Tagged: Buster Posey

Fight Club Revisited

I fully intended on this blog being about how my boys are trying to get back into the race, having taken the series against the Braves.  Then a fight broke out.  I hate baseball fights.  I know a lot of people actually love the excitement, but I hate them.  And today’s was a doozy.  The excuse is usually some old score that needs to be settled or bad blood between players or teams.  So silly.  To me that’s something that three-year-olds do, and it’s just testosterone run rampant.  There are so many reasons why today’s melee was stupid.  I think I feel one of my lists coming on…

  • Hunter Strickland obviously hit Bryce Harper on purpose. I don’t think anyone can deny that.  That’s what makes this fight more heinous than most.  Of course he’s saying that since Harper had hit two bombs off him that he wanted to go inside, but come on.  We know for some stupid unwritten baseball law reason you have to say that, but no one believes you.  And even though he probably aimed for his hip, you know that guys have been hit in the head that way and injured.  Even though Bryce Harper has a reputation for being a jerk, I don’t blame him for going after Strickland.  Strickland is definitely a hothead – it took three of his teammates (Pence, Williamson, and Kontos) to literally lift the guy off the field.
  • The incident Strickland was retaliating for happened 3 YEARS AGO! And it’s not Harper’s fault he hit two homeruns off of Strickland in the playoffs – it’s Strickland’s fault for leaving pitches where Harper could launch them.  Even if Harper did watch his homeruns for a bit, Strickland let it get to him, so much so that he held that inside and felt the need to retaliate 3 YEARS LATER!
  • Any time there is a fight on the field, it’s a total distraction for the rest of the game. Not to mention that we lost one of our relievers in the process when Strickland was ejected.  That’s exactly what this team doesn’t need when they’re trying to come back from a 3-0 deficit.
  • When you instigate a fight, you are putting your teammates at risk of injuring themselves as well. Did you see the crash between Samardzija and Morse?  They weren’t even fighting each other.  There is always a pile on and guys have seriously been injured in the past this way.  Way to be selfish, Strickland.
  • All the hoopla surrounding the fight took the focus away from an amazing start that Matt Moore had today. He pitched a full 7 innings allowing only 2 runs.  Unfortunately, with the way our guys have been hitting, and with THE HUGE DISTRACTION OF A SENSELESS FIGHT, they weren’t able to come back and win it for him.
  • Today’s game was played in honor of Memorial Day. Yeah, I guess that message was lost.
  • Now that Strickland hit Harper, you know the Nationals will retaliate at some point during this series. It’s another one of those unwritten, stupid baseball rules.  And you know who they’ll retaliate against – our star player, Buster.  After Harper got tagged, you could almost hear him saying to himself, “Great.  I’m next.”  Maybe that’s why Buster didn’t get involved in the fray – he was ticked off that Strickland put him in that situation.  It was also a smart move on his part because we don’t want him taking any chances and getting hurt, especially in a fight that has nothing to do with him.  And I think that’s why the main focus was separating Strickland and Harper and not other guys getting into it – it’s between them only and not the two teams.
  • Not only did the stupid fight affect this game, it will affect at least the next two games. Pitchers will be warned that if a player is hit by a pitch, they will be ejected from the game.  That’s just what our pitchers need on their plate right now – more to be stressed about on the mound.  Thanks, Strickland.
  • Finally, I feel like we were all jipped out of an intriguing at bat. I was looking forward to the rematch.  I assumed that Strickland had matured since back then, and that since his pitching had evolved in the last three years he would give Harper a run for his money.  After all, wouldn’t the best revenge be striking the guy out?  But no, we didn’t get that opportunity.

The only positive from the fight was that I learned a new Krukism – donnybrook.  He kept using this term during the fight and I had no idea what it meant, so I researched it.  According to Merriam-Webster, a donnybrook is a usually public quarrel or dispute.  The word just sounds like one that Kruk would make up, but he didn’t. The word has its origins in Ireland.  The Donnybrook Fair was held every year in a suburb of Dublin from the 13th through 19th centuries.  It was well known for the vast quantities of alcohol consumed there, and thus also became associated with huge drunken brawls, so much so that a free-for-all fight became known as a donnybrook.  So now you know.

Let’s take a break from all the excitement and switch gears to something more entertaining – 2 new spit counts!  Here you go:

May 27th

Giants:

  • Hundley 6
  • Law 5
  • Meulens 3 (seeds)
  • Belt 3
  • Span 3
  • Hill 2
  • Parker 2 (seeds)
  • Bochy 2
  • Nuñez 1
  • Posey 1 (seeds)
  • Nevin 1
  • Panik 1 (sigh)
  • Hernandez 1
  • Samardzija 1 (seeds)

Braves:

  • Markakis 1
  • Inciarte 1 (into batting glove)
  • Phillips 1
  • Ruiz 1
  • Washington 1 (seeds)
  • Krol 1
  • Flowers 1
  • Peterson 1

Game Spit Master General = Hundley at 6

That’s a total of 40 spits during a 2 hour and 30 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 3.8 minutes.

The Braves pitcher, Mike Foltynewicz, didn’t spit at all, but he did get caught launching a snot rocket once.  On a happy note, Ty Blach pitched today and didn’t log a single spit!  There’s hope I’ll have a new Thank You For Not Spitting Award recipient this season!

May 28th

Giants:

  • Cueto 15
  • Nuñez 3 (1 of these was seeds)
  • Belt 2
  • Meulens 1 (seeds)
  • Hernandez 1
  • Gearrin 1
  • Wotus 1

Braves:

  • Phillips 1
  • Ruiz 1
  • Peterson 1
  • Markakis 1

Misc.:

  • Umpire (Rob Drake) 32 (!!!!!!!)

Game Spit Master General = Drake at 32

Giants Game Spit Master General = Cueto at 15

That’s a total of 60 spits during a 2 hour and 30 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 2.5 minutes (new season record).

Once I heard that Rob Drake was going to be umping behind the plate I knew it would be a high spit count game.  He outdid his 10 spit performance of April 22nd but still did not eclipse his all-time record of 40 set on August 24, 2012.  If it wasn’t for the spitfest going on between Johnny Cueto and Rob Drake, this would have actually been a very low spit count day.  On a positive note, Matt Kemp of the Braves wasn’t caught for a single spit even though he played in both games I counted against the Braves.  When Kemp played for the Dodgers, he would always be the Game Spit Master General.  Kudos to you, Matt Kemp!  Glad getting away from the boys in blue has had a good influence on you (of course it would!)!  Also wanted to mention that I loved how the K’s during this game (the strikeout markers) all had dreadlocks on them in honor of Dia de Cueto!

Going to end with something that will make Angel happy.  During the games, did you see the Buster Posey commercial with the puppies???  So amazingly adorable!  I’ve tried to find it on the internet but with no luck.  I’ll keep looking and hopefully post a link next time.  Angel and I are planning on going to that game and getting our own Buster hugs blanket.  The boys need to try and put this fight thing from today out of their minds (Thanks, Strickland!!!) and focus on winning games again.  Just keep taking those baby steps and trying to win series.  If they can just win 9 of 12 series from now until the All-Star Break they can go into the second half of the season with a .500 record and take it from there.  And who knows – maybe they can even log some sweeps!  It can happen!  I have faith in these guys!  Until next time, GO GIANTS!!  NO MORE DONNYBROOKS AND KEEP TAKING THOSE SERIES!!

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Turning a Corner?

We’re all about accentuating the positive here at Giants Fan Carm.  So today’s blog is going to be all about the positive.  I just have this feeling that things are going to be different with the boys from here on in.  Why?  I feel one of my lists coming on…

  • They’ve won 2 games in a row. This is only the second time this season that they’ve been able to do this.  Sad on the one hand, but if we’re looking at the glass as half full, this is a happy thing.  Let’s see if they can pull off the win today to set a streak record for the season.  They can do this!
  • Out of the blue, they have this crazy power streak going on. In the last 6 games they’ve hit a total of 10 homeruns, and in 4 of those games 2 guys hit homers.  It’s been a Bye, Bye, Baby Bonanza!  That accounts for more than a third of the homeruns they’ve hit all season.  Plus Buster hit homeruns in three consecutive games.  I know this team is not built on power, but it doesn’t hurt.  And everyone likes to see the long ball and hear Bye, Bye Baby.
  • Speaking of homers, one of them was a walkoff by Buster in the 17th.  We haven’t been able to celebrate many walkoffs this season, and walkoff bombs are the best.  But the best thing about this walkoff was Buster’s reaction, and it’s one of the main reasons I think they are at a turning point.  Check this out.  Notice Buster’s reaction as he gets close to home.  He throws his helmet in the air and raises his arms up as he nears the plate.  Who was that guy???  This was not your typical, calm, not-expressing-any-emotion Buster.  I think he did this on purpose to energize his team.  And I think it’s working.
  • Span is back. I know there are a lot of Span haters out there, but his coming back has also been an energizer.  Two of the above-mentioned homers came from Span, and they were in his first two games back.  In his first three games back, he’s hitting .500.  WOW!!  And you can’t deny that he’s the best defensive center fielder we have.  Welcome back, Denard!
  • Justin Ruggiano. The guy had a slow start offensively when he first came up to the Bigs on May 6th, but in his last 3 games he’s hit .385 and he provided one of the above-mentioned bombs yesterday.  Could this finally be the solution to our outfield problems?  I am staying cautiously optimistic.  He’s in the lineup today so we’ll see if he can keep it going.
  • Brandon Crawford is back off the DL. I mention this for two reasons:  the guy is one of the key pieces of the Giants puzzle both offensively and especially defensively, plus I knew this would make Ginny happy.

Ginny and I sent inspirational rally pictures to several of the guys via Twitter, so I like to think we’ve contributed to all this somehow as well.  So come on, everybody!  Get those rally caps out and keep this thing going!  Until next time, GO GIANTS!!  MAKE IT AN EXTRA-HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!

Rough Start

On paper, it looked like the Giants would have smooth sailing at the beginning of their 2017 season – NL West matchups for the first two weeks against the Diamondbacks, Padres, and Rockies.  Not even any games against the Dodgers.  Who would have predicted that after 13 games they would be sitting at the bottom of the NL West with a 5-8 record?  Not to mention that the Diamondbacks would be at the top of that list?  Craziness!  There have definitely been some exciting moments, but these last couple of weeks have been rough.

Unfortunately, we’ve already suffered some major injuries.  Buster was hit in the head by a 94-mph pitch from the Diamondbacks Taijuan Walker on Monday.  Being extremely careful with any player who potentially has a concussion, he was put on the 7-day concussion DL.  He appears to be doing well, slowly adding his normal baseball activities to his routine, but I’m sure the Giants aren’t going to rush anything.  And that’s the way it should be.  However, this leaves us without our prized catcher for at least a week.  I love Nick Hundley, and he’s really stepped up both offensively and defensively to help the team out with Buster gone, but there’s still that factor of the starting pitchers not being as used to pitching to him.  You wonder how that affects them.  Word is that if everything goes well, Buster will travel with the team to Kansas City and probably be the designated hitter for those games, giving him a longer break away from catching.  And maybe in the long run, having more time pitching to Hundley will be good for the starting rotation.

Then today, there was another devastating injury.  Jarrett Parker raced to make an amazing catch in the outfield, but in the process crashed into the wall and sustained a broken right clavicle.  There’s no estimate yet as to how long he’ll be out, but sheesh!  The guy broke his clavicle!  I’d assume it won’t be any time soon.  And of course, left field has been the position where we’ve been lacking this season.  This sure doesn’t help, especially since recently Parker had been hitting better, going 1 for 2 with a walk on Monday (finally getting his first hit this season), then 2 for 3 with a walk on Wednesday.  WHY???

It will be interesting to see who ends up taking Parker’s place.  Maybe Chris Marrero, the guy that got his first major league homerun yesterday (after 144 plate appearances in the majors), the guy who showed amazing power in the spring, and the guy who ruined Tyler Chatwood’s perfect game in the 6th today when he came in to replace Parker.  He’s also made some beautiful defensive plays.  There’s also Aaron Hill, but he hasn’t been very hot offensively.  Kelby Tomlinson is also a possibility.  Mac Williamson and Michael Morse still aren’t ready to come back.  Then recently the Giants added two more possibilities, signing both to minor league deals:  Melvin (formerly BJ) Upton and Drew Stubbs.  But though both of these guys are great defensively, they are lacking offensively, and isn’t that really what we need over there?  Some pop?  Pop from somewhere?  ANYWHERE??  This whole left field issue is really annoying, like an uninvited house guest that keeps eating all your food.  Yeah.  I don’t like it.  Wonder if Bobby Evans is making some frantic phone calls right now.  I kind of hope so.

Speaking of Melvin Upton, I was wondering why he no longer goes by BJ.  Most people suspected that since he had recently been struggling professionally that he wanted a new start.  But Upton commented, “This has nothing to do with starting a new chapter.  I just wanted to.  My father thought enough to give me his name, so why not?”  He also mentioned that most of his friends call him Mel or Melvin anyway, so it’s just natural.  Plus I would imagine having the nickname BJ would be difficult around baseball dugouts (sorry – just had to go there).  Guess Melvin wouldn’t be much easier.  Sorry.

On a much more serious note, we all received some sad news this week – a reminder that tomorrow, no matter how young we are, is never guaranteed.  I found out through an Instagram post that Jalynne Crawford made earlier this week, and even though she didn’t say exactly what happened, you could tell it was terrible.  Jennifer Pippin, Jalynne’s oldest sister, passed away suddenly on Wednesday due to a severe asthma attack.  She leaves behind her husband and two daughters, ages 9 and 6.  What a terrible tragedy for this extremely close family.  Brandon drove down to LA on Wednesday night to be with the family, then drove back on Thursday and even pinch hit in the game that night.  Then Friday, when he hit his homerun, he looked up to the heavens when he crossed home in tribute to her.  After the game, Brandon said (regarding the home run), “That one’s for Jen.  That one’s for my sister in law.  I know she was watching this game tonight.”  AWWW!!  Jalynne has set up a GoFundMe page to help the family with expenses here.  Sending my deepest condolences to all of the family members.

Did you folks watch the game on Friday night?  At one point, some of the crowd starting using their flashlights on their phones like you do at a concert.  It really caught on, and soon there were lights around the entire stadium.  The boys must have really loved that!  And they sure responded, piling on hit after hit and scoring 4 runs in the 7th inning.  That was truly beautiful!  I wonder if that will be a thing at night games from now on.  Or could it be a distraction to the pitcher?  Even if it was a distraction, would security be able to stop it?  We’ll have to wait and see.  I personally loved it!

Going to end with some random craziness just because.  First, the other night, Mike Krukow kept saying that Conor Gillaspie was a pig farmer.  He said that’s why he doesn’t wear batting gloves – he builds up calluses on his hands so he doesn’t need them.  I didn’t realize that Conor Gillaspie was a pig farmer, so I Googled it, but nothing came up.  Is he, or was he, really a pig farmer?  Or was Kruk just being a weirdo as usual?  Is pig farmer the nickname of some weird team he played on?  If anyone knows about this, please let me know.  Then there’s this.  This is Yadier Molina, catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, stopping a wild pitch in the most unusual manner ever!  The ball stuck like Velcro to his chest protector!  I have never seen anything like this!  After the game, he denied having put pine tar or any other adhesive on his chest protector to make the ball stick.  Sounds kind of fishy to me.  Even if he had, apparently there’s no rule against it, as long as the sticky stuff is not on the skin or the ball.  Crazy!  Then I noticed last night that the Rockies catcher had a wristband on with codes for play calls.  I had only ever seen one other guy wearing this thing, but apparently they are becoming more popular.  You can even buy them on Amazon.com.  It’s a way for a coach to relay pitches or plays to the catcher with multiple signs (usually numbers) so that the other team can’t pick up on the sign.  For example, the wristband could show 10 different numbers that all mean pitch out.  Always trying to stay one step ahead of the competition.  Personally, I’m sure that would be too complicated to keep track of!

Tomorrow is the last game against the Rockies, then the boys travel to Kansas City to play on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Hoping that Buster can come back healthy by then and the pieces of this team can start working together better.  There have been many moments of promise, but also many cricket-filled innings where you are just waiting for something to happen.  Hoping the spark will come along soon.  You never know where it will come from.  Until next time, GO GIANTS!!  GET US SOME WINS!!

PLAY BALL!!

Tomorrow’s the day we’ve all been waiting for!  The baseball drought is over!  It’s time to play ball again!  The National Anthem, hot dogs, the crack of the bat, the cheers, the crazy outfits, the kiss cam, Kruk and Kuip, Tony singing, and my boys in their real Giants uniforms are all back!  The Giants start off their season in Arizona playing the D-Backs – Bumgarner vs. Greinke.  I am thrilled that I can watch my boys regularly again.  Tomorrow’s game will be extra special with all the opening day ceremonies – love ALL of it!!  Planning on spending the entire afternoon in front of the tube on the couch enjoying my boys and the official start of the 2017 season.  That reminds me – I have to get my Beat the Streak picks in!  Wonder which one of my boys matches up well against Greinke.  Hmmmmm… it says Buster, Eduardo Nunez, and Nick Hundley all have batting averages above .300 against him.  Gotta love that!!  Maybe I’ll start my first streak of the season off by picking Buster!  Are you all going to be watching along with me?

I wanted to see what the final 25-man roster is, but it hasn’t been updated on the sfgiants.com site yet.  I found an article that says they are still making some last-minute tweaks.  It did answer a question about who will be the 5th starter, though.  Matt Cain has earned that job over rookie Ty Blach, though Blach will be on the 25-man roster as a long relief option.  He may also see some time as a lefty specialist since the team lost Will Smith to a season ending elbow injury.  Kelby Tomlinson, Albert Suarez, and Josh Osich were optioned to Triple A.  The five backup position players will be Nick Hundley (catcher), Conor Gillaspie (infield), Gorkys Hernandez (outfield), Aaron Hill (infield), and the surprise of the Spring, Chris Marrero.  Marrero can play in the outfield or also at first base.  Marrero wowed his way onto the team with his power bat – he finished tied for second in homeruns this spring in all of baseball.  His defense is a little lacking, but I am so excited to see some pop in the lineup.  He will form a platoon in left field with Jarrett Parker who also showed promise in the spring.  Marrerro’s kind of similar to Michael Morse – not the greatest defender, but a powerful bat.  And though my boy Michael Morse will not be on the 25-man roster due to an injury he sustained during spring training, there is talk that he will be rehabbing in an attempt at possibly joining the team later in the season.  He also had a great spring and impressed the big wigs enough that they are still considering him.  So very happy for him!  Do your work and get back with us soon, Michael!  Hunter misses you!  Once Morse or Mac Williamson are healthy again, they would probably replace Marrero in the outfield (unless Marrero gets super hot – you never know!).

Had a fantastic time at Spring Training in Arizona last month.  I went with my brothers Nick and Paul and my sister Kathleen.  We always have a great time on our trips because we’re all pretty mellow and just go with the flow.  We watched 3 games in 4 days – all away games.  I actually plan our trips that way because away games are so much cheaper.  It’s always fun to watch the new kids and see the old familiar faces.  And being in a ballpark again is always fabulous!  We went to Surprise for the first time this year, and the ball park was really nice – a bit further out than most but not too bad.  I have to say that I’ve really liked all the Spring Training ballparks we’ve ever been to.  Besides Scottsdale Stadium, my favorite is Salt River Fields at Talking Stick (plus I love that name!).  We watched the Giants play the D-Backs there this year (a preview of tomorrow’s game).  Gregor Blanco started for the D-Backs – it was so nice to see him out there, even if it wasn’t for the Giants.  He did really well in that game, and he does have a minor league deal with them, but he won’t be starting in the bigs due to a strained oblique.  Hope he heals quickly so he can join the team – love that guy and wish him all the best.  Besides games this year, we also adventured to a couple of new spots in Arizona – South Mountain Park and Papago Park.  We drove to the top of South Mountain Park and enjoyed the spectacular view of the Phoenix area and beautiful dessert.  At Papago Park, we climbed up a mountain with a hole in it (the climb was really mild – I’m not a climber – but the view was great).  I recommend both places if you are ever there.  We were lucky to stumble upon them.

One fun thing to do is to sample the food in these parks.  It’s almost like being in the team’s real park foodwise because many of the parks carry the signature food from their team’s home park.  We got to sample two ballpark delicacies on this trip.  At Salt River Fields, we tried the signature hot dog of the Diamondbacks.  It’s called a Mega Dog – a huge hot dog covered in pulled pork and jalapeno mac and cheese – fantastic!  Then at Goodyear Ballpark, I got to try the signature food of the Cincinnati Reds – a Skyline Chili Coney Dog.  It was a hot dog smothered in Skyline Chili (famous in Cincinnati – we had it there on our trip in 2012) with onions and cheese.  It was really small, but really tasty.

The highlight of my trip this year was the single autograph I got.  At the first game we went to I just missed getting Hunter Pence’s autograph.  I noticed him signing and moved over to where he was, but by the time I got there he had to leave.  He was being so patient and friendly and signing for so many people.  I figured I had missed my chance for that trip.  Then two days later, I was lucky enough to actually be standing close to the area where he came over to sign autographs.  As he was signing, I asked him, “Are you happy to be playing with your buddy Michael (Morse) again?”  He gave me this big smile and said, “Very happy!  Great things happen when we get together!”  And luckily he eventually made his way over to me and signed my journal!  YAY!!  It was so adorable because I noticed it was taking him a while to sign.  Then he said, “I’m trying to draw you a smiley face!”  And thank goodness he told me that because I wouldn’t have known what it was otherwise!  LOL!  He’s such a cutie pie!

Congrats to Brandon Crawford, Buster Posey, and Mark Melancon (even though he didn’t play much) on their World Baseball Classic championship!  Sounds like all three had a blast playing in that series.  I know that there were a lot of comparisons to the All-Star game, but it was even nicer for them because they actually got to build a relationship with their teammates over several games, not just one.  It’s kind of more like the Olympics in that sense.  It was very nice for Brandon to be in the national spotlight, even being mentioned by the announcers as a possible WBC MVP candidate.  I had a lot of fun watching the games and enjoying the different ways different countries play and enjoy the game of baseball.  Those Japanese fans really get into it, even coming up with different songs for each of the different players!  And the Latin celebrations are fantastic!  Bottom line, though – really glad no one got hurt!!

Melancon reminds me that I have two new questions from Angel to answer.  The first is about the pronunciation of Mark Melancon’s name.  Angel wonders why you pronounce the c like an s.  I assumed it’s because it’s French.  I looked it up, and it is a French name.  The c is actually ç (cedilla), and it is pronounced like s.  Melancon is the Americanized version since we don’t have that letter in our alphabet.  Another interesting thing I discovered about the name Melancon – it means “an ill man”.  Why in the world did that first Melancon choose that as their last name???  Angel was also curious about how they select the managers for the WBC teams.  Well, I couldn’t find an outright answer to this question, but I did find out that no manager currently working in the Major Leagues can head a WBC team, although coaches are potential candidates if they are given permission from their individual clubs.  That’s why Hensley Meulens was able to manage the Netherlands team.  And Jim Leyland could manage the US team because he’s retired.  If anyone else has any insight into this question, please help Angel out.  Thanks!

Saw my first intentional walk of the season on Friday (well, preseason anyway).  Brandon Crawford was intentionally walked.  Bob Melvin, manager of the A’s, simply held up four fingers to the umpire and that was that.  One second Brandon was warming up swinging the bat and the next he was on first.  I don’t like it!!  Angel and I were texting about how much we hated it.  Oh well – I guess that’s what we’ll be seeing this season.  Even Kruk and Kuip mentioned how weird it was.  BOOO!!

There will be some new pre and post-game analysts at Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area (soon to be NBC Sports Bay Area – why do they have to change things???) this season, and I’m really excited about the additions.  Besides Javier Lopez, Matt Williams and Cody Ross will be joining the team.  I was surprised about Matt Williams because I thought he was still a manager somewhere, but I guess not.  So glad he’ll be talking about my boys.  And who doesn’t love Cody Ross??  Look forward to seeing that great smile again!

Will end today on a silly note.  I heard a crazy story about the Giants on KNBR the other day, on the Tolbert and Lund show.  Those two guys make me laugh out loud all the time!  Anyway, they were talking about how the Giants have full-time sports scientists on their medical staff.  They can use all sorts of cutting edge gadgets to make sure that the players are working at their optimum capacity.  Well, one of the areas they are interested in is proper hydration.  I can see how this would be a good thing, and I would imagine that good hydration could give the players and the team a competitive edge.  It’s just the way they are going about it is pretty hysterical.  They measure the player’s hydration by measuring their urine specific gravity.  Of course, this is accomplished by taking a urine sample, and it’s taken before batting practice.  The testing is 100% voluntary, but in order to get guys to buy into this, they’ve turned good hydration into a competition – the best hydrated player after every series wins a coveted prize.  That prize is a golden urinal trophy!  Check it out!!  And I love the Twitter quote: “Think of it as the M-V-Pee trophy!”  HAHAHAHAHA!!!!  What would you do with that thing if you won it??

Hope that the boys can carry the momentum of an A’s sweep with them to Arizona.  So looking forward to all the pomp and circumstance of an Opening Day game.  I should go out and buy some hot dogs just to feel like I’m there!  Come on, Boys!  Show us what you’ve got!  We’ll be cheering for you!  Until next time, GO GIANTS!!  PLAY BALL!!

Bye, HestoPresto!

I wasn’t expecting any news so quickly after the Melancon signing, but Bobby Evans is definitely still at it.  This time the news isn’t as jaw dropping, though.  Chris Heston was traded to the Mariners today for a “player to be named later”.  It sounds like this was done in order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Melancon.  I’ll never forget that no hitter he pitched 2 seasons ago, a prospect coming out of nowhere to help out in the rotation.  But he couldn’t handle being in the bullpen last season, his numbers weren’t anywhere near what they were in 2015, plus he spent most of the year on the DL with an oblique strain.  Hope he does well up there – apparently he’ll have a much better chance of getting on the 25-man roster in Seattle.  Good luck, Chris.  Thanks for the wonderful memories from that amazing game.  Now we just have to wait and see who that mystery player we’re getting will be.

I got a little more insight into the character of Mark Melancon from an interview that Tom Tolbert and John Lund from KNBR did with him.  That guy is definitely a thrill seeker!  He and his wife came up with a mutual bucket list when they got married.  Some of the things they have already crossed off are a safari, skydiving (only him), they rode down the most dangerous road in Bolivia on bikes, going in a shark cage, and a blimp ride.  Another he hasn’t yet done is going backstage at a concert, and he asked Tom and John if they could help him with that one.  He also mentioned that winning a World Series and meeting a president were also on there.  Hey, he could accomplish both with the Giants in one season!  And just in case you were wondering, his walk-up song is “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC.  He mentioned that Ryan Vogelsong helped sway him to join the Giants (they played on the Pirates together).  In fact, he said Ryan spoke of the Giants so much he started to get sick of it!  LOL!  Really looking forward to getting to know Mark better and watching him pitch FOR US!!

Another rumor that I’m not really surprised about is that Santiago Casilla, Sergio Romo, and Javier Lopez will most likely not be back next season.  After last year’s bullpen train wreck, I can’t say I’m very upset about this.  The blown saves killed Casilla’s chances of returning, Lopez’s ERA skyrocketed to 4.05, and Romo was starting to be predictable (plus his bad attitude and disrespect of Bochy started getting on my nerves).  Changes had to be made, and the Giants are opting to go with the youngins.  I’ll always remember the significant contributions that all three made to us winning those three rings.  I’m pretty sure if they want to continue playing, they will be picked up by some other team.  And when he retires, I’m sure Javi could easily slip into a broadcasting role – that dude is so intelligent!

The World Baseball Classic is back next season, running from March 6 – 22.  Last time it happened, several Giants players were involved, and there was some discussion about whether it negatively affected their seasons because of the increased playing time coming off an already extended season.  But they’re back at it again this year.  So far Buster will definitely be playing for the U.S., Johnny Cueto will pitch for the Dominican Republic, and Albert Suarez will play for Venezuela.  Brandon Crawford may also play for the U.S.  I love the fact that these guys will be representing their countries, but please, please, please, don’t get hurt!!  My favorite part of the WBC last time was watching the Latin fans in the stands – those folks love their baseball and show so much energy and emotion!  Fun times!  I hope some of the games are televised next year.

Will continue to keep you posted on the moving and shaking going on with my boys.  Until next time, GO GIANTS!!

Spring Cleaning in Arizona

I like sweeps!  This one was extra sweet for a lot of reasons.  First off, and probably most importantly, Matt Cain and Jake Peavy continued to perform well after the dreadful start to their seasons.  Both gave the team the opportunity to win once again.  I like this trend, and am seriously hoping it can continue.  If they can keep this up, we are in great shape.  Also during this series, some of the guys started to get hot.  Denard Span went 2 for 5 on Thursday, 2 for 4 on Friday and 4 for 4 on Saturday.  Buster also got his average up during this series.  And I’m so relieved that Angel Pagan and Joe Panik are back and getting right back at it.  Plus how about that Trevor Brown hitting a homerun for us while filling in for Buster!  Love it!  Finally, we won a game against Zack Greinke for the first time ever.  Beautiful!  A 5-game winning streak is hopefully a sign that things are turning around for my boys.

Today’s game was the only one I actually got to watch completely.  Not a whole lot of action, but there were lots of interesting things that happened.  I think I feel a list coming on…

  • You know how guys get high fives in the dugout after they hit a homerun? Well after Trevor Brown hit his today, he proceeded to start the high fiving, but in the process left one guy hanging – Buster!  It was so funny!  Of all people to do that to, his fellow catcher!
  • Johnny Cueto likes to blow bubbles in the dugout. Big bubbles.  Humongous bubbles.  Today they showed him blowing one that was almost as big as his head.  They also showed the wad of gum which must have contained 10 pieces.  Here’s some video of him from today’s game.  And I love how the cameramen keep switching back to him in the process.  Those kind of things make watching baseball that much more fun.  Plus it makes me love Johnny Cueto that much more.
  • One bummer was how the game ended. That double play was amazing, but I hate it when the last call of the game has to be decided in New York.  It was obvious that Belt had the out at first, but I’m still wondering about the play at second.  It sure looked like Crawford pulled his foot off before making the tag.  Guess the guys in New York couldn’t see enough to overturn it.  Glad that D-Back got called out by the umpire initially, otherwise that game could still be going on.  Even Crawford seemed a little wishy washy when talking about it in his post-game interview.
  • Then after that double play, the umpire totally blew it when relaying what they said in New York to the crowd. He made the signal for out at first and safe at second.  It was supposed to be out at both first and second.  How do you possibly get that wrong?  The same call at both bases!  Sheesh!  He had to go through the motions about three times before he got it right.  The umpire that did the blowing of the call is Jerry Layne.  Who’s in for buying that man some glasses?  Or a hearing aid?  The best part of that call was how Jim Kozimor of CSN was doing the blown call dance in the post-game.  I’m thinking it will be the next dance craze.

There was also an opportunity for increasing our baseball knowledge in this game.  I’ve always wondered what exactly the rules are for a foul tip.  Is it like a foul so if it’s caught it’s an out?  Or is a foul tip somehow different than a regular foul?  There was an incident in the game today that involved a foul tip.  A D-back hit a foul tip that hit Trevor Brown in the chest, but Brown caught it on the rebound before it touched the ground.  Brown thought that this was an out (the batter already had 2 strikes on him).  So what is the official ruling on this?  Well, I did some research, and it turns out that a foul tip is very different from a regular foul.  MLB defines a foul tip as “a batted ball that goes sharp and direct from the bat to the catcher’s hands and is legally caught.  It is not a foul tip unless caught and any foul tip that is caught is a strike, and the ball is in play.  It is not a catch if it is a rebound, unless the ball has first touched the catcher’s glove or hand.”  In this case, since the ball rebounded off of Trevor’s chest without touching his hands first, it was not a catch, so it was just a foul ball, not a strike.  And since you can’t strike out on a foul ball, the guy was not out.  The key is that it has to hit the catcher’s hands first.  Also, the path of the ball has to be “sharp and direct” to be designated a foul tip, so any significant deviation from a straight path of the ball would not be considered a foul tip.  I guess “sharp and direct” is judged at the discretion of the umpire.  So I learned something today because I did not think a foul tip counted as a strike unless the ball was in the strike zone.  I also didn’t know that if a foul tip is caught, the ball is still in play.  For example, you can steal on a foul tip that is caught.  I hope you were able to learn something from all this as well.

I’m curious – what did you all think about the Casilla incident the other day?  Here’s what happened:  On Friday night, Bochy brought in Casilla with one out in the ninth.  The score at that point was 4-2 Giants.  The first two batters he faced singled, placing guys at first and third.  He then struck a guy out, but walked Paul “Goldy” Goldschmidt (aka “The Timmy Killer”) to load the bases.  Next up would be Jake Lamb.  Lamb had hit a game tying, ninth inning homer off of Casilla last month in San Francisco.  What would you do in this situation?  Well, Bochy decided not to take the risk and called on Javier Lopez to make the last out against Lamb (which he did), a lefty-vs.-lefty matchup.  But Casilla was not pleased with being taken out of the game at this point, and this is how he reacted.  A couple of things come into play here.  First, it’s not totally Casilla’s fault that the bases were loaded.  It was probably a good decision not to give Goldschmidt any good pitches due to his history with the Giants.  A homerun at that point would have lost the game.  Second, the closer is the closer.  He’s supposed to be the guy who ends the game for you.  You’re supposed to count on his adrenaline to end it.  If you don’t have faith in the closer, they won’t come through for you in the future.  However, I also see Bochy’s point in putting in Javi with the history that Casilla had with Lamb.  Overall, though, I’m very disappointed in the way Casilla reacted to Bochy.  He’s just not that kind of guy and he let his emotions get to him.  He was extremely disrespectful to his manager – so out of character.  In the end, Casilla did approach Bochy on his own the next day and apologized.  Plus Bochy put him in as closer in the next two games, so it appears there are no ill effects due to his behavior.  But I still have a yucky feeling about the whole thing.  Would love to hear your thoughts on this.  And Santiago, you’re still my boy.

Here’s a look at one of the dark sides of baseball that I really hate.  A fight broke out at the Rangers vs. Blue Jays game today.  It all started when Jose Bautista made a hard slide into Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor.  Odor thought the slide was illegal, words were exchanged, and Odor hauled off and punched Bautista in the face.  Here is the video of this horrible incident.  Bautista and Odor were ejected as well as Toronto’s Josh Donaldson and Rangers bench coach Steve Buechele.  But then once the game restarted, Blue Jays reliever Jesse Chavez hit Prince Fielder with the next pitch.  Chavez was also ejected because umpires had warned both sides earlier after Bautista was hit by a pitch.  I hate it when guys lose their temper and do stuff like this.  Even though there was some history with Bautista, nothing can justify this type of response (he flipped his bat in dramatic fashion after a 3-run homer in Game 5 of the AL Division Series against the Rangers last season).  This is one of the most vicious attacks during a game that I’ve ever seen.  Come on, guys!  Put a cap on that testosterone!  It will be interesting to see what types of punishments the league levies on these guys after all this.

Now back to my boys – they take on the Padres in San Diego in a 3-game series starting Tuesday, then they come home for a 3-game series against the Cubs.  I’m feeling pretty good about the Padres series, but the Cubs are another story.  Their win record stands at 27-9.  I have faith in my boys, though, and I’m hoping they can come out and rise to the occasion.  Have a happy flight to San Diego, enjoy your day off, then win some games for us!  Plus you can savor being in first place alone in the NL West because the Dodgers lost to the Cardinals today!  GO GIANTS!!  KEEP THE WINNING STREAK GOING!

Drama Already

In my opinion, the most important question to be answered during Spring Training is how well Matt Cain would be able to pitch after his surgery last season.  There was promise in his last performance of the season, and I’m hoping he can come back and help the team out with some wins.  Unfortunately after his first week in Arizona, this question will remain unanswered at least for a while longer.  Cain is having a cyst in his pitching arm surgically removed, and the Giants estimate he will be out for at least 10 days.  Not only does this mean he will lose out on those 10 days of practice, but he’ll have to ramp up after that and who knows how this additional surgery will affect him.  At least this type of surgery isn’t major.  Still surgery to his pitching arm, though.  Hoping that he’ll really come back that quickly and that he can still get the practice in he needs to start the season.

The Cain issue made me immediately think about another pitcher who’s hoping to make a comeback – Tim Lincecum.  Will this setback for Cain affect whether the Giants look more seriously at getting him back?  He’s still in limbo right now.  I was listening to an interview with Andrew Baggarly where this question was posed, and he seems to think this will not be the case.  He feels if the Giants do actually bring him back, it would be in a relief role only.  So sorry, Timmy fans.  Baggs feels that if Cain can’t start the season, the Giants would probably put Chris Heston (who’s proven he can do this before) into his spot in the rotation, with their other backups being two kids who they already have in their farm system, namely Ty Blach and Clayton Blackburn.  So at least there is some depth with starting pitchers, and Cain was slotted to be either the 4th or 5th starter, so the loss of his arm isn’t as devastating as it could be.

Then today I was on Facebook and someone on one of my favorite Giants pages posted that Hunter Pence has been sidelined with an Achilles injury.  WHAT?  Not again!  Last season he was sidelined with a broken arm during Spring Training.  According to Andrew Baggarly, Pence was experiencing soreness in his right Achilles tendon during his workout on Saturday, and it’s been diagnosed as tendonitis.  He’ll take two to three days off as a precaution.  Not anywhere near as bad as a broken arm, but still scary.  Too much injury drama already for me!

Another interesting Spring Training situation is that of Angel Pagan.  Over the offseason, I’m sure he assumed he had the centerfielder position tied up, then the Giants acquired Denard Span who is much better defensively at that position.  So Angel will end up starting in left field.  From what I know of Angel, this was surely a huge blow to his ego.  But it’s a contract year for him, so he’s got to deal with it and do his best out there.  Then after listening to that Andrew Baggarly interview, I realized something else.  Baggs mentioned that even left field isn’t guaranteed for Angel should he succumb to an injury or if his hitting should slump.  He’s got two guys waiting in the wings hoping to take over that spot in Jarrett Parker and Mac Williamson, not to mention the fact that Gregor Blanco could easily step into that role.  Angel sure is under a lot of pressure this season.  Thank goodness we’ve got some much needed depth in the outfield.

Another guy hoping to earn a spot on the team is Conor Gillaspie.  I was excited to hear about this.  You may recall him filling in for Pablo at third base several times a few years back.  He’s great both offensively and defensively.  I kept tabs on him after he was traded to the White Sox due to Beat the Streak as I chose him several times and he came through for me (in 2014 he hit .282).  From what I’ve heard he rubbed some of the veterans the wrong way while he was here and that may have contributed to his departure.  But in an interview with KNBR he mentioned that part of it was due to the fact that he’s not really outgoing and he’s been working on it and hopes to get closer to the players this go around.  Have to give the guy credit for trying to change for the better.  We’ll see if this and his play this Spring can bring him back to San Francisco.  Good luck, Conor!

Learned of two new rules that will be put in place this season.  And one of them has to do with a rule that I hate, the Neighborhood Play.  Basically the Neighborhood Play is going away.  YAY!  The reason for this:  they changed the rule for sliding into second base, making it not as dangerous for the second baseman to try to tag the bag during a double play.  The runner can still make contact with the second baseman, but only if he adheres to these four conditions:

  • He begins to slide before reaching the base (how many times have we seen guys start their slide after the base – NO MORE!!).
  • He is able and attempts to reach the bag with his hand or foot
  • He is able and attempts to remain on the bag after the slide (no more ending up 10 feet past the bag!).
  • He slides within reach of the base without changing his pathway for the purpose of initiating contact with a fielder.

Also the runner cannot engage “in a ‘roll block,’ or intentionally initiate (or attempt to initiate) contact with the fielder by elevating and kicking his leg above the fielder’s knee or throwing his arm or his upper body.”  If the runner violates any of these conditions, both he and the batter will be called out for interference.  I love this for two reasons.  The Neighborhood Play was silly to start with – a guy should only be out when the fielder actually tags the base, not if the umpire thinks he was close enough to the bag.  Also there should be a lot less serious injuries at second base now like the one that took out Ruben Tejada in the playoffs last season.  Good job, powers that be in baseball, on finally righting this wrong!  The second new rule attempts to reduce game times.  Managers and pitching coaches will only be allowed 30 seconds for mound visits, plus breaks between innings will be reduced by 20 seconds.  Sounds fair to me, but I’m not sure how much this will really reduce game times.  Guess we’ll see.  Boch is going to have to speed it up– no more hobbling out there!  Might even have to jog!

I’ll end with a couple of fun team gossip items.  Hunter Pence will make a guest appearance on Fuller House, the sequel to Full House.  He plays Stephanie Tanner’s boyfriend.  I remember hearing about them filming one of the sequences during a Dodgers game last season.  How fun!  Also heard that Buster and family are looking to settle in the Bay Area (my friend Angel is excited about this news!).  Wonder where he’ll end up.  I heard he might be looking in San Carlos.  Hey Buster, my brother says the house next door to him is for sale!!  Could you imagine??

I’ll keep an ear open for news from Spring Training for you.  Hopefully I won’t have to share any more injury stories!  The first Spring Training game is this Wednesday and it will be broadcast on KNBR.  Hope I can catch the end of it between jobs.  Ah, baseball on the radio again!  Until next time, GO GIANTS!!!  STAY HEALTHY!