WOOHOO! Just 7 more days to FanFest! Can’t wait! Not a lot going on in the baseball world right now, but since my brother Nick actually asked me when I was going to update my blog again (and I almost passed out), I figured I would go ahead and share the few tidbits I have.
Joaquin Arias was signed to a 1 year, $925K contract, avoiding arbitration. That’s almost twice what he made last year. I love this guy and I know we’re going to see even better things from him this season. He adds great depth to our infield. Congrats on that nice raise, Joaquin!
Barry Zito was awarded the Hutch award, which goes to the player who “exemplifies the honor, courage, and dedication” of Seattle native Fred Hutchinson, a former major-league player and manager. The award ceremony itself was a fundraiser for early cancer detection research. Hutchinson’s brother, a doctor, started a cancer research facility in honor of Fred who died of cancer at age 45. They couldn’t have picked a more deserving guy for this award, both due to his comeback performance last season, his “never give up” attitude, and his extensive charity work. Bravo, Barry! So glad the accolades continue even after your fabulous season. Finally!
If you weren’t aware, Pablo Sandoval has been playing in Venezuela’s professional baseball league since the end of the MLB season. He played for the Navegantes del Magallanes (love that name!), and ended up leading them to a championship! He had one homerun, two doubles, and two RBI in the championship game. He was also selected MVP for the championship series. Déjà vu! How does he do it? Isn’t the boy tired? And Spring Training is just around the corner. That tells you something about Venezuelans national pride. Congrats, Pablo! That’s a wonderful accomplishment (and I’m so glad you didn’t get hurt!).
The Giants promotions team has finally gotten their act together and will be giving away 40,000 bobbleheads during promotion days instead of the 20,000 they had given previously. This means that Manny and I won’t have to wait in line with thousands of other people in order to get his bobbleheads, and we won’t have to arrive hours before the game. Can I get a WOOHOO on that one??? Not sure why it took them this long to figure this out, but so glad they finally did. I still don’t understand the bobblehead frenzy. I mean, they’re cool and all, but I don’t think I would purposely go to a game to get a bobblehead. Actually, those bobbing heads are kind of creepy if you ask me. And they never really look like the player anyway. I do love my Brian Wilson gnome, though (and I earned it!).
Did you hear the recent news about the dark side of baseball? Not that it’s a surprise, but guys continue to get busted for steroid use, even with the increased testing and harsher penalties. Several current players have been linked to a clinic in Miami that allegedly sold them performance-enhancing drugs. No surprise that Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon were on the list of clients (both were suspended last season for positive PED tests), but pitcher Gio Gonzalez of the Nationals (previously of the A’s) and Alex Rodriguez were also linked to the clinic. I cannot fathom how these guys can be so stupid and risk a career over this. And this just goes to show that testing needs to be ramped up even more and penalties made harsher as A-Rod is a repeat offender. It’s so hard not to wonder when a player is doing well if he’s using PEDs, and I think that is really unfortunate, especially for those that aren’t. I’m sure there are many guys that are not using and suffering because of this. It will be interesting to see if there are more busts this season due to the increased HGH testing. I’m just hoping these guys will realize that it’s just not worth the risk. I’m fearing that they won’t.
Speaking of steroids, I recently read the book Game of Shadows by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams. With the rejection of all the steroid users by the Hall of Fame voters, I recalled this book and decided to learn more about what exactly happened. My brother and my dad had read it when it first came out, and they had both enjoyed it. Talk about baseball bubble bursting! Actually sports bubble bursting in general. I was amazed at the callousness of Victor Conte, the supplier, and his huge ego. I was also amazed at the lengths sports stars will go to in order to be the best, even when they have to resort to cheating and putting their health at risk to do it. And I never realized just how big of a jerk Barry Bonds is! No wonder no one wants him in the Hall of Fame! I highly recommend the book if you are at all interested in this stuff. It was also strange that all of it took place about 5 miles from where I grew up (BALCO, Conte’s “supplement” company, was located in Burlingame), and several of the guys in the book went to Serra High School with my brothers and the lead investigator went to Mills High School.
Did I mention that FanFest is in 7 DAYS??? HEEEEEEEEEEEE!! Hoping we can do a clubhouse tour this year. Just can’t wait to get into that park again. My next blog will probably be a FanFest recap unless something exciting happens between now and then. Can’t sign off without wishing the 49ers good luck tomorrow as they go for their 6th Superbowl win (even though I’m kind of just a front-runner when it comes to them – not a real football fan). No looting tomorrow night when they win, please. Until next time, GO GIANTS!!