The Rings Helped Snap the Streak!

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve blogged, but the win tonight has definitely motivated me!  Guess getting those rings today reminded the guys of the potential they have.  Bochy mentioned that it was nice to see the guys’ teeth again today after that 8-game losing streak.  I have to admit, I was getting teary during the ring ceremony today.  I kept thinking about my dad and how he would have enjoyed it.  So happy for my boys.  The Giants do such a great job with their ceremonies.  And that ring – talk about bling!

So let’s start with the official Giants 40-man roster.  I’ll post the original one and note the changes (already have several injuries to deal with):

Pitchers:

Jeremy Affeldt

Ray Black*

Brett Bochy*

Madison Bumgarner

Matt Cain (15-day DL)

Santiago Casilla

Eric Cordier (15-day DL)

Joan Gregorio*

Cody Hall

Chris Heston

Tim Hudson

George Kontos

Derek Law*

Tim Lincecum

Javier Lopez

Jean Machi

Jake Peavy (15-day DL)

Yusmeiro Petit

Sergio Romo

Hunter Strickland*

Ryan Vogelsong

Catchers:

Buster Posey

Hector Sanchez

Andrew Susac

Infielders:

Joaquin Arias

Brandon Belt

Brandon Crawford

Matt Duffy

Adam Duvall*

Travis Ishikawa (15-day DL)

Casey McGehee

Joe Panik

Outfielders:

Nori Aoki

Gregor Blanco

Daniel Carbonell*

Justin Maxwell

Angel Pagan

Jarrett Parker*

Hunter Pence (15-day DL)

Juan Perez*

*=Not on active roster

Already we’ve got two of our starters on the DL, but thankfully Chris Heston has filled in nicely.  Heston’s wearing my favorite number, 53.  Hope it brings him luck (and washes away the sour Melky memories – he wore that same number).  Otherwise the starting pitching has been kind of scary of late.  Those boys need to get their act together, and quickly!  Andrew Susac came up today to replace Jake Peavy.  Was worried that my boy George Kontos wasn’t going to make the team (he was in a battle with Jean Machi), but both were kept because the Giants have very few days off at the beginning of the season, so they carried an extra reliever to help out the starters.  Also Gary Brown was designated for assignment – his bat just hadn’t matched his defensive play in the bigs.  He was picked up by Cardinals and is currently on their 40-man roster.  Maybe he’ll be able to improve his offense with them.  Good luck, Gary!

At first it was looking like the boys were playing small ball well, especially at the top of the lineup, but that sure did go sour.  Panik had been struggling, but he seemed OK today, so that’s hopeful.  Nori and Angel have sure started off the year hot, currently hitting .327 and .340 respectively.  But the Brandons and Casey have been cold.  I’m hoping that when Hunter comes back (which is expected to be in the next couple of weeks), things will liven up a bit and the bats will magically awaken.  I do enjoy watching Aoki’s at bats, though.  And the way he throws his bat at the ball.  And have you noticed how Casey bounces his front foot up and down while he bats?

Also did you notice Timmy’s haircut today?  Check it out.  I have to agree with Bochy – downright weird-looking.  He ruined the cute.

I have a bunch of random things to share since it’s been a while.  Since spit is a big part of this blog, the first has to do with that.  Apparently a lawmaker in California is trying to outlaw all tobacco products, including chewing tobacco, at games in California.  That would be wonderful, but personally I don’t think it will go anywhere.  It was interesting to hear on KNBR that Mike Krukow is actually for the ban.  He’d like it to be banned all together in baseball.  Go Kruk!  It will be interesting to see if others in baseball will come out in support of it, especially after the death of Tony Gwynn last year due to salivary gland cancer.

On a funny note, during a recent game I was watching, my hubby came into the room and asked me who was pitching.  I said Ryan Vogelsong.  The funny thing is, even though he’s not a huge baseball fan, he knows who Ryan Vogelsong is.  He just didn’t recognize him due to the mountain man beard he’s been sporting.  I am not a fan of said beard.  He’s cute without it.  Don’t cover up the cute.

Here’s something I learned that you might find interesting.  In Brandon Crawford’s blog, he gave some insight into what it’s like to get used to a new third baseman, namely Casey McGehee.  McGehee asked him if he could give him a heads up on breaking balls (Crawford can see the catcher’s signs from his position in center field, but McGehee can’t).  Crawford said he makes a little noise to alert McGehee, and he used to do the same for Pablo.  He said he thinks it helps him position himself.  There’s so much behind-the-scenes strategy stuff that goes on – I love learning about it.  And Brandon didn’t say what exactly the sound is.  It would have to be loud enough for Casey to hear but not the players on the other team.  Maybe a little whistle?  Or a click?  Maybe he doesn’t want us knowing all his secrets.

Another bit of strategy I learned about deals with when you add a guy to your roster.  Cubs prospect Kris Bryant had an amazing spring, hitting .425 and launching 9 homers, the most for any player in either the Cactus or Grapefruit Leagues.  How could the Cubs not add this guy to their starting day roster?  Well, they didn’t.  But they did add him to the roster recently.  This delay actually does make sense.  Due to a controversial rule in the collective bargaining agreement, if a player plays in the majors for 172 out of the 183 total days of the season, it counts as a full year.  By holding him back, they will have control over him for an extra year before he becomes a free agent (players become free agents after 6 years).  So essentially they’ll have him for almost 7 years.  Sneaky.

Did you hear that the A’s have a dual-handed pitcher in their minor league system?  His name is Pat Venditte.  I always wondered why more guys didn’t try this – what an advantage he has!  He’s the first ambidextrous pitcher to play baseball in over 100 years!  He played for the A’s during Spring Training.  One aspect of this that hadn’t occurred to me is that he has to use an ambidextrous glove!  Depending on which side he’s pitching from, he’s got to switch the glove to the other hand.  So weird!  He has to declare which side he is pitching from before he pitches to each batter (switch hitters have a chance to switch after he declares).  Check out this video of him in action (and check out the mitt!).  Does sound like his dad may have pushed him a bit much when he was a little kid, wanting him to succeed where he hadn’t.  But the kid seems pretty happy now.  He’s currently playing for the Nashville Sounds, the A’s triple A affiliate, and coincidentally the team that Barry Zito has landed on.  Would love to see that guy in the big leagues some day.

I’ve got a video to share with you.  Here’s one of Hunter’s Hitters youth baseball camp.  It totally cracked me up.  That guy is so kooky!  I also wanted to share Buster’s interview on CBS regarding his winning the Face of MLB award, but it’s not there anymore.  WHY????  It was great!  My favorite part was the goofy faces Buster made at his son when he started acting up.  I got to learn a little more about him from it, too, including the fact that he met his wife in high school studying for the SAT (he mentioned that he scored higher than her), they live on the old turkey farm he grew up on, his daughter walks around the house saying, “Ay, que lindo!” (a quote from the telenovela commercial he did with Sergio Romo last year), and he corrects his wife’s grammar.  Love that boy!  Wish I could find that video!  If anyone out there can, please let me know and I’ll share it.

I had a fantastic time at Spring Training with my siblings.  We were there for 4 glorious days and saw 5 games.  Yes.  And it was fabulous.  I got autographs from Casey McGehee, Kruk, Kuip, Jon Miller, Hensley Meulens, and a bunch of the kids, plus I took a picture with Hunter Strickland.  We only won one of the games, but it was great to hang out with my siblings and be silly and see my boys again, up close and personal.  And I can now say that I’ve been to Talking Stick.  And it was hot.  Extremely hot.  Not as hot as last year, but hot.  We also found a couple of new, marvelous eating establishments, and somehow I didn’t gain any weight.  Probably because of all the walking and sweating because it was REALLY HOT.  Can’t wait to go again next year.

The boys have one last game against the Diamondbacks tomorrow, and I’m really hoping that they win so they’ll have momentum as they go into the series with the Dodgers starting Tuesday.  Kuip mentioned during the game today that he will be wearing his three rings on Tuesday.  In your face, LA!  I did my first spit count today, but I think I’ll post it tomorrow (love to keep you in suspense).  I’ll tease with the fact that one of the Diamondbacks sure does enjoy his spitting!  Hoping that the win today will lead to bigger and better things from my boys and that Hunter will return soon.  Keep the faith, Giants fans!  Until next time, GO GIANTS!!

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