Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Eckstein = over-rated

Omar Vizquel -- much better than Eckstein. Photo by ben_lei

The always-entertaining Fire Joe Morgan blog is on a bit of a crusade to put a halt to the deification of David Eckstein, who's actually a pretty terrible offensive player (2006 numbers -- 23 RBIs in 500 ABs, 21 extrabase hits, 31 walks, .350 onbase, .344 slugging, 7 steals, 6 caught stealing). What's amazing is that many sportswriters (not just the worthless hacks at the SF Chronicle) would probably contend that Eckstein is more valuable than Barry Bonds despite the easily available evidence to the contrary. And the so-called pro writers would probably also insist that Eck is better than Omar Vizquel, which isn't true either.

Here's part of a great recent post --

In case any of you are wondering, we here at FJM do not hate David Eckstein. What we hate is bad sports journalism, and there has been a lot of it recently. Apparently, nothing brings out the cliche machines faster than a small man who plays sports.

David Eckstein started the World Series 0-11. Did anyone hear anything about how bad Eck was in the clutch? No. No one heard that. If Alex Rodriguez had an 0-11 slump in three playoff games, the hand-wringing and typewriter pounding would have been deafening. How do I know this? Because ARod did do that, and that did happen.The point is, ARod is a large human, who makes a lot of money. Eck is a small human, who makes less money. Their career performances during the regular season and during the playoffs indicate beyond a shadow of a fraction of a smidgeon of a blorgtion of a flernson of a doubt that Alex Rodriguez is the better player by like eleven standard deviations. And yet: no one writes anything good about ARod these days, and everyone writes good things about Eckstein.

Does no one in the world remember the 2000 ALCS, when ARod was 9-22 with 2HR and put up this line: .409/.480/.773? Does anyone realize that in the last 2 series Eck played in before the NLCS he put up a scrappy little 6-35 with 6 singles? Does anyone care?Well, we do. Because people love to attack big rich guys, and love to praise small little scrappy guys, no matter what the actual facts of their performances tell us.

To wit, here's a quote from former Eckstein coach Joe Maddon, from yet another paean to a little man's big heart. Read the last sentence of the quote like seven times in a row, and try to figure out how this is possible."I've always said David was the smartest guy on the field every night, and that included both coaching staffs," Maddon said Friday. "And I've never seen the guy have a bad day. Even if he goes 0-for-4 and makes three errors, he helps you."

I don't trust that you all read that seven times in a row, so:
Even if he goes 0-for-4 and makes three errors, he helps you.
Even if he goes 0-for-4 and makes three errors, he helps you.
Even if he goes 0-for-4 and makes three errors, he helps you.
Even if he goes 0-for-4 and makes three errors, he helps you.
Even if he goes 0-for-4 and makes three errors, he helps you.
Even if he goes 0-for-4 and makes three errors, he helps you.
Even if he goes 0-for-4 and makes three errors, he helps you.

No. No he does not. He does not help you. He hurts you. Anyone who does this in a game hurts you, no matter whether he is 5'7" 165, or 6'4" 230. I'm sure David Eckstein is an awesome dude. I actually do admire his ability to hang in a league where everyone is bigger than he is. I get the human interest angle. I get it. I really do. Nice work, Eck.But David Eckstein is not great at baseball. He is almost like the definition of average at baseball. And people insist on saying otherwise, even when they admit that he is not that good at baseball.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Bochy in Orange and Black

Nice shot by Your Giants.Com

The good stuff on Bochy

Felipe Alou tells Bruce Bochy, "Try the garlic fries." Photo by Your Giants.com

Andrew Baggarly has a solid story in today's Merc (registration required) about Bochy, with particular emphasis on his use of the bullpen -- which was a major attribute for the Padres in recent years. Some key positive points --

-- Over the past five seasons, the Padres had the fewest sacrifice hits of any National League club. ``I don't like to give away outs,'' he said.

-- Jake Peavy has made 138 starts in a Padres uniform. Bochy allowed him to throw more than 120 pitches in just six of them. Peavy has never thrown 130 pitches in a start.

-- Trevor Hoffman has recorded 86 percent of the Padres' saves over the past 12 seasons. He had 457 under Bochy and passed Lee Smith's all-time mark in September. But Hoffman said if it weren't for Bochy's care, he probably would have burned out like so many other flash-in-the-pan closers. ``No one could have handled me better over all these years,'' Hoffman told the San Diego Union-Tribune.

-- Baseball officials praise Bochy's attention to pitch counts, appearances and the oft-overlooked art of warming up relievers -- an area that elicited grumbles from the Giants under Felipe Alou. ``A lot of managers get you up two or three times a game,'' Padres left-hander Alan Embree told the Union-Tribune. ``If Boch gets you up, you know you're going to pitch. . . . He doesn't abuse his players.''

Just like I've been saying...

I take no joy in today's news that the LA Times and SF Chronicle had among the biggest declines of major US newspapers.

The Los Angeles Times reported that daily circulation fell 8% to 775,766. Sunday dropped 6% to 1,172,005. The San Francisco Chronicle was down. Daily dropped 5.3% to 373,805 and Sunday fell 7.3% to 432,957.

There are a myriad of reasons why newspapers are losing readers. I do believe that the continuing presence of sloppy & stupid sports reporting via such losers as Bill Plaschke, John Shea and Bruce Jenkins certainly hasn't helped.

Bruce Jenkins = Bill Plaschke

If the SF Chronicle were a decent paper, it might not be losing subscribers by the thousands -- 17,000 a year in fact. In the case of its baseball "coverage," the Chron's Bruce Jenkins and John Shea deserve to be fired. They both consistently crank out pathetic examples of how to be unprofessional.

In this case, Jenkins simply spews pure hatred of Barry Bonds again -- asserting that the Giants will be making a "titanic" mistake by bringing him back for 2007 -- with no supporting arguments. He simply declares BONDS IS EVIL once again in what was ostensibly a posting about the hiring of Bruce Bochy. Never mind the fact that Bonds had MLB's higest onbase percentage in 2006 or that reasons why the Giants were under .500 this season had little to do with Bonds and everything to do with guys named Benitez, Winn, Finley, Feliz, Morris, Niekro and Vizcaino. It seems that any responsible organization with any kind of standards -- particularly one that's trying to be taken seriously for "Game of Shadows" -- would be obligated to find someone with at least a pretense of objectivity to cover the team.

A poster on the Chron's splash site named 24 Willie Mays Plaza summed it up nicely -- Jeez, Jenkins, Bonds is not the freaking Anti-Christ. Get a grip. This is a decent move. Not flashy, not all that exciting, but a good, solid move. It's basically what you would expect from this organization..Now the Giants get on to real business, the offseason moves that create a winning team for the future..Welcome to San Francisco, Bruce.

Fox hates baseball

Have you ever had a really bad date where your expectations were sky-high but your date had an unforeseen lousy personality and you had a terribly boring time instead, despite your date's good looks? That's what it was like to watch this year's World Series. It was, after all, the World Series and attendance at games is at an all time. But the ratings were lousy, as hacks like Bill Plaschke are quick to point out.

At Giants Win, we are happy to give credit where credit is due -- especially to other Giants blogs better than this one. In this case, Bleeding Black and Orange explained concisely but completely in a posting on Thursday why watching the World Series was so painful this year --

I've said it before and I will say it again: Fox is TRYING to ruin baseball. Fox, for all it's Bush-loving, Chevrolet-driving, right-wing-fanatic-whoring soul, is actually anti-American, and to a further extent, anti-baseball.

The proof is airing right now.

World Series ratings are down in the same year that both Major League and Minor League baseball set attendance records. To find out why, you just need to flip over to a postseason game. I made that mistake not thirty minutes ago, hoping to see some baseball. However, the only things I saw was a moronic talking baseball (back by "popular" demand), a mustached idiot that makes Felipe Alou look like a genius, a collagen injected bimbo and a whorish music video by some Britney Spears wannabe with flashing images of our cherished sport being soiled upon in the background. All that smushed in between countless ads for Prison Break, 'Til Death, The Rich List, Chevy, Jack 'n the Box and every kind of American beer you can think of. I spent a half hour waiting for baseball and now I feel cheaper than a two dollar hooker that just took it in the pooper from Dusty Baker.

They just don't make water hot enough to wash away the shame.

When your program is too painful to watch for real baseball fans and to condescending for casual fans, you're in trouble.

So there's your proof. Fox hates baseball. They're trying everything they can to ruin it. Soon we will be under a Bushist totalitarian regime and we'll all look back to the demise of baseball as the first domino to fall.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Making my point for me

Have you ever talked about how someone's really stupid and thought as you were doing it that maybe you were being a bit harsh? But then that person goes ahead and does something even stupider to underline your point?

That's what just what happened with the LA Times' Bill Plaschke. He's filed an even stupider story today about how the World Series can be improved. His key point for proving that it needs to be improved -- that Bud Selig mis-pronounced Eckstein's name -- and his key recommendation is that the Series should be moved to a neutral site like the Super Bowl and the NCAA finals.

All this column proves is --

1. Bud Selig and Bill Plaschke are idiots and
2. Bill Plaschke keeps his job by being a corporate shill. The notion of a World Series neutral site is a wet dream for corporations and a drag for fans everywhere.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Bill Plaschke is the worst sportswriter on the planet

One of the worst things about living in Los Angeles and being a Giants fan is the constant drivel emanating from the LA Times sports page. The paper is losing subscribers to the extent that the parent company recently fired the publisher because he refused to make job cuts.

All the more puzzling, then is the notion that the Times employs a loser hack like Bill Plaschke, whose big insights in this awful column are --

1. It was a terrible World Series and
2. The Tigers lost because Kenny Rogers is a coward for not pitching Game 5

It was actually a pretty good World Series but apparently it's only going to satisfy this brainiac if the Dodgers are in it. Additionally, Justin Verlander pitched pretty well in Game 5. And you have to win ALL THREE GAMES. Why screw up your rotation to satisfy this idiot sportswriter in Los Angeles -- who seems to be the only person on the planet who is making this "point"?

Rogers actually addressed this after the game -- "I don't even remotely entertain that thought," he said. "We had to win three games, and we have a great pitching staff and they've done it all season."

Here's Plaschke's dumbass analysis of that statement -- Yeah, right, whatever. How insightful! Who's the coward, Bill? It seems to me that you are actually the one who's unable to follow through on your promise.

It seems to me that the Tigers lost because they're a young team that hit a cold streak during the past week after being on fire during the previous two weeks -- especially on OFFENSE. The Tigers pitching was good enough to win all the games in St. Louis but when Sean Casey and Brandon Inge are the only guys hitting (and Neifi Perez is one of your possible pinch hitters), you can't win.

It's no wonder Dodger fans are the dumbest in sports. How is it that this guy keeps his job? Does he have incriminating photos of the sports editors, first Bill Dwyre and now Randy Harvey?

Friday, October 27, 2006

And let me be the first to say....

Pitchers and catchers report in 113 days!

Jeff Weaver

I thought he was washed up. One of my least favorite players sure looked great tonight. The real MVP of the series should be the Cards' pitching coach Dave Duncan -- who turned him around from a 3-10 record with the Angels to a 5-4 record with the Cards. The only guy he couldn't get out was Sean Casey -- can that guy hit!

Jeff was just asked how he'd celebrate -- "Oh, into the night."

It's Neifi's fault

Giants fans can take cold satisfaction in knowing that hopelessly inept ex-Giant Neifi Perez helped bring down the Tigers -- not just by his aura of incompetence and the stench of his being a former Cub. No, it was more actual. In the 9th with a runner on 2nd when Placido Polanco came up with an 0-for-18 mark so far in the Series, would it have not made sense to send up a good-hitting left-handed pitch-hitter against Adam Wainwright? But when one of your options is Neifi -- who should not even be in the MLB -- it's difficult to do anything but sucking it up and taking your chances on Polanco who lucked out with a walk on a 3-2 pitch that just missed.

So Neifi didn't get a plate appearance but still stunk. Everyone will blame the Tigers' loss on their pitchers' inability to field their position. But Giants fans know better.

No help from the idiots at the Chron

What a bunch of garbage -- a worthless Ray Ratto story from the Chronicle today saying that "Bonds is an issue" that Bochy will have to address, which is another way of saying "Buy a copy of 'Game of Shadows' NOW."

Let me help the Chron out with some story ideas that the paper's staff can actually handle --

-- the Chron lost 17,000 subscribers last year
-- the Detroit Tigers pitchers can't field their position
-- the sky is blue
-- Tommy Lasorda is a fat annoying jerk
-- and Dodgers are evil.

That didn't take long

It turns out that Bruce Bochy was the guy Sabean wanted and he evidently figured he'd better move quickly. I like it because Bochy's had success under similar circumstances -- big park, young arms as the team's biggest asset -- and he's not some kind of media-hog nut like Bobby Valentine or Lou Piniella.

Henry Schulman has a pretty good story in today's Chronicle. And Grant at McCovery Chronicles has a pretty good posting that makes the following key points --

-- He doesn't do goofy stuff like batting Brian Giles eighth, or putting Russell Branyan at short;

-- Padres fans are expressing regret that Bochy is leaving, and most are wishing him well -- much more so than when Felipe Alou or Dusty Baker left. "It has to say something about a long-time manager when he isn't openly mocked by a fanbase after a decade in the same town. He's almost universally popular among his former players, too."

-- The most important thing for the Giants to have considered was how the new manager was going to handle young pitching, as that's about the only thing the Giants have going for the future. Jake Peavy has never thrown over 130 pitches for any start in his career, and has thrown over 120 just four times.

-- There are certainly a bunch of red flags such as Bochy's affection for Vinny Castilla, who got released after putting up shabby numbers this year: "That Bochy wanted to stick with Castilla was bad, but it wasn't as if the Padres were holding back a young George Brett."

--Among the leading candidates (Bud Black, Manny Acta, Ron Wotus), Bochy was probably the safest choice. "I can't say I'm all that excited about Bochy, but the Giants could have done much, much worse."

The Detroit radio guys

Dan Dickerson and Jim Price are handling the World Series broadcasts on XM 176 and they are superior to the Cards' feed on XM 183 due to the HORRIFIC HOMER Mike Shannon. I was surprised to hear that Price -- who managed to log five seasons with the Tigers -- occasionally uses the "we" in his broadcasts since Dickerson and Price have managed to sound completely objective -- recognizing that not everyone listening is a hardcore Tigers fan.

They were particularly brutal on Fernando Rodney's throwing error tonight after Curtis Granderson fell down on Eckstein's long fly ball. They noted it was the fifth postseason error by a Tigers pitcher. And what was particularly noteworthy is they pointed out that Eckstein should have third on the Granderson play rather than coasting to second. Their commentary was right on the mark. It emphasized that the stakes are so high that players make huge mistakes in the World Series.

That's what happens when you have serious coverage of the games instead of the Let's Go Redbirds nonsense comes out of Mike Shannon's mouth or the unintelligible gibberish that's on Fox.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

This just in from St. Louis

From The Onion --

ST. LOUIS—Thousands of baseball fans gathered in Busch Stadium Tuesday evening to watch as commissioner Bud Selig announced that Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association have tentatively agreed to an earth-shattering, amazing new multi-year collective-bargaining agreement, which has captured the imagination of fans young and old who have been waiting for this day since the last deal was signed in August 2002.
"Finally, I can say the words baseball fans across America have longed to hear…" Selig said to thunderous applause from the 50,000-plus in attendance. "In order to determine the amount of Major League Central Fund money to be reallocated from each contributing team, we will multiply their Net Local Revenue for the preceding three revenue-sharing years by a fraction, the numerator of which is the net transfer value of the Central Fund Component in that revenue year and the denominator of which is the sum of the means of each contributor's Net Local Revenue for the preceding three revenue-sharing years."
"And there's more good news where that came from," Selig added. "At 100 percent implementation, the net transfer value of the Central Fund Component shall be 41.066 percent of the net transfer value of the Base Plan in that revenue-sharing year!"
Game 3 of the World Series between the Cardinals and Tigers was postponed two and a half hours to allow the grounds crew time to clean Busch Stadium, dismantle the soundstage specially built for the labor-deal-unveiling event, and restore the field to playing condition following the boisterous post-announcement festivities and celebration.
News of the deal, which will be in place through 2011, has electrified the baseball world and reinvigorated a sport that has been struggling to win back fans ever since the players and the owners failed to agree upon a much-anticipated, much-hyped labor contract in 1994.
Fans in every major American city flooded the streets Saturday evening during the third inning of Game 1 upon hearing that the negotiations were successful, where they proudly waved signs containing portions of the "Outright Assignment To A Minor-League Club" section and chanted provisional clauses from Article XIII Part A regarding the newly established powers of the Safety and Health Advisory Committee.
Enlarge Image
"Woo! Application by a club to the commissioner to place a player on the disabled list shall be accompanied by a standard form of diagnosis!" said Tigers fan Matt Crowley, who along with hundreds of fans left Comerica Park in the fifth inning of Game 2 to get home in time to see the Outside The Lines episode that analyzes the slight alterations to the current daily meal and tip allowance a player receives on road games and travel days.
"Can you believe that players selected in the June amateur draft who are not college seniors now must sign with their club by August 15?! Awesome!" Crowley added.
Around the nation, fathers muted World Series broadcasts to read the changes in the salary-arbitration process to their sons, sharing precious baseball-legalese memories that will last a lifetime. College students in St. Louis and Detroit flocked to local sports-negotiation bars to meet fans of all different subsections of the document, standing shoulder-to-shoulder in crowded rooms to watch as large-screen monitors displayed portions of Article XXI concerning spring-training termination pay.
Even in freezing cold conditions, Yankees and Mets fans alike gathered in New York's Times Square with their backs to a video screen that was showing highlights of Game 4 to read scrolling text of the labor agreement on the digital marquee that runs along the side of Conde Nast Building.
"Never in my life did I think I'd be around to see a labor deal this un-fucking-believable, under which teams no longer receive draft-pick compensation when a Type C player—one who ranks in the upper 60 percent but not in the upper 50 percent of his respective position group—is offered arbitration but chooses free agency," said Cardinals fan Mark Blosserman, who sold his Game 5 tickets so he could more quietly and closely examine the 235-page document.
"Baseball is back!" he added.
The media, meanwhile, has ceased all speculation regarding the foreign substance on Kenny Rogers' hand in Game 2, instead turning their attention to the landmark labor agreement, which they are already calling the "greatest success story of the 2006 season."
"People are going to be talking about this heartwarming Cinderella story in which two rival sides come together to prevent a labor strike all offseason long, and perhaps for years to come" sportswriter Peter Gammons said. "They'll never forget the moment they read about deferred compensation, the cost-of-living adjustments for the minimum major-league salary, or the competitive-balance tax… It's understanding the many little intricacies of the game that makes the sport of baseball so enjoyable."

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

What an idiot

Day games are way better

photo of Barry Bonds hitting HR No. 715 during a day game by artolog

I'm watching ESPN's talking heads, including Dusty and John Kruk, talk about what a pain it is for the players to wait through a day or two of postponements.

What's amazing is that two of the SF Giants World Series appearances have featured the longest delays -- 10 days for Game 3 due to Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989; and 4 days in 1962 when rain kept Game 6 from being played.

And it looks like more rain is coming, according to the MLB. What the hell did they expect this time of year?

They wouldn't have this problem now if they did the sensible thing and played during the day, which is by far the better time to play games starting at 1 p.m. local time. Not at 8 p.m. or 5 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. So I see this as great payback for Bud Selig and the other owners, who wouldn't ever give up a dime of revenue by playing the World Series when it ought to be played -- during the middle of the day, especially this time of year. It's ridiculous that the biggest games of the year are played with temps in the 30s and 40s.

It makes me think of the early days of the Grateful Dead when they sung about what a drag cold weather was in the song "Cold Rain and Snow" --

Well she's coming down the stairs, combing back her yellow hair
And I ain't gonna be treated this-a-way
And I ain't gonna be treated this-a-way

Well she went up to her room and she sang a fateful tune
And I'm going where those chilly winds don't blow
Winds don't blow
And I'm going where those chilly winds don't blow

Well I married me a wife, she's been trouble all my life
Run me out in the cold rain and snow
Rain and snow
Run me out in the cold rain and snow

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Tigers doomed despite hype?


That's an old-fashioned aphorism that was on its way out when I was growing up. But the Tigers played like they knew hadn't deserved to win Game 2. Of course, it didn't hurt that they were going up against Chris Carpenter, who's pretty decent, but not the second coming of Sandy Koufax. So now they've been shut down in two of the three games -- once by rookie Anthony Reyes, who had the fewest wins ever for a Game 1 starter -- and they only scored 3 runs in the Rogers Cheat game.

Polanco, Rodriguez and Granderson are a combined 0-for-34. And it's amazing that Jim Leyland continues to put the immortally bad Neifi Perez into games -- even if he's not getting at bats.

Despite all the hype about the AL being superior, the Tigers are looking damned unimpressive so far. So much for the nonsense about the Cards being the "worst World Series team ever."

Go to hell, Bud

If there is a hell, this man is going to it. photo by betezra

Giants Win wants to remind baseball fans everywhere that Bud Selig deserves no credit for reaching a new five-year labor deal today. Why? Have you forgotten about his screwing over the game, the fans and especially the San Francisco Giants in 1994 -- all in service to worthless jerk Jerry Reinsdorf? Am I still bitter? Do you even need to ask?

The latest on Lou

From The Onion --CHICAGO—During his formal introduction as Cubs manager Tuesday, Lou Piniella announced that his first and only managerial decision will be to step down immediately and permanently from his new position—a bold, unexpected move that he successfully carried out just moments later. "My time in Chicago has been great, and it feels like it was just yesterday that I started this job, but I truly believe that this move will give me a better opportunity to win," Piniella said at the press conference while ceremoniously removing a Cubs hat and jersey. "I'm very excited about leaving this team." After the announcement, Cubs GM Jim Hendry praised Piniella's sound judgment and pure baseball instinct, saying that "his ability to make quick, smart decisions like this one is exactly why we hired him."

Monday, October 23, 2006

Tony LaRussa = wimpy weasel

Here we are in the World Series and the Cards lose Game 2 in part because Tony LaRussa lets Kenny Rogers get away with cheating. LaRussa's response is to tell everyone to mellow out rather than admit that he should have pushed for Rogers to be ejected. How are the Cardinals supposed to feel about their manager's refusal to step up for them?

Joe Niekro, Brian Mohler, Rick Honeycutt and Kevin Gross all received suspensions for doctoring balls during regular season games; the Dodgers Jay Howell got kicked out of the 1988 playoffs. Yet LaRussa is too cool behind his sunglasses to protest an opponent openly making a mockery of the rules.

Here's part of Ken Rosenthal's article for Fox Sports that shows LaRussa's folding up like a card table --

La Russa talked mostly about the purity of competition and how he didn't want to demean it with "BS." But his more telling response came when he was asked, "If, indeed, you felt that Rogers was cheating, isn't that a violation of the competition?"
"Depends," La Russa said.
"There's a line that I think defines the competition — and you can sneak over that line, because we're all fighting for an edge," La Russa said. "I always think, does it go to the point of abuse? And that's where you start snapping.
"I also know that many pitchers — I was going to say, 'routinely,' but that may be too strong — use some sticky stuff to get a better grip from the first throw in spring training to the last side (session) they're going to throw in the World Series. Just because there's a little something that they're using to get a better grip, that doesn't cross the line."
Rogers might have crossed it, though.
An American League coach and National League scout who watched the game on television told FOXSports.com on Monday that the substance on Rogers' hand clearly was pine tar — a foreign substance that should have prompted an ejection.
While La Russa didn't make such a direct accusation, he disputed Rogers' suggestion that the mark was created only by a mixture of dirt and other innocent substances. La Russa also said he had noticed similar splotches in video of Rogers' other postseason starts.
"I don't believe it was dirt. Didn't look like dirt," La Russa said.
And so, the seed is planted in that dirt, or whatever it is, should Rogers pitch again, if necessary, in Game 6.
There is no truth to the rumor that FOX will install 50 more cameras at Comerica Park and enlist Ivory soap as a sponsor for the blessed event.
La Russa, watching from the dugout, didn't spot Rogers' discoloration initially. He said he brought the matter to Marquez's attention only after being informed by those watching television in the Cardinals' clubhouse that the brown spot was "real obvious."
At that point, La Russa's feeling was, "let's get rid of it and keep playing." He is quite aware that some of his players perhaps wanted him to go further; on Monday, he took the extraordinary step of explaining his actions to his team.
"It's not the way we want to win," La Russa said.

Kenny Rogers = also a crybaby weasel

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Rogers refused to answer questions from the paper at the postgame news conference last night -- apparently because he's still upset over coverage stemming from his assault on a TV cameraman last year and the paper's refusal to treat him like a Deity while he was pitching for the Rangers.

You would think that a guy that's had a reasonable amount of success (207-139) in the MLB wouldn't be such a baby. You would be wrong.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Kenny Rogers = cheater

I just spent half an hour sitting through boring football highlights to watch ESPN's meager coverage of Game 2 of the World Series. Anyone who thinks Kenny Rogers wasn't using pine tar on his hands and hat in the first inning -- he claimed it was "dirt"-- also believes that Tommy Lasorda actually cares about those Cubs and Indians fans in those obnoxious commercials.

Umpires: HP: Alfonso Marquez. 1B: Wally Bell. 2B: Mike Winters. 3B: John Hirschbeck. LF: Tim McClelland. RF: Randy Marsh.What a bunch of gutless incompetents.

Worst team ever to make a World Series?

Joe Morgan and Jon Miller couldn't stop talking about this ridiculous Tom Boswell article during last night's radio-cast. Then the Fox idiots brought it up several times in the telecast -- while ignoring their basic job to cover what was going on at Comerica Park and offer some insight as to why Anthony Reyes looked like the second coming of Juan Marichal.

Boswell's assertion is unprovable -- that this is the worst team ever to make it to the World Series. Even on the simplest level, it's just plain wrong. If you measure regular-season wins, then the 1973 Mets are the worst team because they only won 82 regular season games....but they turned out to be a worthy post-season team because they went out and beat the Reds in the NL playoffs and took Oakland to 7 in the Series.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Time to thank the Mets

With the Mets eliminated tonight by the Cards in an excellent Game 7, it's time to give the Mets and their fans a big THANK YOU for slapping down the Dodgers in the NLDS and reminding them of what a fraud their team is. The Mets, on the other hand, damn near made it into the World Series this year with the winning run on first and their best player at the plate in the 9th. I was actually expecting Carlos Beltran to deliver a game winning hit but that kid Adam Wainwright made a hell of a pitch to get him out. Both teams played impressively -- how about that Endy Chavez catch? -- and I must admit that if the Giants had gotten hot in September and made the playoffs, it's doubtful they would have gotten past the Mets and the Cards.

If the Cards pitching holds up -- though depending on Jeff Weaver is a pretty shaky way to go -- the World Series could be won by an NL team for the first time since 2003. I still think Larussa is badly over-rated as a manager. I'm still astounded that he could not to find a way to get So Taguchi into the lineup (he's 4-for-4 in the postseason with 2 homers and a double, for crying out loud, and the starting outfielders Encarnacion and Wilson have both looked like crap) as something other than a defensive replacement tonight.

What team to root for? I don't care that deeply, though John Ryder at the always-entertaining Give 'Em Some Stankeye has provided an excellent guide with his annual list of the 10 Most Hated Players led by the inexcusable Neifi Perez, who's managed to weasel his way on to the Tigers roster. It's the second straight year that Neifi's led the list. I agree with most of his selections, though I would campaign for the inclusion of Jeff Kent, A.J. Pierzitsky and Ricky Ledee onto the list. I really do believe Kent is far more hate-worthy than someone like Pedro Feliz or Steve Finley, who were often disappointing but not really hate-able -- at least for me. Maybe it's just that I happened to be at several games when Feliz hammered bases-loaded doubles into the gap, hits that were memorable enough to make me temporarily forget all the pitches he chased outside the strike zone.

Let's recap: Kent's a proven liar who can't stop ripping the Giants, gets into fights with teammates and forced the Dodgers to trade Milton Bradley after Bradley said Kent was a racist. Is there another player in MLB who's been accused of racism by a teammate within recent memory? I don't think so. Plus, there's the pornstache and the fact that he plays for the Dodgers. I rest my case.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Taguchi & Tucker

The bench guys were huge tonight.

If Tony Larussa is such a genius, why isn't he getting a few more at bats for So Taguchi -- who seems to be the only Cardinal player who's really hitting consistently? With the game on the line with 2 out in the 9th, he smashed a 2-run double off Billy Wagner -- a hit that must have Mets fans praying for a blowout tonight.

I was impressed to see ex-Giant Michael Tucker get the key hit in tonight's game, then steal second off Yadier Molina's pitchout -- very clutch. And as I was reflecting on how Tucker, despite being stuck for the past decade in the role as a 4th or 5th outfielder, occasionally came through in the clutch for the Giants, Tim McCarver had to say something idiotic as usual. In this case, it was to blame the pitcher for taking too long to get the ball to the plate rather than simply state that Molina had made a terrible play.

I have no guess on Game 7 but I think Mets will have an advantage if Genius Larussa fails to start Taguchi. The Mets homefield advantage is partly cancelled out by the fact that they have an ex-Cub on their roster (Trachsel, while the Cards seem to have avoided former Cubs, though I haven't rigorously checked every single player). One of my theories of postseason ball -- whichever team has the most ex-Cubs on it will lose. And the Tigers have Neifi Perez on their roster, so the Series is a toss-up if the Mets make it but in favor of the Cards if they get in.

Dusty as the A's manager?

I don't know who Dave Newhouse is, but he's put forth a truly strange column at a site called Inside Bay Area that advocates that the A's hire Dusty Baker. Here are the top few paragraphs ---

THE OAKLAND A'S need a new manager, but not just any ordinary manager. They need that special someone who can carry them back to the World Series.
There is just such a man, and he is so obviously right for the job, Billy Beane should pick up the phone and hire him on the spot. Call collect, Billy, if necessary.
Dusty Baker is your man.
"I'd be interested," Baker said by phone Monday. "In the Bay Area, oh, yeah. It would be nice for me and my family."
It would be even nicer for the A's.
Discussing leaders of men in baseball, you can put Baker right in there with Jim Leyland, Joe Torre and Bobby Cox.
These men truly care about their players. They communicate, which Ken Macha apparently didn't do enough of in the A's clubhouse. Communication is Baker's strong suit. He is the consummate player's manager, a natural leader.

No one is taking this seriously. Fire Joe Morgan posted a poll that had the following results after I voted for the third response on the question of who is Dave Newhouse--

-- hasn't read Moneyball. 22%, 398
-- has read Moneyball, but suffered a memory-altering BMX biking accident shortly thereafter.
18%, 316
-- is the nom de plume of Dusty Baker. 23%, 422
-- is a time traveler from the future posing as an online sportswriter but is doing poorly because he has to save the world from an impending disaster. 37%, 664

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Giants to play Bochy ball?

photo by jlmason27

Henry Schulman of the Chronicle is reporting that Bruce Bochy's on the list of SF Giants managerial candidates even though he's got a year left on his contract in San Diego. Others on the short-list at this point include Manny Acta, Bud Black, Ron Wotus and Jerry Manuel.

It's hard not to like the idea of hiring the guy whose teams have won the NL West in the last two years while playing in Petco Park -- one of the MLB stadiums that's most similar to the Giants home at Mays Field. And it's hard to believe that Bochy's managed the Padres for the last 12 seasons.

Lasorda does something right

I can take or leave the Tommy Lasorda commercials that have run on Fox now that I've seen the two versions -- one with the Indians fan under the sink and the other with the Cubs fan in the tree -- now that I've seen each 50 times. But I must acknowledge that Lasorda's stepped up in dealing with the thuggish behavior of Dodger fans toward Mets fans at the Oct. 7 playoff game. Here's the New York Post's story.

October 17, 2006 -- TOMMY Lasorda is making amends for lowlife Dodgers fans. While the Mets were dismantling L.A. two weeks ago, Daily Variety researcher Daniel Edelson, a Queens native decked out in Mets gear, was punched and pummeled by rowdy locals in a Dodger Stadium bathroom. When word of the attack reached Hollywood gossip legend Army Archerd, he jumped on the phone, and hours later, ex-manager Lasorda called Edelson to personally apologize and invite him to a game next season.

Monday, October 16, 2006

I can't explain

I've been wondering why Google is willing to pay $1.65 billion for YouTube but I couldn't explain it fully until just now. A Detroit Tigers fan who was seated in the LF bleachers has posted a video he shot of Maglio Ordonez hitting the 3-run HR on Saturday. It's totally amateurish -- out of focus; you can't really see the players; the camera is unsteady and doesn't track the ball.

But it's also the real deal. If you were at the park in San Francisco on that night four years ago when Lofton singled David Bell home in the 9th (I was) to get into the World Series, it will take you back. You'll need something faster than dial-up to watch. It gave me chills -- and I didn't even care if the Tigers or the A's won. As I said, I can't really explain.

Here's what The Who said so eloquently 41 years ago about not being able to explain....

Got a feeling inside (Can't explain)
It's a certain kind (Can't explain)
I feel hot and cold (Can't explain)
Yeah, down in my soul, yeah (Can't explain)
I said ... (Can't explain)
I'm feeling good now, yeah, but (Can't explain)
Dizzy in the head and I'm feeling blue
The things you've said, well, maybe they're true
I'm gettin' funny dreams again and again
I know what it means, but
Can't explain
I think it's love
Try to say it to you
When I feel blue
But I can't explain (Can't explain)
Yeah, hear what I'm saying, girl (Can't explain)
Dizzy in the head and I'm feeling bad
The things you've said have got me real mad
I'm gettin' funny dreams again and again
I know what it means but
Can't explain
I think it's love
Try to say it to you
When I feel blue
But I can't explain (Can't explain)
Forgive me one more time, now (Can't explain)
I said I can't explain, yeah
You drive me our ot my mind
Yeah, I'm the worrying kind, babe
I said I can't explain

What is this garbage?

The San Francisco Chronicle's marginally talented Scott Ostler has written a Sunday column that predicts Bonds will stay with the Giants. The basic conclusions -- no other team will be willing to pay Bonds what he wants; and Bonds wants to break the record so he can get more money. Those assertions aren't backed up with any kind of reporting.

This column doesn't mention such facts as Bonds' value to the team. Not only did he hit 26 HRs and get 77 RBIs, he got on base more than any other player in the MLB with an OBP of .454. Though he's not listed in the MLB stats because he didn't have requisite 3.1 plate appearances per game, that number's far ahead of the leaders -- Travis Hafner and Manny Ramirez -- at .439. Pujols is the best in the NL at .431. How difficult would it have been to talk with some knowledgeable baseball people to find out whether a .454 onbase percentage and a .545 slugging average has any value?

Is it asking too much to evaluate whether some other team with some financial resources -- the Angels, Yankees, Cubs, Red Sox, Cardinals, Mets, Blue Jays, Orioles -- might be willing to make a real offer? Apparently so.

It's obvious that Ostler is a lazy hack who hammered out the column in about 10 minutes. What's particularly frustrating for readers is that he actually has a good story buried deep in the column --

-- "The Giants were knocked out of the pennant race the minute baseball outlawed greenies," someone very close to the team told me. This person claimed no specific knowledge of Giants players using amphetamines before the ban went into effect for the '06 season. He was simply saying that many baseball players popped greenies, and the ones affected most by the ban were older players and those with nagging injuries. Maybe the '06 Giants had the greenies blues.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The pain of 1989 returns

Tonight, the Cards and Mets combined for 7 homeruns; even David Eckstein hit one. The Fox announcers, as part of the worldwide conspiracy to bum me out, felt compelled to mention that it's only happened in the postseason two other times -- A Cubs-Marlins game in 2003 and Game 3 of the 1989 World Series.

I was there at the Stick for the Oct. 17 quake and then 10 days later for the actual game 3 -- with my sister both times. Obviously, we were both enormously fortunate in many ways. And it was GREAT to sing "San Francisco" at 5:04 and see the 12 volunteer throw out 12 first pitches at the same time. A huge laugh went up when none of the 12 came even close to being caught by the players. For many people, it was probably one of the first real laughs they'd had in a while.

Unfortunately, that was also the high point of the night for Giants fans. Once Game 3 started, the A's started mashing -- making up for their dismal performance in the 1988 World Series-- and it was obvious that this just wasn't going to be the Giants year, which made the whole situation even more depressing. The stands were emptying out in the bottom of the 9th when Bill Bathe's 3-run pinch homer made it a little respectable and tied the record.

Let's go Mets!

Why am I a Mets fan tonight? Simple -- if the Cards win the next two games, there's no baseball on Wednesday. Even with all my carping about Fox coverage, having to go without for four long days until the World Series starts next Saturday isn't acceptable. Having a 7-game series that with the final game on Thursday would be much appreciated at this end.

Joe Buck actually had a decent factoid on tonight's telecast -- the matchup between Anthony Reyes and Oliver Perez is the worst ever in the postseason when measured by regular-season wins (3 for Perez, 5 for Reyes).

As soon as I wrote that, Tim McCarver said something idiotic. Ronnie Belliard just got thrown out 3rd by 10 feet from Endy Chavez in left following a hard-hit single by Yadier Molina in the bottom of the 2nd. He insisted that with the pitcher coming up and one out, it's a smart play.


Why not Robby?

Now that the Giants have gotten over their obligatory date with Lou Piniella, why not consider bringing back Robby Thompson as the manager? He was always a heads-up player during his 11 years in the Orange and Black. He's been a coach with the Giants and Indians; he's currently a special assistant to the Indians GM Mark Shapiro.

Robby is part of the reason I can't join in to the acclamation for Trevor Hoffman, who hit Robby in the head with a pitch deep in the 1993 season -- which had been Robby's best by far. He even finished 15th in MVP voting that year but was never the same player after the injury.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

How stupid can you get?

After getting embarrassed by the firing of the incompetent Steve Lyons, Fox's broadcasting team didn't improve even marginally on Saturday's telecasts. Key case in point -- when the Mets' incredibly ordinary second baseman Jose Valentin decided like an idiot to stretch a single into a double in the 5th and got thrown out, Fox's Tim McCarver and Joe Buck actually defended the decision -- even though it turned out to be the Mets' last offense of the night, unless you count Shawn Green's walk. Beltran had singled in the 1st and Reyes had tripled in the 3rd with 2 out but the over-rated Paul Lo Duca left him stranded.

Valentin's baserunning error was unforgivable in that it turned out the game's big momentum-killer. But the Fox guys were sticking to their script and never mentioned once how damaging it was -- or even how Preston Wilson made a very solid play on it from right field. No, all they wanted to do was talk about Jeff Suppan. Fair enough, except that all they REALLY wanted to discuss about Suppan was his nickname (Soup) and how Suppan's Dad -- who had done an interview earlier in the game -- doesn't eat anything when his son pitches. Whoop-de-doo, Fox.

Valentin is now 2-for-19 in the playoffs. He is still dining off the five seasons (2000-04) he had for the White Sox, where he managed to hit between 20 and 30 HRs annually before the Pale House had the good sense to know that he was on the decline and got rid of him last year to the Dodgers, where he stunk.

Anyhow, it was one of several pieces of good luck for the Cards, who also didn't suffer due to the incredibly over-rated David Eckstein getting picked off first base after getting a single. La Russa is out of his mind for batting Eckstein lead-off after he's gone 3-for-26, including 1-for-11 in the NLCS. I do appreciate the fact that Eckstein hustles and gives it his all but the bottom line is that he's also a marginal player at best. But Fox would never bother to tell you that, either; they'd rather talk about what "character" he has even when he's in the midst of killing rallies.

Even Fox has standards

After watching the first 3 ALCS games, I had just accepted the fact that Steve Lyons would continue to embarrass himself and Fox via one idiotic comment after another. Earlier in the series, Lyons asked Lou Piniella why he took the Tampa Bay job if he enjoyed winning so much; Pinella responded with several seconds of silence. Lyons was adding absolutely nothing to the telecasts and I was getting particularly irritated over Lyons' insistence on laughing at his own dumb remarks. Now, it turns out that even Fox has its limits on stupidity. Here's AP's story --

DETROIT -- Fox baseball broadcaster Steve Lyons has been fired for making a racially insensitive comment directed at colleague Lou Piniella's Hispanic heritage on the air during Game 3 of the American League Championship Series.
The network confirmed Saturday that Lyons was dismissed after Friday's comments. He has been replaced for the remainder of the series by
Los Angeles Angels announcer Jose Mota.
"Steve Lyons has been relieved of his Fox Sports duties for making comments on air that the company found inappropriate," network spokesman Dan Bell said.
Lyons had been working in the booth for the ALCS alongside Thom Brennaman and Piniella.
A call to Lyons' cell phone was not immediately returned Saturday.
In the second inning of Friday's game between Detroit and Oakland, Piniella talked about the success light-hitting A's infielder
Marco Scutaro had in the first round of the playoffs. Piniella said that slugger Frank Thomas and Eric Chavez needed to contribute, comparing Scutaro's production to finding a "wallet on Friday" and hoping it happened again the next week.
Later, Piniella said the A's needed Thomas to get "en fuego" -- hot in Spanish -- because he was currently "frio" -- or cold. After Brennaman praised Piniella for being bilingual, Lyons spoke up.
Lyons said that Piniella was "hablaing Espanol" -- butchering the conjugation for the word "to speak" -- and added, "I still can't find my wallet."
"I don't understand him, and I don't want to sit too close to him now," Lyons continued.
Fox executives told Lyons after the game he had been fired.
Piniella, approached before Saturday's Game 4, declined to comment on the situation except to say: "No, he's not here today."
This was not a first-time offense for Lyons, nicknamed "Psycho" during his nine-year big league career as a utilityman that ended in 1993 with the
Boston Red Sox.
Hired when Fox began broadcasting baseball in 1996, Lyons was suspended without pay in late September 2004 after his remarks about
Shawn Green of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Green is Jewish and elected not to play one of the two games at San Francisco that took place during the Yom Kippur holiday.
The network apologized for Lyons' remarks at the time.
Earlier in the playoffs, while working the Mets-Dodgers NLDS, Lyons unwittingly made fun of a nearly blind fan who was wearing special glasses to see the game.
"He's got a digital camera stuck to his face," Lyons said.
He also once pulled down his pants on the field during his playing days.
Lyons, 46, was a career .252 hitter with 19 home runs and 196 RBI for Boston, the
Chicago White Sox, Atlanta and Montreal. He was a first-round draft pick by the Red Sox, 19th overall, in 1981.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

The pain of 2002 is back

Once again, Giants fans got to re-visit Dusty Baker's questionable decision to lift Russ Ortiz in Game 6 of the World Series and bring on Felix Rodriguez. It was almost eerie to see the Mets decide to go after Scott Spiezio in exactly the same way last night. I was going to go into but John Perricone at Only Baseball Matters already has a great post on it. I wish I knew how to use sracasm as effectively as John does --

Dusty Baker removed Russ Ortiz with a 5-0 lead, after Ortiz had allowed consecutive dribbler singles to start the 7th inning of Game Six in the 2002 World Series. Ignoring the season-long success Ortiz had had in just such a situation, Baker chose to bring in Felix Rodriguez, one of the hardest throwing, and most successful relief pitchers in all of baseball, to face Angels first-baseman Scott Spiezio; a slightly better offensive first basemen than JT Snow, which is to say; a mediocre hitter. One could hardly have faulted Baker for making the switch.
Speizio was a switch-hitter, like Snow (for most of his career), and had slightly better power numbers batting lefty than righty, but little else to offer as a southpaw. I remember it like it was yesterday. As the at-bat began, Tim McCarver immediately picked up on the fact that the Giants, that Rodriguez and catcher Benito Santiago, were pitching right into Spiezio's strength as a left-handed hitter. McCarver came right out and said it; Spiezio, his team down 5-0 in the game, 3-2 in the series, two men on, 7th inning.... had but one goal: hit a home run. He also said that the Giants were playing right into his hand, by pitching him down and in. The at-bat had to be at least 10 pitches; and as Felix pounded the same location, over and over, McCarver said, over and over, that they were playing with fire. Down and in, down and in, pitch after pitch; McCarver must have said it was a mistake about twenty times. We all know how that turned out, right? Nobody who pays attention to baseball could ever forget what happened that night, that at-bat, right?
Wrong. The Mets just
lost Game Two of their NLCS with the Cardinals, largely because, apparently, no one associated with the organization this season was alive in 2002. Leading 6-4 in the seventh inning, two outs and one man on, after getting him into an 0-2 count by throwing up and away; the Mets decided it was time to stop that old "shit that's working" routine and get creative. "Let's pound Spiezio down and in for about ten fucking pitches in a row," is what they decided to do. How great is that??!!! Let's go "outside the box."
What was extra special great was that, once again, Tim McCarver was the announcer. So, we got to watch, as McCarver not only reminded us that everyone in the AL West knows that Spiezio likes the ball down and in when batting left-handed; and that they've known that for, oh, I don't know, something like 8 years; he also reminded us that he'd already told us that, out loud, on national TV, four fucking years ago!!
Oh, but that wasn't great enough. No, then we had to watch as FOX showed us THE FUCKING REPLAY of Spiezio changing baseball history in 2002. BUT WAIT!! It gets better. Then we got to see Spiezio DO IT AGAIN!!!!! Yes, that's right, he hit a DOWN AND IN PITCH FOR A GAME-TYING TWO-RUN TRIPLE!!!!! It was, essentially, an EXACT REPLICA OF WHAT HE DID TO THE GIANTS FOUR YEARS AGO!!!!!!!
How could that possibly happen? How in the world can a major league team's coaching staff and managerial staff not be as well-informed as a fucking TV analyst? How in Jesus Christ Almighty can no one on the Mets have remembered what happened just four years ago in the FUCKING WORLD SERIES!!?? How could I have just sat there and watched them go after Spiezio in the same exact way the Giants did four years ago? How could that happen?
McCarver saw the mistake immediately. Immediately. He came right out and said it was a mistake, FIRST FUCKING PITCH THEY THREW TO THAT SPOT. How could the Mets not have known this, WHEN TIM-FUCKING-McCARVER KNEW IT FOUR YEARS AGO???!!!!
Horrible, horrible loss. Wagner's folderino in the ninth hardly mattered. Spiezio's home run in 2002 left the Angels 2 runs back. Whatever. They won the game on that at-bat. Same deal tonight. All he did was tie it up on the scoreboard, but that was a game-winning hit, no fucking doubt. With the series going to St. Louis for the next three games, the Mets are in a lot of trouble. Coming into the game, the TV guys were wondering if this was a must-win game for the Cardinals. Well, with a 6-4 lead in the 7th, it was a must win for the Mets.

Have fun in Chicago, Lou

The San Jose Mercury News is reporting that Lou Piniella is leaning toward taking the Cubs job and that he doesn't want to wait for the Giants to decide.

Given the lack of insight Lou's shown on the 3 Fox telecasts of the Tigers-A's games, I say the feeling's mutual. Go ahead, Lou, and keep managing dismal teams like the Devil Rays. See how much fun it is with a management that's insane enough to give Juan Pierre and Neifi Perez jobs. Just stay away from the Giants.

UPDATE -- Lou just said on the Fox telecast for Game 4 that the Oakland A's "would take their cues from the body language of the manager" -- a truly idiotic statement -- rather than something believable like "The Oakland will take their cues from whether Danny Haren strikes out Curtis Granderson in the bottom of the first."

ONE MORE UPDATE -- Henry Schulman of the Chron says Lou has turned down Sabean.

Friday, October 13, 2006

It's not just me when it comes to the McCourts abusing customers

Readers of this blog may note that Giants Win is often disdainful of the Dodgers home AKA Chavez Latrine. As someone who lives in LA and attends 15-20 games a year, it's not without foundation. Due to work obligations, I passed on going to the NLDS playoff game last weekend but heard from someone who did attend that the parking situation was particularly bad. And I recently discovered this post at the excellent LA Observed blog that explained why I have such contempt for the Dodger ownership -- partly because the McCourts have such contempt for the fans. Here's the post:

I am a Los Angeles native, TV producer and loyal Dodger fan who attends five to ten games a season. While most of my friends have given up on actually attending games at the Ravine, citing higher prices, long lines and thuggery in the stands, I have faithfully marshaled on. I even purchased seats for Game 3 of the NLDS.

Allow me to cut to the chase. My boyfriend and I arrived at the game at 4pm. It started at 5. I didn’t park until 6. The parking situation inside Dodger stadium was disorganized, chaotic and downright disrespectful. There was bumper-to-bumper traffic inside the stadium that did not move. The lot attendants were unable to offer any help or direction whatsoever, and couldn’t tell anyone where to go or what to do. There were seemingly NO SPACES for miles around. And yet, even an hour into the game, Season Pass lots remained half-empty while paying fans sat in the parking lot. Meanwhile, I watched as attendants continued to collect $15 from car after car, allowing them to enter the morass that was the parking situation. And then to finally sit down in the bottom of the third, the score 4-0 Mets, and to be charged $8 for a Bud Light…well, that was simply the last straw.

I paid a fortune for my tickets, and then $15 for parking so that I could sit in my car and listen to Vin Scully call the first three innings. Not what I had in mind. You knew the game was sold out. Why weren’t precautions taken? Where were the public shuttles? Why not open up Season Pass lots when it became clear that the place was overbooked? I’ve received better customer service at the DMV.

Dodger Stadium celebrated a record-breaking level of attendance this year, and this is the thanks we get? Despicable.

Sharon Margaret Lord
Santa Monica

I'm not the only one who thinks it's strange...

...that Neifi Perez is headed for the World Series. John Ryder at Give 'em Some Stankeye feels the same way, offering up this Rob Neyer quote --

"Somebody -- a grad student in psychology, perhaps -- should write a thesis on this bizarre infatuation with Perez that's apparently shared by various baseball people who should know better."

In today's 3-0 buttkick of the A's, Tiger manager Jim Leyland decided to start Ramon Santiago at SS instead of Neifi and bat him 9th, where he did manage to get a walk -- after getting 1 BB in 80 ABs this year. Santiago looked pretty sharp in the field and was involved as the middle guy on a late-inning DP. He could also play Omar Infante, who's seasonal onbase percentage is a lousy .325. He went 1-for-2 and also got a walk as the DH. But what a strange choice for Leyland at SS -- Neifi or what seen to be a young version of Neifi or a young version of Neifi -- heading into the World Series.

Back to 1986

My big memory of 1986 was seeing a revitalized Giants team out at the Stick after horrific seasons in 1983, 1984 and 1985. It was the year of Humm Baby, outstanding rookie years from Will the Thrill and Robbie Thompson and the realization that the Giants had actually gotten something out of the Jack Clark deal in the person of smooth-fielding Jose Uribe. My favorite game was seeing the Giants beat the Dodgers late in the year 8-6 in something like the 14th inning and put an end to their pennant hopes.

For most people, though, the big memories of 1986 have to do with the Mets and how they electrified New York by squeezing out postseason wins against the Astros and Red Sox. Watching the Mets win 2-0 tonight amid a fired-up Shea crowd, I was reminded of how intense the postseason can be.

John Perricone at Only Baseball Matters has credited the NY Daily News' often lame Mike Lupica with a decent recap of 1986 and posted an outstanding personal recollection of what it was like to be in New York during Game 6 against Houston --

I was there, standing on a concrete flower box in front of Parsons School of Design on, (if I remember correctly), 34th street and 5th Avenue, with a tiny transistor radio pressed against my ear. I was calling out the play by play to what started out as a crowd of about twenty people, from about the seventh or eighth inning. As the game went on, and on, and on, the crowd around me got bigger and bigger, until, at the end, in the 16th inning, there were people standing in the street, and the taxi cabs had stopped traffic, stopped NY, (if you can even imagine that happening); and there were maybe as many as four or five hundred people surrounding me. By then, by the bottom of the 16th, I was yelling at the top of my lungs, "Strike One!" Strike Two!" "Swing!...... Fair Ball! The Mets take the lead!" Like that, for about an hour and a half.
When Orosco ended it.... well, like I said; Lupica wasn't there. He tells the story second-hand. (I'm getting goose bumps just writing about it). The people closest to me picked me up and carried me out into the street. Traffic stopped, and everyone got out of their cars, taxi drivers and truck drivers and commuters, and we all hugged and yelled and high-fived each other, and jumped up and down. No one wanted it to end, and eventually, about a hundred of us, strangers all, poured into a nearby margarita bar and got smashed. It was perhaps the most exciting sports moment of my life, and when I think about it now, the fact that I didn't even see a replay of what happened in the game until about ten years later, it boggles my mind. What I do know, is that Lupica is 100% right when he says the Mets owned, absolutely owned NY that year. And that NLCS win, that moment in time, was pure magic, sports pandemonium distilled down to it's essence, the reason we are sports fans at all. And I was there. I. Was. There.
The Mets had another Game Six that season, against the Red Sox. But that's another story, the details of which I'll share with you later, if the Mets make it to the Serious.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Some guys have all the luck

Hard to believe, but it looks like Neifi Perez -- despite an abysmal lifetime offensive output with an onbase average of .298 -- is going to the World Series, what with the Tigers totally outclassing Oakland in the first two games. Thanks to the injury to Sean Casey, he even got to start for the Tigers tonight at SS and went 0-for-4 with a strikeout as Leyland INEXPLICABLY batted him the the No. 2 slot. Lou Piniella said something like "Well, he's a veteran player so he'll know what to do." Meaning, he knows where to go to get a bite after the game?

Neifi's lifetime post-season performance before tonight was a 1-for-3 in 2003 for the Giants against the Marlins. And during this season, his onbase percentage was a pathetic .260.

Dealing with the off-season

Aneel at Trapped in LA has an excellent post called "Things to Hang Your Hat On" as the off-season gets underway, including these first two items --

1) Since 1989, the Giants have 15 more postseason wins than the Dodgers (before Saturday's game). SF (16-21), LA (1-11)
2) The Dodgers 1-11 record in the postseason since 1989 is the worst in baseball.

Here' a couple more --

3) Matt Cain is such a hot property that New York City sports talk shows have been hyping up a possible Cain-for-A-Rod trade.
4) Even in the most dismal games, Omar Vizquel was a marvel to watch.
5) Even in the most dismal games, the Mays Field setting was a delight.

The SF Chronicle -- wrong again

In this round-up story led by the possible Giants managerial candidates including Mets coaches Jerry Manuel and Manny Acta, the SF Chronicle ends by saying Jose Vizcaino -- who performed so dismally for the Giants that we was DFA'd, then whined about it like a crybaby weasel -- is on the Cards roster EVEN THOUGH THE STORY IS NEXT TO A LISTING OF THE METS AND CARDS ROSTERS WITHOUT VIZCAINO'S NAME ON IT.

Given the assertion's improbability, I checked out MLB.com and found a story that noted Jason Marquis has been moved off the roster and that Anthony Reyes had been added. And Vizcaino has not been listed, which shows that the Cardinals haven't lost their minds, given the pathetic offensive output from Vizcaino this year.

As I keep saying, it's no wonder that the Chronicle is losing circulation.

More sleaze from the Garv

The LA Times is reporting that the feds have busted a former college baseballer -- who used Sleazy Steve Garvey as a pitchman -- for running a Ponzi scheme. Here's the top of the story --

A former Cal State Fullerton baseball star who hired Steve Garvey to promote his mortgage company has agreed to plead guilty to an investment scam that raised more than $30 million, authorities said Tuesday. From 2000 until this year, Salvatore "Sam" Favata, 46, promised investors returns of 30% to 60% a year, the Securities and Exchange Commission said. He said their money would be loaned at high rates to borrowers who needed short-term funding for real estate developments, construction projects and other ventures, according to his plea agreement with federal prosecutors.
In reality, Favata was paying earlier investors with funds from new investors, employing a method known as a Ponzi scheme, the SEC said in a lawsuit filed along with the criminal case. The SEC and the U.S. attorney's office in Santa Ana estimated the total losses to investors at more than $20 million.The SEC lawsuit and Favata's plea agreement, filed Friday and announced Tuesday, said he persuaded clients of his Orange-based National Consumer Mortgage firm — which had a legitimate home loan business — to use cash from refinancing their homes to buy investment notes issued by another arm of the company.There was no indication that Garvey, hired as a pitchman for the legitimate loan business, knew anything was amiss, authorities said. The former Dodgers star couldn't be reached for comment.

However, Giants Win could be reached for comment: If you actually believe that Garvey -- who's in desperate straits financially -- knew nothing was amiss, you probably also believe the Dodgers will win the World Series this year.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Fox Sports -- home of the non-sequitor

photo of Brandon Inge & Kirk Gibson by eteamz

Tonight's telecast of the A's-Tigers was truly a monument to Attention Deficit Disorder as the crew of Thom Brennamen, Steve Lyons and Lou Piniella managed to talk about everything BUT what was happening on the field. Three especially embarrassing moments stand out --

-- When Brandon Inge homered in the 3rd on an 0-2 pitch, the Fox crew was babbling so incessantly about some unrelated topic that they hadn't even said that Inge was batting. They apparently presumed that Barry Zito had been so dominant in getting 8 straight outs to start the game that it wasn't even worth mentioning who Inge was or the fact that he's got serious home run power. It was probably the key moment in the game.

-- In the seventh or eighth -- perhaps when Kiko Calero came into pitch -- Fox decided to offer an extensive review of Zito's personality to the point of telling us such fascinating tidbits as his favorite actor being Philip Seymour Hoffman even though Zito had been out of the game for an hour. Meanwhile action on the field drew no comment at all.

-- Late in the game, around the time the Tigers turned their fourth DP, Piniella went on a pointless ramble about how many good players the Tampa area has turned out. That somehow prompted a particularly cringe-worthy moment from Lyons who admitted he was "sucking up" to Piniella to get a coaching job.


This just in!

Confident Pedro Martinez Performs Own Rotator-Cuff Surgery
October 5, 2006 Onion Sports
NEW YORK—Mets pitcher Pedro Martinez, who will miss the next eight months with an arm injury, showed no loss of morale or confidence as he performed his own rotator-cuff surgery last week. "My original plan was to make a minor incision in the shoulder and conduct an arthroscopy to examine the torn labrum," Martinez told reporters at the Mets training facility while outlining his method on the photos he took during the procedure. "However, the damage was extensive enough to necessitate me detaching my entire deltoid muscle and performing a thorough acromioplasty to remove bone spurs in my shoulder." Martinez said he expected himself to recover well enough to perform surgery on his calf in three to five months and begin throwing off the mound in eight.

Deconstructing A-Rod

I know that it's asking too much for the SF Chronicle explain whether the Giants handled their payroll properly and whether the club might try to get Alex Rodriguez. Fortunately, the ever-astute Lefty Malo notes that the Giants had the fifth-worst return on investment on payroll in MLB and explains why taking on A-Rod's contract would be a more sensible expenditure than signing Feliz at $5 million a year. Here are the pertinent parts (BP is Baseball Prospectus and WARP is "wins above replacement player") --

Let's assume for a moment that Pedro Feliz doesn't take a pay cut. He earned $4.1 million this year, so dig if you will a picture of P-Happy getting $10 million over two years from someone this winter. According to BP, Feliz this year contributed to the Giants' cause nearly 5 wins more than a warm body would have done (the stat is called "WARP" or "Wins above replacement player"). The Giants paid Feliz $800,000 for each win over replacement he contributed. Given that he's 31 and showing no signs of improvement at the plate, Feliz has probably hit his efficiency peak. Unless he takes a pay cut, the cost for his contributed wins will only go up from here.

On to Alex Rodriguez: In this, his worst season in many years, A-Rod posted nearly 7 WARP. The Yankees are paying A-Rod $16 million a year, thanks to Texas swallowing much of his contract. That's $2.3 million per WARP this year. Not very efficient use of payroll. But unless A-Rod has begun what would be one of the most spectacular declines in baseball history, he's much more likely in the next few years to post numbers like 2005, when he won the MVP and tallied 12.5 WARP. At $16 million a year, that's three times what Feliz is likely to produce and only slightly more expensive per win. Put another way, 12 WARP for $16 million is probably a more efficient use of payroll than, say, 4 WARP for $5 million, which I'm guessing Feliz's next employers will receive next year, if they're lucky.

Obviously the ideal for the Giants is to find someone who produces more than Feliz but earns less than A-Rod. Eric Chavez, who suffered through injuries to post his worst offensive year perhaps ever, might be available. Even at his worst offensively, he's a gem on defense and contributed 7.3 wins above replacement. He also makes $45 million through 2010.

What an idiot, part 2

In light of the alarming decline in subscriptions at the paper, it's hard to believe that the SF Chronicle's Bruce Jenkins still has a job. His latest "Barry Bonds Is Satan" column argued the following --

1. Lou Piniella would be a great new manager for the Giants
2. "Sources" say that Lou doesn't want to manage Bonds
3. So Bonds must go.
4. There's no mention in the idiotic column that Bonds had the highest onbase percentage in MLB or the fact that Bonds = capacity crowds in 2007.

Again, it's no wonder that fewer people are subscribing when it includes time-wasting nonsense like this. However, to give the lame Chronicle sports staff its due, I should note that Henry Schulman has an interesting story speculating about Rich Aurilia returing to the Orange and Black, noting that an utility player was something that the team sorely lacked in 2006. He also would have delivered more as the starting first-baseman than any other option. I would contend that the late September offensive slump might have been averted had someone like Rich been around all season to give days off to Vizquel, Durham and Feliz.

Monday, October 09, 2006

What an idiot

It's truly depressing to live in Los Angeles and be constantly reminded how lame the local paper's baseball coverage is. The latest culprit is hack columnist J.A. Andande, who contends that the local teams (Dodgers and Angels) shouldn't trade for A-Rod -- even though it's obvious that a lack of offensive production was a key problem for both teams. There's no consideration in this idiotic column about whether a 2006 season with 35 HRs and 121 RBIs could be duplicated -- which is worth debating given A-Rod's stellar performance over the years. No, instead, there's the pathetic declaration that A-Rod's teams haven't won the World Series as part of a fawning profile of Dodger GM Ned Colletti, which includes this "advice" --

One thing he shouldn't do — and this goes for the Angels as well — is trade for Alex Rodriguez. I don't want to hear that Rodriguez's problems stem from playing in New York and the pressure the fans put on him. His worst weekend of the season was here in Southern California, some 2,800 miles from Yankee Stadium, when he was one for 15 with 10 strikeouts in a series against the Angels.My problem is this: Name a team that has been better off for taking on Rodriguez's contract, even a portion of it. The Rangers? They never won the division with him. The Yankees? They never made the World Series with him.

With pathetic "coverage" like this, it's no wonder that the LA fans have the reputation as the nation's dumbest.

A simple offer

photo of Alex Rodriguez by JLovely

The New York dailies have worked themselves into a frenzy of blaming A-Rod for the Yankees' now-annual postseason flameout. The solution is quite simple -- and such a good idea that there's no chance it will happen.

The Giants trade Armando Benitez, Matt Morris and Lance Niekro to the Yankees for Alex Rodriguez.

It's compelling -- the Yanks obviously need pitching; Niekro's a legacy with a link to the Hall of Fame via his Uncle Phil; and the combined salaries of Giant would be equal to A-Rod's.

Would someone please pass this on to Cashman and Sabean? You can thank me later.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Remember what it was like to be in a World Series, Jeff?

You only managed to get to the World Series as a Giant despite nearly losing the pennant by breaking your wrist in a motorcycle accident, then lying about it. Then you whined your way to Houston and wore out your welcome there, too. Now you've managed to gag the Dodgers out of a World Series thanks to your stupid baserunning.

By the way, your old friend Milton Bradley looks like he may going to a World Series this year with Oakland. He still thinks you're a racist.

You also might want to lose the pornstache.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Report from Chavez Latrine

My friend Dan the Mets fan reports that he was hassled all night for having the temerity to wear a Mets jacket tonight at the game, culminating by being clobbered in the head while relieving himself in the men's room during tonight's game by a disgruntled Dodger "fan." He reports fights were breaking out all over the stadium and that at some point, some loser threw an entire bottle of beer from the 3rd deck onto the field.

Dan says, "Tell the worst fans in baseball that if they want to see some more playoff baseball this year, they should call the Mets ticket line at 718-507-TIXX."

How did that taste, Dodger fans?

What had been a pretty dismal season for the Giants has been partially redeemed thanks to the Dodgers gagging their way to a sweep by the Mets. For Dodger haters, the game showed what an over-rated fraud the Dodgers are. My favorite moments --

-- A shot of Tommy Lasorda in the 9th, looking like the crybaby he is.
-- Brett Tomko balking like an idiot.
-- Wilson Betemit throwing the ball 10 feet over Kent's head.
-- Ex-Dodger Shawn Green, who's booed reflexively by the idiot Dodger fans even though he never did anything but play hard in LA, mashed the ball all night and caught the final out.

Pitching, pitching, pitching

There's a reason why knowledgeable Giants fans get so excited about Matt Cain and his occasional brilliance at the age of 21 -- truly dominant pitching will usually trump great offense, as the New York Yankees can currently attest after getting butt-kicked out of the playoffs by the Tigers.

That occurred to me as I was listening on XM to the Tigers solid broadcasting team of Jim Prince and Dan Dickerman (a little too homerish, but who could really blame them as the Tigers took out years of frustration on the Yanks?) as they pointed out astutely that Jeremy Bonderman had such command that he kept getting the Yanks hitters to chase first and second pitches outside the strike zone in spite of the Yanks ability to work counts. Bonderman threw 99 ptuches, all but 29 for strikes.

Here's what the always-entertaining Bleeding Black and Orange site just said about Cain as part of giving him the team's Rookie of the Year award -- Sure, Cain was downright terrible at times. He looked like the 21 year old that he is. However, we caught glimpses. Glimpses of glory. There were times when he ran out there and just abused hitters like Dodger fans abuse their wives. We got to see what may be in store for the young right hander. Even better, we got to see what may be in store for the Giants. Hopefully they won't be resigning Dusty Baker to fuck up his arm.

Why Fox is a joke

I just watched Jeff "Choker" Kent hammer a Darren Oliver hanging slider to tie up the game at 4-4 and had to endure Fox idiots Thom Brennamen and Tim McCarver declare how "clutch" Kent is -- despite the obvious fact that he gagged away Game 1 thanks to his already-legendary bonehead baserunning.

Kent has been in a grand total of one Game 7 of a World Series and went 0-for-4 with 2 strikeouts. Bonds got a hit, Santiago got two and Snow got three -- that was it for the heart of the order. Not very clutch, if you ask me.

The Fox hacks then declared how "clutch" Garciaparra is before he grounded weakly to the pitcher to end the 5th inning with the bases loaded -- thus preventing the Dodgers from putting the game out of reach. And in the 8th inning of the game, as Kent got a single, Brennamen declared like an idiot that "there are just some guys who always come through in post-season." So I looked up Kent's post-season record before this season, which is OK but nothing remarkable -- 39 hits in 148 ABs for a .267 average, 8 HRs, 21 RBIs, a .337 onbase and a .493 slugging. But that's Fox for you -- never letting the facts get in the way of their stupid story.

Friday, October 06, 2006

RIP Buck O'Neil

The Negro League legend, the man who was the first MBL black coach, the scout who signed Lou Brock and Ernie Banks. "I can't remember a time when I did not want to make my living in baseball, or a time when that wasn't what I did get to do,'' he said in an interview with The Associated Press in 2003. "God was very good to old Buck.''

Here's why people are dropping their Chronicle subscriptions

The Chronicle's subscriptions dropped by 17,000 last year to 451,000, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulation. You would think that a business faced with a revenue loss like that would seriously assess its product and ask themselves why its subscribers -- already faced with higher gas prices and an economy that's tilted more and more in favor of the mega-corporations and billionaires -- shouled pay good money to read garbage like "The Betting Fool"? You would think that Tribune Co.'s firing the LA Times publisher for failing to carry out job cuts in the newsroom would be a real wake-up call.

You would be wrong.

Here's the pertinent part of yesterday's worthless "Barry Is Boring" screed, which said began by saying that the Raiders should dump Randy Moss. It's an old hack journalist trick that requires NO ACTUAL REPORTING OR ANALYSIS -- just declare you're tired of something and it's committed the sin of being boring and passe or in this case "tired." If I wanted to listen to someone whine, I'd go spend what little free time I have at work.

With regard to Bonds, everything about him is tired. The BALCO/steroid story is tired, the team around him plays and looks tired. His Web site thoughts are tired and the ordeal of his possible return is a sports coma, beaten into nothingness by the Bay Area sports media.
Will it matter anyway? If he comes back for less money, the new manager will be hamstrung by the chase for the home run record and the tickets he sells in pursuit of 755. If he starts slumping is he done, or will he get it back?
You can't bench him for any length of time and you can't play him every day. In the American League, he walks to the plate and walks around the bases maybe 20 times a week. He'll play in 140 games.
I don't see how he could play in more than 100 games for the Giants. The team needs to find some new faces and some fresh legs in the worst way.
Bonds is a lingering headache, and I think Magowan is already giving everyone a Giant Tylenol by planning to offer Bonds a very low salary.
While Barry has said he loves playing here and that all he wants is a ring, I don't see his agent sitting there quietly and accepting anything less than "We Built This Damn Park!" salary.
Have fun in Detroit, Mr. Bonds.

Still more Dodger choking

Don't believe that it was Tom Glavine's pitching that did the Dodgers in on Thursday in their 4-1 loss. Listening to ESPN's Dave Campbell -- who played 8 years as an MLB infielder from 1967 through 1974 -- there was no doubt that "Soup" blamed the Dodger infield defense in the 6th when they let in two runs and put the game out of reach.

First, Betamit screwed up a bunt play by hesitating and not charging, forcing Tomko to make a bad throw to first; then Furcal went into slow-mo on a possible DP and saw 48-year-old Julio Franco beat out the relay to first. "The Dodgers have been sleep-walking on defense," Campbell declared at that point, voice full of disgust.

Of course, if I were a Dodger and looked over to the dugout and saw that Grady Little is the manager, I'd lose hope too.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

My favorite Frank Robinson story

I was one of the 12,000 fans at the Stick on Sept. 24, 1981 for a 7-3 loss to the Dodgers.

In the 6th inning, outfielder Dodger Reggie Smith got into a discussion with fan named Michael Dooley. Smith said, ''A fan said, 'You stink, you have no class,' so I said, 'What does that make you if you're talking to me?' The fan said, 'If I come down there I could get hurt and be out of my $40,000 a year job. But if I hurt you, it will hurt the Dodgers.'''

The fan, 37-year-old Michael Dooley, then picked up a souvenir batting helmet and threw it at Smith, who immediately jumped into the stands and began pounding him. As other fans and teammates joined the fracas, Smith tried to pull Dooley onto the field.

When the five-minute disturbance was ended, eight fans were taken into custody and Smith was ejected. As Smith was being escorted from the stadium, a fan threw a beer bottle in the direction of Smith, but it landed 10 to feet in front of him and he continued off the field without further incident. After being released from jail, Dooley was treated for injuries at Stanford University Hospital.

''His ribs and hand were injured,'' Dooley's wife said. ''He was being pulled into the field by the Dodgers and off the field by the cops, while he was being beaten by both. Everybody who sits by the Dodger dugout razzles the hell out of them. It's part of the rivalry and he hates the Dodgers so much."

Frank Robinson, who was managing the Giants, said that Tommy Lasorda was partly to blame for not keeping closer watch on his players. "Lasorda has his head up a TV camera," F Robby told the Chronicle. At least, that's what I remember.

Smith signed a free-agent contract with the Giants 5 months later.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

What a great Dodger choke!

Jeff Kent wonders how to spell "cat." Photo by Boris Badenov

Let's recap the stupidity of the Dodgers today, losing a game they should have won:

-- Jeff "Choker" Kent got such a bad jump from 2nd on a double to RF that he got both himself and the runner in back of him, JD Drew, thrown out at home in a DP. And Drew didn't bother to figure out what was going on and maybe stay at third.

-- After the game, Choker Kent refused to accept any kind of blame for being stupid. "You can't expect to win a ballgame in the second inning," Kent said. "It's easy to sit in the booth and color it that way and say, 'If this would have happened, they would have scored and they could have won the game.' You can't do that."


-- Grady Little showed his ability to choke in the postseason when he gave back the lead to the Mets in the 7th by having Brad Penny out there, despite his injured back & post-break ERA of 6.25. Grady's theory seemed to be that "struggling, injured starter" = "lights out reliever."

-- Nomar, who Senile Scully kept insisting is Clutch, ended the game by swinging at a pitch in the dirt.

How did that taste, Dodger fans?

I'm simply posting this email from my Dodger fan brother in law --

Brad Penny is the worst 16 game winner in major league history! The Dodgers tie the Mutts at 4-4, and Penny comes in and promptly walks the first batter and ends up giving up 2 runs. Arrggghhh!

A modest proposal

Frank Robinson, one of the last player-managers, says goodbye last Sunday. Photo by clarissa

Now that the Giants have an open spot for a new manager, it occurs to me that they could do a lot worse that give the job to Mike Matheny or Omar Vizquel. I know that it's been over 20 years since there was a playing manager (Charlie Hustler) but the notion used to be fairly popular. Lou Boudreau won the World Series in 1948 as did Bill Terry with the Giants in 1933 and Rogers Hornsby in 1926 with the St. Louis Cardinals. Others included Hall of Famers Tris Speaker, Ty Cobb, George Sisler, Joe Cronin, Eddie Collins, Frankie Frisch, Joe Cronin, Mel Ott, Cap Anson, Buck Ewing, John McGraw, Fred Clarke, Clark Griffith, Frank Chance and Miller Huggins along with Bucky Harris and Leo Durocher.

Since I started following MLB in 1958, the only ones I recall besides the Hustler were Solly Hemus in 1959 in St. Louis, Don Kessinger with the 1979 White Sox, Frank Robinson with the 1975 Indians and Joe Torre with the Mets.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

It was 55 years ago today

In 1951, the NY Giants finished the regular season winning 37 of their last 44 games to make up a 13-game deficit on the league leading Brooklyn Dodgers.

One pitch, one swing, one goat, one hero.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Here's what went right in 2006

photo of Matt Cain by helfon

-- Above all else, Matt Cain turned out to be the real deal.
-- The Giants didn't have any real clubhouse problems. Sure, there was the on-the-field nonsense with Blownitez, but there was none of the AJ Pierzitsky-generated crap inside the clubhouse from 2004. At least there was none reported in the Chron, which would have reported it on the front page had its lame reporting staff found out even the whisper of dissension.
-- Vizquel played great ball all year. I hope he makes the Hall of Fame.
-- Durham finally delivered on the promise of his 4-year deal. I would be pleased to see him re-signed.
-- Moises and Barry played remarkably well for guys who are 40 and 42.
-- Eliezer Alfonzo came up big.

What went wrong?

--Alou's handling of pitching wasn't good. He'd leave the starters in way too long and still overuse the bullpen, bringing in 4 or 5 guys in 2 innings night after night. And I could never understand why he and Righetti couldn't figure out how to get Matt Morris to pitch a decent first inning.
--Finley and Sweeney got worse and worse as the season went on.
--Winn's 2005 was a mirage.
--Jose Vizcaino and Fatmando Blownitez were disgusting.
--First base was a disaster. Frankly, J.T. Snow would have done just as well offensively and probably would have won several games with his glove.
--Feliz has still not learned to lay off bad pitches.
--The team could not beat the stupid Dodgers.