Sunday, October 30, 2011

If it's not too dear . . .

So the Giants threw money at Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez. Like that worries you? The Giants may be the worst team in the league at allocating costs for all we know. And you know what it means? Nothing. The Giants believe in left-handed pitching. Hell,they believe in all pitching. Old pitching, young pitching, homegrown pitching, free-agent pitching, used-to-be-a-shortstop pitching, you know, pitching. So the Giants spent money on pitching, so get used to it. You want to know the Giants offensive plans for next year? Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey, and you pick 'em. I pick Brandon Belt. That's it. So get used to lots of pitching.

Speaking of the whole world getting waaaaayyy too expensive, it will now cost me $210 to sponsor Matt Cain's Baseball-Reference page! Yikes. It used to be something like $20. Oh, what to do?


Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Fat Lady is done singing

After the sixth game of this lively but bizarre Series, I thought a lot about our own Game Six. I couldn't sleep for several weeks after that debacle, and spent most of the off-season trying to come up with a newer, wiser, more mature relationship with the Giants and baseball in general. I failed. When the team was in first place for all of 2003 and yet again failed in the playoffs, I once again wallowed in despair. I won't enumerate the ups and downs of the following seasons, we know them all too well. Then 2010 happened. Then I gained that newer, wiser, and more mature relationship with baseball and the Giants. I know, it's damn shallow of me to only grow up after I get what I want. But it's the truth. And as desperately as I want the Giants to win another one, I think I can handle it if they don't. Think about it--you only have a 1-in-30 chance every season of getting the Big Prize. You should be happy if your team wins a title once every three decades. Even if you believe that only, say, half of the MLB teams in any season have a legitimate shot at glory, that still means a mere 1-in-15 chance. That's one World Series title every 15 years. I'll be 65 in the 2025 season. The St. Louis Cardinals have been to the Fall Classic THREE TIMES in the last EIGHT SEASONS. They've got two wins (2006 and 2011) and one loss (2004). That's a hell of a run. They lost the Series when they won 105 games and won the Series when they won 83 games and won again when they were the Wild Card. Go figure. They are the the best franchise in National League history with 18 flags and 11 rings since 1900. Frankly, I'd rather see someone else. Enough of them already. It's not that they didn't deserve it--last time I checked if you win 11 post-season games they declare you the champs. And they did that. Fair and square. So "Congrats" to the Redbirds. But at this point I'd like to see every other club who has never won, even if I dislike them, to win a title. The feeling that we all shared last season was so marvelous that I genuinely wished it upon all baseball fans. So forgive me if I feel bad for the Rangers. They had a great shot at glory and pissed it away. They spat in the eye of the baseball gods and paid the price. A younger, crasser version of me would have gone "HA-Haw!" like Nelson on the Simpsons. But I'm not like that any more. Older and wiser? I'm not so sure. Older and tired-er, maybe!

Baseball is the only sport that has ever caused me to be philosophical. I used to watch lots of other games and I used to get passionate about the outcomes. Now I don't care. I enjoy following crazy shit like rugby and cricket and whatnot, but my involvement is purely recreational. Baseball is different. My devotion to the game and in particular to the fate of the Giants is quite unlike any other hobby, avocation, or passion that I pursue. It is close to a religious experience for me, a distinctly un-religious person. That is, I enmesh myself in ritual and have strict codes of conduct. I interpret the events on a non-local level. I embrace mystery and random fluctuation. I view "reality" as 162 stops on a rosary that I finger day and night. I pray for deliverance--to what I don't know, and for what reason I can't be sure. And now it is over. The Fat Lady has sung.

I can't wait for Spring Training.



Friday, October 21, 2011

Meanwhile, In the Central Time Zone...

They say there's a World Series going on somewhere in the middle of America. One of the two teams will win four games and thus will become the new world champions of major league baseball. And the San Francisco Giants will no longer be regarded as such and will henceforth be referred to as "former world champions."

Any questions? Comments?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Here's some news

Buster Posey is catching again. While I enjoy watching the Tigers, Rangers, Cardinals, and Brewers fight it out in the post-season, all I really care about is the Giants. The Henry Schulman Sporting Green story about our wunderkind donning the tools of ignorance and catching live pitching in Arizona made my morning. Can't wait to see him behind the plate in 2012.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Game of My Life

Thanks to the nice folks at Skyhorse Publishing** I was treated to a review copy Matt Johanson's Game of My Life: San Francisco Giants. Originally published in 2007, the new edition now includes vignettes from the 2010 championship season. Each chapter focuses on a particular player and their most memorable game in orange-and-black. It starts with Orlando Cepeda's debut in 1958--which was also the first Giants game in San Francisco--and ends with Brian Wilson's save in Game Five of the 2010 World Series. Along the way the reader is treated to terrific stories from the likes of "Dirty Al" Gallagher, Tito Fuentes (a childhood favorite of mine), Dan Gladden, Robby Thompson, Darren Lewis, Kirk Rueter, Rich Aurilia, and many other fan favorites and interesting characters. I particularly enjoyed reliving Bob Brenly's "greatest Humm-Baby performance of all time" game (9/14/86) since I was in attendance with much of my regular Candlestick posse (you know who you are). Frank Gunther, one of the crew, actually caught Brenly's game-winning homer when it bounced up to our seats in Section 30 in the LF bleachers. I will also never forget Mike Krukow's complete game victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game Four of the 1987 NLCS. We were lucky enough to have scored tickets in Section 2, right behind home plate. After Jeffrey Leonard's improbable, wind-aided home run that gave the Giants the lead my buddy Ron (yes, that Ron) was so excited he started beating on me and I collapsed to the concrete in a fetal position. Never was getting the wind knocked out of me so worth it! Giants fans will recognize many of the great moments: Will Clark's big hit off Mitch Williams to win the pennant in 1989, Brian Johnson's homer in extras to beat the Dodgers in 1997 (and Rod Beck's miraculous pitching in the same game), Kenny Lofton's hit in 2002 to send the team to the Series, and Jonathan Sanchez' no-hitter against the Padres in 2009. Players from the obscure Brian Dallimore to all-time great Willie Mays share their anecdotes, making Game of My Life a must-read for Giants fans. Mr. Johanson has done an excellent job assembling all the stories and adding his own take on the colorful history of the many who've worn the Giants uniform. He's also--like me--a California public high school teacher! That's extra credit, for sure.


**Game of My Life is published by their subsidiary Sports Publishing.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


I want to go on record as being absolutely delighted with the outcome of all four divisional playoff series, especially the epic failures of both the Yankees and the Phillies.
Ryan Howard is making a career out of being the last out in the last game for the Phillies, and Roy Halladay is going to be remembered for being good but always the second best pitcher when it counts in the post season.
Frankly I don't care what happens from here on out. I want to see Justin Verlander do well. He has clearly emerged as the #1 pitcher this year and since he's in the AL he's no threat to the Giants, so I have no animosity towards him. I also get a kick out of Nyjer Morgan. Is he crazy or what?
My prediction- Rangers vs Brewers, Rangers win it all.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Dollars & Sense

Go to this website.

Click on this link.

Read this document.

$73M is already committed for 2012. This year's payroll was about $118M. Schierholtz, Sandoval, Romo, Vogelsong, Fontenot, Casilla, Torres, Keppinger, JSanchez, and Lincecum are all in their abitration years. Javier Lopez is a free agent. Matt Cain is a free agent next year. Tim Lincecum is a free agent in 2014. The only guy on the payroll in 2014 is Barry Zito (his $7M buyout year), so perhaps they will be ready to make a real big pitch to keep him. They'll have to extend Cain. Wilson goes to arbitration in 2013, his final year, and MadBum and Buster go to arb for the first time. They have a real window to win with this group. How do they keep the team together? Obviously ownership could spend like fiends, but I just don't see this franchise doing that sort of thing. They'll be in the top third--but I'll be shocked if they go over $125M. Giants have some interesting choices to make.

What would you do?


Free agents, anyone?

Here's a partial list from MLBTR (click for the rest):

Clint Barmes (33)
Yuniesky Betancourt (30) - $6MM club option with a $2MM buyout
Orlando Cabrera (37)
Jamey Carroll (37)
Ronny Cedeno (29) - $3MM club option with a $200K buyout
Craig Counsell (41)
Rafael Furcal (34) - $12MM club option with a $1.3MM buyout
Alex Gonzalez (34)
Jerry Hairston Jr. (36)
Cesar Izturis (32)
John McDonald (37)
Nick Punto (34)
Edgar Renteria (35)
Jose Reyes (29)
Jimmy Rollins (33)
Ramon Santiago (32)
Marco Scutaro (36) - $6MM club option/$3MM player option with a $1.5MM buyout
Jack Wilson (34)

Center fielders
Rick Ankiel (32)
Carlos Beltran (35)
Willie Bloomquist (34) - $1.1MM mutual option with a $150K buyout
Mike Cameron (39)
Coco Crisp (32)
David DeJesus (32)
Scott Hairston (32)
Andruw Jones (35)
Nate McLouth (30) - $10.65MM club option with a $1.25MM buyout
Corey Patterson (32)
Cody Ross (31)
Grady Sizemore (29) - $8.5MM club option with a $500K buyout