Saturday, March 25, 2017

Spring Musings

Will Smith will not pitch for the Giants this season: Tommy John surgery looms for the lefty. Matt Moore, George Kontos, Derek Law, and Hunter Strickland are all TJS survivors. I've always wondered why ligament reconstruction, arthroscopy, and laser eye surgery aren't considered performance-enhancing. Why are chemical fixes bad and mechanical ones good? Speaking of bad, Smith's injury is a blow for the bullpen. It will be interesting to see who steps up to fill the void. A lefty who can get righties out is a tough guy to replace, but having a couple of good LOOGYs could make up the difference. It will take a village out there this season, and that's OK as it seems to be the Giants Way. Get a bunch of pretty good guys to back up a star, in this case closer Mark Melancon, and work the matchups and play well in the field and good things will happen.

Speaking of good, I'm happy that Barry Bonds is back with the club. The man knows more about hitting than any other human. Get that knowledge out of him and spread it throughout the organization. Even if that were not the case, Bonds was a megastar in orange-and-black. He was the biggest draw in baseball and played magnificently under constant scrutiny. He was the only one who could turn right field and McCovey Cove at Pacific Bell Park into his personal showcase. No one hits them out there anymore. He was the only one, it will be some time before another player can do that. The bĂȘte noire of the MLB burned a lot of bridges in his day, but every good melodrama needs a black knight, especially a flashy and menacing one. Barry had a knack for the role, eh?

I also must admit to enjoying the World Baseball Classic, although I also admit to being a skeptic in its first incarnation. I think the fact that the other nations approached the tournament with both planning and passion finally convinced the American public it was a worthy endeavor. MLB's big-wigs I expect were tired of looking bad, especially in comparison to the Japanese. Team Japan is awesome and Team USA did well to get past them. I got to see most of the semi-final against Japan and the final against Puerto Rico. I thought the Puerto Rican lineup was scary, but it became obvious they didn't have the pitching depth available to win it. Certainly the presence of Brandon Crawford and Buster Posey on the domestic roster was a huge pull for me, and adding FNG Melancon was icing on the cake. I note that all performed well, BCraw in particular was part of everything, good and bad, that happened to the team. Why wouldn't veteran guys like our stud shortstop and catcher want to play real baseball instead of mucking around in Scottsdale? Both will be a joy to watch this season, and having a stud closer will be a huge boon for the team's chances.

What's on your mind as we count down to Opening Day?



Zo said...

You got to see the World Baseball Classic? Do you get Here, in San Francisco, where the Giants are based and baseball home to three of the WBC American team members, there was hardly a mention in the papers. In fact, it wasn't until I read that Buster Posey had returned to spring training, but was not flashing his gold medal at JC that I even knew the American team had won. Why is that? It wasn't on radio at all (at least in this market). I suppose it was either MLB's attempt to force everyone to pay for MLB net or else divert attention in hopes that the World Baseball Classic will die due to lack of interest. Either way, it is just one more reason to FIRE ROB MANFRED NOW. We will be subject to Manfred-ball starting this season when they IW players without throwing four pitches. In an effort to "speed up the game" by about a minute every 2.5 games, the game will get just a tiny bit less interesting, because one of those rare things; a past ball, a pitch that is not quite far enough outside, a runner who steals or doesn't....just....won't happen. I realize that I am getting older and crankier, and sound like it, but this is just the start. There are ways to genuinely speed up the game, like time limits between pitches, and enforcing the rule about batters stepping out of the box, but most of Manfred's ideas will hurt the fundamental aspects of the game, like limiting extra innings. I'm not in favor of them.

Having gotten that off my chest, how many position players do they start the season with besides the 8 first-stringers? 5? I am assuming Parker in left as a first stringer, and Nunez ready to go by opening day. I'm thinking Hundley, Hwang, Marrero, Hernandez and Hill or Gillaspie. Does Marrero play outfield or only infield? I am not sure why the flirtation with Michael Morse. Great guy, but do we need an outfielder who can't move particularly well?

And, yeah, Bonds. Some of the most thrilling moments of my baseball-watching life have been watching Barry.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Since I won't pay for TV I have to watch ballgames in bars! Saw both games at Stateline Brewery in South Lake. (We skied Sierra-at-Tahoe on Wednesday and Alpine Meadows on Thursday.) Agree that the coverage for the WBC was terrible. But that's our corporate, media-conglomerate world in a nutshell. And yeah, the IBB rule is pointless. You want to make the game move along tell the home plate ump to call strikes on guys who dawdle around the box and call balls on pitchers who take too long. If the umps had that kind of "delay of game" discretion and had a consequence to back it up you can bet the pace would pick up. Another one of my favorite things about Barry--he got in the box and stayed in the box and didn't fuck around.

Giants need some thump off the bench. This is a homer-happy time in MLB and the Giants will, like last year, play a lot of tight games. Some big sticks for the late innings would be nice. (Marrero came up as a catcher, but has played OF and 1B.)