Tag Archives: San Francisco Giants

Woo Hoo! Hunter Pence Gets his Multi-Year Contract!

This is huge!   Breaking news for sure, and it follows the day his teammates voted him winner of this year’s Willie Mac Award.

Hunter Pence and the San Francisco Giants: Five Year, $90 Million Extension on his Contract, that’s what they’re saying.

Oops!  He's all ours now!

Oops! He’s all ours now!

I remember vividly last year when Hunter Pence signed with the Giants and flew into SFO to play in that night’s game.  However, the flight was delayed and Pence arrived about 30 minutes after the game ended.  But thanks to our loyal Comcast the cameras were on him as he arrived through the gate enroute to the clubhouse, duffel bag thrown over his shoulders, with our loyal “gonna be” fans waving and asking for autographs.

They obviously knew more about Hunter  than I did.  I mean, who was this guy?  I liked his persona  immediately as he dropped everything to sign autographs, shake hands, and basically just endear himself to the fans.   And this was late, like 11:30 PM, most of the park lights had been shut down, and you know he must have been tired.  I mean it was 2:30 AM Philly time.

Huggable, lovable Hunter with Xavier Lopez

Huggable, lovable Hunter with Xavier Lopez

So that’s my first exposure to Hunter Pence and it’s been all uphill since as we remember  his rousing speech to the troops to keep going last year.  This was the speech that got them to and through the playoffs for a chance to win the World Series, and win the World Series they did.

And 2013 has been another great year.  Well, not such a great year according to the standings, but who cares about that?   Our team has character, charisma, compatability, and the loyalty of 41,000 fans on any given day.

baseball heart imageSo welcome to five more years in San Francisco Hunter Pence!  We, the best fans in Major League Baseball “softly” love you (sorry Buster)  and open our hearts to you as you’ve opened yours to us.

“This Day in History ~ 50 Years Ago Today”

Pitching Duel of the Century

Pitching Duel of the Century

50 YEARS AGO TODAY: 42-year-old Warren Spahn of the Milwaukee Braves and 25-year-old Juan Marichal of the San Francisco Giants hooked up in a 16-inning duel ended only when Willie Mays homered leading off the last inning. Both pitchers went all the way. Jim Kaplan wrote a great book on the event: “The Greatest Game Ever Pitched.”  Courtesy of Dan Schlossberg, Facebook”

Nothing like promoting one of my favorite books to get me back in the blogosphere.  I’ve been adrift for nearly a month now and missed it terribly, but had to take a minute to comment on two of my favorite baseball heroes and one of the many special moments in baseball history. 

I was one year out of high school when I witnessed this game (via the sports section unfortunately and not in person) but I remember the stats well.   The book takes a few chapters to get into the game, dwelling on the individual pitchers, Marichal and Spahn, instead.  But Kaplan’s insight is purposeful and steady and I found myself grasping each page instead of skipping directly to the game which is what I intended to do when I cuddled up to spend the entire day recapturing the memories of the game.

My enthrallment with Juan Marichal began a few years ago when I watched an in-depth interview Bob Costas had with him.  He’s really a very humble man and the honesty he portrayed when talking about the awful incident when he lost his temper and went after an opposing player, with a bat no less, that put the fellow in the hospital was painful to listen to.  But I didn’t doubt his sincerity when he spoke about it saying it was the one regret he had during his baseball career.  And it didn’t surprise me that the two of them ended up being good friends in the end.

As usual, I won’t go into details about the book or the game since there’s huge amounts of readily available data written about both.  I just wanted to take some time to comment on the game and also to thank you for the kind notes I’ve received as I’ve been on a mini-vacation from blogging this past month. 

It’s nearly time for the All Star break when baseball starts to take shape for the rest of the season, and when, hopefully, the Giants (and others, of course) start getting their act together .  When you look at the Divisions, it’s amazing to see that the Dodgers are only 3 1/2 games behind in the NL West, but are in the cellar, with the Giants 3 games behind and only 1/2 game ahead of the Dodgers. 

So it’s going to be an interesting and fun rest of the year for all of us baseball fans.  Will there be a sequel to this greatest game?  Maybe.   I’m sure the thrill of victory and agony of defeat had its origins in baseball so why should we possibly expect anything less?

“Looking Good, Buster”

buster posey on mens health magazine cover

I never give up a chance to ooh and ahh about one of my very favorite baseball guys.  Buster’s got it all.   And he’s an honest-to-goodness family man to boot.  Go ahead Buster  ~ keep setting  an example for all those youngsters needing a real live hero to look up to.  And for us old folks too.  God knows we’re as desperate for a hero as the next guy.  Kudos to Men’s Health Magazine who hit the nail on the head with this one! 

 

SF Giants Fan Fest 2013 ~ AT&T Park

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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?

“Comeback Kings” The San Francisco Giants

 

“Comeback Kings” The Book

I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book; it arrived Saturday and I read it in its entirety Sunday.  All of the 2010 World Series “picture books” are in my library so this was a welcome addition.  The full-page color photo’s are worth the price of the book and if you live in the Bay Area you’ve probably seen them before in the Mercury News or  Oakland Tribune.  Good stuff!  Back in 2010 Andrew Baggarly, or Baggs as he’s fondly referred to by the locals, was the lead sportswriter and his monument to the season is captured in his book “Band of Misfits”.  But Baggs is nowhere to be found in the “Comeback Kings”  since he left the organization and is now part of the Comcast group.  He’s replaced by Alex Pavlovic and  a troupe of other  sportswriters who definitely hold their own. 

“By the time the Giants were done throwing haymakers, their hands were being fitted for championship rings.”  

This is a great line by Pavlovic.  Wish I could  write like that. 

SF Chronicle “Torture to Rapture” Book

My favorite 2010 World Series pictorial was from the SF Chronicle “Torture to Rapture”.   And it’s still probably my most favorite.  I’m sure they’ll come out with another for the 2012 season, but for sure the “Comeback Kings” is a great read for those of us who can’t get enough of these kids and quite simply just don’t want the season to end! 

I mean what are you supposed to do when your main source of entertainment is put on hold?  If you’re Rogers Hornsby,  you stare out the window and wait for spring.  And that’s just about it folks.  

But don’t forget the added bonus this year ~ 2013 World Baseball Classic,  March 2 thru March 19 at AT&T Park in San Francisco, CA. 

“Comeback Kings” Bay Area News Group. Published Nov 2012, Available from Triumph Books and Major Book Retailers.

Related articles

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 ~

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:

 

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!