A Place To Talk About Giants Baseball

The Problem of Age Verification of International Players

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on February 15, 2013

I did some light googling on this topic earlier today and was surprised at the prevalence of the age-cheaters. As of right now, more than 300 mlb players have signed with a team after presenting the team with a false birth certificate. I was also surprised to read that between 1987 and 2005, the number of Dominican players alone jumped from 50 to 1,443. So clearly, this is has become a big problem facing MLB.

DNA tests and bone scans have reduced the risk and become the preferred method of age verification. I wasn’t able to find how successful these methods have been to the process or how many international players participate  in these tests.

It’s not surprising to me, at all, that this goes on. Young players from the DR are never gonna *walk* their way out of their impoverished homeland. That’s why they all seem to have walk rates of like 5-6% when they make it to the major leagues. And if an edge is to be gained by lowering their age, that’s something that’s understandable, too. If it helps them *get out* and other players are doing it too, it’s easily seen why a player might try to fudge his age by 2 or 3 years. In addition to appearing younger, it allows them to face younger, and theoretically “inferior”,  competition as they rise through the ranks of their developmental leagues. That’s another possible landmine for an MLB scout to side step…….

I’m not too worried about signing a guy who’s 18 when he’s actually 16. I almost prefer it since he’s more likely to get to the big leagues sooner if he’s a little older. I think it’d be a bigger issue for a team that finds out that a player they sign to a 5 year/75 million dollar contract is actually 32, not 30.

And I would guess there’s about an 80% chance that Albert Pujols is 35 or 36 and not his currently reported 33. Good luck to the Angels who still owe him 9 years/224 million. Think about that, they still owe him a 1/4 of a billion dollars and his production is already in a pretty serious decline. “A-Rod of the West”–likely.

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  1. twinfan1 said, on February 15, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    If we’re aware of it, so are the teams who sign the youngsters. I see it as zero problem. And any team that signs even a 33 Y0 for 9 years, deserves what they get.

  2. Nipper said, on February 15, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    Cheating is as American as apple pie. Baseball players even lie to congress!

  3. Flavor said, on February 15, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Speaking of “16 year old” signees, I just read at the Merc that Villalona, um, doesn’t want to talk about the murder charge. Really? Shocker. He also says he was 290 last year (and feel free to tack on 30 lbs to get to a more likely weight) when he was deemed to not possibly be believed to be a professional athlete. He says he’s down to 250 now.
    What is he, 6’2 or so?
    Yikes. At least he’s heading in the right direction. Whatever, minor league roster-fillers hold value, too…….

  4. twinfan1 said, on February 15, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Whatever he weighed, those were good numbers for a guy who hadn’t played in years, even if it is a rookie-level league. I’m rooting for him.

  5. Flavor said, on February 15, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    I’m rooting for him as a commodity, that’s it. If he’s worth something to us, either in a trade or production at the mlb level, that’s fantastic. But this guy is in the same category, to me, as Ray Lewis. And there’s a lot about Ray Lewis that I like– he’s probably one of the best motivational speakers I’ve ever heard. But as a person? No, don’t care to like anything about either one of them……..

  6. Alleykat said, on February 15, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    Just hope the Giants put Angel &Panda at opposite ends of the food spread.

    • Flavor said, on February 15, 2013 at 7:18 pm

      or put two food spreads out there…
      Why all these stories about Villalona and all the shit he’s NOT gonna talk about and yet not one pic of the guy in camp besides a neck up shot? Stupid, lazy Bay Area journalism, as usual……

  7. twinfan1 said, on February 15, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    I find it at least as likely that Angel was the victim of extortion and until he’s shown to be guilty of anything except being a wealthy young celebrity , that’s what I’ll continue to believe. As to Lewis, I’d put his fat ass in prison just for the asinine crap he said in the interview.

  8. Bozo said, on February 15, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    I’ll admit that I didn’t have a clue to the numbers Flav mentions on age discrepancies. I thought since 9/11 that the age thing was being more scrutinized for visas. The money is another can of worms. If someone gave me a million bucks when I was a teen, I’d probably be dead. If I lived in a rural part of the States or in Latin America, I’d probably drop out quickly to just buy a home and business that the family could live in and work.
    The weight gain for these teens that become millionaires, many from impoverished back grounds, doesn’t seem that incredible to me. But, I do wonder if teams are able to watch over the kids a bit more or have contracts written to not only protect the Clubs interest but also the kids themselves. So now I’m all curious about these contracts with kids, not enough to stay up and look them up but enough to bug me. Damn.

    • Flavor said, on February 15, 2013 at 8:24 pm

      the contracts are non-issues–To me anyway. 400K here, 1.3 mil there. BFD, I’d rather the Giants divert MORE of their FA money and put it towards signing these 16 year olds (or 18, whatever). One or two of them are bound to hit (and Chuck reminded us of the shot-in-the-dark-lotto-ticket we got with Pablo when our *International Scouting Department* was probably Nipper and 2 of his buddies in a van)………

      • blade3colorado said, on February 15, 2013 at 11:19 pm

        Nipper and 2 of his buddies in a van . . .

        The GMen scouting department was that good back then? Who knew?

      • chipower9 said, on February 16, 2013 at 5:41 pm

        LMAO…that is fucking post of the day material…

  9. Bozo said, on February 15, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    “when our *International Scouting Department* was probably Nipper and 2 of his buddies in a van)………”
    Gold!!

    On that note, bedtime for Bozos (it’s still just spring training, after all).

  10. Flavor said, on February 15, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    What I don’t get is, these dudes in the DR all know each other– at least the elite players who are all now in the big leagues– and they’ve known each other since they were teens. How does the age-bump work? If I’m playing against the best of the best at the international acadamy’s as a 13 year old, against fellow 13 year olds, how do I explain it to my commrades when I show up the following year playing against 11 year olds? You’d think there’d be a bunch of guys out there, who are technically your competition, who could rat you out at any moment…unless the majority of them are doing it, which I think is highly unlikely.
    I guess my question is, when does the age-scam start? 13? 16? 18?

  11. snarkk said, on February 15, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    I will be shocked if Angel ever dons a major league Giants uni in a MLB ballpark for one second. Even if he proves he has MLB talent in the end, which is dubious. He’ll be trade bait at some point down the road. The Giants PR machine, IMO, will never let a guy with this baggage get to the big club…

    • Flavor said, on February 16, 2013 at 6:29 am

      what do you think the chances are that he dropped his lawsuit against the Giants in exchange for an invite to ST and reinstatement to one of the minor league clubs? Could any of that go down on the DL or would that type of deal be impossible to hide?
      And here’s another question: why would the Giants care if he brought a suit against them? If it was frivolous, why not just ride it out in the courtroom? And if they DID settle with him somehow (even if it was just with promises to come to ST) then what did Angel have on them that was worthy of a lawsuit in the first place?
      Sorry for all the questions Tom but you are our resident counsel when it comes to THE LAW at The Flap!

  12. twinfan1 said, on February 16, 2013 at 7:24 am

    It is not an age “scam” when you’re talking about young men who *have* to lie to get to a get chance to play in the highest level of professional baseball.

  13. willedav said, on February 16, 2013 at 7:38 am

    In the DR signing age I think is 15, from what I read in the book on San Pedro de Macoris. Remember, it’s a pretty poor country, if you are lucky enough to get to an academy there’s 3 squares, some education, and a chance to play ball all day. Agents/scouts who recommend kids or dial them a certain direction take a big cut if an actual contract is signed and a lot of the kids give all the money to the family anyway. Lot of incentive all around to fudge numbers.

  14. Bozo said, on February 16, 2013 at 7:46 am

    Side stepping the age issue and entering the Out of Options Zone.
    According to MLBTR these Giants on the 40 man are out of options – Conor Gillaspie, Joaquin Arias, Gregor Blanco, Yusmeiro Petit, Jose Mijares. I doubt Arias, Blanco and Mijares would be able to pass through waivers but they will probably have to compete at their positions during ST. Might make things a bit interesting.

    • chipower9 said, on February 16, 2013 at 6:42 pm

      Arias and Mijares, yeah, maybe. Blanco…no. I think he is as close as you get to “guaranteed” being on the 25 for opening day.

  15. twinfan1 said, on February 16, 2013 at 7:57 am

    Why the question about the lawsuit and droppinng it? It was simple and he was in the right. They dropped him from the active list even though the charges against him were dropped. When they reinstated him, the lawsuit was dropped.
    And why the fuck would he want to talk about the murder case? He wants to play. Everybody should move on and let that be the focus. They’ll probably start him back in Low-A Augusta and see what happens.

    • Bozo said, on February 16, 2013 at 8:23 am

      Also, the Giants might not have been in compliance with MLB. If a player is signed at 18 (and probably before) the team has to protect the player for five years (at 19 I think it’s four years). If there wasn’t anything done to void the contract, I think the Giants had to keep the kid per MLB, regardless of the lawsuit.

      If the Giants take Angel off of the 40 man and designate his assignment (go from a major league contract to a minor league one) he’ll have to pass through waivers. So it’ll be interesting to me if they remove him from the 40 man roster.

  16. zumiee said, on February 16, 2013 at 11:28 am

    For me, it’s hard to find an interest in rooting for Villalona, other than the fact that he tossed me a foul ball one time at a SJ Giants game. And I’ll be forever grateful for that.
    I’m hopeful that Belt nails down firstbase this season with a definitive season at the plate. He’s already Gold-glove-ish on defense. It’s hard to see what Villalona’s future is, as far as what teams would be interested in trading for him, given his backstory now. At some point, he’ll need to address that with some kind of press conference with the media. Saying “I don’t want to talk about it” isn’t going to work for the long haul.

  17. Flavor said, on February 16, 2013 at 11:33 am

    twinfan1 said, on February 16, 2013 at 7:24 am (Edit)
    It is not an age “scam” when you’re talking about young men who *have* to lie to get to a get chance to play in the highest level of professional baseball.

    Twin, that’s absurd. Are you suggesting that ALL of the players coming out of the DR are lying about their age? The MLB clubs are checking and double checking this shit all the time with DNA testing and bone scans. I don’t know how prevalent these tests are, but they are in place and they’re used to confirm (or deny) a player’s claimed age.
    What’s all this “they HAVE to lie” stuff?

    • Nipper said, on February 16, 2013 at 2:27 pm

      It’s time for a heated argument!

    • twinfan1 said, on February 16, 2013 at 10:32 pm

      I guess I should have said that many think they have to lie (with good reason)- but *absurd* is that these kids are scamming. You really have a very ungenerous view, Craig. I like the side I’m on here, for sure.

  18. stratford said, on February 16, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Well, it’s going to follow him. IF he didn’t pull the trigger, who did? Why wasn’t anyone else a suspect? You’d think they could unravel this and find the perp if it wasn’t him. You’d think HE would want to clear his name once and for all. Instead, people will always wonder if he got away with cold blooded murder. If it were me, I’d be proclaiming my innocence and doing everything I could to clear myself. Seems awfully strange. Maybe it was someone close to him who he doesn’t want to implicate. While we’re supposed to feel for the kid, there’s a family out there without a son, a brother a father.

    • zumiee said, on February 16, 2013 at 11:51 am

      I was wondering if that’s part of the legal settlement: he gives money to the family, the charges are dropped, but Villalona has to stay silent on the topic. In other words, the money doesn’t give him the right to go around proclaiming his innocence, as per the settlement, if the victim’s family will not allow him that privilege.
      Just wondering.

      • zumiee said, on February 16, 2013 at 11:57 am

        In that scenario, what could he say to the media? Maybe do a Ray Lewis type of thing and be vague, and just talk about how he used to be young and foolish, and has gotten his life together now, and keep the press conference in that mode. If he turns out to be a real good hitter, some teams will probably be interested in him, maybe even the Giants, in retaining him. But a one-time kind of press conference would be a good thing at some point down the road. The media, and fans too, I guess, have certain expectations about achieving some kind of “closure” on something.

    • blade3colorado said, on February 16, 2013 at 2:08 pm

      It’s not that simple. I back packed down in C and S America for 2 months plus last year and Honduras was coined by CNN as “. . . the most dangerous place on earth” with regard to crimes being committed down there. For example, 98% of ALL MURDERS are unsolved in Honduras’s capital city. The U.N. has indicated for a city that size, they should have 4000 police officers. Instead, they have 1000. I can only imagine what sort of justice you receive in the DR, since it is much poorer (neighbor is Haiti) than all countries in central America. I am not saying that Angel is innocent. But you really can’t project our American values and opinions on a situation that is so different from ours. Or, you could – but in my opinion, you would be so wrong.

      • Nipper said, on February 16, 2013 at 2:29 pm

        Yes that seems worse than Oakland.

      • blade3colorado said, on February 16, 2013 at 2:35 pm

        Nip, it’s so dangerous that the Peace Corps pulled their 150 plus person contingent out of there last January or February. Most of the crime is related to the Columbian cartels finding alternative routes to ship their drugs (since – believe it or not – Mexico has been relatively effective in slowing their shipments down via that country). Consequently, the local drug gangs in Honduras are fighting it out to be the “middle man.”

      • chipower9 said, on February 16, 2013 at 6:50 pm

        Well said, Steve. Very good points…it is like comparing apples to oranges.

      • blade3colorado said, on February 16, 2013 at 8:32 pm

        TY Chi.

    • twinfan1 said, on February 16, 2013 at 7:01 pm

      Juan Uribe could probably explain it Angel could spend years fighting the charges, innocent or not.

  19. PawlieKokonuts said, on February 16, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Even if the Giants do not triumph (via the World Series, or even postseason play), my season will have had something salvaged if either or both Los Angeles teams miss the postseason. I know, I know, I say that with some bit of two-facedness about it. I really DO want our boys to succeed. But I will salivate at seeing the Dodgers and Angels in a futile embrace and slow-grind dance with the devil as they sink lower and lower.

    • Nipper said, on February 16, 2013 at 2:21 pm

      Such thoughts!

  20. snarkk said, on February 16, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    SF plays Orioles on Friday night 8/9 series opener.
    Now THAT is going to a double “orange Friday”…

    • DJLoo said, on February 16, 2013 at 2:22 pm

      Maybe they should have Anita Bryant throw out the first homo…

      • blade3colorado said, on February 16, 2013 at 2:27 pm

        That would be quite a trick Loo, since she’s dead.

      • Alleykat said, on February 16, 2013 at 4:03 pm

        Blade all that great traveling your enjoying must be getting to your brain cells some,I believe Anita Bryant is still alive.Yes it’s alive.

      • snarkk said, on February 16, 2013 at 4:27 pm

        According to Wiki, Anita is 72 and still around, free to spread her brand of homophobia and good ‘ol family values …

      • blade3colorado said, on February 16, 2013 at 7:51 pm

        Whoops! I mean that sincerely too. Although I am in agreement with Snarkk insofar as her “wrongo” political and homophobic leanings – I don’t wish death on anyone. Thanks kat . . . I really thought that she had passed away.

        Oh, you also are correct about my brain cells becoming fried. It’s hot and muggy in Brisbane right now and I’ve taken shelter in the Queensland Museum and their State Library today, so I can escape the heat/humidity.

    • Nipper said, on February 16, 2013 at 2:25 pm

      Double your pleasure!

  21. xoot said, on February 16, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    The mysteries of the DR legal system aside, who the hell is representing Villalona through this? He’s an uneducated jock. I believe him when he says he doesn’t understand why he sued the Giants. At this point, he may not even know his own age. Take a look at the list (the very long list) of DR mlb players — it covers the spectrum from the most sophisticated (e.g., Felipe Alou) to the least (e.g., Melky). I think it’s obvious where Villalona sits on that spectrum. Unless he starts to look like the next David Ortiz, the Giants will find a way to cut him loose. The details about his legal and business management team, however, would be interesting to know. That’s where the corruption resides, imo.

  22. PawlieKokonuts said, on February 16, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    Oscar Pistorius just might want the phone number of Angel Villalona’s lawyer. Maybe.

  23. PawlieKokonuts said, on February 16, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    Speaking of Anita Bryant, doesn’t this give new meaning to “cream pie”? http://youtu.be/dS91gT3XT_A

    • chipower9 said, on February 16, 2013 at 6:54 pm

      That was fricking hilarious…kudos to the guy who creamed her with the pie…

  24. Flavor said, on February 16, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    When I read the comments I thought you jokers were talking about *Anita Hill* and was like, “When did I miss her death, lol?”
    Anita Hill got the short end of the straw on that Clarence Clem–..er, I mean *Thomas* deal. Still can’t believe he got out of that……

  25. twinfan1 said, on February 16, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    Both Uribes have/had claimed to having been victims of extortion,. I have no idea why it seems unlikely that Angel was.

    • Flavor said, on February 16, 2013 at 6:47 pm

      Well, when the prosecution wants to continue with the case even after the settlement that’s KIND OF an indication that they knew he did it.
      But whatever, maybe he didn’t.
      I think he did it.
      And none of our opinions about this topic mean shit……….

      • twinfan1 said, on February 16, 2013 at 7:14 pm

        They dropped the charges, and they didn’t have to if they were so sure. But man, now a guy’s guilty if the prosecution *thinks* he did it?

      • Flavor said, on February 16, 2013 at 8:42 pm

        well, they are working with a lot more info than you are….

      • twinfan1 said, on February 16, 2013 at 10:25 pm

        THEY DROPPED THE CHARGES.

  26. zumiee said, on February 16, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    I was in a shopping mall the other day, for the first time in, like, forever it seems, and one of the stores had this cool banner for sale. Beautiful in its profound simplicity and awesome power and truth. It’s 2′ x 3.’ I was sorely tempted, but I balked at the $80.00 price. 80 bucks? Are you kidding me? It’s made out of felt, not unicorn hide. But…..it IS awesome to look at, regardless. I ended up buying another Giants championship design t-shirt, to add to my swag, but not that banner, alas.
    Here’s the banner:
    http://www.fansedge.com/San-Francisco-Giants-2012-World-Series-Champions-Dynasty-Banner-_442689053_PD.html

    • Flavor said, on February 16, 2013 at 6:50 pm

      god dammit Zumie. I freaking love this. And as you said, I’m totally not down with the clothness of it. I am positive that it will be underwhelming when I get it. And yet, I’m staring at it and I love it. Must…get…or….stop…myself….from….getting……

      • zumiee said, on February 16, 2013 at 6:59 pm

        How about you add it to the graphics on the side of the blog? There’s already a lot of stuff there, but hey, it’ll fit in very nicely. (grin)

      • Flavor said, on February 16, 2013 at 7:02 pm

        I’ve got a friend that’s been begging me to sell Giants shit in a widget but I keep the blog ad free on purpose. But, you never know.

      • chipower9 said, on February 16, 2013 at 7:10 pm

        A couple of sites no longer have this items. Other than a couple of World Series t-shirts and a hoodie, I haven’t really bought much (hell, after 2010’s win I bought a coffee cup, mouse pad…all kinds of shit). I found a site that still has the banners…I’m getting one.

    • PawlieKokonuts said, on February 16, 2013 at 6:52 pm

      the link says, “not for sale anymore”…that’s okay…even “doomero uno me” now believes we could see more rings in my lifetime. Anything’s possible. And by that, I mean anything good.

    • snarkk said, on February 16, 2013 at 7:05 pm

      Does winning two WS out of 3 years = a “dynasty” banner?
      Now 5 SB wins from ’81 to ’95 = a Niner “dynasty”, along with 16 straight 10-win seasons, etc.
      But, are we already in a Giants “dynasty”?
      I say no. But, I’m willing to use the word if we go 3 out of 4 or 5….

      • chipower9 said, on February 16, 2013 at 7:28 pm

        I don’t have a problem with the term “dynasty” because outside of the Yankmees, only three teams have won 3 in 4 years. Philadelphia Athletics, Red Sox, and Oakland A’s. Even two in three (when you consider the number of years) is pretty special. WTF…I don’t care…gettin’ that banner.

  27. Flavor said, on February 16, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    Speaking of banners, and this is only marginally related, but I was struck by all the 49er flags that were flown on cars for the couple of weeks up until the super bowl. One on each side of the roof top, they’re about 12 inches high, they were awesome.
    I didn’t get one but would have had the purchase presented itself.I don’t think I could’ve brought myself to put it on my car, but I would have put them somewhere.
    I want some type of Giants flag that I don’t afix to my car, I drive a Chevy Trailblazer and it just wouldn’t look right. I’m not a *flag guy*. But I do appreciate them as they drive by, so maybe I am a *flag guy*. I dunno.
    Anyway, that’s what I want but still don’t know where to fly it or stick it…………….

  28. PawlieKokonuts said, on February 16, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    Dear Houston Astros: I won’t miss youse guys. Have fun in the AL, even if the leagues won’t matter as much as they used to.

  29. twinfan1 said, on February 16, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    Almost of all the motorized wheelchairs that make up a lot of the “traffic” here in the early mornings, have Giant’s or 49er flags, or both.

  30. dirtnrocksnomo said, on February 16, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    I have always liked pennants and picked one up last month for my office as I moved floors over the holiday. The pennant showed up and was twice the size that I expected. Apparently there are a bunch of dodgers fans on the new floor so I put it front and center.

  31. paulinasia said, on February 16, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Yesterday was the last day of lunar new year holiday, things get back to “normal” here now. I was in a funky mood, don’t know why, so my Saturday turned into a chill-out stay-at-home day. Went to the Giants’ homepage and something made me click on a video link from the post-season. Suddenly it was 4 hours later, the tropical afternoon light fading to dusk, and I had pretty much watched snippets of every game, plus every out from Matt’s perfecto. The funk was gone. Baseball as therapy, we say. Welcome back, baseball.

    • zumiee said, on February 16, 2013 at 7:57 pm

      I bought another 2013 season preview magazine. I now have the USA Today magazine and the Sporting News magazine. I like ’em. They crackle and pop with all the optimism bursting forth from all 30 teams; the joy of a new season about to start.

    • blade3colorado said, on February 16, 2013 at 8:14 pm

      Paul, sent you an email.

      • paulinasia said, on February 16, 2013 at 8:35 pm

        Got it, replied…

      • blade3colorado said, on February 16, 2013 at 8:40 pm

        Yeah, back at you (in reply).

      • DJLoo said, on February 16, 2013 at 8:43 pm

        Quit talking behind people’s backs.

      • blade3colorado said, on February 16, 2013 at 8:46 pm

        Yes sir. Sorry Loo. 🙂

      • paulinasia said, on February 16, 2013 at 8:55 pm

        Loo, you could meet up with us in Bangkok this coming weekend, then this wouldn’t be behind your back…. :-p

      • blade3colorado said, on February 16, 2013 at 9:00 pm

        Paul, I don’t know if Loo could stand as much “Thai fun” as we’re going to have . . . Then again . . . 🙂

  32. chipower9 said, on February 16, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    On a local (NorCal) and baseball note, after dropping the opener, Sacramento State beat Texas today in Austin. Great to see a local team compete on that level, plus, my daughter is dating/lives with their pitching coach. Would be huge (and awesome) if they pull off the series win, tomorrow. Go Hornets!

  33. twinfan1 said, on February 16, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    Kids who think they have to to lie about their age to play ball in the US are not “scamming”…
    And the woman on the BB page is a very normal looking woman who doesn’t happen to be a beauty queen. I see that Flavor said that I agreed not to post on the BB page- I think Eric did say it best as to what the point was on that page- in his reply to one of my deleted posts.
    Anyway, I’m proud to say that I respect women whatever their age, size, and cosmetic beauty. Night all.

  34. twinfan1 said, on February 17, 2013 at 7:46 am

    There’s a link to “Real Women” in the “Room B” list- today’s RWOTD is my late aunt, Wilma Scott-Heide, one of the unsung sheroes of the fight for equal rights for women- an unfinished battle. Maybe you know or knew a woman or girl you are proud of and would like to share her accomplisments. She doesn’t have to be pretty..
    https://oneflapdown77.com/real-women/

  35. Bozo said, on February 17, 2013 at 7:46 am

    I love this quote from Scutaro.
    “I spent four years in Oakland and I’d never seen rain like that in the Bay Area,” he said. “I’m playing deep at second base, two strikes away, one strike away from the World Series, and all of the sudden you feel this rain coming down. You think, `Is that a message?’ That’s the reason I did that. It came without notice, like, pow! It’s cool that people took a lot of pictures.”

    Full squad has reported, my mlb.com subscription has been re-upped, I’m ready for the season!
    Bring it!


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