Tag Archives: Madison Bumgarner

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.

SF Giants Fan Fest 2013 ~ AT&T Park

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Thousands of San Francisco Giants fans decked out in orange and black showed up for the 2013 Fan Fest this year at AT&T Park.   I’m posting my own photo’s along with a smathering of those from the San Jose Mercury News.  Maybe you’ll spot yourself in one.  A special thank you for those who so kindly allowed me to get a quick snapshot – usually because of something that really struck my fancy, like the “Kings Wear Rings” guy with the big smile  or the guy with the great “Giants Know October” shirt.  Giants fans are great and so much fun to be around, especially when it’s beautiful weather, not a cloud in the sky, and smiles everywhere!  I can’t honestly think of a  better place to be on a beautiful sunny day  than at AT&T Park.  And the Giants players gave so much of themselves with the interviews, autographs and just taking the time to stop and chat with their fans.  Whatta great bunch of guys we have here!   And that’s exactly what you’d expect from the reigning World Champions and the best fans in all of baseball.

GFBB Update:  The Giants have estimated nearly 40,000 in attendance at this year’s Fan Fest.  See more Photo’s on the MLB Blog Website.

 

“The Commercial That Mattered”

Dodge Ram gave us an academy award-winning performance with their Super Bowl ad this year.  I was wondering how I could tie this into a baseball story when I remembered  an incident at AT&T Park a few years ago.   I was sitting in the stands,  anxiously awaiting the start of a SF Giants game,when I heard some fans behind me chatting about the new pitcher, Madison Bumgarner.  It went something like this,  “Yah, he doesn’t belong here.  He belongs back on the farm.   I heard he gave his wife a cow (actually it was a prize bull calf)  for their wedding present”.  This was following by hysterical laughter and hoots and hollers from the enthusiastic, but misguided, fans.   The little incident would have probably ruined the game for me, but Bumgarner pitched a masterpiece and he spoke for himself, saving me from having to turn around and give them my two cents worth.

Madison Bumgarner

Madison Bumgarner

So I’m wondering how many other pro baseball players lives began down on the farm.  I can tell you emphatically there were a lot of them, these young kids from the midwest farms and others who grew up with that sense of hard work, physical discipline with a sense of community.  It wasn’t all about them, it was about getting a job done.  And it still is.   I remember listening to an interview with Bumgarner before he pitched his first World Series Game.  When asked if he was nervous and whether this was the most exciting thing he’d ever been through, Bum answered with that slow southern drawl, something like “Well, I dunno.  I pitched in the high school world series and I did okay there.  I was pretty nervous then and I don’t see how it can be any worse pitching here today.”  In other words, in his mind, he didn’t see any difference in pitching in high school or the World Series.  In his mind he had a job to do.  That was it.   Don’t you just love it?

I started researching on-line to see how many farmers I could come up with and immediately found Sergio Romo, the SF Giants reliever who aced this year’s World Series.   The title of the article was “In Sergio Romo’s Small Hometown, No. 1 Crop is Pro Baseball Players“, and it was written by Valerie Hamilton, California Report.   Here’s an excerpt:

“Brawley would be probably like a slightly bigger version of Mayberry, although not quite as nice,” says Rudy Seanez, who pitched in the major leagues for 17 years, ending in 2008. Like Romo, he grew up in Brawley. So did Alan Fowlkes, who pitched for the 1982 Giants. And so did Sid Monge, who pitched in the 1970s and 80s. It turns out Brawley’s sugar beets and melons have some competition for the town’s top-produced crop. The town, and the Imperial Valley around it, have sent more than 20 players to the major and minor leagues.

I didn’t spend any more time looking for baseball farmers.  I was satisfied that my instincts were justified, but it’s definitely a subject for another blog.   Don’t you just wonder what the percentage of those old-time ball players born down on the farm might be?  I imagine the numbers are staggering, huge!   

Clydesdales down on the farm

Clydesdales down on the farm

Thank you Dodge Ram for giving us the best Super Bowl advertisement we’ve seen in a long time.  It goes really well with the Budweiser  “Clydesdales”, because, after all, what could be more down on the farm than that?

Mad Bum and Glory ….. Pretty Cool!

Madison Bumgarner, the ultimate Pitcher!

Remember that old  “thrill of victory,  agony of defeat” thing?  It was an ABC’s “Wide World of Sports” theme  back in the 60′s and it’s been going through my head as I’m writing about Madison Bumgarner’s performance tonight.  Last Tuesday, for those of you who’ve been in solitary confinement or otherwise unable to know what’s going on in the baseball world this past week,   Madison Bumgarner broke some records.  Well not actually broke them, but matched those that

Discussing the Cy Young?

hadn’t been touched since the early 1900′s.  It was the most unbelievable first inning I’ve ever watched in baseball….any baseball, including T-ball and Little League.  The Bum lasted exactly 1/3 inning in which time he  allowed nine hits and eight runs, and recorded only one out in the first third of the first inning.  It was an inter-league game between the Giants and Minnesota Twins.  I could hardly breathe watching Bumgarner leave the game and head towards the dugout to sit and watch the remaining 8 2/3 innings in shame and embarrassment.  After the game he somehow managed to hold his head high, speak  intelligently with reporters and answer each question thoughtfully, speaking softly in a monotone, and promised to learn from his mistakes and do penance and say one our father and three hail mary’s.   I really felt for this kid and all day I was going through some sort of anxiety wondering how he, and I, would make it through tonight’s game after the first “ball” was called, probably on the first pitch.  

So tonight when the 5:05 game between the Giants and the Cleveland Indians started right on time, on ESPN, in front of the entire world to see,  Madison Bumgarner threw his first pitch.  And then another, and another.  And he proceeded throwing precision pitches culminating with 11 strike-outs through the seventh inning!   OMG!  It’s what we  live for in baseball…..our local hero just did the impossible and the crowd’s giving him a standing ovation and I’m giving him hoots and  hollers jumping around the living room telly.   

Just another usual ordinary game for the Giants, ending with a final score 3-1.  Same old stuff.  But as far as the SF Giants 21 year old pitcher Madison Bumgarner goes?   He’s back!   Mad Bum and all his glory and I’m back there to watch him do it all over again.  Tuesday – total disgrace; Sunday – en route to the Cy Young!   Don’t you just love it?  Baseball, I mean.  Pretty darn cool.

 

The Nationals Stephen Strasburg ~ Miracle or Mistake?

Baseball is the sport that cackles back at can’t-miss kids. Baseball humbles every player sooner or later. Baseball confers greatness stingily, in its own sweet time. At least that’s what the bow-tied essayists and sandlot scouts solemnly tell us.” - Johnette Howard in Sports Illustrated
 
Stephen Strasburg’s been on my mind a lot lately.   For some  reason I’ve been paying attention to the negotiations this year and was surprised when the Washington Nationals were able to secure Jason Werth.   This is huge!  When the Phillies were playing the Giants in the playoffs, my anxiety would surface when Werth was at the plate.  Not so anxious about their pitching staff, but definitely  Jason Werth.   He was that good.  So I’m happy Werth’s going to a team that really “needs” him and will appreciate his talents.  The Nationals finished last place in 2010 for the 3rd year in a row.    So when the scuttlebutt started this week about the Nationals being in the race to acquire Cliff Lee, after acquiring Werth, it was almost a heart-stopper!   All of this brought back a reminder of  my annual physical this year when I told my doctor I was taking an organized baseball tour and the first thing he asked was “Will you get to see the Nationals play?”   It was an odd question because who cares anything about the Nationals anyway?   But his daughter lives in Washington DC and she’d been talking about the new young pitcher who was causing a wave of near hysteria .   It didn’t take me long to figure out what all the fuss was about.   His name was Stephen Strasburg.
The Nationals selected Stephen Strasburg  as  the first pick in the 2009 MLB Draft for a record $15.1 Million, 4

Stephen Strasburg

year contract.  Strasburg was a 21 year old rookie who ESPN referred to as the most hyped pick in draft history and was the only college player selected for the 2008 Summer Olympic US Baseball team in Beijing.   On May 8, 2010, Stephen Strasburg made his much anticipated major-league debut against the Pittsburgh Pirates.    Sports Illustrated coined it the most hyped pitching debut the game had ever seen.   In the game, the young pitcher pitched 7 innings, struck out 14, walked -0- and allowed only two runs, earning him his first major league win.  In games two and three he struck out another 8 and 10 batters, respectively, setting a major league record for 32 strikeouts, the most  in any  pitcher’s first three  games.   And after only his second start, Sports Illustrated featured him in their cover story. I and thousands of others became an instant fan of the young Stephen Strasburg, the savior of those poor, downtrodden Washington Nationals.   But it was not to be. 

Strasburg’s Major league Debut

On August 27, 2010,  Stephen Strasburg was placed on the disabled list.  The Nationals announced Strasburg had a torn ulmar collateral ligament, requiring Tommy John surgery  and 12 to 18 months of rehabilitation.   He had been placed on the disabled list in July, 2010, with an inflamed right shoulder and returned to play, but was removed again with an apparent injury before being placed again on the disabled list, this time requiring the major surgery.   How did this happen?  Or more to the point, why did this have to happen?  

I keep reflecting on the number of times this year when rookie pitcher Madison Bumgarner was prematurely pulled from the game  for no apparent reason and how ticked off it made me.  After all, we were ahead and he was pitching superbly and then for no reason, the powers that be  bench him and go to the bullpen.  Ye gods man!  Let the kid pitch. 

Then Mike Krukow, one of  the best of the best, would announce and explain in detail why the kid was pulled, and it was usually because of the pitch count. Young kid, young arm.   Needed time to develop, to mature.  Makes sense to me.   

It doesn’t seeem possible to me this could be the reason for Strasburg’s predicament.  After all, these major league baseball teams have the best resources available to them and wouldn’t you think for sure they’d want to protect, not only the kid’s best interests, but the interests of their $15 Million investment?   Strasburg would most likely have been up front in the running for the Rookie of the Year, and even possibly the MVP and who knows how it would have affected the Nationals standing?   I don’t know, I’m just saying.   I read a lot of baseball stuff and I’ve never seen this in print.  No one’s talking about it. 

But if young Strasburg is in rehab, recovering from surgery because he was “overexposed” (34 strikeouts in 3 games with each pitch at or over 100 mph?) shame on the Washington Nationals and shame on major league baseball for allowing it to happen.  It could have been avoided.  

Miracle or mistake?   Does it matter?  Geez, I sure want to believe it was a freak of nature and not just a mistake in judgment by an overzealous manager, so I’ll cross my fingers and say a prayer that  hopefully Stephen Strasburg will return soon,  breaking new records and performing a few miracles with some really good guidance from the powers that be.   Hope to see you back on the mound soon kid!

Mad Bum & Posey……New Kids on the Block Game 4.

DISCLAIMER:  Today’s blog is absolutely 100% pro- Giants so I want you non-Giants fans to know it’s nothing personal, just something  I have to do!   Things’ll get back to normal soon…..

I wish I’d written this song.  I’m so emotional this morning I probably shouldn’t even be blogging, but couldn’t help myself.  Here are some interesting facts related to last night’s SF Giants 4-0 Win over the Texas Rangers.

  1. Texas is the first team since the 1966 Dodgers to be shut out twice in the same World Series.
  2. Bumgarner is the youngest (21) rookie to make a scoreless start of six innings or more in World Series history.
  3. Texas is the first team since the 1966 Dodgers to be shut out twice in the same World Series :))
  4. Bumgarner is just the second lefty ever to strike out Vlad Guerrero three times in a game, joining Al Leiter in 1998.

Madison Bumgarner

Whew, quite an order filled by Madison Bumgarner, this 21 year old rookie pitcher from Hickory, North Carolina, and his sidekick catcher,  another rookie, Buster Posey, age 23,  from  Leesburg, Georgia.   I mean, where do they get these guys?  I read an article this morning about last night’s DH, Aubrey Huff, you know, the rally thong guy?   Aubrey grew up  with his widowed mom, in a trailer park in Ft Worth, Texas.   Few have done as much with their lives with such humble beginnings as Aubrey has.  He relayed this story that says it all.  ”  I told my mom one day I wanted to be a professional baseball player.  I was probably 8 or 9 years old.  She bought me a batting cage on a Winn-Dixie salary.  I wouldn’t be here now if it wasn’t for her making that decision.”   I can envision this young kid setting that big batting cage up out in the drive-way in that

Huff & Bumgarner

mobile home park having the time of  his life hitting those balls day after day and happy as a clam doing it. Who

Buster Posey

knows where he’d be now if he didn’t have a mom who cared enough to want to make his dreams come true?   Being a mom who’s raised three really great boys who didn’t  always have the easiest of times growing up, this story is really emotional for me.   I’m sure every one of these Giants has a story to tell and I’d love to hear them all!   And the same goes for each of the Texas Rangers.  You’ve probably already heard the really inspiring  story about Josh Hamilton, who crawled back from the depths of drug addiction to become one of  the best baseball players in the country and has written a book about his life.   You’re probably wondering what all of this has to do with last night’s game.   I love baseball and to me most lessons in life can easily be applied to baseball.   I think last night’s game exemplifies the best in baseball, not because the Giants won, but because they won with the youngsters in the spotlight, the kids who are setting examples for the other kids.  Where do they get these guys?   They’re right in front of us, in our own homes and in our hometowns.  Usually it’s just a lot of hard work, and sometimes it’s just pure luck, but more often than not,  the kids just need a break .   The following poem was reprinted from The Baseball Almanac and says it quite simply and much better than I can:

The Reason for Rainbows
A Song to Baseballby J. Patrick Lewis
Published: Baseball Almanac
There was an Old Man of Late Summer
Met a Winter Boy out of the blue,
And he whisked him away
From the city one day
Just to show him what country boys do.
He taught him three whys of a rooster,
And he showed him two hows of a hen.
Then he’d try to bewitch him
With curveballs he’d pitch him
Again and again and again.
He taught him the reason for rainbows,
And he showed him why lightning was king,
Then he fingered the last ball—
A wicked hop fastball—
He threw to the plate on a string.
Oh, the Old Summer Man and the Young Winter Lad
Spent the light of each day—every moment they had—
In the wind and the rain, or the late summer sun,
Where he taught him to pitch and he taught him to run
In the wind and rain and the late summer sun.
But when that Old Man of Late Summer
Met the Winter Boy out of the blue,
He said to him, “Son,
You can pitch, you can run,
But to hit here is what you must do:
Just pretend that the stick on your shoulder
Is as wide as a bald eagle’s wing.
You’re a bird on a wire
And your hands are on fire—
But you’re never too eager to swing.
Stand as still as a rabbit in danger,
Watch the pitch with the eyes of a cat.
What will fly past the mound—
Unforgettable sound—
Is the ball as it cracks off the bat.”
Oh, the Old Summer Man and the Young Winter Lad
Spent the light of each day—every moment they had—
In the wind and the rain, or the late summer sun,
Where he taught him to pitch and he taught him to run
In the wind and rain and the late summer sun.
The Reason for Rainbows by J. Patrick Lewis

Derek Jeter – Emmy Award for Best Actor?……Absolutely!

Derek Jeter

Image via Wikipedia

Take a look at this video.  Be patient.  It takes a minute to load.  I had a devil of a time finding a copy that was not locked out with a “security violation”, but once again WordPress to the rescue.  Anyhow this goes in line with my last two posts , “Hit by a Pitch” – well, not really, but you’ll see what I mean. 

Click link below to view  vdeo:

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=12117903&topic_id=8879976&c_id=mlb   

Geez,  I kinda liked Derek Jeter.  He’s like the last of the old time heroes.  I always thought it was because he was still single and could get away with indiscretions because he wasn’t hurting his sweet little wife who sat patiently at home waiting for him, because he didn’t have a wife.    But now this puts a bit of a different swing on things don’t you think?  I mean I’m sure a lot of  Yankee fans will think this is great, probably even funny, but this pathetic lie of an acting job probably cost the Rays the game.  Hero?  I don’t think so.  As far as I’m concerned Derek Jeter has dropped a notch,  a lot of notches, probably to the bottom of the belt, in my mind. 

This brings the Hall of Fame to mind once again.  So they don’t want gamblers and substance abusers in the HOF, but will they draw the line when it comes to a big fake?  I didn’t realize it had happened before.  Derek was a hero in my mind and I didn’t really look very hard to prove him otherwise.  See the “Related Articles” below. 

Hey, it’s okay!  We have a few heroes on the horizon.  Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner come to mind,  because I’m a Giants fan probably, but I’m sure you have others on your team you would nominate.  I’d like to hear about them.  It would make for a great blog sometime in the winter while I’m having to sit through one of those goddawful Monday night football games. 

Good grief!   I thought I’d seen it all folks.  But this one really takes the cake!  Is Jeter so stupid he didn’t realize there’s such a thing as “replays” and better yet, “replays in slow motion”?   I guess when you’re making those kind of bucks all bets are off and you do whatever you have to do to get that win.  Ethics, honesty and morality?  We’ll have to look to our young heroes and cross our hearts, hope to die, stick a needle …… and say a prayer once in awhile.   They’re sure gonna need it.