Monday, March 31, 2008

Zito = Big Daddy

ESPN's stat of the day -- Barry Zito is the second pitcher since 1900 to lose four consecutive Opening Day starts. The only other is Rick Reuschel, who did it from 1978 to 1981, as part of a career that saw him get 214 wins, including some nice work at the end of his career for the Orange and Black.

Zito racked up 102 wins in seven years in Oakland. He now has 113 but I think it's very doubtful that he'll get to 200. He looked awful, partiuclarly on the down-the-middle fattie to Choker Kent. ESPN's commentators Eric Young and Buster Olney said something like there's a widespread belief in MLB that Zito's velocity on his fastball is gone. The SF Chron's Henry Schulman did a nice job of summing up this travesty of a game:

-- They are pegged to be a very bad last-place team, and Monday's game only served to accentuate those fears.

-- The offense, expected to be vacuous, managed five singles against Penny and three Los Angeles relievers.

-- The Giants had one decent offensive opportunity, when Ray Durham drew a one-out walk in the second and Rowand singled him to third. But Jose Castillo ended the inning with a double play.

-- Had the Giants converted Roberts' game-opening single into a run, perhaps the tone would have been different. But Bochy called for a hit-and-run, Penny threw a high fastball that Rich Aurilia could not possibly hit and Russell Martin nailed Roberts at second base.

"There, that wasn't so good now, was it?" -- Leonard Pinth Garnell

That's a quote from Dan Aykroyd's critic character that came to mind after the Giants lost their 2008 opener, 5-0, at Chavez Latrine. Five singles, two caught stealings, including one by Bocock after a walk. All I can say is hurry back, Omar.

Today's loss was vaguely reminiscent of the 5-1 loss on opening day 31 years ago at the Latrine. That started a 75-87 year; the only good thing was that it was Stretch's first game back after being exiled to San Diego in a cost-cutting move a few years earlier. Willie Mac struck out twice that day but wound up hitting 28 HRs and winning Comeback Player of the Year award at age 39.

My brother in law the Dodger Fan had this to say today -- "5-0! Giants may not score all year. One loss down, 99 to go for the G-Men!"

The beginning of the end for Brian Bocock

Omar Vizquel's already rehabbing in the minors and plans to be back next week. Unless Bocock turns into Cal Ripken, he'll be sent down soon.

In other DL news, that's where Jason Schmidt and Nomar are starting the season for the Dodgers. "Where they belong," my friend Dan adds.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Your 2008 SF Giants

Fire Bruce Jenkins

That's what the SF Chronicle should do if it had any ethics or business smarts left. Instead, it allows this sorry excuse for a reporter to hang on, inflict his stupidity on the world and cause more subscribers to cancel their subscriptions.

Bruce does two things well -- hate Barry Bonds and apologize for Brian Sabean's incompetence. Don't believe me? Then read this:

After a long recovery from knee surgery, Bonds showed up in September of '05 as a tired, sluggish, overbearing shadow of his former self, unable to play every day, complete with an intrusive entourage. That's when the Giants should have pulled the plug. The signs were so clear. Instead, they went for the coin, all else be damned. The payback is even worse than most fans imagined ...

What Bruce is doing is acting as if Bonds WAS NOT THE BEST PLAYER ON THE TEAM IN 2006 AND 2007; further, he's also acting as if his presence somehow made it impossible for St. Brian Sabean to operate effectively; he ignores that Sabean signed stupid deal after stupid deal (Blownitez, Zito, Durham, Alfonzo) and made one of the worst trades of all time in the Joe Nathan deal. No, in his fevered little brain, he's convinced himself that it's still Evil Barry's fault that the Giants will be the worst team in the MLB this year. He also repeats Magwoan's ridiculous assertion that the team will draw 3 million this year -- an average of 37,000 a game, which is nonsense. This is what's called getting into bed with your sources. It's also called wasting people's time.

Even an idiot like Bruce can see how stupid it is for the Giants to be acting as if Bonds never played for them. I assure you -- Bruce is still an idiot.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Best-case scenario for 2008

Tim Lincecum showed that the Giants front office isn't completely incompetent tonight with a brilliant outing against the A's. So that's how there will be the occasional great moments this year for Giants fans -- airtight pitching while the "offense" ekes out a run or two.

Bay City Ball pointed out a few days ago why the Giants may have decided to sign Jose Castillo -- he was the guy who essentially ended the season in late July 2006 by hitting a game-tying HR off Blownitez in the 9th; the Pirates won it 2-1 in the 10th off Steve Kline. Bay City notes that Castillo has hit exactly 3 HRs since. And I note that the Giants had been leading the division a mere week before, before losing 7 straight to fall to 51-54. In other words, this game was probably the last time they were in actual contention.

Friday, March 28, 2008

As if he never existed

My friend Greg attended last night's game at Mays Field and phoned at one point to say "D, it looks like it's going to a long season." Here's his report --

Got free club level tix to the Giants vs Mariners game last night at Pac Bell Park. First thing I notice was the lack of anything Barry Bonds. No more "25" etched in the outfield grass, no more "Bonds Squad" on the LF wall, no more Bonds home run counter hanging on the CF bricks. Its like he never played here. The Men In Black crew must have erased him from Giants managements minds. Kind of weird. Now to the sadder story. The Giants are apparently doing the remake of the "The Bad News Bears" at AT&T Park. Yunieski Betancourt got a little league "Inside the Park Home" run after the Giants misplayed a throw to the plate. Later in the game the Giants Rich Aurilia held the ball at first base and forgot Betancourt was on 3rd base so he easily stole home while Richie was distracted. Betancourt basically had a great roto day as he hit a 3 run homer, 2 run double and stole home. The Giants are a bad, bad, f*cking team! 60 wins might be too optimistic. Its gonna be a long season.

Here's Henry Schulman's story for the SF Chronicle.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

SI's modest proposal -- trade Roberts and Winn

Sports Illustrated's baseball issue projects the Giants as the worst team in the NL with a 68-94 record. Here's what SI recommends:

The Giants cut ties with Barry Bonds but not with the other veteran outfielder they assembled around him. Players such as Dave Roberts, 35, and Randy Winn, 33, are out of place on a rebuilding team with younger outfielders. Any playing time with those two is wasted. Instead, the Giants should let Rajai Davis and Fred Lewis play a full season alonside new centerfielder Aaron Rowand to see what they can do. Neither is particularly young (both are 27) but they offer power, fresh legs and upside that the veterans do not. Nate Schierholtz, 24, who slugged .560 at Triple A Fresno in 2007, is another preferable option to Winn and Roberts, both who should be offered posthaste to the Mets, a contender whose outfield has been decimated by injuries this spring.

Speaking of Fresno, the Giants just lost to their farm team 4-3.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

You can't fool all the people all the time

Peter Magowan, Brian Sabean and the Mays Field scalpers are about to eat some humble pie because people won't show up to see a lousy team, particularly one that has no real stars. The only good part of this is that fans will be able to get far more decent seats than in the past and not have to deal with the always-annoying scalpers. Tom Fitzgerald of the San Francisco Chronicle lays out what's about to happen:

-- Based on sales so far, Baer said, the team is "trending" to get to 3 million in total attendance, which would be a drop of more than 200,000 from last year. In terms of single-game tickets, he would say only that more than 150,000 have been sold. More than 200,000 were sold at this point last year. "In total tickets sold, we're in the 2.3-to-2.4 (million) range," Baer said, "and that's more than many teams sell in their season, much less before the first game."

-- Some of those tickets are being sold at a deep discount. At Costco, fans can buy a four-ticket gift card that they then exchange elsewhere for actual tickets. Customers can purchase four upper-deck tickets to any one game in April or May - with the exception of Opening Day - for $50. At the nearly full sales stand at a Costco in Concord, it appeared there were more than enough gift cards to go around.

-- The average selling price for a Giants ticket on StubHub is $61, down from $68 at this time last year. The number of tickets changing hands is down 15 percent, and the overall volume sales are down 25 percent, he said.

-- In the offseason, many people - mainly with outfield seats - were practically giving away their "charter seat licenses" on resale Web sites in their efforts to sell their season tickets. The licenses, costing thousands of dollars, helped finance construction of the park. The licenses gave patrons access to the best seats and so-called "price protection" against yearly ticket hikes.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

This is what incompetence sounds like

Chris Haft at MLB.com interviews Brian Sabean about all the unknowns of the starting lineup -- Velez? Durham? Bocock? Castillo? Aurilia? Chulk? Vizquel? Threets? Ortmeier? -- and gets few answers. It would be a far more interesting story had he asked "Why do you have all these expensive veterans like Ray Durham, Rich Aurilia and Omar on the roster who keep breaking down?"

The Giants lost today to go 8-20, which translates to 47-117 over 162 games.

UPDATE -- John Shea of the Chronicle also tries to make sense of Sabean and notes that the front office may be willing to eat part of a veteran contract such as Durham's or Roberts. For some reason, however, Sabean loves the unproductiveness of Rich Aurilia and indicates he'll start at 1B or 3B.

And what kind of youth movement is that?

Nice going, Sabean

Just another reminder of Brian Sabean's incompetence -- Joe Nathan just signed a 4-year $47 million extension with the Twins. In late 2003, Sabean traded Nathan (a guy who had gone 12-4 with a 2.96 ERA) along with Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonsor for AJ Pierzitsky. Nathan's gotten over 160 saves for the Twins since.

And speaking of incompetence -- How could the Giants "staff" let Fransden play Monday when he was already hurt?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Here's the new guy, Jose Castillo


Strange how the Giants picked this guy off waivers just before the lousy news about Fransden's Achilles injury. The only upside to the acquisition -- it probably means that Sabean's given up on acquiring some other on-the-fade veteran 3B like Joe Crede, Brandon Inge or Wes Helms.

How to not suck

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Magowan and Sabean are delusional

Giants fans will be forever grateful to Peter Magowan for keeping the franchise from moving in 1993 and opening the new park in 2000. That said, Magowan should fire Brian Sabean for being such a bad liar as to what's going on with the fans, as he does in this article by the SF Chronicle's John Shea --

Magowan said he expects another 3 million fans to show up in the first year of the post-Bonds era. "It's apparent the majority of people were ready for Barry to move on and understand what we're going through with the makeover," Sabean said. "They're excited about the younger opportunities and seem ready for it. The interesting thing with Barry not being the face of the franchise is, this team is being given a chance to form its own identity, and it's a matter of how they embrace it."

EARTH TO MAGOWAN AND SABEAN -- The 3 million mark will be reached only if you count people who come disguised as empty seats. People are going to get damn tired of showing up to see a crappy team. And as to the "majority" of people being ready for Barry to move on, that should be modified to read "the majority of people who work for me."




It looks like the kid is going to make it


Photo of Eugenio Velez by Giantfan9 at Giants Jottings. Here's his commentary from Saturday's game -- The offensive star of the game was Eugenio Velez, who started at 2B thanks to yet another last minute scratch of Ray "the Hammy" Durham. Velez was 3 for 5 on the day, including a 2 out bases loaded triple in the 4th and a 2 out RBI ground rule double that I thought for a second was going to be a HR to one of the deepest RCF gaps you will ever see outside of ATT Park (Scottsdale Stadium is 430 feet to dead CF. . His day was slightly marred by a GIDP, but he also stole his 13th base of the spring. When was the last time a Giants' player stole 13 bases in spring training? Heck when was the last time a Giants' player stole 13 bases over ANY one month period?

The Giants won 8-1 so they're now 8-17, which equates to a 53-109 season.

Meanwhile, Brian "Brain" Sabean's signed another infielder who can't get on base, Jose Castillo. I really don't understand what the point is. What in the world is so impossible about finding guys who can have a career OBP above .300?


Friday, March 21, 2008

Eat it, AJ. Eat it raw

Who's to blame?


The Giants are supposed to be "gamers," as their ad campaign screams out. Without Barry Bonds, they're supposed to revert to small ball. They're supposed to execute properly. They're supposed to play the game the right way.
They're supposed to do the little things.
"We're not doing them," manager Bruce Bochy said after another uninspiring performance in the desert that left him annoyed and searching for answers.
My only criticism of Shea's piece is that there ought to be some blame assigned to Brian Sabean for having assembled this awful team.

shepminnie wrote:
I would like to know how much this case has cost the taxpayers to date and in the future.
Posted 3/21/2008 2:34:28 PMRecommend (8)Report Abuse
random1 wrote:
I wish the Feds would spend this much time & effort on prosecuting the organized crime sydicates, drug cartels, and MORE serious crimes than what Barry said.
Posted 3/21/2008 2:38:25 PMRecommend (5)Report Abuse
drunkpriest wrote:
LET HIM GO. Go spend the time and energy investigating some other issues that is important, like IRAQ war, corporate scam.
Posted 3/21/2008 2:39:18 PMRecommend (9)Report Abuse
ChiPower wrote:
Regardless of what Barry did or didn't do, and what he said about it, this is a total waste of time and money.
Posted 3/21/2008 2:40:40 PMRecommend (12)Report Abuse
alekaneleno wrote:
Will they have to convince an entirely new grand jury (hasn't the old one's term expired)? That could take more years. This is a total waste of time and money because it hinges on what Barry thought the questions meant and what he was answering...but he should have taken the 5th. Is it just for the sake of the prosecutor's ego?

I sure wish you were still on the team, Robb


Here are some excerpts from Thursday's post -- Well, today was yet another bad game for the Giants. This one really had no socially redeemable qualities if you are a Giants' fan. Although Jonathan Sanchez only gave up 2 earned runs, unlike Kevin Correia last night, he probably deserved to give up more than even the 4 total runs he gave up. 10 hits (including 3 doubles) in 5 innings is WAY too many. He had good control as far as hitting the strike zone, but his control WITHIN the zone was lacking. You get the ball up…..and Major League hitters will hit it...... The news offensively was….……….well there was no offense to discuss. The Giants only had 4 hits, all singles by Aaron Rowand, Daniel Ortmeier, Rich Aurilia and Brian Bocock. Bocock had the only RBI on the day.....All in all an ugly game. An 8-1 snoozer where you heard a lot more Giants fans groaning and moaning than you heard balls hitting Giants bats.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

What youth movement?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Preview of coming attractions

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The new Chris Speier?


Chris Speier in the Texas League circa 1970 as an Amarillo Giant.

MLB.com's Chris Haft asserts that Brian Bocock resembles Chris Speier, who broke in as a starter for the Giants from Double A as a 20-year-old. I'm a little dubious. Speier actually made it to the All Star game for three straight years early in his career and put up decent power numbers (15 HRs and 71 rbis in 1972) in a low-offense era when shortstops often didn't hit at all.

He was certainly a nice break from the likes of Hal Lanier and he managed to play for 19 years, long enough to get 1,759 hits. Unfortunately, he got into a dispute with the front office in 1977 and wound up getting traded to the Expos for Tim Foli -- which meant the Giants went back to having SSs who couldn't hit at all....just like Brian Bocock. It's obvious that Bocock can't hit MLB pitching and it's damn embarrassing that the Giants don't have anyone better to replace Omar while he's on the mend.

The SF Chronicle embarrasses itself again

The stupid dingbat who calls himself The Betting Fool decides to blog about what he sees as the twin EVILS -- Barry Bonds and the MLBPA launching an investigation into Bonds getting blackballed, deciding in advance that the union shouldn't be doing this because Bonds is just that evil.

It's not enough, apparently, that the Chronicle's relentless hatred for Bonds and its unending apologies for Sabean's incompetence have played a key role in leaving Giants fans with the prospect of trying to support what will probably be the worst team in MLB this year. No, it would seem that the Chronicle won't be satisfied until Bonds commits suicide.

This is the same kind of reflexive demonization that I would expect in coverage of mass murderers. And it's from a newspaper which sacrificed its journalistic integrity by allowing its reporters to aid in a subversion of the justice system by publishing leaked grand jury documents from a defense attorney, who then claimed that his client's right to a fair trial had been compromised.

Brian Sabean = Dusty Baker

John Perricone at Only Baseball Matters has a great post about why Dusty Baker and Brian Sabean have reputations that are much better than they ought to be. John was provoked by Dusty making some particularly silly comments about Reds' prospect Joey Votto. Here are some excerpts --

Baker and Sabean are the same man, in different roles. Neither one of them has what it takes to be a winner. Everything they’ve accomplished needs to be understood as happening under the shadow of the greatest player of all-time. WIthout Bonds, both of them would be out of baseball right now..... Bonds’ greatness made it all go away, all the mistakes, all the millions of dollars thrown away on mediocrity, all the at-bats wasted on the Shawon Dunston’s and Neifi Perez’s. That’s how great Bonds was, he took a team of misfits, led by two boneheads; and carried them to ten straight years of national attention, contention, and to the precipice of a championship. Sabean and Baker are cut from the same cloth. Both men value experience over ability, speed over the ability to get on base. Both men overemphasize the wrong things, Sabean selects the wrong attributes and overpays for them, Baker chooses the wrong players and tells them to do the wrong things.

In other news, the Giants have announced their rotation, headed by MLB's highest paid pitcher Barry Zito -- who's definitely only the third best guy in the rotation and maybe the fourth-best if Sanchez develops -- and a perfect example of Sabean over-paying for experience.

How about Dave Roberts?

John Shea of the SF Chron says Sabean still wants a second-rate third-baseman like Joe Crede or Brandon Inge but doesn't want to give up young pitching.

This all so damn depressing that I can hardly stand it. How about moving some of these expensive vets who aren't going to contribute like Dave Roberts (since the Giants seem to have plenty of outfielders) or Rich Aurilia? Furthermore, Shea says Sabean's already lost faith in Dan Ortmeier so that Aurilia will open at first base -- I'm guessing because it's now tradition to have no hitting from that position.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Are the Giants the new Orioles?

That's my fear and it's not just because both teams use orange and black for their colors.

It turns out the Orioles haven't had a winning season in 10 years (they won the AL East in 1997) as they squandered all the good will built up by their two World Series winners in 1966 and 1983, having a legit Hall of Fame player on their roster for his entire career and a wonderful new stadium through a series of lousy deals and misguided contracts for stiffs like Jay Peyton and Aubrey Huff.

It now looks as if the team's decided to sell off vets (Tejada and Bedard) for prospects and rebuild -- which, according Baseball Prospectus, "puts off any real hope of winning until 2010 at the earliest."Isn't this something that the Giants could maybe learn from?

"Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it." -- George Santayana

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Whipping Post

Sometimes I feel,
Sometimes I feel
Like I've been tied to the whipping post
Tied to the whipping post
Tied to the whipping post
Good Lord, I feel like I'm dying

-- The Allman Brothers

Well, it's only spring training but I still despise the Angels. The memories of the 2002 World Series are still fresh as the Angels easily beat the Giants, 5-2. I will always believe that the Angels lucked their way into a championship, thanks in no small part to the baffling moves by front office and Dusty (Felix Rodriguez? Livan? Tsyoshi Shinjo?).

Saturday, March 15, 2008

How bad can it get?

The Giants won 14-8 in a split squad game as Zito gave up a grand slam but still lowered his ERA from above 17 to 14. Kevin Gibbs at the always-useful Giants Cove offers five reasons to be optimistic this year, which I've shortened:

1. The Giants have honest-to-goodness prospects on the way....Villalona, Schoop and Noonan.
2. We can realistically expect Tim Lincecum to improve this season.
3. Matt Cain has too good an arm for the underwhelming peripherals he posted last season to be interpreted as a harbinger of impending ML doom.
4a. If the Giants lose early and often, the likelyhood of Sabean doing something incredibly stupid at the deadline appreciably diminishes.
4b. I for one will be sucked into the drama of whether or not we can stave off the 1962 Mets for the worst team ever mantle.

5. Even abysmal, wretched, low scoring baseball is preferable to most other activities.

My comment -- Amen to all that. Giants Win will never give up and will celebrate every Giants win and every Dodger loss. And it's interesting that the 2008 outlook is so bad that the 1962 Mets can be invoked, particularly since they too had a lot of over-the-hill veterans on their roster on the way to going 40-120 -- Gene Woodling, Gil Hodges, Roger Craig, Clem Labine, Richie Ashburn, Charlie Neal, Vinegar Bend Mizell -- guys that had been seriously good frontline players a few years before. Frank Thomas was the only guy putting up decent numbers (34 Hrs and 94 Rbis); the pitching staff didn't have a single guy who had a winning record; one guy (Craig Anderson) went 3-17 and another (Bob Miller) went 1-12.

"Removing Bonds' shadow sheds light on a horribly run last place team"

That's one of the many nuggets contained in the 2008 Baseball Prospectus' analysis of the Giants, which goes into detail as to what happens with franchises when franchise players depart (they often are already declining and continue to do so; attendance also declines sharply). Here are some observations --

-- "In terms of their overall organizational strength, from their 25-man roster on down to their rookie-ball clubs, the Giants have quite possibly the weakest group of players in baseball."

-- "Ordinarily, we would advocate a standard three- to five-year rebuilding plan designed around trading what favorable veteran contracts the team has forprospects and writing off a couple of seasons butthe Giants do no really have any veteran contracts that can be considered assets and their organizational depth is so poor, particularly on the offensive side, that playing the kids could produce some truly embarrassing results."

-- (on Rich Aurilia) "Let's get this out of the way: the Giants are just lousy with veterans who would make fairly good reserves but whom they treat as regulars."

-- (on Dan Ortmeier) "Ortmeier is roughly analogous to Todd Linden if only Linden had never really hit at Triple A and had come up at a time when the Giants didn't really have to worry about a player's production in order to play him."

-- (on Nate Schierholtz) "So if Ortmeier is the post-Bonds version of Linden, Schierholtz is the new Lance Niekro....Tip for the Giants: aim that cloning ray at Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum not your failed outfield prospects."

-- (on Omar Vizquel) "The team re-signed him for his glove but he also counts toward their collection of old expensive players who can't hit."

-- (on Randy Winn) "Winn, Roberts and Rowand are all taking playing time from Lewis and Davis, inexpensive players who are broadly comparable, potentially better and tens of millions of dollars cheaper. The Giants have made decisions like that across the roster while feeding the idea that it was Barry Bonds's $16 million -- a bargain in both theoretical and real terms -- standing in the way of their plans. No organization has wasted more money on marginal upgrades. This is a diseased organization that needs a complete and thorough cleansing, from the owner's box on down."

-- (on Matt Cain) "The problem is that he might be one of the best five pitchers in baseball the next few years and still be saddled with 7-16 records."

-- (on Brad Hennessey) "The Giants have too many guys like Hennessey -- failed starters best suited for multi-inning work -- coming out of their pen and not enough fire-breathers."

-- (on Tim Lincecum) "He has big-leap potential and could very well be the best pitcher in the NL this year...and go 12-10."

-- (on Jonathan Sanchez) "The Giants still don't know what they want him to be and while making up their minds they've wasted two years of Sanchez's career. No one mishandling a million-dollar asset this badly should be allowed to keep their job."

Friday, March 14, 2008

It's not going to get better, Larry

Here's some good news for a change -- new coach Larry Bowa ripped the Dodgers for their crappy play, including four errors. The sooner Larry Bowa realizes that this is a garbage team in the McCourt tradition, the longer he'll live to see the end of the season.

Note to Bowa: Bayer Aspirin prevents heart attacks. Keep plenty on hand at the Latrine this year.

Many thanks to Dan!

100 Homeruns

I can't remember where I saw it but I remember reading recently that the Giants are so power-free this year that they may wind up with less than 100 HRs. As best as I can tell, the last team to go under 100 was the 1995 Phils -- who had three guys (Gregg Jeffries, Charlie Hayes and "Hard hittin" Mark Whiten) with 11 each as their team leaders. KC came close last year with 102; the Giants hit 131 and over 40% came from two guys (Bonds and Feliz) who aren't on the team anymore.

I got to thinking about this following the recent reports that the Giants may try to trade for Tiger 3B Brandon Inge. Given that he hit 27 HRs two years ago, he and Rowand would probably be the top HR guys on the team -- even though Inge hit only 14 in over 500 ABs last year. Let's say Winn, Ortmeier, Molina, Durham, Rowand and Inge all hit between 10 and 20 this year -- so there's 75 to 85. Can Frandsen, Aurilia, Roberts, Rajai Davis, Fred Lewis and Vizquel come up with 15 to 25 more? Good question.

I think it's a silly idea. Inge didn't show much last year (.312 OBP) even though he got to bat in a lineup with seriously good hitters like Sheffield, Ordonez, Granderson and Guillen so I'm skeptical that he'd improve playing 81 games at Mays Field. I thought the idea was to give kids like Frandsen and Velez a chance rather than just running on-the-fade vets out there.

UPDATE -- Speaking of on-the-fade vets, John Shea of the SF Chron's concluded that Durham's won back the 2B job from Frandsen.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Losing streak stopped at one

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Back to the bad old days

It occurs to me that the Giants will likely wind up in last place again this year; the Dodgers, Dbacks, Rox and Padres all look significantly better. Even the Tampa Bay Rays have a better shot at avoiding the cellar for only the second time in their 11-year history.

It turns out that before last year, the San Francisco Giants had only finished last two other times -- back to back in 1984 and 1985. The 1984 team lost 96 games but had a decent OF with Jeffrey Leonard, Chili Davis and Dan Gladden, who hit .351. The pitching was terrible and Mark Davis went 5-17 with an ERA over 5.00.

Leonard led the 1985 team -- which lost 100 games -- with 62 RBIs; Krukow was the best starting pitcher with an 3.32 ERA and 8-11 record. Still, there were some positives -- a 23-year-old Scott Garrelts was pretty fine in the pen, with a 2.30 ERA and 13 saves; Jose Uribe ended the Lemaster era at short; and Duane Kuiper played his final MLB game in June in the Orange and Black, paving the way for a nice broadcast career. Krukow would win 20 games the next year as The Thrill and Robby Thompson arrived.

False optimism

Photo of Ray Durham by Giantsfan9 at Giants Jottings

In my never-ending quest to find something positive to say about the Giants, I mis-read the score and initially posted that the Giants won 11-5 on Wednesday instead of getting hammered by the Padres by that score. Thanks to the magic of the Internet, I've revamped the post. Additionally, Tim Lincecum didn't pitch very well. Giantsfan9 said the vets are playing just well enough to justify getting their jobs from Bochy, who's always opted for older players. He had this astute observation about Durham --

As if there was any doubt that Bochy would give him the job anyway, Ray Durham pretty much locked up the competition at 2B with a 4 for 4 day, raising his spring average to a robust .435. Ray also scored 2 runs. All 4 of his hits were singles and he somehow managed to have no RBI's when Dave Roberts and Fred Lewis were a combined 3 for 8 hitting in front of him.

Blownitez no longer homeless

In a signal that they're not serious about contending, the Blue Jays have signed the Useless Fat One. Here's who's still homeless, according to ESPN.com --

Antonio Alfonseca, RP 35 Free Agent Philadelphia
Sean Barker, CF 27 Non-Tendered Colorado
Tony Batista, 1B 34 Free Agent Washington
Barry Bonds, LF 43 Free Agent San Francisco
Jeff Cirillo, 3B 38 Free Agent Arizona
Roger Clemens, SP 45 Free Agent NY Yankees
Julio Franco, 1B 49 Free Agent Atlanta
Freddy Garcia, SP 31 Free Agent Philadelphia
Jose Garcia, SP 23 Non-Tendered Oakland
Andy Gonzalez, 3B 26 Non-Tendered Chicago Sox
Tony Graffanino, 2B 35 Free Agent Milwaukee
Ryan Klesko, 1B 36 Free Agent San Francisco
Corey Koskie, 3B 34 Free Agent Milwaukee
Kenny Lofton, CF 40 Free Agent Cleveland--
Kyle Lohse, SP 29 Free Agent Philadelphia
Rodrigo Lopez, SP 32 Colorado
Yukinaga Maeda, RP 37 Free Agent Japan
Mike Matheny, C 37 Free Agent San Francisco
Jose Mesa, RP 41 Free Agent Philadelphia
Damian Miller, C 38 Free Agent Milwaukee
Eric Milton, SP 32 Free Agent Cincinnati
Mike O'Connor, SP 27 Non-Tendered Washington
Russ Ortiz, SP 33 Free Agent San Francisco
Akinori Otsuka, RP 36 Non-Tendered Texas
Orlando Palmeiro, LF 39 Free Agent Houston
Neifi Perez, SS 34 Free Agent Detroit
Mike Piazza, DH 39 Free Agent Oakland
Brad Salmon, RP 28 Non-Tendered Cincinnati
Reggie Sanders, RF 40 Free Agent Kansas City
Bronson Sardinha, LF 24 Non-Tendered NY Yankees
Aaron Sele, RP 37 Free Agent NY Mets
Sammy Sosa, DH 39 Free Agent Texas
Kelly Stinnett, C 38 Free Agent St. Louis
John Thomson, SP 34 Free Agent Kansas City
Jeff Weaver, SP 31 Free Agent Seattle
David Wells, SP 44 Free Agent LA Dodgers
Rondell White, LF 36 Free Agent Minnesota
Bob Wickman, RP 39 Free Agent Arizona
Preston Wilson, RF 33 Free Agent St. Louis

The brutal details from Baseball Prospectus

I am a big fan of Baseball Prospectus -- even though their PECOTA projections show the Giants will have a terrible year. Anthony at the always interesting Bleeding Black and Orange has already gone through the details --

-- They’ve predicted the Giants to finish in last place in the NL West. They’ve also predicted them to finish in last place in the National League and second to last in all of baseball (only the lowly Orioles are worse).

-- The PECOTA Giants manage to finish in last place in the NL while giving up the third fewest runs in the league, with only the Dodgers & Padres giving up fewer.

-- They also score 38 fewer runs than any other team in baseball. The team slugging percentage is projected to be at .384. The team also projects to a .317 on base percentage.

Here's how Anthony concludes his post (boldface is mine) -- So here’s to hoping the Giants actually do worse than their projected record. Maybe that’s the only way Brian Sabean can finally be fired.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Some good news -- No Neifi

At least, that's my reaction from reading that Omar Vizquel is already back working out after knee surgery and sounding like he'll be ready to go in a few more weeks. I do believe that Sabean would be stupid enough to sign Neifi Perez again had Omar been looking like he'd be out for a longer stretch.

I don't care if the clubhouse is "more fun"

Sportswriters just don't seem to understand -- FANS DON'T REALLY CARE WHAT IT'S LIKE IN THE CLUBHOUSE. I don't pick up the sports page to read about whether or not it's "fun" to be in the Giants clubhouse, now that Barry Bonds isn't there. I am interested in finding out if the team is going to be as bad it's looked so far this spring.

However, this never stops sportswriters like SI's Jon Heyman. He admits that the team isn't looking very good but takes the tack that it's somehow partly the fault of Barry Bonds in an article headlined "Year One A.B. -- Giants will have more fun, fewer runs without Bonds." He chooses to contend that somehow that the team's dysfunctional because they sort of waited around expecting Barry Bonds to win the games or some such nonsense; now they're going to be motivated to take more responsibility.

He notes that the Giants are going with such noncontributors as Dave Roberts, Barry Zito and Ray Durham as starters but fails to mention that the team has been assembled by Brian "Brain" Sabean and Peter Magowan, who have been coasting on Bonds' greatness for years while signing bad deals left and right. This is as much finger-pointing as he'll do -- "The Giants have done a poor job drafting and developing positional players, maybe the worst of any team." It seems kind of gutless to make a statement like that and not name Sabean.

He also writes this -- "Bonds was a force, and his absence after 15 seasons with his hometown team is now the biggest story in the room." No, Jon, the story is that the team's going to be awful because of Sabean's incomptence.

NOTE TO JON HEYMAN -- If you've actually been paying attention you would know this -- teams that win have clubhouses that are more fun than teams that lose. So the notion that the Giants clubhouse will be "fun" as the team moves toward losing 100 games is insulting to the players and the fans.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Now batting, No. 111


Photo of Aaron Rowand by Giantsfan9 at Giants Jottings

USA Today's Sports Weekly's rated the top 200 MLB players as part of its fantasy baseball issue. Aaron Rowand is the highest-rated Giant at 111; Matt Cain is at 141, Tim Lincecum at 148 and Benjie Molina at 184. Barry Zito, who got hammered today by KC, isn't on the list; neither are any other Giants.

Misch makes his move

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Big money for true believers

When I was younger, I used to start the year thinking the Giants would win the pennant. I started following the team in 1958 and it was not until 1972 that they had a losing season.

I don't feel that way any more but if you are a true believer in the Giants, here are the odds at Vegas Insider -- 40-1 to win the NL and 100-1 to win the World Series. The Dodgers are 10-1 to win the NL and 22-1 to win the Series.

UPDATE -- the Rox hammered the Orange and black today, 10-2

Bonds colluded out of baseball

John Perricone at Only Baseball Matters has the smarts to make that point after another grandstanding member of Congress -- Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) -- said the government ought to be using its resources in other ways than prosecuting Roger Clemens.

Here's part of what John had to say (boldface is mine)-- I wonder if any of the crack reporters on that conference call asked Weiner where he was the last five years as the government wasted tens of millions of dollars and thousands of hours of billable time investigating Barry Bonds? Based on the article, I’d guess, no.
I’ll ask again, why is Clemens being treated differently? Is it because he’s white? Bonds is being colluded out of the game right now, one of the best hitters in baseball unable to get a job, and all supposedly because of the cloud his perjury case is causing. So, why haven’t we heard anyone call for the dismissal of Bonds’ case? Instead, we get to hear what a hero Jeff Novitzky is, which, by the way, is a joke. Novitzky is an IRS agent who abused his position in government to embark on a multi-million dollar vendetta against a baseball player he didn’t like. After all of the money and time spent on the BALCO investigation, we saw the two main guys, Victor Conte and Greg Anderson, spend a total of about 15 months in jail. Now, we see who the real target has been all along.
Bonds’ indictment is going nowhere. He is the guy they’re gonna bring down, cost be damned.


My comment -- I think John is quite right. The Mets GM Omar Minaya -- despite being under huge pressure to win and faced with injury depleted offense (Moises Alou being out for two months and injuries to Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran) -- said this week he won't sign Bonds, according to the New York Times.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

It's a big fat fluke

Voros McCracken of Baseball Digest has a nice piece about the 20 most flukey HR seasons of all time in terms of departures from career norms. He ranks Brady Anderson's 50 homer season in 1996 at the top of the list, followed by Campy Campaneris hitting 22 HRs (!!!), Davey Johnson hitting 43 (when he, Darrell Evans and Aaron became the only three teammates to top 40 in a single year), Luis Gonzalez, Greg Gross, Wade Boggs and Barry Bonds (in 2001, obviously).

Roger Maris is only the 15th most flukey. Some of the other names on the list -- Jay Bell, Barry Larkin, Terry Steinbach, Bob Bailey, Wally Moses, Eddie Stanky, Jeff Reed and Joe Kuehl.

I'm a little surprised that Adrian Beltre's 48-HR season with the Dodgers in 2004 did not make the list. I still think the Dodgers were stupid not to sign him. He hit 26 HRs with 99 RBIs last year, playing half his games in a park that favors pitchers -- which would have made him the best player by far on the Dodgers last year. His deal with the Mariners -- 5 years for $65 million -- looks like money well-spent.

Finally -- a spring win at home


Photo of Nate Schierholtz by Giantsfan9 at Giants Jottings
Schierholtz hit a 2-run homer Friday to do the trick. The split squad got a tie and a loss today.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Bay Area Sports Machine

Thanks to my recent post about why Dodger fans are stupid, I've discovered a blog -- Bay Area Sports Machine -- that even more disdainful towards Dodger fans and full of nice insights. Here's what was posted today about Lowry's surgery --


Even though mathematicians agreed yesterday that it was a statistical impossibility, the outlook in Giants Land continues to get worse.
"Suttree told the man that things would get better. The old man shook his head doubtfully, paying the band of his cap through his fingers. I'm satisfied they caint get now worse, he said.But there are no absolutes in human misery and things can always get worse, only Suttree didn't say so."-Suttree, Cormac McCarthy

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Scarlet Letter

I was forced to read the Scarlet Letter in school long ago but it has a certain resonance now that the Hall of Fame has stupidly agreed to let that self-aggradizing idiot Marc Ecko have his defaced HR 756 ball be on display. I give full credit to a poster named robinred on the Baseball Think Factory for this brilliant response:

"The Scarlet A doesn't implicate Hester," Goodman Mortimer said. "Villagers will have to make their own decision. We would never suggest how they should judge things."

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Why Dodger fans are stupid

Good answer, Rags

In the bottom part of Andrew Baggerly's story for the San Jose Merc-News yesterday, pitching Dave Righetti said he got a strange phone call recently --

Pitching coach Dave Righetti told KNBR that Armando Benitez recently called him and said he wanted to re-sign with the Giants. "I said, 'No, are you out of your mind?' " Righetti said.

Here are the current homeless, according to ESPN.com, with their age and last team --

Antonio Alfonseca, RP 35 Philadelphia
Sean Barker, CF 27 Colorado
Tony Batista, 1B 34 Washington
Armando Benitez, RP 35 Florida
Barry Bonds, LF 43 San Francisco
Jeff Cirillo, 3B 38 Arizona
Roger Clemens, SP 45 NY Yankees
Julio Franco, 1B 49 Atlanta
Freddy Garcia, SP 31 Philadelphia
Jose Garcia, SP 23 Oakland
Andy Gonzalez, 3B 26 Chicago Sox
Tony Graffanino, 2B 35 Milwaukee
Ryan Klesko, 1B 36 San Francisco
Corey Koskie, 3B 34 Milwaukee
Kenny Lofton, CF 40 Cleveland
Kyle Lohse, SP 29 Philadelphia
Rodrigo Lopez, SP 32 Colorado
Mike Matheny, C 37 San Francisco
Jose Mesa, RP 41 Philadelphia
Damian Miller, C 38 Milwaukee
Eric Milton, SP 32 Cincinnati
Mike O'Connor, SP 27 Washington
Russ Ortiz, SP 33 San Francisco
Akinori Otsuka, RP 36 Texas
Orlando Palmeiro, LF 39 Houston
Neifi Perez, SS 34 Detroit
Mike Piazza, DH 39 Oakland
Brad Salmon, RP 28 Cincinnati
Reggie Sanders, RF 40 Kansas City
Bronson Sardinha, LF 24 NY Yankees
Aaron Sele, RP 37 NY Mets
Sammy Sosa, DH 39 Texas
Kelly Stinnett, C 38 St. Louis
John Thomson, SP 34 Kansas City
Jeff Weaver, SP 31 Seattle
David Wells, SP 44 LA Dodgers
Rondell White, LF 36 Minnesota
Bob Wickman, RP 39 Arizona
Preston Wilson, RF 33 St. Louis

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

You are right there in Arizona


Photos of the day -- Jonathan Sanchez lets it fly, Kevin Fransden at the plate at Giants Jottings


I have a job that's a pain in the neck. That's why I'm so appreciative of the great info filed by Giantsfan 9. It feels like he's my proxy in Arizona. It doesn't both me that the Giants keep losing, dropping a 9-6 contest today to the Padres. Lincecum pitched well and Rowand and Aurilia went yard, back-to-back.

Lowry doesn't have Rick Ankielitis

Monday, March 03, 2008

The latest from the other Barry

Barry Bonds posted this note on Barrybonds.com a few days ago --

February 28, 2008
Dear Fans,
I have been getting a lot of emails asking what I’ve been up to this past off-season. This winter has been the first time in my career that I’ve had the chance to take time for myself and really enjoy the time off. While at home with my family I have been able to work out of my office concentrating on my various companies, attending meetings as well as making a few business trips. I continue to work out and feel in great shape. Thank you again for your continued support for me and my family; it truly helps keep me strong.

Barry Bonds

Desperate for pitching

Photo of Kevin Correia by Giantsfan9 at Giants Jottings


Noah Lowry got hammered today but Kevin Correia and the rest of the bullpen pitched well in an 8-6 loss to the Rangers.

There's no doubt that Noah could bring a lot in return since other teams are desperate for pitching. But I lack faith in Sabean's ability to get value for him -- even in a market where the washed-up Sidney Ponson gets another chance with the Cards.

A big reason to be a Giants fan



GiantsFan9 gets a great shot of Matt Cain making his first start and of Kevin Fransden getting hit by a pitch on Sunday. It's all at Giants Jottings, the must-read for Giants fans.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

That's more like it

Saturday, March 01, 2008

This is what $126 million looks like on a bad day

More garbage from Bruce Jenkins

As if anyone cares, the Chronicle's hack weasel informs us that he's not really going to cover the Giants anymore because the A's are more interesting -- since they've decided not to sign Barry Bonds. Or something like that.

Since Bruce's idea of coverage is to serve as Brian Sabean's apologist, I would guess that it may have finally penetrated Bruce's thick skull that recycling the same "Barry Bonds is Evil" column over and over again isn't really viable any more.

Bruce Jenkins = sniveling coward hack weasel

The worst sportswriter on the planet just can't get off the Barry Bonds Hate Train. He goes on and on about the Pink Pony in Scottsdale being for sale -- wow, what a news flash -- and then decides that it's Bonds fault that the Giants only won 71 games last year. It never occurs to Bruce that the real reason why the team was so bad was the the rest of the team (outside of Cain and Lincecum) sucked, because he decides to cite the washed up Matt Morris, who was a key factor in that sucking.

My guess is that Bruce -- one of the biggest apologists for Brian Sabean's incompetence --decided he needed to suck up once more to Sabean, who's the real one to blame for the team's three straight losing seasons and its current awful state.

Meanwhile, the San Francisco Chronicle is losing $1 million a week while still keeping this time-wasting loser on the payroll.

There is some good news -- the Dodgers got hammered 10-3 by the Braves.