Thursday, December 27, 2007

Boch & Sabes, Act I, Scene I

Setting: a table in the corner at Starbucks

Boch: Nice computer.
Sabes: Pretty cool, huh? I just downloaded The Best of Bachman-Turner Overdrive!
Boch: Yeah? (sips his straight black coffee)
Sabes: Digitally remastered!
Boch: (clears his throat) Well, I made some notes, here.
Sabes: What the hell is that?
Boch: Huh? Uh, you mean this pencil?
Sabes: Yeah. Dig that out of your golf bag, eh?
Boch: (sheepishly) Well, yeah.
Sabes: Fer cryin' out loud, Bru, get some class. You need a laptop. (sips his latté)
Boch: Shucks, Bri, I'm old school. Now if ya could just take a look here. (passes paper)
Sabes: What is this? Old Yahtzee scoresheets? C'mon, man. Get some real paper!
Boch: (doggedly) Well, I'm figurin' Roberts will lead off.
Sabes: Hello! Duh! That why I signed him! (shakes his head disgustedly)
Boch: Yeah, OK. Uh, and Omar can hit second. Bunt, move the runner over, you know.
Sabes: He saves us AT LEAST a hundred runs a year with his glove!
Boch: Now the third spot's kind of a toughie.
Sabes: At least a hundred! AT LEAST!!!! (bangs on table, spills latté)
Boch: Ya got yer drink all over my notes, Bri. Take 'er easy.
Sabes: (angry) You want my job? Huh? Well??? You and that Lunatic Fringe? Huh?
Boch: (chuckling) Now, just take 'er easy. I like bein' manager. My uniform still fits.
Sabes: (mollified) We still got Durham.
Boch: Been meanin' to talk to you 'bout that, Bri.
Sabes: Third. He hits third.
Boch: That don't give the kid much of a chance.
Sabes: Kid? What kid?
Boch: Frandsen.
Sabes: Oh, him. Send him to the Instructional League. Never mind him.
Boch: Now cleanup, I figure we gotta stick with--
Sabes: Bengie. Mr. Clutch. Our MVP! Now that was a move. Take that, Fringers!
Boch: That means the new fella--
Sabes: Rowand.
Boch: Yeah. He hits fifth.
Sabes: Centerfield.
Boch. Yeah. He hits fifth.
Sabes: Centerfield, dammit!
Boch: Uh, yeah, sure Bri, centerfield.
Sabes: Now, I figure he hits behind Bengie. That'll cut into his RBI total, what with Bengie being the RISP-Meister.
Boch: RISP?
Sabes: Runners in Scoring Position! Bru, you have to get up to speed, here. This is modern baseball. We use a LOT more complicated stats than the old days. That's why you need a computer!
Boch: And fer, uh, what'd ya call it? Downloadin' music?
Sabes: (computer beeps) Oh, I got an email!
Boch: Yeah, I like that new feller too, he's a hard-nosed ball player.
Sabes: No more prima donnas, Bru. Soldiers! All soldiers!
Boch: (under his breath) Well, veterans, anyway.
Sabes: Was that a wisecrack?
Boch: Uh, no sir.
Sabes: OK, were done. That was Baer. I have to get to the office.
Boch: (leaps up eagerly) Ya gonna git that thirdbaseman I wanted!
Sabes: (angrily) Keep your pants on, man, this a public place!
Boch: But we need a--
Sabes: I decide what we need! Now you just work on the rest of that lineup, I'll expect it on my desk by the end of the week! And next month we talk about pitching!
Boch: Shoot, I figured Cain, and Link, and Zito--
Sabes: NEXT month, dammit! Finish that lineup!


Friday, December 21, 2007

Roger, Pete, Barry & M.C.

Charlie Hustle and The Rocket are getting some airplay these days, Roger for his prominent place in the Mitchell Report, and Pete for his never-ending quest to rehabilitate his reputation. M.C. is going to offer his take on these characters: every time I hear them speak my knee-jerk response is always "shut the hell up!" Man, they are clowns. But, you know what? That's cool. I'm not paying jocks for eloquence. (I'll leave that--eloquence, that is--to the bloggers.) I have a sadistic desire to see Roger thrown under the Steroid Bus, because my man BLB got royally screwed by the whole mess, but I learned forgiveness in Catholic school. So, you know something Rog? I'm cool. If you skate, you skate. It'd be nice if Barry got a break, but I'm through hoping for sanity and perspective. And speaking of perspective, Ol' Pete is using the "I ain't as bad as those fellers" defense, a tried-and-true rhetorical device, one I've employed many times myself when defending some point in an argument. Funny thing--he has a point. He may be a low-life and a dumbshit, but he was one hell of a ballplayer. And he should be in the increasingly irrelevant Hall of Lame (Bowie Kuhn? Really? Yeeesh!). As far as MLB goes, he got his punishment, his lifetime ban. And he probably deserved it, but I'm reserving judgment on that after seeing what MLB (and the BBWAA, for that matter) considers "evidence." (A must read: Bill James' Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame). Anecdotally, it is hard to picture another player in my lifetime who attacked the game with Rose's abandon, and whose will to win bordered on psychotic. Damn, if I had been a Reds fan I would have LOVED Rose. Another Giants fan I knew once said "Bonds is exactly the kind of player I would hate if he played for someone else." Yeah, no kidding. You always hate the guys who kill you (hello, Ron Cey). Betting on your team is a worse sin than PEDs, Pete, sorry. But, I'm willing to cut you some slack because I don't believe you "conspired" to destroy the "integrity of the game." Nor do I believe you were a enough of a high-roller for organized crime to take you seriously, or that what happened "between the lines" was ever realistically threatened. You were just another clueless schmuck. With each passing day, with the silly utterances from Clemens, Inc., Jayson Stark, Gene Wojciechowski, Jim Bunning, Jim Bouton, and the posturing smugness from Curt Schilling, I think you have plenty of company.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Snakes Score

I don't care how many prospects Billy Beane got for Dan Haren, the Snakes came away with one of the best pitchers in the game. This guy is the real deal and this deal changes the balance of power. Brandon Webb and Dan Haren match up to our dynamic duo punch-for-punch, and the experience factor puts them over the top. Hell, Webb has won a Cy and Haren started the '07 All-Star game! Our boys are good, but they've yet to establish that kind of track record. I know it is silly to talk about "balance of power" when we will be lucky to stay out of last place and the Snakes will be defending a title, but we can always dream, no? We will get some dream match-ups in our series against AZ: Webb vs. the Hurra-Cain, Haren vs. the Linkster, etc. Looking forward to that.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Dave gets it right

Dave Zirin's article, The Mitchell Report: Absolving the Owners, is required reading. If you aren't tuned in to Mr. Zirin, you are missing out.

Find him at Edge of Sports. Check out the archives as well.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Yeah, too many years (FIVE!!!!) and, I've no doubt too much money (not that the SFG's can't afford it).


No one after the age of 30 is worth a 5-year deal. Criminy!!! Once again we overpaid (FIVE YEARS???) for a good (but not great) ballplayer.

We need a 3B and a 1B. Maybe this means a package with Roberts, Lewis, Davis, Schierholz, etc. is in the works. Look, he's a good player, but FIVE YEARS? C'mon. Our ballpark will hurt his power, and his "glove prowess" will decline rapidly with age (and CF defense is not more important than a power-hitting 1b).

At least we did not trade Cain or Lincecum.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Winter Meetings: "Whew!!"

Yeah, that's my reaction. "Whew" we did not trade Matt Cain or Tim Lincecum. At this point, we have so many holes, that trading one of the two best young pitchers in the game just doesn't make sense. Matt has already established himself as a 'top-tenner,' and Tim is flashing signs of brilliance every time he gets on the mound. Sure, either one of them could flame out. But other than a sure-fire young super-stud (like Prince Fielder, the NL MVP in my book), there is NO ONE worth giving up on these guys for. So, "whew," we dodged a Winter Meetings bullet. Sabean didn't do anything, so he didn't do anything dumb.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Another one bites the dust

After Torii Hunter signed with LAA, it was not surprising that the other CF signed with LAD. I would have taken a chance on Jones, and I'm glad we passed on Hunter. Jones is a bopper, his big stick could have helped us. I don't have any regrets about NOT signing him, but the fact that the DODGERS signed him is bad. They have improved their team. We have not. At some point, we have to address our power issue, or, I should say, LACK of power issue. If Cain and Lincecum are untouchable, and I hope they are, then we have to be willing to deal the rest of our young arms (Hennessey, Correia, Sanchez, Wilson, etc.) for a young hitter or two. I'm OK with avoiding old, injured guys like Scott Rolen (although he would be a huge upgrade over Feliz), but I'd take a chance on him if we can't land someone like Edwin Encarnacion. Rolen is a better player, of course, but Encarnacion is only 24 and still has some upside. I hope we do something smart and I'm terrified we will do something dumb.

Check out this site if you have time for some serious nerd analysis of The Linkster.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Rumour Humour

Here's what I've stumbled upon recently:



Get to work men--what does it all mean???

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Matt or Tim: Part One- The Intangibles

(Warning: This is posted by the "other" author. Please excuse the drop in eloquence, I don't have the gift of gab like the the Irishman.)

Clearly the biggest source of hope (perhaps the only one!) for all Giants fans is the dynamic duo of Cain and Lincecum. It is also obvious that the key issue to be resolved is whether we give up some pitching to get some much needed position talent. So far it looks highly unlikely that we will part with either Matt or Tim (thank the gods!), but still it makes you wonder...if we did decide to part with one of "the chosen ones", which should it be????

Since I am not prepared to do a statistical analysis (maybe MOC can do that for a followup post), I thought I would approach it by looking at the intangibles, in other words, gut feelings with little or no justification. So, here goes...

Most likely to not get injured:
Yikes. Scary topic, but always there with young pitchers. I suppose the experts may cringe at Lincecum's motion, but I get the sense that it is a carefully thought out mechanism. The fact that he doesn't ice down his arm is interesting. Cain's build would seem to give him an edge, but his body seems more "high maintenance." Don't ask me where I came up with that.
Advantage: Tim

Most likely to have the mental edge, domination factor:
After the year Cain was subjected to, you have to give him the edge here. That has to make you tough. Matt has that dumb country boy thing going for him. Seems like I remember him getting real mad towards the end of last year...he yelled at somebody rounding the bases, or something (somebody help me out on that one, please). Tim is only as nasty as his stuff, Matt has more than that. A couple high and tight pitches in big situations and he could get a Drysdale mystique started.
Advantage: Matt

Most likely to get the "glory":
By this I mean the hearts and souls of the fans, the acclaim, the awards; that kind of stuff. I think Matt's working man persona hurts him here. Also not having a nickname (an issue that this blog has tried to address) is a big handicap. I get the sense that Tim might be more likely to get the flashy stats (strikeouts, low BA) and we all know how the media loves that. Tim seems like a better photo op and that's probably the difference maker here.
Advantage: Tim

So, for no real reason at all, my final determination is that, in the highly unlikely event of a trade involving one of our two golden boys, I would ship out.....Matt Cain.

Gosh, I almost feel like I should be fired from the staff here at "Raising (Matt) Cain." Sorry. Perhaps, in part two - The Statistics, I come up with a different choice.

So what do YOU think??? What does your GUT tell you?

There are Others

A quick google about our boy revealed a truth only hitherto hinted at: there are other Matt Cains.

Here's one:

which I found via

What will our boy do when he becomes a household name? Will he have to buy his domain name from this fellow? The horror! The horror!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

25 on 25

Yeah, this is my 25th post here at RMC. And, the 800-lb gorilla is back, #25 himself, BLB. I can't seem to separate sports (baseball, that is) from reality. I wish I could. Really. I just like watching baseball and arguing about it. You know, 'who's the best player?' or 'would you bunt here?' or 'do bullpen coaches actually work?' and stuff like that. Damn, that's fun! Speculating on trades, pining away for some superstar to join your team, that is part and parcel of fandom. But goddamn real-life keeps butting in. Speaking of real life, did you know that Joe DiMaggio worked for the Mob? Yeah. Kind of puts the steroid "scandal" into perspective, eh? Speaking of that, here's another great bit of reporting on steroids, sports and culture. Peripherally, it is about Bonds, because he is the Poster Boy for the 'New Era.' But it is really about life and the times. Y'know, we live in a pharmacological wonderland--better living through biochemistry! At least we hope so.

The homepage for Tom Dispatch is here.
Robert Lipsyte can be found here.
The article is called Shooting Up on Jock Culture and is from 2006, so it doesn't discuss the home run record or the indictment. Warning: definitely NOT a reality-free zone. Next post, I promise, will be back to baseball La-La Land, where we talk about the Giants getting out of last place.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Trade Bait 2008

Here's Matthew Pouilot of Rotoworld:

Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Noah Lowry (Giants) - I doubt that either Cain or Lincecum is going anywhere unless the Giants swing a Miguel Cabrera deal. Crawford wouldn't be a terrible return for Cain, but I wouldn't make that trade if I ran the Giants. If the Yankees offered Phil Hughes and another quality piece for Cain, that'd probably be worth doing. It's not happening, though. Lowry is the one the Giants would be willing to move for a non-elite talent. The 27-year-old left-hander is signed for $6.75 million over the next two years, and there's a $6.25 million club option for 2010. That makes him fairly attractive no matter how much his WHIP fell off last season.

Lowry and RHP Brad Hennessey to Mariners for C Jeff Clement and OF Wladimir Balentien
Lowry to Cardinals for OF Chris Duncan and RHP Mitchell Boggs
Lowry to Royals for OF Chris Lubanski and SS Jeff Bianchi

Prediction - Lowry traded to Mariners, Others stay

Caveat: this is a fantasy site. But I like the thinking, and these guys take this stuff seriously. And they are no weirder than the sabermetricians.

I'd do trade #1 in a heartbeat.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

So it goes.

I want to get away from writing about Bonds, but, like the 800-lb. gorilla, he's still in the room. Not the GIANTS room, but THE room, the entire sports-space. He's bigger than the GAME, bigger than SPORTS, even, and he won't go away. Unless the Feds put him away, and make no mistake they want him, and want him bad. Too many idiotic things have been written about Barry, cascades of vitriol and solipsism, and we know who those clowns are. But smart people have been writing intelligent words about Bonds, and their tiny squeaks of reason and insight are drowned out by a cacophony of slime. This latest piece I found today by perusing the always thoughtful and interesting ONLY BASEBALL MATTERS blog:

The Essence of Bonds
BY D.K. Wilson

The other sites worth reading are Edge of Sports, Cosellout, and The Starting Five. Warning: major time sink. Maybe I can get the BLB Scandal under control, like a rash that breaks out once in a while. In my mind, I mean. The "news" outlets will continue to scream at me with this crap, and I'll have to relax about it so I can get back to the Giants and their dismal prospects for 2008. But The Bonds Thing will keep popping up. In the baseball world, more than any other, people cling harder to their illusions and fantasies about "how it oughta be" and refuse most stubbornly to see "how it really is." Messing with MLB's Mythology is worse than murder.

And I thought that baseball was my escape from reality.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Proverbial Barry Lamar

Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

--Proverbs 16: 18 (KJV)

Barry Lamar Bonds makes the national headlines--again. One of the world's greatest athletes, Bonds looms larger than the sport that brought him fame and money. And thus we see his sin, the ancient one of Pride, one of the Seven Deadlys of Yore. Babe Ruth was bigger than baseball, and so was Joe DiMaggio. Bonds' fatal mistake was pulling himself up to the pantheon, shoving a few old codgers aside in the process, and attempting to stand next to George Herman and Joseph Paul. Tsk, tsk, Barry Lamar. You were too good, too cocky, too aloof, too self-absorbed. Mostly you were just too good. Hang your head, boy, and say "aw, shucks," and we'll cut you some slack. But stand pround, be defiant, and we'll cut you down. Welcome to the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, Barry, where you can "be all you can be."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Birthday wishes

1. The Giants sign Miguel Cabrera for a bunch of farmhands.

2. Bruce Bochy gets a hankering to manage the Nat's AAA team or something and Ron Wotus gets promoted to top dog.

3. Brian Sabean retires and we get some new, smart person like the Chavez Latriners Assistant GM, Kim Ng, or the ex-Twins GM, Terry Ryan.

4. Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain form the best 1-2 pitching punch in baseball in 2008. (And The Beezy has a big bounce-back season.)

5. The SFG's realize the error of their ways and BLB returns for another historic season, and his mentoring of Daniel Ortmeier, Kevin Frandsen, and Fred Lewis makes them all into studly major league hitters.

By the way, check out today's Lisa Gray article at The Hardball Times entitled "My favorite baseball players." I enjoyed it for two reasons: 1) BLB made the top spot and 2) she has a smart, fun, fan's perspective, and loves ballplayers for many of the same silly reasons we all do.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Gettin' serious about 2008

Now that Mr. Sabean has clarified the Giants' position on Bonds (just say "no") and the rest of the league ("we're kicking the tires"), it is time for serious talk about 2008.

1B) Rich Aurilia. Dan Ortmeier. Hmmmm, unproven rookie and tired old hack. I'm goin' with the rook, Richie can sit and play back-up.

2B) Ray Durham. Kevin Frandsen. I want KF to succeed so badly it makes my teeth hurt. I expect Durham will play better (he was one of the worst in MLB last year, so I'm not reaching here). Sorry Ray, you sit. The phenom plays.

SS) Sabean loves Omar--who doesn't? Omar will sign with us because no one else is interested. They all have younger shortstops.

3B) Sabean loves Pete. Get used to it. Another Richie A backup spot.

LF) Roberts. Expect a rebound season

CF) Davis/Lewis platoon. One of them can play, let's find out which one.

RF) Winn. Decent player all around. Our "main man" next year. Schierholz make the team? Only if one of our CF's blows chow in the spring.

Ugh. We'll be lucky to score 3 runs per game. And adding Mike Lowell or Torii Hunter or Andruw Jones won't change that very much.

Help me out here, I'm drowning!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Read 'em and weep

The HOF responded to my email of 27 Sep. (See JCP's post and the comments). I decided to post my reply here on RMC. (BTW, here's the link so you can sound off to the HOF as well.)

Dear HOF:

Thank you for your smarmy and obsequious note of 2 Nov. I stand by my letter, forgetting of course about my ability to spell "embarrassment" and "publicity." Five points:

1) I am not your friend.

2) "Delay" in returning an e-mail? Are you kidding? Do you not have nerds in Cooperstown? Can you not write/borrow/steal/download a fooking automated reply system? Oops, I'm sorry, I think that WAS an automated reply.

3) Have you considered that 10,000,000 votes in an "on-line poll" was no more than six stateless hackers-for-hire writing code that voted 1,666,666 times each, with Mark Ecch-o casting the last one personally?

4) Do you have deliberately defaced artifacts on display with placards ("the entire story . . . will be presented fairly and balanced with facts and not supposition") about the OTHER famous ballplayers in the Hall? Yeah? Like who? And what do you say about THEM?

5) "Additionally, please know we have several other artifacts graciously donated by Barry Bonds from his career, including his historic 755th and 756th home runs."


Dear Friend:

Thank you for your letter regarding Barry Bonds’ 756th home run baseball which is being donated to the museum. Thank you for taking the time to express your views and we apologize for the delay in returning a reply.

We understand your consternation in the Museum accepting this donation, but we strongly believe it is a relevant and important artifact that belongs in Cooperstown. As an American history museum, our core mission is to tell the story of baseball history, both in the context of how it unfolds on the field, and also as it relates to American culture.

As you know, the baseball from Bonds’ 756th home run is being donated with an asterisk affixed to it. We do not condone defacing artifacts and would have preferred the baseball be donated in its natural state. We were willing to look beyond that in this instance, because of the historical relevance connected to the baseball. We will explain why it is defaced and what led to it being donated to the Museum in that condition.

In our opinion, the baseball speaks to many significant parallels between baseball and culture in 2007, some of which include: a representation of baseball fans’ sentiments about the home record, for a one-week period in September 2007; a symbol of the adversity Barry Bonds had to endure in passing Hank Aaron to become the all-time home run champion, and; the passion baseball fans have for baseball history, as evidenced by the popularity of the online poll, in which 10 million votes were cast during a one-week period.

When this artifact is eventually donated and placed on display in the Museum, the entire story -- from when the baseball left Barry Bonds’ bat and ended up in Cooperstown -- will be presented fairly and balanced with facts and not supposition: We share baseball history through exhibits and let our visitors interpret their own feelings.

Additionally, please know we have several other artifacts graciously donated by Barry Bonds from his career, including his historic 755th and 756th home runs.

We hope this sheds some light into our thinking. Thanks again for sharing your opinion, which we value.

The best way to stay informed about the Hall of Fame and all the happenings in Cooperstown is to subscribe to INSIDE PITCH, the official e-mail newsletter of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. IT'S FREE and shows up in your e-mail box at the beginning of each week. You'll also receive timely news items direct from Cooperstown - where we preserve history, honor excellence and connect generations every day. Follow this link to sign up for INSIDE PITCH.

Yours in Baseball,
The Hall of Fame

Experience today , your online home for everything Cooperstown: * Participate in our Hall of Fame Fantasy Camp; * Shop in our Online Museum Store 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; * Receive Inside Pitch, our free E-Newsletter; * and much more

-----Original Message-----From: Mark O'Connor [] Sent: Thursday, September 27, 2007 1:18 AMTo: Baseball Hall of FameSubject: Barry Bonds baseball
IP Address:
Name:Mark O'Connor
Subject:Barry Bonds baseball
Question and/or Comment:The ridiculous stunt regarding Mr. Ecko and the "asterisk" on #756 is an embarassment to baseball and the Hall of Fame. I am shocked you would blatantly disrespect one of the greatest American athletes of all time. Shame on you, succumbing to a juvenile publcity stunt by someone who knows nothing of the game! Give Barry his due, he's earned it.
Date of Birth:11/ 13/ 1959
Favorite Baseball Team:SF Giants
Favorite Hall Of Famer:Mike Schmidt

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Bonjour, Carney Lansford!

When a team hits as poorly as we did last year, changing the batting coach is a given. But you can't make All-Stars out of over-the-hill major leaguers, and you can't make major leaguers out of AAAA hitters. Or can you? I like the Lansford choice. I'm not basing this on any track record as an instructor. I have no idea whether he has been a good one or a bad one. But he was a fine hitter, and if he can teach others how to hit, we might get our surplus of AAAA hitters over the hump to producing regularly in the bigs.

15 years, 1899 games, .290 AVG, .343 OBA, .411 SLG, only 553 BB's, BUT only 719 K's

He was a solid, productive percentage hitter who lacked pop. BUT he didn't whiff much. I like that. Maybe he can teach plate discipline, patience, and how to use the whole field. A guy like Frandsen or Ortmeier could really improve with some work in those areas. Lansford is a Bay Area boy and the Giants seem to like that hometown connection (like Righetti--who's useless).

Welcome aboard, Carney! (Eek! That name! Don't you just want to wear a striped shirt and porkpie hat, chew on a cheroot and accost passers-by with a gravelly baritone: "step right up, folks, ya won't believes yer eyes, only a dollah, ladies are free . . .")

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Glory Days

I was perusing the 2003 Giants Media Guide--Felipe, superimposed over the Park, is on the cover, with inset photos of Bonds and Robb Nen and the "2002 NL Champions" logo. I found my way to page 378 which lists the 2002 June Draft Selections. There are 50 total, of that 24 had been signed. Here are the first four, in order:

Round 1, pick 25, MATT CAIN (17 yrs. old)
Round 2, pick 66, FRED LEWIS (21 yrs. old)
Round 3, pick 97, DANIEL ORTMEIER (21 yrs. old)
Round 4, pick 127, KEVIN CORREIA (21 yrs. old)

(2001's #1 pick was Brad Hennessey)

The only other name of note on the list from '02 was #8, the 247th pick, Clay Hensley, who went to San Diego for Matt Herges in July of 2003. Then 18-year old Travis Ishikawa was the 637th pick (#21) overall. The other 44 names are nobodies.

So, in June of 2008, six years later, who will be making the biggest impact on the San Francisco Giants? The Hurra-Cain is a shoo-in, but what about the other three? Talk amongst yourselves . . .

Saturday, October 27, 2007

More kudos for M.C.

The Hurra-Cain gets more notice:

Cain recognized: Right-hander Matt Cain was ranked eighth on famed baseball analyst Bill James' list of the game's top 25 players under the age of 29. The feature appears in The Bill James Handbook 2008, which will be published next month.
"His 7-16 record disguises one of the league's best pitchers," James wrote of Cain, 23. "He had the same number of quality starts last year as Brandon Webb, but whereas Webb was 17-2 with three no-decisions in those games, Cain was 6-8 with eight no-decisions."

This was the last item in the Chris Haft article about Eugenio Velez ("Velez on the run in Arizona Fall League") from the Giants webpage. Of course, we knew this already. Bill James is the well-known stat guru. Here's another link to his work. (We'll have to talk about Eugenio Velez pretty soon, eh?)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Crox or BoTox?

OK, readers (er, RMC has readers, eh?), time to chime in on the World Serious. Crox? BoTox? Don't care? The BoTox were pre-season favorites, they have been the best team all year, they just scored 30 runs (while yielding 5) in the last three games of the ALCS, they are hotter than Alabama asphalt on sunny day. The Crox have The Streak, The Team of Destiny, the Humidor Hoo-doo goin' on, and they SWEPT their opponents in the playoffs. Too bad the Crox are a non-story. I mean, winning 20 of 21 is something special, but you have to be baseball junky to care. No one outside the shadow of the Rocky Mountains gives a shit about that team. The TV folks were sacrificing virgins to get the Mets into the Series, or at least the Phillies, some team with a goddamn market. You'd probably get more folks watching the Dodgers minor-league team from Vero Beach than the Crox. Then there is the elephant in the room, the damn Red Sox and their goddamn Nation. The team is absolutely loaded. They have youth, veterans, fielding, power, speed, starting pitching, bullpen, everything. This Series is theirs to lose. I'll be surprised if they don't crush the Rockies. My family is from Boston--I've got the Sox in my blood. But I've had my fill of the goddamn Nation. Congratulations on a great season, and congrats in advance for winning the Series. Now bugger off ya damn wankers.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Tao of '08

Handle a large kingdom with as gentle a touch as if
you were cooking a small fish.
If you manage people by letting them alone,
Ghosts of the dead shall not haunt you.

--Lao Tzu (trans. Witter Bynner)

I'm convinced that the best thing the Giants can do is nothing. No free agent signings*. No trades. The Giants have a large arsenal of young arms. Some of them will be effective (or better) major leaguers. Let's find out who they are, and what role they will shine in. The team has several OF prospects. Let's give them a chance to play. I've already blogged about Dan Ortmeier and Kevin Frandsen--I think they are our 2008 1B and 2B. Wishful thinking, perhaps, but there it is. We might lose 120 games. Fine. If we have a FUTURE and are RE-BUILDING I can live with losing. Normally, I would encourage the team's leadership to spend the "currency" of young arms on young hitters. But I am haunted by the ghosts of failed trades and idiotic signings. I do not trust Brian Sabean to make good judgments. I do not trust our scouting department to make good evaluations of other teams' talent. I do not trust the ownership group to make sound financial decisions. Sometimes you have to hold your cards and bluff. This is that time.

*Omar. OK, I can live with Omar.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Ort! Ort! Ort!

Daniel David Ortmeier is kicking some serious hiney in the Arizona Fall League, and the Chris Haft article on the SF Giants website makes the obvious comparison to Kevin Frandsen, Giants AFL Golden Boy last year. KF really struggled this season, looking like a blind man at a piñata convention, but he seemed to really get it together in September and finished well. A mini-story surfaced claiming that a chat with Barry Bonds helped him. Well, duh. Too bad a Bonds story like that has no "legs," we sure wouldn't want anyone to think he was a good teammate. If anyone ever played with Bonds and FAILED to ask him hitting advice he should be sent back to the minors, DFA'd, or traded. Hell, I'D ask Bonds' advice and I play slo-pitch! Regardless, DO is trying to be our 1B next year. I say RIGHT ON! Go for it, Dan, the job is yours to lose. And I expect to see your fellow AFL star starting at 2B right next to you. These guys have done everything the organization has asked them to do--time to find out what they have. I'd rather lose 120 games with these guys in the lineup everyday than pay some over-the-hill veteran hack to hit .250. The best thing Brian Sabean can do this off-season is NOTHING.

Monday, October 15, 2007

God Bless You, Mr. Sabean

Yorvit Torrealba was a Giant. Now he is a Rockie. He was a big hero yesterday with a 3-run bomb off (former Giant) Livan Hernandez. Way to go, Yorvit. As much as I hate rooting for the Crox, the Dirt-Bax are even harder to root for. Wait--that Bob Melvin fellow, he was a Giant, eh? (And a Golden Bear!) Gee, he could have been OUR manager instead of the clown we got stuck with when the Puds upgraded to Bud Black (he was a Giant, too).

Brian Sabean sneezes and the NL West passes us by.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


There's a fellow over at Baseball Think Factory named Dan Szymborski who has a stat-geek player projection system called ZiPS. There are lots of these floating around, and RMC will get to them in due course. I took a look at his projections for Matt Cain and Barry Zito for 2007 (you can see the entire '07 team here).


xMatt Cain 4.01 13 10 33 32 193.0 167 86 24 87 174
Barry Zito 4.01 14 11 34 34 216.0 196 96 25 96 165

Now here is the reality of 2007:

xMatt Cain 3.65 07 16 32 32 200.0 173 81 14 79 163
Barry Zito 4.53 11 13 34 33 196.2 182 99 24 83 131

Stat projections are just that--projections. But there is nothing else to do in October except root for the Yankees to lose (YES!!) and watch other teams celebrate. Why I bring this up, O My Brothers, is the stark ugliness of the 2008 projections. You can peruse them here. Note: we are referred to as "Cellar Dwellers." There is some confusing stuff in among the numbers (all these systems use, to some degree, a theoretical "average" player to compare an individual against), but you'll get the gist.

Here's our boys again, "projected" for next season:

xMatt Cain 3.63 14 10 34 33 206.0 186 83 18 76 173
Barry Zito 3.99 13 12 34 34 210.0 193 93 22 90 159

I'm skipping the batting stuff, it is just too bleak. I'd be happy if Zito has an ERA below 4.00 and pitches over 200 innings. I'd like to see Cain push it a little past these projections, getting his ERA below 3.50 and reaching 220 innings. That being said, he pitched damn well this year, and he will likely pitch damn well next year. (Just cut down the walks and pitch counts, me bucko!) Here's the look at Tim "Link" Lincecum (not in the 2007 database):

Player Spotlight - Tim Lincecum

Stud 2.58 14 4 34 34 206 156 59 11 72 230
Mean 3.28 10 5 29 29 173 146 63 13 67 173
Wuss 4.17 06 6 24 24 138 130 64 13 65 126

Top Near-Age Comps: Jim Maloney, Kerry Wood

The projection assumes a 70% chance of being "mean" and an equal 15% chance each of "badass" or "stinko." (That corresponds roughly to a "normal" distribution.) I like the comparison to Jim Maloney, but obviously not to Kerry "Where Have All the Strikeouts Gone" Wood. I've been using Wood to keep me from hyperventilating over Link--you just never know. (BTW, Mr. Szymborski calls Our Boy Matt the rather predictable "Citizen" Cain.) No matter what else happens in 2008 (please, Brian Sabean, please don't sign any old boring guys or make any trades with our young arsenal of arms), even if we stay in last place from April to September, we get to watch Matt "Sugar" Cain and Tim "Second Coming" Lincecum every week. Throw in a rejuventated Barry "Beezy" Zito and we might have some fun now and then.

I had some problems formatting the text so forgive the X by Sugar Cain and other oddities like being unable to put headers (W, L . . .) over the numbers, leading zeros, etc.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Au revoir Joe Lefebvre

The blog-o-sphere is alive and kicking this a.m. about the role of a hitting coach at the ML level and the 'impact' of losing one and getting a new one. For the record, Lefebvre will still be in the organization. So will Willie Upshaw, who was supposedly our 'second' hitting coach. Next year we will see a new butt-slapping whisperer along the 1B line. Gee, I wonder who it will be? I vote for a strapping, manly-looking fellow who can intimidate umpires into making close calls go our way. I expect to see a lot of our team speed in action next year, weak-hitting guys straining like galley slaves to eke out dribblers. A good 1B coach could add 10 points to a batting average just by threatening to emasculate the man in blue if he calls our boy out. Seriously, what in God's name does replacing a 1B coach have to do with WINNING? (Now a 3B coach, on the other hand, can LOSE games for you. Tim-I-never-met-an-OF-with-a-good-throwing-arm-Flannery had his share of "git-along, little doggies" windmills that turned in to easy outs at home this year. With our new team speed, I expect that to continue!) So, who replaces Morgan (er, Joe) LaFey? Someone who actually TEACHES young players. Gives them the benefit of their experience. Scouts pitchers for them. Helps them relax and focus. Encourages good habits. Mike Sciosia (my favorite manager despite being a Smogger Scum) says "you have to encapsulate the game." In other words, do the task at hand, don't try to see the whole game and all that has to be done. If it is 1-2 with a guy on 2nd, shorten your swing and try to go the other way. Stuff like that. A good coach can help young players with their mental approach. Does such a guy exist? We'll see. Now if we can just get rid of Righetti, we might be able to build a bullpen with the plethora of young arms we have.

Monday, October 8, 2007

LCS set

Yes, this is a GIANTS blog, but I can't avoid remarks on the playoffs. The wildly improbable Colorado-Arizona NL West match-up is a head-scratcher's nightmare. Who knew? Who figured? Boston overwhelmed LA-Anaheim, out-manning them in every phase of the game. But the real news is the Cleveland Indians have eliminated the New York Yankees. Who can't enjoy that? I come from a Red Sox family (my Mom and Dad were born and raised in Boston, Mom saw Ted Williams play), but I'm rooting for the Indians. Cosmically, their World Series Futility Streak is linked to the Giants. In 1954, the Indians were defeated by Willie Mays' New York Giants despite having the all-time best record in baseball. Cleveland had been champs in 1948, and after such a great season most pundits figured them to beat the Giants. But they got swept, four games to none. So if Cleveland breaks the curse of 1954, maybe the San Francisco Giants can as well! (Hey, throw me a bone here, eh?) The Indians had two close calls, with the Manny Ramirez-Kenny Lofton-Omar Vizquel teams in 1995 and 1997. Giants fans don't have to be reminded of our club's championship drought. One of these days it will be OUR TURN.
Go Indians!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Bringin' some cheese . . .

Hardball Times had a nice look at our boy this spring. If you haven't seen it, check it out here. Otherwise, go to HT and search for "cheese." Carlos Gomez evaluates pitchers with a lot of video frame-by-frame stuff and very wonky technical discussions. Some of his columns are called "Bringin' Some Serious Cheese." Warning: serious time sink.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Down on the Farm

Lisa Winston of has an article on the Giants farm system that says all sorts of bright, sunny things. Check it out here. I'm intrigued by John Bowker who is with the Connecticut club (The Defenders, Eastern League, AA).

Check out the look at the Devil Rays prospects. Some trade material here?

Time to start looking for youngsters for us to go out and get!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


I'm posting another's words today (source):

The Mets didn’t lose the NL East because of a failure of character. They didn’t lose because they were somehow less virtuous than the Phillies. They didn’t lose because of some grand plan of an incomprehensible God. They lost because they just didn’t play good baseball down the stretch, and they got beat. Tom Glavine’s got some postseason experience (if it matters — I don’t know if it does), and has proved his worth in the game a thousand times over. No matter how big the strike zone was for him during his career, he’s a deserving Hall Of Famer. And today, he just got pounded. Not because of some mystical rubbish that allows those of us with access to a keyboard or microphone to pass judgment on players like some sort of meddlesome scold, but because he just got beat up.

This is from a fellow named Gary Huckabay and was posted on Baseball Prospectus on 30 September. Check it out here. BP is a subscriber thing, but there is lots of good stuff available for free. I believe Mr. Huckabay is a founder or senior writer or somesuch. I liked this piece, it was titled WOW. The final weekend of NL baseball was certainly high on the WOW factor, with the Phillies pulling off their comeback and the Padres failing to clinch, giving the Rockies a chance. After last night's dramatic, improbable win in Denver, the Rox go through and the Pads go home. Game 163 could have gone either way, I had no real preference, but had to think the Mile High Crew had a bit of home field advantage (and I was happy to see ex-Giant Yorvit Torrealba get a big HR). Regardless, it was great baseball. The fact that my SFG's finished in LAST PLACE is even more painful when I watch a thrilling contest like that one. But the real point is this: anything can happen. Teams win, teams lose. No one can say WHY one team plays well and gets the breaks at the right time, and another doesn't. It just happens. Random chance is a cruel arbiter of our fates, and we refuse to believe that Lady Luck is the biggest player in these games. But She is. The Pads threw their best out there, Peavy and Hoffman, and lost. Go figure. I mean, if you're Bud Black, wouldn't you figure those two would give you the best chance of winning? Sure you would. But hey--it didn't work out. And that's what makes baseball so great.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Barry Zito, 6-and-3 man

33 starts at 6 IP/start is 198 IP, 33 starts at 3 ER/start is 99 ER. Our Billion Dollar Boy, Barry Zito, managed 196-2/3. With an actual total of 99 ER this season, his ERA is 4.53. That makes him officially a 6-and-3 man. 6 IP and 3 ER per start. A quick calculation (6/3 = 9/x) gives us a 4.50 expected ERA for a 6-and-3 man. Lifetime, with 255 starts, 1627 IP, and 663 ER, he comes out a 6-1/3 man (6.38 IP/start) with 2.6 ER/start (3.67 ERA). Suffice to say he had a shitty year by his standards. I want a 7-and-3 man! I do, really. It makes it a lot easier on your bullpen if you only need a set-up man and a closer. Sure, the 8th could involve a lefty-righty thing, so you might need 3 guys to finish it out, but I'm not quibbling. I don't expect Mr. 6-1/3 to suddenly change to Mr. 7 IP, but it would be nice if Mr. 6-and-3 could try to be Mr. 6-and-2. Throw a few more 6-and-2's in the mix, with an occasional 7 or 8 with only 2 or 3 (like yesterday), and you have a guy who wins more than he loses. Even on our team. Barry Zito's lifetime win percentage is .598--in 33 starts he should get 19 wins! OK, OK, I'll throw in 9 NDs, and get 14 wins with that pct. Whaddya say, big fella, can ya get us 14 next year?

Saturday, September 29, 2007


"Hits allowed per 9 IP" is a nerd stat. Although it is simple on the face, and obvious, no one argues about HA/9IP over beers. But ERA, a more convoluted calculation, is well-established in the minds of baseball fans. Students of the game know that ERA is skewed by the actions of relief pitchers, ballpark effects, fielding, and other whatnots. So stat nerds like indicators like HA/9IP. San Diego's tandem of Chris Young and Jake Peavy lead the NL with 6.25 and 6.59 respectively--no surprise. Matt Cain is 5th at 7.79 (Oliver Perez and Carlos Zambrano are ahead of him, Brandon Webb and Ted Lilly just behind him). So, I like HA/9IP. Anything that shows our boy to be studly is cool by me. Matt's Achilles' Heel, of course, is Bases on Balls. A glance at the league leaders shows Carlos Zambrano as number one, but Noah Lowry is 3rd with 87, Barry Zito 5th with 83, and Matt tied with Livan Hernandez for 7th place with 79. Giants (and ex-Giants) like to walk people! Sheesh! How can our team WALK SO MANY PEOPLE!!! OK, OK, I'm over it. Matt will improve, I have no doubt. His 1.26 WHIP (BB+H per IP) puts him just behind Greg Maddux (at #11). When he gets his pitch counts down, and walks fewer guys (like Mr. Maddux), we will see some serious ass-kicking going on. Looking forward to Spring already!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Call the Hall

Use this link to tell Baseball's Hall of Fame what you think about the asterisk ball. Help preserve the dignity of this already terribly flawed institution.

I've spent my whole life waiting to visit Cooperstown. Now, I don't think I could stand it. Oh why must my baseball life continue to mock me??? (Actual answers to that question would be appreciated.)

p.s. POP (that was the sound of my first blog!)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

End of an Era

I've already blogged about Barry Bonds, the Home Run King, the Greatest Giant of Them All. You can read my stuff here, or more specifically, here. My blog, TEN POUND PRESS, has an archive of baseball material, most of it about Barry. Click on the BASEBALL label to see it.

Thanks for 15 great years, Barry. I hope you play as long as you wish to, and thrill the fans in another city (as long as they are an American League team!). You are one of the greatest athletes and performers I have had the privilege to watch and follow.


(p.s. Marc Ecko is an ASSHOLE. The Hall of Fame is a bunch of clowns.)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

7 5 2 2 1 8

113 piches, 73 strikes, 26 batters faced, 5 ground outs, 8 fly outs. The two runs were solo HRs, one by the notorious Giant-killer, Khalil Greene. Hennessey, Kline and Wilson got through the 8th, Wilson striking out Adrian Gonzalez to end the inning. The Giants had scored four off Brett Tomko, and Wilson came out for the 9th to close it. He had a meltdown. A Greene hit, followed by two outs, then a cheap hit by Brady Clark to yield a run. After the pinch-hitter Oscar Robles was 1 and 2, Wilson threw three balls way out of the zone. Mr. Ineffective, Dave Righetti, came out for a manly chat, and Wilson responded with two more way out of the zone. He grooved one, and Brian Giles hit the Big Fly, a 3-run HR. Bochy had asked Wilson to get 5 outs, and the 2 in the 8th took 3 batters and 11 pitches. He didn't have enough for the 9th, and I wonder if Skipper Bruce made a bad call. It was Wilson's first blown save. Once again, Matt Cain is denied a win after an exceptional performance. In 6 starts against the Padres, he is 0-3 despite allowing only 11 earned runs in 40 2/3 IP (not to mention 42 strikeouts!). It is a shame we are such a lousy team. We should have lit up Tomko, and we should have finished the 8th without having to use Wilson. Matt finishes the year with 7 wins and 16 losses, but reaches 200 IP in his 32 starts. Mr. Hard Luck has battled all year, showing Giants fans that there is a future beyond Barry Bonds. If we were in a pennant race, this game would have been among the most hideous and disastrous of losses in club history. Since we are last-place scrubs clinging to the hope of playing spoiler, it is merely another in a long line of agonizing performances. We can't beat SD this year, they have us out-manned and out-gunned in every facet of the game. A great line tonight, Matt, I'll take 7 5 2 2 1 8 anytime.