Thursday, November 30, 2006

Whither Weathers?

I don't really know what "whither" means; I guess it means "What's up with"the next word. I just love using alliteration. Seriously, this guys looks like a decent closer for next year when the inevitable Blownitez break-down occurs. He may be 37, but he obviously can still pitch decently.

Though the paper hasn't gotten much right lately, Henry Schulman of the SF Chron's reporting that the Giants are pursuing Weathers. Good. The more options assembled to going with Blownitez as the 2007 closer, the better.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

It's still only November

Gwenn Knapp of the SF Chronicle -- usually significantly better than the pathetic Bruce Jenkins or John Shea -- has a muddled take on the Giants' prospects that says:

1. The Giants have no chance of getting Manny Ramirez because they don't have what the Boxsox want so
2. Barry Bonds will be the centerpiece of the team for better or worse, probably worse because
3. He'll be 43 in mid-season and may not be able to even hit the 22 HRs he'll need to break Aaron's record so
4. The Giants don't have a chance and
5. It's all Barry's fault and
6. Manny may wind up in Dodger blue

I realize that the Chronicle newsroom is probably a strange place to be these days, what with circulation declining and the two Balco reporters (Williams and Fainura-Wada) facing prison time. But the Giants' failure to snag an over-priced free agent like Juan Pierre, Carlos Lee or Sarge Jr. simply means that they may still have some serious cash left after the first wave of spending. It seems a bit premature to write off 2007 when pitchers and catchers don't even report for another 80 days.

And a less lazy reporter who didn't try to file in under 10 minutes would have come to two very simple conclusions --
1. The Bosox don't want Blownitez
2. The Giants are unwilling to give up Matt Cain or their other talented young pitchers

As I've said repeatedly in various ways, it's no wonder the Chronicle's losing readers. I've lost hope that their sportswriters will write anything beyond the most obvious observations these days.

Barry & Manny in Orange & Black?

Paul Gutierrez of the Sacramento Bee (registration required) says it's a long shot but it could happen. The conclusion is part of a nicely written piece filed today in the form of five questions--

1. Is it economically feasible for the frugal Giants to acquire Ramírez and his hefty contract?
Sure, Ramírez signed a huge deal, one worth $168 million over eight years in 2000, but he's actually cheaper than you think, given that the Giants reportedly were set to offer Lee $108 million before he signed last week with the Houston Astros.
Ramírez is owed $14 million and $16 million the next two years, and an additional $8 million in deferred salary. Reports have surfaced that the Giants may need to get a third team involved to make the swap work, however, as San Francisco might not have what the Red Sox want in return for the moody-yet-prodigious slugger.
With Boston about to sign outfielder J.D. Drew, the Red Sox can afford to be picky with their asking price. Plus, as a veteran with 10 years experience and five years with the same club, Ramírez can veto any trade, and he has been quoted as saying he prefers the A.L. to the N.L.

2. What would acquiring Ramírez mean for Barry Bonds?
The Giants would have Bonds over a barrel, meaning they would set the bar in regards to his asking price. Bonds would have to decide whether he wants to return at less than what he wants, should he think the Giants are lowballing him.
It also means Bonds could just pack up his Barcalounger and set up shop in Oakland. With the curious departure of Frank Thomas to Toronto, the A's are in the market for a powerful designated hitter. Plus, this is the only market in baseball that would welcome Bonds as he continues his climb toward the all-time home run mark.
Of course, the A's also are interested in Mike Piazza as a DH, which would make Bonds less attractive in the East Bay.

3. But wouldn't this be simply trading one isolated enigma for another, Manny Being Manny for BALCO Barry?
Yes and no. Ramírez's bizarre act throughout his star-crossed six-year tenure in Boston was accepted by Red Sox Nation mostly because he helped lead the team to a World Series title in 2004. It seems Ramírez, the subject of numerous trade rumors, perpetually is unhappy, though he has never been traded.
Bonds, meanwhile, is revered in San Francisco, as much as he is reviled just about everywhere else, although a federal indictment remains possible. Distractions? What distractions?

4. Isn't there room for both Ramírez and Bonds in San Francisco?
Only if Ramírez accepts splitting time between left field and right field, which seems unlikely as Bonds will not play anything but left. With a gimpy and soon-to-be 43-year-old Bonds in left and a lumbering, sometimes lackadaisical Ramírez in right, whomever the Giants obtain to play center will be busy. And sure, it might be one of the worst defensive outfields in Giants history, but how potent would the middle of the Giants' lineup be with Bonds hitting after Ramírez, or vice versa? It kind of reminds one of Boston's vaunted lineup, with Bonds -- even more of a homer threat when healthy -- playing the part of David Ortíz as the Giants attempt to pound the rest of the N.L. West into submission. Ortíz and Pedro Martínez served as surrogate big brother s to the oft-temperamental Ramírez in Boston. Giants shortstop Omar Vizquel, a former teammate of Ramírez in Cleveland, most likely would have to assume that role on the shores of McCovey Cove.

5. But what happened to going young?
The Giants were the oldest team in the major leagues last season, and adding Ramírez, 34, would not exactly be the same as taking a sip from Ponce de Leon's fountain of youth. Especially not when the Giants reportedly are set to sign salt-and-pepper-bearded free agents Rich Aurilia, 35, as a utility infielder, and center fielder Dave Roberts, 34. Ramírez, however, is nearly eight years younger than Bonds.

Sounds like more agent spin to me

Andrew Baggerly of the Merc News reports that Feliz's agent is trying to get a deal with the Giants since the .281 onbase percentage has led to an under-whelming response from other teams. Now, the agent promises Pedro has changed his approach. Here's the most memorable lines -- Feliz recognizes he needs to change his offensive approach and he recently began a hitting program in the Dominican Republic, Arias said. Feliz also completed a core strengthening program in Los Angeles.

I'm sorry but I just don't believe him. Asher Clancy at Baseball Evolution has a pretty amusing take in awarding Feliz his Dave Kingman award for the second consecutive year --

Pedro Feliz, San Francisco Giants
160 Games, 22HRs, 98 RBI, 33BB, 112 K .244 avg/.281 obp/.428 slg

My goodness! Feliz just makes all the rest look so pedestrian, doesn’t he? Last year’s winner proved once again to be no suitable replacement for Barry Bonds. Indeed, we might even have to consider Pedro Feliz to be the anti-Barry Bonds. Whereas Bonds walks almost to a fault, Feliz refuses to walk almost to the same extent. Here is an interesting way to think about Pedro Feliz’s season: Juan Pierre may be the lightest hitter in baseball, finishing the season with 3 homeruns. Nevertheless, Juan Pierre’s OPS was higher that Pedro Feliz’s. It defies logic that a player could finish a season with 22 homeruns, 35 doubles, and 98 RBI and still have an OPS of .708. These are truly numbers than only Dave Kingman could rival. For that reason, it is truly my pleasure and my honor to announce that, for the second year in a row, the winner of the Dave Kingman Award is none other than Pedro “The Secret Weapon” Feliz.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

More insanity from the Cubs

Henry Schulman of the SF Chronicle is reporting (deep within his obligatory story about the long odds on the Giants getting Manny) that the Cubs are near a 3-year, $44 million deal for Jason Schmidt.

I've always liked Jason but it's hard to believe that he's worth $15 million a year. The only upside -- better the Cubs than the Dodgers. It would be a little tough to see both Jeff Kent and Jason Schmidt as part of the McCourts' Southern California Evil Empire.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Sweet memory

Photo by Artolog, shot July 23, 2006 at Mays Field as best I can figure. The Giants had won the day before, then would lose the next nine straight starting with a 6-5 loss to San Diego that featured a Blownitez blown save. Oh well. Let's focus on the happier times of the previous day, thanks to this story....

SAN FRANCISCO -- As Omar Vizquel's throw from near second base smacked Shea Hillenbrand's glove at first base for the final out of the ninth inning of Saturday night's game with San Diego, the race for the playoffs got a little more interesting.
After picking up the 4-3 win at AT&T Park, the Giants leapfrogged the Padres in the standings, jumping into sole possession of first place in the National League West for the first time since April 24. The win was the fifth straight for San Francisco and the third in as many games over the Padres.
"It's huge, huge, huge," the game's starter, Jason Schmidt, said. "This has been a big series for us, and so far winning three out of the four, you couldn't ask anything more than that."Right now, we're where we should be because we're doing what we're supposed to be doing."
Manager Felipe Alou said this string of wins gives his team confidence, and when a team is rolling like this, he said, it's tough to stop them.
"When teams are hot and are winning, you win close games like that," he said. "Winning is contagious, and right now, the feeling in that dugout is that we cannot lose. It's going to take something really big for us to lose."
The division-leading Giants got things started quickly, with newcomer Shea Hillenbrand doing some of the early damage. The right-handed hitter led off the bottom of the second with a sharply hit single under the glove of third baseman Geoff Blum. An error and a single later, Hillenbrand found himself in the dugout being congratulated by his new teammates.

Kicking the tires on Manny

Martin at Obsessive Giants Compulsive has a long but well-written post on the Giants' interest in Manny Ramirez. His analysis is that the Giants are merely trying to keep the price down on signing Bonds to a deal under $10 million and that Bonds really has no other option because no other team really wants to deal with all the attendant baggage --

Will any team become desperate enough to sign Bonds eventually? Again, risk-reward will tell them about all the risks that would entail and I don't see it happening. Plus the teams who could take that risk don't appear to be in the hunt for a player like him, they either are fully stocked or don't need the upgrade.If a team is competitive and looking for that final piece or two, will they risk taking on Bonds's baggage and risk poisoning the well-oiled machine they currently got?

In addition, he could continue degrading in terms of baseball ability and not be as good as he was in 2004 or even 2006, this is new ground, no matter how good Bonds hit. After all, Willie Mays HR production dropped precipitously after he turned 36 - who is to say that won't happen to Bonds too, he will be 42 next season and will turn 43 mid-season.

And if the team isn't competitive, will they be looking to spend a lot of money just to lose? No, they would only offer Reggie Sanders money that he got from the Pirates ($1M) when nobody would sign him. And Bonds ain't playing for chump change like that, he has too big an ego to follow Sander's path in free agency, jumping from team to team for minimum wage.

Only the Yankees were big enough to combine both money and ability to absorb Bonds baggage, but they are so full up on OF/DH that they traded away Gary Sheffield, why would they pick up Bonds? Plus I recall them saying publicly that they are not interested. And I don't see any of the other big city teams - Mets, Red Sox, Dodgers, Angels, Cubs - needing somebody like him and/or having space for him and his salary and his attitude.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

One big reason why the Giants were so lousy

In a word -- Winn. It turns out that he was even worse that Juan Pierre, who led the league in hits as the Dodgers stress, but the goal of a lead-off guy is to get on base. Among leadoff hitters who batted first at least 300 times last season, the Dodgers' new CF ranked #24 in on-base percentage. The Dodgers ex-leadoff hitter, Rafael Furcal, ranked #7. Reed Johnson of Toronto was best at .391. Winn was 28th out of 31 at .325.

RK PLAYER TEAM OBP (while hitting leadoff)
1 Reed Johnson Tor .391
2 Kevin Youkilis Bos .385
3 Grady Sizemore Cle .374
4 Jason Kendall Oak .373
5 Julio Lugo TB-LA .373
6 Jamey Carroll Col .372
7 Rafael Furcal LA .372
8 Gary Matthews Jr. Tex .372
9 Ichiro Suzuki Sea .370
10 Alfonso Soriano Was .368
11 David DeJesus KC .366
12 Rickie Weeks Mil .360
13 Ryan Freel Cin .359
14 Dave Roberts .359
15 Luis Castillo Min .358
16 Johnny Damon NYY .358
17 Hanley Ramirez Fla .358
18 Jose Reyes NYM .354
19 David Eckstein StL .347
20 Brian Roberts Bal .347
21 Curtis Granderson Det .344
22 Jimmy Rollins Phi .338
23 Marcus Giles Atl .334
24 Juan Pierre ChC .333
25 Scott Podsednik CWS .327
26 Craig Counsell Ari .327
27 Willy Taveras Hou .326
28 Randy Winn SF .325
29 Chris Duffy Pit .323
30 Chone Figgins LAA .321
31 Craig Biggio Hou .310

The Chronicle just keeps getting dumber

In a pathetic search for something to say about the Giants, Ray Ratto decides to write off the 2007 season a full four months before it starts.

You know that a reporter is in trouble when he asserts that what he's writing about is boring. To wit -- These have been rather uninteresting times in GiantWorld.

What's a reader to make of such a statement? If the writer doesn't care, why should the reader?
The column that he filed, as best I can interpret, says that 1. since the Giants can't seem to get over-rated free agents like Carlos Lee and Alfonso Soriano to sign 2. The Giants are doomed because 3. Barry Bonds is Satan and 4. No one wants to play in San Francisco.

Ratto never explores the fact that perhaps the Giants will be better off not assuming the role of the Cubs, Yankees and Red Sox, who seem to believe they much spend every last dime of their money on the most prominent new batch of badly over-valued free agents. Or the fact that the Giants have often waited until much later in the off-season to set their roster.

As I keep saying, it's no wonder the Chronicle keeps losing readers. Why should one pay money and spend one's valuable time to read what stupid people have to say? If I owned the Chronicle, I would fire Ray Ratto, John Shea and Bruce Junkins without a second thought.

A special update

Alfonso Soriano: 'I Am Excited To Play For $136 Million'
November 23, 2006 Onion Sports
CHICAGO—Alfonso Soriano called a press conference Monday to announce that, starting in the 2007 season, he would officially be making $136 million. "I turned down several offers of amounts of money that, in my opinion, were far lower than $136 million," said Soriano, who was smiling from ear to ear as he delivered the news of his signing. "I expect to be making $136 million for a long time." Although Soriano has gained a reputation as a selfish, me-first player, he went on to assure his critics that this new contract is "not about the money."

The 2007 opening day lineup

Andrew Baggerly of the Merc-News is reporting that the Giants are closing in on Dave Roberts and Rich Aurilia and are looking hard at signing Gregg Zaun -- an obvious sign that Matheny won't be back. Zaun looks like he's still got some decent pop at age 36, plus he has a far better OBP (at .360) than Juan Pierre (but who doesn't?). He's also Rick Dempsey's nephew.

This is my guess what the 2007 opening day lineup will look like --

Roberts CF
Vizquel SS
Winn RF
Bonds LF
Aurilia 1B
Zaun C
Loretta 2B
Frandsen 3B
Cain P

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Bochy ball = Dave Roberts

Dave Roberts ponders the smell of garlic fries in San Francisco's ballpark. photo by jlmason27

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is reporting that Dave Roberts has decided to pass on signing with the Brewers and make a deal with the Giants.

Sounds as if Roberts figures 1. he's got a better shot at a postseason in San Francisco 2. He'll get lots of playing time in the Orange and Black since they clearly need speed in the lineup and in the outfield. 3. Bruce Bochy already knows what he can do.
What I like is that Roberts actually knows when to steal and can actually steal a base when the game is on the line, as anyone who remembers the 2004 playoffs will attest. And 49 steals in 55 attempts this year translates to 88%.

LA Times -- even lamer than previously thought

The LA Times has decided to apply the same loose standards in its baseball coverage to the world of rock music. It got around to posting a lame review by some idiot-hack named Randy Lewis of Wednesday's concert in Friday's edition in the Calendar section. All you need to know is that Lewis had the word "lumbago" in the lead sentence. Rather than discuss the performance, the reviewer decided readers needed to focus on a recap of the medical problems the group's faced.

The Times also said in this in the Thursday print edition on page 3 as away to link with the Times online: The Rolling Stones just blew through Dodger Stadium, so its time to catch up with the Glitter Twins....

First off, it's the Glimmer Twins, for anyone who cares. Second off, the only thing the link brought up was a series of dumb reviews by Robert Hilburn.

I expect lame reporting from the Chronicle but it's occasionally shocking to see it in the Times, which really has deluded itself into thinking it's a West Coast version of the NY Times. The only LA Times baseball coverage today -- There's a cursory story in today's edition about the Astros signing Carlos Lee and Woody Williams to deals that make a bit more sense than the Dodgers' laughable signing of Juan Pierre and the Angels' highly questionable deal for Gary Matthews Jr. Is there any analysis of the Lee deal, which is still one of the very few that hits the $100 million mark? Of course not.

Carlos Lee ought to send the Dodgers a thank you note for driving up the price of the rest of this free agent class through the Pierre signing along with setting the standard for stupid $100 million deals through the ludicrous Kevin Brown signing in 1999.

Welcome back, Rich

Bizarre baseball reporting

The Times of London has posted a truly strange article about how Hugo Chavez hates George Bush so much that he may bar Venezuelan players from playing in the U.S.

The ONLY source is some previously unknown Dodgers scout.

The only thing this shows to me is how The Times of London is incompetent.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The LA Times just doesn't get it

The LA Times did provide some skepticism about the Dodgers' idiotic signing of Juan Pierre. One can only hope that the Giants were bidding on the over-rated Pierre to drive up the price. Helene Elliott points out that the length of the deal is problematic --

Yes, his arm is below average. And his power is nonexistent, meaning that the Dodgers will have to dumpster-dive into a depleted free-agent market or swing a trade to get back to last season's production levels. They had the NL's top team batting average but were next to last in home runs. Pierre won't change that. He's Kenny Lofton, only 10 years younger.The real rub is that the deal is for five years, about four years longer than Matt Kemp should need to mature and make an impact.

However, I'm amazed at how out of touch the paper is with its core readers -- the 35-to-60 crowd that attended the Rolling Stones final US concert on the Bigger Bang tour at Dodger Stadium such as my good friends Dan, Anne and Ken. You would think that what might have been the Stones last US concert ever might merit some mention in today's paper.

You would be wrong.

It was a great concert by the way.

Giants seeking former Padres

Andrew Baggerly of the Contra Costa Times is reporting that Bruce Bochy would like to get guys he managed -- Mark Loretta, Rich Aurilia and Dave Roberts -- into the Orange and Black. I suppose we should get used to this. It's odd to think of Rich as anything but an ex-Giant. I barely remember his being on the Pads.

As long as Bochy doesn't start pushing for Ted Leitner and Jerry Coleman to become the Giants announcers, I'm OK with the former Padres.

Baggerly also notes that the massive multi-year deals for average players like Pierre and Matthews are likely to make a Bonds deal much more palatable for the Giants, since it's only going to be a one-year contract.

Happy Thanksgiving

I am thankful for my wife, family (even my Dodger fan brother in law), friends (even Dodger fans), dog and my health.

As a Giants fan, I am thankful for the following --

-- That Brian Sabean is sitting on his hands so far in the offseason and not duplicating the Matthews and Pierre deals, which have been made in the expectation that fifth outfielders will cost $9 million a year in 2011.

-- For the best ballpark in the majors, even though it has the worst name. Having the best name (Mays Field) would be easy.

-- Omar Vizquel for using his time as a Giant to show why he's perhaps the greatest defensive shortstop ever.

-- Matt Cain for living up to his potential.

-- Eleizer Alfonzo for showing the power of persistence.

-- Barry Bonds for more reasons than I can state. The top two are: Driving Dodger fans insane and always being appreciative of the support of Giants fans.

-- Mike Matheny for not acting like an idiot by trying to play through a life-threatening injury.

-- Any Giant not named Benitez for not acting like Benitez.

-- Ray Durham for keeping the 2006 Giants respectable.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The madness marches on

The Angels have signed Gary Matthews Jr. to a five-year $50 million deal, according to MLB, which notes the Giants made a strong bid.

I can't help but think the Giants are partly to blame for the hyper-inflated market for middle-of-the-road outfielders after over-paying last year for Randy Winn. But given the presence of Todd Linden and Winn on the current roster -- plus the likelihood of a deal with Bonds -- I would contend that the Giants' most pressing problem isn't their outfield but at the infield corners.

As I've said before, let's bring J.T. Snow back before enduring another season of Niekro/Sweeney at first base.

Yet another Giants blog

I've just discovered the Inside San Francisco Giants Baseball blog -- very well written, sober and good graphics. The most recent post is a nice analysis of the current over-appreciation of players and the need for the Giants to focus on young talent. Here's how it concludes --

Losing up to 4 class A free agents this offseason, the next draft will pivotal in determining Sabean's future in San Francisco.Bidding wars are going to continue and the free agent market is going to get worse. If the Giants are planning to get young, they need to start now. The question is whether the fans can be patient enough to see that it will take a few years. Going for quick gold the past two seasons, Sabean is already a few too many behind.I think I speak for every Giants fan in saying, now it's time to catch up.

I was also impressed by the Sept. 27 post when the Giants were officially eliminated from the postseason-- thanks in no small part to their pathetic performance against the Nats and Pirates. The site very astutely makes this point -- They are a combined 135-179 on the year. The Giants were unable to beat once in nine games two teams that are a combined 44 games under .500.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

24 years ago -- non-baseball post

Even though I didn't go to Cal and I'm not much of a football fan, and the quality of YouTube video is suspect, there's still nothing like watching The Play again and seeing Stanford lose, thanks to Cal's ingenuity and the idiocy of the stupid Stanford band.

Still in the hunt for Sarge Jr.

Rich Draper of reports that the Giants have offered a multi-year deal to Gary Matthews Jr. If Matthews can keep up the 2006 level of performance, this is actually a sensible deal.

Draper also says there's interest in the Cubs Michael Barrett, who's probably best known among Giants fans for his well-desrved punch-out this season of AJ Pierzitzky.

I'm a bit suprised looking at the Giants Web site that no one has bothered to revise Draper's mailbag post to reflect the fact that the over-rated and soon-to-be-overpaid Juan Pierre is going to the evil Dodgers, even though Draper says the Giants offered Pierre a multi-year deal. It's hard to fathom why the Giants would think a leadoff guy with a .330 OBP and a terrible arm in CF would be worth paying more than the MLB minimum.

How about Lofton?

Despite playing for only 3 months in the Orange and Black, Kenny Lofton will forever find favor among Giants fans for driving in the winning run in the final game of the 2002 NLCS.

Now that the Dodgers have blown $45 million on the over-rated Juan Pierre, John Ryder at Give' Em Some Stankeye suggests that the Giants are over-reacting to the problems in center field and suggests Lofton's a decent solution -- and a better player than Pierre -- that won't cost a lot of money. Unlike Pierre, he's an excellent centerfielder.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Cubs for sale?

Murray Chass of the New York Times and Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune have decided that the Cubs are for sale because the team has signed deals with Soriano ($136 million) and Aramis Ramirez ($75 million).

This is what drives me crazy about sportswriters -- they are lazy. There's no evidence in either story that the team is for sale other than the fact that its parent conglomerate Tribune Co. is for sale as a whole, but not in pieces. Rogers is so lazy that he actually quotes Chass in his story.

What's unsaid in their articles is the fact that the length of such deals could lead to the Cubs being worth FAR LESS due to the sunk costs that such contracts represent. If a player gets injured -- not badly enough to retire, but badly enough so that their production declines notably -- those contracts are big liabilities.

What's going on is that the combo of the deal with the players union and rising TV revenues has driven up prices. That's the story that actually makes sense.

A's lose interest in Bonds

I must give credit to the Chron's John Shea -- who I've hammered in the past -- for filing a decent story about what will happen with Bonds. Bottom line: the scenario of Bonds going to Oakland is pretty far-fetched.

A poster named Calbear22 actually has brought some sanity amid several "Bonds is Satan" posts at the Chron's Splash bog -- Provided Bonds can be signed at the appropriate market price, he should be back. No other team is really interested in him anyway. Would you rather worry about Bonds contract for one year or over pay a free agent who could drag down the team’s payroll for years to come?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Cubs try the Yankee approach

Carrie Muskat of is reporting the Cubs are signing Alfonso Soriano to a massive $136 million eight-year deal. They want him to play CF.

My reaction is -- why are the Cubs imitating George Steinbrenner? Here are the 4 higher deals:
Alex Rodriguez ($252 million for 10 years), Derek Jeter ($189 million for 10 years), Manny Ramirez ($160 million for eight years) and Todd Helton ($141.5 million for 11 years).

I suppose Cubs fans must be happy, though just a look how Helton is performing these days ought to give them a bit of pause. And a look at the Giants record for the last two years -- when they relied heavily on guys over 35 -- ought to be a cautionary sign against long-term deals.

It looks like the Cubs are joining the Yanks, Bosox, Mets and Angels as teams that are willing to overpay for top talent. Notice how Mo Vaughn played for 3 of those four teams as he ate his way into uselessness.

And I must point out that Barry Bonds is one of the very few players over 35 who's delivered the goods on a long-term deal in recent years, even with missing all but 14 games in 2005. Again, signing a 42-year-old Bonds for 2007 doesn't seem like much of a gamble by comparison to the Soriano deal.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


This has been a truly strange offseason so far for one reason. It shouldn't be a surprise -- first the Cards won the Series handily, David Eckstein won the Series MVP and the owners reached a deal rather easily with the MLBPA.

But I'm still floored by the Bosox paying a very Steinbrenner-like $51 million for the right to negotiate with Scott Boras over the Seibu Lions pitching star Daisutsu Matsuzaka. It's as if the Theo Epstein and John Henry believe this guy will be Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson and Juan Marichal rolled into one. Speculation seems to be he'll agree to something like $15 million to $20 million a year. No wonder mediocre guys like Matt Morris, Jeff Weaver and Kris Benson -- guys who are middle of the rotation at best -- can pull down $8 million and $9 million a year and Jason Schmidt, with his 11 wins, is looking for a lot more than that.

Tim Marchman of the New York Sun has an interesting take in the same direction. The SF Chronicle is doing its usual useless job of coverage, saying only that Giants are considering all their options and noting that Ted Lilly is available for 4 years at $8 million, Carlos Lee is going for 6 years for $80 million and Soriano is seeking 7 years at $120 million.

Frankly, at those prices, a one-year deal for Bonds at $15 million looks like a bargain.

Friday, November 17, 2006

This just in from The Onion

Pop-Up To Second-Baseman Reminds Sportswriter Of Relationship With Father
November 16, 2006 Onion Sports
NEW YORK—A Shane Victorino popout caught by Cubs second-baseman Ryan Theriot this past September compelled sportswriter Roger Angell to write a 1,500-word essay about his relationship with his father. "He hobbled up to the batter's box, the bat his crutch, his only means of support, the one thing in this world that can make you look like both a hero and a fool, and he uncoiled his muscles in a mechanically sound swing not unlike the one he produced last night and the night before," Angell wrote in his essay entitled Pine-Tar Heart. "And from that mighty cut, a white egg tumbled from the heavens back into its safe leather nest, resistant to flying away and leaving the men who love it and need it. Only in baseball and fatherhood can a swing so utterly well-intended and so utterly perfectly orchestrated fail so utterly in its attempt to produce the desired results." The essay will appear in Angell's forthcoming compilation of baseball writings, Diamonds Are Forever, which also includes a novella that compares every botched double play from the 2006 season to his recent divorce.

Let's give Bill Plaschke a heart attack

The LA Times' Bill Plaschke, probably the worst sportswriter on the planet, has slapped around J.D. Drew for having the audacity to opt out of the last 3 years of his Dodger deal -- even though Drew was clearly the best player on the Dodgers last year.

John Ryder at Give 'Em Some Stankeye has weighed in with a nice post on the wisdom of getting Drew into the Orange and Black at $12 million a year, noting that Peter Gammons thinks Drew is the real deal, instead of less costly guys like Juan Pierre, Luis Gonzalez, Gary Matthews Jr. or Ricky Ledee. He notes that sportswriters often miss the boat in elevating certain types of non-productive players like Darrin Erstad while giving short shrift to top-tier guys like Drew.

John's post concludes thusly -- While other teams are throwing $10 million a year at idiots like Juan Pierre (uh, yeah...other teams), the Giants should be focusing on guys like Drew who produce. The guy is routinely lambasted, but hey, Gammons has got his back, and so do I. Drew in '07!

I can't imagine anything finer than Plaschke trying to explain in subsequent years to his readers why Drew is playing in the post-season and the Dodgers are staying at home. Of course, with the Times due to change owners imminently, I wouldn't be surprised if Plaschke's deservedly unemployed soon.

Shea in pinstripes

Chris at Bay City Ball notes with glee that the NY Post is reporting that the Yanks may go after Shea Hillenbrand.

I agree with him. Shea isn't the solution. First base was perhaps the biggest collective problem during 2006 for the Giants, although so many other things went wrong (Finley, Blownitez, Winn, Morris) that it didn't really get noticed. It was as if the Giants were trying to set a record for number of different starters at 1B. Frankly, I saw Travis Ishikawa get 3 hits in his first start and could never understand why he didn't get a longer look. And had the Giants brought back JT Snow, he would have been no worse on offense and much better on defense than the Shea/Niekro/Sweeney/Vizcaino combination.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Bonds rumors -- I smell spin

You won't read any Bonds news in the SF Chronicle's latest report, which notes the Juan Pierre story and mentions Sarge Jr., Dave Roberts and Jay Payton are also signing possiblities. It also says Rich Aurilia may come back to the Orange and Black. It's typically slipshod work by the Chron -- Why bother reporting anything about the best known ballplayer in the world when you can throw out Dave Roberts' name?

Meanwhile, there's actual news or what passes for news about Bonds. Fox Sports says the Padres are interested in Bonds. And ESPN's reporting that Bonds agent says it's a "real possibility" that Bonds may leave the Giants.

I think the Fox story is nonsense. It's based on an unidentified source (my guess is it's Bonds' agent Jeff Burris). It notes Bonds still has impressive OBP and SLG stats and this speculation -- The team's more statistically minded executives, club president Sandy Alderson and special assistant Paul DePodesta, surely are attracted by his still-gaudy numbers. And there's a real problem that ought to be obvious to anyone who's attended a Giants game at Petco -- San Diego fans, led by their incompetent radio guy Ted Leitner, absolutely despise Bonds.

As for the ESPN piece, Jerry Crasnick at least has the good sense to counter Jeff Burris' attempts to lure the Giants into a bidding war that doesn't actually exist. Among his points --

-- The Giants are negotiating with the representatives for free agent left fielder Carlos Lee and center fielder Juan Pierre. Lee hit 37 homers and drove in 116 runs last year between Milwaukee and Texas. If the Giants' interest in him is genuine, that would all but preclude a return to San Francisco for Bonds.
-- When surveyed 20 front-office people over the past week on assorted hot stove topics, 15 predicted Bonds would re-sign with San Francisco. Several executives wonder if other clubs are prepared for the inevitable media frenzy as Bonds -- who has been dogged by steroid-related controversy -- approaches Hank Aaron's career mark of 755 homers.
-- The Tigers were mentioned in early speculation because of Bonds' previous relationship with manager Jim Leyland, but they filled their designated hitter void last week by acquiring Gary Sheffield in a trade with the New York Yankees.
-- When Texas papers mentioned Bonds as a possible target for the Rangers, owner Tom Hicks rushed to shoot down the rumors. Hicks said the club will not be signing Bonds.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Juan Pierre in the Orange and Black?

ESPN is reporting this -- The Giants, in the market for a center fielder, are moving along in discussions with Juan Pierre, the National League leader with 204 hits last season. The word in Naples is that Pierre could get a deal for three years and about $30 million -- if not from San Francisco, then somebody else.

I'm thinking this guy can't be worth $10 million a year. He started horribly for the Cubs and by the time he started playing worth a damn, the Cubs were far out of it and he wound up with 204 hits....with a .358 OBP. That is in line with Pierre's .350 career OBP, a bit above average for CFs. He does steal a lot of bases -- 58 last year -- but he got caught 20 times. He's averaged 55 steals in his six full seasons but his success rate at stealing is well under 75%. According to Joe Sheehan of Baseball Prospectus,
"If you're stealing at less than a 75% success rate, you're better off never going at all." And despite his speed, he's not a particularly good fielder as measured by Bill James Range Factor.

Hard to believe

So you're the LA Times and the situation is getting worse by the week. Circulation's dropping, the publisher and editor have been fired for failing to cut jobs by the parent company, Tribune Co., which has put itself up for sale. Complaints about the LA Times are legion but the basic one is this -- Readers are sick and tired of the paper giving short shrift to local coverage in its never-ending quest to be a Western version of the New York Times, because 1. Southern California is enormously complicated and deserves the full resources of the LA Times and 2. the LA Times staff isn't talented enough to come even close to matching the NY Times when it goes after out-of-the-region stories.

Today was the topper. The LA Times decided to put a story on the front page about the fact that the 2 SF Chronicle reporters on the Balco case face prison time for refusing to disclose their sources with the obligatory photo of Barry Bonds. That's an important story -- if there's anything new about it. I already knew that Williams and Fainaru-Wada are out on bail pending a February appeals hearing but there's nothing new in Joe Mozingo's story except for his mischaracterization of the implications through a quote by Mark Carallo, who was a PR person under John Ashcroft.

"There is no national security issue here. There is no public safety issue. If they can make this the standard, then confidential-source reporting as you know it is done, over."

That's typical over-reaching by the Times when they are stuck with a lame story. If the Chronicle guys go to jail, then confidential-source reporting of secret grand-jury testimony would indeed be impacted but it's doubtful that it would have a chilling effect on other confidential-source reporting. Does Mozingo analyze this point? No, he does not. Instead, he simply regurgitates the step-by-step chronology of what's happened.

Adding to the story's lameness, there's no exploration of the fundamental question of what the hell the federal prosecutors are doing by devoting millions of dollars to putting two reporters in jail and to keeping this investigation going instead of other crimes, such as gangs terrorizing poor neighborhoods and corporate corruption, tax evasion and pollution.

And LA Times readers must be wondering what the hell is going on. The local angle of the story seems to be limited to "Well, we're in LA so we don't like Barry Bonds." If the Times readers already knew about the reporters, there's nothing new to know; and if they didn't know about the reporters, the obvious question that arises for readers who manage to get through the story is why is this story being published now, when nothing's going to happen for 3 more months?

I take no joy in the reporters' facing jail time. It's a serious issue but by mis-characterizing what's actually at stake and not saying anything that people don't already know, the Times is guilty of trivializing it.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Playing hurt

Even though I've discussed it in a previous post, I'm still amazed at the stupidly bizarre attack by the LA Times Bill Plaschke on JD Drew's refusal to play hurt -- when he only missed 16 games all year. Here is an excerpt from Plaschke's "don't bother me with the facts" column last week:

He missed games with strange pains and hidden soreness. He missed games simply because the manager didn't want to push him. Never once did he express anger that he wasn't in the lineup, even in the final week of this season's playoff push. Never once, it seemed, did he fight to get on the field.

Nowhere does Plaschke note that Drew never whined and never got into any trouble while he was in LA. He simply decided that he could make more money elsewhere. Given the fact that Aramis Ramirez just signed a 5-year $75 million deal with the Cubs and the fact that Drew's a centerfielder, JD's probably very right.

Besides ignoring the obvious fact that the team would not have made the playoffs without Drew, since he was their best offensive player last year, there's a bigger question for Plaschke, the Dodgers and their fans: how do you feel about Eric Gagne trying to pitch through injuries, now that he's pitched 13 innings in 2005 and two innings in 2006 and possibly destroyed a potential Hall of Fame career? Jon Weisman at Dodger Thoughts makes this point amid a long post about Drew --

I'm sick and tired for the heat Drew takes for not playing hurt. For every Nomar Garciaparra or Kirk Gibson home run while playing injured, you get guys like Eric Gagne ruining their years if not their careers. Playing hurt, very often, is a hateful thing to do.

I think it's ridiculous, too. I'd like to think most real fans realize careers can end damn quickly such as with Robb Nen or Mike Matheny. Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of people read Plaschke and believe that JD Drew is the major reason why the Dodgers didn't win the World Series again.

Again, the crappy local coverage is a key factor in why Dodger fans are the dumbest in MLB.

How's this possible?

How can there be no story in the SF Chronicle about the Bonds negotiations when there's a Barry Bloom story on the Giants site saying that negotiations are intensifying?

How can the lazy losers who ostensibly cover the team not be all over this story?

This is why people don't take the Chronicle seriously.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Kevin or Ray?

Kevin Frandsen is amazed at what an idiot Tommy Lasorda is. photo by mkertzman08
Those searching for good news about the Giants have to like this story on the official site about how well Kevin Frandsen is playing in Arizona Fall ball. He had crappy strike zone judgement in his MLB at bats this year (a Feliz-like 3 walks in 93 at bats) but the team sure seems to like him a lot.

But Ray Durham finally delivered on much of the promise of his 4-year deal this past season and had his best offensive year ever. Whether the Giants get serious about the 24-year Frandsen or trying to bring the 35-year-old Ray back is going to be a telling sign about exactly how much emphasis there will be on young players.

It's a gas, gas, gas

I had the good fortune to attend the Rolling Stones concert in Las Vegas last night with three lovely ladies. A fine, fine show and a tribute to the band's professionalism, given that Jagger's father passed away on Friday at age 93.

And I'm always impressed to hear the Stones play "Jumping Jack Flash," which is all about getting second and third chances. It's even appropos to the Giants' pressing need to look forward as well as backwards. Well, maybe just to me. Anyhow, it's as good a reason as any to post the lyrics --

Watch it!

I was born in a cross-fire hurricane
And I howled at my ma in the driving rain,
But it's all right now, in fact, it's a gas!
But it's all right. I'm Jumpin' Jack Flash, It's a Gas! Gas! Gas!

I was raised by a toothless, bearded hag,
I was schooled with a strap right across my back,
But it's all right now, in fact, it's a gas!
But it's all right, I'm Jumpin' Jack Flash, It's a Gas! Gas! Gas!

I was drowned, I was washed up and left for dead.
I fell down to my feet and I saw they bled.
I frowned at the crumbs of a crust of bread.
Yeah, yeah, yeah I was crowned with a spike right thru my head.
But it's all right now, in fact, it's a gas!
But it's all right, I'm Jumpin' Jack Flash, It's a Gas! Gas! Gas!
Jumping Jack Flash, its a gas
Jumping Jack Flash, its a gas
Jumping Jack Flash, its a gas
Jumping Jack Flash, its a gas

Friday, November 10, 2006

Niners leaving the Stick

Try looking at this & then tell me you're nostalgic for The Stick. photo by wizchickenonabun

I took one of my best friends to a game at Pac-Bell Park the year it opened. He's not a huge baseball fan but he's great company and a pretty smart guy. Often, when we go to games, he likes to wander around the park for innings at a time just taking in the vistas.

At this particular game, he came back in the 4th inning or so and told me, "You know, I thought all the talk about the new stadim was just hype. And I never saw any real need to leave Candlestick, since I have great memories from there like Niners games and Stones concerts. But this place is just great."

That's why I have to laugh just a bit about the reaction of surprise being reported in the SF Chronicle about the Niners leaving Candlestick. I also have great memories of the Stick (1962 World Series Game 2, 1987 playoffs Game 4, 1989 playoffs Game 3) but my reaction to the news about the Niners deciding to go elsewhere is along the lines of "What took so long after people got used to Pac-Bell/SBC/AT&T/Mays Field?"

This is why Dodger fans are so dumb

Three days after the editor of the LA Times resigned over refusing to cut staff, Bill Plaschke files yet another colossally stupid column. I'm convinced that the Times will never get any better until it gets rid of useless hacks like Plaschke.

I'm also convinced that the endless stream of such columns are part of the reason why Dodger fans are so clueless. In this case, Plaschke contends that getting rid of the team's top RBI producer is a great step forward because he was so unemotional in the clubhouse and would not play through injuries. Well, he played in 146 games -- missing a total of 16 -- and was a far better offensive player than anyone else in the lineup.

Here are some Plaschke whiner-hack observations -- Sure, he led the team with 100 runs batted in last season, but do you remember more than a handful of them?

They can take the $33 million that he just dropped in their pockets — $11 million annually — and use it to get stronger and tougher and better.

He heard the rumblings that the front office was tired of the coddling. He grew weary of media that kept applying the heat.

That last sentence is very instructive about how the idiotic Plaschke sees himself as having palyed a role in all this because it implies "He refused to talk to me so he must be a jerk. Never mind that he was the best offensive player on the team. If I say he sucks, then he sucks and he'd better leave town."

Taking a look at Drew's offensive numbers during the last three years and there's little doubt to me that one of the New York teams will be happy to do better than $11 million a year. My bet would be that the Yanks would take a chance, now that they've traded Gary Sheffield for young pitchers. Besides, if Bill Plaschke hates him, Drew must be doing something right.

Rich Draper's prediction on Bonds

The official Giants web site has a long piece, authored by Rich Draper after interviewing Sabean, about the team's need for a makeover that contains no real news. Most interesting notes are these --

-- Bonds will probably demand a $10 million deal in what could be his farewell season. Is he worth it? Hard to deal with, bad legs, bad back, bad attitude ... but the man can still hit.
Bonds' $18 million salary of 2006 is history, and Sabean would love to spread the wealth to increase salaries for the youngsters, upgrade the roster, get a long-term star.

-- It (the makoever) starts with a strong outfielder. Perhaps a blossoming Gary Matthews Jr., somebody with power who would bring defensive vitality, although Todd Linden has the promise to do that. Dave Roberts has speed and top-of-the-linup pizzazz.

-- Another starting pitcher would help -- there's talk of bidding for Japanese star Daisuke Matsuzaka, but he may be too expensive; still, if Jason Schmidt ($10 million last season for 11 wins) is gone, there will be extra loot.

-- Veteran starter Matt Morris, who suffered from a severe case of rallies eruptus from opposing teams and then struggled with fractured ribs down the stretch, must get back on track, and a new guy might not be needed if Jonathan Sanchez can back up Noah Lowry and Matt Cain. But that's a big if.

-- A new catcher? Sabean called the status of veteran Mike Matheny a "black hole," with the Gold Glover out of action -- possibly for good -- with concussion symptoms. Rookie Eliezer Alfonzo, a 10-year Minor Leaguer, was a startling surprise last season, but he must prove he can handle things on a daily basis and avoid mistakes. "Catcher is a concern," said Sabean. "If we need to fortify catching, it's an exercise we'll have to go through internally."

-- Another veteran -- but an early-30s player -- is needed for infield backup if Ray Durham, as expected, heads deep into free agent waters, leaving young Kevin Frandsen as a possible replacement.

-- Benitez? He and his salary could be traded away, as some teams are always desperate for pitching. Benitez is in rehab with those knees, but surgery is still a possibility.

-- Sabean says he'll try a mix of free agents and trades to enchance the club, but he issued a cautionary note. "The free agent market is not as deep as far as top quality talent, but there are a lot of varied choices," he said.

New blog

The Bay City Ball blog has launched and is definitely worth a visit for fine commentary, such as this recent posting on Pat Burrell -- Philly isn’t the most civilized sports town on the planet and they really don’t like Burrell. I mean, really don’t like him. He's a 0-3 day away from getting battery acid and beer bottles chucked at him. Heres why I think he would be a great fit for the Giants. His contract, even though expensive, runs out after 2008 and he would be a good stopgap until something better comes along or if EME can stay healthy enough to make it to the majors. Pat is good for 30 HRs, 100 RBIs, and a high OBP.

Here's what Chris, the blog founder, says about himself --
Likes - Pitching Duels, Music, and Will Clark.
Hates - The Dodgers, Scott Spiezio, and The Dodgers.

Weird -- in a good way

The invaluable McCovery Chronicles site has posted this hard-to-believe story filed out of the ABC station in Saginaw, Mich. (Boldface is mine) --

SAGINAW (WJRT) - (11/07/06)--Saginaw's City Council meeting featured a shocking incident Monday night. A Saginaw Valley State University student was TASERed after he became unruly after being asked to take off his baseball cap.
There is a new rule at Saginaw City Council meetings. Men are required to take their hats off. Evidently, they are pretty serious about this new rule.
The man was wearing a Los Angeles Dodgers hat. Officer Doug Stacer of the Saginaw Police Department asked him to remove the hat. The man raised his voice and did not remove the hat.
As the officer tried to grab the hat and then tried to grab the man, the man with the hat tried to kick Saginaw Police Chief Gerald Cliff, who was coming to help out.
At that point, Stacer TASERed the man, which sends 50,000 volts into a person's body. Cliff and Stacer got help from Saginaw County Sheriff Charles Brown hauling the man off to jail.
A few people stood up and watched the event; the meeting resumed a short time later.
The man faces possible charges of alarming and harassing conduct -- a misdemeanor -- and assaulting a police officer. That's a felony. He was not arraigned Tuesday.

A poster named mesokrabby had a fine response -- Finally, a taser was used in the correct situation. SFPD take note for next Giant-Dodger series.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

A match made in heaven

Los Angeles gazillionaires Eli Broad and Ron Burkle are bidding to buy Tribune Co., which includes the LA Times, the Chicago Trib and the Cubs.

Hard to say how the change in ownership might affect the papers. But anyone who's ever driven around the West and looked at the depressing homes built in the Western suburbs by Kaufman & Broad will conclude that the Cubs commitment to mediocrity is likely to continue under Eli Broad.

I googled "Kaufman and Broad" and "sucks" and found this Website which tells of the bad experiences of buying a new K&B home.

More lies from The Garv

Sleazy serial liar Steve Garvey has just signed a book deal --

Former baseball star Steve Garvey's BAT BOY DAYS: LESSONS I LEARNED FROM THE BOYS OF SUMMER, anecdotal vignettes of the keys to life and baseball, which he learned from being a bat boy for the "last great generation of men who played baseball," including Jackie Robinson, Mickey Mantle, Pee Wee Reese and Sandy Koufax, to Brant Rumble at Scribner, by Scott Waxman of the Waxman Literary Agency.

The Garv's most recent sleazy venture was to serve as spokesman for a Ponzi scheme.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

This just in from The Onion

Jeff "Stupid" Suppan

Jeff Suppan wonders how to spell "Jeff." photo by hockeyisfun99

Despite Jeff Suppan joining in Rush Limbaugh's pathethic attacks on Michael J. Fox over stem-cell research, Missouri voters aren't as stupid as Suppan is as they voted for an amendment protecting the research and elected Claire McCaskill as Senator rather than Jim "Lack of" Talent.

"He may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot but don't let that fool you. He really is an idiot."- Groucho Marx

Still more crappy Chronicle reporting

Are the people who edit the SF Chronicle sports pages drunk, stoned or stupid?

Today, the paper ran an article by Gwen Knapp that's actually decent. She makes the point that Lew Wolff appears to be just shaking down Oakland since the lack of any public transit near the proposed stadium will probably create gridlock nightmares.

In the same edition of the paper, Patrick Hoge writes about Fremont's plans to build some kind of shopping village around the ballpark with patrons bused in. Then he lets the Fremont mayor declare that there will be a train station there -- even though BART is NOT planning to build one and there's no plan for light rail: Wasserman said the development site is well situated to take commuter train traffic from the Central Valley and the South Bay. He expects there would be a train station near the ballpark.

There's no further questioning of the Mayor as to what the hell he's talking about -- he's simply allowed to say without any challenge that there will be a train station. This is what's known as letting someone off the hook. And it's the typical crappy job that Chronicle reporters do in covering their beats. As I've said again and again, it's no wonder the paper is losing readers by the thousands.

Here's what I think of the Chronicle reporters. (Turn up the sound)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Adios Jason Schmidt

Jason Schmidt warms up at Mays Field -- usually a sign of a win to come. photo by jakuda

It sure was nice to have Schmidt over the last six seasons. Let's say it again -- Schmidt and Van der Wal for Vogelsong and Rios -- and remember that there was a time when Sabean could actually fleece other teams.

But if Jason's determined to get a four-year $40 million deal, it's doubtful that the Giants will go that far. Grant at McCovey Chronicles has a great post analyzing why the Giants should go with the younger guys. Here's his conclusion --

The Giants have a high-risk, high-reward proposition going on with their young rotation. If they keep the status quo, there is a serious potential for some or all of the young pitchers to fizzle. Young pitchers are like high school girlfriends; five years after you're introduced, there's maybe a 5% chance they'll continue to impact your life. But if the Giants can rely on three or four cheap and young pitchers to perform well for the next three to four years, it would free up some crazy money for offense. If the total rotation makes about $20M, the ability to concentrate the remaining $70M/80M into the offense and the bullpen almost allows the Giants to pretend as if they're the Red Sox with the remaining payroll.
That's if the young pitching works out. Which it probably won't. But it's worth the risk to try and focus on buying an offense, and it's hard to see where a big money deal to Schmidt works in that framework.

On second thought....

Jeff "Stupid" Suppan wonders how to spell "cat." photo by frnch

I had forgotten that Jeff Suppan is a right-wing dingbat who should be ashamed of himself for campaigning against the Missouri measure to protect stem-cell research.

What an idiot. Here's hoping the Giants pass on dumbasses like Suppan and keep going instead with the young quality arms coming up like Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez, Tim Lincecum and Billy Sadler.

Hey Jeff -- you are a weasal loser who lucked into a World Series ring. You and the Colorado Rockies deserve each other.

Do you know the way to San Jose?

Notice how this rendering doesn't have anything about the crappy surrounding area.

The Oakland A's want to build a stadium in Fremont that's not even near a BART line.

The SF Chroicle sports guys are so lame that the news is getting broken first by other publications and then in the Chron by columnists Andrew Ross and Phil Mattier.

I guess I should say "good luck" because Fremont has little to recommend it other than the fact that you can get there from BART. My guess is that this won't come to pass until 2015.

I've always been kind of vaguely annoyed that the A's have managed to achieve far more success (4 World Series wins) than the Giants despite often treating fans disrespectfully while allowing thugs to take over in the stands. And tarping the third deck at the Colisseum is beyond lame -- especially for the playoffs. Worst of all was the A's gagging in the 1988 Series.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Bruce Jenkins = hack loser

Steve Finley laughs about being paid $8 million a year while being one of the worst players in MLB. photo by jessicafm

According to Bruce "Brainiac"Jenkins, the Giants would be better off with Steve Finley than Barry Bonds.

Rather than break stories about the Giants, the SF Chronicle simply resorts to printing lies. In this case, the no-talent Bruce Jenkins declares that the Giants have lost two "character" guys in Moises Alou and Steve Finley.

"Character" is hack-speak for "gives good quotes to lazy geeks like me even though he's no damn good any more as a player." Yeah, that "character" sure helps a lot when you suck as badly on offense as Finley did in his 420 at bats -- 6 HRs, 40 RBIs, a .320 onbase and .394 slugging. Don't be surprised if no one offers Finley a job in 2007. (I do agree about Moises)

That's not enough, of course. There's the requisite BONDS IS SATAN comment, this time in the form that the Giants should trade for Burrell. "The Giants need outfielders, the more the merrier, just to make sure Barry Bonds doesn't come back."

Jenkins can't be bothered with explaining how taking the highest onbase percentage in MLB out of the lineup is somehow going to help the team. Again -- it's amazing that the Chronicle can't figure out why it's losing readers by the thousands.


Suppan in the Orange and Black?

The Chron's reporters are getting off their lazy butts and doing some reporting; taking time off from the BONDS IS SATAN coverage.

Suppan sure looked like the real deal during the post-season; he's got a career 106-101 mark, with a lot of that logged in Kansas City. But the last Card starting pitcher (Morris) to go the Orange and Black has been a bust so far.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The last really good night of the year

That would be Sept. 13 when the Giants beat the Rox 10-6. I attended with my sis. Correia pitched great middle relief; it was the 7th vic in 9 games; the Giants were only a game and a half behind San Diego; I was driving away from the game that night and listening to the phone-in calls on KNBR and people were seriously thinking about the playoffs.

Unfortunately, the Giants lost the next night, 9-8, then won the get-away game on Matt Cain's last great effort of the year, 5-0, and then lost 2 games in St. Louis and fell apart.

The team should have never been in the position of having to win every game at that point, not with the NL West being so lousy. Here's my order of blame for not being able to win a very winnable division and/or wild card --

1. Blownitez
2. Winn
3. Finley
4. Morris
5. Niekro
6. Vizcaino
7. Feliz

Omar wins another Gold Glove

Omar -- so much better than David Eckstein. photo by bojanglesmn

Omar Vizquel has won another well-deserved Gold Glove. Hopefully, this will add to the already strong case for him making the Hall of Fame alongside such notables as Luis Aparicio, Ozzie Smith and Bill Mazeroski.

Blownitez for Pat the Bat?

Burrell goes yard in Phoenix. photo by Cracker Bunny

According to the Philadelphia Daily News, Pat Burrell has expanded his waiver of his no-trade to include the Giants and the Phils might want to take a chance on The Fat Loser. We can always hope. The Bat just turned 30 and he's gotten better at strikezone judgment with 98 and 99 walks in the last 2 years.How appropriate that a breaking story like this with a huge impact on the Giants would NOT get reported first in the San Francisco Chronicle. No wonder the Chronicle keeps losing readers.

Bonds talks start

The club's official site reports that Bonds and the team are talking and have an exclusive period until next Saturday.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Sarge Jr.

The Merc-News is reporting that the Giants want to get Gary Matthews Jr. after his break-out season.

My initial reaction is that it's a better idea than Luis Gonzalez. Matthews' dad was one of the few reasons to cheer for the Giants in the bad old days of the early to mid 70s. Weird memory -- one day in 1976, Matthews hit 3 homers in a game at the Stick but went out for a pinch-hitter for his last at bat. One of my fave memories of him -- helping humiliate the Dodgers in the 1983 NLCS with 3 HRs and 8 RBIs.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The right move on Wright

Jamey Wright wonders about retirement as he gets bombed again. Photo by krobbie

The Giants declined the $2.5 million option on Jamey Wright for 2007 -- probably the best move of the off-season so far. This guy has never been any damn good on a consistent basis -- he's now 67-98 with a 5.14 ERA over 11 seasons -- and this season was no different. He did lead MLB pitchers in hitting, which is also known as not having your priorities straight. So the only reason why he got a deal for this past season was that Sabean & Magowan decided to roll the dice and go cheap.

They also declined the $7 million option for 2007 on Finley, who didn't do nearly enough in 2006 to make up for his transgressions as a Dodger. He got worse as the year went on while whining about not playing. But he was certainly an improvement on Edgardo Alfonzo. Bringing back Jose Pagan -- even though Jose is now 71 -- would have been an improvement on Alfonzo.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Cards apologize

From The Onion

ST. LOUIS—Calling Friday night's victory on baseball's grandest stage "a terrible mistake," members of the St. Louis Cardinals issued a formal apology for making the playoffs, winning the World Series, and depriving baseball fans everywhere of a season featuring the kind of heartwarming, storybook ending to which they have grown accustomed in recent years.

"I'm still struggling to understand how this could have happened," said a sober Tony La Russa during a press conference following Game 5. "It seemed all but certain coming into this series that we were going to be a part of something truly special, that we would easily put the finishing touches on a magical season that inspired millions of fans around the country, but instead we somehow ended up winning."
"It's disappointing, to say the least," La Russa added. "We were rooting for the Detroit Tigers just like everyone else."
According to Cardinals players, they "tried absolutely everything" in their pursuit to earn the Tigers their first world championship since 1984, including eliminating the far more dangerous New York Mets in the NLCS, entering the series completely unrested after a grueling seven-game series, starting a rookie pitcher with five career wins in Game 1 in Detroit, and postponing Game 4 due to rain in the hopes that an off day would swing the momentum back in the Tigers' favor.
"I don't know what we could've done differently," second-baseman Ronnie Belliard said. "We gave the Tigers every opportunity to win ballgames, but when their pitchers keep making errors on simple ground balls, what are we supposed to do, pretend we forgot the rules and start running to third base?"
Desperate for a Tigers win in Game 2, the Cardinals chose to overlook the fact that starter Kenny Rogers was pitching with the aid of a foreign substance on his left hand.
"Of course we all knew it was pine tar, but it seemed like they were finally finding their rhythm… We certainly didn't want to shake their confidence, so we decided to just let it go," La Russa said. "Frankly, if the umpires didn't bring it up, we probably would've let him pitch with it the whole game."
After the final out of the World Series was recorded, the stunned Cardinals retreated to their dugout and watched with disappointed, glazed-over expressions as the Detroit Tigers—the feel-good team of the season whom everyone expected to win it all—packed up their equipment in the dugout across the diamond.
According to Albert Pujols, some teammates took the World Series victory harder than others.
"For a lot of young guys like [Anthony] Reyes and [Yadier] Molina, this was their first chance to see an exciting, inspirational, and truly deserving team win a championship," Pujols said. "Even though the outcome of this series has definitely left a bad taste in my mouth, I can handle it, because I was there in 2004 when we were able to see Red Sox beat us in the World Series. Man, what an incredible feeling that was… Just watching those guys celebrate, I really felt like I was seeing history unfold before my eyes. It was definitely my greatest baseball moment."
"I hope we have the chance to see something like that again next year," Pujols added.
Reporters and sportswriters around the nation were critical of many of La Russa's successful managerial decisions, second-guessing such effective moves as leaving staff ace Chris Carpenter in for more than five innings in Game 3, and failing to bench third-baseman Scott Rolen, who batted a team-high .421 in the series. La Russa, however, said that things would be different next year.
"I think I speak for my players, the front office, the coaching staff, and every fan in St. Louis when I say that all season long, we had just one goal: bringing a championship to the great city of Detroit," La Russa said. "And even though we failed this time around, we will be committed to achieving similar goals next season."
In the somber clubhouse following the victory, Cardinals centerfielder Jim Edmonds admitted that "the wrong team won," but said that the outcome of the 2006 World Series is "just something we're unfortunately going to have to live with."
"Nobody thought we could do this, nobody thought we could stop this powerhouse team that beat the odds to go from worst to first and rolled through the playoffs looking like they were invincible," Edmonds said. "And we thought we had taken every possible step to prove them right."
"We shocked the world," Edmonds added. "We're sorry."