Thursday, March 31, 2016

Sactown Ball

Raley Field lived up to the hype, it's a terrific venue for baseball. We sat on the lawn in right-center which was in the sun to start--how the fielders could see the ball was beyond me--but once it went down the evening was cool and pleasant. It was me, M.C., and my lovely bride, along with JC and his father-in-law Steve. Thanks again, my man, for scoring the tickets! The place was packed with crazed Giants fans eager for 2016 to get rolling. I understand the River Cats have a solid local fan base but those poor folks were overwhelmed by the orange-and-black brigades. We figured it was a win-win kind of event, if the youngsters showed some game against the big boys that just means the organization is stocked with talent! The best part of the outfield lawn is the proximity to the bullpens. We got to see Matt Cain's throwing session and Johnny Cueto's warmup. We were so close you could hear the ball "whizz" and the snap in the catcher's mitt was like a gunshot. Very cool.

Johnny Cueto is going to be a hell of a lot of fun to watch. He picked off three guys! I'm not sure the minor-leaguers were ready for his action. Some of the plays were awfully close, I imagine replay at the major-league level might have overturned one or two calls, but the baserunners really did look lost. He did his shimmy, his shake, his pause-and-throw, and his quick pitch. We will have to come up with names for all the moves. He also drove in a run! Shortstop Hak-Ju Lee smoked a line drive homer off Johnny to give the local partisans a thrill, and he flashed a cannon arm in the field as well. He was a former "can't miss" prospect in Chicago and Tampa Bay but his career was sidetracked by an injury in 2013 and he never got his groove back. He's only 25 and obviously talented, but San Francisco is not looking for a shortstop any time soon.

Speaking of Brandon Crawford, he hit a homer, as did Brandon Belt, and Buster Posey launched a goddamn moonshot to center with that easy, slo-mo swing of his. Trevor Brown had a couple of hits, as did Ehire Adrianza. Kelby Tomlinson started at second and I believe was the only one to play the entire game. Sergio Romo got the biggest response of any of the guys in the 'pen and he looked like he had some good stuff going. Despite the 8-4 lead Santiago Casilla closed it out. Funny, the Giants were the home team. Just goes to show the difference between the bigs and the rest--even the local lads had to be visitors in their own park! Good story about the game in the Bee. Check out the time-lapse video at the end.

That's right, we had a grand time! Rockin' the tie dye, brah! Here's a pre-game look at the field:

If you are in Sac this summer you should catch a River Cats game. Can't wait for Monday!



Monday, March 28, 2016


There will be no Mac Williamson or Jarrett Parker on the roster to open the season as both were optioned to AAA-Sacramento. A flurry of cuts saw the likes of Gorkys Hernandez, Braulio Lara, and Conor Gillaspie headed for the minor-league camp. No surprises, really, the Giants big-league roster is a tough one to latch on to. There's a good chance Trevor Brown will be the Opening Day backup backstop as Andrew Susac will likely start the season on the DL. (SIR sez Brown is her new fave FNG.) The youngster from UCLA was awarded the "Barney Nugent" as the top performer this spring.

The Giants are going with 13 pitchers instead of a fifth outfielder. Gregor Blanco remains the only real jardinero off the bench, the other two spots will be infielders Kelby Tomlinson and Ehire Adrianza. Blanco will of course see much more playing time than most bench-warmers, he's versatile enough to cover all the spots and the three starters (Pagan, Span, and Pence) are coming off injury-marred seasons. El Tiburón had his best year with the bat in 2015 and his fourth straight 2-fWAR season with the Giants.

Right-hander Cory Gearrin is the new face in the bullpen other than lefty Josh Osich. Gearrin is a former Braves prospect and had Tommy John surgery in 2014. We saw a little of the side-armer in September. Osich has big shoes to fill with the departure of Jeremy Affeldt. The former Oregon State Beavers multi-sport star had TJS in 2010. He's never lacked for big-league stuff, the questions have all been about command and continued health. Osich made 35 appearances (120 TBF in 28-2/3 IP) after his call-up in July.

We'll be in Sacramento at Raley Field on Wednesday night for the Giants-River Cats exhibition. I'm excited, I've been told it's an excellent venue for baseball. Not to mention the tickets were a hot item--thanks to my man JC for pulling off that coup! I want to get a Sactown cap. Which one do you like? I hope to have pictures and a post afterwards.



Monday, March 21, 2016

Vlog #2 : MC Projections

Here is the second installment of my new RMC contribution. I got relatively positive feedback so I thought it was worth another try.   I figure that branching out into the YouTube universe is a good thing too.  It only works if the comments keep coming in, so you know what to do...

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Vlog #1 : FNG

You guys ready to try something different?  It is Spring Training after all.  So think of this like ...well, I'm an aging veteran pitcher that is so desperate to stick with the club that he tries to throw knuckleballs all of a sudden.  Take cover!!!

Anyway, here goes nothing...

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Cactus League Action!

The Giants played their first game of 2016 today and managed a clinical 4-1 win over the LA Angels. The hitting stars were Conor Gillaspie (solo homer) and Christian Arroyo (RBI double). The bullpen--Braulio Lara, Clayton Blackburn, Mike Broadway, Javier Lopez, Derek Law, and George Kontos--delivered seven scoreless in relief of starter Jeff Samardzija. The big righty, who signed a five-year deal with the orange-and-black in the off-season, admitted to some jitters:
"It's like the first day of school," he said. "You've been thinking about this moment for about four months now."
 No kidding. I know it's only Spring Training but bloggers need practice games, too.



p.s. It was great to hear the radio guys (via mlb audio). Still my favorite way to follow baseball.