THE San Francisco Giants Blog

Panik and Willie and the Gang

Posted in Uncategorized by pawliekokonuts on January 24, 2015

At the trophy event, Willie Mays allowed how this World Series was the hardest, the one that had him worried. He is amazing rattling off player names and situations. He was asked about the greatest center fielder besides himself. He begged off, saying how he got crushed when he said he was the greatest. He didn’t want to get in trouble. (“Junior was pretty good.”) And he went on to say how it is just one position, it takes nine guys on the field to win. “I helped all the guys around me. It was for the team, not me.” He meant it, and he said that was the thing about the 2014 team.

I’ll share three little gems. 1.) When Mays was on deck for the 1951 Bobby Thomson homer, he said he did not realize at first that the game was over, that the homer won the game! “I had no idea. Stanky and Leo were hugging and jumping. ‘Get up there, fool!’ I said to myself. I just wanted to bat. I was a kid.”  2.) The passing of Ernie Banks was mentioned. Over and over again, Willie affirmed the take everyone has on Banks: just a nice guy, a kind man. Mays related how Banks came up to him the first time before a game, maybe in Chicago. Willie knew of him and Gene Baker. Banks introduced himself. “Yeah, I know who you are. We’re still gonna knock you down.” And as for “let’s play two,” Willie was, “C’mon, you gotta play one first.”  3.) Willie shared great memories, warm thoughts about Monte Irvin, left fielder. He is 95, living in Houston, the oldest African American ex-player. Irvin was supposed to come up before Jackie, Mays said, except he served in the military. In the beginning of Mays’s time in New York, Mays would visit Irvin and his wife Dee every other day in Paterson, NJ, to eat, get acclimated, etc. Irvin took him under his wing. Willie told a profound story of how he could walk around in Paterson at a park, by himself, untouched by fame. (To me, that’s the origin of the grouchy reputation. Fame is a killer, as Bob Dylan showed in the Scorcese movie “No Direction Home.”) Willie said, “I didn’t want to hurt Monte’s feelings. I was his roommate for three weeks. I told Dee, ‘I gotta get some sleep!'” instead of going back and forth to Paterson. You could tell how much Irvin meant, and it hints at a whole subtext of being black on a white team in a white society.

Sorry I missed DJLoo and Macdog down at Finnerty’s. What else could I do? What a day.

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31 Responses

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  1. stickman said, on January 24, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    Pawlie: Thanx for sharing. Willie is the MAN.

    • pawliekokonuts said, on January 24, 2015 at 5:10 pm

      willkommen….it was all like a dream…..I wanted to approach him but couldn’t, an aura….I couldn’t even formulate a public question….dumbstruck,
      tho’ I did give chat it up with Larry Baer (third occasion I’ve done that) and gave him my book Rounding Third

  2. pawliekokonuts said, on January 24, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    I was standing in front of Panik when he was doing this interview. [mlbvideo id="37170157" width="400" height="224" /]

    • pawliekokonuts said, on January 24, 2015 at 5:33 pm

      not successful on linking it, but videos at sfgiants website

  3. DJLoo said, on January 24, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    Yeah, well me and Mac got triple trophy pins, big shot…

    • pawliekokonuts said, on January 24, 2015 at 5:40 pm

      who says I don’t have trophy buttons? but no doubt your event skewed younger demographically

  4. DJLoo said, on January 24, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    And a whole lotta Guiness…

  5. blade3colorado said, on January 24, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    Envious (and happy for you) that you saw/heard my favorite player of all time. Wow! Besides Ali, Mays is my favorite sports star growing up.

  6. blade3colorado said, on January 24, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    Brady denying he knew anything about the deflated balls . . . Great column at CNN says this in part:

    “Really Tom? It’s hard to believe — almost laughable, really — that Brady, who is in his 15th NFL season with six trips to the Super Bowl and three Super Bowl wins, noticed nothing wrong. This is a guy who’s known to micromanage every aspect of the game, including the ball. And he’s on record saying he prefers a soft football. How could a pro like this notice nothing wrong?

    The NFL, which according to ESPN reports, had been put on notice by the Colts going into the AFC Championship game that the Patriots may have used “soft balls” earlier in the season, said it is conducting a full investigation But with the Super Bowl less than two weeks away, we’ve heard nothing from them, nor apparently, has Brady, he said yesterday.

    So it’s easy to understand why fans and even pro athletes are not buying Brady’s story:

    “It’s obvious that Tom Brady had something to do with this,” said Hall of Fame QB Troy Aikman on his Dallas radio program, even before the Brady-Belichick press conferences. “So for the balls to be deflated, that doesn’t happen unless the quarterback wants that to happen, I can assure you of that. Now the question becomes: Did Bill Belichick know about it.”

  7. dirtnrocksnreno said, on January 24, 2015 at 6:48 pm

    Perfect

  8. Alleykat said, on January 24, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    Just want to say I’m happy and Proud for you Pawlie on this special day!
    To go back in time and see your idol( mine too) Willie Mays in person along with the future possible star Joe Panik had to have you beaming from ear to ear!!
    Same goes for you Loo,and MacDog a great day at Finnerty’s for the Flap Nation representatives!!

    • pawliekokonuts said, on January 24, 2015 at 8:12 pm

      thanks, Blade, Dirt, Kat, et al. …..still winding down

  9. Flavor said, on January 24, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    Great rundown Pawlie, sounds like a day of a lifetime. I’m bummed you didn’t get to meet Loo so then I could have lived vicariously through you in a day of a lifetime for me.
    MacDog, do you guys have a story to tell? I have a picture of a fat Pablo Sandoval that was taken today that I was thinking about making tomorrow’s thread but if you’ve got something better, lemme know.
    PK, you are THE MAN!!!!!!!!!!!

    • pawliekokonuts said, on January 24, 2015 at 8:25 pm

      you da man!

      even met up with Ballet Daughter from Philly at Lincoln Center for a cup of coffee….

      • Flavor said, on January 24, 2015 at 8:46 pm

        “Pawlie Bueller’s Day Off”

  10. Macdog said, on January 24, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    Yeah, yeah, so Pawlie got to see Willie and Panik and all that . . . I got to spend another epic Mac-a-LOO-za with DJ! And Guinness. Ha!

    • pawliekokonuts said, on January 24, 2015 at 8:43 pm

      you guys may have better stories!

  11. Macdog said, on January 24, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    Lost amid all the hoopla today, there was this:

    http://www.csnbayarea.com/giants/giants-bring-back-bowker-hicks-minor-league-deals

    • DJLoo said, on January 24, 2015 at 10:05 pm

      YES! YES! YES!

    • snarkk said, on January 24, 2015 at 10:34 pm

      The Bowker gang rides again!
      Sabean must have had several girlfriends in his youth that just kept coming back, meandering in and out of his life after he dumped them or vice versa. Without that, I don’t get the bringing back of these old shoes, other than just to fill up a roster. I guess that’s it, but I’d like to see some guys with even a glimmer of future on the rosters, not just a dusty past…

      • DJLoo said, on January 24, 2015 at 10:38 pm

        Is Bowker’s return any less unlikely than Ishikawa’s?

      • snarkk said, on January 24, 2015 at 10:46 pm

        Good question. I’d say no. Hitting the modern day Bobby Thompson HR was great, but no guarantee you’ll make the team. Although, I think Ishi got a $1 million MLB contract, I don’t think it was a make good minor league deal, which is a leg up on Bowker. Bowker however, is back from 3 years in Japan, so maybe he could be a dugout buddy for Aoki, assuming Bowker learned more Japanese than just “another Kirin, barkeepsan” while he was in Japan…

  12. DJLoo said, on January 24, 2015 at 10:31 pm

    Things from today to debate:

    1) No line at Finnerty’s. Are Giant fans in NY jaded? Phony? Spoiled? Dead?
    2) How did Pawlie pull that off today? Why the secrecy? Pawlie-gate?

  13. snarkk said, on January 24, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    There’s a doctrine in tort law called “res ipsa loquitor”. Essentially means the thing speaks for itself. It’s used to point liability to a party that has been in control of something, that has a duty of care, and in the absence of evidence otherwise, the doctrine can be used to point liability for violation of that duty to that party who had the control. Perfectly applies to the Deflategate. After the footballs were given to the refs to check, the balls were turned back OK’d as legal to the respective teams’ possession and control. After checking at halftime, 11 of the 12 Pats’ footballs were deflated below the allowed minimum = illegal. Who had possession and control of those Pats’ footballs during the first half? Only the Pats. Res ipsa, Judgie Wudgie. I rest my case…

  14. snarkk said, on January 24, 2015 at 11:05 pm

    I had no idea that each team in the NFL supplied its own footballs for use while on offense in a game. They can apparently scuff, rub, put barbeque sauce on it, or do whatever they want with the balls, as long as the balls are inflated between 12.5 and 13.5 PSI when given to the refs before a game. I’m trying to imagine MLB allowing each team to use its own baseballs when on defense. That would be insane. The home plate ump would have to wear a splatter screen there’d be so much crap on the baseballs. The NFL itself should take charge of controlling the supply and use of game footballs throughout a game…

  15. DJLoo said, on January 24, 2015 at 11:12 pm

    The Knick’s old trainer, Danny Whelan, always carried a pin to help create a “shooter’s ball” for his team.
    Big fuckin’ deal. The whole world cheats. Sports, marriage, taxes. What’s the fuckin’ difference?

    • snarkk said, on January 24, 2015 at 11:28 pm

      When the other team doesn’t cheat, there’s a difference.
      Bond’s juiced, and so did Gagne. Result was a great confrontation of heat vs. strength. Bonds won that one, fair and square on a cheating, but level playing field. If the Pats have been playing for years with deflated balls, and winning close games in BS weather conditions in Foxboro because they don’t fumble flat balls, when the other team did fumble legal balls, that’s BS. It’s even more BS because they’ve played in a dogmeat division with the Jets, Bills and Dolphins. That’s like a paranoid Nixon snooping and pulling dirty trix on McGovern…

      • DJLoo said, on January 24, 2015 at 11:33 pm

        Our beloved Gaylord Perry kept KY jelly in business for a quarter of a century.
        I copied answers off the girl next to me in Social Studies in 6th grade. It’s all bullshit.
        The only difference between cheaters and non-cheaters is who gets caught.

      • snarkk said, on January 25, 2015 at 12:36 am

        Santa Claus knows the difference…

  16. zumiee said, on January 25, 2015 at 3:04 am

    What an awesome day! Thanks for sharing the story, Pawlie. Quite a day for East Coast Flappers!

  17. Giant Head said, on January 25, 2015 at 5:30 am

    I am in agreement with snarkk. I had no clue each team used their own balls during games. One would think before this season especially that the NFL with their literally tens of billions that they ran a very smooth ship. How the hell do you not control the game balls at all moments?? And how the hell do they keep track of whose ball is whose during the game, especially after kicks????

    This is what I don’t understand. Why don’t the Patriots say that every ball was at 12.5 when given to the refs except for one that was fully inflated that they kept for the kicker. And if there was any loss in air pressure due to the cold outdoor air, that must have caused the 11 balls at 12.5 to deflate below the legal level. The NFL has no idea how deflated they were. It does not sound like they measured the deflation at half time. I would say it was an act of God and get on with it.

    A deflated ball is certainly easier to hold on to but wouldn’t it be a lot harder to throw??? One would think it would flutter more the more it is deflated…

    Cheating is in the eye of the beholder. Did Thompson get the sign??? Base runners are not supposed to steal signs from second but that is common practice. Is hosing down the infield extra cheating???

    As I said during spygate to my father-in-;aw when he was shocked that they were cheating, I was shocked every other nfl team was not trying to do the same thing in trying to tape the opponents play calls.

    I want this to go away because I already bet big on the Patriots:)


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