God, I Miss Baseball!

Hi, Giants fans!!  It’s definitely been awhile!  I took a much needed break from the blog, but I’m back and raring to go.  I’ve decided to make some changes to the format; mainly not doing as many spit counts as it’s gotten to be a bit of a drag (I’m sure you’re all devastated at this news!).  However, I will still comment on spit activity and may do an occasional spit count just to get an idea of what’s going on in the world of baseball spitting.  Still love my boys just as much – just needed a break to realize how much I love doing this.

Since I haven’t blogged since the beginning of August (missed the entire postseason), there’s a bit to catch up on, to say the least.  I was very excited (and somewhat surprised) that the boys even made it into the postseason.  The way they played the second half of the season left me very concerned about this.  But they came together, got in by the skin of their teeth, and even won the Wild Card game against the Mets.  Those boys are definitely scrappy!  Unfortunately, their scrappiness couldn’t get them past the Division Series, losing to the eventual World Series champs.  On a positive note, they lost 2 of the 3 games by a single run.  But what lost the series for them was what ruined the last half of the season – blown saves.  The biggest area of concern for this team in the offseason is bolstering that bullpen.  This became even more evident when you observed how amazing the bullpens were for the other playoff teams.

There were some rays of sunlight that peeked through the darkness of the Division Series, though.  Two were Johnny Cueto and Matt Moore.  Both went deep and pitched remarkable games in the high stress of October.  This gives me hope going on, and I’m so glad these two will continue to be Giants next season.  Another is Ty Blach.  In the postseason, he definitely made a case for him to fill the void that will most certainly be created when Jake Peavy leaves.  That kid is amazing!  Besides pitching eight scoreless innings in a regular season game against the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw, he pitched 3 1/3 innings in the postseason, allowing only 2 hits and striking out 3.  The kid comes through under pressure!  Another ray of sunshine was Conor “Mr. Happy” Gillaspie.  Conor hit that game winning homerun in the Wild Card game.  Then he got the go ahead triple in the eighth during the potential elimination game (against impossible-to-hit-off-of Aroldis Chapman no less), allowing them to outlast the Cubbies through 13 innings to win it.  The guy comes through in the clutch.  I was so happy he finally got some recognition, and on the big stage.  Hoping he will be back playing off the bench next season (just watch the spitting!).

No new big acquisitions yet, but lots of rumors being spread.  Bobby Evans has spoken with several free-agent closers, including Kenley Jansen, Mark Melancon, and Aroldis Chapman.  We’ll see if he puts his money where his mouth is.  We definitely need one of these guys.  Either Jansen or Melancon would be fantastic.  However, I’m not super excited about a Chapman deal.  Even though the guy is extremely talented, he comes with some domestic violence baggage, so I’m not sure he’s the right fit for this team.  I can’t imagine our guys would take him in with open arms, and team chemistry counts for a lot with this team.  And it would be really tough for me to cheer for a guy like that.  The Giants have also been talking to J.D. Martinez of the Tigers to bolster the outfield and their lineup.  He could step into Angel’s role in left field, and with impressive stats last season which include a .307 batting average, 22 home runs, and 68 RBI, he could really help us get our pitchers some run support.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed for this one – he’s one of my favorite choices in Beat the Streak, so I’m pulling for him!  Will definitely let you know as soon as I hear any news on the trade front.

Speaking of Beat the Streak, my brother Paul ended up winning this season.  Paul came in first with a streak of 15, I came in second with a streak of 11, and Nick got narrowly edged out with his streak of 10.  Congrats, P!  We treated him to dinner at Red Lobster to celebrate.  Next season, I’m hoping some of you will join us.  It’s the closest to fantasy baseball I’ll ever get since it only takes a few minutes a day to make your picks.

The boys earned themselves some recognition last season, taking home several highly coveted awards.  Brandon Crawford, Joe Panik, and Buster Posey each received Gold Gloves for their amazing defensive work last season.  Brandon Crawford and Buster also received the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award at their respective positions.  The Giants as a team were voted the overall Defensive Team of the Year by Wilson, in part due to the fact that they set a National League record in 2016 for the longest errorless streak in league history, spanning more than 17 games.  Brandon Crawford and Javier Lopez together received the Willie Mac Award, presented to the most inspirational player on the team as voted upon by Giants players, coaches, training staff, and this year, by Giants fans as well.  In addition, one of our beloved broadcasters has been named a finalist for the Ford C. Frick award, presented annually for excellence in baseball broadcasting.  Mike Krukow is one of 8 finalists for the award, the same award won previously by his fellow broadcaster, Jon Miller.  We’ll have to wait and see on that one, though – the winner will be announced on December 7th.  Will keep you updated.  Congrats to all my boys for winning these amazing awards, and good luck, Kruk!

On a personal note, two of the Giants will soon get hitched.  Both Hunter Pence and Joe Panik are scheduled to be tying the knot in the next couple of weeks (thanks to Brandon Crawford’s blog for the heads up).  Speaking of Hunter, did you see the Halloween costumes him and his fiancé Lexi wore this year?  Check them out.  Love it!  There’s also a video of Hunter showing off his sweet moves.  Also note that Hunter finally shaved off that beard – I’m assuming that’s so he’ll look presentable for his wedding day.

The wonderful Ginny got me (among some other fun baseball things) Bruce Bochy’s book A Book of Walks for my birthday.  I had no idea what it was about, but the title is definitely appropriate.  It’s a very quick read that details 8 of his and his wife’s favorite walks.  He mentions in the book that his love of walking probably saved his life.  In 2015, he had to have two stents put in to increase blood flow.  He mentioned to the doctor that he loved to walk, and the doctor replied that without those walks, he might not be alive today.  I loved the way the book was written as if Bochy were having a conversation with you – you could just hear him read each line in your head.  Nice to get to know the Skipper a little bit better.  I highly recommend it, and hope to go on some of the walks myself someday.  If you would like to borrow it from me just let me know.  Or if you chose to buy it, proceeds go to support writing workshops for young people.

Not much else to report right now.  I’m working on analyzing the spit count data from last season, and I’ll try to get the results out this week.  Already have FanFest 2017 on my calendar (February 11th in case you didn’t know), and I’m in the process of planning another Spring Training trip.  Can’t wait for baseball to be back.  Until next time, GO GIANTS!!

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