Category Archives: A1 Baseball, General

Fly Fishing and Baseball ….. The Commonality

A Facebook friend from high school recently posted a picture of a box of fishing flies that looked more like the real thing, the flies I mean, than the real thing.  Really.   I was interested in this because my husband is a fly-tyer and recently he’s been producing some real beauties.

My husband is a man of many talents, a jack-of-all trades.  He’s a retired surveyor and worked on the San Francisco and the San Jose International Airports before he retired.  He’s always been interested in gemology and has an eye for unique stones, having cut and polished many over the years.  There’s very few wrist watches and antique clocks he hasn’t been able to repair and the older cars were made to be tinkered with, as he puts it.   So when I casually mentioned wanting a pair of black and orange earrings to wear to the SF Giants games he sprung into action and one week later presented me with my very own handmade dangles.

SF Giants Feather Dangles

SF Giants Feather Dangles

It took him one week to make them because they were made of Maribou turkey feathers that had to be special ordered.  These are the same feathers he uses to make rather exotic flys to catch rather exotic fish, or not, depending on the situation.  He also uses pheasant, duck, hackle, goose, and peacock feathers to design his favorite flys.  But my favorite are the Maribou.

For avid baseball fans who like to show up in team colors they can be made in any color, for any team, and for any sport.  If you’re not inclined to make your own, take a look at his Etsy website and see if there’s something you might like.

This didn’t start out to be an advertisement, but so be it.  Really, what’s the worst that can happen?  If you loose faith in your team, simply remove the silver, add a hook, and go fishing.

I mean it’s always fishing season somewhere and, for sure, we’re right in the middle of spring training.  Baseball season’s on the horizon, spring beckons and life is good.  Don’t you just love it?

Seduced by that Pesky Cell Phone

I’m remembering a game I went to this past season.  During the entire game a  fan  sitting in front of me had his cell phone in hand, either  as an extension of his ear or taking pictures with it.  When it was attached to his ear he was talking, loudly at times, and listening the rest of the time.   It seemed odd since the game was at AT&T Park and it can get really loud and I kept wondering how he was able to hear anything on the little contraption.

I’m not a huge cell phone fan.  I don’t even know my number.  My husband bought me one as a nice gesture, but against my objections, and I think I’ve used it maybe five or six times in the past seven years.  His idea was I could use it for roadside emergencies or keeping in touch, just in case.  You know, the usual stuff.

AT&T Park.  Cameraman and his Cell Phone.

AT&T Park. Cameraman and his Cell Phone.

But I’m looking around the ballpark and cell phones were everywhere.  Lots of picture-taking and flashes going off,  mostly just fans walking around, or in their seats, didn’t matter, attached to their trusty cell phones.   You see the same scenario everywhere, it’s epidemic.  The phone companies must be making millions.  You see them at the grocery stores, hospitals, theaters, schools, churches, airports, on the bus, at the restaurants.  And they’re at my office.

This used to irritate the heck out of me.  But this year has been an eye-opening experience and I’ll never look at cell phones the same way again.  You see, I’m a tax preparer and I have 100 days to get those pesky taxes worked up, prepared, completed and out the door until next year when it starts all over again.   In the past, the number one thing clients would forget when they showed up for their appointment was their W2.  It’s the truth.   But not anymore.  Just last week a client took out his cell phone, called his employer, and the W2 almost instantly appeared via fax.

And it’s been happening a lot lately.  Need  Grandma’s social security number?  No problem.  Forgot the  interest from the bank, car tags, tuition and/or scholarships received?  No problem.  Just dial it up on the handy-dandy little thing.

But here’s the really great part.  Last week a woman came in with her little two-year old who was acting like two-year old’s are supposed to act; I mean all over the place, up and down like a yo-yo, until…….until mom put her cell phone in the little boys hand.  It was like magic!   It worked better than Prozac or a tranquilizer or binky or something. The little fellow poked his app (I think that’s what they’re called) and was tuned in for the rest of the interview.

I’m not saying that sedating a kid with a cell phone is necessarily a good thing, but if you’re a tax preparer in the middle of tax season and you’re trying like the devil to get through an interview, it is truly a miraculous thing.

Liar, Liar Liar……What Difference Does it Make?

38. Dog with teethThis blog has been a really fun thing for me.  I enjoy sitting down with a cup of coffee and newspaper at my trusty little PC and jotting down random thoughts, usually of current events, but sometimes just things that inspire me or tick me off.  It’s rather a form of cheap therapy I suppose.  But nevertheless, after a two month hiatus, it’s taken Alex Rodriguez to get me back in the saddle.

thumbnailCAOVWT3WI’ve never been a fan of A-Rod.  Oh, he had the talent for sure and was drop dead gorgeous to boot, but from the beginning he always seemed a little high-hat and impressed with himself, more than the average athlete.   I’ve been following this suspension saga from the beginning and, to tell you the truth, I’ve had it up to here with the onslaught of lying athletes and the boring routine of it all.  First,  the allegations and then the denials and finally the admissions of guilt.  And that’s even before Rodriguez got involved.

More recently and most visible were the Lance Armstrong and Ryan Braun fiasco’s.  I was so convinced that Braun was telling the truth after listening to his beautiful and elegant speech denying all charges of drug usage that I wrote a blog on it, shaming MLB and others who gave him a good thrashing without knowing the truth.  So when Braun came forward with his pathetic apology, admitting his guilt, I figured, that’s it.  No more.  Who can you believe?  I mean, according to some reports, over 85% of professional baseball players in the 1990′s used performance enhancing drugs so, really, what difference does it make?

So now we hear that the Alex Rodriguez fiasco is over and Major League Baseball has suspended him for 162 games (the entire 2014 season).  MLB’s case is that A-Rod used performance enhancing drugs.   He says he’s never tested positive and that it’s all a vendetta against him and that he’ll have his day in court.  And I have no idea if he did or if he didn’t.  To be honest, I’m really just tired of it all.   Not just A-Rod, but all of it.

Just once ~ just one time I wish the little guy* would win.  I wish when the powers-that-be set out to squash some one, to set an example or make a scapegoat of someone, I wish one time they’d be wrong and the squashee would win.

C’mon Alex.  Show ‘em what you’ve got, surprise us, take it to the big boys.  Is that too much to ask?  It’s not just about you, you know.  It’s the principle of the thing and God knows this country’s ready for some sort of principle of some thing, of some one, from somewhere.  I’m crossing my fingers and toes you’re telling the truth.  But I’m not putting a lot of faith in it.  I’m not going to jump on a bandwagon and write a blog about your innocence and whine that you’ve been had, even though it would be really great to be able to believe in something DSC00242again.   If you could just say it isn’t so and mean it…..

And so begins my venture back into the blogosphere.

*Little guy is used lightly here ….. just meaning the underdog I guess.

Veterans Day and Every Day ….. Thank You!

Note:  This is a repost of my 2010 Veteran’s Day Blog.

Arlington National Cemetery

“But the mainstay of the big leagues was the reservoir of 4-Fs – males of draft age who had been rejected on physical grounds by the Armed Forces. Not since harem attendants had gone out of style were men’s physical deficiencies so highly prized. Ulcers, hearing defects, and torn cartilages were coveted by team owners.” – Frank Graham, Jr. in Farewell to Heroes (1981)

This and the following list of Hall of Fame Members Courtesy of  Baseball Almanac.

Baseball Hall of Fame Members  who Served in the Armed Forces.
The Civil War  
Morgan Bulkeley United States Army
World War I
Grover Alexander  United States Army
Happy Chandler United States Army Continue reading

Applying government shutdown logic to the baseball playoffs

garlicfriesandbaseball:

GFBB Comment:

Here’s the response courtesy of Fox Sports.com by Sam Gardner. It reads:

Dear Mr. Kaplan,

Thank you very much for your letter regarding the potential demise of baseball. Some have suggested it was a rhetorical squeeze play or a hit and run since the letter was posted online before it was actually mailed to me. Of course, it could be languishing in the post office. Sometimes, it’s hard to know when the mail service is open or closed.

I agree with you that Republicans and the Braves have much in common. You could say that the Republicans “Bravely” take on tough issues such as defunding Obamacare and trying to curtail runaway spending. And we don’t mind clearing the dugout for a good brawl. We also agree that Dodgers is a fitting name for the Democrats as they often “Dodge” serious issues such as balancing the budget or cutting spending.

Where we disagree is the game itself. If Uribe had decent bunting skills, he would have simply tied the score. Thus, the game would have continued. In such a situation, neither the Dodgers nor the Braves would have walked off the field crying “I will not ‘negotiate’ or, in this case, bat.” No, they would have stayed engaged and slugged it out. But, alas, Uribe can’t bunt — so game over.

On the bright side, winning the pennant doesn’t guarantee world peace. In fact, there are other glimmers of hope in the universe. Did you see the UGA-Tennessee game? Obviously, there is a God in Heaven. Or as we say in Athens: How ‘bout them Dawgs?

Sincerely,

Jack Kingston
Member of Congress

Related articles

Originally posted on HardballTalk:

Braves fan Paul Kaplan was quite upset that the Braves lost in the NLDS last night. So upset that he wrote his congressman about it.

I have to say, I never would have considered this, but if this logic applies in baseball, I may very well be willing to reassess how I feel about it when it comes to government.

source:

source:

(thanks to reader David L. for the heads up)

UPDATE: The Congressman responds!

View original

This Blogger’s Choice ~ BBA 2013 Post Season Awards.

Voicing an Opinion!

Voicing an Opinion!

It’s time, once again, for the annual Baseball Blogger’s Awards, sponsored by the Baseball Blogger’s Alliance.  I usually manage to vote for a few in sync with my fellow bloggers and this year will be no exception, I’m sure.

For no particular reason other than these are  guys that I like and have pretty good stats to boot, and probably because they’ve had the most  game-day exposure on network television, I submit the following National League (because I’m supposed to) choices:

1.  CONNIE MACK AWARD  (Top Manager).  For the life of me I still can’t figure out why Bruce Bochy hasn’t won this award or really even been nominated  for 2010 or 2012 when he so ably brought his team to the World Championship both years.   I mean he by-passed GO and  lead those Giants  straight to the top.  Oops, sorry, got carried away because now it’s 2013, and my choice for Top Manager is Mike Matheny, St. Louis Cardinals.

2.  WILLIE MAYS AWARD  (Top Rookie).  Yasiel Puig.  And not just for  his amazing stats, especially that first week, but I have to consider his entertainment value.  He was benched a few times due to his behavior on the field, but you have to attribute most of his training, or lack thereof, to being raised on Cuba baseball.   When I watch him play I’m not sure what training he’s had because he appears to just have incredible raw talent that needs to be cultivated and refined.  I’m sure it will come.   In the meantime, he’s just a lot of fun to watch.

3.  GOOSE GOSSAGE AWARD (Top Reliever).  I had to look over everyone’s stats for comparison and it looks like there is none, or, at least, very little.  It will be interesting to see if Brian Wilson contributes as a Reliever next year or makes the cut as a starter, but, in the meantime, Craig Kimbrel for those reasons just listed.

4.  WALTER JOHNSON AWARD  (Top Pitcher).  And the winner is, has been and probably will be again in the future, Clayton Kershaw.  I love watching this guy pitch and he rarely disappoints.  My favorite pitcher is Madison Bumgarner because of his calm, cool and collected demeanor, (at least on the mound!) much the same as Kershaw.  My guess is he’ll end up third to Kershaw’s 1st place in the Cy Young vote. 

5.  STAN MUSIAL AWARD  (Top Player).  And the winner is ……once again, Clayton Kershaw.  I love this guy!  Based my vote on gut feeling and sentiment and lots of stats.

I know, not a lot of depth, statistics and comparisons here folks.  Much like my blogs.  Strictly from a fan’s viewpoint with the usual prejudices and sentiments.

The New Substitute for Smokeless Tobacco …..Really!

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Well, okay, not really.  But haven’t you noticed that ever since MLB “recommended” limiting use of tobacco on the field and in the dugout there’s been ever so slight a change?   Some day they’re going to ban tobacco in any form much the same as they’ve banned those nasty PED’s, and that’s a good thing.

But, in the meantime, here’s a few guys that have decided to do something about it and it looks like they’re thoroughly enjoying themselves in the process, setting an example for the youngsters to boot.  It must feel pretty good to sit without having that can of crud sticking you in the behind and following you everywhere you go.   And imagine having to walk through that nasty dugout with spit and chew and spit sticking to your cleats, not to mention the smell.    Have at it boys ~ it’s bubblicious all the way!  And that’s a good thing.

So Who’s Your Favorite Team Now?

Okay, so Division play is winding down and most of the Playoff teams have been decided . If your team isn’t one of them who you gonna cheer for?  I mean, what’s a girl to do? Personally,  I’m going to be hollering for the Los Angeles Dodgers.  I know, I know, I’m a Giants fan and I said I wouldn’t.  Go figure.  But hear me out because there’s some logic to it.

If your team is beaten by another team and that team makes the Playoff’s, what happens if they’re knocked out early?  It probably means that your team “really” sucked.   If, what if, on the other hand, the team that beat the socks out of you for the Division, goes on to win the Pennant?  It means that you were probably beaten by a really good team, a team that’s better than 14 other teams.  So now your team isn’t looking so bad.

And what if, by some miracle of a chance, that team goes on to win the World Series.  Then you can stand up really proud and say you were beaten by the best team in baseball this year.  And really, there’s some honor in that don’t you think?

Yasiel Puig

Yasiel Puig

But, if the Dodgers get whacked out of post season early  we can always blame it on that little pipsqueak, Yasiel Puig, and not on the fact they’re a better team than we are.  I know Puig’s good, well, really good,  but he IS just a rookie and a bit of a smart aleck at that.  And if they don’t do well, maybe we could also attribute it to Brian Wilson’s whining (think Larry Baer). Or to another 19-3 thrashing. I mean think of the options available if the Dodgers don’t produce in post-season.  Just saying …..any way you look at it the Giants still come out smelling like a rose!

And you’ve got to hand it to the kids.  They managed to stay out of the cellar (depending on the final three games to be determined) and at the end of a grueling, injury-filled season they’re wearing their last year’s World Series rings with smiles on their faces realizing the irony of it all.  Baseball.  You gotta love it.

Shortstop takes a Hit of a Different Kind ……Video

 Video courtesy of YouTube and posted by sbjones20061

Back in July, as part of a pre-game ceremony, Chicago State Shortstop, Mattingly Romanin, became an unintended consequence of a mishap on the field.   As a skydiver was making an approach to the field he landed squarely on the head/shoulders of Mattingly as he was standing near second base watching the performance.

No one was hurt in the incident, but the following day young Mattingly tweeted “I feel like I got kicked in the face yesterday …..” but I’m sure his actual feelings were more like “He tried to hit me with a forklift” which is totally understandable.  In any event, the video says it all.

Happy Mother’s Day – Pink Bats and all!

This is a copy of a BLOG I posted last year on Mother’s Day ~ it’s still relevant.  Hope you enjoy it!

‘PINK BATS A PERFORMANCE ENHANCER?  YOU DECIDE!

Occasionally I’ll find an article so unique I’m tempted to “plagiarise”!   This is one of those articles, but reprinted with permission from a really hard-working blogger who went to an amazing amount of work to produce this delightful piece for all of us!   Thanks to Mike Clair at  Old Time Family Baseball  for sharing this. 

 “There’s something wonderful about seeing a group of men finally stop the macho act and swing pink bats in honor of their mothers and to help the fight against breast cancer. (Plus, baseball players can finally realize how well pink complements their skin tones.) In lieu of a full game recap for the Mother’s Day games, I thought I would collect a master list of the players who did or did not use pink bats and finally see if ones love for their mother is a performance enhancer.A few ground rules:

  • This does not take into account players wearing pink accessories, only their bats.
  • I counted the starting nine on each team, so any pink-bat-swinging pinch-hitters or late-game substitutions have been left out.
  • I used MLB.tv footage as my guide, so if I couldn’t tell the color of a players bat, I considered it a non-pink bat. Some players like Brian Roberts appeared to have a a little bit of pink of around the handle of the bat, but because it was so pale and hard to identify, they were left out.
  • Due to a lack of a variety of things, time being among them, I have only used hits, at-bats, home runs, RBI, and runs scored as my guide. Sorry, my sabermetric brethren, maybe next year. 
  • I’m only one man, so any updates or corrections can be sent here or left in the comments.

Without further adieu:   Pink Bats: 685 AB, 193H, .285 BA, 15 HR, 85 RBI, 84 R

Non-Pink: 287 AB, 42 H,  .216 BA, 6 HR,  27 RBI, 31 R

Is this just a small sample size, do better hitters choose pink bats more often, or is there a Mother’s Day boost? That will have to wait for next year to see if the numbers are straightened out, but here are some notes:

  • Pink batters clearly did better, hitting nearly 70 points higher than their non-pink counterparts.
  • Pink batters also homered once ever 45.67 AB compared to 47.83 for people who don’t love their mothers. 
  • 187 of the 270 starters used pink bats, good for 69% of the Major League population.
  • Neither Hairston brother swung a pink bat.
  • Derek Jeter and A-Rod didn’t use pink bats. Alex Rodriguez clearly hates mothers while Derek Jeter didn’t want to detract attention from breast cancer survivors. 
  • Yorvit Torrealba used a bat with a black handle and pink barrel, the only player I noticed with such a combination.
  • Rockies starters who didn’t swing pink sticks? They went 0-17. Love your mothers, fellas.

Click here for individual team and player info.

 Final note, only players who used pink bats are listed. Consider this to be the master list of 2011 pink bat users as it will be updated if new information becomes available.”

San Francisco Giants 2013 World Series Ring Raffle!

2013 World Series Ring!

2013 World Series Ring!

HERE’S AN UPDATE TO OUR WORLD SERIES RING RAFFLE OF 2011. 

https://secure.mlb.com/sf/community/gcf/ring_raffle.jsp

World Series Ring Raffle to benefit Giants Community Fund

Tiffany & Co. has generously donated a ring to be raffled off with proceeds benefitting the Giants Community Fund. The Giants World Series Ring Raffle offers fans the chance to win a 2010 World Series Championship ring, identical to the rings given to Giants players and coaches. The ring will be personalized with the winner’s last name. Continue reading

Oh It’s Good To Be Back Home Again ……

Okay, I’ll say it.  I’m not ashamed to admit that one of my very favorite baseball moments of all time was the Opening Day Ceremonies on April 5, 2011, following that glorious 2010 World Series Championship win .  The game was between the San Francisco Giants and the St Louis Cardinals. So today was just the icing on the cake for me.  The same teams were playing, and the championship flag was again being hoisted above the park to remain for the entire 2013 season so that all who crossed  our threshold could see what a magical place they had entered. 

But today, instead of being at the game, I was watching from my comfortable chair, all decked out in orange and black, with a box of Kleenex and a paper bag (to dispose of the used tissues) nearby.  And I did pretty good until they introduced the Cards Manager, Mike Matheny, and the crowd broke into near hysteria in support of this fellow, another of my very favorites.  And I lost it, never to fully recover for the rest of the ceremony. 

music notesI’m not sure why I was so emotional today, but it probably had something to do with the affection the Giants fans feel for their team, and the entire organization for that matter, but also for anyone who has anything to do with the Giants!  The crowd cheered just as loud for each of the St Louis Cardinal players who were former Giants as they did for the current Giants themselves.   It’s been a long dry spell, this post, post-season, and finally today, after five months we have our kids back home ready to dance around the mound, and the plate and the field.  “It’s the sweetest thing I know of, just spending time with you” ……..as if I was singing the song to each of them individually as they walked out onto the field.   Continue reading