Sunday, September 30, 2007

Buttkicking the Dodgers -- always a good thing

It's as close to meaningless as any game this year but it was nice to see the Dodgers humiliated today, 11-2. My fave play was easily Vizqel's fourth homer of the year, 77th of his career.

Omar needs 402 more hits to get to 3,000. He'll be 41 in April so it's not out of the question.

Extra agony

The Giants lost 6-5 in 10 innings tonight at Chavez Latrine. It was the 15th loss out of 21 games that have gone into extras -- which should tell you two obvious things:

-- The team can't score runs late in the game and
-- The bullpen can't prevent teams from scoring runs late in the game.

What's more alarming is that tonight's lineup is probably the same kind of team -- a mix of on-the-fade vets and prospects who are only adequate -- that will be out there losing extra-innings game next year, too.

I attended the game with a Mets fan and a Red Sox fan, so they're accustomed to having contending teams no matter what. They asked me what I thought of the prospects for the team and I was overwhelmingly negative: The Giants have developed three decent players -- Lowry, Cain and Lincecum -- and made two decent off-season moves (Bonds and Molina) and six terrible ones (Feliz, Durham, Zito, Aurilia, Klesko, Roberts). And the best illustration I could give them as to the state of the Giants was to compare it to the Baltimore Orioles in terms of a front office that doesn't know what it's doing in spite of having a decent amount of revenue plus a pretty devoted fan base.

Nothing like a loss at the Latrine to depress a Giants fan!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Mark Ecko's a dingbat weasel jerk

William Rhoden of the Paper of Record AKA the New York Times weighs in with a smart column that starts this way -- The Baseball Hall of Fame is being hijacked. Some highlights --

-- If Hall officials stood on principles, they would tell Ecko to give them the ball without graffiti or keep it. This is a silly prank that has no place in the Hall of Fame.

-- Some people hit the lottery; Ecko has purchased the right to tamper with history.
The ball itself is a historic object, regardless of your opinion of Bonds or the accomplishment. It is a document of a person, a time and a place. On the other hand, this transaction is being fueled by a wealthy fan’s cynicism.

-- Dave Kaplan, the director of the Yogi Berra Museum on the campus of Montclair State University in New Jersey, said that Ecko’s national poll felt like “phony populism.”
“He’s spent a lot of money to besmirch Barry Bonds’s reputation; Bonds has already done a pretty good job of that,” Kaplan said.

-- Steve Miller is the executive director of the Morris Museum in Morristown, N.J. He estimates that during the course of a 38-year career he has procured more 20,000 items for a number of museums. Acknowledging that curators are “very materialistic,” Miller said he would pass on Ecko’s conditions for the Bonds ball. “What I always look for when I’m acquiring stuff, I want to make sure the piece is as in original condition as possible,” he said. “There was no asterisk on that ball when he hit it, was there?”

-- The Hall of Fame argues that accepting the Asterisk Ball does not mean that it supports the inference that Bonds used performance-enhancing substances to hit his 756 home runs.
But Ecko is compromising the historical integrity of the ball; the Hall of Fame is an accomplice. Why? Because it wants the ball.

-- Cooperstown exists to explain the past by displaying authentic artifacts. Bonds’s historic home run ball is the real thing. The story surrounding the ball is controversial, though Hall of Fame officials claim that in accepting the ball they are not embracing Ecko’s suspicions.
The Hall says it is neutral, but when it accepts a ball stamped with an asterisk, it is giving institutional credibility to the cynicism.

Are you listening, Armando? How about you, Jeff?

Another nice piece by Henry Schulman about Matt Cain getting the Bill Rigney Good Guy Award for co-operation with the local news media. Two excellent points --

-- Not once did Cain point a finger at a teammate, but instead pointed to himself for not pitching better.

-- This award ordinarily merits no headlines. It is inside-clubhouse stuff, and fans generally do not care which players are good with reporters. But this year is different. Fans might want to know what this 22-year-old pitcher is made of, and this award, presented by the Bay Area chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America, is a good indicator.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Batting clean-up, Pedro Feliz

Yes, that was who was in the 4 slot tonight, setting an ominous tone for the evening. He went 0-for-4, if you're wondering. Remember, he recently asked for a MULTI-YEAR deal.

If you were listening to the Dodger broadcast, you might have had a hard time figuring it out -- the very lame Charlie "I'm in Love With My Voice" Steiner was simply showing off his baseball ignorance in the 8th inning, barely calling the game. Instead, he went on and on and on about Ted Williams' going 6-for-8 during the last double-header of the 1941 to lift his average from .400 to .406. He insisted that no modern player would have played on the last day, citing as evidence that they get paid so much money.

"There will never be numbers like this again," Steiner proclaimed. And that's just idiotic, given the fact that four have been in the top 100 all time within the last 30 years -- none of them named Pedro Feliz.

-- Tony Gwynn, .394, 1994 (37th highest of all time)
-- George Brett, .390 1980 (49th)
-- Rod Carew., .388 1977 (55th)
-- Larry Walker, .379 1999 (90th)

Dodger bungling

Ross Newhan, retired from the LA Times (father of MLB player David Newhan and a much better reporter than any of the current baseball beat reporters), has a solid take on Jeff "Choker" Kent's whining about the Dodgers' youth movement. Bottom line -- the Dodgers (Ned Colletti) blew it by relying on veterans like Nomar and Gonzo and making awful signings like Schmidt, Pierre and Wolf and not giving more playing time to young guys who look like they can really deliver such as Loney and Kemp.

It's a bit embarrassing that none of the Times beat reporters could figure this out. Here's Newhan's takedown on why Kent is a gold-plated jerk .... and why he's played on six different teams in his career --

It was Kent, of course, who ignited all the commotion about the club's young players with his mile-high rant in Colorado last week.Altitude sickness or in character?

The player who was accusing the young Dodgers of showing the veterans no respect is the same player who accused the veterans of showing the young players no respect in his early seasons with the Mets, and he is also the same player whose clubhouse stoicism with the San Francisco Giants could make Barry Bonds look like Mr. Gregarious at times.

There may have been some merit to Kent's suggestion that some of the young players needed an attitude adjustment or a lesson in how to prepare or both, according to people who have been close to the team on a regular basis. But going public in violation of a clubhouse credo and doing it during a tailspin seemed only to underline Kent's acknowledged bitterness over the team's lost opportunity in what might have been his last shot at a postseason.

Could the attitude and respect issues have been addressed earlier, privately and more professionally, or were Kent and some of his senior colleagues merely satisfied to snipe about the absence of respect and loss of playing time from their clubhouse corners?

Mash notes from Bochy and Klesko

Henry Schulman of the SF Chronicle has a fine piece about Bochy's reaction to Barry Bonds' departure. Further along in the story, he also gets reaction from Shawon Dunston, who sees bright days ahead for the Orange and Black. I wish I could be as optimistic as Shawon -- who's probably very grateful to Barry and the Giants for getting him into a World Series at the very end of his career. Shawon will always have a warm spot in the hearts of Giants fan for delivering that huge hit in Game 5 of the 2002 NLCS.

Schulman's done a pretty professional job all year despite having to work with weasel hacks like Bruce Jenkins and Ray Ratto, who have defined their role as nothing more than apologizing for the awful job that Brian Sabean's done.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Hall of Fame disgraces itself

The Hall of Fame should have told Mark Ecko and his stupid publicity-hound idea to go to hell or at least said, "We don't accept items that have been defaced."

Here's the link to tell the Hall to go to hell.

Thanks again, Barry

It was a great 15 years.

Just one favor -- please don't sign with the Dodgers.


Big D

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Strolling down Memory Lane

Props to the SF Chronicle's John Shea, who I've bashed in the past, for writing a very readable and snark-free look back at Bonds' 15 years in the Orange and Black.

My favorite Bonds moment was in Game 5 of the 2002 NLCS, when he managed to get the all-important sac fly to tie up the game in the 8th inning. It's hardly something that people remember but it was crucial at the time and one of the many moments that got rid of the "Bonds isn't clutch label." Here's the sequence --

Bottom of the 8th, Giants Batting, Behind 0-1, Matt Morris facing 9-1-2
S Dunston Strikeout Looking
K Lofton Single to CF
R Aurilia Single to LF; Lofton to 2B
J Kent Hit By Pitch; Lofton to 3B; Aurilia to 2B
B Bonds Flyball: LF/Sacrifice Fly; Lofton Scores; Aurilia to 3B
B Santiago Groundout: 2B-1B

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Thrill

It occurs to me that 2008 will be the first season since 1985 that the team hasn't had Will Clark or Barry Bonds on the roster. One of my favorite games of all time has to be opening Day of the 1986 season. Here's what happened in the top of the first against Nolan Ryan --
D Gladden Groundout: SS-1B
W Clark Home Run (first MLB at bat)
C Davis Foul Flyball: RF
J Leonard Flyball: 2B

I'm on my own disdain train

I really don't want to say that I hate Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy, but I do have a deep disdain for both of them. Tonight's game was one of the worst of the year with Brian Wilson being asked to get 5 guys out instead of the usual three. That resulted in a 4-run ninth inning and a 6-4 loss.

What was Bochy trying to prove as Brian Wilson's pitch count rose to 35? "It looks like fatigue is setting in" said John Miller as Wilson walked Robles and then missed badly with Giles before grooving a fattie for a 3-run homer. There were plenty guys still in the pen -- Munter, Taschner, Giese, Atchison, Messenger -- who could have gotten that last out. What were they being saved for?

So it's another no-decision for Matt Cain, who closed down the Padres as usual. I expect to see a lot of this kind of idiotic game for the Giants for the next few years -- decent starting pitching, not enough offense and stupid managing of the pen. It's hard to believe that this is going to make anyone happy -- except for idiots like Sabean and Bruce Jenkins, who can spend the next few years in a mutual admiration society about the "fresh start."

The only decent news was that the Dodgers were officially eliminated tonight. They went 23-31 after leading the division in late July. NICE CHOKE. Who would have predicted that the Dodgers and Giants would wind up as the worst two teams in the NL West?

Is he out of his mind?

Pedro Feliz tells the SF Chronicle he wants a multi-year deal.

It sounds stupid given his crappy OBP (currently at .287) and the lack of interest in Feliz this past winter. But it wouldn't suprise me if Sabean's dumb enough to decide that this is a great idea.

Bruce Jenkins = disgraceful idiot

Just to underline Joe Sheehan's point about how much the local media hate Barry Bonds, the Chronicle's idiotic Bruce Jenkins gets on the Barry Hate Train for the umpteenth time. He declares that the Giants made "the right call" by dumping Bonds but then comes to the stunning conclusion that the team's in trouble because it doesn't have any power hitters now. Then to fill out the column, he reminds us of who the HR leaders have been since 1958.

This is typical Jenkins idiocy and was probably written in about five minutes. And it shows the Chron is edited by dingbats who can't be bothered to ask even the simplest question -- such as this: "OK, Bruce, you dump the guy who still delivers the best per-at bat rate of homerun hitting in the National League even though he says he wants to stay in San Francisco. Then you say this is a problem but then you say Bonds leaving is the right thing -- even though his staying would help solve the problem. It seems to me you're writing in circles here."

Jenkins is an utter disgrace. This kind of garbage is one of the reasons papers like the Chronicle are losing readers by the thousands.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Why the San Francisco area media stinks

As John Perricone of Only Baseball Matters points out, the local media's coverage of Barry Bonds' departure has been thoroughly embarrassing. Baseball Prospectus' Joe Sheehan points out the gleeful tone and the absolute refusal to acknowledge the incredibly crappy job done by Brian Sabean. Here are some excerpts --

-- On Friday, the Giants held a press conference to announce that their sub-.500 team, with its mediocre offense, was going to play the 2008 season without its best hitter. From the press reaction, you would think that they’d announced that the AT&T Park press box was going to be redesigned, with every spot getting a Barcalounger and a personal flat-screen TV.
-- The
naked glee generated by this decision was embarrassing (links courtesy Buster Olney’s blog), with the San Francisco writers falling all over themselves to praise McGowan for cutting loose the best player in franchise history, the most productive player on the current roster, the best hitter in the National League and, dollar for dollar, one of the better values in the game.

-- The disdain for Barry Bonds among the local media is disproportionate to anything the man has ever done, amounting to a collective tantrum that has poisoned the man’s reputation among baseball fans nationwide, Bonds’ relationship to the media, and the media’s treatment of him because of it, queers the entire discussion about Bonds’ accomplishments and whether they may have been influenced by extra-legal actions on his part. He’s never been evaluated fairly because the world has been told he’s a bad guy, and we don’t like bad guys. The people who see the Bonds/public/media triangle as a racial matter miss the point; it’s not a lesson in how American treats black men; it’s a lesson in how the media can make or break men of any hue.

-- Even at 43, he’s the best hitter in the NL on a per-AB basis, and second only to Alex Rodriguez in the majors. His defense, despite appearances, is just a bit below average, and his baserunning costs his team a few runs a season and isn’t among the worst in the game. That player—best hitter, so-so-defense, essentially neutral baserunning, moderately durable—is an asset to 30 out of 30 teams, a championship-caliber baseball player who will be the best player on the market this winter, and almost certainly the lowest-risk one.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Another bitterness buster

Nothing like a 2-game winning streak to lighten the load. Now it's time to punush the Padres.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Bitterness buster

Despite all the venting I've done in the last two days, the great thing about baseball is that there's always another game the next day. In this case, for one night, the Giants played as well as they could -- great pitching by Correia, Hennessey and Wilson and just enough timely hitting by Aurilia and Durham.

Additionally, the Dodgers just keep choking away any chance. They got humiliated again, 6-2, and have now lost 7 in a row.

Nothing like a Giants win and Dodger loss to make any day better!

Goodbye to all this

Photo by artolog
It sure was fun while it lasted.

Feeling the hatred toward Barry Bonds

Obviously, it's not just the SF Chronicle, but the Giants front office too. Season ticket holders have just received a truly baffling letter from Peter Magowan explaining the decision to let Bonds go. Now, if you're a season ticket holder, you must be wondering this -- "WTF, the biggest problem with this team is that it can't score runs; now, you tell me that you don't want to sign the only effective offensive player on the team. Then you point out all he's done, whic I already know. Why are you insulting my intelligence?"

Here's my guess -- These guys hate Barry Bonds for the same reason they hated Dusty Baker: They want to be the stars of the show and hate anyone who stops that from happening. (The Baker hatred would have made sense if they hated him for his crappy strategies). It's vaguely creepy that these guys (Magowan and Sabean) owe so much to Bonds (a new stadium, a World Series and years of sold-out games even with the crappy team of the last 3 years) but seem so thoroughly ungrateful to a guy who clearly loves playing in San Francisco. At any rate, here's the stupid letter --

To our Valued Season Ticketholders,
We wanted you to be aware that the Giants have made an important announcement this afternoon regarding the 2008 season. Today's press release is below. We will continue to keep you informed as we conclude the current season and move forward with planning for next year. The Giants organization appreciates your ongoing support as we all begin looking toward 2008.
SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco Giants will not bring all-time home run king Barry Bonds back for the 2008 season, the club announced today. He will conclude his 15-year career with the Giants during this week's final homestand and next weekend's final series in Los Angeles.
"No one is more aware of what Barry has meant to the Giants and San Francisco than I am," said club President and Managing General Partner Peter Magowan. "He gave our ownership group instant credibility when we bought the team in 1993 and he helped transform the Giants into a consistent winner. For the first 11 years that he was here, the Giants had the third best record in baseball and Barry was a huge part of that success. Most importantly, Barry helped San Francisco become a baseball town again. I will forever be grateful for all of the success, excitement and memories that he created for our fans. However, all good things must come to an end and now seems like the right time to move on."
"There's no question about what Barry has meant to this organization and to our success over the past 15 years. He is the greatest player of his generation and one of the very best of all time," said Giants Senior Vice President and General Manager Brian Sabean. "Barry has been the cornerstone of our franchise and his amazing contributions will be sorely missed."
From hitting a home run in his first at bat as a Giant at Candlestick Park in 1993 to becoming the game's all-time home run leader on August 7, the future Hall of Famer has delivered many indelible moments over his 15 seasons with his boyhood team. Bonds won five of his unprecedented seven MVPs with San Francisco, while helping the club produce one of its most successful runs in franchise history from 1997-2004 that included three National League West titles and the 2002 National League pennant.
One of the greatest players to ever play the game, the 13-time All-Star, 8-time Gold Glove winner, two-time winner of the National League batting title and lone member of baseball's 500 homer-500 steal club holds Major League Baseball's all-time records for home runs (762) and walks (2,558). Bonds also ranks among the game's best for RBI (tied for second - 1,996), extra-base hits (second - 1,440), runs (third - 2,227), total bases (fourth - 5,976), on-base percentage (sixth - .444), slugging percentage (sixth - .607), doubles (14th - 601) and stolen bases (32nd - 514).
Bonds' impressive resume also includes baseball's single-season records for home runs (73 in 2001), walks (232 in 2004), intentional walks (120 in 2004), on-base percentage (.609 in 2004), slugging percentage (,863 in 2001), home run ratio (6.52 in 2001) and home run percentage (12.06 in 2004). The 43-year old also holds Major League career records with 13-consecutive 30-home run seasons and 14 campaigns with 100-or-more walks.
Having grown up in the clubhouse at Candlestick Park as he accompanied his father the late Giant Bobby Bonds, it's only fitting that younger Bonds dominates both the Giants franchise and San Francisco-era record books. He has established virtually every San Francisco-era offensive standard, holding the records for average (.312), home runs (586), RBI (1,440), runs (1,555), doubles (381) and is tied for first with his father with 263 stolen bases. Only his godfather Willie Mays has more home runs in a Giants uniform, clubbing 646 in both New York and San Francisco.
The eight-time Gold Glove winner is also fourth in franchise history with 1,975 games (third in SF annals), fifth with 6,260 at-bats (third for SF), third with 1,555 runs, fifth with 1,951 hits (third with SF), third with 381 doubles, third with 1,440 RBI, first with 1,947 walks, tied for ninth with 263 stolen bases and third with 4,172 total bases (second for SF).
Many of AT&T Park's defining moments in its eight-year history have included Bonds' milestone home runs. The slugger clubbed the team's first clout in the inaugural game April 11, 2000, while adding his 500th career blast in 2001. He became the single-season home run champion in 2001 with his 71st, 72nd and 73rd roundtrippers coming on the Shores of McCovey Cove. Bonds connected for his 600th home run August 9, 2002 off his former team, the Pittsburgh Pirates. The two greatest Giants of all-time, Bonds and Mays, were tied at third on the all-time home run list when Bonds drilled his 660th clout during the 2004 home opener. He also added his 700th blast later that season off San Diego's Jake Peavy and surpassed Babe Ruth for second on the all-time list May 28, 2006 off Colorado's Byung-Hyun Kim. The new home run king reached the pinnacle of power on August 7, 2007 when he clubbed a solo, one-out clout off Washington's Mike Bacsik.

As usual, the Chronicle gets it wrong

Gwen Knapp of the SF Chronicle -- one of the leaders of paper's "I Hate Barry Bonds" train -- gets it completely wrong as usual in proclaiming that "it's time for Bonds to retire" and then asserting that no one's going to be interested in him anyhow -- apparently because he's such an evil person.

Here you have Bonds -- the MLB leader in in OBP -- saying he's OK with playing in 2008 and you have 14 teams in the AL who can employ DHs. When I listened to Buck Martinez on XM Radio on Friday night, the discussion was full of speculation as to where he might head next. The most charitable thing I can say is that Gwen thinks she knows better but the truth is that she just flat out hates Barry Bonds.

It's a real pet peeve of mine that sportswriters somehow feel that it's in any way appropriate for them to declare that a player should retire -- especially when that player is still performing at a top level. The combination of arrogance and ignorance is often astounding.

It's clear that the most of the SF Chronicle sports reporters have forefeited their presumed roles as unbiased commentators on the Giants -- which is what fans paying for the paper expect --and instead become little more than apologists for Brian Sabean's massive incompetence. And I'm already wondering -- how far into 2008 and 2009 will it be when they're STILL blaming the Giants lousy performance on Bonds rather than on Sabean's dismal performance as GM?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Preview of coming attractions -- Giants give it away

Following the depressing news that Brian Sabean got his way -- kicking Barry Bonds to the curb in order to cover up Sabean's incompetence -- the Giants went out and gave away a winnable game, blowing an 8-3 lead to the awful Reds. Yet another game symbolizing how poorly constructed this team is....and a reminder that this is the same guy that wanted to sign Juan Pierre and will have free reign to go after the 2008 versions of Blownitez, Zito, Klesko, Aurilia, Feliz, Roberts and Durham.

The best news of the day by far -- the Dodgers were humiliated again. Rest assured that as long as Sabean's protege Ned Colletti is in charge and making bonehead moves like signing Pierre and Schmidt, the Dodgers are going to need lots of luck to get into the post-season. Nice to note that James Loney -- the kind of player that Sabean doesn't seem to know how to develop -- takes a shot back at "Choker" Kent for stabbing him in the back.

Am I bitter? Do you need to ask?

Thanks, Barry

Thanks for the last 15 years, Barry. Speaking just for myself, I know that I will miss you.

Barry Bonds has just posted this message on his Web site --

September 21, 2007
Dear Fans,
This journal will be one of my last entries as a San Francisco Giant. Yesterday, I was told by the Giants that they will not be bringing me back for the 2008 season. During the conversation with Peter Magowan I was told that my play this year far exceeded any expectations the Giants had, but that the organization decided this year would be my last season in San Francisco. Although I am disappointed, I've always said baseball is a business -- and I respect their decision. However, I am saddened and upset that I was not given an earlier opportunity to properly say goodbye to you, my fans, and celebrate with the city throughout the season as I truly believe this was not a last minute decision by the Giants, but one that was made some time ago. I don't have nor do I want any ill feelings towards the organization, I just wish I had known sooner so we had more time to say our goodbyes and celebrate the best 15 years of my life.

I consider the City of San Francisco and you, the fans, my family. Thank you for loving me and supporting me throughout all the highs and lows. I feel a deep connection with you as I have grown up with all of you since the days my dad first became a Giant. The Bay Area has loved my family and friends for so many years and I thank you for that. It is now a time for change, as many athletes have experienced. It is comforting to know that those who have come before me -- Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Joe Montana and Jerry Rice, to name a few -- have forever remained in the hearts of the fans, as I know I will too.

During my career as a Giant, so many people made significant impressions on my life. I'd like to thank all my past and current teammates. I've had the opportunity to play with some amazingly talented ballplayers who have treated me with respect, supported me and rooted for me throughout the years. Mike Murphy, our devoted Equipment Manager, used to baby-sit me as a little boy at Candlestick Park. There are no words to describe the love and respect I have for him. Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper are the two best broadcasters in the business. Their professionalism, integrity and love for the game, puts them in a league of their own. I thank them for their support and I'm honored to call them friends. It is also important to thank all the men and women behind the scenes at the stadium who come to work every day and make it possible for us all to enjoy a day at the ballpark. I love walking to clubhouse hearing their "hellos" every day.

I would have loved nothing more than to retire as a Giant in the place where I call home and have shared so many momentous moments with all of you, but there is more baseball in me and I plan on continuing my career. My quest for a World Series ring continues.
Until next time,
Barry Bonds

Stabbing your teammates in the back

That's Jeff "Choker" Kent's specialty. Rather than admit that the Dodgers are just not good enough, he decides to blame everyone but himself.

It's no wonder that this is happening now. Kent's played for six different teams and gotten into disputes every place he's ever played, but because he kisses up to sportswriters, it's always written up like it's someone else's fault (Barry Bonds, Milton Bradley, Matt Kemp, Fat Broxton, etc.).

Note how the LA Times writer couldn't bother to mention that Choker got into his one World Series in San Francisco.

Tim the Enchanter -- see you in 2008

photo by artolog

The Giants have decided to close down Lincecum for the rest of the year. I could not agree more. We'll look forward to having him pitch some meaningful games -- for a change.

At this point, the Giants would have to win all five home games to finish 2007 with a winning record at Mays Field.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Why, why, why, why, why, why?

Why are Klesko, Aurilia and Feliz still in the lineup? What's the point at this point of the season of getting them to put up a combined 1-for-8?

Since the year's going down the drain and it's actually helpful to find out whether guys like Dan Ortmeier and Scott McClain can play at this level, what kind of brain-dead management keeps running these punchless veterans out there -- thus insuring another heart-breaking 4-2 loss for Matt Cain?

The Dodgers are dead

After all the agony that the Rox have inflicted on the Giants, it's payback time. The Dodgers have just choked away any chance at the post-season, getting humiliated 9-4 for a 4-game sweep.

10 Years Ago Yesterday

Dodgers choking it away

The Giants racked up another loss in Phoenix tonight as Barry Zito went back to being ineffective. What other organization in MLB would pay a guy $126 million over 7 years to be a No. 4 starter? It's also worth noting that 35-year-old Scott McClain finally got into a game and went 2-for-4 after tearing it up at Fresno.

However, the Rox again provided some joy for a change as they helped the Dodgers choke again in a 6-5 loss. Fat Broxton gave up another big HR late in the game. My friend Dan the Mets fan sent me this note, titled "Time to stop drinking, Vin." --

During tonight's game, Vin the Shill was trying to assure the deluded followers of the Blew Crew that they actually still had a chance at the postseason. He invoked the collapse of the '64 Phillies, and tried to imply that because of that hiccup in time, it could happen again.

Vin, the Latrine is closed for the season.

If you want to attend some postseason games, I'm sure the Angels and Pads will be happy to dich some ducats your way. --

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dodgers gag again -- season almost over

Hasta la vista, Jonathan Sanchez

He's been lousy and now he's injured; the story by Chris Haft indicates he's likely to get traded -- particularly now that the 2008 rotation appears set with Lincecum, Lowry, Cain, Correia and Zito.

Yet another discouraging game as the Giants pitching was fine after Sanchez gave up four runs in the first. The Giants once again took a nondescript pitcher -- the immortal Micah Owings -- and made him look like the second coming of Juan Marichal with two hits all night.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The MLB's most incompetent GM

Giants fans are faced with a dilemma nowadays -- when the team unexpectedly wins, as it did tonight on a totally suprising offensive outburst in the 8th (3-run HR by Winn, 2-run HR by Feliz), it actually slightly validates the moves made by Brian Sabean and delays his much-deserved firing. Even with a nice comeback from 2 runs down for an 8-5 win, I still say he's the worst GM in MLB, particularly given the fact that the Giants' payroll's in the top third of the league.

Paulie at Give Em Some Stankeye has an excellent post called Infield of Screams talking about how lousy the Giants infield has been this year. Here are some of the key parts, starting with the batting average, OBP and slugging (the boldface is mine):

Ryan Klesko: .265/.349/.413,
Ray Durham: .217/.297/.346,
Omar Vizquel: .240/.300/.295,
Pedro Feliz: .249/.289/.414,
Rich Aurilia: .249/.301/.366,

Okay, going into the season we all knew that the Giants' offense would probably stink and that Brian Sabean's loyalty to all things over 35 might come back to bite him in the ass, but to this extent? Look at those numbers again. That's astoundingly bad. That's Lara Croft: Tomb Raider/Armageddon double-feature bad. Forget the youth movement, why the hell are these guys getting at-bats over, like, 30-year old non-prospects like Justin Leone or Scott McClain at this point?

Klesko's on-base ability still gives him some value, so he hasn't been a total disaster, but his total lack of power is unacceptable at a position where it just isn't that hard to find a slugger. As I've harped about again and again and again, Sabean has just demonstrated an utter lack of imagination in filling the chasm at first base the past few years.For example, Carlos Pena was DFA'd by the Yankees in the spring, and the Giants could have had him for basically nothing, even less than they're paying Klesko. Instead Sabean was asleep at the wheel. What has Pena done this year? Check for yourself.

The only question, I guess, is what did Sabean expect when he brought Feliz back this offseason? That he'd magically turn into Matt Williams? We fans pretty much anticipated another year of Felizian helplessness at the plate, and we've been treated to exactly that.

Aurilia has been hampered by injuries, but it's hard to really say how much they've affected his hitting. What I do know is that he wasn't much good in 2004, then he did well in a great hitters' park for the 2005 and 2006 seasons, and now he's back in a pitcher's park and he stinks.

Not to beat a dead horse, but this infield ineptness is yet another shining example of Sabean's flawed "proven veterans" philosophy. It was certainly fair to assume that Vizquel, Durham, Klesko, and Aurilia wouldn't be nearly this bad, but when you're dealing with players over age 35 you have to realize that they could crap out at any minute. Some players age well, some don't. So it's totally foolish to rely on such an aged group of players to help a team win, when the risk of them falling apart is so high.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Looking for optimism

That's easy. Despite another horrific loss at Petco (Lincecum pitched well enough to win if this team could hit) and despite Randy Messenger's meltdown last night, I am still glad that Fatmando Blownitez is no longer a Giant. He injured his back over two weeks ago and hasn't pitched since for the Marlins -- he was sucking when he got injured.

Since Magowan won't get rid of the idiotic GM, perhaps Brainiac Sabean can get rid of the incompetent batting coach Joe Fefebrve. Notice how this bio on the team site makes no mention of the crappy offense on this year's team. Let's take today -- five hits, including one by Lincecum; one double by Roberts; one walk by Eugenio Velez as pinch-hitter who then stole second and came home on Durham's pinch-hit. So the regulars got three hits: Roberts double and two singles by Frandsen. That's just plain awful even if Jake Peavey's pitching. Ortmeier struck out all 3 times he was up. Again I ask -- can't anyone on this team not named Barry take a walk?

Here's what gives me optimism for 2008, in descending order --
1. Tim Lincecum
2. Barry Bonds if he comes back
3. Matt Cain
4. Omar if he comes back
5. Barry Zito and Noah Lowry
6. Ned Colletti's incompetence. The Dodgers got kicked 6-1 today so perhaps we won't have to endure them being in the post-season.

That's about it.

This is what a dingbat weasel Padre fan looks like

Photo by Dennis Poroy, AP
Did I mention how much I hate fan interference?

Nightmare at Petco

One of the worst games of the year in a season that's been full of bad games. This was the 82nd loss so the Orange and Black have officially posted three straight losing seasons.

What was typical was Matt Cain pitching excellent ball while the Giants hitters made Brett Tomko look like a legitimate MLB player rather than the fraud that he actually is. He's now 3-11 this season with 2 of those wins against the Giants. Bonds got one of the five singles (Feliz, Vizquel, Roberts and Molina got the others) in his only AB and Feliz got a double. Erick Threets showed again that he's not an MLB pitcher. This is the lineup that Brian Sabean has assembled, so look for more of the same at least until 2010. Maybe by then, Magowan will have finally stopped rewarding Sabean for having the good fortune to be in SF when Bonds was in his prime and the Giants racked up 8 straight winning seasons. That seems like a damn distant memory.

That wasn't the worst. Some of the idiotic class-free fans in San Diego decided to interfere with Bonds in the second inning -- leading to what might even be a season-ending injury -- as he was trying to catch a ball tonight in what would become a 6-0 loss. Of course, the gutless umps let the psycho dingbat fans get away with it and did not call interference.

I hate fan interference. Hate it, hate it, hate it. But what do you expect from a franchise so pathetic that it retires Steve Garvey's number and employs the worst announcer in baseball in Ted Leitner?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Another gem from Rajai Davis

Lost in last night's incredibly depressing 5-4 loss at Petco was an astounding catch in CF by Rajai Davis with two outs in the 9th, caught on the run just in front of the fence after Cameron had hammered a Dan Giese fattie. The catch was so unexpected that my friend and many of the Padre fans assumed that the game was over once it got hit.

Unfortunately, the Giants pen continued to implode after impressive performances by Tyler Walker and Brian Wilson made it look like the Giants were going to win. Unfortunately, Brad Hennessey, Steve Kline and Giese were all awful.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Mash note from Kevin Correia

Kevin Correia says he hopes Vizquel's back next year. I would bet the rest of the pitching staff feels the same way.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I'm not the only one bashing Brian Sabean

In the latter stages of the postgame call-in show on KNBR last night, Damon Bruce was pounding on Sabean's incompetence following a disappointing 9-4 loss that eliminated the Orange and Black from the post-season last night.

Bruce focused in the lunacy of trying to develop players like Eric Threets -- a 7-year minor leaguer who looked awful in his MLB debut in the 9th. His point was that if a guy isn't ready for the MLB by the time he's 25, he's never going to be anything other than a marginal player at best. Outside of Lincecum (who was pretty much fully developed), Cain and perhaps Lowry, there's not a single player who's been internally developed that's a legitimate big league starter. Ortmeier and Schierholtz may wind up being that but I'm skeptical, given Sabean's track record.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Vizquel -- Hall of Famer

I had the good fortune to see Omar's astounding game-ending DP from Section 215. For one night, at least, the team's pitching and defense were good enough to make up for its pathetic offense. Feliz made several nice plays and Bonds threw out the idiotic Tony Clark by a mile when Clark tried for a double.

But Omar's play, with the game on the line and Brian Wilson pitching, was the kind of iconic game-saver that merits inclusion in the Hall of Fame.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Storing up memories for the winter

A terrific mid-summer shot by artolog

Monday, September 10, 2007

Bruce Jenkins is Brian Sabean's errand boy

More stomach-turning ranting from perhaps the worst sportswriter on the planet who's sole role in life seems to be apologizing for the crappy job that Brainiac Sabean's done.

The gutless Jenkins insists -- without identifying his sources -- that 1. Bonds is gone after this season largely because he didn't participate in the Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game and 2. the team will be better without him on it because it can "move on." What he doesn't say is that the team (with Sabean making more moves like signing Roberts, Klesko, Aurilia and Feliz) appears headed in the direction of several more losing seasons, despite strong starting pitching. That's due to the shocking lack of offensive talent outside of Bonds and perhaps Benjie. Instead, Jenkins simply writes yet another "I HATE BARRY BONDS" column without explaining why this team keeps losing games it should win.

Could Jenkins even bother to consider how crappy this offense is -- that seven guys (Feliz, Molina, Ortmeirer, Aurilia, Vizquel, Fransden, Durham) who start regularly don't have OBPs that are over .310? No -- in Jenkins' fevered mind, Barry Bonds' having the MLB's best OBP has no significance. Bonds is the problem, he insists -- a liar and apologist once again for his protector Sabean, much like the pathetic apologists for the oil companies who insist that global warming isn't happening in the face of overwhelming evidence. Or the Bush apologists who insist that the war in Iraq is succeeding even though Iraqis who are in the middle of it say the situation's getting far worse.

Let's take tonight, for example. Tim Lincecum should have won his 8th game tonight but an ineffective offense and the bullpen's 3-run meltdown in the 9th led to a disgusting 5-3 loss instead.

It's hard to believe the SF Chronicle, which is losing thousands of subscribers every year, keeps this sorry excuse for a journalist on the payroll.

Durham's lousy year

Sunday, September 09, 2007

More Dodger gagging

The Dodgers just gagged again, 4-2, and they only have themeselves to blame. I'm sure that Dodger fans everywhere must have been DELIGHTED when Bochy sent up Ray Durham to pinch-hit in the 8th with Fat Jonathan Broxton pitching.

On the other hand, Giants fans had to be wondering since Durham's become a poor excuse for a big leaguer. He went 9 for 73 in August and had just gone 1 for 16 in September.

Fortunately for the Giants, Broxton acted like an idiot and hung an 0-2 breaking ball up in Durham's wheelhouse -- right where a veteran hitter could hit out of the park (or onto the strange little roof on the right field wall). "That's almost unforgiveable," Vin Scully just said on the Los Angeles telecast. I have to agree with Vin the Shill, given the inability of Giants hitters other than Bonds to work a walk. I feel obligated to point out that the Giants got a total of THREE walks in three games -- one by Feliz yesterday and two by Bonds today.

It's an unexpected gift -- sort of like getting stopped by a cop for a traffic violation and then not getting a ticket -- but I'll take it.

What's the matter with a walk?

The Giants didn't get a walk in yesterday's 6-2 loss until Feliz got one in the 9th -- with Krukow and Miller amused during the radiocast as to how ball four probably should have been called strike three. They also noted that it was as patient an at bat as they had seen Feliz take all year. It was his 29th walk of the year -- nine short of his career-high 38 in 2005. Bottom line is that he's never really learned how to judge the strike zone with 149 walks in 2,775 at bats and a career average .289 OBP. Obviously everyone knows it -- he has a grand total of 11 intentional walks in seven years.

But what gives with this team -- one walk in two games? It sounds as if the Dodgers scouting report is 1. throw it outside the strike zone and 2. have them chase crappy pitches. Aren't Bochy and Lefebrve telling these guys to lay off pitches from time to time, especially in a game where they only got 4 hits all day?

Friday, September 07, 2007


Perhaps the sweetest win of the year, thanks to Ortmeier's walk-off homer in the ninth -- the first walk-off HR for the team in 2007. The Dodgers had a 2-run lead in the 7th and gagged that away, too, thanks to Rafael Furcal's error.

Nothing sweeter than the Dodgers choking their way out of the post-season. NOTHING.

One strange stat about this game -- no walks by either team. Sounds like both sides were hacking. I'm unsure how often this happens but it seems somewhat rare, particularly in a game where the all-time walks leader is starting. Here's the top 10 list --

1 . Barry Bonds* 2553
2. Rickey Henderson 2190
3. Babe Ruth+* 2062
4. Ted Williams+* 2021
5. Joe Morgan+* 1865
6. Carl Yastrzemski+* 1845
7. Mickey Mantle+# 1733
8. Mel Ott+* 1708
9. Frank Thomas 1619
10. Eddie Yost 1614

Benjie bitches

Lazy hack weasel John Shea of the SF Chronicle has a mildly interesting story about Benjie Molina -- by far the least disappointing new Giant this year -- talking about how embarrassed he is about this year's team.

On the one hand, I'm glad to see how much Benjie hates to lose but on the other, sporstwriters have been turning out this kind of nonsense for ages. I've read it many times. You simply pick a veteran player on a losing team who's performance isn't embarrassing and get them to say how disappointing it all is.

Here's what the story overlooks: this team's lousy year shouldn't be a surprise since it was constructed based on the notion that guys like Zito, Morris, Roberts, Klesko, Aurilia, Blownitez and Durham would somehow magically match their career years -- even though those career years are a distant memory for all of them. And thanks to hack lazy weasel dingbats like Shea and the Chronicle's disgusting Bruce Jenkins, the notion that Brian "The Brain" Sabean had put together a lousy team has been overlooked in the frenzy to Blame It All on Barry Bonds. All these guys seem to want to do is apologize for the crappy job that Sabean's done.

Shea is often specatcularly clueless. Don't believe me? Take a look at this story from last year when he decided tell his readers -- who are mostly Giants fans -- that one of the "feel-good" stories of the year was Nomar Garciaparra's "comeback" with the Dodgers.

Barry's ready for 2008

Andrew Baggerly of the San Jose Merc-News reports that Bonds wants to play in 2008 and would like to do it with the Giants. Here's the key part --

Sources have indicated the club will look elsewhere for a cleanup presence, perhaps considering Bonds no better than a fallback position. But Bonds said he is confident that his stats - .277 with 28 home runs and 66 RBI - compare favorably with anyone else the club could find to bat cleanup.
"I figure if you put up the numbers and do what you're supposed to do out there, it's going to speak for itself," he said. "You don't have to worry about the other stuff. If you want to quiet people, go out there and do your job and shut them up all you want to.
"Play the game to your best ability and you should be rewarded for that. And if you're not, that's their problem. That's not your fault. Because you did your job. If you've done more than what was asked of you, then you'll have nothing to hang your head about.
"If they choose to do something different, that's their choice. It's nothing to do with you personally. I feel I've done my job - and some.

Notice how Bonds manages to say "do my job" or "I've done my job" or "you did your job" on three occasions in seven sentences? Doesn't it seem possible that this is a veiled slap at Buttmando "I Did My Job" Blownitez?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Barry -- was that the last one?

Barry Bonds delivered HR 762 last night in Denver for a 5-3 win. I'm beginning to wonder -- how many more will come with Barry in the Orange and Black?

For the dingbats like Bruce Jenkins who insist that the team will be better if Bonds goes -- Take it from me: you'll miss him when he's gone. Frankly, you'll be sorry that you don't have anything more interesting to write about than whether Pedro Feliz can get his OBP above .300. Big Bill Broonzy said it best in this song, covered by BB King and Eric Clapton --


I've got the key to the highway
Feel I got to go
Gonna leave here running
Walking is most too slow

Im going back to the border
Baby where Im better known
Because you havent done nothing baby
But draw the good man from home

When the moon peeps over the mountain
Little girl Ill be on my way
Im gonna roll the highway until the break of day

Oh give me one more kiss darling
Just before I go
Cause when I leave this time little girl
I wont be back no more

Ive got the key to the highway
Little darling I got to go
Im gonna leave here running
Walking is most too slow

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Getting down with Lou Seal on Orange Friday

Photo by artolog

After that last snarky post, I decided to go with something a little more upbeat. What's not to like?

Jerry Meals can go to hell

Who's that? You're probably wondering. Let me set you straight.

Jerry Meals is the lying sack of garbage umpire who decided to throw Brian Wilson out in the bottom of the 8th inning of tonight's stupid 6-5 loss to the stupid Rox at their stupid stadium after he had hit Yorvit Torrealba with a pitch. Wilson got thrown out EVEN THOUGH IT WAS A ONE-RUN GAME (Giants 5, Rockies 4) AT THE TIME WITH A MAN ON FIRST AND ONE OUT. I was listening to XM at the time and even the Rox announcers (I believe they are Jeff Kingery and Jack Corrigan) were astounded by Meals, who then proceeded to throw Bruce Bochy out, too, rather than admit that he might have gone too far in tossing Wilson.

At the time, two other Rockies and one other Giant (Feliz) had been HBPd but Kingery and Corrigan pointed out that it hadn't been anything like a beanball war and no warnings had been issued. Anyhow, Hennessey was no damn good when he came in and gave up a run in the 8th and another in the 9th. I admit that the Giants are playing so badly now that it's a surprise when they win but this is one game I'm going to blame on someone other than the stupid Rockies and their stupid owners or stupid Brian Sabean or Bruce Bochy, Benjie Molina, Rich Aurilia and Pedro Feliz (who went down quietly 1-2-3 in the top of ninth).

Instead, I'm going to blame the worthless Jerry Meals for deciding he had to hog the spotlight. If there's one thing I HATE, it's self-aggradizing umps like "Balkin" Bob Davidson, Angel Hernandez, CB Buckner, Eric Gregg and Bruce Froemming, who make themselves the center of attention.

Monday, September 03, 2007

How good was Willie Mays?

Mays and Bonds on Opening Day 2007, photo by artolog

In the previous post, I was counting the number of losing seasons that the Giants have had in San Francisco. By my count, this will be the 18th. The curious thing is -- the first losing season didn't occur until 1972, when Horace Stoneham traded No. 24 in early May to the Mets for Charlie Williams and $50,000.

So for the first 14 seasons in San Francisco, the Giants always finished above .500. Granted, there were a lot of other good players (look at that 1962 team!), but Mays was -- year-in and year-out -- the best player on the team. If you didn't see him play, it's hard to fully understand his greatness.

Say goodbye to .500

What a depressing Labor Day -- sort of emblematic of the state of most of the labor movement (with the MLB Players Assn. being a notable exception). And if anyone complains about how much MLB players get paid, you might want to bring up how amazingly overpaid CEOs are.

At any rate, the Giants season is getting particularly hard to take. John Shea of the SF Chronicle reports that Bruce Bochy's decided to not play Barry Bonds, the Giants best player, any more -- at least on the road. He's started once in the four games of this road trip and gotten to pinch hit once.

I suppose it's important to get Ortmeier, Fransden, Schierholtz and Davis some ABs, but why not sit the worthless vets who keep running out every day like Roberts, Winn, Feliz, Aurilia and Klesko? In a 7-4 loss like today's, having a real bat in the lineup might have been enough to make up for Matt Cain's meltdown and prevent a three-game losing streak.

So we must manfully admit that -- with the record now 62-76 -- a winning season isn't happening this year either. This team would have to go 19-5 the rest of the way for that to happen. So now we have three losing seasons in a row for the first time since 1994-96; it's still kind of hard to believe that the 1993 team that won 103 games unravelled so quickly. The 1994 regulars included such inconsequential contributors as Todd Benzinger, John Patterson, Kirt Manwaring, Royce Clayton, Dave Martinez and Darren Lewis; Salomon Torres went 2-8 with a 5.64 ERA in 16 starts; and Robby Thompson was on his last legs after getting beaned in late 1993 by Trevor Hoffman. Actually, by the time things finally turned around in 1997, the Giants had posted losing records in five of the previous six seasons.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

"I don't worry about a thing"

In the wake of today's disgusting Giants loss and a Dodger victory, it seems like the right time to post the lyrics to Mose Allison's immortal song --

I Don't Worry About a Thing

If this life is driving you to drink
You sit around and wondering just what to think
Well I got some consoloation
I'll give it to you if I might
Well I don't worry bout a thing
Cause I know nothings gonna be alright

You know this world is just one big trouble spot
Some have plenty and some have not
You know I used to be troubled
But I finally saw the light
Now I don't worry bout a thing
Cause I know nothings gonna be alright

Don't waste you time trying to be a go getter
Things will get worse before they get any better
You know there's always somebody playing with dynamite
But I don't worry about a thing
Cause I know nothing's gonna be alright

Sick and tired

...of the Giants losing to lousy teams like the Nats. Had this team not been constructed by an idiot, it might have done better than losing 4 of 6 this year to one of the worst squads in MLB.

Today's 2-1 heart-breaker game was prototypical of the year -- excellent starting pitching, no hitting and a losing effort by the pen yet again. Today also featured some brain-dead base running, this time by Rajai Davis, who managed idiotically to get himself thrown out at third when Brian Schneider could not handle a pitch for a second.

If there was a game that shows why Brian Sabean should be fired, this was it.

That sucking sound

It's the Dodger season going down the drain. They got humiliated tonight by the Padres, 7-0. They are so desperate that they're starting the worthless Shea Hillenbrand at third. His contribution tonight was a throwing error. They're now 5 games back in the wild card race.

Like the Giants, they only got two hits. One of the Giants' hits was a Feliz homer, but the loss was to the feeble Nats, which is always embarrassing -- especially considering that it was to the immortal Joel Hanrahan, who has now beaten them twice for half of his four victories this year.

The hard truth is that this team, asies from Bonds, cannot hit. Besides Feliz, the other hit was a pinch single by Nate Schierholtz, who -- like Ortmeier, Fransden, Lewis and Davis -- has shown flashes of MLB ability but doesn't appear to be ready to be anything more than replacement-level talent. Not that I've given up hope but if you can't beat Joel Hanrahan, you probably aren't going to make it to .500 this year.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

New win streak started

Kevin Correia pitched well and Rajai Davis got the big hit. Davis certainly feels like a big improvement on Dave Roberts.