Monthly Archives: October 2012

City of San Francisco Sure Knows How to Parade!!

2010 San Francisco World Champions Parade

If you type San Francisco Parade in your search engine, you’re likely to find out a whole lot about the gay community here in the Bay Area.  Add “Giants” to your search and it’s a whole new ballgame (excuse the pun)!  San Francisco is bracing for another million plus today for the 2nd time in three years as they open the city to the World Champion San Francisco Giants fans.   Parade begins at 11:00 AM and will be televised locally.  (Check Mainstream Media for other possible showings.)

Note:  It’s 12:45 and Bruce Bochy’s beautiful gold Rolls Royce just ran out of gas.  Fans pushing it along the parade route.  Is that priceless or what??   Beautiful parade ~

Hey Ho ~ Way To Go! A Song for Giants Fans

 

This is the first “Theme Song” I’ve heard about our 2012 Championship Team, and it’s a good one.  It came to me, from all places, jolly old England!  Baseball is universal and we’ll get a chance to really experience that in March, 2013, when Baseball’s World Classic comes to AT&T Park!  Thanks to our friend,  Eric Bone, for sharing this little ditty with me.

The Morning After ….. from a Fan’s Perspective.

I love the morning after.  My morning coffee and the sports page ~ one of the joys of my life. This morning I read the sports page with great intensity, devoured every word and then turned to my trusty PC, starting with the major sports media and ending up with the baseball blogs.  And here’s the one that really struck my fancy.  “Letter from a Disappointed Fan.”  It was a good read and I could relate.  I’ve been there.  But in 2010 my team won the World Series and my perspective changed.  I was ecstatic, in heaven, loved everything and everybody.  Life was good, no it was  great!   I’ll never forget that feeling because I still have it, it’s still there.  So this year to be perfectly honest when we made the playoffs it was really nice, but it wasn’t the same, especially when we were down 3-1 to the Cardinals and it was okay. I mean we’d already won the World Series so I was okay with that.  I really thought the Nats or Reds would take the Division this year anyhow and that was my mindset and it was okay, since they had the better records. 

Miguel Cabrera 2004 World Series

So we made it to the World Series again and, to tell you the truth, I really like the Detroit Tigers.  I like their players, their manager and their fans.  I’ve been a Miguel Cabrera fan since, as a rookie with the Florida Marlins, he helped whoop the Yankees into submission in the 2003 World Series, and now this year he’s won the Triple Crown.  How cool is that?  The same goes for Justin Verlander.  I think he’s a real asset to baseball.  He’s a great role model for our kids and his persona during the first game of this World Series says it all.  I wrote about him last week “Paper Tigers Tamed by a Panda and a Bear”.  And of course Prince Fielder.  Seems like he’s always been around, always has and always will be.  Just a lot of fun to watch.  And these Detroit fans are the same ones who gave  Umpire Jim Joyce a standing ovation the day after he blew a call that cost the Tiger pitcher, Armando Galarraga, a perfect game, because he was forthright and honest to immediately ‘fess up to his error.  Class.

So last night during the post game shows (sometimes they’re  more fun than the game) I heard Jim Leyland say this.     

“They were better than we were,” Leyland said, “and you can’t say anything different. I mean, if it goes seven games and you lose the seventh game on a freak play or something, you might say, well, we were as good as they were. But in this series, we were not as good as they were. The Giants beat us. They did a fantastic job. They’re the world champions and they deserve to be the world champions.”

Detroit’s Jim Leyland

And you can’t forget Jim Leyland.   How can you not love these Tigers?  Did you ever during one play, one at bat, during this World Series see or hear anything negative or unsportsmanlike out of any of these guys?  I sure didn’t (well, maybe after the game or in the dugout, but nothing for public display).    Here’s a team that beat the stuffing out of the New York Yankees in the ALCS chase for the pennant.  They beat them bad.  They beat them four games in a row in a best of 7 series.  So of course there was genuine disappointment on the Tigers team but they played with class and they lost with class.  

So this morning I was really super happy that my San Francisco Giants had won their second World Series in three years. It was great!  And, from this fan’s perspective, it was equally great (well, almost) witnessing the first class Detroit Tigers standing tall in their defeat, gentlemen to the end.  And,really, isn’t that what it’s all about?   It is from this fan’s perspective.

“SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS, 2012 WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS”

“2012 San Francisco Giants Team Photo”

Here’s a brief look at some of the 2012 Post Season Play:

 

garlicfriesandbaseball:

GFBB Note: Interesting comments by D. J. Short, including “This wasn’t a thoroughly dominating performance by Bumgarner” ……. and “he allowed just two hits and two walks while striking out eight and throwing 54 out of 86 pitches for strikes.” But Short had to admit Bumgarner was “plenty efficient”. And in the end, isn’t that what really matters ~ besides the win of course.

Originally posted on HardballTalk:

Coming into tonight, many questioned whether Madison Bumgarner was the right choice for Game 2 after his late-season struggles carried into the postseason. However, Giants manager Bruce Bochy decided to roll the dice with his young left-hander after some mechanical tweaks rather than go with Ryan Vogelsong on short rest or Tim Lincecum. It was a pretty good call.

Bumgarner delivered seven shutout innings tonight as the Giants topped the Tigers 2-0 in Game 2 to grab a 2-0 lead in the World Series.

This wasn’t a thoroughly dominating performance by Bumgarner, as there were a number of hard-hit balls and some ugly at-bats and baserunning blunders by the Tigers, but he was plenty efficient. Averaging a tick over 89 mph on his fastball, he allowed just two hits and two walks while striking out eight and throwing 54 out of 86 pitches for strikes. This was the first time…

View original 237 more words

Game 2. Waiting for the Ball to go Foul!

 Sung to the tune of “Waiting for the Robert E. Lee.

See it rolling along, See it rolling along. Now watch it roll left, and roll right, and roll right up the middle, I said right up the middle. 

We’re waiting for the ball to go foul.  Waiting for the ball to go foul.  By god it’s changed course, yes, changed course. And isn’t that just dandy?  The fans are yelling grandly. 

We’re waiting for the ball to go foul.  Waiting for the ball to go foul. But the umpire calls it fair and we’re all standing there, while Gregor Blanco’s standing on first!     

                                                     Ronni Redmond

In the end, there were no Tigers or Pandas or Barry’s.  Just a couple of Giants scoring a couple of runs while a couple of pitchers showed us a fine duel right up to the 6th inning.   Actually we spent most of the game holding our breath, waiting for something to happen.  And it finally did, in the 8th inning.   The Giants won a slow and lazy Game 2 by the score of 2-0.

But that crazy foul ball fiasco in the 7th inning was pretty funny.  The ball rolled slowly off  Gregor Blanco’s bat, up toward the 3rd base line with Detroit’s catcher Laird trotting along behind, and then joined by the pitcher, the 3rd baseman and the shortstop all bent over, waiting for the ball to go foul, watching the little baseball slowly weave it’s way up about 40 feet where it came slowly to rest ~ inside the base line.  Fair ball.  Blanco’s safe at first and, at least to this Giants fan, it was really pretty comical.

And except for the fact that both Madison Bumgarner and Doug Fister pitched  outstanding games, it didn’t have the same intensity as Game 1, which is a good thing.  I mean, who can keep up that pace?   You can read the highlights below.  But you’ll have to sing my little song above to really enjoy that foul ball scenario.   

Game 3 moves to Detroit on Friday with the Giants leading the Series 2-0.  

Game 1 Continued. “Will Bamboo Be Declared a PED?”

“Verlander Meets the Panda”

Whoa!  Sorry.  I just couldn’t resist this picture sent via Facebook by Dan Schlossberg with his caption “Wonder if bamboo will be declared a PED?”

Don’t worry though.  We know Justin Verlander is safe and sound in the Visitor’s Dugout at AT&T Park tonight.   But I thought I should post this for the benefit of tonight’s starting pitcher, Doug Fister.  You just can’t be too careful these days.

Game 1. Paper Tigers Tamed by a Panda and a Bear (Barry Zito that is)!

So today I’m making a huge batch of caramel corn getting ready to settle in for the first game of the World Series, and still pinching myself trying to figure out how the Giants ended up in the series.   It wasn’t supposed to be this way.   I had it all figured out a few months ago that either Washington or Cincinnati would be representing the NL this week and I was fine with that.  I mean spread it around.  I’m still reveling in our 2010 World Series victory and nothing will ever take that away.

But fate intervened and the San Francisco Giants survived the regular season and so it begins.  Tim McCarver was in usual form and talked non-stop for five minutes about the miraculous powers of the unbeatable, unstoppable Justin Verlander, pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, and the additional weapons in the form of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder.  And I agreed.  I figured we’d lose the first game for sure, and probably the next two also, and then win the last four in a row.  I don’t know why, but that’s the way the Giants have been doing things in San Francisco lately.

“Barry Zito 1st Game 2012 World Series”

You all know I don’t write about the game per se, or the  scoreboard or statistics because they’re so readily available but there’s always some little thing that stands out, something that grabs my attention.  And there was a lot of that surrounding those wild and crazy Giants tonight;  Pablo Sandoval’s incredible first three at bats ending in three home runs, Barry Zito’s revival with one of the best curve balls in the game (what a performance!) and Gregor Blanco’s two incredible diving catches in right field and much more as they came together perfectly as a team.

“Verlander with pitching coach, Jeff Jones, in 3rd Inning”

But I’m still smiling when I think of Justin Verlander standing on the mound in the bottom of the 4th inning,  when Manager Jim Leyland walked out of the dugout, to the mound, and asked Verlander for the ball.  All the time Leyland was walking from the dugout towards Verlander, the cameras were on Verlander and all that time he had a smile on his face.  And it wasn’t a smirk.  It was a smile as if to say, “Wow, where the hell did these guys come from?”  because I think he was just as surprised as the rest of us were.  I’m a Giants fan and I’m sure I’m supposed to act like I knew they were going to do this, but I didn’t.  I don’t think anyone did, except maybe the Giants themselves.  I’ll bet the bookies in Vegas were sweating through the entire game because when I read the odds in the paper this morning it said “Tigers over Giants ~ Odds: -178, or something like that.  I don’t even know what that means?  Who’s ever seen odds like that anyway?  This is the same Tiger team who beat the New York Yankees in 4 straight games  in best of 7 this year to win the AL Pennant and get to this World Championship Series.

What I liked about Verlander’s attitude was his calm, cool and in-control demeanor.   Here’s a guy that’s a two-time Cy Young winner, had an incredible season and is probably used to everyone patronizing him and agreeing with everything he says and does.  But he didn’t appear angry or upset or anything, even though I’m sure he was disappointed.  He appeared to take it all in stride, like “It’s okay.  I’ll get them next time”.  And there’s a good chance he will.  And with a smile he walked to the dugout to watch the rest of the game.

I love my Giants and they played a fantastic game tonight, and I’ll watch it again, maybe twice, before I go to bed.   And tonight they beat the Detroit Tigers fair and square by a score of 8-3.   But I sure wasn’t expecting it.  It was a surprise.

And I sure hope I’m surprised three more times  just like this  in the remaining games of the  2012 World  Series.   Way to go and thank you Giants.  Whatta game it was!

“Tigers and Giants Going to the Ship”!

“Congratulations to the AL Champion Detroit Tigers and the NL Champion San Francisco Giants!”

The Ship means “Championship” at least that’s what Sergio Romo told us back in 2010.   This is going to be fun! 

The Tigers  posted a regular season record of 88 Wins and 74 Losses and ended up beating the socks off  the New York Yankees, a team with 95 Wins and 67 Losses,  for the American League Pennant.  Not only did they beat the Yankees, they beat them really, really bad.  Try 4-0 in a best out of 7 series.    Weapons ~ Justin Verlander, last year’s Cy Young award winner AND MVP;  Miguel Cabrera, first batter to win the AL Triple Crown since 1966 and Prince Fielder, who finished the 2012 Season with .313 Batting Average and 30 Home Runs.

Excuse me while I pinch myself.  I still can’t figure out how the Giants ended up in the World Series this year.   Spring training showed a recuperating Buster Posey, an out-for-the-year Brian Wilson and a pretty good, but not as-good-as-they-used-to-be pitching staff.  There were no individual stand-outs, with maybe the exception of Posey, until these past few months and things just started to happen.  That’s how they do it in San Francisco.  They got together in the clubhouse, put their heads together, posted a 94-68 record and “believed”.  

After one of the wildest Championship Division Series ever my prediction is the Detroit Tigers will win the first three games and the Giants will win the rest.  I don’t know why, that’s just the way they do it in San Francisco.

First Game:  Wednesday, October 24, 2012, Time TBA, at AT&T Park.

Here I Go Again ……..”Oh, Those Classy Cardinals!”

“Zito handing over the ball”

This is filed under the “Just when you think you’ve seen it all” Category.  Barry Zito’s pitching was superb tonight  in Game 5 of the NLCS between the San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals.   He pitched a shut-out into the 8th Inning with 115 total pitches and the Giants won the game 5-0.  I was considering not even watching the game because I figured if the Cardinals won I’d watch the next game which would be Game 1 of the World Series and if the Giants won, I’d be able to watch them play again Sunday, in San Francisco, in front of their home crowd.  That way I could avoid watching the stressful nail-biter game I was sure it would be.   But that’s not what happened.  I mean it wasn’t a nail-biter.  

Something else happened at Busch Stadium tonight that probably happens a lot  in St. Louis but honestly I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before.  It was one of those emotional moments I live for in sports, an honor to witness, via the telly of course, and I couldn’t wait to write about it.

“St. Louis Cardinal Fans”

During the 8th Inning, Bochy decided to replace Zito for whatever reason Boche decides to do these things, and Barry Zito walked off the mound after a really spectacular pitching performance, a  shut-out.  He also contributed an RBI single to his efforts. And as he walked off the mound across the field toward the dugout, those crazy Cardinal fans did something really spectacular.  During this championship series game they stood up and gave Zito, the opposing pitcher who just zapped the spirit out of their home team, a standing ovation.  They knew tonight Zito was  the guy who put a door stop in their chance at least momentarily of winning the 2012 National League Pennant.  A win tonight for the St Louis Cardinals would have propelled them right into the World Series.   But that didn’t stop them from showing appreciation for a job well done.  These fans are from Missouri, the “Show Me State” and he showed them a job well done, and they said thank you.  

Just when you think you’ve seen it all.  I’ve always had a genuine fondness for the Cardinal fans.  I wrote about it last year on opening day “Those Classy Cardinals” and this is just another little reminder that the spirit of St Louis is alive and well and so is the spirit of baseball.   

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So You Think it was a “Good Clean Play” …..

“Courtesy of HoopIndiana”

I’ve got this thing about umpires.  My dream is to write a really great comprehensive book about past and present umpires, their challenges and what they mean to the game.   So last night’s NLCS game between the Cards and Giants gave me some new fodder.   Here’s my thoughts on that Matt Holliday attack on Marco Scutaro at 2nd Base in the 1st inning and subsequent play:

1.  THIS WAS NOT A SLIDE.  All the commentary from the pundits, coaches, teammates and Holliday himself describe the play as a slide ~ a “late” slide, but a slide nonetheless.  That’s crap.  A baseball slide by definition means hitting the ground face or feet first and it just didn’t happen here.  Look closely at the first part of the video above.  Matt Holliday made an intentional leep with both feet firmly aimed at Scutaro with, by his own admission, intent to disable him to keep him from making a play.  There was no slide.  He turned himself full force into a  6’4″, 235# human projectile aimed directly at Scutaro’s 5’10″ 185# frame with intent to disable.

2.  HOLLIDAY’S RESPONSE.   “You’re trying to get to the second baseman and obviously trying to knock him down so he can’t turn a double play.  As long as you’re in the baseline, it’s within the rules.”   And he’s right.  Rules state that a runner can take out a fielder as long as the runner is close enough to be in contact with second base while doing so. 

3.   HOLLIDAY HAD NO INTENTION OF SLIDING.  Holliday’s “regret” that he didn’t start the slide earlier really doesn’t hold water.  He had no intention of sliding to begin with.  He held back on the slide intentionally, waiting for precision timing to do exactly what he did. 

4.  TOUGH GUY REPUTATION.   It’s acknowledged that Matt Holliday is well  known for his tough defensive plays.  Tim McCarver stated in his  post game coverage that Matt Holliday is one of the “toughest sliders” in the National League.   Tough slider huh.  What’s that compared to a non-tough slider?   Maybe a little unethical, dirty, bush league, not too classy?    

5.  MLB RULES AND THE UMPIRE’S ROLE IN THE GAME.  Well, okay then.  MLB Rules allow a runner to take out a fielder as long as the runner is close enough to be in contact with second base while doing so (my translation).  But remember, he was no longer a runner.  And his “slide-that-was-not-a slide” was late ….. so late as to injure a player and enrage the fans.  So where’s the umpire’s role in this scenario? 

“I’m Thinking, I’m Thinking”

After the play, the umpires convened near second base to discuss, as in “what should we do if the Giants pitcher decides to throw a retaliatory pitch, like “at the head” of Holliday when he comes up to bat”?   And what if it did happen and that retaliatory pitch permanently disabled or,  heaven forbid, killed the batter?  I’m not trying to be over-sensational here but this could happen and it has happened, granted a long time ago, but still.  

6.  MLB RULE 9.01(d) GIVES UMPIRES BLANKET AUTHORITY.  It states that each umpire has authority to disqualify any player … for unsportsmanlike conduct or language and to eject such disqualified player from the playing field.  How often has that happened?  I mean, really.  Oh sure, someone swears at the umpire and he’s outta there in a New York Minute.  But a good clean play like this one?   Not a chance.  This would be comparable to football’s unnecessary roughness penalty or the unsportsmanlike conduct or more appropriately the “late hit” penalties which are designed to prevent debilitating injuries.  But, of course, you don’t see that in baseball, even though the umpire has full authority to make that call.  

So here’s a challenge to the Major League Baseball Umpire’s Association.  ( I issued the same challenge to them back on February 23, 2012, “……Getting the Umpire Out of His Comfort Zone” but for some reason I’ve never heard back from them.

” ….. this is something that falls on the  Major League Umpires Association.  They’re the only ones who can get this violent aspect of the game  under control and they don’t need any rule changes to do it.   If they’d start bouncing players out of the game when they resort to these retaliatory pitches and the unnecessary violence at the plate and elsewhere, the players would get the message and it would stop.  The question is, will they?  The answer is,  probably not.  They’d have to move  a tad out of their comfort zone and who the heck wants to do that?”

Note:  I wrote this originally with an inference that Halliday was “out” before he made his “slide”.  In reality, the tag  on the base had been made, but the  umpire had not yet called the play and we all know you’re not out until you’re called out.   I’ve since deleted the reference. 

2010 World Champions vs 2011 World Champions!

SF Giants vs. St Louis Cardinals
“Opening Day April, 2011″

On April 9, 2011, I wrote a blog titled “Those Classy Cardinals”.  It was opening day, the first league game after the Giants won the World Series, and they were hosting the St. Louis Cardinals.  It was a great game and the blog got a record number of views and comments.  It was one of my favorites.    Here’s a link to that post “Those Classy Cardinals”.

And then again, on November 14, 2011, I published a blog about the young, new Cardinals Manager, Mike Matheny, who had left baseball some five years earlier as a promising catcher with the SF Giants after sustaining a series of concussions.  He’d just been named as General Manager of the St Louis Cardinals and he was my new hero.  Here’s a link to that post “Mike Matheny ~ Leading by Example.”

“2011 Opening Day in San Francisco”

So there’s just a little bit of irony here as I’m settling in to watch the first game of the race for the 2012 National League Pennant between the SF Giants and the St Louis Cardinals.  Who knew?  I’ve been anxiously awaiting this series which I projected without a doubt would be  between Cincinnati and Washington. But the  Giants and Cards have this way of sneaking in and surprising everyone and now they’re the contenders. 

“Calm & Cool as a Cucumber”

But, seriously folks, there’s no dilemma here.    My home team is the San Francisco Giants (I’m a huge fan), and I really love those Cardinals.  And like many true blue baseball fans,  I just love to see a really great game no matter who wins and I think I’ve recovered enough after the 2010 World Series to be able to handle this ~ calm and cool as a cucumber.

But I’m not sure.  I’ll let you know when it’s over.