Saturday, May 31, 2008

Giants fans are the greatest

Nothing like being at Mays Field/AT&T Park for big time enjoyment -- and being reminded that the true fans of the Orange and Black never give up hope, even after losing two discouraging games to the annoying Padres.

Much love last night for the triple play and then again today -- the best moment was Aaron Rowand driving in a run with two out in the 9th so that the score went from 5-0 to a not-so-humilating 5-1. That flicker of hope that maybe they'd score 4 more ....

Also a fine moment as fans realized that the Dodgers had gagged again....

UPDATE -- Gwen Knapp of the SF Chronicle checks in with an insight-free column pointing out that the Giants have a terrible home record and opines that they're trying too hard. No, Gwen, they're just not very good.

Friday, May 30, 2008

For sale -- veteran relievers. Inquire within

Tatis tormenting the Dodgers again

Fernando Tatis joined the Dodgers last year during spring training, then refused to report to the minors after going 3-for-19 during exhbition games. He got his revenge tonight. I'm reposting most of what I posted 18 months ago --
In the past, he was completely non-descript except for 1999 and especially that one day. He managed to hit two grand slams in the 3rd inning of a game at Chavez Latrine, both off Chan Ho Park. It's astounding to think that Davey Johnson decided that Park should be in a position to give up a 2nd slam to the same guy.
D Bragg Single to RF --
E Renteria Hit By Pitch; Bragg to 2B --
M McGwire Single to RF (Line Drive to Deep 2B-1B); Bragg to 3B; Renteria to 2B--
F Tatis Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep LF); Bragg Scores; Renteria Scores; McGwire Scores --
J Drew Groundout: 1B-P (1B)--
E Marrero Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep LF Line)--
Placido Polanco pinch hits for David Howard batting 7th--
P Polanco Walk --
J McEwing Walk; Polanco to 2B --
J Jimenez Fielder's Choice /Sacrifice Bunt; Polanco to 3B; McEwing to 2B; Jimenez to 1B --
D Bragg Reached on E3 (throw) (Ground Ball to Weak 2B-1B); Polanco Scores/No RBI; McEwing to 3B; Jimenez to 2B--
E Renteria Single to RF (Line Drive to Short RF Line); McEwing Scores/unER; Jimenez to 3B; Bragg to 2B--
M McGwire Flyball: RF--
F Tatis Home Run (Fly Ball); Jimenez Scores/unER; Bragg Scores/unER; Renteria Scores/unER; Tatis Scores/unER
Carlos Perez replaces Chan Ho Park pitching and batting 9th--
J Drew Foul Popfly: 3B (3B-C Foul)
Here's hoping that Tatis keeps on creating misery and suffering for the Dodgers.

How did that taste, Dback fans?

Oh, the humiliation of being swept at home by an inferior team! The Dbacks had everything going their way -- already annointed as winner of the NL West; Zito pitching against the Big Unit; Justin Upton finally out of an 0-for-28 slump (ended against Sanchez last night); the Unit tying Clemens for No. 2 on the all-time strikeout list; and a 3-2 lead in the 8th against one of the worst offenses in MLB.

Instead, the Snakes pen gagged away the game with Fred Lewis forcing in a run with a walk and Randy Winn hitting his second homer of the game. It was so delicious that even an incompetent fool like Bruce Jenkins couldn't mess up the write-up.

The Dodgers also gagged away their game to the Mets, 8-4, and are on a 4-game losing streak. They got done in again by Fernando Tatis, the guy who hit two grand slams off them in the same inning in 1999.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Mark Purdy = lazy dingbat

Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury News gets on the Barry Bonds Hate Train to write one of the lamest columns I've read recently. He says no one cares about Bonds but doesn't bother to quote anyone or explore how the Giants offense scores even less than it did last year or the 20% decline in home attendance for the Orange and Black. Frankly, the entire piece reads like dozens of hate-drenched columns from other dingbats like Bruce Jenkins and Gwen Knapp; this one looks like it was cranked out in about 5 minutes.

A tip of the Giants Win hat to Aneel at Trapped in LA for pointing it out. Here's some of his expert insight --

You know what I, me, the Giants fan don’t care about? How Barry treated you. But my gut tells me that you care about it, and continue to do whatever you can to exact your revenge.
Stop. Enough already. Why continue to ignore how much the fans and team miss Barry? You don’t miss him. Fine. But don’t try to tell me that ‘no follower of the Giants’ misses him. We do.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Spanking the Snakes

The Giants put a hurting on the Dbacks tonight in Phoenix. At one point during the 6th inning, when the Dbacks finally got an out after the Orange and Black scored 4 to make the score 10-0, there was loud sarcastic cheering. I have no sympathy for the fans of an 11-year-old franchise that's already won a World Series and has a decent shot at winning another this year. The Dback announcers -- who seemed pretty uninspired -- decided that they had better talk about something other than the game and began talking about memorable Giants such as Tito Fuentes, Larry Doyle, Christy Matthewson and Mel Ott. As a Giants fan, I approve. I guess if your franchise has only been around for 11 years, you run out of things to say about it.

Giants projected record -- 67-95

It was a good night all around. The Dodgers gagged yet again and are now 26-26.

Beach balls and SoCal fans

The following is a guest post from Dan --

Dear Fellow fans:

Every time I go to a ballgame, whether it is at the Latrine or in Anaheim, I am constantly aggravated by a pestilence that afflicts a certain segment of the stands: The urge to bat a beach ball around. Not only is this a most annoying and intrusive habit, it takes away from the game on the field. The implication is that you, the fan who has plunked down your hard-earned dough to attend a ballgame, could not care less about what is happening between the lines. If you want to play footsie with some piece of crap you bought at the 99-cent store, then do it when you're at the beach. Me, I can't stand it when the flow of the game is upset by one of your multi-colored miscreants landing in the field of play.

SoCal fans (especially Dodger fans), you already have the reputation of being the least-knowledgeable in the game. Do yourself a favor and leave the eff-in' beach balls at home. You might actually learn something about the game by actually WATCHING the game.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

An automatic win for the Enchanter

I heard it in the voices of the Dbacks announcers tonight on XM as they were making excuses why the Snakes were outplayed tonight. They whined about how the Dbacks had to come home from three times zones away to play tonight -- not noting that the Giants had to make the exact same trip and play another away game, to boot. Finally, one of them admitted, "You've got to give some credit to Lincecum. He threw hard all night."

I wasn't especially surprised. AP says he hit 98 mph tonight. Tim's the one guy that I expect to win when he starts. With a 7-1 record, he's the obvious guy to go the All-Star game this year.

The Dodgers gagged again to the Cubs, so I was feeling good. But just when I thought that I'd have nothing to complain about, I get to read's story by Chris Haft that reports Nate Schierholtz hit for the cycle Sunday but there really isn't room on the roster -- even though the Giants are one of the worst teams in the majors when it comes to scoring runs. Another reminder of how badly operated the Giants front office is.

RIP Jimmy McGriff

The wonderful jazz/blues organist has passed away at the age of 72. His renditon of the Isley Brothers' "It's Your Thing" on the "Straight Up" album is a work of genius.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Richie, Ray and Randy -- Trade bait?

"If the Giants bench all the older guys, they will have a lot of payroll riding the pine. At the same time, that would not help the team's bid to trade some of them for prospects at the July deadline. A merchant needs to stick his wares in the window, and they must be shiny. " That's part of Henry Schulman's explanation in today's SF Chronicle for why the three vets are getting so much playing time right now, especially with Nate Schierholtz tearing up PCL pitching. I hope he's right -- but I have little faith in Sabean's ability to get decent prospects in return.

The clouds part and the sun starts shining

With the Giants not playing today and a 20-31 record, there are only a few things that could cheer me up.

So count me cheered up. The gloom of an unacceptable doubleheader loss to the Marlins has been partly dissipated, thanks to the Dodgers gagging 3-1 in Chicago on Memorial Day with an offense that seemed nearly as pathetic as the Giants with 10 hits and 12 left on base.

It turns out the Dodgers actually have a middle of the pack offense with 231 runs scored so far this year. That's 42 more runs than the Giants at 189. There are only two other teams -- KC at 182 and SD at 181 -- that have scored under 200 runs this year.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Why the Giants won only one pennant in the 1960s

When you consider the quality of the roster -- five Hall of Famers in Mays, Cepeda, McCovey, Marichal and Perry were on the roster for four years between 1962 and 1965 -- it's a bit amazing that the team won the NL only once during the decade. Part of the problem may have stemmed from Alvin Dark's racial prejudices, detailed in a recap of the controversy that got him fired in 1964. I was about 12 at the time and old enough to understand the implications of Dark's racist remarks to Stan Isaacs. Even at that point, I thought that there was no way that this was going to help the Giants win games, so I was pleased when he got canned.

With no playoffs, teams had to win the pennant outright and every year except for 1962, the Giants fell just short over and over --

1969 90-72 (.556) 2nd Clyde King
1968 88-74 (.543) 2 Herman Franks
1967 91-71 (.562) 2 Herman Franks
1966 93-68 (.578) 2 Herman Franks
1965 95-67 (.586) 2 Herman Franks
1964 90-72 (.556) 4 Alvin Dark
1963 88-74 (.543) 3 Alvin Dark
1962 103-62 (.624) 1 Alvin Dark
1961 85-69 (.552) 3 Alvin Dark

A long lousy day for the Orange and Black

Well, that stinks -- and it's on the same day that the A's swept the Bosox. A doubleheader loss in Miami to the hated Marlins with two typical games --

1. The 5th starter's no damn good, wasting an unusually decent offensive effort and

2. Matt Cain pitches pretty well but the bullpen blows it and there's not enough offense to make up for it with 5 hits all game. They did get 7 BBs however.

Why hate the Marlins and their fans? Simple -- they've have already gotten far more success than they'll ever deserve.

Projected record -- 63-99

Half an offense isn't enough

The poor construction of this Giants team was in clear evidence today in the opening game of the doubleheader. As with Friday's game, the heart of the lineup in the two through five slots (Castillo, Winn, Molina and Rowand) was mashing with a 10 for 17; the rest of the lineup (including Aurilia, Vizquel, Denker, Ortmeier and Durham) was a combined 2 for 21.

Actually, Patrick Misch pitched so poorly with seven runs -- including three HRs -- given up in less than 5 innnings that it was surprising that the game was this close.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Rain in Florida?

Double-header tomorrow due to rain tonight. It's a bit hard to believe but AP says it's the first rain out in Miami in four years. says there were 11 rain delays at Dolphin Stadium last year.

I guess it's a sign that I'm getting old -- to be obsessed with the weather. Both stories also note that Omar's about to tie Luis Aparicio for games played at shortstop. In 1959, I rooted like mad for the Chisox to beat the Dodgers in the World Series; Luis went 8 for 26 as the Dodgers won the Series 4-2. He was also part of Orioles team in 1966 that buttkicked the Dodgers 4-0 -- one of the most one-sided Series ever. He went 4 for 16, driving in two runs, which equalled the entire run production of the Dodgers. The Os outscored the Dodgers 10-2 in that series.

The Baby Bull stays out of jail

The San Jose Merc-News does a nice job of digging out a somewhat bizarre story about a plea deal in Orlando Cepeda's drug case that wound up costing the prosecutor his job. It strikes me as nonsense that someone should lose their job for deciding that it made sense to keep a 70-year-old man out of prison for a non-violent victimless crime -- just because of some headline-grabbing DA.

The return of stupid dingbat Bruce Jenkins

It's embarrassing that the SF Chronicle still prints this tripe from someone who's as bad a sportswriter as the LA Times' Bill Plaschke.

Bruce Jenkins, AKA Brian Sabean's lapdog, is now admitting that the Giants are so bad -- and will be for the foreseeable future -- that Sabean will probably get fired by new managing parnter William Neukom. But, according to this "genius," it's the fault of everyone else including Peter Magowan, Larry Baer and the relentlessly evil Barry Bonds. Aside from mentioning Barry Zito, Bruce decides he doesn't need to name the names in the long string of awful deals -- Durham, Blownitez, Tucker, Hammonds, Ponson, Pierzitsky, Alfonzo, Roberts -- that have defined this franchise for the last five years. Instead, we get this apologist nonsense --

Nobody remembers Sabean's exceptional work as a rising Yankees executive, or that for seven prosperous years, his only false move in San Francisco was an over-commitment to Marvin Benard. Nobody cares about his masterful fine-tuning as Bonds' prime years led to relentless excitement. That's all yesterday. Today, quite frankly, the Giants are an embarrassment. That has to wear on the investors, many of whom aren't quite ready for the flip side of success. Which is why I've finally discovered how I feel about Sabean: I think so highly of him, I hope he is somewhere else next year.

The Yankees stuff is like me claiming that I deserve a raise at my current job because I got all A's and B's in the fourth grade. As for the "masterful" fine-tuning of Bonds' prime years, here's what happened -- the team had the best player in baseball for over a decade and went to the World Series once because it insisted on starting guys like Lance Niekro, Russ Davis, Shawon Dunstan and Tsyoshi Shinjo. Here are some responses from Baseball Think Factory posters --

2. GregQ Posted: May 24, 2008 at 10:03 AM (#2793176)
You know pro-Sabean Giant Fans? Bruce Jenkins is about the only one I know of, and I think that is in part because once Jenkins forms an opinion he never lets facts get in the way. I always thought that Sabean had two distinct periods with the Giants- he was very good early and very bad later. Jenkins blames everything that was bad during Sabean's tour with the team on the managing partner and then gives Sabean credit for anything that is good that happened. Then again Jenkins is a huge supporter of Sabean's protege-Ned Coletti as well.

3. The Most Interesting Man In The World Posted: May 24, 2008 at 10:26 AM (#2793182)
I usually mark the 2000 playoffs as the turning point of Sabean's career. It's true that he had a few more aces up his sleeve (i.e. acquiring Jason Schmidt), but starting with the Bill Mueller for Tim Worrell trade that led to the quandry of having Russ Davis and Armando Rios/Eric Davis as starters for the 2001 team, it's been downhill.

Friday, May 23, 2008

"Our long national nightmare is over"

No, this is not a post about Gerald Ford. It's about Barry Zito finally winning a game -- giving sportswriters and bloggers a chance to move on.

I took my wife to see "Indiana Jones" around the time the Giants were ahead 7-2 as Zito was being relieved by Keiichi Yabu. Given how badly they played the Astros last week late in games, it would not have been a surprise to come home and see this as a final score -- Marlins 8, Giants 7. And the Marlins has just swept the Dbacks.

Looking at the box score, it jumps out at me that the 3-4-5 guys (Winn, Molina, Rowand) went a combined 7 for 12 with six runs scored and five RBIs. That's how legitimate teams do it; unfortunately, Randy and Bengie are badly miscast in those slots most of the time. It was the first 3-homer game of the year for the Giants and the first 3-game win streak in a month.

As if anyone needed to be reminded of what a bonehead Bud Selig is for keeping a team in Miami, attendance tonight in Miami was 15,000 even though the team's in first place. Attendance has been the worst in the NL for the past three years. The fans certainly don't deserve a team this good.

The real reason why Magowan's leaving

It's a numbers game. The Giants are now 7th in NL attendance and that rank's likely to keep dropping as the year goes on. The first number is the total attendance and the second's the average:

2008 876,416 33,708 7th of 16
2007 3,223,215 39,793 5th of 16
2006 3,130,313 38,886 4th of 16
2005 3,181,023 39,272 3rd of 16
2004 3,256,854 40,208 2nd of 16
2003 3,264,898 40,558 1st of 16
2002 3,253,203 40,163 1st of 16
2001 3,311,958 40,888 1st of 16
2000 3,318,800 40,973 2nd of 16
1999 2,078,399 25,659 10th of 16

Barry Bonds in Toronto?

Torii Hunter of the Angels thinks it's a good idea.

But Toronto GM JP Riccardi says it would upset the "clubhouse chemistry." I guess Riccardi doesn't want to keep his job, or somehow thinks that marginal guys like Brad Wilkerson and Kevin Mench are the key to winning the AL East when you have a 24-25 record. Here are the lowest-scoring teams in MLB right now --

1. San Diego 166
2. Giants 171
3. KC 177
4. Nats 183
5. Jays 185

Torii Hunter is right -- The Jays could use Bonds but it sounds as if Riccardi is almost as stupid as Sabean.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

More embarrassment at the Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame -- which already disgraced itself by agreeing to take Marc Ecko's asterisked ball for HR 756 -- ought to be ashamed of itself. Marvin Miller, turned down twice by the same committee that voted in such questionable choices as Walter O'Malley and Bowie Kuhn, has told the Hall that he'd rather not be considered again. William Rhoden of the New York Times has a pretty good column about it. Here's part of Miller's statement --

“The antiunion bias of the powers who control the hall has consistently prevented recognition of the historic significance of the changes to baseball brought about by collective bargaining. As former executive director (retired since 1983) of the players’ union that negotiated these changes, I find myself unwilling to contemplate one more rigged veterans committee whose members are handpicked to reach a particular outcome while offering the pretense of a democratic vote. It is an insult to baseball fans, historians, sports writers and especially to those baseball players who sacrificed and brought the game into the 21st century. At the age of 91, I can do without farce.”

Now THAT'S a gamer

Henry Schulman of the SF Chronicle reports that Steve Holm overcame food poisoning in Denver to deliver in the clutch. What a strange city; what a great guy. It's his second game-winning hit this season.

Thanks to their red-hot 2-game win streak, the Giants are in third place at 19-29, one game ahead of the Rox and two ahead of the Padres. It really is the NL Worst. Projected SF record -- 65-97

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Embarrassed to be a Dodger

Mike Piazza has retired and indicated that he'd rather go into the Hall of Fame with a Mets hat on rather than a Dodger hat:

“I have to say that my time with the Mets wouldn’t have been the same without the greatest fans in the world,” Piazza said in his statement. “One of the hardest moments of my career was walking off the field at Shea Stadium and saying goodbye. My relationship with you made my time in New York the happiest of my career, and for that, I will always be grateful.”

My snarky comment -- Dodger fans got a boatload of payback for their years of arrogance when Fox bought the team from Peter O'Malley and decided to trade Piazza because he wanted more money -- a $100 million deal over six or seven years -- even though he was the most popular Dodger player since Fernando Valenzuela and even though he was probably worth it. So on May 14, 1998: Traded by the Los Angeles Dodgers with Todd Zeile to the Florida Marlins for Manuel Barrios, Bobby Bonilla, Jim Eisenreich, Charles Johnson, and Gary Sheffield. Then the Dodgers took $100 million and signed Kevin Brown during the next off-season. Eat it, Dodger fans. Eat it raw.

The active leader in hits comes through

Rox announcers Jeff Kingery and Jack Corrigan were ready to start bragging about the Rox winning the series today with the score 2-0 over the Giants in the top of the 9th. The team had only gotten 2 hits at that point. Then Omar, AKA "the active leader in hits" doubled past Matt Holiday to start a two-run rally and a stunning come-from-behind victory, in which he also drove in the winning run.

The other Omar (Quintanilla) struck out to end the game.

Baseball Reference has their list led by Bonds, but Rox announcers were right in saying that Omar is the leader right now --

1. Barry Bonds* (43) 2935
2. Omar Vizquel# (41) 2607
3. Ken Griffey* (38) 2599
4.Gary Sheffield (39) 2541
5. Luis Gonzalez* (40) 2534
6. Ivan Rodriguez (36) 2533
7. Frank Thomas (40) 2441
8. Kenny Lofton* (41) 2428
9. Sammy Sosa (39) 2408
10. Derek Jeter (34) 2405

Hasta la vista, Eugenio Velez

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Omar gets Omar -- "That was the difference tonight"

That was the take from the Rox announcers as the Giants slithered their way into a 6-5 win, breaking the 6-game losing streak despite the best efforts of Brian Wilson to blow the save in the 9th. Jeff Kingery and Jack Corrigan declared that Omar Vizquel's putout of Omar Quintanilla for the first out was the key play. "He gets everyone by half a step because he's already got his feet set for the throw by the time he gets to the ball," Kingery said. The Rox fans were booing the call but the announcers admitted that the ump had gotten the call right. Despite his lack of offense, he's still amazing on D. Omar also managed a successful suicide squeeze. Here was the nerve-wracking bottom of the 9th --

B Wilson relieved T Walker.
O Quintanilla grounded out to shortstop.
J Baker hit for J Newman.
J Baker struck out swinging.
S Podsednik singled to center.
S Podsednik to second on fielder's indifference.
C Barmes homered to left, S Podsednik scored.
M Holliday doubled to deep right.
T Helton intentionally walked.
W Taveras ran for T Helton.
G Atkins struck out swinging.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The worst team in the majors

Fortunately, that's still the San Diego Padres, who are trailing the Cards 7-2 as I write this and have only won 16 games. But the Giants have now lost six in a row and have been stuck on 17 wins for a week since Matt Cain's remarkable 2-0 beatdown of the Astros. That kind of outing is now looking more and more like an iceberg on the Caribbean, as the Giants projected record is now 62-100.

Tonight's frustrating 4-3 loss featured the usual headache-inducing properties:

-- There were two starters (Randy Winn and Fred Lewis) who played great; everyone else more or less stunk offensively.
-- The bullpen (Vinnie Chulk) imploded, reminding us all of Sabean's incompetence in trading away Jeremy Accardo
-- A former Giant (Yorvit Torrealba) continued to torment the Orange and Black
-- An extremely annoying team (the Rox) that has badly underperformed now has a better record than the Giants

On the plus side, Patrick Misch, Billy Sadler and Alex Hinshaw continued to pitch effectively. And Jon Lester of the Bosox continues to inspire.

But it's gotten so bad that Anthony at Bleeding Black and Orange is now proclaiming that the only way to fix things -- trade away the vets and get Sabean fired -- is for the Giants to keep losing:

I know it’s wishful thinking that Brian Sabean can ever admit that his obsession with veterans in their decline phase and his Schierholtzophobia are not working. Maybe, just maybe, if the Giants DO finish in last and lose 100+ games, SOMEBODY in the organization will realize that Sabean’s a fool. So, with that in mind, I’m doing the only rational thing left: I’m rooting against the Giants..

Sabean = crybaby

Apart from being incompetent, it turns out that Giants GM Brian Sabean is also a big crybaby. After being quoted accurately by the SF Chronicle's Henry Schulman about his belief that the Giants could be a contender this year, Sabean subsequently whined on a radio show about how unfair it was that the remarks were not framed in the proper context. So Schulman -- who does a pretty decent job covering the Giants day to day beat -- is forced to post a ridiculous "mea culpa" that he "cherry-picked" the comments by Sabean.

Look, the truth of the matter is that Giants fans aren't as stupid as Sabean thinks we are. We realize that the GM is going to hype the Giants. We're OK with that. Here's the thing that's painful, though: the original interview was dead-on accurate in terms of portraying how idiotic Sabean is -- asserting that he's moved toward solving the problems at first, third and left field when it's painfully obvious that he's done nothing of the sort. Had he asserted something remotely believable -- "I believe Tim Lincecum could win 25 games and Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez could each win 20" -- then the reaction would have been much milder.

NOTE TO SABEAN -- I'll Fed-ex some diapers over

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Why the Bonds Hate Train has so many passengers

John Brattain of Hardball Times explains why so much of the Mainstream Media is on the Barry Bonds Hate Train. And a tip of the Giants Win hat to Raising (Matt) Cain for pointing out this astute analysis. Some key points (boldface is mine) --

-- Since media members don't like Bonds and he refuses to give the deference many media types feel they deserve, they paint him in the worst possible light. Disrespect an athlete and he won’t talk to you. Disrespect a reporter and he’ll write bad things about you. In both cases it is presented to the public as proof of the "spoiled, pampered athlete" by a party who isn't impartial in reporting what happened and has an ego of his own.

-- It’s okay to be a self-centered jerk as long as nobody expects you to be a hero. The public wants its athletic gods to publicly embrace their mortality and be the common man. Barry refused to come down from Mount Olympus and he wasn’t shy about saying that he liked it there, away from the rabble.

-- Bonds was at the top and refused to come down for any reason. He stayed up there and hit home run 756. However, now that he is out of baseball and no longer on a pedestal, the media and the public that allows them to color their opinion of Bonds wish to avoid allowing him another pedestal.Why?As long as Barry Lamar Bonds is out of baseball, we are in the position of power. Right now, the public and press are enjoying the opportunity to look down on Bonds, making him the supplicant for the game’s attention rather than the other way around. Instead of his telling us we aren't worthy of his time, we get to inform him that he's not worthy of our game. What makes it so delicious to many is they get to tell him that his personality, not his ability, is the reason teams do not wish to employ him—that "Barry being Barry" now means "Barry being unemployed."

-- Yeah, Barry Bonds is a jerk, However I don’t trust the media to tell me that he is this walking cancerous tumor that will slowly destroy a team’s will to win. It’s only what the media wish for us to believe and in some small measure it’s what we wish to believe since we’ve been told that Bonds is the “Worst. Teammate. Ever.” for so long that we accept it unconditionally without ever meditating on how (and where) we drew this conclusion.The teams wish to believe it, too, since it makes it easier to enforce Bud Selig’s probable unofficial edict to blacklist Bonds. It allows the clubs to believe that the reasons they don’t want Bonds are such that they’re still doing everything in their power to win.This much is certain: We may think we’re right in our opinions about Bonds, but Bonds has ample reason to think his opinion of us was bang on, too.

When the Giants score 6 runs....

They usually lose. The Chron's Henry Schulman does a nice job of explaining the anatomy of Sunday's meltdown --

The eight Giants runs would have been enough to win any of the previous 13 games they had lost. But when a team is flailing as badly as the Giants are - with five straight losses and 12 in their last 15 games - the ledger of runs scored and runs allowed rarely match properly. The Giants have scored six runs eight times this season and lost five of those games.

What a fiasco

If you were there, I guess it was entertaining in a strange way. The Giants were leading 2-1 at the end of five with Matt Cain on the mound. They went on to scored eight runs today but the pitchers let in 13, including six by Cain. Walker and Wilson were worthless.

Attendance was only 34,000 -- not surprising given that the team is now on a 5-game losing streak and playing like a team that's going to lose 100 games. Projected record -- 63-99.

It helps me to write that the Dodgers also got hammered today by the Angels. But back to what happened at Mays Field: I'm not a big fan of these kind of games, where teams seem to score at will, unless the Giants come out on the winning end. Otherwise, they're frustrating as all get out in that they take forever and they always make me think, "Why can't you save the offense for a 2-1 game, when you really need it?"

The best example I can remember came on Opening Day in 1983, when the Giants lost 16-13 to the Padres on a bitterly cold day at the Stick. Krukow was the starting pitcher and didn't get out of the second inning. It was fun to watch the Giants score 13 but it was murder to watch the Padres hammer away for the first 6 innings. The worst moment was in the 5th as the Padres scored 8 -- when reliever Mike Chris managed to throw the ball 10 feet over the head of the first baseman on a 25-foot throw on a tapper back to the mound.

The only other real compensation I remember was booing Steve Garvey; cheering like a madman (I was a lot younger) as the Giants cut the 16-10 lead in half in the bottom of the 8th; and watching Andy McGaffigan and Gary Lavelle close the Padres out in the last 3 innings.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Zito loses again and doesn't suck again

Ever since Brian Sabean proclaimed the Giants were going to contend, they've lost every game. Way to fire up the team, Brainy Brian -- I'm sure William Neukom's noted that this team is not looking once again like it may make it to 100 losses despite Barry Zito's recent flirtation with adequacy. Projected record -- 64-98

Ron Kroichik knocked out a pretty snappy write up of the game for the SF Chronicle of what sounds like a pretty bad game. Here are some of his better takes --

-- Barry Zito staggered into dubious territory Saturday night. He labored through five innings, absorbed another loss and became the first Giants starter to drop his first eight decisions in a season since Jesse Burkett in 1890, a mere 118 years ago.

-- Giants hitters were strikingly anemic with runners in scoring position - 1-for-7 on the heels of an 0-for-12 showing Friday night. The Giants have scored only one run in their last 23 innings, and their season total of 151 runs ranks next-to-last in the majors, ahead of only San Diego (148).

--Buehrle did not overpower the Giants, but he threw strikes more reliably than Zito did. The Giants put the ball in play against Buehrle - he collected only one strikeout in his 6 2/3 innings - but he often had hitters off-balance, tapping soft, harmless grounders.

-- Zito's outing probably looked painfully familiar to Giants fans, except he somehow departed with his team trailing only 2-0. That counted as astonishing, given how the White Sox clogged the bases with runners - 14 in all during Zito's five innings (eight hits and six walks). Many of the hits were soft and well-placed, but Zito again served as his own worst enemy, repeatedly losing contact with the strike zone.

-- Eugenio Velez, pinch hitting for Zito in the fifth, achieved something no Giants hitter had in the team's 18 previous innings: He knocked home a run. It was an innocuous RBI groundout, scoring Jose Castillo, but it represented San Francisco's first run since the fourth inning of Thursday's loss to Houston.

These aren't the Yankees, Joe

For Giants fans -- what with a terrible team and Barry Bonds blackballed by owners' collusion -- the only real compensation during much of the season is watching the Dodgers stumble around. Fortunately, because the Dodger roster is constructed by Brian Sabean's protege Ned Colletti, the Dodgers are also blowing lots of games.

Gary Bennett appears to be having serious problems as a catcher -- even hesitating as he lobs the ball back to the pitcher. He overthrew first by 20 feet tonight and helped the Dodgers gag away a game to the Angels -- a team that tormented Torre, in that it was the only team to accumulate a winning record during Torre's tenure. Colletti's prize free agent signing Andruw Jones also choked tonight, turning towards second after an error on a groundball and leading to a tag-out at first. I can still hear my Little League coaches yelling at me to turn right at first on an infield play.

Face it, Joe -- as long as these are the guys you're stuck with, this is how it's going to be.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The really good old days

photo by foggydave
When I first started following the Giants, they could flat out hit. It doesn't hurt to have three Hall of Famers (Say Hey, Stretch and the Baby Bull) in the lineup.

I thought of this tonight because ESPN noted that Jason Werth had hit 3 HRs with 8 RBIs -- only the fourth time since 1961 that a centerfielder had at least 3 dongs and 8 RBIs, the others being Mays, Fred Lynn and Hard Hittin Mark Whiten. I had to dig up this game from 1961 when Mays hit 4 homers at County Stadium in Milwaukee on national TV.

Proving a lunatic wrong

The Giants appear to be going out of their way to show Brian Sabean how idiotic he was to say that the team's going to contend. Since Matt Cain's gem on Tuesday, they've lost 3 straight games that any kind of decent team would have won. It's May 16 and the team is 10 1/2 games out of first place. Meanwhile, the Oakland A's -- a team with barely half the payroll of the Giants -- are a game and a half out of first.

Tonight's 2-0 nightmare came amid a 5-hit attack from the Giants; Durham got 3 of them.
Team's projected record -- 64-98.

NOTE TO WILLIAM NEUKOM -- I would bet that if someone messed up at Microsoft, even if they were in senior management, they'd be fired. It's time to pull the trigger on the guy who brought you this mess. You might note that attendance was 35,000 tonight -- many of them disguised as empty seats.

More time with the family - HA!

It never fails. Any time anyone leaves a job and wants to convey the impression that they are leaving of their own accord, they inevitably say that they want to spend more time with the family. That's a statement always taken at face value -- even though it's at odds with most people's experience.

In any case, Peter Magowan trotted out that excuse today to explain why he's ditching the Giants. He also says that he wishes he had signed Vlad in 2003. Well, Peter, let me go record as saying that I wish that I were hanging out with Mila Kunis and Kristen Bell in Hawaii like Jason Segel's character in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall."

I realize that I should be grateful to Magowan for keeping baseball in San Francisco and building the park but frankly, I'm a little annoyed by all this. I'm really bothered over Magowan's lack of gratitude to the one guy who he should be thanking. I'm talking about his class-free willingness to keep throwing Barry Bonds under the bus -- when it's Bonds who was the major reason why Magowan was as successful as he was:

When asked if he would have done anything differently with Bonds, Magowan said, "Yeah, probably sure."

That's what reporters want to hear, even now -- that BONDS IS EVIL PERSONIFIED. The SF Chronicle's clueless Gwen Knapp, who's always hated Bonds, uses some pretzel logic to say that Magowan was "defending" Bonds -- "I'm probably more aware of what Barry brought to the franchise than anybody. The first thing I'm going to say he brought is the last thing that anybody ever seems to mention, which is, he made us a winner. That's hard, it seems, for a lot of people to write."

My snarky comment -- No, Gwen, he's simply stating the obvious, while still wanting to have it both ways and say he would have done things differently with Bonds. "Defending" Bonds would amount to either giving him a job or at the least, not continuning to give the weasel answer that "Oh, we wish that we could get into our time machine and change things."

Neukom's the guy

Desperate times in the bullpen

Giants fans should not be surprised that the pen has performed abysmally this week, given the front office's track record. Keep in mind that their idea of a good relief pitcher was this -- signing Fatmando Blownitez to a $21 million 3-year deal.

He just made it back to the Bigs this week and immediately gave up a homer.

Hey, Bud Selig -- are you behind this?

Maury Brown of the Business of Baseball wonders if Bud Selig hasn't orchestrated Peter Magowan's departure as punishment for Barry Bonds doing PEDs.

I'm skeptical. I believe that the other Giants owners have had it with the team's rotten performance, declining revenues and crappy future. There's also speculation on Baseball Think Factory that this is Bud's retaliation for not using public financing to build Pacbell Park. Much as I'm inclined to blame Bud for doing something sleazy, I think the real story is this -- Peter's shoved out by the other partners for doing a flat-out crappy job.

You can bet that at some point Peter's going to claim that he wants to "spend more time with my family." When people say that, I often think, "I bet the family is THRILLED with that."

Thursday, May 15, 2008

"Those are the rantings of a madman"

Anthony at Bleeding Black and Orange gives an astute point by point breakdown of how badly run the Giants are. He dissects Sabean's reality-free assessment of the Giants earlier this week. It's so on point that I'm running pretty much the whole thing. Key points --

-- I’m assuming the solution at first Sabean is referencing is John Bowker, a hitter who has looked so good some times and so terrible other times, it makes me think we’re just seeing the latest in the Lance Neikro, Todd Linden, Damon Minor mold of the Giants’ farm system.

-- The solution at third? I’m still lost as to what that is. Jose Castillo has been more painful to watch than Pedro Feliz, and that’s saying something. Rich Aurilia? His .245/.321/.367 line is well below replacement level for a 3B.

-- Big Money Molina? Yeah, he’s clutch, but a .304 OBP is NOT what you want from your #4 hitter. Manny Burriss is a factor? A speed guy who gets on base at a .302 clip is not a factor. I like the kid’s potential, but he’s in over his head. He’s just Brian Bocock with more speed.

-- As for the pitching, other than Tim Lincecum, it’s been pretty disappointing. Matt Cain has been solid, but he has to get that ERA below 4. Jonathan Sanchez has been Jonathan Sanchez. Lowry & Correia, shelved until further notice. Zito…. well, the less said the better. The relief corps looked solid at the beginning, but shitty management has flushed that down the tubes.

-- If Brian Sabean has represented utter lunacy, Bruce Bochy has represented complete ignorance. We’ve been over his abuse of Matt Cain & Tim Lincecum in terms of pitch counts. So, on top of that, he makes a move that rotoworld called, “disgusting.” After Merkin Valdez (who is fresh of Tommy John surgery) felt a little discomfort in his elbow, what did Bochy do? He sent him to the hill the next day, only for Merkin to get blown up. Only after that, do they decide to DL him and treat us all to Alex Hinshaw (did Erik Threets die or something?).

-- On top of that, he insists on putting our best hitter in the #5 slot, behind the anemic Randy Winn (.283/.320/.370) & the human continental drift. He never gives Dan Ortmeier, who is actually hitting a respectable .292/.393/.417, ANY playing time. He is frequently out-managed by the opposition, depleting his bench and forced to make ridiculous substitutions late in the game. In short, this is a team that was designed by a lunatic and is being run by an imbecile.

The worst game of the year

That burning smell was the bullpen exploding for the third time in four games as they made Houston look like the 1927 Yankees. It even featured a pinch HR by the now-worthless Darin Erstad, as if Giants fans needed a reminder of the 2002 World Series.

The AP writeup notes that it's first time in eight years that the Giants have blown a six-run lead -- this nightmarish 10-7 loss to the Padres thanks to Felix Rodriguez and Alan Embree. I still remember that one, too. In the spirit of trying to stay positive, here are the only things I can say --

-- Tim the Enchanter struck out 10.

-- Alexander Hinshaw managed to get one batter out in his MLB debut but then gave up a single. He'd racked up decent numbers in Fresno.

-- Tyler Walker took the blame rather than pulling a Blownitez: "Basically, you can blame me for losing this game. No way Vinnie should pitch in that game. There were six outs to go with a four-run lead. I know the Astros are a good hitting team, but that's our job. It's something you have to come back from."

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A monument to Brian Sabean's incompetence

That's my first reaction to tonight's 6-3 loss to Houston. I had listened to some of the game and heard Dave Flemming mention that the Giants after 6 were 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position. Then Taschner and Sadler combine to give up the 4th run to Houston in the 7th amid bad mistakes by both -- Taschner walked the worthless Cruz Jr. (5-for-40) to start the inning and then Sadler grooved a 1-2 pitch to Tejada with two out when Bengie had called for a shoulder high pitch that Mig would chase. I got home, kissed my wife and took the dog for walk, did some laundry and then looked at this box score.

THE GIANTS LEFT 10 MEN ON BASE. Anyhow, it seems fitting that with Magowan retiring, the team obviously years away from contending and fans starting to stay away, the ineffectiveness of this offense -- and the idiot who constructed this team -- could not shown more clearly.

The team is also not being well-coached. Flemming noted in the 6th that Ortmeier hacked at a 2-1 pitch well out of the strike zone with Castillo on third. "This is a free-swinging team," he added. They are also last in the MLB in runs scored at 140 and third to last in walks at 112.

Henry Schulman of the SF Chron let Sabean claim that the team will contend despite all appearances to the contrary, such as being 7 games under .500. I wish that it were true that this team can contend but I'm afraid it isn't meant to be. Projected record -- 67-95.

Hasta la vista, Pedro

The SF Chron's political columnists (Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross) are reporting that Peter Magowan will announce his retirement on Friday. No word if all the empty seats at AT&T Park -- which I bet are a big reason why he's running away -- will be in attendance. Back to back weeknight games have seen attendance (which includes tickets sold, not those actually in attendance) under 31,000.

Here's hoping the new owner decides to fire Brian Sabean ASAP.

Your tax dollars at work

The federal government's mad-dog pursuit of Barry Bonds has continued with the refiling of the indictment. It feels as if there's an endless supply of funds for the feds to do whatever they want -- such as pursuing a vendetta against a guy who's one of the Designated Villains of Our Time -- rather than what people would want them to do, such as stopping gangsters from operating with impunity or stopping corporate polluters or busting scam artists.

Meanwhile, the Cubs have proven once again not only that they're idiots but also that there is indeed collusion among owners to not sign Bonds -- since they're about to sign a deal with the worthless Jim Edmonds. If he doesn't work out, I suppose they could try Ryan Klesko or Steve Finley.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Matt Cain = The Man

The return of Johnnie LeMaster

A somewhat amazing story in the SF Bay Guardian about the guy who played 11 seasons for the Orange and Black and is probably best remembered for wearing "BOO" on his jersey once in 1979. --

"That stunt cost me a $500 fine, but it was worth every penny. It won over some of the media and the fans really got a kick out of it," said LeMaster who was honored by the Giants last weekend as part of the club's season long 50th San Francisco Anniversary celebration.
It was the Paintsville, Kentucky resident's first visit to San Francisco's downtown ballpark.
"I'm jealous of the new players. Everything is so plush and inviting, I'd love to take some ground balls or step up to the plate here," said LeMaster, 53, and a grandfather of six. "I'm glad for the players that they have something like this to come to and I'm really happy for the fans."

He was a decent fielder but couldn't hit worth a damn -- .222/.277/.289 for his career. And I think that Giants fans booed him a lot because they couldn't express their disgust in any other way that -- year after year after year after year -- LeMaster was the best that the team could find. I don't recall his successor Jose Uribe ever getting booed at the Stick.

For the sake of discussion, let's say that the Giants decided to play Brian Bocock at short for the next eight years. I'd bet that by 2014 or so, the booing would be pretty intense.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A better blog than this one

That would be Orange Black and Blue, which calls itself "the purgatory of lost Giants fans." I particularly love the inclusion of the Enron logo and Felipe Alou in the banner. To me, it's a reminder that things used to be a LOT better for Giants fans. I didn't even know this site existed until Lefty Malo -- also a far better blog than this one -- mentioned it in his post.

Why am I going on about this? Because, driving home from a difficult day at work, I was thoroughly enjoying the first half of the Giants game. Barry Zito got through 5 scoreless innings; Bowker homered for the first time since April 20; and Omar and Fred Lewis doubled home runs. I was thinking "This is how it used to be for all those years; if the Giants played at home, we fans knew they had a pretty good shot of winning."

By the time I got home, said howdy to my lovely wife, took the doggie for a walk and checked back on the game, the Astros had pretty much brought reality back to Giants fans. Rather than pull Zito in the 6th, Bochy kept him out there long enough to get hammered as usual; then the bullpen stunk up the joint and the offense took the rest of the night off. Sorry, but what the hell is Bochy doing letting an obviously fading Zito pitch to Lance Berkman in the 6th with a guy on and the score 3-1?
But back to Orange Black and Blue -- very sharply written, very entertaining by a guy named Hasan. He's already nicknamed Jonathan Sanchez "Dirty." The above photo of Steve Holm and Barry Bonds was part of his Mother's Day post. I called my post "Big Day for Steve Holm"; Hasan called his "Clutch Holmer." As I said, a much better blog than this. Anyhow, here's part of what he posted --
Awesome story for the local boy. The former backup to Justin Knoedler in Single-A San Jose has looked the part in the majors coming off an improbable upset in an open battle for the backup job in spring training. On the other hand, Jose Castillo celebrated the return of Pedro Feliz by doing his best impression, hitting into 3 double plays (two on the first pitch and two with the bases loaded) before lining a triple in a completely no-pressure situation leading off the eighth. (Unsurprisingly, he was subsequently stranded by Vizquel, Aurilia and Lewis). His struggles epitomize the Giants biggest downfall so far this season: not cashing in on baserunners. Team batting with RISP? .237.Dirty continues to struggle as he allows three in a very wild 4.1 IPs. Also troubling: Sanchez's inability to control his emotions - a good example being his failure to cover first on a helluva diving play by John Bowker.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

It Might Be Dangerous, You Go First

Very interesting development out of San Diego, where special assistant Paul DePodesta has launched a blog by that name. He's already answering questions and the Padres have won their last two games.

In a move that turned out well only for Giants fans and Dodger haters, idiot Dodger owner Frank McCourt decided to kick DePodesta to the curb -- after DePo had gotten the team into the playoffs for the first time in 7 years in 2004. In a midseason move, he traded the badly overhyped Paul Lo Duca, Juan Encarnacion and Guillermo Mota to the Marlins for Brad Penny, Hee Seop Choi and prospect Bill Murphy, then sent Murphy to the Diamondbacks for Steve Finley, who had one last burst of competence. Penney became a solid starter and none of the guys traded away ever amounted to much.

The Los Angeles media -- led by certified dingbat Bill Plaschke of the LA Times -- hated the LoDuca trade and began calling for DePo's scalp with the Dodgers sucking in 2005 even though the team he inherited and the manager (Jim Tracy) were mostly useless. He acquired J.D. Drew, Derek Lowe, Jeff Kent, which helped the Dodgers re-load and make the playoffs again in 2006 but by then he'd been fired, so Ned Colletti got the undeserved credit. Colletti's recent moves (Pierre, Andruw Jones, Schmidt) have been bad but the farm system's so strong that it usually covers those mistakes.

In the meantime, it would be a smart move for the Giants to dump Sabean and hire DePo, so it's probably never going to happen.

Big day for Steve Holm

This kind of thing always gives me a big smile. Here's a 28-year-old guy who's been in the minors since 2001 and finally gets a shot at the bigs this year by backing up Bengie. He just hit his first MLB homer -- a 2-run job in the 7th -- to give the Orange and Black a come-from-behind 4-3 victory over the Phils.

The Dodgers also lost their 4th in a row as Fat Broxton gagged away a win to the Astros, who are headed into SF.

Giants projected record -- 68-94

Almost as big a bust as Zito

That would be Andruw Jones. He has 19 hits in 112 ABs, including 4 doubles, 1 HR and 4 RBIs. That would be 4 HRs and 16 RBIs by the end of the year. That's for a guy they signed for years 2 years at $36 million. It's nice to know that the Dodgers' front office appears to be as arrogant and inept as the Giants -- not surprising, since Ned Colletti is a Sabean protege.

The Dodgers have just lost 3 in a row and are now 19-17. Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times talks to some scouts and they say he's done --

-- In 27 at-bats with runners in scoring position, he has made 26 outs.

-- "I don't see anything that would make him better than a fourth outfielder," an American League evaluator said.His bat speed has slowed, the evaluators said, a trend that generally does not reverse itself unless an injury explains the decline.

-- In 2005-06, Jones ranked fifth in the National League in slugging percentage, at .553. In 2007-08, he ranks 80th, at .389. He strikes out as never before, and he struggles even when he makes contact. In 2005-06, when Jones put a fastball in play, he hit .363, according to STATS LLC. In 2007-08, that average is .305.

-- "If I were the opposing team, I'd throw him nothing but fastballs until he proves he can hit them," an NL evaluator said.That evaluator said he clocked Jones -- while beating out an infield hit -- at 4.7 seconds to first base."That's what a catcher runs," he said.

-- And, although the Dodgers trumpet defense, the evaluators independently made the same observation about Jones: He used to play notoriously shallow, daring anyone to hit balls over his head, knowing he could race back and catch them. Now he plays deep, so balls drop in front of him.Two statistical measures -- zone rating and range factor -- suggest Jones ranks as an average center fielder.

-- Jones weighed 210 pounds during his glory years with the Braves. He weighed 248 this spring, so perhaps the decline in speed and range can be reversed.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Doug Glanville and the curveball

Magowan -- the handwriting's on the wall

Ray Ratto of the SF Chronicle tries to interpret what's going on with Magowan possibly dis-owning the Giants and concludes that the lack of response from Magowan and Baer is quite indicative that the rumors are probably true. I've bashed Ratto in the past but I think he's on the right track here -- particularly in noting that Magowan wasn't even there today.

One thing's certain -- the team's revenues are going down. People are not going to pay good money to see a crappy team despite the occasional win here and there, not after eight years of the Barry Bonds Show. Here you have the best player on the team (Lincecum) going up against one of the best teams in MLB (the Phils) on a Saturday afternoon -- and only 34,000 tickets get sold.

I wish I'd been there. It sounds like Tim was great, Omar was great, even Castillo was great. In short -- it was a great great day that Magowan missed. I never get tired of going to the park, even when the Giants get hammered.

The always-insightful Only Baseball Matters already has a fascinating discussion about the Magowan Era with a few silly dingbats asserting that Magowan shouldn't be given credit for all the good things that happened (keeping the Giants in SF, signing Bonds, the new park, the World Series). Most posters are smart enough to see a bigger picture. Here's what one poster named DonK said. The boldface is mine --

The Magowan Era should be divided into two parts.
He and his group get a standing ovation for their work through 2002. They saved the franchise for San Francisco (the Tampa Bay Giants just doesn’t sound right). He/they signed Bonds (the best free-agent signing in MLB history). They brought in Dusty Baker, who did a superb job. They brought in Brian Sabean, who turned the franchise around in a year and gave San Francisco its longest sustained period of success since the Giants moved west. Last, and certainly not least, he was the driving force in the construction of Pac Bell, arguably the best of the new parks. The dividing line is the 2002 World Series. After the Giants kicked away San Francisco’s first championship, things started to fall apart. He ran Dusty out of town, brought in an out-of-touch replacement, would not spend to give the greatest offensive player in postwar MLB history enough support, purposely dealt away high picks for old role players who had limited use and no upside (Michael Tucker) but would not make bids for premium talent (Vlad Guerrero). He presided over the collapse of the scouting department. He milked Barry for all he was worth, turned a blind eye to BB-related problems, then threw Bonds over the side and basically stripped the franchise of any remembrance of him.
For the second part of the Magowan Era, he’s being saluted now by flocks of empty seats, which speak louder than anything I could say.

Friday, May 09, 2008

The hits just keep on not coming

The Giants have now lost five in a row. They haven't won in a week. The only guy who was hitting well tonight was Emmanuel Burris, with a 3-for-4 night and 2 RBIs, probably ensuring that the Brian Bocock experiment is over. Perhaps they've told him he gets to stay now that Omar is back.

Burris is probably not ready for the MLB either, but he's much better than Bocock -- who's way overmatched with 10 singles and a double in 77 ABs. Even with 12 walks, his OBP is a pathetic .258. I remain baffled as to why any MLB team would allow this kind of non-functioning guy on the roster for over a month, particularly when Ivan Ochoa at Fresno is putting up decent AAA numbers with 34 hits in 123 ABs, including three doubles, four triples, a homer and 11 RBIs. Then I remember that there's an idiot named Sabean in charge.

Projected record -- 64-98

Fortunately, the Padres are even worse than the Giants and have only won 12 games, so they're projected to go 54-108. And the Dodgers got buttkicked.

Edmonds hits the wall

The Padres have let Jim Edmonds go. He's only 37 but looked damn unimpressive when I saw him last month. The Giants used to LOVE to get guys like this but not so much anymore. He may be done.

Is Magowan running away?

Now that the Giants' franchise has become a laughingstock ("Will Barry Zito EVER win another game?"), the rumors are out that Peter Magowan's thinking of "retiring" at age 66. Because it must be SO HARD and time-consuming to make these genius personnel decisions (signing Zito, Klesko, Roberts, Blownitez, Alfonzo, Durham, Tucker, trading Joe Nathan for Pierzitsky, trading for Ponson...).
Still, Giants fans remain grateful that you kept the team in San Francisco and got the team out of The Stick. And the new ballpark is damn nice. How about if you did something smart and named the park after this guy?
In case, you're wondering -- The source for this isn't the SF Chronicle or the San Jose Merc-News, of course. It's Mark Gonzalez of the Chicago Trib. I guess that all the efforts of hacks like Bruce Jenkins, Ray Ratto and Tim Kawakami to get in bed with Brian Sabean didn't really pay off when it comes to a big story.
Kevin Gibbs at Giants Cove has already said "Sayanora" to Magowan. I can't argue with his point -- Despite his many successes, Magowen has always represented a bastion of conservative thought. It was under his guidance that the Giants squandered a golden opportunity with Bonds and, far more damningly, fell behind the learning curve of modern roster construction.

Searching for scraps of positive news

After getting swept by the Pirates, the Giants now actually have to play a good team -- the Phillies -- as the 2008 season continues to devolve. Projected record is 65-97. But we're always on the lookout at Giants Win for positive news, so here goes --

-- Pedro Feliz is still delivering marginal production for a third baseman. He hasn't morphed into Mike Schmidt. His OBP's still under .300; even with a 2-run HR today, he's got 5 HRs and 15 RBIs and will probably wind up with 20 HRs and 60 RBIs.

-- Barry Bonds has just updated his Web site and lets the world that he's a big supporter of what sounds like a fine charity -- the UCSF Children’s Hospital in San Francisco. He attended the annual “Snuggly Soiree” event at the Getty Mansion which raises money for the Teddy Bear Rescue Fund for food, transportation, housing, medication, tutors and amenities that insurance and government funds cannot provide. He also says he's still ready to play: "I do want to thank all of my fans and the people I see around town, at social events or at various basketball games. Your continued support and kind words really do mean a lot to me. Other than that, I’ve been hanging out with my family and staying in shape."

-- Omar's finally coming back, which will help the defense and offense. It's been embarrassing to be playing two guys who obviously don't belong in the bigs.

-- A poster at McCovey Chronicles says: "Tell me why I shouldn't become an A's fan." Some of the more excellent responses:
-- Because there are no four words uglier than: Now batting, designated hitter
-- Because you should never cheat on your first love, no matter how badly (s)he screws you
-- Two words: white shoes

-- FACT: People who commit treason ended up in the ninth circle of hell… or was that LA? I can’t tell the difference.
-- I feel you should pick one team and stick with them. It makes it that much more enjoyable when they win again (even if that time is 50 years from now). Sure, the Giants are a bad team, but they’re our bad team, damnit! Just remember, whichever side you choose, Giants or A’s, stay on one side. Don’t be that guy with the godawful half-and-half cap.
-- Lincecum

Thursday, May 08, 2008

A little slice of hell

It just seems that the Giants are destined to lose to the Pirates. They've now gone 2-13 against the Buccos, who have been awful pretty much since Barry Bonds left. Today's 5-4 loss, according to Chris Haft of, appears to be partly due to crappy umpiring by the crappy Ron Kulpa. That said, bad calls tend to even out for both teams.

Though it's 20-20 hindsight for me to point this out, it does feel like a bit of a bonehead move that Bochy decided to let Cain throw 113 pitches and into the 7th on a rainy day.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Zito doesn't suck but still goes to 0-7

What took you so long?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Tim Kawakami is an idiot

No wonder people don't trust newspaper reporters, when they put out garbage stories and blog posts like this one. The San Jose Mercury-News' Tim Kawakami -- who's been on the Barry Bonds Hate Train for years -- argues that Fred Lewis is a better player than Barry Bonds would be this year because Lewis had better numbers in April than Bonds had in September.

What a damn idiot. Fred Lewis seems like a decent enough fourth outfielder but would he have a realistic shot of starting for any team other than the Giants? He's got an OBP of .398, 3 HRs and 8 RBIs in 104 ABs. That's marginally acceptable on a team but the Giants.

In case you're wondering, Fred didn't even start tonight during the 12-6 debacle in Pittsburgh against the immortal Zach Duke, who happens be a lefty. Dan Ortmeier started in left and went 2-for-4. So it's not as Bruce Bochy's been blown away by Fred's offensive prowess.

Fortunately, the folks at Fire Joe Morgan -- "where bad sports journalism comes to die" -- take the time to dissect what an idiot Kawakami is.

Here comes an 0-7 record for Zito

Happy birthday, Willie Mays

Monday, May 05, 2008

Fun with All-Star voting

My friend Dan had a great way to take the edge off watching the Dodgers hammer the Mets at Chavez Latrine tonight by filling out an All-Star ballot with the least deserving players or the occasional pain in the neck guy like a certain White Sox catcher.

The class-free Dodger fans, in between batting around beach balls and delaying the game six times as balls went on to the field, booed Andruw Jones relentlessly. Jones is probably damn glad that Zito is the guy identified as the biggest free agent bust but Jones has completely forgotten how to hit. Anyhow, here are Dan's selections:

National League
1B Joey Votto Reds
2B Ray Durham Giants
SS Jeff Keppinger Reds
3B Jorge Cantu Marlins
C J.R. Towles Astros
OF Andruw Jones Dodgers
OF Carlos Beltran Mets
OF Dave Roberts Giants

American League
1B Richie Sexson Mariners
2B Mark Grudzielanek Royals
SS L. Hernandez Orioles
3B Eric Chavez Athletics
C AJ Pierzitsky White Sox
DH Frank Catalanotto Rangers
OF Brad Wilkerson Mariners/Released
OF Matt Stairs Blue Jays
OF David DeJesus Royals

My suggestion -- Go ahead and write this guy in

The one SF Giant going to the All-Star game

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Start stuffing those All Star ballots

All Star game ballots available online.

I am tempted to write in this guy.

I love how the Reds fans stuffed the ballot box in 1957, which led to the vote being taken away from the fans for the next decade. Here was the starting lineup, with Mays and Aaron named by the commissioner instead of Gus Bell and Wally Post. Stan Musial was the only non-Red voted into the lineup.

1 Johnny Temple Reds 2B
2 Hank Aaron Braves RF
3 Stan Musial Cardinals 1B
4 Willie Mays Giants CF
5 Ed Bailey Reds C
6 Frank Robinson Reds LF
7 Don Hoak Reds 3B
8 Roy McMillan Reds SS
9 Curt Simmons Phillies P

The Cincinnati Enquirer had printed up pre-marked ballots and distributed them with the Sunday newspaper to make it easy for Reds fans to vote often. There were even stories of bars in Cincinnati not serving alcohol to customers until they filled out a ballot.

Giants lose another winnable game

Eugenio Velez' error leads to the Giants giving up the winning run in the bottom of the 9th in Philly after Tim the Enchanter has what has to be a subpar game for him -- even though all 4 runs were unearned, but two came in via wild pitches. It's the second walk-off 6-5 win for the Phils in three days. Projected record is now 71-91. The only good news is that the Dodgers finally lost, getting buttkicked by the Rox.

As much as I try not to be bitter, as a Giants fan, it kills me to watch the offense not have quite enough to win close games like this while Barry Bonds sits at home. Art Spander, who worked at the SF Chronicle for many years, has an open letter to Billy Beane to sign Bonds. Here are some of his key arguments --

-- So, get that bat. It comes with a lot of baggage, but it also comes with a lot of benefits. The shock value alone is worth the deal. The man still can put balls in the seats and no less importantly put butts in the seats. As opposed to you putting a tarp over them. The A's have to stop being a secret and start becoming an attraction.

-- You know the word "coup"? That's what bringing in Barry Bonds would be. How about Bonds and Frank Thomas 3-4 in the batting order? Defense might be a worry, but you and Bob Geren would figure out something. The way you guys mishandled chances the last few days, Frank or Barry might be an improvement.

-- Your announced attendance for the series opener against the Rangers on Friday night was a bit above 15,000, but that was tickets sold. It was lonely at McAfee Coliseum, reminiscent of the Charlie Finley days when Sal Bando nicknamed the place the "Mausoleum." You might understand a bad turnout for a bad club, but the A's were coming home in first place. To be blunt, nobody cares. It's time to be aggressive, to make people care.

-- For too long the A's have been the other team, No. 2 to that club across the Bay. The Giants might not have much on the field, especially since they gave Bonds the back of the hand, but they have the ballpark, the 10-year jump in history, and the connection to that city with the cable cars and panhandlers. It's not your fault. Just the way things are.

-- This is a perfect year. The Giants are down. Now's the time to put your foot on their throat by putting Bonds on the roster. Those legal problems? The federal government is having more difficulty building a perjury case against Barry than it is in keeping gasoline affordable. If Barry ever comes to trial, and that's doubtful, it won't be for at least a year.

-- Bonds is going to end up someplace this season. Could any place be more perfect than Oakland? Barry knows the territory. The A's fans know Barry. True, they haven't liked him, but loyalty in sports is little more than the letters on the front of a uniform. Let Barry pop a couple against the Yankees or Angels, and you'll be amazed by his popularity.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

No back-to-back BS

Blown save, that is. Brian Wilson walked Pat the Bat tonight and then got the next three outs in the bottom of 10th time. Here's the recap --

Philadelphia - Bottom of 10th
Brian Wilson pitching for San Francisco
B Wilson relieved J Taschner.
P Burrell walked.
A Eaton ran for P Burrell.
G Jenkins grounded into fielder's choice to shortstop, A Eaton out at second.
C Ruiz struck out swinging.
E Bruntlett grounded out to shortstop.

This is the fourth 3-2 game the Giants have won this year -- three of them in extras.

Projected record -- 73-89

Noah Lowry -- now out until July

Lowry tells the SF Chron's Henry Schulman that he started throwing too soon after his surgery and will have to wait much longer to come back. Ordinarily, I would say that this shows how unpredictable pitching injuries can be.

But given the level of incompetence in the Giants front office, I can't help but wonder about the contradictary advice given by physicians in this case. Here you have a guy who's now saying, "It's time to see the best" to get further advice. So why wasn't Lowry told to see "the best" before now?

Friday, May 02, 2008

Brian Wilson's turn to suffer

Brian Wilson was one out away from getting his 10th save tonight in Philly but instead gave up a two-run homer to Pat Burrell. It was inevitable that this was going to happen eventually. I still believe Wilson's one of the few on the team who's outperformed expectations.

"I can't dwell on it," is what he said. That's my things-could-always-be-worse point here -- it's certainly a little better than, say, Fatmando Blownitez, who would say things like "I did my job" after blowing a game. Notice how The Fat One has a minor league deal with the Jays this year? AP said an April 29 game story that he's trying to rehab from an April 12 injury. My guess is that he's still fat and stupid --

Armando Benitez plans to throw an extended spring training game Saturday in Dunedin, Fla. Benitez, with 289 saves in 18 seasons, signed a minor league contract with Toronto on March 11 and strained a leg muscle in a minor league game April 12.

Projected Giants record -- 70-92

The Zito bandwagon

It's such a good story from a news standpoint that everyone has to chime in. So Jason Stark of ESPN devotes a big chunk of his Rumblings and Grumblings weekly column to Zito. Here are the most interesting points --

-- How much money would the Giants have to pay of Zito's remaining $112.5 million or so to get somebody -- anybody -- interested? "The Giants would have to eat 80 percent -- I'm talking $80-90 million," the official replied. "But they'd never do that. If that's what they'd have to eat, they might as well just let the guy keep being horse[feathers]."

-- So can Zito ever get straightened out? We surveyed a half-dozen scouts and executives, and we found only one who thought he could. And that was a scout who said his only hope was to get reunited with Rick Peterson, "the only [pitching coach] Barry Zito ever had success with."
But another scout offered this sobering view: "First off, I wonder if he's tipping pitches. Guys sit there and take such close pitches, you wonder. But here's his big problem. He's got so much movement on his curveball and so much movement on his changeup, it's difficult to get those pitches called for strikes. He needs to get ahead in the count with his fastball to be able to utilize those pitches. But when he tries to throw his fastball, it's too hittable."

-- We also asked high-ranking officials of two clubs what they would do if they had a big-buck disaster like Zito on their team. The first replied: "I'd cry." The second had a more innovative proposal. "Here's what they should do," he said. "They should go to Zito and say, 'Look, it's clear this is not going to work. Let's put together an NBA-type deferral package. We'll take the whole contract, defer it over 30 years with no interest and then we'll release you, to let you start fresh somewhere else.'....You're better off paying him $3.7 million a year to not pitch than having him go out and do what he's doing. … In the NBA, this happens a lot. The union would never let him do that in our sport. But you know what? From the player's standpoint, he'd be better off."