Thursday, January 21, 2016

The World is Going to Hell

You read about it every day in the paper.  Terrorism, global warming, asshole republicans, and now this.

"Adding the DH to NL would bring a number of benefits to the game, though: It would increase offense, since many pitchers are looked as easy outs (the Zack Greinkes and Madison Bumgarners of the world notwithstanding) and that's something that would benefit baseball overall, since fans like offense."   Fans like offense.  There it is, the simplemindedness that is in charge of our national pastime.  So those 45 - 28 run baseball games?  Fans must absolutely love those.  This is the crappy, fuzzy, illogical thinking that threatens the sport, and with it, America.  Baseball is packing them in a deriving record revenues.  MLB, who apparently already thinks the game it too long (although it means more time for fans to spend money and watch commercials), now wants to slow it down.  So Adam Wainwright tore his achilles tendon running to first?  Why not carry him to the mound and back and let him forego fielding grounders?  More offense, if that is what the effect is, will make the game longer.  I find American League baseball more boring in that where you are in a line up is really irrelevant.  Once you start a game, if you have all hitters then there is no point to putting your weaker hitters towards the end of the batting order.  It just doesn't matter anymore.  If baseball wants fans, making the game simpler isn't going to help - it will just lose those nerdy kids who love everything about the game and want to discuss it for hours.  Kids like we used to be before we all grew into nerdy adults.  I know that pitchers make outs.  But the worst thing in the world is to bloat up your roster with fat, old guys and watch them swing for the fences.  I can go to the park and watch senior league softball for free if I want that.  The honeymoon's over.  Fire Rob Manfred NOW!

Sunday, January 10, 2016


That's the line at Bovada for the Giants to win the 2016 World Series. You want to make 500 bucks? Put down a hundred on San Francisco and if they pull it off you get your hundred back and a nice little five hundred profit. Another way to say it is 6-to-1. The Chicago Cubs are also 6-to-1 to win the Series this season. That's what you call "playin' the favorites." I still have a betting slip from 1989 when my brother-in-law put down fifty smackers on my behalf for the Giants to win it all at 7-to-1. They came close as you may remember. But this year the Giants are favored. That's not The Giants Way™, man. We are more into the plucky underdog thing, the surprise team, the dark horse. Will the lads and The Boch be able to handle this new role? The pressure, man. Can we handle it?

It's a brave new world, me buckos.



Tuesday, January 5, 2016

25 in 2014

You must have figured that I had the 2014 World Series on DVD as well and that I'd post something about that team. You were right. The Giants won Game Seven on the road. That doesn't happen all that much in the post-season. Something to savor!

Current Giants in italicized bold. *Starred players were on the 2010 post-season roster. †Daggered players were on the 2012 post-season roster.

There were 12 pitchers:

*†Jeremy Affeldt: retired.
*†Madison Bumgarner: signed through 2017 with options for '18 and '19.
*†Santiago Casilla: signed for 2016, eligible for free agency in '17.
Tim Hudson: retired.
*†Tim Lincecum: a free agent.
*†Javier Lopez: signed for 2016, eligible for free agency in '17.
Jean Machi: signed a minor-league contract with the Cubs.
Jake Peavy: signed for 2016, eligible for free agency in '17.
Yusmeiro Petit: with the Washington Nationals.
*†Sergio Romo: signed for 2016, eligible for free agency in '17.
Hunter Strickland: pre arb-eligible.
†Ryan Vogelsong: with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Two catchers:

*†Buster Posey: signed through 2021.
Andrew Susac: arb-eligible in 2018.

Six infielders:

†Joaquin Arias: signed a minor-league deal with Arizona Diamondbacks.
Brandon Belt: third year of arbitration.
Brandon Crawford: signed through 2021.
Matt Duffy: arb-eligible in 2018.
Joe Panik: arb-eligible in 2018.
*†Pablo Sandoval: with the Boston Red Sox.

Five outfielders:

Gregor Blanco: signed for 2016, eligible for free agency in '17.
*Travis Ishikawa: a free agent.
Michael Morse: with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Hunter Pence: signed through through 2018.
Juan Perez: signed a minor-league deal with the Chicago Cubs.

The 2016 infield will be anchored by the Fabulous Brandons--Belt at first and Crawford at short--each sporting rings from 2012 and 2014. Joe Panik will be flashing his 2014 ring at second and Matt Duffy, be-ringed from 2014 as well, will hold down the hot corner. With Buster Posey behind the plate showing off three rings that's one hell of a group. Youth and experience (BCraw just edges out Buster as the oldest at 28) with a championship pedigree. Backup backstop Andrew Susac has his hardware, too. Buster, by the way, started every playoff and Series game. Susac got in two innings at the end of the 10-0 loss to KC in Game Six, otherwise it was Posey back there. The Giants will be very strong "on the dirt."

No slouches in the outfield either as the Giants greensward patrol is jewelry-laden. Angel Pagan was a stalwart on the 2012 team but did not make the 2014 post-season roster unlike his teammates Hunter Pence and Gregor Blanco. Those two started every post-season game in both 2012 and 2014. Pence played every inning and Blanco missed only the last two innings of the 2012 LDS (Xavier Nady! finished up). Again, you have to love the championship experience. Pagan is the old man at 34 with Pence and Blanco two years younger.

Pitching is the key, as we have learned, and the 26-year old Madison Bumgarner is the unquestioned ace, bedecked in rings (three, like Buster) as well as glory. Matt Cain, of course, was a stud for the first two championships but had to watch in 2014. The bullpen trio of Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla, and Javier Lopez have nine rings between them (ten if you add in Lopez' time with Boston) and some life left for 2016. Losing Affeldt from the Core Four certainly hurts but I think the 'pen will survive and thrive once again. Note that the The Key Three are all free agents in 2017. Jake Peavy has had his post-season struggles but he earned his 2014 ring (and still has one from the 2013 Red Sox). Newcomer Johnny Cueto's last start of 2015 was a World Series shutout for his winning side, the Royals. Flash that sporty jewelry, man! Again, a deep and experienced bunch of champions. Lopez gets oldest man honors at 38.

Tim Lincecum pitched in all three post-seasons. Ace. Stud reliever. Mop-up man. I think the Giants should bring him back as a closer. Don't you think he'd be great at that? I think he should embrace his inner finisher. Pablo Sandoval is of course the other player who was there on all three 25-man rosters but we moved on from that divorce. His .344/.389/.545 line in 39 games (167 PA) is all-time great territory and will be fondly remembered. I suppose we are all wondering if he'll last in Boston--last year's abysmal .658 OPS was 133 points below his career mark. He turns 30 in August.

There you have it. Bring on 2016!