Monday, April 30, 2007

More good news out of Fresno

Tim Lincecum has pitched another gem for the Fresno Grizzlies -- on the heels of Saturday night's bullpen blowing a winnable game in Arizona. I'm starting to lose patience on this front.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

A long season

This is going to be a tough season, full of aggravating games like this 5-4 loss today to the stupid Dbacks -- Morris pitching too long into the 7th because the pen is just not solid enough to close the deal, while Tim Lincecum is being wasted up in Fresno; and the offense not being quite good enough to be able to take advantage of opportunities, such as bases loaded, one out in the 9th, and not scoring due to Omar and Rich not being able to seal the deal.

I do love Omar Vizquel and Rich Aurilia but they shouldn't be No. 2 and 3 hitters in a starting lineup at this stage of their careers.

Reality sets in at Chavez Latrine

A day after the L.A. Times beat reporter on the Dodgers filed an idiotic story about Jason Schmidt's injury and loss of velocity -- completely ignoring that everyone's already known this for years -- the Times' Bill Shaikin files a Sunday piece admitting that the Schmidt signing is looking like a very expensive mistake. The Dodger spin is now that Schmidt is a finesse pitcher --

Said Colletti: "The guy has a great changeup and an above-average breaking ball. If all you are is a power pitcher and that's all you've got, you'll struggle until you're dead. That's not the case with this player. You don't pitch this long in this game with just a fastball."

My comment -- Eat it. Eat it raw.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Why the LA Times sports section is lousy

It has nothing to do with the fascinating recent story of Mike Penner deciding to become Christine Daniels. Unfortuantely, the actual coverage in the section is pretty awful, day in and day out. Some stories are flat out incompetent -- in this case, a thoroughly stupid story by beat writer Steve Henson about why Jason Schmidt can't pitch effectively. He asks -- Is he getting hurt or is his velocity down?

Had Henson bothered to explore why the Giants decided to let Schmidt walk, he would have discovered that for the past 2 seasons 1. the velocity and the effectiveness have been dropping and 2. the incidence of injuries has been increasing. It was obvious to anyone who saw Schmidt pitch in 2005 and 2006 and remembered what he was like in 2002 through 2004. In other words, the real story is this -- the Dodgers may have wasted $47 million on a guy who's the new version of Darren Dreifort.

Can you imagine one of the New York papers soft-peddling this story?

Feeling like a broken record.....

In a repeat of the painful loss 11 days ago in Denver, the Giants pen blew another lead (4-1) to lose a game that Matt Cain should have won. Vinnie Chulk and Jack Taschner were the main culprits again.

Meanwhile, Tim Lincecum continues to blow PCL hitters away. He's let in only one run in 25 innings. It's baffling and stupid that he's not in San Francisco. This is a wasted opportunity. The sooner a top-tier player begins to understand how to play in the MBL, the better.

Aside from Bonds' first-inning heroics, Pedro Feliz actually like a big leaguer for a change and the usual outstanding job by Cain, the only redeeming occurrence on Saturday night was the ever-predictable Brett Tomko finding yet another way to lose for the Dodgers. Eat it raw, Brett.

No. 742

Bonds just homered to deep center in the 1st inning in Phoenix after getting walked 3 times last night. Expect a lot more walks for Barry -- especially if someone else doesn't start hitting consistently.

The pennant is winnable

Why would I make such a statement? Because the Giants pitching is good enough right now to win every time out, even without Tim Lincecum. They have the 4th lowest ERA in the MLB right now; the Yankees are the fourth worst.

ABF -- Anyone But Feliz!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Fix the problem now

The Giants just lost 3-2 to the stupid Dbacks in what was obviously a winnable game. There's no doubt that their starting pitching is going to be fine, but the offense is going to be a problem -- especially when Bochy giving starts to Pedro Feliz, who went 0-for-4 and has become one of the worst everyday corner infielders in MLB. We got to read about how he'd worked on his plate discipline over the winter and now, he's walked twice in 60 ABs; his OBP is .226; he's batting .200 with 3 HRs and 7 RBIs.

It's baffling that Feliz is getting starts over Klesko, who's a far better offensive player. I know the argument -- Davis is a lefty so Klesko sits. The result -- Feliz gets the collar. How can this be a surprise any more? Every MLB pitcher has figured out that all you have to do is make him chase breaking balls outside the strike zone.

Why is this important? Despite the 12-9 record, the Giants are tied for last in the majors with the Nats in runs scored with 76.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Juan Pierre = pathetic

Listening to Dodger shills Rick Monday and Charlie Steiner recap the glorious 5-4 loss to the Giants, it was clear that they were putting the blame squarely on Juan Pierre -- one of the most over-rated and overpaid players in MLB. Monday, in particular, was perturbed over Pierre's utter failure to lay down a squeeze bunt in the 2nd, vaguely waving at the pitch as if he had missed the sign as Andre Ethier ran into an easy out at the point, getting tagged out by Feliz. Monday saw it as the game's turning point -- the Giants were on the ropes, already down 3-1 with only one out and Russ Ortiz looking like crap. Grady Little must have decided that Pierre is such a crappy hitter that the best way to get the run home was to squeeze. Fortunately for the Giants, Pierre is brain dead and apparently missed the sign.

Pierre went 0-for-5 tonight; his OBP was at .298 before the game; he's walked 3 times in 96 at bats; his arm in the outfield is worthless; he's made two errors already -- one of them an egregious drop of a fly ball in tonight's 2-run 8th -- and been thrown out 3 times in 10 stolen base attempts; his batting average is now down to .263. Bunting and catching flies are the two things he's supposed to do well as part of his laughably excessive 5-year $45 million deal.

I would have nominated Armando Benitez as one of the most over-paid players but with 3 saves in 3 nights -- and the last two going 1-2-3 -- he's actually suprising me. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop and here he ends the game with a called strike 3 change-up to Nomar. And it happened on Nomar bobblehead night. Sweet.

That's the way, uh-huh uh-huh, I like it

The 3-game sweep at Chavez Latrine can only be properly celebrated by posting the immortal lyrics from KC and the Sunshine Band --

Oh, that's the way, uh-huh uh-huh,I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh.
That's the way, uh-huh uh-huh,I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh.
That's the way, uh-huh uh-huh,I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh.
That's the way, uh-huh uh-huh,I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh.

When you take me by the hand,
Tell me I'm your loving man,
When you give me all your love,
And do it the very best you can,

Oh, that's the way, uh-huh uh-huh,I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh.
That's the way, uh-huh uh-huh,I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh.
That's the way, uh-huh uh-huh,I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh.
That's the way, uh-huh uh-huh,I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh.

When I get to be in your arms,
When we're all all alone,
When you whisper sweet in my ear,
When you turn, turn me on,

Oh, that's the way, uh-huh uh-huh,I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh.
That's the way, uh-huh uh-huh,I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh.
That's the way, uh-huh uh-huh,I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh.
That's the way, uh-huh uh-huh,I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh.

Just plain stupid

The SF Chronicle's Henry Schulman writes a truly lame piece about how Dodger Stadium fans are sometimes loud, using Tim Flannery as his source in describing the four-HR ninth inning last Sept. 18.

My question -- how is this NEWS? As someone who's actually attended Dodger Stadium hundreds of times, here's what's actually going on -- fans are obsessed with banging beachballs, chanting "Barry Sucks" and aren't particuarly knowledgeable about baseball as a rule. As for loudness, since the parking situation is execrable, a lot of people who have tickets to attend don't. The no-show rate was over 20% last year, I believe. And a LOT of people leave early. By the time Benitez closed them down in the 9th last night, over 50% of the crowd was long gone. And as to the central thesis that the place is somehow really really loud compared to other places -- it's nonsense.

The fans do, however, sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" better than anyone else. And they sing it twice. But in any case, who among the Chronicle readers possibly cares?

Another example of how the Chronicle is written and edited by dingbats.

The Onion strikes again!

90 years ago today

I can't let today pass without acknowledging that April 25 was what would have been Ella Fitzgerald's 90th birthday. Truly a treasure. Don't believe me? Listen to her wonderful version of "Blue Skies," written by Irving Berlin, and get back to me...

Blue skies
Smiling at me
Nothing but blue skies
Do I see

Bluebirds
Singing a song
Nothing but bluebirds
All day long

Never saw the sun shining so bright
Never saw things going so right
Noticing the days hurrying by
When you're in love, my how they fly

Blue days
All of them gone
Nothing but blue skies
From now on

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Lucky 7

Giants Win has just returned from witnessing a glorious 6-4 triumph of the Orange and Black at Chavez Latrine, with Barry Bonds responding to the endless "Barry Sucks" chants with a line drive three-run homer to right center in the first and a clutch single up the middle in the 8th that led to a valuable insurance run. It's the seventh win in a row for a team that was 2-7 and has since gone 9-1.

The "lucky" parts are easy -- Pedro Feliz hammering a pathetic Randy Wolf fastball for a homer that broke a 4-4 tie; Rich Aurilia stabbing a smash in the 4th at SS and throwing to 3B to start a rundown on dingbat Dodger catcher Russell Martin, who'd stupidly decided to go to third without seeing the ball get through; Dave Roberts, being safe by a hair in stealing second for what was then cashed in for the 6th run by Ray Durham; and Armando Benitez sailing through an effortless 1-2-3 9th inning for a save.

"Write that I still hadn't warmed up my tuchas," my friend Dan said as we just were settling as the Giants scored 4 runs in 4 at bats in the first, including Todd Linden smoking a line-drive single. Linden then looked awful the rest of the night -- he made an error in the bottom of the first in centerfield and was clueless as to hitting Wolf's breaking ball.

Barry: Go A-Rod

Nice story in today's Chronicle about Barry giving a big A-Rod shout-out.

Alex already has 478 homers in 24th place. Here's who's in front --


1. Hank Aaron+ 755
2. Barry Bonds* 740
3. Babe Ruth+* 714
4. Willie Mays+ 660
5. Sammy Sosa 592
6. Frank Robinson+ 586
7. Mark McGwire 583
8. Harmon Killebrew+ 573
9. Rafael Palmeiro* 569
10. Ken Griffey* 564
11. Reggie Jackson+* 563
12. Mike Schmidt+ 548
13. Mickey Mantle+# 536
14. Jimmie Foxx+ 534
15. Willie McCovey+* 521
Ted Williams+* 521
17. Ernie Banks+ 512
Eddie Mathews+* 512
19. Mel Ott+* 511
20. Eddie Murray+# 504
21. Lou Gehrig+* 493
Fred McGriff* 493
23. Frank Thomas (39) 490

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Winning ugly

It wasn't pretty, thanks mostly to another gut-wrenching ninth inning by Blownitez, but the Giants just won their 6th in a row, thanks mostly to big pitching by Matty Mo and Taschner getting past-his-prime Luis Gonzalez to hit into a DP. Blownitez was his usual stumbling self tonight, letting the tying runs get on base in the 9th.

Henry Schulman of the SF Chronicle has a particularly lame piece about Blownitez being effective. John Perricone of Only Baseball Matters points out that when you consider that he's faced 26 batters and let 10 get on, that characterization is a joke. Here's how John puts it -- That's not performing, simple as that. Stroking his ego is one thing, and if the manager wants to do that behind closed doors, as a strategy for getting the most out of a player, fine. But Schulman trying to tell the fans that is a complete joke.

Continuing to use a guy who cannot close effectively is going to burn the Giants. Trade him, DFA him, I don't care. Get rid of him.

My favorite part of the game came as I listened to Dodger homer Charlie Steiner describe Dave Roberts homer as a "high flyball" that Ethier was going back on. Steiner was obviously stunned that Roberts had hit it out. It was his first HR in nearly a year. Amazingly, he hit the last one at Petco Park.

Ownage

55 years ago today

One of my favorite trivia questions -- what Hall of Fame pitcher hit a homer in his first MLB at bat on April 23, 1952, and never homered again?

Hint -- he broke in with the Giants.

Monday, April 23, 2007

A frenzy of fun

The SF Chronicle's Scott Ostler does a nice job of describing the reaction Sunday at Mays Field to Bonds hitting HR No. 740.

Somewhat remarkably, it's a snark-free piece -- even though it's in the Bonds-hating Chronicle.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Bomko strikes again

Dodger fans are finding out what Giant fans know -- Brett Tomko will always find away to lose a game. After today's 7-5 gagging to the Pirates at the Ravine, Tomko said it was "just one of those days." I guess that's a standard line for marginal guys who are hanging on.

The game itself culminated with two detested ex-Giants -- Jeff Kent and Salomon Torres -- facing off against each other. Fortunately, Torres finally did something to help the Giants and struck out "Choker" Kent.

If you want something done right, do it yourself

Matt Cain goes all the way today to get his first win of the year in a 2-1 thriller out at Mays Field. Bonds hits No. 740 and the much-reviled Pedro Feliz finally does something to justify his paycheck.

The Chron's Ray Ratto has something of a strange column about Bochy being willing to let Zito throw 126 pitches in Saturday's game. This again shows that the Chron is edited by shovel, since he never bothers to point out that Matt Cain had been lifted on Tuesday night after throwing 110 pitches -- with disastrous results results following immediately. Perhaps that might be part of the reason why Zito got to go so long on Saturday but you'd never get any insight into that by reading Ratto.

In case you're wondering, in today's game, Cain threw 113 pitches -- 65 strikes, 48 balls.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Back to .500

It's hard to believe that the Giants are already back to .500 with today's stirring 1-0 victory, featuring a 457-foot HR by Bonds (No. 739), outstanding pitching by Zito and a gut-wrenching 9th inning by Blownitez, in which the tying run got to third and the go-ahead was on first.

It was just a week and a half ago, following this embarrassing 4-0 loss in San Diego, that the Orange and Black had dropped to 2-7. At that point, the team looked so bad that I actually compared them to the 1962 Mets, who went 40-120, since the Giants were on a pace that would result in a 36-126 season.

Since then, they've gone 7-1 against the Pirates, Rox , Cards and Snakes including 4 straight against the last two -- both pretty decent teams. Should the starting pitching stay as solid as it has, with Russ Ortiz and Matt Morris coming up with decent starts on a consistent basis, the team's chances actually become viable. But I remain surprised that Blownitez hasn't yet blown a save and would love to see a trade, now that he may have some actual value.

Based on watching today's national telecast of the Bosox-Yanks game, Fox appeared to have negligible interest in the outcome of the Giants-Dbacks game and Bonds' HR.

Russ's revenge

Ortiz pitches for Arizona in 2005. photo by rayisawake

I can't stand the Diamondbacks and their stupid fans, who never seem to realize that they have received more good luck than they possibly ever deserved during the team's brief history. So it's nice to read about them whining over Russ Ortiz beating them while taking the Dback coin. Here's part of a particularly pungent post on Baseball Think Factory. I've removed the profanity --

For two years, the Dbacks asked Ortiz to lose some weight, get in shape and fix his mechanics. He blew them off. There is absolutely nothing to suggest that he would've listened to them this year. The only reason he shaped up was because the Dbacks kicked his lice-infected XXX out of Arizona, the proverbial wake up call that told him was he was a piece of junk and had no future in baseball unless he stopped shoving donuts in his lard XXX and started working out. So the Dbacks did him a favor... and yes, they are paying him $8m/year, which is just fine with me. It's Moorad's money, and it's a scarlet letter on his chest. That'll teach him of the danger of free agency. Anyhow, all I can say is #### Russ Ortiz. I am absolutely relieved I will never ever have to feel any positive thoughts about that scumbag.

My comment -- Sounds to me like the Dbacks are run by idiots, at least in this case. So eat it. Eat it raw.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Bonds stays amazing


Excellent 2006 shot by johnny98

Though A-Rod's fantastic April (12 HRs and 30 RBIs so far) are getting well-deserved recognition and Russ Ortiz has just won his second game by beating the team that's still paying him, Bonds is putting up amazing numbers for a 42-year-old and leading the NL in SLG at .700 after a single and a double tonight.

Though many sportswriters dismissed Barry in pre-season evaluations, SI's John Donovan says that's no longer the case: Barry Bonds is back, and if you couldn't tell that by his swing, or those rockets coming off his bat, or that unmistakable strut he's regained in this, his 22nd season in the majors, then tear your eyes off No. 25 for a second and look out into the field. To the teams playing against the Giants. They're scared out of their ever-loving new faux-wool caps.
The rest of the story is here
Unfortunately, Bochy is continuing to start Feliz and can't seem the grasp that the strongest starting lineup is Aurilia at 3B and Klesko at 1B.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The worst slide ever

I just watched ESPN Sports Center show Ryan Klesko's face first "slide" into third base after hitting the ball about 435 feet to the very deepest part of Mays Field. His completely artless sliding "technique" reminded me of Pedro Guerrero, another player who never figured out how to slide -- he'd run to a base and fall down -- but was always an offensive force just the same.

Anyhow, if he can manage to not injure himself, Klesko looks like he can be a fairly solid hitter. Ideally, Klesko and Aurilia can keep Pedro Feliz on the bench, where he belongs.

Heading for .500

The Giants have taken another game from the Cards, 6-2, and are now 6-8. This makes the losses in Matt Cain's last two starts all the more aggravating. The Giants are in last place, tied with the Rockies, who did their usual lay-down today for the Dodgers.

It sounds like Rich Aurilia has figured out how to hit again after his career fell apart in 2004. He got the big hit last night to end the game and again today, breaking a 2-2 tie.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Splash hit #42

I damn near drove off the road when I heard Jon Miller describe Bonds' tying up the game in the bottom of the 8th. Best game of the year, right after the worst game of the year.

Still, listening to the Giants bullpen give up the lead in the 7th -- thanks to a bases-loaded walk by Jack Taschner -- one has to wonder what the Giants front office is trying to prove by keeping Tim Lincecum in Fresno. He's just won his 3rd game and now has 18 shutout innings.

Unhappy with Feliz

Giants Baseball Blog absolutely nails it with an excellent post on how bad this signing is. Here's the top of the post --

Why Pedro Feliz is still playing is beyond me. The Giants need to bite the bullet and sit him down already. The only time he should ever see the field is when a weak left-handed pitcher is throwing, or as a late inning defensive replacement.

Jason Schmidt breaking down

At least there's some good news to report -- the Dodgers may have wasted $47 million on Jason Schmidt.

During the preseason, Dodger management just about broke its collective arms patting themselves on the back over the signing of Jason Schmidt. Then Schmidt went on about how fabulous it was to be a Dodger. Now, after two bad starts, he's already on the DL -- little surprise to Giants fans who followed him in recent years and endured his seemingless endless injuries.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Plenty of blame to go around

Tonight saw yet another horrific loss in Denver with plenty of people to blame:

-- Bruce Bochy for not letting Matt Cain go past 110 pitches. He was breezing in the previous innings.
-- Bochy for not pinch-hitting for the abysmal non-clutch Pedro Feliz (batting .184) in the 8th with a runner in scoring position. What's the problem with bringing in Klesko or Sweeney? Can't Aurilia play 3B? Wasn't that why we signed him?
-- Brian Sabean for not bringing up Tim Lincecum from Frenso, where he's thrown 12 scoreless innings in 2 games this season, to get a badly needed out or two in a tight game. What's being proven by keeping Lincecum in the PCL?
-- Bochy and Sabean for subjecting Giants fans to having the extremely marginal Kevin Correia -- who has padded his stats by doing mop-up work -- choke away games when Steve Kline and Brad Hennessy are available.
-- Steve Finley for delivering the kind of hit (a pinch-hit HR) he utterly failed to deliver last year for the Orange and Black. Finley came into the game batting 1-for-21 so the HR will probably keep him in the MLB for a few more weeks.

Bonds loves Aaron

Monday, April 16, 2007

A tragic day

Bruce Jenkins thinks he's God

The Bonds hatefest just keeps rolling. In his latest pathetic attempt at wasting column inches and sucking up to his sources, the SF Chronicle's talentless hack Bruce Jenkins has utterly succumbed to delusions of grandeur, decreeing that Hank Aaron and Bud Selig should not attend the game at which Barry Bonds breaks Aaron's record.

I really don't care whether Bonds breaks the record. I just want the Giants to win a World Series within my lifetime. But it would be nice if Aaron's record got broken fairly soon, just so that we can be freed from this endless moralizing from "sportswriters." We've heard losers like Jenkins say over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over that Bonds IS Satan. Believe it or not, Bruce, we get where you're coming from. Please do us all a favor and retire -- the sooner, the better.

The real Zito shows up in Denver

We can hope that was him, anyhow. The Giants humiliate the Rox, 8-0, as Zito allows only 3 hits and 3 walks in 6 innings and Durham and Molina hit back to back HRs.

I must admit that my favorite play of the night came after Zito left -- Steve Finley pinch-hitting into a DP in the 7th off Chulk. Steve's now batting .048 for the year in a testament to the stupidity of the dingbats running the Rockies.

Return to the House of Horrors

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Classy!

My friend was in attendance tonight at Dodger Stadium AKA Chavez Latrine. Here's his report --

When Vin the Shill introduced Hank Aaron, instead of giving the all-time homer king his due, a large portion of the crowd, instead of cheering Hank, broke into a chant of "Barry Sucks!" Yeah, those Dodger fans. Don Imus has more class.

Rain, rain, go away

Today's double-header gets washed out. Tough news for the Giants, given that they had a bit of momentum with 2 victories in their last 3 games.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Bombs away in LA

Though Barry Zito has gotten most of the attention for being an early-season disappointment so far, Jason "Traitor" Schmidt is looking more and more like a high-priced bust for the Dodgers. He couldn't even get out of the third inning tonight, leaving the game trailing 6-0 after giving up 7 hits including two homers. He faced 16 batters and got only six of them out.

The Dodgers other big free agent signing, Juan Pierre, has been under the Mendoza line and didn't even start.

Tim McCarver says something interesting for a change

Giants-Pirates game postponed

Craig Biggio = selfish

I've never heard a discouraging word about Craig Biggio, even though he's become only marginally useful as a player as he insists on playing until he gets 3,000 hits. He had a lousy .306 OBP last year while his SLG was .422, thanks largely to 22 HRs. During today's Phils-Astros game on XM, I heard Phillies announcer Harry Callas point out that Biggio's no longer taking walks. He had 40 last year but in 40 ABs this year, he hasn't walked yet despite posting a .225 OBP so far -- and given his mostly worthless performance in other aspects of the game, one wonders how Phil Garner can keep running him out there every day AND batting him in the lead off slot. Yet no one seems to have a problem with Biggio's me-first team-second pursuit of 3,000 hits, which will probably take him most of the season, given how crappy he's playing.

UPDATE -- Biggio went 1-for-5 today without a walk and ended the game on a DP. He's now 60 hits short of 3,000 while the Astros lost 8-5 to go 4-6 for the season.

Can you imagine the level of outrage from sportswriters if Barry Bonds started playing like this? Yet because sportswriters have designated Bonds as the convenient scapegoat for all that's wrong with MLB, it's rare to hear about Barry's positive contributions even though he leads the team in HRs (3), RBIs (8) and walks (6) for a .400 OBP and .631 SLG.

Steve Finley = schadenfreude

There's been plenty of complaining about Brian Sabean's questionable off-season moves, but at least he had the good sense let Steve Finley walk away.

One of the more disgusting parts of last season was having to put up with Steve Finley whining about not getting enough playing time despite his dismal numbers. Despite evidence that Finley's done (.320 OBP, 6 HRs and 40 RBIs in over 400 ABs last year) , the brain-dead Rockies management signed him this spring and kept him on the roster. He's repaid their confidence by going 1-for-19 so far.

Time for the Pirates to suffer

I can always find a reason to hate other teams besides the Dodgers. I've always disliked the Pirates, partly because they aced the Giants out in 1971, leading to the dismantling of the team by Horace Stoneham over the next few years. Mays, McCovey, Marichal, Maddox, George Foster -- all gone. Four straight losing seasons between 1974 and 1977.

There was also this game I attended at the Stick in 1974, when Richie Zisk hit for the cycle in a 14-1 humiliation of the Orange and Black.

So with tonight's 8-2 thumping of the Pirates, is the ledger even? Do you even need to ask?

Friday, April 13, 2007

The LA Dodgers are NOT the Brooklyn Dodgers

I don't believe I'm the only one who finds it a bit off-putting that the LA Dodgers continue to cash in on the legacy of the Brooklyn Dodgers, even though Walter O'Malley threw Brooklyn aside like a moldy turkey carcass in 1957. There's never the least bit of recognition by the Dodgers that the move was extremely painful, unpopular and unfair for Brooklyn.

The latest example is the breast-beating by the Dodgers over the upcoming 60-year anniversary celebration of Jackie Robinson's breaking into the game -- a very worthy event, indeed, but one that does NOT celebrate anything that happened in Los Angeles.

Still, Jackie and Branch Rickey certainly deserve to be remembered as pioneers -- but that didn't stop O'Malley from firing Rickey and trading Jackie to the Giants, which the Dodgers always ignore. And it's good to see that the Dodgers are contributing to very worthwhile Reviving Baseball in the Inner City program. Cal Ripken announced yesterday that he's making a major contribution to help the RBI program.

Bonds on fire with HRs No. 736 and 737

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Where is the love?

Tim Lincecum has just thrown 7 innings of four-hit shutout ball for the Fresno Grizzlies and struck out 9 Portland Beavers. The Grizzlies won 2-0; Kevin Frandsen got an RBI.

I'm not sure what the Giants are trying to prove by keeping Lincecum in Fresno. Are they afraid of hurting the feelings of marginal guys like Kevin Correia, Russ Ortiz, Brad Hennessey and Armando Blownitez by having another young guy on the roster who can actually pitch? In other words, in the immortal words of Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway, Where is the love?

Where is the love (Where is the love)
Where is the love (Where is the love)
Where is the love (Where is the love)
Where is the love (Where is the love)

Where is the love
You said you'd give to me
Soon as you were free
Will it ever be
Where is the love
You told me that you didn't love him
And you were gonna say goodbye
But if you really didn't mean it
Why did you have to lie

Where is the love
You said was mine all mine
Till the end of time
Was it just a lie
Where is the love

If you have had a sudden change of heart
I wish that you would tell me so
Dont leave me hangin on to promises
Youve got to let me know

Oh, how I wish I never met you
I guess it must have been my fate
To fall in love with someone elses love
All I can do is wait
Thats all I can do, yeah, yeah, yeah

Where is the love (Where is the love)
Where is the love (Where is the love)
Where is the love (Where is the love)
Where is the love (Where is the love)
Where is the love (Where is the love)
Where is the love (Where is the love)
Where is the love (Where is the love)
Where is the love (Where is the love)
Where is the love (Where is the love)

Giants brilliant plan unveiled!

EXCLUSIVE -- MUST CREDIT GIANTS WIN

Giants Win has learned that the San Francisco Giants' incredibly crappy performance this season is part of a secret plan by the team's management to lull competition into complacency for games later in the year.

"We're going to act like the Devil Rays early on," a team source told Giants Win. "Why do you think we're keeping guys like Armando Benitez, Mark Sweeney, Lance Niekro, Pedro Feliz, Randy Winn and Russ Ortiz on the roster?"

The plan is working to perfection as national baseball writers like ESPN's Jayson Stark declare that it's all over for the Giants this year.

Back to the '60s

1968, to be exact. David Pinto at the excellent Baseball Musings site weighed in with this observation on the Giants performance so far --

The Giants team batting line reads like a bad middle infielder from 1968. The offense hold a .232 BA, a .289 OBA and a .307 slugging percentage. That kind of hitting gets individual players released. And with an 0 for 4, Bonds fell below the Mendoza line with a .192 batting average.

The 1968 Giants were a damn good team with Mays, McCovey, Marichal and Perry. They went 88-74 and came in second to the Cards out of 10 teams in the last year before the NL East and West were created. McCovey led the league in HRs with 36 and RBIs with 105; Marchical went 26-9. The team batting average was .239 but the team scored 599 runs and allowed only 529.

RIP Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut died Wednesday. Here are some of his memorable observations:

-- True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.
-- We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be (from "Mother Night")
-- We could have saved the Earth but we were too damned cheap.
-- Who is more to be pitied, a writer bound and gagged by policemen or one living in perfect freedom who has nothing more to say?
-- I would hate to tell you what this lousy little book cost me in money and anxiety and time. (from "Slaughterhouse 5")

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Can anyone play this game?

That, of course, is the immortal phrase uttered by Casey Stengel about the 1962 Mets, who went on to lose 120 games, while winning only 40 for a .250 winning percentage. That's how badly this current Giants team is playing. With tonight's 4-0 loss to the Padres, the Orange and Black are now 2-7 for a .222 winning percentage, which would project out to a final record of 36-126.

Hopefully, Bonds will remember how to hit again in Pittsburgh. Right now, the only regular who seems to be hitting with any kind of regularity is Benjie Molina, who is 9 for 28 with five doubles so far.

The 1962 Mets actually had one pretty good player -- Frank Thomas, who hit 34 HRs and had 94 RBIs.

So what has the Giants front office done in 2007? Sent down Kevin Frandsen, who's had a grand total of one at bat, to make room for Mark Sweeney, who was pretty useless last year. I'd love to see the team take a chance on Nate Schierholtz, who's tearing up the PCL with 10 hits in 21 ABs, including 3 HRs and 8 RBIs.

Just plain awful

The prospect of a third losing season in a row takes me back to those awful days of the mid 1970s, when the Giants finished under .500 for four straight years. In April of 1977, the Giants traded Chris Speier -- a decent hitter and excellent fielder PLUS he was the one guy who had been with the team continuously since their last run at glory in 1971 -- straight up for Tim Foli, who could not hit.

I seem to recall that Speier was fed up with the Giants or something like that but it was a trade that was just plain awful. And it was also a portent of things to come. It turned out that Foli was a warm-up to two decades of offensive incompetence from Giants shortstops via Johnnie Lemaster, Jose Uribe and Royce Clayton -- all decent fielders but guys who could not hit water if they fell out of an airplane over the Pacfic Ocean. When Rich Aurilia hit 37 homers in 2001, he exceeded by 12 the entire HR output by Foli during his 16-year career.

I bring this up because Josh Wilker has another great post at Cardboard Gods on Foli and his silly facial hair. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Matty Mo!

No question who's the most valuable Giant so far! Of course, he did pitch in the two games when the Giants scored 11 runs but all I can say is that it's about goddam time after his awful 2006. I'm not even bothered over the luck-out factor in the Giants getting 2 gift runs early. Oh, and one other thing -- DFA BENITEZ and FELIZ.

Listening on XM, I could tell that the dismal Padre announcers were legitimately excited over the strong chance that Blownitez was blowing another save in the 9th after giving up a long 2-run HR before getting the extremely annoying Khalil Greene to fly out. And after his dismal performance Monday night, Pedro Feliz didn't start. Lefty Malo pointed out that Mike Krukow had relayed this disturbing story on the air --

I heard my first post-game wrap of the year and Krukow said that Bochy pitched an extra round of batting practice before the game. Feliz came up, and Bochy shouted out, "Situational hitting, no outs, man on second!" Feliz was expected to adjust his swing to move the runner over, "but he didn't know how," said Krukow. So they showed him to use less body, throw the hands, and he finally got it. He didn't know how to adjust his swing. In batting practice. After saying all winter he was working on going to the opposite field.

Dodger fan suffering

As the dozens of readers of this blog know, Giants Win has always been dismissive of Dodger fans. However, the opening day parking fiasco perpetrated by Dodger owner Frank McCourt was enough to make even me feel a twinge of sympathy for fans who simply wanted to attend the ballgame. According to former PR exec John Stodder (who's going to jail for ripping off the city of LA), the traffic was "apocalyptically bad" and predicts the Dodgers will see a big drop in attendance.

Kevin Roderick of the LA Observed blog called it "parking hell." To me, it's stunning that a guy who made his fortune in parking lots can't manage to come up with a better system, particularly at $15 a pop.

So if you're planning to come to the April 23-25 series with the Giants at Chavez Latrine, you can't say you weren't warned.

Wake me up when the nightmare's over

I know I'm engaging in 20-20 hindsight but what may turn out to be an awful 2007 Giants season could have been avoided.

I decided to take a look at the Giants stats from 2006, which showed the team ranked 15th in runs scored at 746 and 8th in runs allowed at 790. That sounds about right for a team that went 76-85. Doesn't that sound like the team needed to GET MORE OFFENSE? So the Bonds bashers insisted that was the reason why the Giants needed to dump Bonds while showing their profound ignorance by overlooking the simple fact that he was the best player on the team last year. So after failing to sign another bat and letting Moises Alou go, Bonds was one of the best alternatives available.

But even with Bonds, it should have been obvious that it was going to be a lousy offfense. The top priority should have been getting a decent hitting corner infielder like Aramis Ramirez, who's gone 12-for-28 and driven in 5 runs so far. If I recall, his deal was five years for $75 million -- not a bad price if he keeps hitting the same way.

Given the pressing need for more offense and the fact that Tim Lincecum will probably be in San Francisco by mid-season, signing Zito to a seven-year deal seems like a strange move at best.

Monday, April 09, 2007

The worst game of 2007

"Sometimes I feel, sometimes I feel, like I've been tied to the whipping post...." -- Gregg Allman

A brutal night in San Diego as Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez combine to two-hit the Padres yet still lose 1-0 in what was a very winnable game. It was painful to listen to the dingbat Padre shill Jerry Coleman announce the game on XM Radio. At a key point in the proceedings -- Bonds up, last of the 8th -- he managed to squeeze in two ads, one for a jeweler and the other for a paint store, so I missed all the details of Bonds striking out on 3 pitches. Perhaps it's just as well.

I always find it instructive to go over the Gameday thread at McCovey Chronicles. What emerges tonight, if you didn't watch or listen, is that there were two key moments -- Pedro Feliz failed to advance Benjie Molina from second with no outs in the 6th and then struck out to end the game with Molina again on second on a ball far out of the strike zone.

What's disturbing is that the Giants management deluded themselves into thinking that Pedro Feliz -- after six years in the league -- had actually managed to convert himself into an actual big league hitter over the winter. They also convinced themselves that Ray Durham is a No. 4 hitter and that guys deep in their careers like Durham, Vizquel, Aurilia and Roberts could suddenly duplicate their best seasons.

Perhaps these guys can remember how to hit again before the team is too far under .500 to contend. But what's really disgraceful is that the Giants could have won two of those games with any kind of effective offense. They have now scored a total of 14 runs in seven games while the Mets have scored 47 and the Marlins have scored 45. The only team with less runs is the Mariners with 12, but that's because they have only played 3 games after their double-header in Cleveland got snowed out today.

A great Dodger opening day

A humiliating loss to Colorado plus injuries to Schmidt and Kemp. How come this couldn't have happened in San Francisco?

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Highlights of the game

As a Giants fan, sometimes it's hard to find any bright spots as the stupid Dodgers sweep. Today's game had three --

1. Bonds RBI in the first
2. Feliz's HR and
3. Bochy getting thrown out for arguing over a bad call that let Pornstache Kent pad his stats with an undeserved double. I was rooting for Bochy to punch Kent on his way back to the dugout but You Can't Always Get What You Want.

As for Zito, it's actually pretty simple what's going on -- trying too hard to justify the $126 million deal.

As for making the best of a bad situation: Here's a game I attended at the Stick in 1975 where the Giants were down 17-0 in the 9th, then pushed across 2 in the bottom of the 9th to massive and somewhat sarcastic cheers from those who had stuck it out. I could tell that the Giants players were embarrassed and angry -- Steve Ontiveros looked like he was ready to come up into the stands -- but when you have a lousy team, that's what you're stuck with. Here's how the rally went down --
S Ontiveros Double to LF
J Brown Walk
W Montanez Groundout: 2B-1B; Ontiveros to 3B; Brown to 2B
B Miller Single to LF; Ontiveros Scores; Brown to 3B RO
E Goodson Flyball: CF/Sacrifice Fly; Brown Scores
D Rader Groundout: 2B-1B

Non-baseball post

I can't resist -- Here's the "Seven Minute Sopranos" flick on You Tube. Guaranteed entertainment! Also, here's Sopranos Who Have Died.

Meanwhile, back on the farm...

Hope springs eternal is the best cliche I can come up with after the dismal 1-4 start by the Orange and Black. Tim Lincecum was outstanding in his AAA debut Saturday night for the Fresno Grizzlies, striking out 8 and giving up only two singles in 5 innings.

I am already tired of waiting for the Giants to bring him up.

Remembering 2000

Great shot by AJStarks

Thanks to the stinky 1-4 start this year, I'm reduced to pointing out that the 2000 Giants started their season by going 4-11, before going on to win 97 games and almost make it to the World Series. Here was the opening day lineup in a game they lost to the Marlins in Miami --
J Kent 2B
J Snow 1B

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Nailing the Garv

Josh Wilker at the always interesting Cardboard Gods has an entertaining post about Davey Lopes, who was nowhere near as hate-worthy the Garv or Tommy Lasagna. Here's the top of the piece (boldface is mine) --

When I was growing up I could never muster much enthusiasm for the Los Angeles Dodgers, even when they were the only thing standing in the way of the hated Yankees and another World Series crown. Their personification, Steve Garvey, struck me as a phony. Tommy Lasorda did too, but at least Lasorda projected, with the shifty unction of a snake oil salesman, the unsaid admission that on some level he knew he was full of shit. Garvey on the other hand actually seemed to believe he represented all that was right and true in the world. I think as an inward, bespectacled, unkempt, half-Jewish, girl-haired, Free to Be You and Me "It’s all right to cry" hippie-mothered dufus I sort of half-expected that at any moment the handsome, clean-cut, chisel-jawed, beamingly optimistic, flag-saluting Steve Garvey types of the world would decide to round up all us defectives and herd us into guarded barracks where we’d be forced to read unbearably boring DC Superman comics and watch Steve Garvey clinics on proper hygiene, obedient citizenship, and hitting the cutoff man.

The entire post is here ....

The 5th starter in the 5th inning

I'm not particularly impressed with Bruce Bochy so far. Why in the world didn't he get Russ Ortiz out of there in the 5th inning today instead of letting the evil Jeff Kent drive in two runs, which essentially put the game out of reach? What's he saving the bullpen for at this point?

Anyone who watched Fox's telecast today got reminded once again of the single game that Ortiz is best known for -- Game 6 of the 2002 World Series. That certainly reminded me that this guy -- who was a far better pitcher then -- isn't going to complete games. He's your number five starter now and he's been awful for the last two years so GET HIM OUT OF THERE after he has a 27-pitch inning.

Tim Lincecum can't arrive in San Francisco soon enough.

Otis Anderson at Giants Cove makes an excellent point about Bochy leaving starters in for too long due to the uncertainty over the pen. Case in point -- Lowry being left in Friday night's game to bat in the 6th, thereby killing a rally, and giving up the go-ahead run in the 7th.

Benitez cannot be DFA'd soon enough either.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Why are we worshiping at the altar of the stolen base?

I would have to say that Bochy lost this game. Thanks to Bochy's insistence on trying to get Roberts and Durham to steal bases -- both easily thrown on -- plus Tim Flannery's insistence on sending Feliz home with no one out, the Giants ran themselves out of a very winnable game tonight against the Dodgers. Scoring one run on 12 hits is unacceptable, particularly when the pitching was good enough to hold the Dodgers to two runs.

Hopefully, they'll realize that this team is not the second coming of the 1985 Cardinals, a team which stole 314 bases, while getting caught only 96 times. It's not even last year's Padres, which stole 123 bases -- 49 by Roberts -- and got caught 31 times. In case you're wondering, the Giants stole 58 bases last year and got thrown out 25 times, which means they probably would have been better off not stealing at all.

I'm struggling for a metaphor so this is the best I can do -- It's like insisting that Meryl Streep, Judi Dench and Helen Mirren play the parts that are now going to Rachel McAdams, Isla Fisher, Jessica Biel and Jessica Alba. To cheer up, I'm going to catch a late showing of "Blades of Glory."

Vin Scully officially senile

The oh-so-arrogant Vin Scully, the over-rated apologist for Dodger incompetence, has just invented a story for TV viewers on the LA telecast. According to Vin, Bonds was signed for this year because the Giants' sales people wanted to keep Bonds and they won out over the Giants baseball people, who wanted to let him go.

As best I can tell from Vinnie's overbearing babbling, he apparently inferred this from the January letter in January that Peter Magowan sent to fans after the signing. Of course, the letter says nothing of the sort -- it says they've signed Bonds because he still can play, that they're aware of the fans' concerns about him and that the team's gotten younger than it was last year.

It's not the first time Vin has decided that it's acceptable to lie on the air.

Again, it's no wonder why Dodger fans are so stupid after listening Vin The Senile Liar for 50 years. The only reason I can guess as to why Scully is accorded this sanctified reputation stems from the predominance of even worse announcers such as the Cards' Mike Shannon, the Astros' Milo Hamilton and the Padres awful duo of Jerry Coleman and Ted Leitner -- the worst ever.

Vin -- do us all a favor and retire, you liar.

Eat it, Jeff. Eat it raw.

Noah Lowry just struck out Jeff Kent looking in the first inning on a ball that was a good 4 inches outside, followed by a weenie look by Kent of "Oh, it's so unfair." Maybe the umpire thought, "This guy's a jerk. Sometimes jerks get what they deserve."

The media's Bonds hatefest rolls on

Now that Bonds has hit HR No. 735, you can expect hacks like the LA Times John Glionna --who's a regular news writer based in SF, from what I can tell -- to deliver hatchet jobs on Bonds because they're easy to do and will get published, even though they don't say anything other than what's been said over and over before. To summarize: 1. Bonds is evil because 2. He won't fulfill every autograph request and 3. He's occasionally rude to reporters and 4. Fans outside SF hate him. and 5. He once tore up someone's baseball card and 6. He's under investigation over 4-year-old grand jury testimony and 7. he claimed that Mark Sweeney placed greenies in his locker -- a claim that Bonds and, more importantly, Sweeney have denied emphatically. But the LA Times would rather believe the NY Daily News' anonymous source and not mention the denials. Too much work, I guess, and after all, Dodger fans -- the stupidest in baseball -- will love reading it.

On the other hand, Barry Bloom of MLB.com just posted an upbeat piece about how Bonds met with 4 fans who had won a contest prior to tonight's game and how pleased the fans were about the experience. But you can just imagine how hacks like the SF Chornicle's Gwen Knapp will spin that -- just another example of Bonds engaged in managing his image.

Smooth move by Bochy

Henry Schulman of the SF Chronicle has an OK piece about Bochy giving Feliz the night off Thursday to start Klesko, who went 3-for-4. What's annoying is that he proclaims that Feliz "wore down" last year from playing every game, but presents no statistical evidence to back that up. I seem to recall the same thing but I'm not sure. It can't be that hard to nail down stats at the All-Star break, mid-August and early September, can it?

Memories of the Stick

The Tigers game got called today because temps were below freezing. It reminded me of how brutal night games were at the Stick. Remember how people would bring blankets and the occasional sleeping bag to the Stick for night games?

After Mays, McCovey and Bonds were traded, people stopped coming if it was really cold or if something else was going on. I recall attending one Friday night in May 1975 when the paid attendance at the Stick was around 2,600 because the Warriors were playing Game 3 of the NBA finals at the Cow Palace. The Giants beat the Cubs 3-2 on a Glenn Adams triple.

Attendance had totaled 522,919 in 1974 and actually dropped to 519,987 in 1975, after which Stoneham made a deal to sell the team to the Labatt's owners in Toronto before Lurie stepped in. It was the lowest Giants attendance since 1943 and the second lowest since 1918.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

It's about damn time

Well, that wasn't easy. Wouldn't you know that Blownitez would come into a 5-1 game with 2 outs and turn it into a 5-3 nailbiter with the tying run at first, walking the bases full on 4 pitches and then giving up a 2-run single? Listening over XM, I could hear that the booing was steady throughout his appearance. At one point, Duane Kuiper noted that Armando had thrown a purported 80 mph splitter that had no movement.

It was Armando's 281st career save, showing what a bogus stat saves can be. GET. RID. OF. HIM. NOW.

As for Barry Bonds, he had another hit in his first at bat -- making Bochy's decision to bat him 3rd look pretty good. This time, it was a double off the wall that drove in Roberts. Don't be surprised if the Dodgers start walking him in the first inning.

The snark starts

Evidently, I posted too soon about the SF Chronicle's extremely strange and hostile relationship with Barry Bonds having normalized. It turns out that the coverage is just as bizarre as ever -- Gwen Knapp has filed a classless, tasteless and clumsily written column that accuses Bonds of the crime of being calculating about his image at Wednesday night's game, when he participated in a tribute to a deceased Giants partner. She made a particuarly hack reference to "aggressive image-crafting"-- which is certainly a laugh, given how the paper continues to insist that its own reporters who help slimy attorneys subvert the justice system are actually heroes.

So it seems that a good deed by Bonds can't be a good deed, according to the Chronicle, because he's essentially evil. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that the Chronicle would find fault with Bonds for trying to cheer up a grieving widow and use that conclusion as a springboard to assert that 1. fans don't like Barry much any more because 2. there were some boos for Bonds on opening day. Gee, Gwen, when I listen to the games on XM, I hear cheers when the Padres do something good. Did it ever enter your fevered brain that perhaps those booing might have been Padres fans?

Bud's DirecTV boondoggle

Slate's King Kaufman has an excellent recap of MLB's DirecTV fiasco, arriving at the inescapable conclusion that Sen. John Kerry essentially embarrassed Bud Selig into making an accomodation with Extra Innings customers.

It's still mind-boggling -- the notion that MLB would tell its most ardent fans to go to hell -- until one realizes that Selig's legacy is precisely that. Thanks again for guaranteeing that you're going to hell for canceling the 1994 World Series, Bud!

The best Giant so far

Not even close -- it's Barry Bonds. He got the first hit of the year when the Giants got skunked Tuesday. He got the first run of the year tonight via HR No. 735 and made a nice catch in the outfield in the 3rd. He's also wearing No. 42 to honor Jackie Robinson on April 15. Again -- I can't help but notice how quickly the SF Chronicle's abandoned its "Bonds IS Satan" campaign since the embarrassing revelations about its previously deified BALCO reporters being in cahoots with the scummy attorney/source in perverting the judicial system.

Unfortunately, the rest of the team has mostly sucked in the first two games. They left 14 men on tonight -- eight by the new guys, Roberts and Molina. Hopefully, it's just the jitters of guys trying too hard to impress.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Selig rip-off

Bud got paid $14 million last year, according to his tax filing. Best response came from a Baseball Think Factory poster named JRVJ -- Well, he's certainly not spending that dough on haircuts.

The Long Season

Nice shot by the SF Chronicle's Darryl Bush of the Giants highlight of the game -- Bonds stealing his 510th base in the 1st.


Well, that was pretty awful -- a 7-0 thrashing at home by the Padres, with the Giants managing only seven singles and Zito and Jonathan Sanchez pitching with a particular lack of distinction.

So it's worth noting on this Opening Day that 1. The Dodgers lost again to the Brewers, 4-3 and 2. It's a Long Season. Which is also the title of Jim Brosnan's exceptional account of his 1959 season as a pitcher with the Cards and Reds. At the point that he's traded, his wife is distraught because he's only been swapped for the forgettable Hal Jeffcoat but Brosnan's not particularly rattled since he'd already been traded a year earlier by the Cubs (for Alvin Dark, of all people), noting, "The second time you're traded, you don't feel a thing."

Alan Schwartz wrote a pretty good colum for ESPN about "The Long Season" 4 years ago at the point that Jose Canseco announced he was writing a book. Strange how that one turned out.

Here are some excerpts from "The Long Season" --

Everything has gone so well this spring. Physically I have been loose and healthy, mentally I've been content ... Could it be that I've been granted custody of the Golden Arm for 1959? Is the good lady, Luck, on my side this year? I pinched my right arm to see if it was real. It hurt. It is human. What a damn shame.

Spring training has a convocation ceremony that follows strict patterns all over the baseball world. Manager speaks: "Wanna welcome all you fellows; wanna impress on you that you each got a chance to make this ball club." (This hypocrisy is always greeted by an indulgent and silent snicker from the veterans of previous training camps.)

San Francisco is a nighttime wonderland. There's so much to do and see after a night game that breakfast time usually comes too soon to be properly attended. (In fact, baseball games interfere seriously with the visiting ballplayer's social life in San Francisco.)

Two walks and four singles sent Pirate runners circling the bases around me. I felt like the operator of a merry-go-round, everybody else getting a kick out of the ride but me.

(Describing a teammate who sat wondering if he'd be cut): "The tone of his voice was a bit scratchy; the tension of not knowing whether or not he was the one on whom the ax would fall had finally gotten to his vocal cords. It gets so bad, you can't talk about it; but it's so important to you that you can't think of anything else."

Giants salaries

According to AP --


Barry Bonds $15,533,970
Matt Morris 10,037,283
Barry Zito 10,000,000
Armando Benitez 9,866,219
Ray Durham 7,000,000
Omar Vizquel 5,140,084
Pedro Feliz 5,100,000
Dave Roberts 5,000,000
Randy Winn 5,000,000
Bengie Molina 4,000,000
Rich Aurilia 3,500,000
Ryan Klesko 1,750,000
Steve Kline 1,750,000
Noah Lowry 1,365,000
dl-Mark Sweeney 900,000
Matt Cain 650,000
Kevin Correia 400,000
Brad Hennessey 400,000
Vinnie Chulk 396,000
Lance Niekro 390,000
Todd Linden 385,000
Eliezer Alfonzo 382,000
Jack Taschner 382,000
Jonathan Sanchez 381,000
Kevin Frandsen 380,500
Russ Ortiz 380,000

Cubs officially for sale

Monday, April 02, 2007

Blownitez imitator?

Brad Lidge blew another save on opening day. It always amazes how managers keep running closers like Lidge and Blownitez out there when there's compelling evidence that someone else should be closing. It's obvious that Lidge's slider is gone; so is the Blownitez heater.

In my opinion, Lidge is still shaken up from the massive Albert Pujols 3-run homer in the 9th of Game 5 of the NLCS. The Rolling Stones got it right four decades ago in the song "Play With Fire" --

Well, you've got your diamonds and you've got your pretty clothes
And the chauffeur drives your car
You let everybody know
But don't play with me, 'cause you're playing with fire

Your mother she's an heiress, owns a block in Saint John's Wood
And your father'd be there with her
If he only could
But don't play with me, 'cause you're playing with fire

Your old man took her diamond's and tiaras by the score
Now she gets her kicks in Stepney
Not in Knightsbridge anymore
So don't play with me, 'cause you're playing with fire

Now you've got some diamonds and you will have some others
But you'd better watch your step, girl
Or start living with your mother
So don't play with me, 'cause you're playing with fire
So don't play with me, 'cause you're playing with fire

The rich get richer

It's no wonder the party of dingbats like Peter Coors, Jim Bunning and Curt Schilling is always criticizing the news media. They don't want you to know about the ongoing scam, as reported by the NY Times --

Income inequality grew significantly in 2005, with the top 1 percent of Americans — those with incomes that year of more than $348,000 — receiving their largest share of national income since 1928, analysis of newly released tax data shows.

Opening Day HRs

Sunday night's ESPN telecast included the trivia question -- Who has the most opening day homers? The answer -- Frank Robinson with eight.

Joe Morgan had a typically misinformed response -- "That's all?" -- which is taken apart and appropriately mocked at the excellent Fire Joe Morgan.

A final look at spring training


I could not pass up posting this great spring training shot by Kevin Marquez, who's launched the the very entertaining Cha Cha Bowl blog.

"After you're away from it for 6 months, you have a place to go"

Bruce Adams of the SF Chronicle has written an excellent article about the Giants' first opening day at Seals Stadium in San Francisco. It focuses on Al Graf, who will be attending his 50th opening day on Tuesday. I particularly liked how Graf, who's 97, put it all together in the final paragraph of the piece --

"After you're away from it for six months, you have a place to go," Graf said. "It's a thrill to see the people having a good time and watching good baseball."

On that day in 1958, the Giants beat the Dodgers 8-0 as they bombed Don Drysdale -- probably the worst pitcher in the Hall of Fame. I got a 1959 yearbook that included pictures of that day; Hank Sauer is in the pre-game lineup photo but Jim King actually started. The Giants opening day lineup, which contains two legitimate Hall of Famers --

1. Jim Davenport 3B
2. Jim King LF
3. Willie Mays CF
4. Willie Kirkland RF
5. Orlando Cepeda 1B
6. Daryl Spencer SS
7. Danny O'Connell 2B
8. Valmy Thomas C
9. Ruben Gomez P

Mmm-mmm good!

Glavine wins 291st game

The pompous George Will suggested in 1990 in his over-rated "Men at Work" -- which over-deified Tony LaRussa and badly needed editing -- that we were probably not going to see another 300-game winner. Since then, Nolan ryan, Greg Maddux and Roger Clemens have gone well past that mark and it looks like Glavine will by mid-summer, given his very successful first start of 2007 in a 6-1 victory over St. Louis.

If Barry Zito gets to 300, he'll have done a lot of it in the Orange and Black. After seven years, he's got 102 wins. If he averages 17 wins a year through 2014 - the option year of his current deal -- he'll have 221 and be 35 years old. At that rate, he'd have to pitch another five years with the same success rate to hit 300. So it's pretty unlikely. Here are the 22 guys on the list --


1. Cy Young+ 511
2. Walter Johnson+ 417
3. Pete Alexander+ 373
Christy Mathewson+ 373
5. Pud Galvin+ 364
6. Warren Spahn+* 363
7. Kid Nichols+ 361
8. Roger Clemens 348
9. Tim Keefe+ 342
10. Greg Maddux 333
11. Steve Carlton+* 329
12. John Clarkson+ 328
13. Eddie Plank+* 326
14. Nolan Ryan+ 324
Don Sutton+ 324
16. Phil Niekro+ 318
17. Gaylord Perry+ 314
18. Tom Seaver+ 311
19. Charley Radbourn+ 309
20. Mickey Welch+ 307
21. Lefty Grove+* 300
Early Wynn+ 300

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Adios Jason Ellison

The Giants traded him to Seattle for pitching prospect Travis Blackley. Sounds like Sabean thinks 1. Todd Linden is finally getting a shot 2. the Giants pitching after Cain and Zito is pretty shaky and 3. Ellison is the classic decent Triple A player who just can't hit MLB pitching well enough to justify a roster spot.

Schadenfreude for the 2007 season

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia -- Schadenfreude is a German word meaning 'pleasure taken from someone else's misfortune.'

The Dodgers and Jason "Traitor" Schmidt are no-big-dealing the fact that Schmidt's fastball on Friday night couldn't get the stadium's speed gun to hit 90 mph, according to this LA Times report. It's not surprising that, in keeping with the LA Times' dismal coverage of the team, that the report wouldn't mention that plenty of guys -- Jonathan Broxton, for one -- routinely have numbers show up in the high 90s, so it's not as if the gun is inaccurate, as Jason suggests via his dumb comment -- "I don't think I've been above 90 here in four years." Count on the LA Times to not bother to checking to see if that's actually true. In any case, it's certainly not surprising to anyone who saw Schmidt pitch in the last few years that he's nowhere near as fast as he once was.

At last

The season starts today with the Mets vs. St. Louis. The majority of Major League teams, and the Dodgers, begin play tomorrow. The Giants start Tuesday against the Padres.

And the Giants are starting the season in first place in one category -- FOOD -- according to USA Today. Here's what the McPaper has to say about the SF offerings --

With baseball season scheduled to start this weekend, Kevin Reichard, founder of ballparkdigest.com, directs Ron Schoolmeester for USA TODAY to the best places for food fare and all the fixins' at stadiums nationwide.
AT&T ParkSan Francisco
Reichard calls AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, a "foodie's delight." But he especially recommends Gilroy Garlic Fries and the Cha Cha Bowl. "Gilroy (Calif.) proclaims itself the garlic capital of the world, and that garlic is used to smother a plateful of fries." The Cha Cha Bowl, served at Orlando's BBQ on the centerfield promenade level, features blackened chicken, pineapple salsa, rice and beans. "We could steer you to another half-dozen notable food items at AT&T Park — Ghirardelli hot-fudge sundaes, a 40-clove garlic chicken sandwich from the Stinking Rose, ahi tuna sandwiches, portobello-mushroom burgers, anything at the Say Hey! Willie Mays Sausage stands, brisket sandwiches — and you'd come away impressed," Reichard says.