Wednesday, May 31, 2006

One more reason to like Mays Field

When you attend a game at Mays Field (AKA AT&T Park), one of the nice things is that there are not incessant reminders to vote for the Giants for the All-Star team, unlike Dodger Stadium (AKA Chavez Latrine). Which is fine with me. I stopped caring about the All-Star game about the time that Pete Rose decided it was cool to end Ray Fosse's season. Then I really stopped caring when Bud Selig let the game end in a tie, then "fixed" things by giving the AL a permanent advantage (since even the lousiest teams are required have a player, the league with DHs and fewer teams is going to be better). Anyhow, the NL new voting totals are out & it's obvious that 1. There's a lot more campaigning at other parks (David Eckstein leads at SS; Vizquel is 5th) and 2. It's a popularity contest. (Bonds is 8th among the outfielders behind Jones, Beltran, Edmonds, Griffey, Soriano, Abreu and Lee). The official press release is here.

I suppose that Jason Schmidt ought to be on the team -- his performance (10 strikeouts, no walks in 5 2/3 innings before leaving with a cramp) tonight against the Marlins was the essence of what being an ace is all about -- but I'd prefer that Bonds be picked as a reserve. Given that brainless low-class weasel Phil Garner will be managing, it's impossible to predict what might happen. Maybe he'll name Roger "Head Hunting Bastard" Clemens and Russ "So Lousy I Don't Deserve a Nickname" Springer to the team, ensuring that the AL will have home field advantage at the World Series.

Thanks again, Bud Selig, for screwing up baseball!

If you have lemons, make lemonade

I'm grateful to my Mom & Dad for many things, not the least of which is always being SF Giants fans from the day the team arrived in 1958. They also stressed the importance of optimism, of seeing the bright side of unpleasant situations -- such as the Giants performance against a terrible Florida team, convincingly losing two games to pitchers with ERAs over 6.00.

For some unexplainable reason, the Florida Marlins have attained far more success than they deserve in their 13-year history -- much of it at the expense of the Giants. After I perused the box score after the game, noting two Niekro HRs and Vizcaino's dropping his average to .188 via a failed pinch-hitting appearance, I decided to type "Florida sucks" into the Google search and found a highly entertaining site called "Florida Sucks," which plays Stephen Foster's "Swanee River" when you call it up. The home page intro says "All you ever wanted to know about Florida --- that the state of Florida wishes you didn't."

Here's the site's list of why Florida sucks, in case you were thinking of moving to the state. And each has a well-written explanation --

-- The weather leaves a lot to be desired (just check out this years Hurricane season)
-- It is a very pedestrian unfriendly place
-- Florida's drivers have to be the worst ( check out insurance prices )
-- Floridas schools are rated among the worst in the country
-- Florida is a "Right to Work" state
-- Florida has NO labor protection laws!
-- It has some very draconian laws which could affect you
-- Florida can be a very racist place
-- Florida has no development guidelines, urban sprawl runs unchecked
-- It is populated by an unfortunately large amount of rude obnoxious boobs!
-- It is almost solely responsible for putting George Dubya in office, and it has another Bush Boob for a governor


I must admit that now I feel better, knowing that my contempt for Florida is entirely justified.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Thanks a lot, Bud Selig

One of the many travesties of the Bud Selig has been the expansion of MLB into two notably unsdeserving cities -- Miami and Tampa Bay. It's been a joke since Day One in both of those towns. Bruce Jenkins of the SF Chronicle had a great post about it tonight -- Another day another joke: the city of Miami still hosting a major-league franchise. When is contraction due, 2007? It can't come soon enough. Get these jokers out of the picture!Here come the Giants on Memorial Day, and admittedly, it's a bit of an anti-climax with Barry Bonds having hit his 715th homer in San Francisco, but did you see the telecast? There might have been 18 people in the ballpark. I love this talk about how a new stadium will revive baseball in South Florida -- NO CHANCE! It's not a baseball town and never will be. The good people of South Florida are into boxing, football and soccer, period, end of story.Either contract the Marlins or move them to a better place. Hell, even Las Vegas, with the gambling, prostitution and other late-night temptations for impressionable ballplayers, would be an improvement. And take down the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, while you're at it. Florida means spring training, that's it. It means a few thousand 87-year-old retired New Yorkers checking in on a game that doesn't count. Beyond that, no way. Another day, another travesty...

Pujols heading for Bonds record?

Rather than trying to find some positives on a disappointing 5-1 loss to the Marlins (Durham keeps hitting well, Morris pitched adequately, Bonds keeps hitting, Vizcaino didn't play), it's worth mentioning that the attention of the baseball press is clearly shifting to Albert Pujols heading for the Bonds single-season HR record. He's now at 25 HRs in 51 games; Jim Thome hit 2 HRs today to get to 20. ESPN's "Outside the Lines" recently embarrassed itself by running yet another "Barry Is Evil" segment that consisted of how unfair it is that Pujols is somehow tainted by the notion that it's automatically assumed that Pujols may be doing steroids. This is how sports reporting has devolved -- stating an unprovable conclusion based on an unproven premise. However, the usually lame LA Times sports section has actually done some real reporting via Michael Hiltzik (a Pulitzer Prize winner who recently got moved out of the business section for the transgression of posting anonymously on blogs). Hiltzik's points include the following:

-- Researchers from the Society for American Baseball Research have come up "largely empty handed" in looking for effects of steroid use;

-- The spike in HRs during the 1990s was due in large part to expansion and smaller parks;

-- Hitters have been trying to hit more HRs, as shown by an increase in strikeouts during the '90s;

-- and it's not unprecedented for players to have late-career power spikes such as Ted Willams and Hank Aaron.

Here's the article.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

I left my heart in San Francisco

Now that the game has ended on a Mike Matheny fly out, it seems like a good time to follow John Perricone's example at his excellent Only Baseball Matters site and link to Brian Murphy's detailed explanation for ESPN's Page 2 about why San Francisco fans love -- and that is indeed the right word -- Barry Bonds.

Here's the opening -- OK. Take a deep breath. This one is complicated.
I am here to try to explain to a nation of Bonds Haters why the city of San Francisco, this progressive-voting, forward-thinking, hybrid-driving region, a Bay Area that likes to think of itself as sophisticated, intelligent and -- yes, let's say it -- above all other cities in America is unabashedly and unashamedly and embarrassingly still in love with Barry Bonds.


Here's Murphy's explanation on Jeff Kent's stupidity and crybaby approach to life, so well written that he doesn't even need to mention Kent's lie about his motorcycle injury nor his ridiculous pornstache -- Jeff Kent won the MVP award in 2000, but Kent didn't get it the way Barry got it. While Barry kept saying he wanted to win a World Series for Giants fans in San Francisco -- "my hometown," as Barry always pointed out -- Kent was the one who ripped the Giants' new home uniforms on Opening Night at Pac Bell, oozing disdain when he uttered his infamous "french vanilla" description of the Giants' cream-colored home gamers. Worse, he dared describe Pac Bell Park as a place with flaws. He pointed out its shortcomings, how it wasn't a hitter's park, how it was still cold … when all any San Franciscan and any Giants fan wanted to hear was how pretty it was and how lucky we were to have it.

HR 715 -- what now?

CONGRATULATIONS TO BARRY BONDS! I'm back in LA after watching two excellent Giant wins over the Rockies and writing this in the wake of Bonds hitting HR 715 to dead center, unfortunately after Wright melted down and gave up 6 in the top of the 4th. I was listening to XM in my car & Dave Fleming inadvertantly had his mike cut off in the aftermath so all you could hear was the crowd roaring. ESPN broke into their regular telecast of a woman's softball game to show the shot and have Harold Reynolds and John Kruk discuss it, with a big focus on whether Bonds can get another 41 HRs to go past Aaron. They were both of the opinion that he won't. Kruk felt he simply's too broken down; Reynolds said his pride won't permit him to keep playing at this declining level. I'm not entirely certain that they're right, however. As a fan, one hopes that Bonds hasn't been able to play as well as he can because of the massive distraction of the very unique circumstances of going past this record.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

You can't always get what you want

But sometimes you do. I arrived at Mays Field last night to discover that Felipe Alou had decided to stop the madness of starting Jose Vizcaino at first base. The result -- a 3-hit game for Travis Ishikawa, including two long doubles. After the second double, I heard the chant clearly:

ISH - EE - KA - WA (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap)
ISH - EE - KA - WA (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap)

I had lucked into great seats in section 119, so I got to see Barry Bonds give Travis a big "way to go kid" smile and thumbs-up at the end of the 5-run inning that included his first double. Somehow, I have the feeling that the gesture won't receive much notice in the unending barrage of "Bonds is evil" stories -- nor will the fine fielding plays Bonds made in LF, nor his baserunning expertise in stepping around the catcher to score during the 5-run rally.

Vizcaino did show up in the 8th but vanished quickly by popping out on the first pitch. At least that led to a one-inning appearance by Brian Wilson in the 9th. Perhaps the Rockies were just demoralized but it looked like Wilson's stuff was pretty lively. Not one of the Rocks got in a decent swing as he struck out the side and walked two.

Martin Lee at Obsessive Giants Compulsive has a nice take on Ishikawa that includes this point -- I am hoping he is the future of the Giants and the sooner we can get him up and running, the sooner the post-Bonds era can start because who says that it can't start with Bonds still around, maybe they can give the team a boost with their youthful energy. Niekro kills LHP, Ishikawa probably kills RHP, I love the long ball and Ishikawa can crush them, I saw one he hit at San Jose just fly off his bat for a long homerun, he has a lot of power....

Friday, May 26, 2006

Zip it

The "zip it" scene was my favorite from the 3 "Austin Powers" movies (the Tom Arnold scene in the bathroom is a close second). What provoked me to stroll down memory lane was seeing just now this headline from the New York Times --

'Now Batting for the Giants: Barry...' (Click)
By RICHARD SANDOMIR
Published: May 26, 2006 There has been no public jockeying to carry extra Barry Bonds games, no saga like Hank Aaron's as he pursued Babe Ruth's home run record.


Look, I understand that any job can be tough, especially with making deadlines. But is it too much to simply ask that sports journalists stop telling us how bored they are -- and how bored everyone else should be -- with Barry Bonds? I realize that being a sports journalist isn't the greatest job in the world and it's tough to come up new angles. I also realize that the stories ostensibly aren't about that. But as I read the 1,000th iteration of "Bonds is evil and this is the end of civilization as we know it" with no new reporting and no new insights, it strikes me that essentially journalists are telling us how bored they are -- too bored to find out anything new. So I'm bored with them, too. I realize that Major League baseball really isn't that important in the overall scheme of things but that's not much of an excuse. Because I live in LA, I'm used to the piss-poor sportswriting in the LA papers but I somehow had hoped the "paper of record" could manage something more insightful than another version of the same old story. I guess not.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A guide to getting to Connecticut quickly

Top 7TH B:0 S:0 O:0 Pitcher Change: Scott Munter replaces Noah Lowry, batting 9th.
Top 7TH B:0 S:0 O:0 Scott Spiezio singles on a ground ball to first baseman Mark Sweeney.
Top 7TH B:1 S:0 O:1 Albert Pujols lines out to second baseman Ray Durham.
Top 7TH B:4 S:0 O:1 Scott Rolen walks. Scott Spiezio to 2nd.
Top 7TH B:0 S:1 O:1 Juan Encarnacion singles on a ground ball to right fielder Dan Ortmeier. Scott Spiezio scores. Scott Rolen to 3rd.
Top 7TH B:4 S:2 O:1 Hector Luna walks. Juan Encarnacion to 2nd.
Top 7TH B:4 S:0 O:1 Yadier Molina walks. Scott Rolen scores. Juan Encarnacion to 3rd. Hector Luna to 2nd.
Top 7TH B:0 S:0 O:1 Pitcher Change: Steve Kline replaces Scott Munter.

After the game, the Giants optioned Munter to its double A affiliate in Danbury, Conn. His pitching line was damn ugly -- ERA of 7.71; he'd let in 14 earned runs in 16 innings; he had 13 walks and 6 strikeouts. Felipe says he'll be back when he gets his sinker back. My reaction is "How about never, Felipe? Does never work for you?"

I guess that Munter's stats last year and the fact that he looks like an MLB power pitcher somehow convinced Felipe to keep running him out there. Fans sometimes mistakenly say of big leaguers, "I could have done that." In Munter's case, they would have been right.

Dan Ortmeier also got sent down Fresno after going 3-for-12. Felipe says he needs to play every day. He has until Friday to fill the roster spots. My reaction is "Can we get a real first-baseman? Is it going to kill you guys to admit that you shouldn't be starting Jose Vizcaino at first base?"

Daniel at Orange and Black Baseball has a plan for dealing with the continuing outrage that Vizcaino represents as part of a post after Tuesday's game entitled That's it, now I'm just plain pissed: So the Let's Waive Goodbye to Jose Vizcaino Count-Up will begin on Thursday, May 25th, as that is the day after the day Vizcaino should've been waived. As this won't actually happen on Wednesday like it should, the count-up will start at one on Thursday and count up the days since the mistake was committed. And, just to ratchet up the brutality, I'll also count up the number of plate appearances the Giants have wasted on him.If you think I'm a bit obsessed with this, well, you're right. Very astute of you to notice.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

No way, Jose

Felipe -- please stop playing Jose Vizcaino.

He started another game at 1B tonight and committed two errors, including the key play of the game in the 5th when he dropped Feliz' throw, which would have ended the inning. Instead, Encarnacion leaked a single through on the next pitch for 2 runs, putting the game out of reach at 6-2. Jose got a hit tonight, so now he's batting .190.

Marty at Accross the Seams has a nice take on how awful this situation is:
The Giants are winning, hoorah. There's the good, namely that the starting pitching has been fantastic, including the return to form of Matt Cain. Jamey Wright has been much better than we have a right to expect. And Schmidt is looking like the guy from a few years ago.
That's the good. Then there's this:
Vizcaino, 1b
This is horribly wrong. What makes it worse is that when Vizcaino starts, it's damn near impossible to take him out of the game, thanks to the horrible construction of the Giants roster. Who is the backup shortstop? Vizcaino. Backup third baseman? Vizcaino. Frandsen is back, so the team is covered at second. Vizquel is ouchy right now at short, so if he can't play, Vizcaino has to move over there. Sweeney is a nice short-term fill-in, but he's really a pinch hitter and if he could hit lefties regularly, you wouldn't need to slot in Vizcaino in the first place.
But the Giants do, and that's pathetic. Has any other organization punted this position more than the Giants in the past several seasons? When's the last time a real threat played there?
And don't say J.T. is available. Yes, he is. No, he's not the answer. Has Barry ruled out first entirely?
Can we get some more AB for Ortmeier, by the way? Let's see what he can do. We know what Vizcaino can do, and it's not pretty.

Backlash against Sports Illustrated

Jason Snell at Idiots Write About Sports has had it up to here with SI's reporting on Bonds. What's at issue is whether Bonds was kidding around when he made his 2003 remarks about being better than Babe Ruth. Given that SI's been highly critical of Bonds for a long time, the accusation that SI has it in for Bonds -- that it's not willing to use its not inconsiderable resources to find out the actual truth -- is highly damaging to its already declining reputation. I've nearly cancelled my subscription several times, thanks to the unending series of Rick Reilly's stupid columns and the mag's obsession with the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry. And on Monday, Martin Lee at Obsessive Giants Compulsive dissected the controversy further and concluded that San Francisco Chronicle reporter John Shea has badly misunderstood and mis-interpreted what happened three years ago in his Sunday piece.

Here's Jason's entire post -- Another day, another Tom Verducci screed about what a bad guy Barry Bonds is.
We get it, Tom. We get it. Every chance you get you tell us how much you hate Barry Bonds and all he stands for. It’s been on the Web. It’s been on the cover of SI — two weeks ago, Sports Illustrated published a cover story that was essentially a three-page-long blog post by Tom Verducci about how bad Barry Bonds was. A cover story. Nothing new, nothing in depth, just a cheap way to sell copies on the newsstand and not deliver anything inside that you couldn’t read about on any random blog you out there.
It’s time to give it a rest, Tom. You’re becoming a parody of yourself. Or would you prefer it if, instead of being known as a baseball writer, you were known as the star of Verducci on Bonds? Ahab had his whale. You’ve got Barry Bonds.
As for Sports Illustrated, I don’t know what to say. I’ve been a subscriber since I was in high school. And this week I am probably going to phone up Time Warner and ask for my money back. Because SI has largely abandoned the excellent reporting they used to be known for, and replaced it with knee-jerk blog crap. I used to read SI cover to cover. Now I thumb through it and generally leave disappointed.
I like blogs. I write them and publish them. But I don’t buy news magazines in order to read angry blog posts formed into cover stories.

Wrong about Wright

Here at Giants Win, there's a commitment to telling the truth -- a daunting task when Chavez Latrine and its commitment to reality avoidance ("Jeff Kent is a leader in the clubhouse," "Let's go watch the Dodgers so we can bat around beach balls!") is less than a dozen miles away.

Here's the truth -- I was wrong about Jamey Wright. Alert readers of this blog may remember that I declared on the night that he gave up 7 in the 4th to the San Diego Dads something on the order of "This is why Jamey Wright will never be considered a serious MLB pitcher." Now, he has 5 wins, the most on the Giants staff, and has a 3.84 ERA after 63 innings. He stifled the Cards, who are everyone's best bet to go to the Series due to their offense.

Monday, May 22, 2006

A.J. Pierzynski punchout

If you've been living in a mine shaft over the last few days, you may have missed the extremely satisfying sight of Michael Barrett of the Cubs cold-cocking A.J. Pierzynski of the White Sox on Saturday after A.J. mouthed off. I don't plan to explain my reaction to all the evil the A.J. managed to create in his one year as an SF Giant. I don't need to because McCovey Chronicles has actually run a very amusing contest to put a caption on the photo as if it were a motivational poster. Here's the thread.

My favorite posters --
-- Interleague play: Giving a whole new meaning to the term designated hitter;
-- Justice: So swiftly administered, so richly deserved; and
-- Assholes: Every once in a while, they get what they deserve.

A little payback, but not enough

Scott Spiezio made the last out tonight in a 9-2 buttkick by the Giants over the Cards. That's inadequate payback for his clutch 3-run HR off Felix Rodriguez in Game 6 in the 2002 World Series. There are few players -- Ricky Ledee, Jeff Kent, Jeff Weaver, Chipper Jones, AJ Pierzynski -- that I've wanted see suffer as much ever since. Scott justified my disdain by bombing out big time in Seattle during the past two years; now he's back to being an adequate player with 16 RBIs in just 75 ABS with the Cards.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Adios Alfonzo

The Angels decided after the 16-3 buttkick at the Ravine on Friday to place Alfonzo on waivers after he went 0-for-2 to drop his total to 5-for- 50. I believe that means Arte Moreno gets to eat the entire $7 or $8 million Alfronzo's owed this year. Compared with the Matt Morris signing, the Finley trade (he's 34 for 117) now looks like a move of genius by the Giants. Perhaps Matt Cain -- who looked overwhelming today -- can help Matt Morris get his stuff back.

In other interesting news, Niekro went on the DL due to shoulder pain and Frandsen got called back up from Fresno. But Felipe Alou's obviously not reading this blog, as he again started Vizcaino at 1B, where he went 2-for-4. Felipe -- please stop playing Vizcaino.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

What HR 714 means

Bleeding Orange and Black has a great take on this -- This is what it must feel like to finally lose your virginity at age 47.

You don't care how great it is, you're just glad it's over.

Barry Bonds will no longer be behind Babe Ruth. The historic home run has been hit. Brad Halsey had the honors to be forever linked to both Bonds and The Bambino, also becoming the 420th pitcher to serve up a big fly to big Barry.

The most amazing part, however, was the crowd's reaction. Instead of lobbing cell phone batteries, syringes and whatever else they happen to be holding in their hands at the moment (be it a beer, hotdog or small child), the Oakland fans actually applauded Barry, prompting two curtain calls.

Pilots have been notified to be wary for airborne swine.

Giant fans now are overcome by relief. Maybe now the media will stop focusing on Barry constantly and pay attention to what is shaping up to be an ultra-competitive NL West race. Maybe ESPN will acknowledge one of the other 24 men on the Giants roster. Maybe Felipe can stop worrying about what to say about Barry and how to fuck up the lineups some more.

Maybe it can go back to just being about who wins the game.

But for now, enjoy the moment. Enjoy seeing that replay a thousand more times in the next week. Enjoy seeing Oakland fans standing and cheering for a Giant, something they would deny ever happening if it weren't for the footage.

714--Halfway there

Now that Barry Bonds has gotten 714, I'm hoping the Giants can focus a little more on winning games. Like they did today with a fine victory in extras.

I was at Dodger Stadium when it happened, though I might have never found out if I had gone to get a soda in the 6th. Typical of how clueless and classless the Dodger organization is, the news wasn't posted on the Jumbo-tron until 90 minutes after it happened, generating a smattering of boos. The rest of the "fans" were far more interested in doing the wave while the Angels were at bat (they are the stupidest fans in baseball) and interrupting play by knocking around beach balls. Play had to halted close to a dozen times, thanks to dingbats knocking beach balls onto the field.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Why? Why? Why?

Questions after Jose Vizcaino started at 1B tonight. He's now 9-for-52 after going 0-for-2 tonight -- eight singles, a 2b, 9 walks and 2 RBIs. I know he's versatile but he obviously can't hit MLB pitching anymore. I see that Sweeney started in LF -- why not start Jason Ellison in LF and put Sweeney at 1B? Wouldn't Kevin Frandsen make more sense as a backup over the long term (Frandsen batted .250 (11-for-44) with a double, scored four times, had two RBIs and got 5 HBPs)?

Meanwhile, JT Snow is asking to be traded from the Bosox (he's 4-for-21, all singles) and Hee Sop Choi is posting decent Triple A numbers -- 27 for 91, 3 HRs and 16 RBIs. I suppose Vizcaino is a decent backup for Vizquel but it's scary to see him get over 50 ABs this early in the year and starting at 1B in a game where the Giants got 2 hits all night.

In the day's positive news, Lowry continues to pitch well and MLB suspended Houston Weasel "pitcher" Russ Springer for 4 games and "manager" Phil Garner for a game for their cowardly attack on Bonds on Tuesday.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Houston, you've got a problem

Mainly, your team sucks. Losing 34-5 in 3 games to the Giants ought to close the argument.

Brad Lidge, who knows a thing or two about sucking, had this to say. "For whatever reason, every time we play the Giants, they're like the best team in the league. It's not even close." In other words, it's just bad luck and things will even out over a 162-game season. But unless Lidge is an idiot, he's whistling in the dark. The Astros resemble the Giants in that they're counting on a lot of guys who are past their primes plus counting on Roger Clemens, another cheap-shot artist, to unretire again.

I don't believe in karma but the 3rd straight win via double-digit offensive output felt like a bit of payback tonight -- not just for Tuesday's cheap-shotting by Russ Springer but for thte evil brought on by Astroturf, Enron and the Bush Family. Amazing how delusional baseball can make you feel!

Daniel at Orange and Black Baseball had a great post tonight titled (There's a dagger) Deep in the Heart of Texas. It's so good that I'm posting the whole thing:

You got your Barry Bonds Beaning (tm), and we got our three game Absolute Astro Annihilation (tm).To Houston fans, apparently, that's an even trade. For me, after laughing to the point of tears, I disagree. I'll take the small bruise on Bonds' back and the sweep, thanks. Perhaps Astro fans should be more concerned with the fact that their entire team's scoring from the series was matched by Pedro Feliz...in the very first game of the series (5 to 5).The incident will loom larger than the meaning of this series for the Giants, but it shouldn't -- several players seem to be taking a healthy dose of Get Right in pushing the team back above .500 (along with...gasp!...the rest of the NL West):
--Matt Morris, more than anyone else got up so he could get down and funky...alright, corny as that line was, it has the vague vestiges of truth ingrained -- he used his defense and held down the Astros in that lovely little launching pad that they call a stadium. A game Morris sorely needed, and it came at exactly the right time.
--Ray Durham showed us why we're glad neither Jose Vizcaino or Kevin Frandsen is starting at 2nd base -- he can hit. Durham's got a pretty drastic difference thus far in his splits, what with him killing lefty pitchers in limited plate appearances and struggling against righties. Normally he is more productive hitting right-handed, but this year it's been night and day.
--I said a day or so ago I'd leave Pedro Feliz alone since he had righted his ship, but I think I take that back. He got hot right around the time I was talking bad about him and is slugging .900 in his last seven games. Yes, because Feliz reads my blog and took my comments personally, that is why he is hitting like...cr-r-r-r-r-azy. Yep. Makes sense. Oh, and he's suddenly 6th in the NL in RBI, too. That'll get Joe Morgan's blood a-flowin', yeah.


So now we come to the really interesting stuff -- interleague. While it was widely speculated that it'd be much better for Bonds to hit #714 at home, I can't help but think him hitting it in Oakland wouldn't be too bad of an alternative.
I'm going to predict it happens on Friday, on Bonds' 1st at bat. Remember where you heard it first...unless it doesn't happen. Then, don't remember anything I just said about it. Forget my name, and tell people you don't know me.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Houston gets into the weasel act

Don Drysdale is perhaps the least-deserving player in the Hall of Fame. He had a 209-166 record and a total of two 20-game seasons in a 14-year career. So his election represented a triumph of hype over substance that stemmed from his extreme good fortune to be linked with the truly great Sandy Koufax. He was a cheap-shot bastard who always threw at the other teams' best hitters -- F. Robby, Clemente, Mays -- and set an NL record by hitting 154 batters. The dumbass LA fans used to cheer him for beaning batters. He was also a jerk off the field -- in 1991, he was arrested on drunk driving charges following an accident in which a woman was injured. His blood alcohol level was 0.19; an indication of someone with a lot of practice driving drunk.

The Astros managed to revive the spirit of Drysdale tonight when they were down 11-3. The legendary Russ Springer threw 5 straight pitches at Bonds before nailing him in the shoulder. Springer and Phil Garner finally got tossed, leading to a standing ovation by 35,000 Houston jerks. It seems Bonds had the temerity to hit a HR off Springer in 2001, leading to a HBP in 2004, the last time Springer faced Bonds. Garner actually said afterwards that Springer wasn't trying to hit Bonds because the pitch that hit him was a slider.

Hey, Phil -- Thanks for reminding us that you're a weasel and an idiot, in case there was any doubt after you mis-managed the Astros into a World Series sweep last year. You were stupid enough to let Brad Lidge pitch to Pujols in the 9th inning of Game 5 of the NLCS instead of walking him to pitch to Reggie Sanders, thus destroying Lidge's effectiveness in the Series and this year.

Lefty Malo posted a great headline and very astute comment about Houston after Monday's buttkick of the Astros. Check it out here.

Dodger weasels

In moves typical of the classless and clueless Dodgers, Vin Scully and Tommy Lasorda have backtracked SLIGHTLY from their proclamations that they would really rather not have anything to do with Bonds breaking Ruth's record. Hey, Vin -- I'd rather stay home instead of going to the office. Ain't life unfair?

Scully was quoted in the April 3 LA Times saying it would be "an awkward moment" to call a record-breaking Bonds homer. On Friday, however, Scully said his comments shouldn't have been construed as steroid-related. "That bad word, I never talk about it," Scully said. "Oh, gosh, no. I really don't know anything about it. How would I?" (VIN--YOU ARE A WEASEL!)

Lasorda said he believes Bonds took steroids, according to Friday's USA Today, and added, "I've lost a lot of respect for him. For me, records were made to be broken. But you don't do it by cheating. When you're stealing signs, that's all part of the game. But when you cheat to that degree, it's not good at all." On Friday, Lasorda backed off from the comments, saying the reporter asked him "if you knew he definitely took steroids, would you respect him? I said no. But he didn't put the question in the article." Lasorda also said, "Barry and I have been friends for a long time." (YEAH, TOMMY, I'M SURE YOU AND BARRY ARE SUPER-TIGHT. YOU ARE ALSO A WEASEL!)

Monday, May 15, 2006

Things ain't what they used to be

Observant readers of Giants Win will remember that my sister and I actually attended the game on April 26, where Bonds hit HR 711 as a pinch hitter off Billy Wagner in the bottom of the 9th to tie the game (photographic proof here). At the start of that game, Pedro Feliz was batting .169 with a .205 on base percentage, 2 HRs and a .295 slugging percentage. Perhaps inspired by Barry hitting No. 710 the night before, he went 3-for-5 in that game and has been hitting ever since, including a Grand Salami tonight. He's now batting .270 with 7 HRS, 27 RBIs and a .467 slugging average. He's currently on pace for 33 HR, 124 RBI, 95 R and no longer the Designated Goat of 2006.

It's one of the amazing aspects of baseball that the fortunes of a player can change so quickly. My current favorite example is Brad Lidge of the Astros, who was King of the Pen up until he got 2 outs in the 9th inning of Game 5 of the NLCS. Single to Eckstein, walk to Edmonds, long long long HR by Pujols. Lidge then was ineffective in the World Series, taking losses in both games he pitched, and has stunk so badly this year that Garner's been reduced to giving him 2 innings tonight with the score 10-1 to help him get his confidence back.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

"Worst bullpen in the majors"

Unfortunately, that was Vin Scully's description of the Giants today, and though he kept mis-identifying Giants players (he had a particular problem mixing up Vizquel, Niekro and Feliz), they certainly lived down to the description today. Rather than point out the worst error of the year (Kline's inability to throw to 3B cost them the game as the score went from 2-2 to 4-2) I was particularly troubled by all three relievers (Kline, Worell and Munter) walking the first guy they faced.

Not that I care much but hadn't Scully proclaimed that he wouldn't announce Bonds' breaking the record? Isn't that kind of wishy-washy, Vin? Or did you know that Bonds wouldn't homer? And while I'm on Vin's case, isn't a Hall of Fame announcer supposed to make an effort to get people's names right? So, Vin decides in the midst of describing Schmidt's homerun prowess that he has to mis-pronounce Montefusco's name for the 1,000th time. It's Mon-Tay-FEWS-co not Mon-Tay-FUHS-co, you dimwit.

Bill Plaschke gets it right

Hard to believe I am typing this, but the usually lame Bill Plaschke had a solid piece in today's L.A. Times explaining how frustrating it is for ordinary fans to deal with long the concession lines are at Dodger Stadium -- even at a game where the announced attendance is 33,000, third smallest of the year. He even mentions quite correctly that the Loge Terrace area is a fine addition. The pathetic excuses offered by the Dodgers include slow freight elevators and small stands. But the article actually gets to the truth of the matter -- obvious to anyone who's waited two innings to get fries and a Coke -- which is that the REAL problem is that the staffing is completely inadequate and none of the employees hustle. I've been to baseball stadiums in Anaheim, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, Oakland, San Diego and San Francisco and Washington DC and it's no contest -- Dodger Stadium has by far the worst concession food and service. Hopefully, the McCourts will stop trying to blame everyone else for the problem.

My advice -- Eat in Chinatown. And stay awat from the garlic fries at Dodger Stadium as they are drenched in grease (left over from Tommy Lasorda's late night snack?).

Saturday, May 13, 2006

I hope Lasorda saw the 9th inning today

Best comeback of the year and a sure sign of the Dodgers GAGGING again without Gagne. Several good signs in this one include nice relief by Worrell and Benitez, Feliz pounding the ball (7th inning double was smoked) and Niekro finally starting to hit, as Dave Fleming pointed out in the 9th when he clobbered a fattie to LF and showed what a fraud Baez is as a closer. Let's recap the ninth, set up by Jeff "Clubhouse Cancer" Kent hitting into a DP, shall we?

Steve Finley -- 2B past first base. Pedro Feliz -- takes 1B an Aybar's error. Ray Durham -- flied out. Lance Niekro -- singles home Finley, making it 5-3 L.A. Todd Greene -- 2B past third base that scores Feliz, sends Niekro to third. Score LA 5-4. Dan Ortmeier -- PH for Benitez, singles, Niekro scores, Greene at third. Score tied 5-5. Jose Vizcaino runs for Greene. Randy Winn walked intentionally to load the bases. Omar Vizquel -- SF fly to score Vizcaino. Giants win 6-5.

Who asked you, anyhow?

Don't you hate it when some idiot decides to hijack your conversation just because he or she believes -- mistakenly -- that they have something riveting to say when it's actually some boring BS? That's the way I feel about Tommy Lasorda.

I've always had a visceral dislike for Lasorda, who's always hadthe emotional maturity of a 2-year-old. He thoroughly exemplifies the misguided sense of entitlement that pervades the Dodgers. He's always taken every opportunity to remind the world about what a genius he is for overcoming all crappy breaks he was getting. It's no accident that his most famous player, Steve Garvey, turned out to be a scam artist who stiffs everyone in his path, in addition to having a dozen bastard children. Lasorda had an 0-4 record as an MLB pitcher, then managed to ruin one of the best pitchers ever in Valenzuela by the late 80s.

Now he's decided to proclaim that he's not going to participate in any Bonds celebration, according to USA Today. First the worthless Bud Selig decides to ignore No. 714 and now the most obnoxious manager ever decides he's going to dis the event too. As if he was going to be asked.

Hey, Tommy, why don't you make us all happy, and just stay home all the time? And by the way -- if you think you're invited to my New Year's Eve party, I'll call the cops if you show up.

Grant at McCovey Chronicles has a funny photo of Lasorda falling on his fat ass and a very smart reaction to this disgusting development --

Most of us are a little uncomfortable with the whole Bonds thing. Maybe even a lot uncomfortable. He's not a pleasant person, and he's become the mascot of a performance-enhancing generation. It's hard to defend him, hard to not feel sorry for him, and impossible to flick a switch on the back of our skulls to make us unable to appreciate his talents. In this sea of ambiguity, it's nice to have some constants. Some absolutes. Things we can never take for granted. Such as this:

Tommy Lasorda is still a braying ass.

Bring on the Dodgers, and, oh sweet mercy, how I hope Bonds hits two into the water and they stop the game for three hours to do a ceremony. Doves. Fireworks. Willie Mays giving a speech. Then Willie McCovey. Throw Willie McGee in for good measure. A reprise of the Star-Spangled Banner. More doves. More fireworks. And we could all look into the Dodgers dugout, watch the players get restless and fidgety, and tell each and every one of them to sit on it. Oh, yes Virginia, I have a dream....

Friday, May 12, 2006

Welcome back, Lon

Nice move the Giants front office to get Lon Simmons back, even if it's on a part time basis. People remember his "You can tell it goodbye" HR call and his humor but I found he was exceptional at calling complicated plays, where there's not a lot of time to get in the right details.

Fine quote in today's Chronicle story -- "I quit because I didn't like the way I was doing play-by-play," Simmons said, "and I don't think I (got) any better playing golf."

Triples & Finley

Turns out it's no accident that Steve Finley has turned into a triples machine since donning the orange and black. He hit his 7th of the year during Thursday's 9-3 blowout of the Cubs, which leads the MLB. Six of the seven have come at AT&T Park AKA Mays Field. It seems that Finley may have figured out his swing is ideal for blasting fat pitches into Triples Alley in right center. He's also the current active leader with 119; Lofton is second, followed by Damon, Bonds, Offerman and Durham.

Finley's currently tied for 97th on the all time list with Hugh Duffy and Fred Pfeffer, both who played most of their careers in the 19th Century. The all-time leader is Sam Crawford at 309; the closest post World War II player is Stan Musial, who's 19th with 177. I'd say that Crawford's mark and Cy Young's all-time wins of 511 will be the two most difficult records to break.

Here's my fave trivia question (Amaze your friends!) -- What was the first year in which the number of HRs exceeded the number of triples in the major leagues? Answer: 1929. I had originally posted 1931 but Aneel at Trapped in LA was nice enough to point out the correct year.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Trapped in LA

Aneel at Trapped in LA has a great take about the LA Times' Bill Plaschke, the poorest excuse for a sports columnist on the planet. As a warm-up to the Dodgers series, I am posting the highlights from his post, appropriately titled "I Hate Bill Plaschke" --

In his most recent article about Barry Bonds (there have been quite a few), Bill Plaschke creates a list detailing why Babe Ruth is the man, and Barry Bonds is a jerk. After reading Plaschke's work I have just one question: Why is this guy published?? The LA Times needs to take action and fire this loser. His "list" belongs on a dumb blog like this one, not in a nationally recognized newspaper. Here are some "highlights" from Plaschke:

• Bonds popularized the lowering of baseball pant cuffs to the ankles, making uniforms pajamas.
• Ruth's size inspired the Yankees to invent the slimming pinstripe, making uniforms regal.
• With his huge head and neck and arms, Bonds looks like Andre the Giant.
• At 6 feet 1, 250 pounds, Ruth looked like George Costanza.


Pajamas? Seriously Bill? Get your head out of your ass. Did Barry blow you off once? Did you approach him for an interview and get the hand? Get over yourself. He's Barry Bonds, and you're not.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Drinking deeply from the well of bitterness

I was going to write about whether Matt Cain has completely forgotten how to pitch (I don't think so but maybe some time in Frenso would be helpful) or whether Ray Durham should start over Frandsen when he gets back on Friday (YES). Instead, I'm going to point out some lame journalism instead.

Many sports columnists act as if they have a hate-hate relationship with Bonds but that's not quite accurate, given how easy it is to bang out copy on a deadline once you decide you've found a new iteration on the "Bonds is bad" formula. In this case, AP's Tim Dahlberg filed a column on how SF fans are "tired" of Barry, which would be an interesting if it were actually backed up by real evidence. Lefty Malo, however, points out in an open letter that's far better written and reasoned than Dahlberg's piece that the column contains more errors than a Steve Garvey loan application. So I'm going to post the whole thing --

Tim, I just read your column today about Giants fans tiring of Bonds's act. I'm a lifelong Giants fan. I'll say that upfront. But unlike many fans, I don't tie myself into pretzels trying to explain away my hometown heroes' behavior. If I were a sportswriter trying to interview Bonds, or an opposing player, I'd probably hate him too. I certainly don't want to spend my vacation time with him. But ascribing a general disgust with Bonds to Giants fans last night is misleading and slanted to fit your own prejudices. First of all, at the game last night, Bonds got a loud standing ovation for his first at-bat. You failed to note that. Your remark about the "Bar-ry" chant "petering out" was simply not true. I heard it several times last night, just as I hear it at every home game he plays. Also, Juan Pierre was loudly (and playfully) booed by the fans after he made his home-run robbing catch. You'd think if the fans were tired of Bonds's act, they'd cheer Pierre. That he's "never even tried to return [fans'] love" is a broad, sweeping, inaccurate statement. Sure, we've been hearing Bonds say dumb or controversial things for years. We've also heard him say that San Francisco is his home, he appreciates the fans, and once in a while, yes, he even bothers to wave to the crowd in left field. And to equate the few no-shows with a disgust for Barry is patently ridiculous. Attendance has been in very slow decline for a few years, which might worry the Giants, but seven years after opening the park, attendance is still 89% of capacity, which is fourth-best in the majors this year. Not even the beloved St. Louis Cardinals can boast the same percentage -- in a brand new stadium, natch. If you don't like Barry -- and I wouldn't blame you -- and you don't like the Giants and their garlic fries and their corporate-moniker stadium (just like most other sports facilities around the world), that's obviously well within your right. (By the way, a local grassroots effort that I'm part of is trying to have our corporate park renamed "Mays Field" -- how about that as a subject for your next column? Check out www.maysfield.org.) But assuming S.F. fans are tired of Bonds just because you are, with little to back it up, is thin gruel. I hope you come up with something more substantiated next time.

Best trade of 2006

It has to be Steve Finley for Edgardo Alfonzo. After tonight's triple, Finley is tied with Dave Roberts for the MLB lead with 6. He's hitting .303 with 23 hits, 11 RBIs, 15 runs, 11 BBs. Meanwhile, Fonzie is 5-for-44 -- 4 singles, one double, no RBIs -- and his career has come unravelled like a cheap polyester shirt.

Meanwhile, Schmidt was dazzling again and Bonds made it clear that he may have hit No. 714 by the time you read this (that's my way of saying this is not a widely visited blog and he may do it tonight). Daniel at Orange and Black Baseball has an entertaining post on the imminence of HR 714, which concludes --

While Bonds' blast in that 5th inning was home run worthy, it just wouldn't have quite fit the magnitude of the moment, the man, and all of the things that have surrounded both these past months.I'm thinking splash hit, personally...put it out there in the Cove to put a stamp on the whole thing. Plus, it'll be worth it just to: 1) see the watercraft make the mad dash towards it, and 2) save us from that silly situation with home run #73 in 2001.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Get well, Moises

Grant at the excellent McCovey Chronicles blog has a smart take on the need for Moises Alou to come back from his recent injury. Here's part of it --

On a team with few offensive lights, it's amazing to see what the lineup looks like without Alou. And that's especially true on the days Bonds is resting. Pedro Feliz, clean up? Todd Greene, fifth? Sure, both contributed to the win last night, but those two need to be hidden in a lineup, not featured. Alou needs to heal quickly, or the Giants will continue to do the lineup equivalent of trying to start a car with a corkscrew. So here's to a liter of bottled water, some alone time in the shower, and a speedy recovery to Moises Alou.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Welcome back, Noah

After an embarrassing sweep in Philly, the Giants looked like a real major-league team tonight with starting pitcher Noah Lowry coming off the DL and showing real command via the killer changeup. They also started a cleanup hitter not named Bonds who inspires fear and loathing in opposing pitcher Roy Oswalt despite back-to-back 20-win seasons. Whatever his faults, Pedro Feliz has Oswalt's number with an RBI single in 1st and two-run HR in the 5th. It's no fluke -- Feliz came into the game 7-for-16 lifetime against Oswalt.

I shouldn't get overly excited by a one-game winning streak but after a night of Noah's junkballing, the Astros should be nicely discombobulated by Schmidt's heater in Tuesday's game. EXCEPT that the Astros have left because it was a make-up game.

HR No. 713

Tonight's game effectively summed up the Giants season:
-- Bonds laid off Lieber's pitches out of the strike zone, got a belt-high fattie and blasted it 450 feet, moments after Feliz struck out on three pitches out of strike zone with the third strike coming on an inside fastball that he swung at even though it nearly hit him in the head.
-- ESPN's closeup on Matt Morris, sitting in the dugout looking full of self-hate after being lifted in the 5th after another bombing.
-- Giants now lead the MLB in hitting into DPs with 37.
-- After going 8-4 to start the season, they've lost 13 of their last 19 to fall into last place.
-- Can the front office please bring up someone who's not going to walk in runs like Fassero and Correia did tonight to put the game out of reach?

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Another look at HR 711


Bonds has just connected off Billy Wagner on April 26. Another fine shot by my sis -- previous one was posted April 28.

Much better than this blog

I'm referring to Idiots Write About Sports, which is always worth a read thanks to insightful commentary about the Oakland A's, the Giants, Cal football and bad sportswriting (Bill Plaschke of the LA Times is a particularly rich topic). Anyhow, what prompted me to mention this was the final lines in Thursday's Idiots posting about the A's radio sponsors ---------I also like the ad for Valero, which reveals this innovative new source of alternative energy:
At Valero, our energy doesn’t just come from the oil in the ground. Our energy also comes from our people.
It does? Why, that’s great, Valero. Say, you wouldn’t mind if I borrowed some of your people, ground them up, and used them as a cheap form of alternative fuel for my Subaru?
You would? Well, shit, then you’re no help at all, Valero.

It could be worse

Every time I cringe about Pedro Feliz, I remind myself -- at least the Giants aren't stuck with Edgardo Alfonzo this season. He just put up another 0-for-4 and left 4 men on base in the Angels' 3-0 win over the Jays -- batting from the 6th slot after the team has lost 7 of their last 8. Here's a guy who started the game with 5 singles in 40 ABs, no RBIs. Erstad and Rivera are both out with injuries so Scioscia's short-handed, I suppose, but is he out of his mind? Alfonzo's now batting a cool .114. Feliz has 25 hits in 112 ABs, 5 doubles, 4 HRs, 17 RBIs, 5 walks and 24 Ks -- far from good but light years ahead of what Edgardo would have done.

Friday, May 05, 2006

What's the problem?

I spend a lot of time reading the Giants blogs listed on this page & the consensus so far seems to be that the team's biggest deficiency is the offense. But I was listening to XM's radiocast of the 8-3 loss in Philadelphia and one of the Philly announcers made this point -- the Giants pitching, measured by ERA, is the worst in the NL at 5.18. There are six AL teams with worse ERAs -- KC, Baltimore, Toronto, Cleveland, Tampa Bay and Minnesota. As for offense, the Giants are 18th overall in batting average at .256 and 21st in runs scored at 248. Hard to believe, then, that the team's only 1 game under .500.

The very astute Lefty Malo also points this out -- Giant pitchers have a current K/9 rate of 5.23. Over a full year, it would be the lowest strikeout rate in the majors since 2001, except for the 2002 and 2003 Detroit Tigers.

Bonds, Alou and Vizquel have been the only guys hitting consistently and with Alou's injury tonight liable to keep him out for awhile, the short-term outlook's a bit grim for Bonds. But I keep reminding myself that the NL West is by far the lousiest division in MLB and it won't take much more than a .500 record to win it.

Happy 75th Birthday, Willie Mays

I'm a day early, but I don't want to forget. When my Dad took me to my first game at Seals Stadium in 1958, two things stuck out -- the Hamms Beer factory next to the field and how EVERYONE paid 10 times the normal level of attention when Mays came up to bat. Even at age 6, I could tell he was in charge. I got to see him hit 2 HRs in that first playoff game against the Dodgers in 1962 and get his 3,000th hit in 1970. After the game in downtown, guys were selling an Extra edition of one of the local papers.

John Shea of the SF Chronicle has written an excellent piece about Mays, who always seems to have a fine appreciation of life. "I'm not a birthday guy," Mays said. "I like simple things. Get a cake and get it over with and go on to the next one, hopefully." http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/archive/2006/05/03/SPGV1IJEEB1.DTL

The game in Milwaukee was pretty grim -- Todd Greene knocked out by Prince Fielder, Hennessey floundering and Niekro with another oh-fer, 5 men left on base and a .203 average. But the Dodgers salvaged the day with their 5th straight loss. Jeff "Pornstache"Kent didn't even start, went 0-for-1 and is now at .181. Hey, Jeff, maybe with that Ron Jeremy look, it's time to consider another career.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

This is the big leagues, Prince

That's what I thought when I saw the replay of an over-matched Prince Fielder flailing at Schmidt's final pitch tonight -- an unhittable breaking ball down by his fat ankles. That's how a road trip ought to start: the staff ace (didn't give up a walk) beating a crappy team convincingly even though Feliz seems to be the only consistent SF hitter these days since Alou banged himself up. No matter how bad Feliz is, he's far better than Alfonzo would have been. A recent post on the Lefty Malo blog notes that "Elfatso" has four singles in 32 ABs this year. (He went 0-for-4 tonight, left 3 on base and is now at .111) Meanwhile, Finley's gone 16-for-58 with 8 RBIs. And there's more good news from Chavez Latrine -- another bullpen explosion for an 11-5 loss and another O-for-3 for Jeff "Whiner" Kent, now down to .183.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Back to where we started again

With tomorrow's game in Milwaukee, the Giants will be 1/6th of the way through the season after opening 13-13. Despite Bonds hitting a 440-foot HR for No. 712, they couldn't overcome Matt Morris giving up 4 runs in the first 2 innings. Morris' being not much better than Jamey Wright's been a disappointment so far along with the self-immolating bullpen and the lack of hitting from Niekro and Feliz, though Pedro has raised his average 50 points to .220 over the past week.

Again, the Dodgers managed to salvage the day for the third straight day as they again gagged away a big lead, 6-0 this time. Dodger reject Shawn Green again snuffed out a late rally with a catch against the wall. And Jeff "Clubhouse Cancer" Kent went 1-for-4 to raise his average to .189. Way to burnish those Hall of Fame credentials, Jeff.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Hurry back, Noah Lowry

Tonight we found out why Jamey Wright won't ever be taken seriously as a major league player as he disintegrated in the 4th and gave up 7 runs after hitting Giles to get-back for Peavy hitting Bonds. I try not to get upset BUT why was he batting in the bottom of the 4th with a runner on? Why was he still pitching in the 6th, when San Diego scored 3 more? It's one thing when a frontline guy like Schmidt has a bad inning because he'll probably be OK but when a guy who's marginal loses it, why let him put the game out of reach?

In positive news, Correia was effective, Matheny got 3 hits and Lowry has a 2nd rehab start on Wednesday so he could be back next week. Also, the Dodgers lost in Phoenix as Kent upped his average via a 1-for-4 to .186, Ledee struck out a PH and Shawn Green took away a HR.