinx it, knock on wood, but I play fantasy and I will look at his numbers and it's just not the same player as ops has over a thousand. He's banging over 300. His strikeouts gone down. I think something happened during that 26 pitch at bat to where everything just kind of clicked, just kind of went. I think I could do this for another pitch and it just kinda made him who he is now. Like it doesn't take pitches. That was my biggest gripe. When he would take the clothes pitch that's near the corners, he would take it. Then you just work at the umpire and I walked back with gumby shoulders, but this year there's a sort of confidence to where he goes, I could reach that. I could hit that. I'm not going for the walk. I want to get on base. 

Benjamin: I think he's finally embraced the idea of being a power hitter and you know, you could let out some shaft every once in a while even if it's not in the strike zone. The concern for me with belt is that he always has these tents where he gets injured, so he has been a very streaky hitter where at times he's on fire and he'll carry the team for a week, two weeks, a month, something will happen and he'll come back and be injured and he'll be ice cold for a month or two and it ends up evening out with, hey, he's a to 70 hitter with 18 home runs. Guys never hit 20 home runs before. Right? So there's a couple of guys that I want to see some stuff from. I want to see belt be consistent and hit over 20 home runs. I want to see him hit 30 and I want to see mccutcheon and long Gorea settle in and get comfortable to prove that they are going to be good quality giants players. I feel like they started the season off both pretty shell shock, getting used to a new situation and I just, I want to see repetition and comfort and then to be consistent. 

Kevin: What'd you do this? Would you put belt 

Benjamin: and left 

Benjamin: coaching center and possibly Mac in right field and have posey at first. I think you'd lose too much in the events defense by putting belt in the outfield, so I think he has to be at first I think panic mostly because the defense up the middle is at second and so my answers on the infield are very vanilla. If I was going to be controversial, I'd say you could put Hunley at catcher and put Posey at first. If belt ends up being cold, I think you could sub Pablo in for long. Gloria at third if you're trying to mix it up a little bit and I think the outfield. You got it right. Maybe pence comes back, but until proven that he is still a major league quality hitter and that his new swing sticks around putting Williamson out there. What do you think of as new swing? 

Benjamin: Are you happy with it? It's the same suite Williamson has and it's very much Justin Turner swing right where you're a little open so you can get both eyes on the ball coming out of the pitcher's hand. You keep your hands low, you got one pivot, a high leg kick and a swing and it's a relatively short swing and I think it's a shorter, lighter bat too. I think that there's a little bit in terms of the gear that they're using, you can go to fanatics and get the gear got. It's shameless. I'm sorry. So I think that it's a different approach to hitting them. People aren't used to seeing it so it's effective, but I'm not convinced. We'll see if those guys can come around. I always liked pencils, funky, swing it to the game Saturday and he came up as a pinch hitter and I was watching them on the on deck circle. 

Benjamin: It's the same thing, like he does the exact same motion, wailing the bat and doing that half cut swing that he does is chopping wood and by the time you got up to hit, I think the setup is different, but it's the same approach, the same swing, but yeah, I don't know. I haven't seen enough. All I can tell you is the last seven days he's hitting 400 and for the season he's hitting one 90. So early indications to for five to early to tell, but at least there's some reason to be optimistic and hey look, if they get hunter pence back as a 25 home run to 80 hitter, that's clutch plays, good defense. I won't cry. Would you let them go at the end of the year? I think he's trade bait because it depends how williamson plays too. And the reason is his contract is up at the end of the season, so he is a rental. 

Benjamin: He's expensive, but your team is only going to pay for him for a couple of months. Right. So you look at somebody like Atlanta who maybe wants veteran presence and an outfielder that can come off the bench and has power. I wouldn't be surprised if williamson is really going to be a consistent part of the lineup or they just read it and move on. He's valuable because of what he does off the field. Right. Do you trust Mac? I feel like this is getting turned around to being you interviewing me. I'm very curious. Yeah, it's interesting. It occurred to me that I don't really talk much about how I think about the giants because I'm so busy trying to get the story out of everyone else, so I appreciate it. Uh, do I trust Mac? No, it's too early. I loved what he did in the beginning of the season is so short stint players get hot for a week or two. 

Benjamin: That's like, did I trust Brett pill? So, hey, it was good for two weeks, you know, daymond minor. I had so much hope for him. Yeah. William van launching pad. Oh my God. Yeah. He was one that was there for a heartbeat and was looked like he was going to be this great starter and ended up being terrible. And on the flip side, you never know because sometimes you get a Ryan Vogel Song who gets bounced around and figures it out at the end of their career. So do I trust him as an everyday player? No. Do I think he deserves a shot to get enough at bats to earn the job? Yes. On the flip side, they also need to give pence at bats to see if he has trade value and to try to get him right because he's got a high ceiling too. So it's a tough job for bocce to get everybody at bats. But I think that they've done a pretty good job of mixing guys in and out of the lineup. 

Kevin: If you were a contending team, I think Mac would be the guy that you would want in a trade situation, 

Benjamin: um, in less. You see that pence is hitting two 70. What could happen is pence comes back, he train real hard in the off season. He hurt his thumb. He came back, he adjusted his swing, he gets back on the horse and he's a hunter pence, so he's a good player. Like there's a reason he's making $90, million dollars a year. They invested in somebody that has a proven track record and will Clark got traded at the end of his career to St Louis and he hit like 3:30 at the end of that year. Maybe. It's one of those stories. So I think they might, you know, everything goes well. Everybody plays well. I think he is the best candidate for a trade because of his history of success in the postseason. 

Kevin: You know, when pence sign that contract, he never got hurt. 

Benjamin: Whenever any giant signs a contract, they'd never been hurt. And then they come here and their berries, you know, with a five run era over seven years. Or Matt Cain who's like the unstoppable, like just unflappable force. I Love Matt can. I always will. The perfect game, the perfect playoffs. He's amazing. He was central to that team. He did not pitch well at the end of his career. They have a history of long, bad contracts and yet somehow we're sitting here and looking. They also have an equal amount of scrappy pickups that ended up being great. Who the hell is Travis Ishikawa? Come on. He just retired one of my happiest baseball moments of all time. Just sitting there with my dad. We sat in that stadium until they asked us to leave. Wow. That was awesome. 

Kevin: Where did you sit? 

Benjamin: We were behind the catcher and the club level. 

Benjamin: The best moment of that game, the Isha cow moment was magical. It was spine tingling. I got chills, but the most exciting moment of that game was when Mike Morris came up, pinch hitting, and my dad said they should put an Gregor Blanca. They should start a rally, and I said, it's two outs. Butchering wants to hit a home run and he's going to do it, and he just hit that low liner that just cleared the fence and he's jumping up and down. He's waving his arms, these fist pumping and it used to like the hulk running around. He's high five and everybody and he's pumped up and that place went bananas and my dad looks at me and he's just like, you gotta be kidding me. You call that one. I was like, Yep. Dad Moments. Oh Man, you've got to listen to the podcast more. Pretty much. 

Benjamin: My Dad's been on the podcast like three or four times and he's told a couple of them, some of them giants related, some of them not. We just actually in the last podcast. Oh, you know what the funny thing is, you haven't heard it because it hasn't come out yet. It comes out tomorrow morning, 6:00 AM and my dad and I tell the story of a game that we went to that was the most surprising fun game and it was early on. I was eight years old or nine years old, something like that. I don't want to say what happened, but an incredible number of runs were scored and it was just like baseball candy and I was there with my dad and a random Saturday in the eighties. It was awesome. What team? Giants against the cardinals. What year? I don't want to say it because I want everybody to listen to it tomorrow, but one of my favorite baseball moments, that game, I'd say the other ones are Pablo hidden. 

Benjamin: The three home runs in the world series is Chicago sending us to the world series. Scooter rose, catching the rain. That was there was pretty awesome. There was some great bonds. Home runs. I was at the 1989. The only game that's ever been replayed in the world series. Nineteen 89. Game three. After the earthquake I went to the second game as a nine year old. My Dad brought me because I think somebody else that was in the box was like, I'm not going back to that place ever again. So my dad found an extra ticket and brought me to a luxury box. Oh Wow. And I watched game three of the 89 world series. Amazing. Tell me more about you. Tell me your favorite game for giving me your top couple. There was one against Atlanta. It was a baseball at giveaway. They had pictures of like baseball players. 

Benjamin: I got the wool Clark one, but we were down. We came back, he got rowdy because deion sanders was playing and he was complaining that we were throwing batteries at home, so I guess they halted the game for a little bit. They told the fence to stop throwing batteries, you're not throwing debris on the field, and we just came back. I forget how it all happened. I remember Matt Williams sending us into extras than winning it like three weeks later. It was a long game, but that was something that I cherish because it was with my cousins. I was one 2010 world series game one. I went to a game against the Phillies, I think it was holiday versus Lyndsey concept. It was one that sent us back out to Philadelphia, so it might've been gained four or five maybe, but I went, sat up in the nosebleeds, 

Kevin: met a girl and I thought she was great. She had like one lens to come drop the F bomb. She had the shirt or that there was a plane and she's dropping f bombs from the plane, got her number and the decided to take her to game one. But here's the thing, I was dumb enough to send her both tickets. So when I went to get my ticket scanned, it didn't scan. I go, well, what's wrong with it? Because I think somebody else went in with my ticket. 

Benjamin: Oh wait. So you met some girl that had f bomb shirts. You gave her both tickets to game one of the world series. 

Kevin: Well it's like one of those like you download you email then. So I emailed her ticket but also sent mine on accident. So she had both tickets. 

Benjamin: And did she go in without you? Did you get into the game? 

Kevin: Well I went to customer service to go yo, these are legit tickets and Joe Montana was there. India customer service. Richard. Really? It was there. I asked rich, how many games do you think we're going? He goes, it's five. I'm not going to tell you which team I think is going to win. Luckily he was wrong, but I complained enough to where they go, I kinda get it. So I got in and when I saw the attendance, I think it was like 40 2001. I always think that that guy stuck in. That's the one out of the 42. 

Benjamin: Awesome. Or you gave the ticket away and you were that one. Exactly. So you gave away a world series ticket and you've got a collection of hundreds of bobbleheads and you're the first ever guest to email us. Come on to the, for the fans, by the fans, podcasts. So Kevin, I want to thank you for reaching out and for being our guest. Well thank you for your welcome. And that's going to be a wrap for today's show. Our plan is to do this a couple times a week, so if you want more giants baseball on your podcast feed, click that subscribe button. We're just getting started. So we'd love it if you would give us a review in the apple itunes store and if you have any questions or if you'd like to be on the show, you can reach, or on twitter, instagram, or facebook. Just search FTF BTF, which stands for for the fans, by the fans. Thanks to Kevin and our friends at fanatics. If you're going to go buy your giants gear, go ahead and click the link in our show notes, or you can go to [inaudible] dot com slash fanatics and fanatics will kick us a couple of bucks to help pay with the production of this show. That's it for this time. Thanks again to our first call in guest, Kevin Wong, and until next time, swing and a miss. And that's it.