Tuesday, May 31, 2011

No margin for error

Dark days at Chavez Latrine

Monday, May 30, 2011

Back to Halloween

Biggest inning of the season

Time for MLB to address the collision issue

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Hurry back, Panda!

Man, not much good news to mull today! Thanks again, Scott Cousins, you worthless lying hypocrite. (For those of you who think I'm over-reacting, watch the video and then tell me that it's not the cheapest of cheap shots.)

The best I can offer is this tweet from Andrew Baggarly of the Merc-News, which is what passes for good news for Giants fans these days --

Pablo Sandoval will take BP on field in STL. Could return by end of next homestand, Bochy said.

Here we are at the 52nd game mark and the Giants have just been shut out for the fourth time this year, which would put them on a pace for 12 shutouts this year. That seems kind of alarming until I looked up last season's record to discover that the 2010 Giants were shut out SIXTEEN times.

The offensive output consisted of six singles -- two by Freddy Sanchez, the first of which was his 1,000th MLB hit, and one each by Pat the Bat (a pinch hit), Brandon Belt, Manny Burriss and Aubrey Huff. Brandon Crawford got a walk.

Posey came up from Fresno one year ago today

Andrew Baggarly of the Merc-News blogs that Buster had ankle surgery on his torn ligaments today and all went well. Thanks a lot, Scott Cousins, you worthless slime.

It was the one-year anniversary of his being inserted into the starting lineup. He went 3 for 4 with 3 RBIs in a 12-1 blowout of the Dbacks.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The brutal Black and Orange truth

Without Panda and Posey, this team can't hit worth a damn. They are now 28th in the MLB with 175 runs scored in 50 games.

I would like to see Huff benched in favor of Brandon Belt and Tejada -- by far the biggest bust in free agent signings this year -- benched in favor of Crawford, Burriss, Rohlinger, Jim Davenport, anyone. The team had five hits and two walks today in an eminently winnable game against Randy Wolf and the Brewer pen. Freddy Sanchez is the only guy delivering consistently.

Mike Schmidt's retirement

With Jorge Posada possibly retiring soon, Mike Schmidt has written a pretty good column about how hard it is to make that decision and what made him decide to retire -- a Robby Thompson groundball that he couldn't field at the Stick, leading to a grannie by Will the Thrill that scored Jose Uribe, Brett Butler and Thompson. Here are some excerpts --

-- My memories are vivid, making $2 million a year, not $15M. We were out West, in LA for game one, and I hopped on a scale when I arrived at the park. Wow, gained eight pounds. I decided a supplemental workout was needed, so I went for a run. Bingo, popped something in my back jogging. Here we go, back in the training room. That started the mental process.
I played with that nagger, missing hittable fastballs and catchable groundballs the entire series. I can see one now, a high chopper over the bag that I used to have fun with, and it went by me to the left-field corner for a double. An inside fastball I used to hit 500 feet foul was popped up to the right side. The reaction was not "stay with 'em." It was, "Could this be it?" The edge of confidence I had for 20 years gave way to doubt now that retirement got in my brain.

-- In May of 1989, I was on a performance-based contract, having had off-season shoulder surgery, and was challenged to prove to the Phillies that I was the same Mike Schmidt as years before. It didn't happen. I was 39, just like Posada. In golf, you hit 60 and they call it "the wall." In baseball, it's 40. Yes, there have been exceptions, some we won't discuss, but for the most part it's just damn hard to be good around 40.

-- Don't go to Candlestick contemplating retirement. Back in the day playing at the 'Stick made everybody wonder if another job made more sense. Cold, windy, nasty crowds, and tough pitching were waiting....

-- In the final game of the series, with men on second and first, Robby Thompson hit a ground ball that went through my legs, loading the bases with two outs. I felt like I was 50 years old playing that ball, like I couldn’t bend over. Will Clark followed with a grand slam.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Classless Prince

Two days after the Giants lost their best player to a cheap shot, Prince Fiedler decided to act like a bush leaguer. Lefty Malo has a good post --

In a town infamous among ballplayers for its haunted hotel, Giant spirits rose higher in the bottom of the 8th when Eli Whiteside tagged out Prince Fielder, already on the team's shit list, for trying to deliver a forearm shiv to Whiteside's neck on a -- yep -- play at the plate. But this was no play; Fielder was out by 15 feet, Cody Ross's throw waiting snugly in Whiteside's glove to thwart the tying run. If Fielder doesn't get popped with some kind of punishment for that, I don't know what the MLB brass are looking at. Talk about "clear path to the plate" -- Whiteside sidestepped Fielder and tagged him from the side. Total bush league B.S. from a man who has made classlessness a habit on the field.

RIP Paul Splittorff

I think it's time for some perspective with a couple of fine posts by Josh Wilker at Cardboard Gods and by Joe Posnaski about the KC Royals career leader in wins.
Josh found these cards of Splitt, as everyone called him and observed -- This morning, after spotting some news on the Internet about Paul Splittorff, I looked for him in my collection and found the three cards at the top of this page. At first brief glance I wondered if Topps had reused a photo of him for more than one card, as they’d done once in a great while with other players. But on a closer look it became clear by the variations in backgrounds behind Paul Splittorff and by the variations in clothing worn under the uniform of Paul Splittorff that the while the world around him changed, Paul Splittorff remained as unchanging as humanly possible, a still point, or maybe more accurately—judging from the arresting similarity from year to year in the shadow he cast—some kind of human sundial, a way to know time.

Posnanski asserts that Splitt was particularly reluctant to live in the past, even though it was quite a past --
He averaged 33 starts and 14 wins a year from 1972 to 1980. He threw 14 shutouts. He coaxed or induced or forced hitters into 276 double plays. He picked off 37 runners. He rarely gave up home runs. He carefully scouted batters long before video sessions became the vogue. He did whatever he could do. He was always there, a workhorse, a Clydesdale (as he called himself). He gave everything, and he played his whole career for one team, and he loved it, he loved the Royals, he would not have traded any of it in.
But when it ended, it ended. He did not long for the cheers again. He did not see current moments as an opportunity to tell stories from the past. He just didn’t see any need to relive it. “I lived it once,” he told me, “that was good enough.” He meant it. The thing that mattered to Paul Splittorff was excellence, striving for it, being good at what he was doing. He once laid into me when I wrote that baseball on the radio was better in many ways than baseball on television. In his mind, the medium didn’t matter. Baseball on television was as good as you made it. And he worked as hard as anyone in the business to make baseball on television informative and entertaining and an experience.

Meanwhile, the Giants finally win a game

Brandon Crawford, of all people, hits a grand slam for his first MLB hit to bail out Lincecum. Brian Wilson does the usual high-wire act. And Prince Fielder acts like a jerk, trying to knock the ball out of El Whiteside's hand when he was out by 15 feet at the plate.

I'm going to say it again -- you can count on Bud Selig not doing anything about this.

In any case, Andrew Baggarly's game story for the Merc-News notes that Crawford came to the Giants in the same draft as Posey in 2008.

Scott Cousins = Jack Tatum

That's the conclusion of a fine post by Where Did You Go, Joe? I agree with everything he says. Scott Cousins is the worst sort of "pro" athlete. If you want to look at what this deranged dingbat did, it's included in this ESPN discussion by Tim Kurkjian, who notes that the last rookie catcher to bat 3rd in a World Series was Yogi Berra.

Here's most of Where Did You Go's post (boldface is mine) --

Scott Cousins is a nobody who played for a second rate program in a third tier conference in college. He is a bench scrubini on one of MLBs cheapest teams. A team that is owned by yet another of Selig's fellow connivers, Jeff Loria who must hold some sort of record for pocketing luxury tax money instead of spending it on payroll . On Wednesday night, Jeff Loria got what he paid for. A cheap organization player hitting .177 with no sense about him, who ruined if not a career, the season of NL rookie of the year Buster Posey, when he blindsided Posey needlessly and recklessly . And why do I say needlessly and recklessly? Because Mr. MLB Wannabe had clear access to the plate and would have been safe if he had used either a hook slide or a reach-back sweeping slide. But that would actually have required some real baseball acumen and talent and experience; something this guy clearly demonstrated he lacks.

Video clearly shows that Posey had allowed him a path to the plate. Don't take my word for it; Bochy pointed it out to the moronic media in the post game presser. A true professional would have seen that and taken that path rather than intentionally blind side a guy with his back to him. An idiot schooled by idiots did not see it, so he did what any crass moronic loser would do; he blindsided Buster Posey with the same kind of headfirst-forearm shiver that Jack Tatum used to paralyze New England Patriot WR Daryl Stingley, in a pre-season game. In the process he broke Posey's leg. He ripped up Posey's ligaments. Why? Because he is an inept base-runner, or a cretin trying to hold onto his minimum salary anyway he can by "impressing" management with his "gameness" or more aptly put; "false hustle" or all of the above. At least with Cousins, I can understand getting caught in the moment. It's a reaction play based on instincts. Instincts that are developed by the way you learn and practice the game. Obviously this twit was taught somewhere along the line that blindsiding defenseless players is "game". There is nothing game, nor astute, nor ennobling, nor admirable, nor praiseworthy about breaking the bones and ligaments of a defenseless catcher when you have a path to the ball. Or when you don't have a path to the ball.

Deliberate collisions are outlawed most everywhere for a reason. It is only the stupid anachronistic thoughtlessness of the same powers that be who insist steroid use is tantamount to child molestation that has kept the deliberate collision avoidance rule off the books. These folks somehow think intentional homeplate collisions are an acceptable demonstration of dominance and the furtherance of a nostalgic tradition. Perhaps in the same tradition as lynching or gang-banging this kind of play is acceptable or worthy, but there is nothing worthy about one human being sucker punching another one and maiming him in the process. Its actually nauseating for most everybody, save for the few ghouls and miscreants who savor the gore and mayhem of "Faces of Death". There simply is no risible defense of the indefensible.

Shut up, Scott

Hey, Scott Cousins -- I'm not interested in your silly self-justification for making a dirty play. You were out of control. I'd be a lot more impressed if you admitted that. It was a cheap shot, a dirty play and that's all there is to it.

Here's what he told Rusty Simmons of the Chron -- "Seeing it, makes my stomach turn."

Well, at least we agree on something, Scott. And, yes, I've always believed that Pete Rose was a jerk for deciding to run over Ray Fosse in an All-Star game. I don't care if Ray Fosse said it was OK. It was a dirty play and that's all there is to it. It happened to me in a softball game years ago.

The notion that it's somehow legal to barrel into a catcher, when it's likely that you're going to injure the catcher, is nonsense. AS A RUNNER, YOU DON'T HAVE THE RIGHT TO TRY KNOCKING THE BALL OUT OF THE FIELDER'S HANDS. End of story.

As usual, you count on Bud Selig to do nothing about this egregious situation. Bruce Jenkins of the Chron has posted a column about this that's so lamebrained that I'm not even linking to it.

Time to change enforcement of the rules, dammit

I've always been a fan of John Perricone's very sensible Only Baseball Matters site, which is one reason why the link to it is so elevated on this site's blog roll. John's just posted his reaction to the Buster Posey collision. He says rules of the game simply aren't being enforced properly. Here's part of it (boldface is mine) -

I’ve read several articles now about the Posey collision, and they all say the same thing, it’s part of the game. A lot of them also assert that it’s always been part of the game, the catcher blocking the plate and the runner blasting into him to try and dislodge the baseball and steal a run. That’s simply not true. Catchers didn’t always have to risk their livelihood protecting the plate. Look at the images of Jackie Robinson stealing home against Yogi Berra in the World Series, to use just one example.

And, really, what kind of argument is that? A second basemen can’t block the base. And the baserunner isn’t allowed to knock the ball out of the first baseman’s glove. Why should a catcher have to sit there and get run into by a 200 pound baserunner with a 90 foot head start? That’s a penalty in football, for crying out loud. Just saying that it’s been done that way is not, and never has been, a reasonable argument for doing anything.

Sure, I’m upset about the Giants losing Posey, and for the fact that his career might be in jeopardy (although recent reports seem to indicate he will be fine). But that doesn’t take away from the fact that that play shouldn’t be part of the game. Catchers already go through enough. There is no reason they should be exposed to that kind of risk. The rules don’t even have to be changed. It’s already against the rules for the catcher to block the plate without the ball, and it’s already against the rules for a runner to try and knock the ball out of a fielder’s hand.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Bengie weighs in

Another lousy 1-0 loss

The Fish capped a thoroughly depressing series sweep with a 1-0 vic today.

Ryan Vogelsong continues to amaze with 8 innings and one earned run.

A small bit of optimism from the Panda

Amid all the bad injury news today, Pablo Sandoval just tweeted this -- Talking further within our team, I might have misspoken and hopefully Buster isn't out for the season

Posey gone until 2012?

Amy Gutierez has an unofficial update on twitter: #sfgiants Chris Stewart and Brandon Belt called up. Ford to D.L. Posey has broken leg and torn ligaments.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Get better, Buster

Bruce Jenkins keeps hacking away

Man, what a dingbat. I just came across this awful column by the Chron's Bruce Jenkins that defended Bruce Bochy for leaving in Tim Lincecum and Jonathan Sanchez in two games in Denver -- both moves leading to losses.

There's no acknowledgement that managers need to manage differently in Denver, but you can count on Bruce to gloss over key details like that in the interest of not having to offer any hard analysis. Essentially, this column is a rehash of Bruce's constant theme, which is that young starting pitchers need to pitch deeper into games, apparently just because it's manly thing to do. There's no statistical analysis of why this is a bad idea, no mention of guys like Sandy Koufax and Mark Prior injuring themselves from over-use and no acknowledgment that the Giants offense is not going to give starters much breathing room -- meaning that the pitchers are usually going to be throwing in high-pressure situations.

As I've said before, Bruce won't be satisfied until the entire starting rotation is on the DL.

Great new photos of Willie Mays

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"That's the reason we lost"

Matt Cain takes the blame for the Giants' first home loss in a month.

You can't win them all though it sure felt like you could for awhile there.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The walk-off wonders

The Orange and Black are living on the edge, for sure. This team really has a knack for delivering walk-off wins, at seven this year -- including Opening day, back to backs on May 6 and 7 against the Rox, and then Friday and Sunday against the A's. MC O'Connor at Raising (Matt) Cain has an interesting and astute recap (boldface is mine)--

Nate Schierholtz saved the day in the 8th and The Bullets won it in the 11th. Darren Ford and Emmanuel Burriss put on a show of poise and speed to conjure up another walk-off win. The Giants gave up five runs in the series. That's some serious pitching, my friends. The A's have to feel snakebit--they have a good staff and only gave up ten runs over the three games. With any kind of offense that should have been good enough to avoid a sweep. The Giants like to live on the edge, and it seems to be working with 27 wins and a 3-1/2 game lead. It's just hard to imagine continuing this amazing run of good fortune in close contests. I suppose the hitting will come around and get a little better (the Giants are tied for last in runs scored in the NL) as the season goes on. In the meantime the pitchers will keep things close and give guys (like Nate, Darren, and Manny) chances to be heroes.

Henry Schulman's game story for the Chronicle notes that the Giants have been beating top of the rotation pithcing, too --They won their ninth in a row at home and their fifth straight overall.

More impressive, the five wins came in games started by Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley of the Dodgers, and Oakland's Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson and Gio Gonzalez. Together, they were 20-14 with a 2.72 ERA.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The 133rd pitch

Grant at McCovey Chronicles has a nice post -- "Giants explode for 3 runs, beat A's" -- that's mostly about the number of pitches for Tim's shutout of the A's yesterday, including a GIF of the final pitch.

Here's the conclusion -- And while I'm a pitch-count agnostic, I'm still a little grossed out by the 133 pitches. After Lincecum threw an extra five starts in October and November, it seems like discretion is the better part of valor. After an extra-long season, and in the middle of a season that the Giants hope will be as extra-long, it should take a great reason to extend a pitcher that far. A complete-game shutout isn't one of those reasons. It's awesome, it's exciting, and it's thrilling. But he's had them before. Statistically, Jeremy Affeldt would be able to hold a vast majority of three-run leads in the ninth.
That's just an aside, though. The real story is Tim Lincecum, who is good. He's a good pitcher. He was good before, and he's good still. He might even be -- forgive me if I'm leaving your orbit -- really good. There's a chance. And he's absolutely fascinating to watch. We didn't watch Juan Marichal and Warren Spahn duel for 1235 innings. We didn't watch Carl Hubbell strike out Nikola Tesla, Teddy Roosevelt, and Henry Ford in the same All-Star Game. But we get to watch Tim Lincecum.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

1.93 ERA over seven starts

Friday, May 20, 2011

Finally, finally, finally

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I'm not wearing Giants gear to a Dodger home game

That's my reaction to an LA Times column by Helene Elliot, discussing last night's game at Dodger Stadium amid increased security due to the Bryan Stow tragedy. I'm not totally convinced that the type of sociopaths who nearly killed Stow won't strike again.

I stopped wearing Giants gear to Dodger games at least 20 years ago. If you are considering doing so, I'd strongly suggest against it, even if it's not a Giants game. If you're undecided, here's a snippet from the article --

Stow, a father of two, was transferred Tuesday from L.A. County-USC Medical Center to San Francisco General Hospital and remains in critical condition. In a news release neurosurgery chief Geoff Manley offered some cautious good news, saying Stow had not experienced any seizures for 30 hours and had been weaned off one of five antiseizure medications.

"I don't know how much fun it was"

That's what Bruce Bochy was saying to Henry Schulman of the Chron last night after a stirring vic at the Chavez Latrine.

The most troubling part is that Mark DeRosa is headed for the DL once again due to a problem with his surgically repaired wrist --He hurt it while batting, odd because it did not happen on a swing, or even a violent checked swing. He barely moved his hands toward a Kershaw curveball.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"We're in Denver"

Bruce Bochy stayed way too long with Tim Lincecum last night. Bruce -- it's a different game in Denver.

Here's what he told Henry Schulman of the Chron in the game story -- "I think it was his game," said Bochy, still calm at the time. "He had two outs when they scored and I wanted to let him face one more hitter. Sure, you can look back and make a change there, but he hurt himself (with an error), and I thought I should let him get the last out."

MY SNARKY COMMENT -- I don't believe you're without regrets on this one. Please remember that there are 29 MLB parks and there's the nightmare that is Coors Field. Thanks

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Vogelsong goes 3-0 on 3-0 vic at Wrigley

Henry Schulman's game story for the SF Chron made me feel chilly just reading it.

Here's what Vogelsong said -- "I'm from Pennsylvania," he said. "Cold weather doesn't bother me as much as it would if I were from Florida or California."

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Nate's great arm

Bumgarner now 0-6

He's been by far the biggest disappointment this year for the Orange and Black. Given Righetti's track record with pitchers, I remain hopeful but losing to the Cubbies is always a disgrace.

Henry Schulman's game story notes that he gave up walks to Alfonso Soriano and Ryan Dempster: "You never want to walk the leadoff guy or the pitcher," Bumgarner said. "Those are big-time mistakes there. It seems like right now, especially, everyone we let on for free, it seems like they score."

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Welcome back, Andres Torres

Andres Torres returns and the Orange and Black squeeze out another come from behind vic

Torres got the key hit last night-- a ground-rule double which cut the Dbacks lead from 3-1 to 3-2 in the 6th. He was the key guy for so many games last year, often overlooked among the fantastic performances by Posey, Wilson, Lincecum, Uribe, Matt, the Sanchezes, Pat the Bat, Huff....I still say it was Torres who made the team turn around.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Your typical 1-0 Giants vic

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Nate's absence in 2010 explained

Monday, May 09, 2011

Is Ryan Vogelsong better than Barry Zito?

He's won two more games this year than Zito. He certainly seems less of a head case than Zito. He shut down the Rox on one hit into the 7th yesterday.

He's pitched 20 innings so far this year and alllowed seven runs -- five in the Zito-like start last week against the Mets.

Vogelsong spent 3 seasons in Japan from 207 to 2009. Here's what he told Chris Haft of mlb.com --"I think in New York, I didn't come out aggressively enough," said. "Today I said, 'Just go out there and go after them with your best stuff from the first inning.' ... The biggest thing that happened today was I was able to adjust pitch to pitch. If I missed a pitch, I felt in my body right away what I did and was able to fix it on the next pitch."

Then you have Zito, who folds up like a card table any time there's pressure. I don't buy the arguments that "he's the best No. 5 starter in the league." He's a Head Case Hall of Famer. I don't want to see him out there with the game on the line. For those of you with strong stomachs, look back at his dismal performance in Game No. 161 last season.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Happy birthday, Willie Mays!

Card from the 1966 Topps Baseball site, which notes that it is the No. 1 card in that series and that Topps used the same photo for its 1969 series, too.

What better way to celebrate the 80th birthday of the Greatest Giant of Them All than with a come-from-behind vic over the Rox! With this kind of starting pitching -- Mighty Matt Cain wobbled through the first three innings and then locked em down -- this team is always going to have a shot, even if it's relying on Mike Fontenot and Nate Schierholtz to deliver the key hits.

I was at the park on April 13, when Fontenot got his first hit of the year after going 0-for-9, then homered off Ted Lilly. He's been about the only Giant hitting well since then. Carl Steward of the Merc-News mentions it in his game story -- The Giants finally broke through in the sixth. Mike Fontenot, pretty much the only consistent hitter the Giants have had of late, tripled into the gap in right-center to open the inning, and Buster Posey got him home on a weak grounder to first.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Fontenot keepts mashing

Thursday, May 05, 2011

"Barry Bonds belongs in the Hall of Fame"

Rags expounds on pitch counts

Card from the 83 Fleer Project

Rather than post anything about today's thoroughly depressing 5-2 loss to the Mets -- proving once again my assertion that any team losing the first two games of a series will usually win the third -- I thought I'd link to a New York Times story on Dave Righetti's regrets over the high pitch counts he racked up during his career, and how it impacts how the Giants pitchers are handled.

I hope dingbat Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle -- who won't be satisfied until the entire staff winds up on the Disabled List -- gives it a read, particularly this line:

Righetti said he and Giants Manager Bruce Bochy do not necessarily treat 100 pitches as a magic threshold, relying more on a feel for the game. But for all the whining about the babying of young arms, he could vouch for the damage done to his career by throwing too much.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

A two-game winning streak!

Happy birthday, Willie Mays

OK, I'm two days early. John Shea of the Chron has a nice story about the 80th for No. 24.

He had a gracious comment about the team -- "I had a good year because the kids had a good year," he said, referring to the 2010 Giants. "Goes hand in hand."

The good kind of torture

What a strange day that was.

Aubrey Huff has pretty symbolized the Giants' recent slide into lousiness, so he delivered a clutch homer in the 10th in the Big Apple. He also denied a story of misbehaving at a hockey game.

Meanwhile, Lefty Malo does a fine job of explaining why the Giants shouldn't trade for Jose Reyes.

Huff is a damn dream come true for sportswriters. Look at this quote he gave Henry Schulman of the Chronicle about Javier Lopez, who got the Mets out in the 9th -- "He's like Tom Brady out there," Huff said when asked about Lopez's calm under pressure. "I was thinking when we got out of that, and I was leading off the next inning, I had to get on base somehow. I guess I got on base."

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Paging Chili Davis!

Does anyone have his number? Here's a guy the Giants could use right now. Chili could always hit. Nice card from the 1983 Fleer Project.

Monday, May 02, 2011

How low can you go?

The Giants have just been shut out by the Nats and scored 4 runs in 4 games in DC. It looks like this yaer's team is having an unfortunate tendency to play down to the level of the competition.

MC O'Connor at Raising (Matt) Cain notes that Brandon Belt has gone 11 for 24 at Fresno. He also notes that a week and a half ago, the team looked OK -- It wasn't that long ago the team boasted a 4.33 per game run scoring rate. That was 10 games ago, the same 10 mentioned above with the 21 runs scored and the 3-7 record. It's ugly. The team needs Pablo Sandoval and Andres Torres. The team needs Aubrey Huff to start hitting. I was going to mention Tejada, but Miggy is at least over .200, something Huff needs to work on.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

This should make you laugh

What does Gates Brown have in common with Jim Davenport?

Well, this has next to nothing to do with the Giants, but it is one of my favorite baseball stories, posted at the Great 1965 Topps Project. And after today's depressing Giants game, this part of the profile of pinch-hitter extraordinaire Gates Brown made me laugh out loud. And like Jim Davenport with the Giants, Brown spent his entire 13-year MLB career with the same team, the Detroit Tigers. Anyhow, here's the story --

-The most memorable anecdote of Gates' career came from a 1968 game. He wasn't in the starting lineup, so he slipped away to the clubhouse and returned with a couple of hot dogs covered in condiments. Before he could tuck in, manager Mayo Smith ordered him to pinch hit. Having no time to destroy the evidence, Brown stuffed the hot dogs into his jersey and went to bat hoping for once that he wouldn't get a hit. Sure enough, he found a gap between two outfielders and had to dive headfirst into second base to beat the throw. Supposedly he stood up with telltale ketchup and mustard stains - as well as bits of frank and bun - all over his uniform. The opposing fielders doubled over with laughter, and Smith fined his player $100.

Give up 3 runs, lose game

As if the San Francisco starting pitchers needed any reminders -- if you have a quality start BUT give up 3 runs, you're probably going to lose. That's what happened in the last two losses as Tim Lincecum and now Matt Cain were both beaten by the Nationals.

It's a painful loss the day after the Panda -- the one guy who appeared to be raking consistently -- goes down for at least a month. It's one thing to lose to Braves or the Rox, but the Nats?

Henry Schulman's game story for the Chronicle asserts that Cain was lousy compared with other starts this year. I'm going to differ a bit, given that the Giants went into the 7th trailing only 3-2 before Dan Runzler gave up 2 in the 8th.

A Giant through and through

For the first 13 years that I followed the Giants, from 1958 to 1970, there were two constants -- Willie Mays and Jim Davenport. Stretch didn't arrive til 1959. Anyhow, Davenport made his MLB debut in the first game in San Francisco and singled off Don Drysdale. He was a regular best known as an outstanding defender (top fielding percentage three times) until Jim Ray Hart arrived in 1964 and a decent bench player after that. When he was released in 1970, he retired, having only worn a Giants uni.

I stumbled across a Topps 1965 blog tonight -- the Great 1965 Topps Project -- which posted this fine card and a pretty good recap of his career. Jim was a big reason why the Giants went to the World Series in 1962 --Davenport was a key member of the 1962 Giants squad that took the National League pennant. In addition to winning the Gold Glove for his play at the hot corner, he earned an All-Star selection. He batted a personal-best .297 with 14 homers, 58 RBI, and 83 runs scored.
MY COMMENT -- That's all true. For me, though, the key moment came on Oct. 3 in the 165th game of the year in the top of the 9th inning when the Giants scored an incredible four runs to go from 4-2 down to win 6-4. Jim got the bases-loaded walk that brought home Felipe Alou to put the Giants ahead. Hard to believe, but the Giants and Yanks began playing Game One of the World Series on THE NEXT DAY.