Saturday, October 31, 2009

Adios, Noah Lowry?

Chris Haft of MLB.com blogs that the Giants have declined to exercise the $6.25 million option for 2010. He says it's unclear whether Lowry will be back in the Orange and Black: Whether the Giants will bring back Lowry is debatable. Earlier this year Lapa claimed that the club "misdiagnosed" Lowry's forearm injury, which couldn't have helped the relationship between the sides. Then again, worse rifts have been mended.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Sabean still in charge -- Freddy Sanchez signs

Chris Haft of MLB.com reports that the Giants have just signed Freddy Sanchez to a two-year deal. This should tell you that Brian Sabean's feeling confident about going down the same path -- overpaying for power-free fading veterans who don't get on base -- after getting a two-year extension as GM in spite of assembling one of the worst offenses in the MLB. Sanchez is about to turn 32 and has a pretty ordinary lifetime line after 8 seasons of .299 average/.334 obp and .417 slg. He's hit a total of 37 HRs and has never taken more than 32 walks in a season.

Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle's reporting that it's a $12 million deal. He also says the Giants have released Noah Lowry.

Best part of all this, I suppose -- Sanchez is certainly saying the right things: "I try to be as loyal a person as I can," said Sanchez, who insisted he's ahead of schedule in rehabilitating both his strained left shoulder, which put him on the disabled list in August, and the torn meniscus in his left knee, which required surgery earlier this month. "Being a part of this San Francisco Giants family, hopefully I can do what they traded for me to do."

This isn't an awful deal like Zito's, Aaron Rowand's and Edgar Renteria's -- especially if he has a year like 2006 when his line was .344/.378/.473 with 53 doubles and 89 RBIs.

UPDATE - John Perricone at Only Baseball Matters thinks that the Sanchez deal's quite lousy and suggest that the incompetence of the front office may explain why Juan Uribe doesn't seem that interested in coming back.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Why Brian Sabean is a dingbat

Readers of this blog may wonder -- did I get beat up by Brian Sabean as a kid? We are about the same age and I've bashed Sabean harder than anyone else. The answer is no, I've never met the man. But he's failed by most standards to do anything resembling a good job -- even though he gets to operate near the top tier of spending. It's not as if he has his hands tied by a cheap owner as in Oakland, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, San Diego or Florida.

I thought of this as I watched the first two games of the World Series between two teams that were assembled by competent GMs, who probably never took the idea of signing Barry Zito to a long term deal seriously. The always astute David Pinto at Baseball Musings has a fine take on all this. I was so impressed that I'm posting his entire post -- In the first two games, both the Yankees and Phillies showed they did a good job acquiring starting pitchers. Sabathia and Burnett, the big free agent pitchers, each went seven innings, allowing three runs combined. Burnett was the star in game two, allowing four hits, and two walks while striking out nine over seven innings. The two hits that led to the run were perfectly placed, missing being foul or out by inches.
The Phillies trotted out their two mid-season pickups, Cliff Lee and Pedro Martinez. They combined for 15 innings and four runs allowed, only three of them earned. Pedro did a great job tonight, but like Sabathia in game one, gave up two big home runs, and that’s all the Yankees needed.
Remember, all this great pitching is coming against the two teams that led their respective leagues in runs per game. Against the best these four pitchers have risen to the occasion and provided us with two good pitching duels. We’ll see if things change down in Philadelphia on Saturday when Andy Pettitte takes on Cole Hamels.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Croix de Candlestick

That's the catchy name of a fine new blog started by Nick Cannata-Bowman, who has been at Giants Cove for the last 6 years. Here's part of his first post -- This offseason promises to be filled with a lot of…something. At this point there a few directions we could go in. The first one is the option I fear most, and that’s the one where Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy are completely convinced that everything is fine and that nothing needs to change. Sure, give Eugenio Velez and Andres Torres starting jobs. Re-sign Bengie Molina and his league-worst OBP. Go ahead and relegate the most promising hitting prospect this side of Chili Davis to the bench while Molina swings at another ball in the dirt from the on-deck circle.
Maybe I’m panicking needlessly. It’s completely possible that we’ll sign Matt Holliday and insert him into the middle of our lineup alongside Pablo Sandoval. Buster Posey might actually get more than 10 pinch-hit at-bats to prove his worth and Madison Bumgarner will regain his recently lost velocity and become our 5th starter. Wouldn’t all that just be peachy?

"A vicious smear campaign" in Dodgertown

It was another good day for Giants fans in Los Angeles as the Battling McCourts continued to blast away at each other. No wonder the Dodgers couldn't get it together to trade for Cliff Lee this summer.

The LA Times and TMZ are both going gangbusters on the story. Here's the top of the latest story from the Times: The reinstatement of Jamie McCourt as the Dodgers' chief executive officer would be "akin to throwing a bomb into a crowded room," lawyers for Frank McCourt argued in court papers filed Wednesday.On the day after Jamie McCourt filed for divorce, Frank McCourt said in his filing that he fired his estranged wife for having an affair with her driver and for repeatedly undermining the chain of command by not reporting directly to him.Dennis Mannion, the Dodgers' president, said in his filing that Jamie McCourt did not show up for work more than half the time, put her own image ahead of that of the team and "exhibited an almost disdainful disregard for the fundamental requirements of her job and workplace etiquette."The attorney for Jamie McCourt said her client is the victim of a "vicious smear campaign" and said she has lined up financing for a possible bid to buy out her husband and own the Dodgers outright.There were no rulings on Wednesday. The court set a Nov. 5 hearing on Jamie McCourt's demand for immediate reinstatement as CEO and a Dec. 1 hearing on spousal support and other issues pending trial.In Wednesday's filing, the lawyers for Frank McCourt not only alleged that Jamie McCourt had an affair with her driver -- his grounds for firing her included "an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate employee" -- but that she billed the Dodgers for the cost of a 2 1/2 -week trip to France with him, in the middle of baseball season.Fields admitted that Jamie McCourt is in a romantic relationship with the driver but said the relationship started after she separated from Frank McCourt. He said she did not bill the team for the France trip."What does that have to do with ownership of the Dodgers? Nothing," Fields said. "It's a vicious smear campaign."

Too bad, Yankees


While the Yankees looked like they were headed for a 4-game sweep, Cliff Lee put them to sleep. And there was an amazing performance tonight by the Phils' Chase Utley, who showed why baseball remains the best game. Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Inquirer filed a fine piece, noting that Utley's been banged up all season --
The grind to his game is most emphatically demonstrated when it is not there.
No one knows the toll the rest of this World Series will take on Chase Utley and his undisclosed hurts. Only that rest has been a great friend to him this time of the year.A nine-pitch at-bat in the third. A home run. An 0-2 count in the sixth. Another home run, this one traveling about 20 rows into the rightfield bleachers. C.C. Sabathia had not allowed a home run to a lefthanded batter all season at Yankee Stadium until last night. No lefthanded batter but Babe Ruth had ever hit two home runs against a lefthander in the Yankees home park.

Dingbat Mark Ecko gets embarrassed further

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"Rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for the Roman Empire"

A Giants Win hat tip to M.C. O'Connor at Raising (Matt) Cain for that fine line. Here's part of his analysis -- The Phils will need to have the big guns delivering the big hits and will need Cliff Lee to neutralize C.C. Otherwise the Yanks will roll. The Phils are the defending champs--that counts for something. But the Yanks can wear anyone down with the bats--there's a reason they had the most regular-season wins. In a short series, we know that anything can happen and the "best" team doesn't always win. I'll root for the Phils, naturally, being the NL rep and all that, not to mention that rooting for the Yanks is like rooting for the Roman Empire. But my head says the Yanks will get the ring even though my heart says otherwise.

Adios, Bengie Molina

Buster Posey has just won the Spink Award as the Minor League Player of the Year. Now can we please forget this nonsense about bringing back Bengie Molina?

An ugly Dodger divorce

Jamie McCourt has filed for divorce from Frank McCourt. The LA Times story says she's alleging "mismanagement" of the franchise:

The McCourts purchased the club for $431 million in 2004, in a heavily leveraged deal that stirred concern among fans wondering whether the club could continue to afford to pay top dollar for top players. In her filing, Jamie McCourt alleges Frank McCourt has not provided her with information about what she calls "efforts to obtain new financing for the Dodgers."
"I am concerned about his financial mismanagement of the Dodgers," she claims.

Tmz.com has some nice details.Jamie demands her job back as CEO and Vice-Chairman of the Dodgers ... as well as the huge set of perks and benefits that go with owning the squad. Here are the benefits Jamie is requesting:
- travel by private jet
- 5 star hotel accommodations
- travel expenses - Unlimited
- business dinners 5 nights per week
- business lunches 5 days per week
- parking spots at Dodger Stadium
- flowers in the office
- making Dodger Legends available for events without charge
- provision of Dodger autographed items as requested for use in business and charitable activities
- hair and makeup for Dodger events
- access to team doctors for McCourt family members
- access to the owner's suite for Dodger home games and non-baseball events at the stadium
- Tickets to All-Star games and playoff games -- even if the Dodgers aren't playing
- a pass to all National League games
Then there's this: Jamie lists her monthly living expenses at $488,928 -- THAT'S PER MONTH!!!!!!!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

That's the title of a fine well-written Giants blog I've just discovered. Today's post -- "Why Being a Giants Fan is Better than Being a Dodgers Fan." What's not to like? There are seven reasons listed including Tommy Lasorda. Here's No. 2 --

AT&T Park Is Vastly Superior to Dodger Stadium.

This one just seems unfair. No one in their right mind would say Dodger Stadium is nicer than AT&T Park (Dodgers fans would, but no one in their right mind would be a Dodger fan to begin with). Dodger Stadium rests over the giant parking lot that smells of urine. On a hot day, the pungent smells of filth radiate off the asphalt, making Dodger Stadium one of the most unpleasant places to be in professional sports. Contrast that with AT&T Park: a shimmering example of American architectural achievement, AT&T Park rests over the beautiful San Francisco Bay, with stunning views of East Bay. There is little nicer than sitting at AT&T on a Saturday afternoon watching the Giants. But don't take my word for. I am obviously biased. When rating all MLB ballparks, Forbes magazine placed Dodger Stadium at number 20 while AT&T claimed the top spot. Dodger Stadium may have history, but that's about it.Have some garlic fries, Dodger fans. That will turn those frowns upside down.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

How the Yanks won (and why the Giants didn't)

David Pinto at Baseball Musings notes that the Yankees put 18 of their 35 batters on base tonight in their 5-2 win. They did it all with singles and walks -- no extra base hits -- plus some crappy fielding by the Angels.

So I looked up which team had the best OBP during the regular season. It was the Yanks by far at .362. Guess who was the worst -- by far -- of all 30 teams at .309, led by the immortal out-making icon named Bengie Molina at .285? I looked it up and saw that Bengie's career OBP is one point lower than the Giants was this year at .308. And it was the second lowest Molina OBP ever, below only the .274 figure in 2002, when he was an Angel.

What about runs, which are what really matter, anyhow? The Yankees were again the runaway leaders and the Giants were fourth from the bottom.

It's nothing short of disgraceful that the front office squandered a chance to go to the postseason when the Giants pitching was among the best in the MLB. Nothing says a front office doesn't know what it's doing like these offensive stats -- especially when it has dingbat "journalists" like the SF Chron's Bruce Jenkins getting on the Barry Bonds Hate Train (Worst. Teammate. Ever.) once more to obscure the fact that his buddy Brian Sabean is the worst GM in baseball.

Cain for Hanley Ramirez?

John Perricone at Only Baseball Matters suggests that trading Matt Cain for a guy who's not pleased to play for the Marlins could make sense. Here some of the verbiage -- Ramirez is everything we don’t have. His career line of .316/.386/.531 .917 OPS is simply sensational. Over his last three full seasons, he’s averaged a .950 OPS, with 74 extra base hits, 38 steals (80% success rate). I mean, he does it all, and he’s only 25 years old. We could package Cain with Renteria — a reunion tour with the team he won a World Series with, nice story line there– and maybe a draft pick, if needed. All that trade would do is transform the face of the franchise in one fell swoop.
Sure Cain is good, young and under financial control for another year or two. But, he’s not that good. He’s not Lincecum good. He’s not Cliff Lee good. He’s not Chris Carpenter good. In other words, he’s not untradeable.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Bitter like a cold cup of day-old coffee

It just keeps getting better and better -- the divorce battle between Frank and Jamie McCourt, that is. Maybe the McCourts can do what Brian Sabean has failed at: making it possible for the Dodgers to be overtaken by the Giants. Here's the first four paragraphs of today's LA Times story:

As Jamie McCourt vanished from the Dodgers' website, Frank McCourt charged his estranged wife with insubordination and inappropriate behavior in a letter firing her as the team's chief executive.The letter, signed by Frank McCourt on letterhead that identifies him as the Dodgers' owner, advises Jamie McCourt to contact team human relations personnel to arrange "a time and date to gather your personal belongings." The letter is dated Wednesday, the day the Dodgers were eliminated from the National League Championship Series in Philadelphia.Jamie McCourt, who considers herself a co-owner of the team, is expected to initiate legal proceedings next week. The grounds for dismissal, as set forth by Frank McCourt in his termination letter, could lay the groundwork for part of his defense, experts said.The letter charges Jamie McCourt with "insubordination, non-responsiveness, failure to follow procedures, and inappropriate behavior with a direct subordinate."

TMZ.com has the letter. It notes that it was sent two weeks before their 30th wedding anniversary. The letter begins, "Dear Jamie -- This is to inform you that your employment with and positions as Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chairperson of Los Angeles Dodgers LLC, as well as any and all of the positions that you hold ... are hereby terminated effective immediately."

And here's a nice classy touch to the letter: "Because your employment is held at-will, the Organization is not required to have cause to terminate your employment and may do so for any reason or no reason at all."

Friday, October 23, 2009

Scary bad 2010 projections

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Where Did Our Love Go?

A great song by The Supremes (written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Edward Holland, Jr) brought back in my mind by Frank McCourt firing his wife as the CEO of the Dodgers, according to Sports Illustrated.

And the LA Times is reporting that Jamie's trying to line up investors. In other words, it's war at Chavez Latrine.

Affeldt gets recognition off the field

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Thanks very much, Phillies

Tonight, the dimwit Dodger fans received the payback for their beachball obsession. If you've ever been to a Dodger game, you know that there's nothing that the fans love more than batting around beachballs and dumping them on the field at Chavez Latrine so the game can be delayed. They are truly the most irritating and least knowledgeable fans in baseball.

So the forces of karma have perhaps ensured that the Phils went out and whomped the Dodgers, 10-4, putting the Blew Crew out of their misery for the second straight year following multiple gagging in the clutch by a wide array of offenders. Nice to see some of the most annoying players in the game such as Manny Ramirez and Fat Broxton come unraveled like cheap polyester suits. It should be an interesting offseason for the Dodgers, what with owners Frank and Jamie McCourt's divorce.

In the meantime, the Phils are looking like they are dialed in with a decent shot to be the first team since the 2000 Yanks to go back-to-back in the Series. And it's the first time since the 2001 Yanks that a team has won back-to-back pennants. Hardball Times has a great article simply listing the 15 franchises that have won back to back pennants and the last time they did it. The Giants last turned the trick in 1936 and 1937 (THT is off by one year -- the Cubbies won the 1938 NL pennant).

Finally, let me say it again -- William C. Rhoden of the New York Times, who insisted that what baseball really needed is a Yanks-Dodgers World Series, is a FOOL.

The Sporting News gets its right

Back to 1950

The cost of Tim Lincecum

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What's not to smile about?


I hadn't checked out Josh Wilker at Cardboard Gods for awhile but it's a wonderful site and this recent post of Paul Molitor's 1979 card caught my eye. Here's some of Josh's verbiage -- It was 1979 and I was 11, my first year in little league without my brother, a sunny year despite that change because I had baseball surrounding me, shining down like the sun lighting up Paul Molitor, a young shortstop (at least according to the card—in truth he had played more games at second the previous season and in all played only 57 of his 2683 career games at the position) in a scuffed helmet that had traces of its own, battles lost and won in the sun, Paul Molitor looking down at something and smiling. What’s not to smile about? There’s baseball to be played! On the flip side of the card is more sunshine, including Molitor’s status as a number 1 draft pick, the comforting duplication of his birthplace and current residence (both St. Paul, Minnesota), the one spectacular minor league season (a .346 average and 52 runs and 50 RBI in 64 games), the promising major league rookie campaign, and the dense paragraph of text describing an all-American hero of an athlete, a high school star in three sports (baseball, basketball, and soccer), a champion at every level so far, in high school, American Legion, and college with his home state university, the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Dodgers keep gagging

The Dodgers managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory tonight, thanks to Fat Broxton giving up two in the 9th, losing a game they should have won. Matt Stairs started the rally with a walk. A year ago in Game 4, Broxton came in to face Stairs and gave up a 2-run homer in the 8th that gave the Phils a 7-5 lead.

Here's why tonight was such a big loss for the Blew Crew -- Game 3 wasn't the game they had much hope of winning, what with Kuroda starting against Cliff Lee. This was the game they obviously expected to win, with Randy Wolf against the worst of the Phils starters, Joe Blanton.

So we were told all year by the LA Times and Dodger announcers that the Dodger pen was fabulous. It's now gagged away Game 1 and 4. Tasty!

Of course, this Dodger team could still win three in a row. It's got the guy who's hot -- Vincente Padilla -- pitching Game 5.

Not winning with Winn

Posey, not Molina

Another look back at the 1989 quake

Henry Schulman of the SF Chronicle has an excellent story reminiscing about the aftermath of the Loma Prieta quake. Here's some memorable verbiage -- Those of us who love the Bay Area understand the Faustian bargain we made by choosing to live here. We celebrate its beauty and cultural diversity knowing full well the ground underneath is rutted with fissures that can - and will - cause so much destruction.
We accept it because it is home.

www.firebriansabean.com

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Tasty meal in Philly

How did that taste, Dodger fans? Yes, you don't have to point out that the Giants aren't in the playoffs and the Dodgers have the horses to go all the way. But losing 11-0? That's the worst buttkick in this year's playoff by far.

I promise I'm not writing off the Dodgers. I remember the 1959 World Series, which started with the same 11-0 score as Ted Kluszewski homered twice for the Chisox -- who then lost four of the next five to the Dodgers. The losing pitcher in that game was future Giants manager Roger Craig. I also remember 1960 World Series vividly when the Yanks won 3 games by scores of 16-3 and 12-0 and 10-0, but the Pirates still won the Series.

How not to score Orange and Black runs

John Perricone at Only Baseball Matters has a lengthy but excellent post called "Let's Talk About Accountability," in which he analyzes the Carney Lansford firing. Here's the end of it (boldface is mine)--

Brian Sabean had Barry Bonds for fifteen years, fifteen years of the best player in baseball, and managed to make it to the World Series one time. Now, without Bonds to cover his mistakes, the Giants haven’t had a player score 100 runs in a season in six years, since Bonds did it in 2004. In that span, 140 major league baseball players have scored 100 runs or more, and not one Giant has. In fact, no Giants player has even scored 90 runs during that stretch. In 2005, Pedro Feliz led the team with 69 runs scored. In 2006, Vizquel scored 88. In 2007 Bonds led the team with 75 runs scored. despite playing in only 126 games. In 2008, Winn scored 84. And this season, Sandoval led the team with 79 runs scored. You have to go all the way back to 2002 to find a Giants player other than Bonds who scored 100 runs, when Jeff Kent, another player who didn’t come up through the Giants system, scored 102. That’s the last 9 seasons, 9 seasons in a row in which no player drafted by and developed by the San Francisco Giants has scored 100 runs.
That is simply awful. And it isn’t Carney Lansford’s fault. It’s isn’t the hitters fault, either. It is a failure of philosophy. It is a failure of approach. It is a failure of an entire organization. And it is, more than anyone else, Brian Sabean’s failure. He has failed. His beliefs, his ideas on what it takes to be effective at the plate, on what it takes to be an effective major league baseball player, are wrong. As long as he’s running this team, this team will not win anything.
And it isn’t gonna change when they bring in a new batting coach.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Arizona Fall League already underway

The Richmond Flying Squirrels

It was 20 years ago today

Oct. 17, 1989 -- I was at the Stick on a ramp to the second deck about half an hour before the first pitch when I lost my balance and fell down due to what I thought was a roar from a flyover by Air Force jets.

"Those jets must have come really close," I told my sister, who's sometimes about 1,000 times smarter than me. "No, that was an earthquake," she said calmly. She even got interviewed by a reporter before we got to our seats. We waited about 15 minutes -- there was no P.A. -- and then the electricity came back on and we saw on the TV monitors in the "auxiliary press box" the iconic shot of the collapsed part of the Bay Bridge.

"I guess they're not playing tonight," I said, because I had a steel-trap mind back then.

John Shea of the SF Chron has a nice story with good quotes from Terry Kennedy, Al Rosem, Mark Letendre, Tony Phillips, Terry Steinbach, Craig Lefferts, Tony LaRussa. Bob Lurie, Hank Greenwald and several others. Jorge Costa, VP of operations, has a recollection that matches mine -- "Then there was the guy with the sign that said, 'If you think that was something, wait till the Giants come to bat.' "

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Jaramillo in the Orange and Black?

Rough day for the Dodgers

Not only did they choke away Game 1 at home to the Phils but it looks like the owners -- Frank and Jamie McCourt -- are in for a bitter battle over who will retain ownership, according to the LA Times.

The Phils used the Earl Weaver approach to win -- getting two three-run homers, one from Raul Ibanez and the other from Carlos Ruiz. The Blew Crew got 14 hits but was 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position. As I often say, it's hard to play well when you've got both hands on your throat.

If any Dodger fans are reading this, don't waste your time sending me a taunting note about how the Giants once again are not in the postseason. I'm well aware that the Dodgers have the firepower to win their next 8 games in a row. That makes their choke tonight all the sweeter.

Fundamental reasons for Lansford's firing

Fired Giants hitting coach Carney Lansford tells Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury-News that he's not bitter but that the Giants hitters were lousy at executing fundamentals such as situational hitting. And he says that the Giants minor league instruction isn't getting the job done (boldface is mine):
My only comment on the situational hitting is the first thing I was told when I took the job is it was atrocious. Did we work on that? More than you’ll ever know. They just didn’t get it done. We had meetings, we talked about the thought process, we talked about what pitch to look for. I don’t know if anyone had to move more runners than I did, as much as I had to move Rickey (Henderson) all those years. But going out early and doing it against batting practice? Anybody can do that. It comes down to games, when guys are throwing 95 mph fastballs and curveballs when you don’t know they’re coming. You can emphasize the heck out of it, but at some point you just have to find a way to get it done. At some point, guys have to take responsibility for not doing that. That’s one thing I stressed to the guys – Step up and be responsible for yourself. Guys at the big league level, by the time they get there, should know how to do that stuff – move runners, get a guy home from third with less than two outs. If guys are learning that at the big league level, it’s too late. A major league player should not be as poor at it as we were in my two years. Do I take it personally? Of course I do. I know it cost us games.

"You can never have enough pitching"

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hasta la vista, Carney


The SF Chronicle's Henry Schulman is reporting that Carney Lansford has been fired as the Giants hitting coach -- a well-deserved dismissal. He is obviously the fall guy for the incompetence of Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy, but I am glad to see him go. He was the coach for two years and it never looked as if anyone other than Pablo Sandoval was improving.
Grant at McCovey Chronicles has this tidbit about Bowker and Meulens -- "We wanted him to be somewhat more patient at the plate, and somewhat less aggressive on balls out of the zone, and he’s done a great job." – Hensley Meulens, Fresno Grizzlies hitting coach,on John Bowker
Bowker in 2007: 41 walks in 587 plate appearances. Bowker in 2008: 26 walks in 452 plate appearances. Bowker after working with Meulens in 2009: 78 walks in 523 plate appearances. Sold. Here’s a three-year deal, Hensley.
I don’t have any other ideas or suggestions for the spot, so I’ll be thrilled with Meulens. Can’t hurt. Heck, that’s the first time I’ve ever seen a Giants farmhand significantly improve his plate discipline.

Hasta la vista, Only Baseball Matters

John Perricone at Only Baseball Matters has posted that he's had it with blogging about the Giants now that Brian Sabean's gotten an extension. That's too bad because John's site has been one of the best for a long time. Here's the start of his post in italics (boldface is mine) --

I’m not gonna waste my time, my energy, and my love for baseball on this collection of fools. It’s not bad enough that Brian Sabean, fresh off of three years in a row of worst in baseball offense, still thinks he knows better than every other team in the game:

(Note -- this is excerpted from Henry Schulman's story in the SF Chronicle) ….At a time when younger, number-crunching GMs are in vogue, Neukom is placing his faith in a 53-year-old executive who has begun to embrace sabermetrics but still has a stronger scouting background. Indeed, when asked about the need for hitters with better on-base percentages, Sabean said almost dismissively, “I think we learned this year, as attested by winning 88 games, the most important thing is the final score, winning the game.”

Yeah, just like batting average is the best indicator of a hitters effectiveness, just like wins and losses are the best way to evaluate a pitcher. Is this guy for real? Talk about being stuck in 1985. What a jackass. And what a fool Neukom is for basing his decision to bring back the Idiot on something as worthless as a 16 game improvement over the year before, as opposed to the complete and utter failure of Sabean to maximize the team’s unforeseen opportunity to make the postseason for the first time in a five years, or the waste of two of the top four young pitching prospects in the system for a couple of absolutely worthless nobodies who contributed NOT ONE FUCKING THING AT ALL!!!!!!


Or maybe he could’ve seen what was predictably obvious to everyone in baseball; that the Giants coming into the season had to upgrade their offense significantly to be serious about contending; and Sabean –serious about contending the whole time– came up with the idea of signing Randy Johnson and Edgar Renteria as the answer to that issue. No, Neukom decided that winning a couple more games than everyone thought we would must be due to the great work of his GM and coach, as opposed to what was obvious to all of baseball; that it was his young pitchers carrying the team, and, in fact, his GM completely failed in his efforts to upgrade the team’s offense, which meant that the Giants would be watching the playoffs on television –again– despite the historic pitching performances of their pitching staff.

Sabean = dingbat

Brian Sabean has apparently perfected being obnoxious to reporters who have the temerity to ask the perfectly logical question as to why the team didn't score more runs. Here's what this dingbat had to say to Henry Schulman of the SF Chron -- Indeed, when asked about the need for hitters with better on-base percentages, Sabean said almost dismissively, "I think we learned this year, as attested by winning 88 games, the most important thing is the final score, winning the game."

MY COMMENT -- WHAT A JERK. Here's a team that had a chance to go to the postseason but saw it slip away because the GM didn't bother to improve the offense....then wouldn't admit that maybe it was partly his fault. Way to stay classy, Brian.

The secret to Sabean's success

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sabean, Bochy given extensions

Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy have just received two-year contract extensions, according to Chris Haft at MLB.com. Even though I am not surprised, I am officially depressed.

Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury-News blogs that Sabean is the longest-tenured GM in baseball, despite a widespread consensus that he's among the most incompetent (see Barry Zito, Aaron Rowand, Armando Blownitez, Edgardo Alfonzo). The ability to hang on shows that he's still 1. reaping the benefits from Barry Bonds' extraordinary performance and 2. must be incredibly well-versed in shmoozing upwards.

Monday, October 12, 2009

RIP Larry Jansen

See ya, Rox

Well, at least one part of my wish came true as the extremely annoying Rockies are finally out of the postseason. Brad Lidge just struck out Troy Tulowitzki in 38 degree weather.

Hopefully, the Phils can knock the Dodgers out again just like last year -- even though the lame New York Times' columnist William Rhoden is sermonizing that what baseball really needs is a Dodgers-Yanks World Series. What a dingbat.

The New York Times embarrasses itself

This time, it's a truly pathetic column by William Rhoden who says what baseball needs is a Dodgers-Yankees World Series. What a bunch of homer BS: "Baseball needs a World Series for the ages, one that reinforces its roots and, yes, its relative purity. Granted, this is a lot to ask one World Series matchup to accomplish, but baseball needs an authentic fall classic. It needs Yankees-Dodgers, for the good of the game."

Please spare us from this "we in New York know what's best" and "good of the game" nonsense. What would be nice is a Series that went seven games, like the ones in 2001 and 2002, instead of the 4-game affairs in 2004, 2005 and 2007 and last year's 5-gamer. And one of the best World Series on record came in 1997 when two teams outside the media centers -- the Marlins and the Tribe -- had an epic battle with the final run getting driven in the 11th by Edgar Renteria. The 1991 Series between the Twins and Braves was exceptional, too, with five of the seven games decided by one run.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Orange and Black free agents

Angels sweep Bosox

The first Giant no-hitter in 33 years


A great shot by idiart at the end of Jonathan Sanchez' gem. That's Tim Lincecum leaping up. It happened on July 10.

Bonds pitches in for kids

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Upside for Torres

Friday, October 09, 2009

2009 in review

The San Francisco Chronicle has a nice recap of the year in review. My fave moment -- partly because I was there in Section 115 that night -- has to be Sandoval's 3-run walkoff homer on May 12 with the Giants down to the their last strike and trailing 7-6.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Why Dodger Stadium sucks

A tip of the Giants Win hat to the Dodgerhater, who pointed out a month-old piece on Deadspin with the simple but truthful title: Why Your Stadium Sucks: Dodger Stadium. I can't think of a more appropriate post as the Blew Crew goes into postseason.

From the desk of Brian Sabean

Sabean sent out a letter yesterday to Giants fans, without apologies for assembling one of the worst offenses in the MLB for two consecutive years. Here's the key verbiage (boldface is mine) -- This team - which in some ways reminded me of the 1997 Giants - was committed to playing competitive and winning baseball all season. Their determination and work ethic kept us playing meaningful baseball right up until the final days of the season and provided our young players with a foundation on which they can build in the seasons to come.
We all know that it is a difficult strategy to win and develop young players at the same time. Going into last season, we had many more questions than we did answers. I think the core of our team - one that is built around solid starting pitching and defense - certainly emerged as the season went on. The next step will be to conduct a thorough evaluation to define our critical needs that will put us in a stronger position for 2010 and beyond. Most pressing will be to identify ways to improve our offensive production and on base percentage and to create a more consistent one through five line up.


MY SNARKY RESPONSE -- How about not having an offense where your first baseman is batting 7th or 8th? How about not signing over-rated vets on the fade like Freddy Sanchez, Rowand and Renteria to longterm deals?

Why not aim a little higher?

Why am I so down on the Giants front office? I thought about it a few times while watching the stirring vic from the Twins tonight -- particularly while Joe Nathan was in the game. The Twins and Tigers aren't any better than the Giants.

Less than a week ago, the team had a mathematical chance at the postseason, despite the blundering of management for the last 5 years. The failure to fix the offense -- at first, shortstop and the three outfield slots -- meant that a year of stellar pitching was wasted. All it would have taken is as few as 2 or 3 more wins.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

No apology from Sabean for crappy offense

Rather than admit that he utterly flubbed a chance at getting the Giants into the postseason this year, Brian Sabean took none of the blame for assembling a dismal offense in 2009.

If Henry Schulman's recap in today's SF Chron is to be believed, Giants fans can look apparently forward in 2010 to another season of Freddy Sanchez languishing on the bench with some ailment and Bengie Molina racking up the MLB's lowest onbase percentage as a misplaced cleanup hitter.

Schulman also speculates that Carney Lansford may be fired at "hitting" coach, that Matt Cain probably won't be traded and that Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey will spend more time in the minors. Here's a comment that burns me up -- Sabean acknowledged the offense took on the free-swinging persona of Pablo Sandoval and Molina, and "you'd like to find somebody who's different from that, who can kind of calm things down or add to the middle of the order in a different way."

EARTH TO BRIAN SABEAN -- ISN'T THAT YOUR JOB? WHY DIDN'T YOU DO THAT BEFORE THIS SEASON?

Monday, October 05, 2009

Hasta la vista, Bengie

John Perricone of Only Baseball Matters lays it out why Bengie is the wrong guy to be re-signed. It's clear that many Giants fans know that having a clean-up hitter with a .285 OBP means he's a rally killer, given that his out-making percentage is .715.

Here's the important verbiage at the end of the post -- Someone who gives his heart and soul for the team would make choices that enhance his team’s chance to win. A player who is unselfish might learn to take a pitch now and again. He might appreciate a chance to mentor a young catcher. He’s not being paid by the at bat. He’s not being paid by how many times he swings. Molina is an old, slow, selfish and undisciplined player, one who contributes virtually nothing in the context of what it takes to be a winning team. He is the embodiment of what is wrong with the San Francisco Giants, a symbol of the inefficient players that Brian Sabean values.

This comment from +mia is noteworthy -- Molina’s physical conditioning for a man of 35 was a disgrace. If he truly took pride in his team approach he would at least have shown enough courage to mix in a plate of broccoli once in a while. He is/was one of the most selfish hitters to ever disgrace a Giants uniform.

Geoffrey has a link to an excellent post by Joe Posnanski about the Bosox GM Theo Epstein and the value of NOT MAKING OUTS. Joe recapped a recent interview with Epstein, which has these salient points (boldface is mine) --

Sometimes you get stuck in the world of evaluating players through home runs and RBIs. And it’s not the way that I think most clubs do it these days. And if you look at underlying performance of a lot of our guys, they bring more to the table than just the counting stats. And J.D.’s certainly having another good year for us. He’s up around a .900 OPS right now, and he’s playing really good defense in right field, he deserves an awful lot of credit for that, he’s been pretty darned good for the three years that he’s been here if you look at the underlying performance.”

"Based on his skill set, he’s always going to have underwhelming RBI totals. I couldn’t care less. When you’re putting together a winning team, that honestly doesn’t matter. When you have a player who takes a ton of walks, who doesn’t put the ball in play at an above average rate, and is a certain type of hitter, he’s not going to drive in a lot of runs. Runs scored, you couldn’t be more wrong. If you look at a rate basis, J.D. scores a ton of runs. And the reason he scores a ton of runs is because he does the single most important thing you can do in baseball as an offensive player. And that’s NOT MAKE OUTS. He doesn’t make outs. He’s always among our team leaders in on-base percentage, usually among the league leaders in on-base percentage. And he’s a really good base runner. So when he doesn’t make outs, and he gets himself on base, he scores runs — and he has some good hitters hitting behind him. Look at his runs scored on a rate basis with the Red Sox or throughout his career. It’s outstanding. You guys can talk about RBIs if you want, I just … we ignore them in the front office … and I think we’ve built some pretty good offensive clubs. If you want to talk about RBIs at all, talk about it as a percentage of opportunity but it’s just simply not a way or something we use to evaluate offensive players.”

Sunday, October 04, 2009

The end of the season

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Off-season preview for the Orange and Black

John Perricone at Only Baseball Matters has an astute look at where the Giants are and where they should be heading:
The Giants are finishing a season in which they’ve scored fewer runs than just about every other team in baseball. Position by position, our team looks like this:
Catcher 27th in OBP 15th in OPS

First 26th in OBP 26th in OPS
Second 29th in OBP 29th in OPS
Third 5th in OBP 2nd in OPS
Short 18th in OBP 22 in OPS
Left 19th in OBP 20th in OPS
Center 22nd in OBP 20th in OPS
Right 29th in OBP 29th in OPS
So, for those of you not paying attention, we have a league average catcher, a top of the line third baseman, and nothing else. There are eight positions on the diamond, and we have one of them filled.


Here's what John suggests that Neukom do --
Here’s an idea…. Go out and “give” some money to a real baseball player. One who isn’t already past his prime, who isn’t injured, or out of shape, or a “savvy veteran.” Go out and get a good, young hitter, preferably an rightfielder, which will allow you to use Winn as a fourth outfielder. Send Fred Lewis to the winter league to learn how to play left, let Rowand play everyday in center. Sign Uribe for $3 or 4 million per and hope he has one more year in him. Sign Penny for about the same. Leave Sandoval at third base, play Velez at second and pray that he wasn’t an illusion the last two months, and platoon Garko and Ishikawa. Don’t throw another $25 million on the ground for Freddie Sanchez, who’s a marginal player at his best.

Neukom also told the SF Chronicle about the import of chemistry, which makes me gag. Here's what John says (boldface is mine) --
Fuck you and your “chemistry.” Grow up! Have a player who’s not the nicest guy in the world, but is actually good, on your roster. You sound like an old lady when you talk about chemistry. Winning breeds chemistry. Players who don’t fail all the time make good teammates. You think anyone on the Giants cares about the fact that they’re all good guys right now? Or maybe you think they wish they had that prick Bonds around to, oh, I don’t know, maybe hit a couple of home runs every once in a while?

Friday, October 02, 2009

Five in a row for the Orange and Black

The Giants finally won a game in San Diego -- convincingly, too. Sandoval and Uribe hit serious homers tonight. Zito looked great until he got clobbered on the arm by a liner. Chris Haft of MLB.com notes in his game story that Zito had put up a 2.83 ERA since the All-Star break.

Meanwhile, the Rox continue to torment the Dodgers as they squeezed out a 4-3 vic with Manny getting booed for striking out 4 times, according to the LA Times coverage. It occurs to me that both teams -- even though I've said I hope they get swept out of the playoffs by the Phils and Cards -- have excellent shots at going all the way this year. Teams west of the Mississippi always get under-rated by the Eastern sports media. So as much as I love seeing the Dodgers and their fans suffer, I'm under no illusion that the team's done for the year, unfortunately. It could be quite the opposite. In Los Angeles, Colletti has made several terrible signings (Jason Schmidt, Andruw Jones) but they have so much solid young talent (Ethier, Kemp, Loney, Kershaw, Broxton) that it doesn't matter that much. Fat Broxton, in particular, looks unhittable right now. They're strong enough that they can afford to have Juan Pierre sit on the bench most of the time despite his $45 million deal -- as opposed to the Giants, who insist on giving their free agent mistakes (Rowand, Winn and Renteria) as many at bats as possible.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

52-29 at home

A fine way to end the season on a day when it looked like the Dbacks were mailing it in --

-- 15th win for The Franchise, who had a no-hitter into the 5th
-- some serious hitting from Andres Torres, who hit the top of the right field foul pole and got a triple into the alley.
-- a Panda triple into the alley
--The Big Unit closing out the Dbacks in the 9th
--Rich Aurilia's last home game (though it sure sounded like he'd like to play somewhere next year, even with a dismal season this year)
-- Krukow and Kuiper noted that Mel Stottlemeyer Jr. took a bullet for Dan Haren after Haren began whining about balls and strikes. What a crybaby.

Incompetence rewarded

Not that I'm bitter or surprised, but John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that both Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy will be back next year.

For those of you who haven't been reading this blog, here's what burns me up -- the Giants had a terrible offense last year and an equally bad one this season, even though the Giants were contending past the All-Star break. The response by Sabean was to go out and sign Edgar Renteria in the off-season to what was probably the single worst free agent contract this year and then trade away two top prospects (Barnes and Alderson) for two non-contributors in Ryan Garko and Freddy Sanchez.

Here's the bottom line -- the Giants have scored less runs than any teams this year except the Pirates, Padres and Mariners. Additionally, Bochy and Sabean kept Juan Uribe and Fred Lewis on the bench for far too much of the year and gave far too many at bats to Edgar Renteria and Randy Winn.