Saturday, March 31, 2012

Uh, the season started already

Weird. That's all I can come up with. It's weird. Two actual real-live-they-count ballgames have been played and the MMXII MLB is off and running. The A's and Mariners now have a week off. I wonder, did they have to set their 25-man roster already? Or do they get a do-over because they still have exhibitions to play? Like I said, weird. Even weirder is price of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Two freakin' billion, man. That's some serious scratch. The Guggenheim-Johnsons must throw a mean cocktail party. It's brilliant, really. Frank McCourt pissed on the rug, dug up the lawn, and knocked over the statuary but still sold the mansion for a profit. How? Because it was a mansion, dude, up there in Malibu with all the rest of the killer mansions. He brought way more attention to the club by being a total douche and as a consequence people paid extra to get their hands on it. McCourt is the new FreeMarket™ PosterBoy© and will probably run for president next. The Tea-Boys will love him. And the Resurrection of Earvin, to boot. Talk about magic--that's a coup. He is easily the most famous and beloved athlete in SoCal, not to mention an international star. Brilliant, like I said. Let's just hope the Dodgers will be cash-poor for a stretch and not just buy all of our players when they reach free agency. Matt Cain, are you listening?

A fond farewell to Mike Fontenot--check out El Lefty Malo for a fine take on the tale. I must admit to being a big Fontenot fan. I think he'd be better as the utility guy than Ryan Theriot or Emmanuel Burriss. With Freddy Sanchez in doubt, the extra infielders looked like a team strength, then they went and got rid of the best of the rest. I don't like it, but it dampens not my enthusiasm. If utility guys really are fungible, then the Giants will just have to get fungy and find another one.

The Barry Zito Follies continue. The days of wishing for mediocrity are over--he's toast. The flesh is willing but the mind is weak. Or something. How the hell should I know? But he may never get it back, no matter how hard Rags & Co. work. The Giants don't have $40M to toss away. I should say they do, of course, because they do. They are one hella-rich ownership group. Ask all the partners to ante up another half-mil each and they can buy (or buy out) anyone. But this is a TV, tickets, t-shirts, and Garlic Taters kind of outfit. They aren't going to kick in any extra. Oh, they'll get the oil changed regularly, and use premium gas, but they won't lay out for the turbo upgrade. The smooth and dependable Camry will never be a Ferrari, but that don't mean it can't pass you on the interstate.

Enough of the jibber-jabber, I'm sick of spring. Let's play some baseball.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ready, Freddy?

It seems likely that Freddy Sanchez will start the season on the DL. Does that mean an opening for Emmanuel Burriss? The former Golden Flash has 146 hits in the big leagues (222 games), but only 15 of those went for extra bases (13 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR). MannyB turned 27 in January, a make-or-break age for most ballplayers. It's hard to imagine him being anything other than a stopgap--his career minor league line is .285/.348/.344, and you never like to see SLG < OBP. He is fast, we know that, and he has a Schierholtzian arm, but can he give the team something more than the LSU duo of Mike Fontenot and Ryan Theriot? I really want to root for MannyB, but I just don't see enough in his track record to suggest he can stick at the job. Nonetheless, he may provide a few weeks of inspired play and make a positive contribution. And he might just shut up the naysayers, which would be fine by me!

With Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Madison Bumgarner all looking good and apparently at full health, most of the roster decisions are minor by comparison. Barry Zito just might be average (hallelujah!), and Eric Surkamp just might hold down the 5-spot for a bit if Ryan Vogelsong is not quite up to speed. I could live with Brandon Belt at AAA if Brett Pill can bring some right-handed power to the lineup and keep the heat on Aubrey Huff. We know the young lefty is going to be an everyday player very soon, and will likely be tearing it up late in the season, so I don't think we need to worry. Belt is a tremendous talent, and he just needs a little more seasoning before he becomes a regular. I like the depth at first base. When your putative starter is 35 and coming off a wretched season, you need to have a backup plan. I think the Giants are in good shape. The most exciting story--other than the return of Buster Posey--is the emergence of Brandon Crawford. I really hope the Giants are patient with him. If they are really willing to put him in the 8-hole and let him ride out the rough spots I think they will find he will hit better than they expect. We all know his glove will save piles of runs--can't wait to see it everyday!


Thursday, March 15, 2012

This would rain on my parade

I am excited about the 2012 Giants. I think they've got a great club, and I can't wait for the season to start. I only really wanted one thing this off-season. Then I read this shite:
The chances of the San Francisco Giants signing right-hander Matt Cain to a contract extension before Opening Day are rapidly diminishing.
That's from Ken Rosenthal. It could just be another one of those Spring Pieces that sports-writers have to crank out. And it is diametrically opposed to the gushing enthusiasm of one Andrew Baggarly. So, I have to believe the reality is somewhere in the middle.
Cain’s representatives spoke Wednesday with Giants officials, and the two sides failed to make progress toward a deal, according to major league sources.
God, I hate "major league sources." Just say who the fuck they are fer chrissakes, and if they don't want to tell you their names then they're just gossips. And I hate fucking gossips.
No further discussions are planned, sources said, increasing the possibility that Cain could become a free agent at the end of the season.
I have a little difficulty believing that "discussions" have ended. People have phones and stuff, they can always schedule new meetings. A tad heavy on the melodrama, eh Ken?

That being said, I do not want to go into the season pissed off. C'mon--make this happen. This is Matt Cain we are talking about!


Friday, March 9, 2012

The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades

A tweet from Baggs:
A guess: SF will have extensions 4 Cain, Bum b4 I return. They've been working late. They like package announcements. & renewal date is Sun.

That would be sweet.

And Buster plays his first Spring game today!


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Matty, Matty, Matty

Not quite ready for Buster! Buster! Buster! Ol' Boch said our catcher would play this weekend, and that Freddy Sanchez and Brian Wilson are on the same timetable. He said he's going to use all of the "42 days" to figure things out. OK by me. The other story is Cain's contract. Here's Baggs:
From what I’ve been told, the two sides have reached greater common ground in recent weeks. Cain wants to stay and the Giants have the wherewithal to keep him. Those tend to be the most important factors. It’ll be a surprise to many, both in the organization and out, if Cain’s deal doesn’t get done before the season starts.

It sure was fun to watch the big fella pop the glove and do his thing. Last spring he had elbow problems, remember? Spring Training in HD is very strange--I got a really good look at Justin Christian muffing a popup in left field.



Saturday, March 3, 2012

It Begins!

Spring has sprung!  The 2012 San Francisco Giants began their preamble to greatness with the opener of the Cactus League.  I'm pretty sure there was a final score...yep, Arizona won 9-6...but more importantly, it has STARTED!  Where it will end, no one knows. The journey is the joy...and I can't wait for it to begin. So as the wise man once said, "Let's Get it On."

I must admit that I did not follow the entire game. It was far too lovely outside, besides when we start using pitchers with the number 86 (turns out to be some guy named Hector Correa) that is a clear reminder that it is play time in the desert.  I can report that Tim Lincecum got in his scheduled 33 pitches (9 batters and 6 outs, 4 singles, 1 run, 2 strikeouts). Hard to analyze that sample, and what does it matter any way? He didn't get hurt and that is all that really matters.  Will Tim's fastball control get back to where it will carry him to the highest level again? Only time will tell.

I did have one question for the masses:  What do you think of the new two Wild Card system?  Sure makes it a bigger advantage to win a division now. Does it help or hurt OUR chances?  What do you guys think?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

March Madness

Leap Day is done and gone and March is here. This Saturday is the first Spring Training game for our beloved Gigantes. I've no doubt that Joe Panik will hit .650 and Melky Cabrera .012, and that Brian Burres will strike out 22 in 9 innings and Matt Cain will have a 11.34 ERA. That's what March baseball is all about. Relax, mis amigos, and enjoy the show. I'm trying not to get caught up in pre-season hyperbole. I know that X, Y, and Z are in the best shape of their lives and that A, B, and C have something to prove, and that P, Q, and R can earn a spot with a good showing. We get plenty of that pablum from the usual sources. And we've had our talks and profiled our players and run down the roster choices and whatnot like good fans. I suppose we've avoided any serious rosterbation, you know, actually whittling it down to 25, but that's OK. We know what matters: that the talented core of the team is healthy and able to play come Opening Day and stays healthy and ready to play for the bulk of the 162. We also know that a lot of that comes down to random chance. The gods are cruel, this we know only too well. So make your sacrifices and say your prayers and dance your dances and perform your ablutions and propitiate your propitiations and all will be well.