Put Me In, Coach! (Part 1)

Today’s blog was inspired by my brother, Nick.  I was able to get Dave Righetti’s autograph at the Giants FanFest this year, and I was telling him about it.  He said, “Wow, that’s great.  That guy was a fantastic pitcher.”  I was unaware of that, and it got me thinking about what kind of background the coaches have.  That’s what we’ll find out today – together.  And since there are so many coaches that I’m interested in learning about, I think I’ll do this one in two parts.

We’ll start with the commander-in-chief, Bruce Bochy.  Bruce played catcher in the major leagues for 9 seasons.  He played for Houston (1978-80), New York (Mets-1982), and San Diego (1983-87).  His lifetime batting average was .239 with 26 homeruns and 93 RBIs in 358 career games.  He was one of the Padres’ more popular figures during his playing days.  This is his 18th year as a manager (12 with the Padres and 6 with the Giants).  He was named National League Manager of the Year in 1996.  He was the winningest manager in Padres franchise history, and took them to a National League pennant win in 1998.  Some interesting trivia on The Boch: he was born in Landes de Bussac, France.  He was the first European-born manager to win a World Series (with the Giants, of course!).  He’s married (Kim) with 2 sons, Greg and Brett.  Brett is actually playing for one of the Giants minor league teams, the Richmond Flying Squirrels.  Bruce got to bring him in to pitch at the last Cactus League game in Arizona, and he did a great job!

Next we have Hensley “Bam-Bam” Meulens, the Giants batting coach.  After last year’s struggles, everyone understands what an important position he has!  Hensley started his career in the New York Yankees organization in 1986 and spent 8 years there.  He was named Carolina League Player of the Year by Baseball America in 1987 and led the International League in home runs (26) and RBIs (100) while playing with the Columbus Clippers in 1992.  He spent parts of five seasons with the Yankees (1989-93) before spending three seasons in Japan (1994-96).  He later returned to the U.S. and played partial seasons with Montreal (1997–16 games) and Arizona (1998-7 games).  He played on other independent and Mexican teams from 1999-2002.  Overall he batted .220 with 15 homeruns and 53 RBIs in 182 Major League games.  He coached in the minor leagues from 2003-09, then got the job with the Giants in 2010.  Hensley has the distinction of recently being knighted by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.  Meulens was the first baseball player of the Netherlands Antilles who broke through in the Major League. He’s also the only player of the former Antilles who has a World Series ring.  The guys on the team are now calling him “Sir Bam-Bam.”  He and his wife, Gyselle, have three children: Elijah, Michelle, and Danielle.  He was born in Willemstad, Curacao, and lives with his family in Coral Springs, Florida.

Next comes the Giants pitching coach, Dave “Rags” Righetti, whom I had the pleasure of meeting recently.  Dave had an extremely successful pitching career in the Major Leagues that spanned 16 years.  He’s played for the Yankees (1979, 1981-90), Giants (1991-93), A’s (1994), Blue Jays (1994), and White Sox (1995).  He had an overall 82-79 record with a 3.46 ERA and 1,112 strikeouts in 718 career games.  He ranks 2nd on the Yankees’ all-time charts for saves (224) and games pitched (522).  He began as a starter then converted to a reliever in 1984.  He earned the American League Rookie of the Year Award in 1981 after going 8-4 with a 2.06 ERA (2nd best in the AL that year).  He played a major role in the Yankees’ trip to the World Series in 1981, earning 2 victories in the Division Series vs. Milwaukee and a victory in the ALCS vs. Oakland.  As a Yankee, he pitched a no-hitter against the Red Sox in 1983.  In 1984, he earned 31 saves in 40 chances during his 1st campaign as a reliever.  He was named to the American League All-Star team in 1986 and 1987 as a Yankee.  He won the Rolaids Relief Man of the Year and The Sporting News Fireman of the Year awards two years in a row (1986 and 1987).  He finished 4th in the Cy Young voting in 1986 and 10th in AL MVP voting that same year.  Dave’s a local boy who was an All-League baseball player at Pioneer High School in San Jose (home of my son’s robotics team!).  He was named state Junior College Player of the Year in 1977.  His brother, Steve, played in the Texas minor leagues from 1977-1979, and his father, Leo, played in the Pacific Coast League as shortstop for 12 years.  Dave is also involved with many charities, including various cerebral palsy organizations (his daughter, Natalee, has cerebral palsy) and the Leukemia Society.  He is married (Kandice) and lives in Los Altos.  He has three children (triplets – Nicolette, Natalee, and Wesley).

Finally today we have Roberto Kelly, the Giants First Base Coach.  This is his 5th season on the Giants’ coaching staff.  He also oversees the club’s base running and outfield defense.  He spent three seasons as manager of the Giants’ Class A Augusta affiliate in the South Atlantic League.  He was named the 2006 Manager of the Year after leading Augusta to the best record in all of minor league baseball with a 92-47 record.  He’s tutored seven South Atlantic League All-Stars during his tenure, including Jonathan Sanchez and Brian Wilson.  Roberto had an outstanding playing career in the Major Leagues, compiling a lifetime .290 average with 241 doubles, 124 homeruns, 585 RBI and 235 steals over 1,337 games.  He played in the Majors for 14 years with the New York Yankees (1987-92 and 2000), Cincinnati Reds (1993-94), Atlanta Braves (1994), Montreal Expos (1995), Los Angeles Dodgers (1995), Minnesota Twins (1996-97), Seattle Mariners (1997), and Texas Rangers (1998-99).  He made the All-Star team in both 1992 and 1993.  He advanced to the post season on four occasions, batting .294 (10 for 34) in 10 LDS games.  He became the 5th player in the history of the Yankees’ franchise to record at least 20 HRs and 20 stolen bases in a season in 1991.  Roberto is from Panama, and attended Jose Dolores Mascote College there.  He was also a 3-sport star in high school, playing baseball, basketball, and volleyball.

Those are some impressive resumes right there!  Glad to know that my boys are in good hands.  And now, on to the spit counts!  Since it’s been a while since my last set, I have four new ones for you!

May 1st

Giants:

–          Sandoval 8

–          Pagan 4

–          Theriot 4

–          Schierholtz 3

–          Posey 3

–          Cabrera 1

–          Cain 1 (didn’t spit until 6th inning)

–          Meulens 1

–          Hensley 1

–          Casilla 1

Marlins:

–          Reyes 6

–          Bell 3

–          Morrison 2

–          Bonifacio 2

–          Some Coach 1

–          Guillen 1

Game Spit Master General = Sandoval at 8

That’s a total of 42 spits during a 2 hour and 30 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 3.5 minutes.

Buster had some really juicy spits tonight (blech).  There weren’t many spits from the pitchers during this game – just the one from Cain, and he didn’t even spit until the 6th inning.  I did notice some disgusting brown crud on Hanley Ramirez’s helmet just above the M.  It looked like someone smeared a candy bar on it.  Dan thinks this is pine tar.  Whatever it is, it looks totally disgusting.  Can’t they just clean their helmets after a game (Pablo’s is yucky, too, but nowhere near as yucky as Hanley’s)?

May 8th

Giants:

–          Lincecum 4

–          Pill 4

–          Sandoval 3

–          Posey 2

–          Vogelsong 2

–          Gillespie 2

–          Theriot 1

–          Belt 1

–          Huff 1

–          Bumgarner 1

–          Kelly 1

Dodgers:

–          Kemp 15

–          Ethier 5

–          Ellis 2

–          Gordon 1

–          Abreu 1

–          Kershaw 1

Misc.

–           Umpire 2

Game Spit Master General = Kemp at 15

Giants Game Spit Master General = Lincecum and Pill at 4

That’s a total of 49 spits during a 2 hour and 35 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 3 minutes.

Kemp sure likes to spit. He alone was responsible for almost a third of the total spits during the game.  I hope this isn’t the key to his MVP-like play this year.  This was the first time I caught Clayton Kershaw spitting.  Luckily it was only once.

May 9th

Giants:

–          Cabrera 6

–          Arias 4

–          Posey 4

–          Blackley 4

–          Lincecum 3

–          Bochy 2

–          Lopez 2

–          Sandoval 2

–          Bumgarner 1

–          Schierholtz 1

–          Belt 1

–          Righetti 1

Dodgers:

–          Kemp 22 (!)

–          Loney 3

–          Belisario 2

–          Ellis 1

–          Gordon 1

–          Ethier 1

Misc.

–          Javier (the Dodgers’ ball shagger) 1

Game Spit Master General = Kemp at 22

Giants Game Spit Master General = Cabrera at 6

That’s a total of 62 spits during a 3 hour and 20 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 3 minutes.

Kemp really outdid himself tonight.  That’s the record for the season thus far.  I noticed that he does a double spit almost every time he spits (and he spits quite often).  I was sad to catch Javier Lopez tonight as he almost made it to the end of the season last year without being caught spitting.

May 16th

Giants:

–          Posey 11

–          Bumgarner 9

–          Burriss 1

–          Meulens 1

–          Edlefsen 1

–          Belt 1

Cardinals:

–          Garcia 2

–          ?(in dugout) 2

–          Beltran 1

–          Holliday 1

–          Freese 1

–          Furcal 1

–          Oquendo 1

–          Matheny 1

Game Spit Master General = Posey at 11

That’s a total of 34 spits during a 2 hour and 45 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 5 minutes (one of the lowest spit count averages ever).

Even with Buster and Madison trying to outdo each other during this game, the spit average was very low.  Take them out of the equation, and it would have been the least disgusting game ever.  The two were tied before Madison was taken out of the game.  It was so funny – before the game started, the cameras got a shot of Madison, and Mike Krukow said, “Madison’s doing all the last minute things to get ready for the game,” and immediately after that he proceeded to blow a snot rocket!  Too perfect!  BTW Mike Matheny (manager of the Cardinals) is a beautiful man.  I used to have a huge crush on him when he was a Giant – guess I have something for catchers!  It was nice to see his face so much the other night!

There’s so much news since last I wrote.  The team is having another season of injury issues.  Pablo ended up breaking the exact same bone in his left hand that he broke in his right hand last year (the hamate bone).  Looked it up, and it’s below the pinkie and above the wrist.  And the surgery involves just taking that thing out!  So our star 3rd baseman is out for at least a month.  He’s been keeping quite busy getting people with shaving cream in the face after games, though (including Jamie Sire, reporter for Comcast SportsNet).  Luckily, Joaquin Arias has been doing a fabulous job in his place.  Then Jeremy Affeldt was injured when his son surprised him and jumped into his arms, causing his knee to pop.  That boy needs to be put into a plastic bubble or something when he’s not on the field!  The interesting thing is that he’s been pitching in his knee brace and he says he actually likes the support it gives him.  Go figure.  There may be a silver lining to that one!  One injury story that still hasn’t resolved is that of Freddy Sanchez.  It’s looking more and more like he may not be back this season.  If that’s the case, the Giants may be looking for a replacement at second base.  Theriot, Burriss, and Culberson (the new kid) haven’t had a lot of success in that position and their bats have been pretty sleepy.  There were rumors that the Giants were going after Orlando Hudson of the San Diego Padres as a Freddy replacement, but today he signed with the White Sox.  So we’ll have to wait and see what happens.  It’s always scary to think that one of my boys might be traded to boost the team, but I guess it’s just part of the game.

In other huge news, Guillermo Mota was suspended for 100 games (yes, 100 – almost the rest of the season) for a positive drug test.  He tested positive for Clenbuterol.  He is claiming that he took children’s cough syrup which contained the banned substance, and is appealing the ruling.  However, since this was the second time he had a positive drug test (he received a 50 game suspension in 2006), the suspension was automatic, so the appeals process will go on while he’s not playing.  This is such a big loss to the team, and it’s interesting how it hasn’t been spoken of much lately.  His loss and the loss of Brian Wilson combined with the fact that Ramon Ramirez was traded have left some holes in the bullpen.  They’re bringing up some young kids, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they will find some guys who can handle playing with the big boys.  Travis Blackley was one guy they tried, but he couldn’t cut it and was released and picked up by the A’s.  I was hoping he was going to do well because he’s from Australia and I never got a chance to hear him speak!  The latest signing is Brad Penny (who played on the Giants briefly in 2009), and he will probably be put into the lineup soon to pull some of the slack.  Keep your fingers crossed!

I’ve gotten several interesting, funny tidbits from reading Andrew Baggarly’s stuff.  I love his writing – he adds in lots of details about my boys that make them seem more down-to-earth.  He mentioned that Angel Pagan organized a Kentucky Derby pool and Matt Cain won.  Love that stuff!  He also mentioned that when Clayton Kershaw lost the game to Ryan Vogelsong on May 8th, it snapped his at home winning streak.  He had won 12 consecutive games at home before that night, and hadn’t lost a game at home since April 16, 2011.  HA HA!!  There was also a funny sound bite from one of Jamie Sire’s interviews with Madison Bumgarner.  She asked him what his favorite food was from the team chef (I didn’t even know they had one of those – thought they ate out!), and he said, “Steak.  I like cows.”  Love that kid!  Amy G. is also a great source of gossip, and I found out from her yesterday that Brandon Crawford is going to be a daddy in December!  I’m so excited for him, but he must have been so stressed out with his batting and defensive slumps lately.  Hopefully hitting in the 2 spot will continue to work for him so that he can enjoy the months before the little one arrives.

Did you guys see the Melk Men at the game on Friday night??  Oh my gosh, I love those guys!  They have true Giants spirit, and I belt Melky loved it, too.  If you missed it, six guys dressed up in milkman outfits and they were travelling around the park all night with a sign that read, “Got Melky?”  Too funny!  Those white suits really stood out in the crowd as well.

Eli update:  I can’t confirm it, but there’s a rumor that Eli went back to Mississippi in early May for the birth of his second child.  I checked his stat sheet for the Grizzlies, and he missed several games around that time.  If it’s true, CONGRATULATIONS and welcome to the newest little Whiteside!  One of the Comcast SportsNet Giants commercials still shows Eli (from the back – can see his 22), and it always gives me a warm fuzzy when I see it.

I’m still looking for takers for the Beat the Streak challenge.  My longest streak so far is 8 (my brother, Nick, has me beat with 11).  Remember – if you can beat my streak at the end of the season, I’ll buy you a Coke!  Come on – it’s fun and it’s free and you can learn about all the best hitters in the Major Leagues.  Go to mlb.com, click on the fantasy tab, then click on Beat the Streak to get started.  My cousin, Manny, has joined, and I’m already competing with my two brothers.  Come on, Dave!!  I challenge you personally!

Next time we’ll learn about the rest of the wonderful Giants’ coaching staff.  Hopefully I will be able to write more often now as things are slowing down with work.  Until next time, GO GIANTS!

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