A Place To Talk About Giants Baseball

Moving Ahead with Familiar Guys at the Helm

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on November 30, 2011

The fact that Sabean and Bochy got extended isn’t a surprise or even newsworthy. Everyone knew this would happen. What is a little surprising is the widespread vitriol you can find on the internet about Sabean. Of course, I knew he had his detractors– for several years I was one of them. And it was justified for a long time– he was at least 3-4 years too late in responding to how to build a team once The Bonds Era started to fail. But he adapted, made some changes in his approach to building a team and, along with some luck, ended up bringing a World Series to San Francisco. Boom. End of criticism………

Except it wasn’t the end of the criticism. I’m not going to inadvertently advertise the websites that call for Sabean to be fired– yes, THE WEBSITES. There are guys out there with so little to do with their time that they make “Fire Sabean” part of their daily lives. And that’s really unbelievable. I’ve continued to criticize Sabean when it’s been appropriate. No one is perfect and he made several mistakes last year (not finding an adequate back up catcher, Tejada signing, O-Cab signing, etc…). Part of the gig of being a major league GM is exposing yourself to criticism from the fan base on the mistakes you make. But to spend part of your life managing a website that calls for the firing of a man who brought you a World Series championship—wow, you either have too much time on your hands or you’re just ignorant.

It’s the same mentality that the “Alex Smith Haters” take. They’re too stupid or too stubborn to celebrate in the joy that Smith is helping bring them. They’d rather keep on hating him because *hate* is something they’re good at….

We’re really just talking about fringe lunatics here. The Sabean haters, the Smith haters— it’s the minority. But they’re loud. And if there’s one thing they are good at, and it really is probably just this single thing they are good at, it’s staying committed to an opinion or a cause, however misguided or ignorant it might be. If only they could channel that focus into something productive. But that isn’t ever going to happen. ….

You can spot normal people when it comes to debates about guys like Sabean and Smith. They usually say things like “Wow, I didn’t think he had that in him.”  Or, “Oh, he’s doing something I didn’t think he could do.” “Hmmmm, turns out I was wrong about him.”

Stuff like that.

The haters? They stick to obsessively building their websites of doom and gloom. They post their hate speech and their death threats from the dark corner of their empty apartment. They don’t have much but they’ve got a laptop and that allows them to spew their idiocy into society, a place they otherwise have very little interaction with.

Anyway, I am fine with the extensions for Sabean and Bochy. I’m hoping the Niners offer Alex Smith one this off season, too. A 3 year deal sounds about right. But who knows, another team might come along and offer him more. The Niners will be fine, Harbaugh will whip up another masterpiece and we’ll be full steam ahead in 2012.

As I got older in life, I realized that hating people and things didn’t do anything other than boomer rang back to me and make my life miserable. Your attitude is the single most important thing you can control in your life. Something you CAN’T control? Other people. This is an important concept to *get* if you want to be involved in the blog world……..

Random Thoughts About Sports

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on November 29, 2011

It looks like Ndamukong Suh is going to get at least 2 games for his Thanksgiving Day Stomp. Good. He deserves at least a day for his pathetic explanation to the media after the game. Now he’s calling Goodall to apologize? Whatever. Idiot……


Luck is supposedly still in the running to win the Heisman. Of course, I hope he wins it but there are several deserving candidates for the award—- Richardson and Griffin both could win. Barkley has 17 td’s in his last 4 games but probably has no shot with most of the West voting for Luck. Fitzgerald noted in the Chron what I observed the other day: Luck hasn’t been spectacular, especially in the 2nd half of the season. He’s played against inferior competition (as opposed to Richardson), he doesn’t have a signature win (like Griffin has over Oklahoma) and he’s hasn’t even been the best QB (stats wise) in his conference (Barkley has been phenomenal in the last month).


I love that Neuheisel gets fired after his embarrassing 50-zip spanking. What happens if they somehow beat Oregon? Half that team would have to get injured in the first quarter, but it’s at least a possibility that they upset the Ducks. Then they play in the Rose Bowl? Ha, I’m almost rooting for that to happen, that would be quite a circus……..


Retro Game ‘o the Day! September 26, 1978

It’s the last homestand of the year and the Giants are playing the Padres. The COunt was going up against Gaylord Perry in a Tuesday night game. Exactly 6,227 showed up to watch. Perry would win his 21st game of the season, easily the last great year of his HOF career. Roger Craig managed the Pad’s and this loss knocked us 7.5 back with 4 to play. Rollie Fingers got the save.

The Padres are playing at least 4 guys I’ve never heard of (Perkins, Turner, Evans and Almon) while Altobelli goes with a similar LU (except for Dwyer at 1st base) that he’s gone with most of the year……

It’s a Haiku kind of Day

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on November 28, 2011

I woke up to the thickest fog I’ve seen in my backyard in quite a while. No baseball news to discuss, certainly nothing Giants-related. And I didn’t have time to go-Retro before I left the house this morning (and I only have the snipping-tool on my computer at home (thank you, Twin).

WordPress sends me these extremely topical prompts for thread ideas. Here are today’s suggestions:

Need an idea for your next post?

Choose a prompt to start a new post:

Um, I’m gonna decline these thread ideas but feel free to knock yourself out answering them if the moment strikes you. Anyway, feels like a *Haiku* morning. Maybe I’ll write one later today if I run out of things to do. It feels very dead in the baseball world right now. How many days till P/C report?

One of the best things about Facebook: it reminds me of stuff like this~~~~~

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SAN DAWG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

College Football Quickies

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on November 27, 2011

I’m REALLLLY looking forward to that Pac 12 Championship game next week. Yeah, right. UCLA loses 50-0 and now they get to play in that game? Oregon will destroy them. What a terrible inaugural game that will be……..


I loved seeing Luck run the ball last night. He showed how fast he is and that’s a nice reminder to the scouts of what that dude can do with his legs. He’s super accurate with his throws, he reads defenses like a 10 year NFL QB and he’s got legs to run for as much yardage as he needs to if the moment strikes him. I don’t think there’s an issue with his arm strength as I’ve seen him uncork 50 yard throws with defenders hanging on to him but he really didn’t show off his arm last night. In fact, I thought the play calling sucked and Shaw didn’t do Luck any favors by calling a bunch of screens all night.


And that’s why I think Richardson wins the Heisman over Luck. Luck’s night was efficient but there weren’t any defining moments. Richardson had a HUGE defining moment when he broke through the Auburn line, ran down the left side of the field and then literally threw a defender out of his way, changed direction and ran diagonally across the field for an additional 30 yards, finally getting taken down around the 20. He did all that on his own and it was the type of run that Heisman voters remember–not to mention the fact that it was during prime time and Luck was playing his game when most of the East coast tv’s were turned off……..


It’s Retro time, baby……….

On September 4th, the Giants lost to the Dodgers down in LA. This would begin a slide that would see them lose 10 of their next 11 games. Finally, on Sept 16th, we managed a 3-2 over the Reds at home. It was a Saturday afternoon game. No one homered for the Giants, but Foster did, banging out his 33rd hr of the year. The win was nice but the Giants were now 9 games back and the magic from earlier in the year seemed to be all but gone. 13 games remained in the season….

The NBA Finally Gets Their $h!t Together

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on November 26, 2011

It looks like we are going to have some pro basketball this year. If all goes accordingly, there will be a 66 game regular season. I think we are all going to enjoy this abbreviated schedule. 66 is about the MOST they should be playing. While I am permanently disenchanted with the NBA as a whole, I am excited as a Warrior fan to see what this team can be without Cohan lurking in the background. I might even go to my first Warrior game since 2007. We’ll see……

And now, for a little Retro……….


September 1st, 1978. It’s a Friday night game and the Phillies are in town. 16,431 showed up to see Carlton and a staple from the 70’s, Jim Barr, go head to head. The game time was 1:40 so they worked fast and economically. Jack Clark hit a tie breaking HR in the 8th off Carlton to put the G’s ahead for a 4-3 victory. Winning *best name of the game* is the Phillies leadoff hitter, Bake McBride. A 37th round draft pick in 1970, McBride went on to have a pretty decent 10 year career–He made $80,000 in 1977–how times have changed……..

Black Friday

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on November 25, 2011

It’s probably too much to hope for Sabes to pull off a lil’ Black Friday Magic and find us another outfielder or two. Maybe a shortstop. A catcher. Oh well, nothing is happening right now. Could be a good day for a Haiku. Last night’s Niner game was frustrating on both sides of the ball, we were out coached and outplayed. When you give up 9 sacks and record none, you have officially had your ass handed to you. Surprisingly, if the Ginn TD is allowed and/or the interception called instead of PI, we might have won that game……..

How about some Retro Action?


It’s August 29th, 1978 and Joe Torre’s Mets are in town. 34K showed up for this night game. The Mets were in the middle of  an awful year and when you look at that line up it’s no surprise why. Bob Knepper handcuffed them in pitching a complete game 2-0 shut out to run his record to 14-9 on the year….

Tonight’s 49er-Raven Game

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving, Flappers. There’s a lot of things that I’m thankful for–most notably the soon-to-be 9 year old who woke me up at 4am because of “a noise” (I’m like, “ok……AND?”). Now I’m bleary eyed and she’s sleeping peacefully  just a few feet away from me as I type this. But she’s perfect in every imperfect way and I love her more than anything in my life and there isn’t a close 2nd. I hope all of you appreciate the things in your life  to be thankful for today…….

I’ve gone back and forth on how this Niner game is going to shake down. I started out the week thinking there was no way we could win with the short week and the travel. Now I think we can win. For starters, the time change really only affects us if it’s a 10am start and that’s not an issue here with the game kickoff at 5:20pm. Secondly, the Ravens are dealing with the same turnaround so EVERYONE’S body is going to be a little tight and *un-recovered* from last Sunday’s game. And once I heard that Ray Lewis has turf toe I started to believe that we just might pull this thing off. I’ve never had that injury but I’ve known people who have had it  and they would just shake their head and say “dude, you have no idea how much this hurts.”  Good. I’ve got no problem celebrating another player’s temporary pain especially when it might translate into an advantage for the Niners. I’m assuming Lewis will try to go because that’s just who that dude is, but he won’t be able to go hard in any direction and will be reduced to being an on-field cheerleader.

If I were the Niners, I would come out throwing. Everyone expects us to run the ball, not make any mistakes and push the ball slowly up the field. But I trust Smith at this point in the year. I want to see lots of play -action, maybe some roll outs and throws on the run. Throw in some defensive take-a-ways which you KNOW Flacko will give you, and I am now seeing a Niner victory that looks something like 23-10.

I’ve accepted the possibility that I *kool-aded* myself into coming up with that score. But you know what? Who cares. It’s a great day to be hopeful. Even more so, appreciate what you have. And what we know we have is a 9-1 record. It’s been a long time since it felt this good to be a 49er fan.

And there’s not a more perfect day on the calendar to say this and, more importantly, believe this: Who’s got it better than us? Noooooooooooobody!!!!

Today, I am applying that to every aspect of my life and will remind myself of that the next time I get awakened at 4am by a quiet voice that whispers urgently, “Daddy, I heard a noise!”

The New Labor Agreement in Baseball

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on November 23, 2011

The news of this agreement passing happened in an almost surreal way. With the NBA shutting itself down and the NFL barely coming to agreement to play this year, baseball has skipped along and formed a labor agreement that avoids a work stoppage through at least 2016. This was a refreshing outcome for fans. And when you read the details of the agreement, you almost wonder if the players read the actually agreement that they agreed to.

The highlights:

1) testing for human growth hormone, no more smokeless tobacco usage on camera or in view of the fans and players who get DUI’s have to undergo a mandatory evaluation with the league. There are loopholes in all of this, especially the HGH testing, but it is amazing to me that the players would agree to this type of invasion on their personal lives. I mean, they’ve never agreed to any of this before. Why now?

2) limits of bonuses for players drafted out of high school and college as well as limits on bonuses for foreign players. Whhhhhhaaaat? How the Hell did this get slipped in so easily? I would think that if Scott Boras, who pretty much designed and defined this side of the baseball world, would have given two huge thumbs down to anything with the words “limit” and “bonus” in the same sentence. Obviously he doesn’t vote, but he represents so many players I have to believe he was screaming at them to kick this provision out of the deal. And yet there it is, plain as day. I wasn’t able to find what the limits are and maybe they haven’t been identified yet. Either way, this will be great for baseball. It should encourage all teams to develop their scouting departments, especially internationally, and allow more teams to compete for the best and the brightest young foreign players. Huge, HUGE win for Yoenis Cespedes, who is going to get a gynormous bonus that future players will only dream of getting. Excellent provision in the new deal…..

3) realignment–Houston is going to the AL. This was a known condition and it’s fine with me, I could care less about the Astros. It will lead to another wild card team, something I think is super cool. A 1 game playoff-sudden death-for all the marbles game to kick off the playoffs? Hell yeah, that will be awesome. And as many teams have proven over the last 10 years or so, getting into the playoffs is all you need to do to have a realistic chance of winning the world series. Every fan should appreciate this provision……..

4) maple bats will be prohibited for any player entering the league starting in 2013. I’m assuming this will be the beginning of the end of the use of maple bats. Since this is just affected new players it will be a long road towards total extinction, but at least it’s a start. Maple bats are deadly weapons and it’s a miracle that more players in the infield aren’t injured or even killed by them……

5) increased replay. This is just something that needs to happen in baseball. The ball gets hit so hard and the human eye can only catch so much. I’m 100% for replay in everything but calling balls and strikes. The new provision adds replay for fair/foul calls as well as balls that are trapped or not–huge, positive addition to the game.

There are other details, the minimum player salary gets bumped a little, etc, but these 5 major changes are what stood out for me. And now, on to a RGOTD search…….


Today we take a look at August 25th. The Giants had just come back from a long 13 game east coast road trip. They managed to win the last 3 to nab 6 wins on the trip and they came home to a friday night diddy against the Expos. 15,368 showed up to welcome them home but it wasn’t enough as the Montreal banged out 16 hits and beat us 8-5.

A Pitcher Won the MVP–the horror!

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on November 22, 2011

I did a little LQTM this morning when I read that Verlander said “I think this set a precedent.” Uh, dude, 24 other pitchers have won the MVP….

Did I have a problem with him winning it? Heck no. I believe that the MVP should he dominant, first and foremost. Usually, for that to happen, it’s going to be a position player since you would recognize dominance more often if you see it every day rather than every 5th day. But in this case, the circumstances really did come together for Verlander. First of all, he was absolutely dominant. He won 24 games, exactly 25% of his team’s total wins. He won the pitcher’s triple crown. Without him there is no way Detroit makes the playoffs. Of the contenders, he’s also the only one who stood above the others in terms of obviously impacting their berth in the playoffs…..

The other guys? Yes, Ellsbury, Bautista, THEEEEEEEEEEEEEE GRAAAAAAAAAAANDYMAN!!!! and Miggy Cabrera all had fine years. But none of those guys were dominant the way Verlander was. Hell, Boston and Toronto didn’t even make the playoffs. And Granderson was just another one of the big bats on that team. He put up great numbers but that team always has 3 or 4 or more guys going “cartoon” on the league. You take Grandy out and they still go off. Don’t believe me? A-Rod was a non-factor in the second half and they still walked away with the division. Tex had a great season too but he didn’t even get an MVP vote (I don’t think). Grandy hit .262. You better bang out 100 hr’s if you’re gonna hit .262 and expect to win the MVP. And Miggy? Sure he played in a lot more games than Verlander but can you point to 25% of their wins and give him DIRECT credit for winning them? No way.

Were I wearing a hat this morning, it would be doffed in the direction of Justin Verlander—an award well-earned……


The Retro Game of the Day!!!!!

As we march through the Summer of ’78, we now take a look at a Friday night Giants/Dodgers game. 47,944 showed up for this one. Vida Blue vs Doug Rau. Wuite a battle. The Giants won 2-1. Vida started the 9th having giving up a single hit. He got the first 2 outs then Reggie Smith banged a double off him. That was enough for Altobelli who pulled him for Moffitt who got Cey to fly out to center to end the game. I would LOVE to know how many pitches Vida through that game but I couldn’t find that number at baseball-reference.com. This great win sent the Dodgers to their 6th straight loss of the season. We’re still in first place……..

Candlestick Park Left Field Bleachers

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on November 21, 2011

All of this *Retro Game of the Day* stuff had me waxing nostalgic about Candlestick Park. Specifically, all the good times I had growing up tailgating with friends and then kicking back in the left field bleachers. I can’t remember when they disallowed the fans from jumping the the rail and chasing after the hr balls that would land in the grassy area just beyond the left field fence. As I recall, they stopped letting fans go after  the ball and then maybe a few years later they took the entire space out and replaced it with seats–a good move for a better view from left field, I guess. But very few fans out there were looking for a better view of the game.

It looks like this pic was from the late 60’s because they still have the artificial turf in. I can’t remember when they put in the grass. 1978 or so? I couldn’t find that info either.

So, if any of you have the answers to the following 3 questions, I’d appreciate it….

1) what year did they put grass into Candlestick?

2) what year did they stop letting fans chase hr balls in the left field bleachers?

3) what year did they take that area out entirely and put seats in all the way up to the left field wall?

I didn’t have time to do a RGOTD before I left this morning so maybe tomorrow…..

What Are the Giants Planning on Doing With Villalona?

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on November 20, 2011

Sorry I missed the thread yesterday– Big Game is sort of a 24 hour thing. Anyway, Stanford won in unspectacular fashion. The university needs to put in new turf. Find a lawn guy who knows his stuff. But I’ll tell you, they’ve always had a problem with the grass there. When we were kids we used to just be able to walk into the back of the stadium and play football on the field (total 1979 thing to do, can you imagine being able to do that today?). We’d go over there after it rained to play “mud” football. Me and  a half dozen buddies were enough to turn that field into slop in 30 minutes that barely resembled a field. It’s unacceptable to have a D1 powerhouse playing on a field that the across-the-street Palo Alto Vikings would find sub par…….

Anyway, to the minor news of Villalona being placed on the 40 man roster. I say minor, because we probably wouldn’t be talking much about this guy if this were just strictly baseball news. Throw in the murder, arrest, payoff, dropped charges, 5 million dollar lawsuit against the Giants….well, now you have the makings of a good story. Or at least something to talk about.

Let’s refresh ourselves with who Villalona was as a baseball player— he was signed as a 16 year old and given a 2.1 million dollar bonus. He fiddled around (again, he was only 16) in 2007 through 3 levels in the system hitting 10 bombs in 474 total at bats. I didn’t calculate his OPS through those 3 stops but it was around .780. Then he goes to the Sally league and has a nice season with 17 hr’s in 500 at bats, hitting .263. He struck out a lot (118) and didn’t walk much (18). His OBP started to be a red flag (.312) which dragged his OPS a bit to a marginal .747. In 2009 he went to San Jose and had another decent year, hitting 9 bombs in 310 at bats. He kept striking out (73) and not walking (9) and his OBP dipped even further to an unacceptable .306. He checked in with a . 704 OPS—that wouldn’t pass for a first baseman at the mlb level and it’s unacceptable for the San Jose league. But remember, he was only 18 years old at the time. And Latin players, in general, don’t get out of the Dominican Republic by taking a lot of walks and having a spiffy OBP. They get noticed because they swing a big bat. They literally *swing* their way out of their country. But having said all that, up to this point in his career, Villalona was a great prospect who hadn’t really matched his prospect ranking with his production. Yet. Then his legal issues began and now that those are resolved, this is where we are today…..

What plans do the Giants have for Villalona? It has been reported that there were strong differences of opinion within the organization as to what to do with him. My guess is that they didn’t want to deal with the headache of the lawsuit and just decided to go ahead with him playing again in their system. After all, the charges against him were dropped. I strongly doubt that Villalona’s representatives leveraged the lawsuit as a way to make it on to the 40 man roster. The Giants just figured that once they decided to go ahead with his career in their system they might as well protect him from the Rule 5 draft. And that is a smart move since they might have lost him in that.

The best thing to do with Villalona is see what they have. He’s 21 now but he hasn’t played baseball in 2 years. My biggest concern with him would be to see what he looks like physically. This is a big kid who is probably WAY over his current listed weight of 200 lbs. It’s too bad the Giants couldn’t get someone down there to visit with him, see what he looks like and find out where his head is at in terms of playing baseball as a career. Since it’s all he’s ever known, I’m assuming he’s ready and wanting to play. But who knows? And if he’s ballooned up to 260 pounds was it really worth the Giants time in protecting him from the Rule 5 draft?

The best case scenario is that Villalona gets his career back on track and he starts putting up eye-catching numbers. Then we use him as trade bait. He was worth nothing to us if we hadn’t reinstated him and he would also be worth nothing to us if he had gotten drafted next week (I don’t think you receive compensation if one of your players is taken in the Rule 5 draft but maybe one of you can correct me if I’m wrong).

So the Giants did the smartest thing they could do with Villalona. They reinstated him and now don’t have to deal with a lawsuit. They put him on the 40 man so they can’t lose him to the draft. And the fact is, the kid has some skills. If he turns those skills into something that would fly at the major league level then he becomes valuable to the team. Will he ever play in San Francisco? Even if he’s successful from here on out I doubt he ever plays for us up here. I’m pretty certain there’s a chapter or 4 in The Giants Way that has to do with integrity, honoring the law, all that jazz.  And being bogged down in a murder case is probably at least enough for the organization  to pause and be concerned. But who knows, maybe The Giants Way got shoved into a box with the rest of Neukom’s things on his way out the door. It’s also possible that the brass could see Villalona as an insurance policy if Belt doesn’t pan out at first base.

I’m glad he’s getting a 2nd chance. Maybe this ordeal can be turned into a positive for him in terms of appreciating opportunities that you have in life. I would think that most 16 year old’s who are given 2.1 million might have a hard time staying focused and staying committed to long term life goals. Of course I don’t know a single thing about Villalona’s personality other than what I read his host family say about him after he was arrested (they liked him). His life was almost ruined by this. If he comes back hungry (for success, not food) then it could be a blessing in disguise. At the end of all of this, success on the baseball field will be good for him and for us. So from that stand point, I absolutely wish him the best and think that everything the Giants have done up till now with him was the correct way to deal with this complicated situation……..


The Retro Game of the Day!!!!!!!!!

As we work our way through the ’78 season, let’s take a look at July 5th. The Giants had just lost 3 in a row and they turned, once again, to Ed Halicki to get them a win (I’m not picking Halicki games on purpose he just happened to be pitching on the 3 games I’ve picked so far). He was going against “Bad Ass” Bobby Shirley. I’ve got no idea if he was a bad ass or not but it was ’78 and everyone from that decade was either “old school” or a “bad ass”.  Plus, he probably had to kick at least a few asses growing up as a kid for having the last name of a girl. Anyway, what I found interesting about this game is that the attendance was 8,394. That should cut down on the number of guys who will say they were there. Baha. Seriously, it’s the middle of Summer and the best you can do is 8k? Different time, different fan base, I guess. It seemed like a great game, the Giants scored 3 in the 4th and led 3-0 going to the 8th. Lavelle and Williams combined to blow the save in the 8th. The Padres discouragingly took a 4-3 lead in the 9th but the Giants TIED the game in the bottom of the inning on a Willie Mac pinch hit HR off Rollie Fingers (seriously, I am having a freaking BALL writing the names of all these players 🙂 ). They won it in the 10th off Fingers, not sure how, all that’s listed is that the winning run scored with 2 outs. Oscar Gamble in right field for the Padres? That is about as old school as it gets. He had 4 hits in the game. The Pads catcher was named Rick Sweet. That’s a rad name…….

Retro on the Brain

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on November 18, 2011

I tried to get jazzed up about a “lincecum long term deal” thread but I just couldn’t make it happen. I had a revenue-sharing thing goin’ but it fizzled. I’ve got a little Big Game on the Brain but not enough to write about it here…..

I’ll tell you, I could get stuck in those old box scores from the 70’s and 80’s for hours. The names of those players, not just Giants but the player from other teams too, are burned into my memories of reading the old box scores back when the Green was just green because it was a cool, quirky look not because it was a retro marketing angle the way it is today. Free agency just hadn’t taken over the way it has the last 10-15 years or so. Back then, it wasn’t just a player’s stats I was connecting to but also his team and the countless battles I would live and die with as I listened to the games on my digital clock radio. Sometimes I’d be lucky enough to find the game televised on KTVU where Gary Park’s sweet tan was the staple of the pre-game show……

So right now, in the middle of freaking November with nothing Giants-related or relevant on the hot stove, I am more inclined to pour over the box scores from ’78 than I am to read the latest updates at mlbtraderumors.com. Today’s retro-game was one that I attended. I remember it clearly, my dad too me to this game. Sunday Giants/Dodgers game 5/28/78. Sutton vs The Count. I swear to God, it seemed like Sutton pitched about 88% of the Dodger/Giant games in the 70’s. Anyway, we had pretty bad seats, waaaaaay out in right field as high as the steps would go (San Dawg would have loved those seats 🙂 ) When the teams got announced (or maybe it was his first at bat I can’t remember) and the announcer said”…Don Sutton” a loud, long boo began. I decided to top that by yelling out “Kill Sutton!”. I think I might have even yelled it twice. My dad was less than cool with this break from the socially accepted booing that everyone else was doing. He gave me a look that said “I kill YOU” if you don’t STFU. I remember feeling terribly embarrassed for many reasons.

The game was amazing. Mike Ivie hit a pinch hit grand slam to help them win it. The fans went insane that day, it sounded like there were 500,000 people screaming when he hit that home run. Great day. Here were the starting line ups:

What the Astros Move to the American League Will Mean for Baseball

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on November 17, 2011

It looks like this is a done deal with mlb making the sale to Crane contingent on the ‘stros moving to the American League (in 2013). If I was a fan of their team I’d be bummed because most longtime NL fans don’t like the AL game and vice versa. It usually just comes down to the designated hitter rule which I’ll get to in a moment…

With the Astros moving to the AL West we would have a balanced 15/15 in each league. And while I’m not sure why, this would apparently mean we would have inter league  games year round instead of just the customary blocks of the season that we usually get.

And I think all of this is leading to a fairly significant rule change in the next few years: the uniformity of the designated hitter rule in both leagues. First of all, it is kind of stupid that there is such a major rule difference in each league. When the AFC plays the NFC in the Super Bowl there isn’t any fundamental major differences between the way the two teams are forced to play the game during the regular season. In the NBA championship, it’s not like the Western Conference shoots from a different 3 point distance than the Eastern Conference does.

But in the World Series, one team is at a significant disadvantage in every game. Either the AL has to sit there DH player or the NL is forced to play with one, something they don’t have to do at any point in the season (besides the few interleague games they might have played in an AL park). This is stupid. Why wouldn’t you want the season’s most important games to be played under the same circumstances that the teams played in for almost 162+ games? Wouldn’t that be the best way to determine who is the better team?

And I don’t want to hear about “baseball purity.” We’ve had so many changes to the game over the last 30 years that it’s impossible to defend keeping baseball the way it once was. Simply put, the way it once was isn’t that way anymore. Besides, the DH rule has only been around since 1973, it’s not like we’ve had 100 years of these imbalanced World Series match ups…….

I really don’t care if they change to all-DH or No-DH. But the players union would never go for ditching the DH so that really leaves only one option–make it all-DH in both leagues. While I think it would take a little while to get used to, I’m certain all the NL fans would get over it soon enough. And then we would have a fair match up in the World Series, something that just makes sense……..

Below is a new off season feature–the “Retro Game of the Day”. I’m starting in ’78 and will cherry pick games from this year going forward until Spring Training. I’d put the entire box score in but I haven’t figured out how to shrink it to fit in this space so for right now you just get starting line ups and a quick blurb by me as a summary. Kinda fun to go back to the good ‘ol days and this is about as  far back as my good ‘ol days go as ’78 was the first team I remember really getting into as a young fan……


Retro Game of the Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

6/21/1978–A night game at the ‘Stick, Haliki pitched a complete game 3-0 shut out. The Giants did all their damage in the bottom of the 4th when Metzger doubled in McCovey and Clark. Dwyer scored later that inning on a Marc Hill FC. Giants ran their record to 42-23……

Our Shortstop in 2012….and Beyond

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on November 16, 2011

After the Phillies forked over way too much dough to Paplebon and potentially Cuddyer and Oswalt, I’ve had this mini fantasy that there won’t be much left over for J-Roll and he’d leave them in a huff to return to his Bay Area homeland. I don’t think anyone, including the Phillies, will offer him more than a 3 year deal, maybe 40 million or so. But I’ve gotten further away from that dream as I’ve looked in more detail at the long term plan Sabean has for that position.

The fact is, Sabean has set the position up nicely for years to come. Three of our best options are Crawford (24, drafted in the 4th rd 2008), Ehire Adrianza (signed not drafted in 2006) and Joe Panik (drafted out of St John’s in rd 1 of the June Amateur draft in 2011). They’ve all shown promise and one of those guys should be able to take over SS for us in the next 0-2 years. Adrianza has been kinda fiddling around in the low minors until this last year. He’s had an all-glove/no hit label like a lot of SS until he hit .300 at San Jose this year. Curiously he stopped running, he stole 33 bases in 2010 vs only 5 last year in about half the number of at bats. But he got nailed 15 times in ’10 so maybe he just decided to stop being so reckless. Still, hitting .300 at San Ho doesn’t mean much since most of the pitchers in that league are down there throwing heat and not much else. If you’ve got a quality breaking pitch you can go to the next level but most of the pitchers down there, as I said, are throwing straight balls that is preferred by most low-level hitters. Still, .300 isn’t a BAD thing, let’s just see him do it at the next  level.

Panik is a guy who’s only 21 but he’s begun his profession as he played at St John’s. He’s torn up Salem-Keizer and he’s doing the same in the AFL. So far, this guy is showing he’s got hitting .300 down pat. We’ll see how he progresses through the system but this is a guy who has hit at every level he’s ever been at, something the other 2 guys can’t say…….

Crawford is a tough one. Does anyone LOOK more like a ball player than Crawford? He’s a hometown guy. Looks like he has the perfect body to play the game. And then he swings and….underwhelming results. He’s going to be 25 in January so it needs to start happening for him quickly. He’s hitting .296 in the AFL. Not bad but nothing that you can bank on translating into anything in SF next year….

While I was disappointed to see Sabean offer Willie Bloomquist a 2 year deal, I understand that the market for free agent SS’s sucks this year. I really don’t want to give someone like Barmes or Santiago a 2 year deal though I think that’s what they’ll get somewhere. It all comes back to what I said yesterday. The best idea is to lock Keppy up for a year in arbitration, give the gig to Crawford in 2012 and hope he can hit enough to justify having his glove in the line up. Actually, Barmes makes a modicum of sense if it’s not Keppy since he can also play 2nd base. He can fill in for Freddy when he’s DL-bound……..

Our Starting Shortstop in 2012

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on November 15, 2011

I’m pretty much done with all the Sandusky talk. Did you know he has written a book called “Touched”. No, that’s not a joke. Here it is on Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/77mbvms


And I am leaving the Niner talk to Chuck for now though I could say something every day about this amazing team. I’m hoping Gore doesn’t play at all this week. There’s no reason for him to, heal up and get ready for the big H-Showdown on Thanksgiving….


I was surprised to see that Sabean offered Willie Bloomquist a 2 year deal worth 4.6 million. He actually took $800,000 less to remain with Arizona. We dodged a bullet there, *Bloomy* is painfully underwhelming. Since that qualifies as going after him aggressively (and it has to right? We offered 800K more than AZ did) then I am assuming Sabean isn’t going to offer Keppinger arbitration (although that is a loose assumption). To me though, that is the thing you do. Lock him up for a year at 3.4 mil or whatever and then have him ready to back up Franchez when he hits the DL and Crawford if he proves he can’t hit mlb pitching.

Sabes could still go after one of the “underwhelmers” like Barmes or Santiago. But I hope he doesn’t do that since signing either of them would probably cost you at least a two year deal and I don’t want to have to watch either of those guys in an SF uni for 2 complete seasons. I know Kepp only hit .255 for us but he went into a deep slump after he got hurt in Houston and I think his wrist (or hand) was the thing that didn’t allow him to hit his customary *soft* .300. But our LU needs all the .300 hitter it can get and I am 93.674% positive that at least one of our middle infielders, probably for different reasons, will need to be replaced for long stretches of the 2012 season…..

Not too many other relevant hot stove items for us to kick around at this point in the season. Time for me to replace the BB………

What Makes Jim Harbaugh Such a Good Coach?

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on November 14, 2011

I left *football* out of the headline because I think Harbaugh could coach just about any sport he chose to. What is this guy doing that translates into this type of amazing success? He show up at the University of San Diego, a floundering non-football, non-sport program and turns them into a back to back 11-1 team. He turns the Cardinal into a national powerhouse after  Teevens and Harris threatened to turn the program into the football version of The Titanic. And in his first season with the Niners he’s got them to 8-1 after years and years of failed expectations and bad overall records.

Of course, his greatest trick of all has been to turn Alex Smith into an elite quarterback…..

When he’s getting interviewed by the media I think Harbaugh would rather be doing just about anything else. He looks stiff and his answers are vague and often indirect jabs at the media. It almost feels like he’s playing a game with them and he’s the only one playing the game.

When he was coaching Stanford I had an opportunity to be part of a group that ate lunch with him at the Kiwanis Club in Palo Alto. He started off  fairly guarded, choosing every word carefully. He almost seemed nervous. But after 10 minutes or so he loosened up and couldn’t  have been any cooler. He would follow up any questions we had for him with a thoughtful answer and then what appeared to be a genuine question for us. For instance, when I asked him for an example of what he might do differently than Harris (this lunch was right after he was hired to coach Stanford) he answered and then asked me why I thought the program had been failing for so many years. By the end of the lunch I was transfixed on this man, listening to each word carefully. I gave a lot of *knowing dude head nods*. Despite his inexperience with a big time program I was certain he was the right coach for the Cardinal….

I think a lot of what I experienced at that lunch translates into him being a good football coach. He commands respect with his presence. He comes across as completely genuine. And he has a quality that I think a lot of coaches don’t have: an interest in other people’s perspectives. I’m guessing he takes feedback from the players and his assistant coaches and uses that in his coaching and decision making.

A big part of motivation is keeping your interest on a defined goal. Harbaugh has managed to coalesce this group of *mighty men* into a common mindset that seems to be some sort of combination of “believing in them/us vs the world/keeping them focused game-to-game”.  That sounds basic but it can’t be or everyone would be doing it. He’s reacting to the team’s needs on a moment to moment basis. We see that in his “Freddy P Soft” stories. They sound corny but he really believes that stuff and his players obviously buy into it. He doesn’t seem to ever be happy or content with where he is today but rather what he has to do to keep the team focused and motivated for where he wants to be tomorrow. And I think he rolls out of bed every morning with this as the cornerstone of coaching technique.

Whatever it is, I think it’s something that wouldn’t be easy to duplicate. The way he coaches is tied directly to who he is as a man and I think everyone would agree that he’s a unique individual. I feel so fortunate to have had him as the head coach for my two favorite football teams. Being a 49er fan is fun again……

The Cost of a Good Closer and Game Day in UnHappy Valley

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on November 12, 2011

I don’t want to get into another debate about how valuable a good closer is. I know what the argument is against the value of a good closer. I take the other side, I don’t think enough weight is given to the psychological make up of the closer and the different circumstance the 9th inning presents compared to other innings.

What are the 3 most important things you need to be an elite closer? 1) a great K/inning ratio. 2) a great K/bb ratio. 3) a short memory. Sergio Romo had one of the greatest seasons you could ever have in terms of predicting success as a future stud closer— 70K’s, 5bb’s. That’s absurd. That’s Dennis Eckersley CY territory. But Romo would be a mess as a closer, by his own admission. If he blew a save he’d be up all night lamenting it. That won’t work…….

Actually, a lot of guys have proven they can do the job. For a short period of time. Pitchers thrown into the roll (like Motte, for instance) can go on a nice run if they start off successful. It’s the bumps in the road that will determine if they can be elite or not. LaRussa didn’t turn to Motte till August as the closer and he had an awful nice run, all the way through the playoffs. It’s possible that he’s found himself the real-deal. But I am not sold, let’s see him do it for a full season. LaRussa’s no dummy, there’s a reason he turned to 3-4 other guys before he settled on Motte out of necessity……

That brings me to the Phillies and the 4 (potentially 5) year deal they just gave Papelbon. S-T-U-P-I-D signing. ‘Pap has had a very nice career as a closer. He was actually originally projected to be a starter but was thrown into the roll as a rookie and he really hasn’t looked back. But there have been warning signs before his bounce back season in 2011. 2010 was not a good year for him. And last year didn’t end so hot, the last time we saw ‘Pap he was blowing a save to the Orioles in spectacular fashion on the now famous September 28th, the day baseball went insane.

For that he gets a potential 5 year deal? Are the Phillies crazy? They just got burned finishing off paying Lidge for 3 years of sub par work. At least Papelbon has proved he can stay healthy. But 5 years is an eternity for a closer unless your name is Mariano Rivera (and Joe Nathan, before his injury in 2010 and uninspiring comeback 2011).

I wouldn’t ever give a closer, I don’t care who he is, a deal longer than 2 years. As Papelbon enters his 30’s I predict that there is virtually no way he makes it through that deal without an injury and/or losing his job due to a streak of intolerable gas can appearances…….


How does the network broadcast today’s Penn St/Nebraska game? Do they show all the protests? What protests get shown? The ones defending the pedophile-supporting Paterno? Or the ones denouncing the molestation? How will the actual game play out? Nebraska has been swept up into a tornado. And the Penn State kids couldn’t have gotten much sleep last night. I wish that the NCAA had done the right thing and canceled the rest of the Penn State season. Their failure to respond or even make a statement regarding this unfortunate, sad, firestorm shows a black hole of leadership on their part. I guess they’re too busy busting players getting free tattoos. Horrible response (or lack of one) by the NCAA on all of this……

Some Final Penn State Thoughts

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on November 11, 2011

I’m trying to get amped up about a baseball story, I really am. There just isn’t much there to *amp* about. Does anyone really care where Yoenis Cespedes lands? I would love for him to become a Giant but that’s not happening. I’ll tell you one thing about that dude, he needs to tone down his post-HR behavior. He watches every single one of his bombs for like 3 seconds, or more. That will get him some bruised ribs if he tries to pull that crap in the major leagues…..

I went running very early this morning over at Stanford. I used to run the football stadium before they remodeled it. Now I run the tennis stadium–it’s not nearly as long but it’s steep, straight up. When you get to the top and look south you’re looking into the office windows of all the university coaches. It’s maybe 100 feet away, you can see them in there working away. It was before 6am and this morning there was just a single light on. I couldn’t help but wonder if Stanford’s version of Sandusky was in that office that morning, committing a similar crime. Why not? If a tragedy like that could happen at Penn State it could happen anywhere. This entire affair has ruined the way I look at college sports. Of course, I’ve always known about the dark side of college football–shady recruiting tactics, paying players, etc. But who could imagine that it was this dark, this disturbing?

Trip on this: If they could get past the morality issue on something like this and hide it for 13 years, what else have they had no problem sweeping under the rug? I think it might be time to change the “Success with Honor” football motto, don’t you?

It should be an interesting game this Saturday in Unhappy Valley. I wasn’t going to watch it, and probably will only tape it at most, but I do want to see how the players play this week. I’ve got no sympathy for them, they gave Paterno a standing ovation when he addressed them this week. I would like to see just one player stand up and quit the team over this. That might be asking too much from student athletes who are on scholarship. But a standing O for Paterno? That was *too much* too…..

There is some good that will come from all this, eventually. Parents won’t be so stupid from now on and just hand their kids over to adults without thinking first. You’re having my son sleep over in your basement? You want to take my 10 year old son to the gym to work out at 9pm? Say what???? Maybe there are kids being abused right now who hear this story and find the courage to tell someone. Maybe the sickos doing this see this story and decide to stop for fear of getting busted the same way Sandusky did. Our society isn’t doing enough to protect children from this kind of stuff. And clearly, society needs to step up and do something since the care givers aren’t doing shit to protect them from these monsters……

Reality and Writing and Baseball

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on November 10, 2011

I’m glad that some of you appreciated the thread I posted yesterday afternoon and I was fine with the Penn St posts after several hours of abstaining from the topic. And the Rick Perry video had me LQTM as I sipped my coffee this morning. I still haven’t turned on the news or looked at any other website this am. I can’t really bring myself to watch the Penn St kids, blinded by their idealistic naivete, rioting around their campus and their fallen hero. I remember being at a Christmas dinner with extended family back in the late 80’s and I was spouting off a bunch of bullshit I’d learned in school in response to something one of my uncle’s had said. The debate got pretty heated, I kept blathering away the defined box of information I had learned in my political science class that quarter. Finally, my uncle, a self-made extremely successful man, said calmly, “Craig, let’s have this discussion in 10 years after you’ve lived your life outside of Lewis and Clark.” Despite his calm tone he sounded like a condescending asshole and all this did was infuriate me more but he refused to go on with the argument.

Of course, he was right. Higher education is a wonderful way to blow off the top of the box of what you thought you knew growing up, what you were told to believe  as a child. But it has it’s flip side and living in your own little world, no matter how evolved and educated, still leaves you with major gaps in your understanding of the real world–the world everyone else is living in while you are getting your spiffy diploma and brand new perspective on life.

So before I watch the videos of these kids I wanted to remind myself of where they are today in their lives. They take classes that equip them with much more current information than any of us have, it would be ignorant to deny that fact. But the little world they live in has shuffled common sense to the back of their brain. Ten years from now they’ll see how stupid they were last night and feel ashamed about it………

I might have to read a few more baseball passages today. Is there any sport that is written more poetically than baseball? Think about it, it’s not even close. Can you imagine someone writing the way Giamatti did about football? Baseball prose is the quickest and easiest way to take me back to being a kid. And it’s amazing, you get taken back to only the good things you remember about being a kid. Despite my brain telling me that it wasn’t that idyllic,  my life as a child had it’s share of terrible moments. And yet, I read a piece like “The Green Fields of the Mind” and all I can remember is the best childhood anyone ever had.

If any of you have some good baseball books or passages you’d like to share, please do so in this thread. I have a feeling my blood is going to boil over certain current events today and I’m gonna need something to balance me back to baseline………

*Baseball as Therapy*

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on November 9, 2011

I stole Twin’s header for this one. I’m tired of all the negative stuff in the news right now. It’s all disgusting and awful to think about and, frankly, I need a break from it. So, I went back and read one of my favorite writings about the game that I’ve always gone to when I need to block out something negative in my life. Most of you have probably read this, it’s by A. Bartlett Giamatti. Please, no Penn State posts on this thread……

“The Green Fields of the Mind ”

It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops. Today, October 2, a Sunday of rain and broken branches and leaf-clogged drains and slick streets, it stopped, and summer was gone.

Somehow, the summer seemed to slip by faster this time. Maybe it wasn’t this summer, but all the summers that, in this my fortieth summer, slipped by so fast. There comes a time when every summer will have something of autumn about it. Whatever the reason, it seemed to me that I was investing more and more in baseball, making the game do more of the work that keeps time fat and slow and lazy. I was counting on the game’s deep patterns, three strikes, three outs, three times three innings, and its deepest impulse, to go out and back, to leave and to return home, to set the order of the day and to organize the daylight. I wrote a few things this last summer, this summer that did not last, nothing grand but some things, and yet that work was just camouflage. The real activity was done with the radio–not the all-seeing, all-falsifying television–and was the playing of the game in the only place it will last, the enclosed green field of the mind. There, in that warm, bright place, what the old poet called Mutability does not so quickly come.

But out here, on Sunday, October 2, where it rains all day, Dame Mutability never loses. She was in the crowd at Fenway yesterday, a gray day full of bluster and contradiction, when the Red Sox came up in the last of the ninth trailing Baltimore 8-5, while the Yankees, rain-delayed against Detroit, only needing to win one or have Boston lose one to win it all, sat in New York washing down cold cuts with beer and watching the Boston game. Boston had won two, the Yankees had lost two, and suddenly it seemed as if the whole season might go to the last day, or beyond, except here was Boston losing 8-5, while New York sat in its family room and put its feet up. Lynn, both ankles hurting now as they had in July, hits a single down the right-field line. The crowd stirs. It is on its feet. Hobson, third baseman, former Bear Bryant quarterback, strong, quiet, over 100 RBIs, goes for three breaking balls and is out. The goddess smiles and encourages her agent, a canny journeyman named Nelson Briles.

Now comes a pinch hitter, Bernie Carbo, onetime Rookie of the Year, erratic, quick, a shade too handsome, so laid-back he is always, in his soul, stretched out in the tall grass, one arm under his head, watching the clouds and laughing; now he looks over some low stuff unworthy of him and then, uncoiling, sends one out, straight on a rising line, over the center-field wall, no cheap Fenway shot, but all of it, the physics as elegant as the arc the ball describes.

New England is on its feet, roaring. The summer will not pass. Roaring, they recall the evening, late and cold, in 1975, the sixth game of the World Series, perhaps the greatest baseball game played in the last fifty years, when Carbo, loose and easy, had uncoiled to tie the game that Fisk would win. It is 8-7, one out, and school will never start, rain will never come, sun will warm the back of your neck forever. Now Bailey, picked up from the National League recently, big arms, heavy gut, experienced, new to the league and the club; he fouls off two and then, checking, tentative, a big man off balance, he pops a soft liner to the first baseman. It is suddenly darker and later, and the announcer doing the game coast to coast, a New Yorker who works for a New York television station, sounds relieved. His little world, well-lit, hot-combed, split-second-timed, had no capacity to absorb this much gritty, grainy, contrary reality.

Cox swings a bat, stretches his long arms, bends his back, the rookie from Pawtucket who broke in two weeks earlier with a record six straight hits, the kid drafted ahead of Fred Lynn, rangy, smooth, cool. The count runs two and two, Briles is cagey, nothing too good, and Cox swings, the ball beginning toward the mound and then, in a jaunty, wayward dance, skipping past Briles, feinting to the right, skimming the last of the grass, finding the dirt, moving now like some small, purposeful marine creature negotiating the green deep, easily avoiding the jagged rock of second base, traveling steady and straight now out into the dark, silent recesses of center field.

The aisles are jammed, the place is on its feet, the wrappers, the programs, the Coke cups and peanut shells, the doctrines of an afternoon; the anxieties, the things that have to be done tomorrow, the regrets about yesterday, the accumulation of a summer: all forgotten, while hope, the anchor, bites and takes hold where a moment before it seemed we would be swept out with the tide. Rice is up. Rice whom Aaron had said was the only one he’d seen with the ability to break his records. Rice the best clutch hitter on the club, with the best slugging percentage in the league. Rice, so quick and strong he once checked his swing halfway through and snapped the bat in two. Rice the Hammer of God sent to scourge the Yankees, the sound was overwhelming, fathers pounded their sons on the back, cars pulled off the road, households froze, New England exulted in its blessedness, and roared its thanks for all good things, for Rice and for a summer stretching halfway through October. Briles threw, Rice swung, and it was over. One pitch, a fly to center, and it stopped. Summer died in New England and like rain sliding off a roof, the crowd slipped out of Fenway, quickly, with only a steady murmur of concern for the drive ahead remaining of the roar. Mutability had turned the seasons and translated hope to memory once again. And, once again, she had used baseball, our best invention to stay change, to bring change on.

That is why it breaks my heart, that game–not because in New York they could win because Boston lost; in that, there is a rough justice, and a reminder to the Yankees of how slight and fragile are the circumstances that exalt one group of human beings over another. It breaks my heart because it was meant to, because it was meant to foster in me again the illusion that there was something abiding, some pattern and some impulse that could come together to make a reality that would resist the corrosion; and because, after it had fostered again that most hungered-for illusion, the game was meant to stop, and betray precisely what it promised.

Of course, there are those who learn after the first few times. They grow out of sports. And there are others who were born with the wisdom to know that nothing lasts. These are the truly tough among us, the ones who can live without illusion, or without even the hope of illusion. I am not that grown-up or up-to-date. I am a simpler creature, tied to more primitive patterns and cycles. I need to think something lasts forever, and it might as well be that state of being that is a game; it might as well be that, in a green field, in the sun.

Is Bochy for Real? Welly 3.0 on the Way? Or Will Sabean Sign a #5 this Winter?

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on November 9, 2011

Bochy was on the radio pledging his allegiance to Barry Zito as the #5 next year. I love Boch but I don’t believe much of what he says to the press. It’s possible Sabean could go with a “Suppan” to compete with Zito in Spring Training but that is a low % shot in the dark. Finding a *Voggy* happens once every 10 years (or more) so if he goes that route and calls it *competition* then I think we need to get ready for a month of Zito before he hits the DL again—the obvious new plan for the Giants as they ride out the rest of this contract.

What if they went out and signed a legitimate #5 this Winter? The problem with that is that those players are pretty expensive. There is a much greater need on other teams to pay for pitching to fill out a rotation. And we have been spoiled with such great pitching I don’t think we  are ready to deal with a multi-year deal with the “Edwin Jackson’s” of the league.

Roy Oswalt? Please, that is a total pipe dream. I’d sign him on a 1-year deal in a nano-second. But he is going to get a multi-year deal and it’s going to be for a lot of money. He’ll get 3 years, probably 40 million, something like that. No thanks……

And I wouldn’t think Sabean should or would sign a type A  guy but maybe  a Type B.

I’m going to re-post a list from mlbtraderumors.com. I believe it’s updated but haven’t checked so correct me if it’s wrong and I’ll take it down:

Starting pitchers
Erik Bedard (33)
Mark Buehrle (33) – Type B
Chris Capuano (33)
Bruce Chen (35) – Type B
Wei-Yin Chen (26)
Bartolo Colon (39)
Aaron Cook (33)
Kyle Davies (28)
Doug Davis (36)
Zach Duke (29)
Jeff Francis (30)
Armando Galarraga (30)
Freddy Garcia (36) – Type B
Jon Garland (32)
Aaron Harang (34) – Type B
Rich Harden (30)
Livan Hernandez (37)
Hisashi Iwakuma (31)
Edwin Jackson (28) – Type B
Hiroki Kuroda (37) – Type B
Rodrigo Lopez (36)
Paul Maholm (30)
Jason Marquis (33)
Kevin Millwood (37)
Sergio Mitre (31)
Roy Oswalt (34) – Type A
Brad Penny (34)
Joel Pineiro (33)
Mitch Talbot (28)
Javier Vazquez (35)
Tsuyoshi Wada (31)
Tim Wakefield (45)
Brandon Webb (33)
Dontrelle Willis (30)
C.J. Wilson (31) – Type A
Chris Young (33)

Whether it’s because I’m spoiled by our pitching staff or the fact that I wouldn’t ever allow one of these guys on one of my fantasy league teams, I am underwhelmed and uninspired by free agent pitchers like this. But we do have a yard that a guy from this list would WANT to pitch in. Come to SF on a 1-year deal and re-start their careers or put up a nice season that they could parlay into a multi-year deal in 2013. Most of these guys get injured a lot, too. I would totally take a swing at Bedard or Harden except for the fact that they are extreme pussies who treat the DL like a mid-season trip to Cabo. After scrolling up and down this list at least 7 times, I guess I could tolerate Capauno or Chen in a Giants uniform and manage not to throw up when I signed them.

But that’s about it. Hmmmm. Maybe going with a “Welly” or a Suppy” is the better plan after all…….

The “Sanchez for Melky” Trade

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on November 8, 2011

I was caught off guard, as most of you were, with this trade yesterday. I did find it fairly ironic that a “Sanchez thread” popped into my head yesterday morning at 5am. No clue where that was coming from but it did turn out to be a slick topic a few hours later. My first reaction was a negative one because I wasn’t impressed with him during his mediocre Yankee career (I watch a lot of Yankee games and he just sorta fumbled his way through his stay there). Then there was the horrible Braves stint. That’s when he got crossed off my “fantasy watch list”. Then he goes out and scores 102 runs playing for the Royals. Actually, that’s not so unbelievable. The Royals have some very good hitters in the middle of their line up, players I had on a few of my teams last year–Billy Butler, Eric Hosmer, Alex Gordon–these guys can rake. I didn’t stop to notice they were driving in Cabrera all season long (well, Butler and Hosmer were, Gordon usually batted lead off). I was shocked to see that Melky banged out out 44 doubles and 5 triples. He had 201 hits. Will Clark, my favorite Giant of all time, never had 200 hits…..

So when I wrote pessimistically that the Giants wouldn’t trade Dirrrtry because his value was so low I really meant they SHOULDN’T do it because you don’t trade something when it’s value is at it’s lowest, you trade it when it’s at it’s highest. Of course I was disappointed to see that they had actually DONE IT and traded for *low value* Melky Cabrera who, in the immediate moment after the trade, I had known, or at least believed,  to have sucked. Then I looked at his season and I was still disappointed because they had used Sanchez to buy a *one season wonder*. After looking at it closer, I then decided this wasn’t a 1-season wonder at all but a trade for an outfielder that is better than any outfielder we have (hitter) and found several reasons to believe he could easily repeat his 2011 season.

1) He’s only 27

2) He’s in a contract year

3) (and this is the big one): He realized he was fat and out of shape after his season with the Braves. Sound like anyone we know? A common falsehood: major league baseball players are out of shape. Certainly you can find the one-off guys who appear fat but can still succeed at the highest level–Sabathia and Heath Bell come to mind. But most of those on that short list are pitchers. Not too many are hitters. And none of them are outfielders. So if Melky looked himself in the mirror last December and said “I’m fat and out of shape” and he decides to do something about it and then goes out and has that type of season. Hey, he’s 27 years old. I’m on board, his 2011 season could be the real-deal……

Sabean confirmed that this was really the only deal out there once he started dangling Dirrrrty. And if this was all that was out there, I am giving Sabes 2 flaps up for pulling this off. I was surprised to read that Sanchez basically gave up on the season after his sprained ankle. Sabean suggested in his press conference that he didn’t want to or didn’t try hard enough to come back and pitch after that. If that’s true, Bochy kept that in the clubhouse last Fall, as he should have. He just kept telling reporters that the ankle wasn’t responding the way they had hoped, he’s not ready yet, yada yada. While the general fan didn’t know what was really going on I’m assuming that this news leaked out to other teams and probably had an impact on the interest level for him. All the more reason why we should be happy that our one trade target was someone like Melky. This would be the equivalent of putting your house on the market at a price above what it’s worth and still getting a buyer to come in and pay the list price. Put another way, if you are a seller and you aren’t getting multiple offers and you only have one buyer you have no leverage. No WAY do you get your list price. Hey, in this case Sabean got his list price. And we might likely find out next year that Sabean got the Royals to bid WAY ABOVE the list price. For only having a single possible buyer, that’s pretty cool….

Take a look at Melky’s hit chart at home last year:

He’s a switch hitter so the fact that he sprays the ball all over the chart isn’t surprising at first but it is worth noting that there isn’t at least a few quadrants in the outfield that he regularly hits the ball to. This tells me that he’s going to eat up the ATT outfield with hits. There is just too much space and not enough good collective defensive outfields that are going to be able to shut this guy down at the plate. As long as he doesn’t get “homer-happy” I think we can expect a repeat of his 2011 and who wouldn’t take that in exchange for Dirrrty’s inconsistencies and, what we learned yesterday, was a *hesitation* to play after he got hurt last Summer……….

What to Expect From Dirrrrrty Sanchez in 2012

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on November 7, 2011

Of course, the answer is unknown. You can have an opinion, a theory, a guess….But what Sanchez does next year is likely up to the baseball Gods. Personally, I think he needs a change of scenery, preferably (for him) to a low-stress town like Seattle or Kansas City, something like that. He could probably use a fresh start. New uni, new pitching coach voice in his head, new fans who aren’t pulling their hair out over his inconsistencies. He’d probably embrace a fresh start…….

But that isn’t going to happen…….

J-Sanch is ours next year. Nobody is trading for him when his value is at it’s lowest and Sabean would be a fool to unload him when his stock is so low. And as was pointed out by Michael on the last thread, he really is the only thing that is keeping Zito out of the starting 5 next season– that reason alone  is why he’s more valuable to us than what any other team would trade to get him.

Even without a fresh start with a new team, there is reason to be hopeful about Dirrrrty’s 2012. I’ve got no idea what he’s doing to prepare for next season, I don’t think he’s playing Winter ball anywhere. He’s probably best just relaxing and working out, continuing to heal his body and cleanse his mind of the negativity from last year. I think the one thing he is going to HAVE to do is take a different tactical approach to pitching. Hitters seem to be taking the approach of “if I can’t hit his stuff I will let it go by, work the count in my favor and either walk or hope for a hittable pitch late in the count.” That is countered quite easily by throwing more strikes early in the count, stealing first pitch strikes with breaking balls, stuff like that.

It’s also entirely possible that he’s trying to do that, he just has no command of his pitches. But I don’t think that’s it. When I look at him on the mound I see a guy who is too consumed, almost overwhelmed, with thinking about his mechanics and how he wants to pitch to a batter. He makes pitching just so…..hard. It probably isn’t as simple as to advise him to “Stop thinking so much and just go have fun out there.” He doesn’t look like a guy who has a personality that leans toward light and loose. But he’s got some of the best stuff in the game and he needs to let that stuff take over and stop doing WHATEVER it is he’s doing on the mound when he puts a couple of guys on base or when he can’t throw strikes for a inning or two which seemed to happen almost every game last year.

Dennis brought up the “Dirrrrty for Jose Reyes” possible trade again. He asked again, “would you do it?” Again, the answer is *no*. Of course the Mets wouldn’t have done that deal. If they took our BEST pitching prospect for Beltran, what do you think they would have wanted for a super star in his prime? But that isn’t the reason *I* wouldn’t have done it. Reyes is a free agent who will command 100-130 million dollars this Winter. No way IN HELL the Giants would have signed him this year. You don’t hand over a legitimate MLB starting pitcher who is still under team control for a 2 month rental player. And I don’t think that if we had made that deal we would have made the playoffs. Reyes gets on base and makes crazy things happen when he’s on the bases. But we still didn’t have  anyone to drive him in. Of course, it’s an unknown what would have happened since it never happened, but I don’t think he was enough to get us over the top last year.

Wherever Dirrrrrty is right now, I hope he’s resting comfortably and finding some peace of mind. He deserves it and could use it. At least he doesn’t have to enter the year with the burden of being the #2. In hindsight, he probably could have done without that pressure. After he disposes of Zito in whatever farce of a competition he’s in with him this Spring, he can enter the 2012 season with a fresh opportunity for success. Whenever I see him on the mound, I’m reminded of one of my favorite quotes (from Blade): “You either make yourself miserable, or you make yourself happy. The amount of work is the same.” How great would it be for Sanchez if he made that HIS favorite quote?

This Weekend…..

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on November 5, 2011

Breeders Cup….Cardinal…’Bama/LSU….Niners…..Raiders….in that order…..

And very little baseball to discuss. I read Cuddyer might be headed to Philly. That does nothing for me…….

Enjoy your weekend. I’m off to start the day with single digit hours remaining till first post…….

*Fixing* the Outfield…….

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on November 4, 2011

Judging by the poll results, most of you would sign Crisp to start and have Vungo waiting in the wings. I’m on board with that. I think Torres, minus the expectations he had last year, could *revert* back to the guy who banged out 43 doubles in 2010. THAT GUY would be better than any free agent outfielder on the current market except maybe Beltran. But of course, we can’t assume that Torres will turn back to be that guy. Between the two of them though, it’s reasonable to expect that you get something much improved out of what that position gave us last year……..

And I would love to get Beltran on a 3 year deal, and I suppose it is at least possible. But this guy has fired Boras, he has something up his sleeve, and I don’t think it’s to come back to San Francisco, a place that his body language appeared to dislike. If we did somehow find a way to sign Beltran, I would also sign Willingham to play left field. Then I’d sign Vungo on the super cheap–that stud defense hasn’t gone anywhere, he can protect those two in the outfield and MAYBE with reduced expectations he will find his long lost bat, too……

But make no mistake, we can’t bring back all the same guys, bet on a bunch of *maybe will reverts* and expect that the return of Franchez and Posey will  fix this offense. Think back to 2010, who made this offense work?  In addition to Posey and Franchez, it was Torres, Huff, Uribe, Burrell, and Ross. Those are FIVE (5) guys who aren’t with us literally and figuratively anymore. And it isn’t just the actual players this line up misses, it’s the chemistry of it. Sabean CANNOT stand pat and bring all the same guys back hoping that Franny/Posey fix this thing………

Crisp, Sizemore, DeJesus—Who Would You Sign?

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on November 3, 2011

It wouldn’t surprise me if one of these 3 guys is playing center field for us next year. All 3 have pluses and minuses. Crisp gives you a leadoff presence and a guy who could steal you 30-40 bases if he stays healthy (his big minus). Sizemore is the biggest gamble, a guy who almost went 40/40 back in 2007 but injuries have derailed his career–he is reportedly healthy but for how long? DeJesus is a guy I don’t really like that much–little power and little speed. But he’s good defensively and if you subscribe to the theory that most A’s free agent pick ups turn to sh!t upon signing (it’s not all of them but a lot of them) then you throw out DeJesus’ 2011 and hope he bounces back to pre-A’s form. He’s probably a lot more likely to stay healthy than the other 2, too.

What about Vungo? It couldn’t really get much worse for Torres than it did last year. And it’s not like he’s brimming with confidence right now. But he would be the cheaper than any of those 3 and his upside of 2010 is better than Crisp and DeJesus for sure. Probably not Sizemore if you think he’s healthy again. What if you signed Crisp AND Torres? I hope they don’t sign Crisp and Ross. I love Cody Ross for what he did in 2010 but in my opinion there’s a better chance that an unpressured Torres would have a better chance of bouncing back than Ross. Remember, Ross really only *brought it* for about 6 weeks. Torres did it ALL of 2010. Anyway, just something to kick around on a windy, cold day in the Bay………

The poll is what would YOU do, not what you think Sabean will do…..

I will send the results to Sabean at the end of the day and he will act accordingly……..

The Randomness of A Gold Glove Winner

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on November 2, 2011

I don’t pay much attention to this award, just glanced at the results this morning. I think the winners are voted on by managers and coaches, not the players themselves. Everyone says it’s an award given to a player who has either won before or who has been an offensive force before–that would explain Beltran as one of the 3 options to vote on in right field. But Gerardo Parra won in left field? I didn’t think he was known outside of Arizona for much of anything. And yet he wins the left field gold glove. Polanco beats out Panda at 3rd base? I didn’t watch much of Polanco this year. He was hurt a lot and I’m sorry, but you can’t tell me he played a *golder* glove than Sandoval did this year. I’m assuming that the newer defensive stats (the UZR stuff) isn’t considered by the coaches. To tell you the truth, I don’t look much at that either since it doesn’t help me in fantasy baseball and, frankly, it can be difficult to translate into something meaningful. I’m assuming the coaches and managers just vote for the guy who made a spectacular play against them in the regular season. Again, I would be surprised if Polanco made more spectacular plays than Panda in 2011. He won a GG in ’07 and ’09 so that was probably enough for the voters–just keep punching out the holes you punched out in years passed. That’s a pretty dumb way to vote, isn’t it?

Maybe Schierholtz finally breaks through in 2012. He plays a full year injury free. He doesn’t just have the late inning hits but he finally fulfills his promise, hits .290 with 15 bombs and 20 stolen bags. Of course, there is the gold glove defense that’s always been there, the golden arm he uses to gun down would-be runners at every possible bag. The cat is finally out of the bag, and he guns that goddamn cat down, too. The national writers  finally take notice and he will win an award he really does richly deserve to win. Except he won’t win it, Andre Ethier will. Why? ‘Cause he won it in 2011. Dumb award……….

Random Thoughts

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on November 1, 2011

Congratulations to Tony LaRussa on a fine career. I suspect that if you thought Pujols was coming back to St Louis next year, instead of going to the Cubs, you wouldn’t be retiring…….

The Indians traded for Derek Lowe. I actually don’t think this was that horrible of a move despite Lowe’s declining win/ERA numbers. He’s a sinker baller who relies on the guys behind him to get to the ball (range) and field it cleanly. The Indians have decent corner defense but suspect defense up the middle with Cabrera and Kipnis so that could be a problem for Lowe. But with sinkerballers (and Lowe’s ground ball rate really hasn’t changed much over the last couple of years) luck and defensive positioning factor in big time. The Indians gave up nothing for him. It was a good gamble by them…….

Brandon Crawford is hitting .333 in the AFL after 11 games. That stat right there outta send Sabes to the ATM to had over another extension to another one of our pitchers. Can’t sign or extend enough of those guys, can he? Meanwhile, our outfield currently sits as one of the most impotent in the league, maybe in all of baseball history in terms of collective home runs produced………

CC Sabathia signed a deal to stay with the Yankees. I love CC, he’s a great pitcher and appears to be a great family man who is extremely active in his community. BUt that dude needs to drop some weight and keep it off. He’s 31, he’s gotten away with being fat up till now. But as he heads into his mid 30’s he’s going to struggle with success, especially later in the season. And “later in the season” is really all the Yankees care about.

I would LOVE to see Yu Darvish pitching for the Yankees—extreme entertainment. I hope they win the rights to negotiate with him….