Were you as shocked as I was that day? Not only did Buster hit a grand slam, but so did Madison. It was the first time in MLB history that a starting pitcher and catcher got grand slams in the same game. And it’s the second grand slam this season for Madison. AND HE’S A PITCHER!! That boy has a good chance to win the Silver Slugger award this year. What a way to take the series from the D-Bags and go into the All-Star Break! WOOHOO!! Hopefully they can take that momentum into the second half of the season and get that beginning-of-the-season magic back.
Because of those grand slams, I learned the definition of “battery” as it applies to baseball. It’s a term for the pitcher and the catcher. Some new knowledge for me that I thought I’d pass along. And thanks to Brandon Crawford’s blog, I also learned about the hierarchy involved in catching fly balls. You know how you see guys run toward each other and call the other guy off when making a catch? There’s actually a method to this madness. Here’s how it works with respect to fly balls according to Brandon: “The center fielder has priority over everybody — outfielders and infielders. Outfielders have priority over infielders. If there’s a popup between the OF and the IF, it’s an easier play for the OF. The shortstop has priority over all infielders. If the ball’s near second base and the shortstop is calling for it, he has priority. If it’s in shallow left field behind third base, and I’m calling for it, Pablo backs off. Infielders have priority over the catcher. And everybody has priority over the pitcher. A pitcher would catch a fly ball only if it’s a low pop-up that only he can reach. You don’t see it very often.” I wondered how they don’t crash into each other more often. Always learning here!
While watching a game last week, a hit and run play was put on. My hubby asked me what that actually meant. I kind of knew (the guy on base starts running assuming that the batter is going to connect with the ball), but I wasn’t totally sure so I decided to research into it. Basically it’s what I mentioned – a sign comes from the coach, both players know it’s on, the base runner starts running as soon as the pitcher commits to throwing to the plate, and the batter makes contact with the ball. But there’s so much more involved, like the best situations to use it and where the ball should be hit. I found a great article explaining the hit and run play – you can find it here. I learned a lot from it, and next time I’ll be able to impress hubby with my amazing knowledge! Maybe I’ll dedicate a blog to it in the future.
Gregor Blanco made an interesting comment in one of his recent blogs. He questioned the idea of making heroic plays, like catches where an outfielder crashes into a wall. He made the point that this isn’t always a good idea. If you get injured on the play, you might be out of commission for several games, so is it really worth it? Sometimes you might think a guy is not hustling on certain plays, but maybe he’s just using his self-preservation skills and keeping himself in the game. You have to weigh the importance of one play vs. losing a guy for several games. Interesting perspective.
Wishing a big welcome back to Marco Scutaro. Who would have thought at the beginning of the season that it would take over half the season for him to make his first start?? But I’m so glad he has. He’s going to take it easy at first and only play a few days a week, but I’m sure his presence is going to make a huge difference in the lineup and in the clubhouse. So happy I’ll be seeing your great at bats again! And I love that he’s using AC/DC’s Back in Black as his walk up music!
Bruce Bochy made a change in the pitching rotation after the All-Star break. It is now Bumgarner, Hudson, Lincecum, Vogelsong, and Cain. It used to be Bumgarner, Cain, Hudson, Lincecum, and Vogelsong. Bochy claims that Cain is fine and the change wasn’t made due to any illness, but that’s a pretty major change and it makes you wonder. Glad that Timmy has moved up in the order since his recent starts have been amazing. And congrats to Tim Hudson on being named to the All-Star roster as Madison’s replacement. Very well deserved, and a nice 39th birthday present for him!
On the spit front, I’m immensely excited to report that we may be seeing a lot less spitting going on in the near future during baseball games. The players are thinking about banning chewing tobacco during games. This will be discussed when they negotiate their next labor contract in two years. According to the players’ union leader, Tony Clark, several members quit “cold turkey” after the recent death of Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn due to oral cancer. So it appears Gwynn’s outspokenness about the dangers of chewing tobacco is already having an impact. You can read more about this here. I love the fact that the initiative on this is coming from the players themselves. One interesting note is that there is a rule already in place that states players cannot use chewing tobacco during pre- and post-game interviews, but in a post-game interview that Juan Gutierrez gave in June that I linked to in my blog (see “Rocked by Rockies, Socked by White Sox, Bitten by Snakes), he obviously has a huge wad of tobacco in his mouth. Guess they haven’t been enforcing this one, but maybe they will now. That will definitely be a day for me (and all the other spit haters) to celebrate if this all comes true!
On that note, here’s the latest spit count for you. Are these results just a coincidence?:
– Scutaro 2
– Posey 1
– Lincecum 1
– Belt 1
– Hill 3
– Inciarte 2
– Miley 2
– Parra 1
Game Spit Master General = Hill at 3
Giants Game Spit Master General = Scutaro at 2
That’s a total of 13 spits during a 2 hour and 45 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 12.7 minutes.
THIS IS INCREDIBLE!!! That is the lowest spit average EVER RECORDED!!! Can we attribute this to the effect of Tony Gwynn’s passing? In honor of an amazing man, I am going to say yes. Let’s see if this trend continues in the weeks to come. Keeping my fingers (and everything else) crossed! Maybe the goal of a spit-free game is within our grasp!!
So it’s a fresh beginning tonight as we start a series against the Marlins. The guys should be refreshed and rested after their break and ready to cruise on into the second half of the season with a new intensity. We’re only a game out of first place in the West after all, and I know we can rally the troops and get out there and win. Do it for your loyal fans, Guys! We’re still behind you through thick and thin, and we know the thick is coming back! GO GIANTS!! GET THAT MAGIC BACK!!