Play Ball!! (Sort Of)

Baseball’s back!!  Well, at least baseball training is!!  I can even watch games on TV again!  In case you’re interested and dying to get that baseball fix as much as I am, here’s a link to the broadcast schedule (both TV and radio) for the Giants Spring Training games.  I’ll definitely be watching that Giants vs. Dodgers game on Wednesday.  Maybe we’ll even get a view of Romo with his new teammates (UGH!!).

Yes.  We knew he probably wasn’t going to be a Giant this season, but now we know Sergio Romo will be wearing Dodger blue.  Sigh.  It is going to be really tough to watch him play in that uniform, joking around with the likes of Adrian Gonzalez and (choke) Yasiel Puig, but I can’t really blame him for making that choice.  When I first heard, I was pretty upset, but then I heard about a text he sent to Paulie “Mac” McCaffrey of KNBR.   Here’s a link to it.  Sergio made it clear that he has no ill will and is moving to the Dodgers for family reasons.  He grew up a Dodgers fan, his dad is still a Dodgers fan, his family lives in the area, and frankly, they offered him a job.  He still wants to work, and the Giants didn’t come a calling.  He turned down some offers from East Coast teams, but that’s understandable coming from a guy who puts his family first and has young children.  I always hate it when my boys go to that team, but I understand.  Come game time, though, he ain’t going to be getting any cheers from me!!  Thanks for all you did for us, Sergio.  You (and “El Mechon”) will definitely be missed!

It’s also been confirmed that Javier Lopez will not be a Giant and that he is retiring from playing baseball.  Thankfully, he’ll still be hanging around and will be announcing some games along with Jeremy Affeldt.  This comes as Mike Krukow will have a lighter workload this season due to his medical issues.  Can’t think of a better replacement – Javi is a natural and will fit right in.  He’s also supposed to help out at Spring Training as a special instructor.  Looking forward to hearing him in the booth (and the craziness that will ensue when he and Jeremy get together!).

Another former Giants reliever, Brian Wilson, is trying to make a comeback.  This time, he’s trying to make it as a knuckleballer.  He hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2014 when he played for the Dodgers (Yeah – remember the World Series ring fiasco with Larry Baer?  Still hate the guy for that.).  And he must be serious because he even shaved off his beard.  I had forgotten how cute his face was under that thing!  Here’s a pic of his clean-shaven face.  Whatever.  You have to admit, the guy is entertaining I guess.  We’ll see if he can make his way back onto a team or not.

I’ve got some more Spring Training tidbits for you.  Our beloved Cody Ross is also helping out the Giants in Arizona this season.  I love that guy – he’s always so happy.  Glad he’s coming back.  The Giants signed Gordon Beckham to a minor league deal.  If that name sounds familiar it’s because he played in 3 games for the Giants at the end of last season.  Guess they’re going to give him a chance again this year.  Plus they are also giving Aaron Hill a chance to compete for a spot, signing him to a minor league deal as well.  Hill batted .262 between the Brewers and the Red Sox last season, but he floundered near the end of the season and found himself up for grabs.  The list of guys competing for infield utility spots now stands at 8 (Kelby Tomlinson, Jae-gyun Hwang, Orlando Calixte, Conor Gillaspie, Jimmy Rollins, Aaron Hill, Gordon Beckham, and Juniel Querecuto – thanks for this list, Grant Brisbee).  That dugout sure must be crowded!  How stressful it must be to know you have to beat out that many guys to earn a spot on the team.  Guess that’s part of why they make the big bucks.

I learned a fun fact about how Michael Morse ended up in Spring Training camp this season.  It was due to a bit of crazy serendipity.  He was at Hunter Pence’s wedding (of course he was there because those two have a major bromance going on), and he happened to run into Giants general manager Bobby Evans there.  During a casual conversation with Evans, Morse mentioned that he felt he still had something to offer as a reserve player, to which Evans responded, “Well, if you don’t think you’re done, why don’t you come to camp?”  WHAT???  Isn’t that crazy???  And Morse said that he wouldn’t want to play for any other team than the Giants.  I love that boy!  Hoping, hoping, hoping I get to see him at Spring Training.

Has anyone else been wondering what the heck happened to Jake Peavy?  I hadn’t heard a word about whether the Giants were pursuing him or if he had been picked up by another team until last week.  It turns out the poor guy has had some horrible luck lately.  Not only was he the victim of a Ponzi scam last season that bilked him of millions of dollars, but he also came home after the 2016 post-season and was greeted by divorce papers from his wife of 15 years.  Harsh!  Understandably, he’s decided he needs a break to be there for his kids at this difficult time in their lives, so he’s not planning on playing for a team right now.  I feel so bad for the guy.  I hope everything works out.  He hopes that once things settle down he may be able to help out some team near the end of the season.  Wishing you all the best, Jake.  Hang in there.

There are a couple of new rules that baseball is considering in order to speed things up, and frankly I’m not a fan of either.  The first is a change to the intentional walk.  Pitchers would no longer have to throw any pitches to do this – the bench would simply signal to the umpire that the batter is being intentionally walked.  I think this stinks.  If you are going to walk someone, you need to walk them.  That’s 4 pitches the pitcher is being saved – not fair!  Plus it’s always exciting when something crazy happens during an intentional walk, like a passed ball or an actual connection by the batter.  And seriously, how much time is this going to save?  Another rule that’s being tossed about really makes me angry.  In order to speed up games that go into extra innings, a runner would be placed on second base at the start of the inning.  They are actually trying this out in the low minors this year.  I hate this in so many ways.  Who is that runner going to be?  How is that runner going to affect the pitcher’s stats?  And with both teams getting that runner, how is it going to change anything??  I still think if you want to speed up the game, cut off a couple of innings!!  And apparently, Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins agrees that it’s something to consider.  Check out some of the other ideas that came out of an interview during Spring Training Media Day in Florida.  What do you think?  Personally, I say just leave the game I love alone!

I’ll end by mentioning what a fantastic time I had at Giants FanFest two weeks ago.  The lines definitely seemed a bit shorter this year – Ginny and I got to the park at about 7 am and we were right up in the front of the line.  We got into the KNBR Q&A session with Bruce Bochy, Bobby Evans, and new closer Mark Melancon, we got lots of goodies from vendors down on the field, we watched our boys being interviewed down on the field, we walked on the field (Ginny got to stand where Brandon does at short) and in the dugout, we went to The Garden in center field (Ginny’s first time), we got to get close to lots of my boys signing autographs, and we toured the Press Box.  We also got to talk to many of the wonderful AT&T Park staff members – they’re always so friendly and helpful.  But the highlight of my day was when I got to take a picture with my boy Eli Whiteside as he was walking from one autograph booth to another.  What luck!  And what a thrill!  Thanks for having the peace of mind to stop him for a photo with me, Ginny!  I owe you big time!  Just being in that park always makes my day wonderful!  Heading off to Spring Training in less than two weeks – can’t wait to see my boys up close and personal again!  Hopefully I can update you on some of the kids in camp next time.  Have to start learning those names.  Until next time, GO GIANTS!!  BEAT LA ON WEDNESDAY!!

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