So happy to report that Brandon Crawford was chosen as the 2015 Rawlings Gold Glove winner at shortstop for the National League. The winner is chosen by votes from managers and coaches combined with statistical analysis in collaboration with the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR – as in “sabermetrics”). Crawford beat out Andrelton Simmons of the Braves and Adeiny Hechavarria of the Marlins. Finally this guy is getting some national attention. Brian Murphy of KNBR mentioned that this could be due to the fact that Crawford amassed 21 homeruns last season, a personal best that probably turned some national heads. Brandon mentioned that his All-Star status this season may have also contributed to his cause. Regardless, the honor is well deserved. Check out some of the moves that won this kid his award. Crawford gave kudos to Bench Coach Ron Wotus for helping him reduce the number of errors he made this season by encouraging him to play smarter and not throw the ball if the odds were slim of making an out. Nice job, Coach! Something I never thought of that Brandon mentioned comes into play if you want to be a good fielder is your footwork – when you throw, you have to make sure to set your feet and direct your momentum toward the base. He sure has figured out how to excel at this. To honor his accomplishment, his wife baked him a cake in the shape of a glove frosted in gold. Isn’t that just too adorable?? Congrats to you, Kid!
In other Giants news, the Giants declined the 2016 contract options of Nori Aoki and Marlon Byrd. That would have been $5.5 million for Aoki and $8 million for Byrd. This doesn’t mean that they won’t be back for sure – just that they won’t be back for that much. When asked about it, Bobby Evans said that the timing was tough with all the things they need to accomplish this winter. One of the biggest of those things is finding at least one star-caliber pitcher, so I’m glad at least Evans is thinking that way. Will definitely be sad though if these two guys don’t come back. Both made significant contributions to the team last season. I enjoyed the energy both brought to the team. We’ll just have to wait and see.
And on the new player front, there has been an awful lot of talk out there about the fact that the Giants may actually make a run for some of the high priced free agent pitchers out there, including Zack Greinke and David Price. They haven’t been willing to spend the big bucks since being burned in the Zito deal, but they may be just desperate enough to do it this winter. Wouldn’t it be fabulous to take Greinke away from the Dodgers?? And what a weapon he would be to add to our arsenal. Would have to learn how to spell his name without looking it up and would also have to get used to looking at his scary eyes, but I’m willing to do anything for my team. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we get someone big. With Madison as the only known solid starter on our pitching staff, we definitely could use a big boost. Hoping, hoping, hoping the big bucks come out!
I heard some scary news the other day that Brandon Belt is still experiencing concussion symptoms. The guy’s too young to be dealing with this! Distressing to think that this could put his career in jeopardy, not to mention his quality of life. Definitely keeping the kid in my thoughts and request that you do, too.
I had a few odds and ends left over from the end of the season that I never put out there. A couple involved Matt Duffy. Here’s an article in The Player’s Tribune written by Matt about finally making it to the big leagues and what it was like. The guy can write! So nice to hear how encouraging the veterans are to the new players. Definitely could explain how the young kids can do so well so quickly in the Bigs. Duffy’s dad also put together a photo collection for The Player’s Tribune that chronicles Matt’s life in baseball from the time he was a young lad, including some key moments in his career. The senior Duffy is an extremely talented photographer. I especially love his action shots. You can find those pictures here. Enjoy.
I learned something interesting near the end of the season about Jake Peavy. Have you ever noticed that when guys catch for him, they don’t just put that fluorescent tape on their nails to make their signals more readable. They also cover their fingers in black paint to make that tape even more visible. Here’s a picture of what it looks like. Why? Because Jake Peavy has terrible vision. In fact, he’s legally blind without corrective lenses. Even with corrective lenses, the best he can see is 20-40. In low light situations, it makes it extremely difficult for him to see signals. Considering this, it’s pretty amazing how well the guy pitches. You kind of need to see the target to hit it!
I hadn’t written about my boy Eli Whiteside in a while, and then a few weeks back I came across this video where my boy manages to find a way into the spotlight once again. He participated in the McCovey Golf Classic back in September, along with several other Giants alumni including my BFF Bill Laskey. How does Eli manage to stay in the spotlight all the time? Oh well, it makes me happy. And this video is just reminding me of what a terribly good looking man he is. Whew! Also Tiny Felder is one of my new favorite alumni. And Barry, get over yourself! And if you don’t care as much about Eli as I do, watch the video to get one more glimpse of my hero, Willie McCovey. So happy he’s still able to attend the tournament that bears his name. What a gem.
While searching for the previous video, I stumbled across this one. A present for Ginny. The Crawfords visit Pixar. Definitely an 11 on the cuteness scale.
I’m thinking about adding a feature to my blog next season entitled “Angel’s Question.” My friend Angel is a huge Giants fan, and every once in a while she’ll ask me a Giants-related or baseball-related question that I can’t answer. So just in case you’re wondering what the answer is as well, I’ll answer them here. My first installment in this series answers the question, “Whatever happened to Justin Maxwell?” The guy was doing really well there for a while up in the Bigs, then he magically disappeared and faded into oblivion. I looked it up, and although he initially showed promise and was amazing in the outfield, he spiraled into a hitting slump that forced the Giants to designate him for assignment on September 1st. The addition of Alejandro De Aza to the team may have forshadowed this move. Interesting to note that Maxwell played in 100 games last season – that’s way more than I thought. He is currently a free agent. He’ll probably get picked up next season as I’m sure he can make a positive contribution somewhere. Thanks for the question, Angel! Keep ‘em coming!
I still have to compile the spit count data from last season and crown the overall Spit Master General for 2015. Hoping that will be done within the next week – I know you’re all waiting with baited breath! Until then, I’ll keep my ears open for any news on roster changes (and that Greinke acquisition!). Watching the Brandon Crawford highlight video made me realize how much I miss watching baseball. Have to be patient. Until next time, GO GIANTS MANAGEMENT! FIND US SOME PITCHING!