Tagged: Madison Bumgarner

Bliss and Barf

So, do you want the good news or the bad news first on this Opening Day?  I think I’ll start with the bad so I can end with the good.  And I feel some lists coming on:

Bad List (Barf):

  • Two of the five runs scored today by the Giants were scored by the pitcher. Where’s the power??  Belt, Posey, and Parker were hitless in a hitter’s park.  Granted it was against Greinke, but Buster hits well against Greinke usually.  And Belt and Parker are lefties.
  • Once Madison got into the stretch, the game fell apart. All momentum lost.
  • Pitchers blew saves not once but twice IN A SINGLE GAME!! And one was blown by the guy who was supposed to stop all this.  Andrew Baggarly even predicted it on Twitter – “Don’t forget – you can blow more than one save in a game.”  Thanks, Mr. Jinx.  I love how the abbreviation for blown save in the box score is BS – BECAUSE THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT IT IS!!!
  • They didn’t show the National Anthem on TV so I missed out on some of the Opening Day festivity glory. Thanks new NBC Sports Bay Area for robbing me of my hooplah!
  • We lost. We can’t go 162-0 anymore.  Dreams shattered.

Good List (Bliss):

  • Stud muffin Madison Bumgarner took a perfect game into the 6th
  • Madison Bumgarner, the starting pitcher, hit two homeruns. WHAT??  He’s the only pitcher IN MLB HISTORY to ever hit 2 homeruns in an Opening Day game.
  • Madison Bumgarner now has the most career home runs (16) of any Giants pitcher EVER and the most of any current pitcher.
  • Madison Bumgarner has the highest batting average (1.000 – he went 2 for 2 with a walk) and the highest number of homeruns (2) in all of baseball (hey, it’s true!!). Sorry all of this was overshadowed by the loss today, Dude.
  • Eduardo Nunez went 3 for 4 today. He also made a great defensive play, saving extra bases.
  • Though Brandon Belt didn’t get a hit, he did walk twice. Good eye, Kid.
  • Conor Gillaspie came through with a pinch hit RBI – exactly what he was hired to do.  Nice one!
  • Ty Blach and Hunter Strickland pitched really well in relief. There’s hope for that bullpen.
  • Greinke didn’t look great – hopefully it stays that way throughout the season.
  • I actually got to watch my boys play in a game that counted. BASEBALL IS BACK!!

Bliss and barf – if you are a true baseball fan, you have to take the bad with the good.  Guess that’s why we love it so much.  The rollercoaster ride never ends!  Next game is on Tuesday against the D-Backs.  Get some rest, Boys, and shrug this one off.  We know there is more bliss hiding in there somewhere.  You can do it!  Until next time, GO GIANTS!!  AVENGE MAD BUM!!

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Cruising Into the Second Half

I always hope for a perfect game from the start when I’m watching a baseball game.  Whether it’s from my living room or from the stands, I always have that hope in the back of my mind.  If a game is perfect after even three innings, I’ll text my siblings that we have a perfect game going.  I know this is silliness, but I think perfect games, even no-hitters, are pretty magical.  Just think of all the perfection that has to come into play, both from the pitcher and from the defense behind him, for this rare event to occur.  And one of my biggest baseball dreams is to be in attendance for either a perfect game or a no hitter.  My brother and two of my nieces have had the fortune of experiencing that thrill, being at AT&T Park for Tim Lincecum’s last no hitter.  Well, I may have gotten as close as I’ll ever get this last Sunday as I got to watch Madison throw a near perfect game in person.  I went with my hubby, and we had great field level seats between home plate and first.  Had a perfect view of my boy, and paid homage to him wearing my Bumgarner jersey.  By the 5th inning, you could just feel the tension and excitement building.  Then when Gregor dropped that fly ball (the sun was wicked that day – don’t feel bad, Gregor) and was charged with an error, the perfectness went away.  You can’t have a perfect game with an error, even if it’s not your fault.  Still, the no hitter was on the table.  With every inning he got out of cleanly, the excitement rose in the park.  There were deafening screams and cheers with every out.  He got a standing ovation with every walk back to the dugout.  Then, with one out in the eighth, Jake Lamb hit one to right field and made it to first.  Dreams shattered.  Still, Bum was met with overwhelming and well deserved applause.  After that, he was able to complete the game, allowing only one walk and no other hits.  This was the 4th one-hit game Madison had logged, an accomplishment in itself.  Still waiting for that perfect game or no hitter, but this game was indeed magical nonetheless.  And I’m sure Madison will get that no hitter, if not perfection, someday.

Regarding the seats we had (Section 110), I have to put a warning out there.  This season, the Giants extended the netting at the backstop in order to protect people from flying bats or balls.  The problem is that there is a pole to support the netting, and it can block your view depending on where you’re sitting.  Unfortunately Dan’s view of the batter was blocked by said pole.  Not sure I will sit in those seats again.  Better off being a little closer to first base in sections 109 or 108.  Angel and I sat in 108 last Tuesday, and those seats were perfect – well, except for the fact that there was a pigeon hanging out in the rafters above us.  Luckily he missed us!  Guess being covered doesn’t always provide protection from aerial attack!

Did anyone else watch the homerun derby?  I know a lot of people just ignore it, but there’s just something about seeing a guy hit a homerun.  I always love it.  And this year, Giancarlo Stanton was unbelievable!  He made up for us not being able to watch Madison blast some out of the park.  Stanton hit a total of 61 homeruns during the competition, smashing the previous record set by Bobby Abreu in 2005 of 41.  Five of his homers went 490 feet or more, the longest reaching 497 feet.  Incredible!  And so much fun to watch.  Definitely could have done without Chris Berman’s “BACK, BACK, BACK” calls, though.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out this hysterical remix of his calls.  Sounds like he’s channeling a chicken!

My brothers told me that the Giants have some sort of jinx going on with the All-Star game.  They rarely do well.  Unfortunately, my boy Johnny Cueto fell victim to this during this outing.  How did our hero have two guys get knocks off him during that game?  And both were teammates of his last season, Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez of the Kansas City Royals.  Think they have some inside info on how to hit off of him?  Or was it just the excitement and distraction of everything around the All Star game that got to Johnny?  The Giants are having him skip his next scheduled start on Saturday, giving him an extra day to recoup from that insanity.  But I’m sure he’ll be back to his regular self in his next start.  Bum didn’t pitch because he had just pitched that gem on Sunday, but he did get to enjoy all the festivities nonetheless, including being booed by all the San Diego fans (at least they booed the Dodgers players, too).  Buster was the starting catcher and got to work with Johnny at the beginning of the game (making Johnny’s rough outing even more strange – he was pitching to his home boy!).  It was nice to see Buster out there representing us, but the only offense he could muster was a walk.  At least it was better than Brandon Belt, who actually made an appearance in the eighth inning but flew out to left field.  Not a reflection on Brandon, though, because the pitcher he matched up against, Yankees reliever Andrew Miller (who happens to be on the Giants reliever radar), was totally dealing.  Even the broadcasters were commenting that they were surprised he could even connect with one of those pitches.  Not a very good showing for my boys.  Then they had to keep bringing up the fact that the only grand slam ever allowed in an All Star game came off of Giants pitcher Atlee Hammaker.  Sheesh!  Poor Giants!

Speaking of Brandon Belt, that kid was so thrilled to be going to his first All Star game.  The Giants front office put out an aggressive ad campaign to get Belt in during the final-vote runoff.  That campaign included this video, one of my all-time favorite Giants productions.  Be sure to check out the website, too – it’s real and hysterical!  Anyway, to thank the front office for all their hard work, Brandon and his wife, Haley, bought pizza for the entire front office, 34 in all.  He was constantly thanking them whenever he was being interviewed about the All Star game, and kept saying he wouldn’t be there without them.  He also wouldn’t be there without his wife.  If you haven’t already, you have got to read his latest blog installment.  It brought me to tears.  In fact, I just reread it, and I’m crying again! Lends some insight into the support team behind every player.  Here’s the link.  Very glad he’s appreciative of her.

Sounds like we’ll be getting some key players back in the lineup and on the mound soon.  Hunter Pence could start a rehab assignment as soon as Saturday, and Joe Panik may start as early as Sunday.  The expected dates for return to the bigs for the two are July 25th for Hunter and July 22nd for Joe.  YAY!  Matt Duffy, on the other hand, is not expected to return soon.  He’s still recovering from an injured Achilles, and the Giants are giving him more time to get back.  Matt Cain is also due to return soon.  He allowed 2 runs over 5 2/3 innings in a rehab start in Sacramento.  He’s scheduled to have one more rehab start and then possibly return to the team July 19th.  It’s really amazing that with all these significant losses to the roster, the boys have been able to continue to compete at a high level, garnering the highest win total in all of baseball at this point in the season (57 and 33).  Love my boys!

I have another installment of “Angel’s Question” for you.  Angel was wondering if, when a manger pulls out a pitcher and he walks to the mound to take the ball, is he required to do that, or is it done out of respect for the pitcher?  I looked it up, and the manager is not required to take the ball away from the pitcher.  I guess that’s just baseball tradition.  When a new pitcher comes in, it is not typically announced to the home plate umpire (unless there is a double switch).  In this case, MLB rule 3.08 applies.  It states, “If no announcement of a substitution is made, the substitute shall be considered to have entered the game when, if a pitcher, he takes a position on the pitcher’s plate.”  No mention of the manager initiating the switch.  I think it’s nice that the manager comes out, though, and it definitely shows respect.  Thanks for another great question, Angel!

Not sure if I’ve mentioned it on here yet, but come Monday I’m embarking on a Giant adventure.  My two brothers, my sister and I are going to be following the Giants to New York and Boston, plus we’ll be attending a game in Philadelphia just to cross it off my list of parks.  I am SOOOOOOOOO excited!  So if I don’t update this for a while, you’ll know what I’m up to.  Look for my sister and I on the broadcast of the July 22nd game vs. the Yankees.  We’ll be sitting in the Finnerty’s section with all the other crazies.  Can’t wait!

Madison takes the mound again tonight in San Diego to begin the second half of the season.  At least he and the other Giants All Stars didn’t have to travel far!  I’m sure he’s going to be fabulous tonight, and considering he’s going against the Padres, who knows what magic might happen!  Keep this amazing streak of happiness going for us, Boys!  Until next time, GO GIANTS!!

Looking on the Bright Side

It’s June 8th.  We are in first place in the NL West, 3 games ahead of the Dodgers.  We are in third place in the NL.  We’re in 4th place overall in Major League Baseball.  Even though we’ve lost the last few games, this is an amazing place to be right now over a third of the way into the season.

Injuries have finally started to have a major impact on the team, the most damaging being Hunter Pence’s hamstring tear.  He’ll be out for at least 2 months.  We’ve seen before how devastating this can be to our boys.  When I heard about the injury on the radio I freaked out.  I was disappointed that he would be gone but also cringed at the idea of his hamstring actually tearing.  Can you even imagine what that would feel like?  The things that these guys deal with!  He’s scheduled to have surgery to reattach the muscles on Thursday.  Hope all goes well.  Pretty ominous when you take into account that they mentioned on KNBR that the same type of injury ended a guy’s career.  Hope Hunter fares much better – hoping his enthusiasm and positive attitude will help pull him through this.  His role, along with Angel Pagan’s (who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with, of all things, a hamstring injury), have been filled by Gregor Blanco, Jarrett Parker and Mac Williamson.  Gregor is always someone to count on in these situations, and I’m hoping that the kids will take advantage of this opportunity and shine.  Parker has made some excellent defensive plays and hit homeruns in his last two appearances.  One of the homeruns illicited this response from the pitcher, Carlos Martinez of the Cardinals.  HA HA!  Mac has mostly come in off the bench to date so it’s tough to judge his performance so far.  Angel is expected to begin his rehab assignment next Monday, so at least that’s a happy thing.  Sure do miss seeing his face out there in left field.

Matt Cain also pulled a hamstring (imagine that!) and has been placed on the 15-day disabled list.  But this story has a silver lining in Albert Suarez, his replacement.  In the three games Suarez has pitched in Cain’s place he’s got a 3.09 ERA, allowing less than one hit per inning pitched and just 9 runs.  He was also able to make it to the 7th inning in his last outing, taking some stress off the struggling bullpen.  I’m so glad they were able to identify this guy just in case we continue to need him to fill in during the season.  Matt should be back in the rotation shortly, thankfully.  Insurance is always nice, though.

Sergio Romo, who is also out on the 15-day DL with a flexor strain in his right elbow (amazingly not a pulled hamstring), could be activated as soon as this week.  Thank goodness!  The Giants bullpen has had some woes of late, and I hope this will help bring the spark back.  It may also alleviate some of the pressure from Santiago Casilla who seems to be the target for a lot of criticism lately.  I know he’s blown some saves, but he’s really our best bet right now.  A little better run support would sure go a long way to help that.  Just saying.  However, if a trade is made in July, according to Bobby Evans, something may be done to help out our bullpen.  Help in the outfield has also come up as a target.  We’ll have to see.  Always love anticipating those moves.

On a super happy note, my boy Johnny Cueto was named National League Player of the Week at the end of May for his complete game shutout of the Padres and his gem at Coors Field (the hitter’s paradise) where he allowed only one earned run in 6 innings.  I continue to enjoy watching this guy in action, and I’m so happy he is getting kudos for his work.  Congrats, Johnny!  Kudos also to Giants Hitting Coach Hensley Meulens on being elected into the International League Hall of Fame.  Meulens spent parts of five seasons with the Columbus Clippers and was the league MVP in 1990.  He also led the league in homers, RBI and runs in 1992.  Congrats, Hensley (and thanks for the heads up, Alex Pavlovic!).

Two new rule changes are pending for next season.  One raises the bottom of the strike zone from below the knee to above the knee.  The goal for this one is to generate more offense and decrease strikeout rates.  Apparently the overall percentage of strikeouts has increased steadily every year since 2008.  I agree with this one because some pitches that are called strikes now are impossibly low to hit, but I’m also concerned that this will increase the length of games.  I also wonder if umpires can seriously adjust their personal strike zone in this way, since individual strike zones vary greatly.  The second rule involves the intentional walk.  If the rule is accepted, pitchers will no longer have to pitch the 4 balls to give a guy an intentional walk, he’ll just be given it.  This is supposed to make games shorter.  Really?  First off, how often are intentional walks given – maybe at most once a game?  And this would save like 15 seconds?  I don’t get it.  I also enjoy watching intentional walks to see if the pitcher or catcher will blow it.  And this actually happens occasionally.  Neither rule has been decided upon yet, but they may be put in place next season.  What are your feelings on this?

Just in case you were wondering like me what Tim Lincecum’s making this season, he signed a one year contract with the Angels for $2.5 million, about 14% of what he made last season.  He really missed out by not signing a 5-year deal with the Giants when he had the chance.  Oh well, at least he’s still in the big leagues.  Guess you just never know how things will turn out.  He may be starting for the Angels as soon as this weekend since he’s been pitching well in Triple-A for the Salt Lake Bees (love that mascot!).  Also came across an interesting bit of trivia in doing my research on this.  Timmy’s middle name is LeRoy.  Yeah.

There’s been a lot of talk about Madison Bumgarner being entered into the Home Run Derby this season, especially after he hit one into the third deck of Busch Stadium on Sunday.  Check this out.  He usually puts on a great show during batting practice.  We all know the guy has power.  And the guy can hit homeruns (he’s hit as many homeruns in his last 190 plate appearances as Mike Trout and Bryce Harper).  And he’s strong as an ox.  Personally, I don’t see what the harm would be.  It’s not like he’d be pitching and staining the muscles he’d be using for that.  And it’s during the All-Star break anyway, so it’d just be like he was taking batting practice during that time.  I say let the guy have at it!  Could you imagine what the TV ratings would be if they allowed it?  I’m pretty sure the Giants would never allow it, though.  What do you think?

Finally, before I give you the latest spit count, here’s a funny for you.  While doing said spit count during a recent Cardinals game, one of the ESPN broadcasters, Aaron Boone, did his impersonation of our Bruce Bochy.  I’d seen him impersonate guys hitting and pitching before, but never a manager.  It was priceless and spot on!  He had his walk perfected!  Unfortunately, I can’t find video of it on the interwebs, but I’ll keep searching.  If anyone finds a link, please let me know.

OK, so here’s the latest edition of “Who’s Spit is it Anyway?”:

June 5th

Giants:

  • Belt 5
  • Parker 2
  • Peavy 2*
  • Samardzija 1 (seeds)
  • Span 1
  • Bumgarner 1*
  • Pence 1 (seeds – whew!)
  • Pagan 1
  • Posey 1
  • Osich 1

Cardinals:

  • Matheny 3
  • Grichuk 2
  • Gyorko 2
  • Molina 1 (seeds)
  • Martinez 1*
  • Carpenter 1
  • Hazelbaker 1

Misc.:

  • Umpire 1

Game Spit Master General = Belt at 5

That’s a total of 28 spits during a 3 hour and 5 minute game for an average of one spit every 6.6 minutes.

I asterisked a few of the names because their spits deserved extra explanations.  When Peavy spits, he creates what I term the “midget loogie”.  He gets this tiny white mass of phlegm on his tongue and then expels it.  Blech!  Why in heaven’s name is it white?  Not sure I want to know, but I’ve seen other guys with white loogies as well.  A mystery.  Madison was caught spitting during the video of his amazing homer-filled batting practice.  I think that may be the first spit ever logged during a highlight film.  Carlos Martinez created one of the most disgusting spits I’ve ever logged.  I call it the “brown fountain”, clear evidence that he must be chewing tobacco.  So absolutely disgusting.

The second game against the Reds is tonight.  Hoping with Madison at the helm we can pull off a win and tie the series.  I was so pleased to see that they acknowledged David “Big Papi” Ortiz last night since this is the last series he will be playing at AT&T Park.  If you missed it, here’s the video.  Truly a class act by my favorite team for one of the best in the game.  I will definitely be watching the Giants game tonight, but I’ll have to keep tabs on the Warriors as they go for their third win in a row against the Cavs.  I’m sure they’ll do great.  Keep up the great work, Giants!  I know you can do it!  Get some momentum for your series against the Dodgers this weekend!  Until next time, GO GIANTS!  STAY ON TOP!

Giants FanFest 2016

The day finally arrived.  The day that officially marked the beginning of my favorite sports season.  The day I was guaranteed KNBR would no longer be covering football and would switch over to what I wanted to hear instead.  KNBR FANFEST!!  This year I went with my friend, Angel.  It was her first time attending FanFest.  She’s as huge a Giants fan as I am, so I was really excited.  And she’s a trooper as she attended with a bum foot!

It was so thrilling to get all decked out in my Giants attire that morning (even though that morning started for me at 4:30 am).  I picked Angel up and we had to start the day with our standard trip to Starbucks (both of us are Starbucks lovers).  The weather report said it was supposed to be a high of 66 in the City that day with no rain, so we weren’t prepared for wet weather.  Thus when we hit about Los Altos on Highway 280, we were a little shocked at the heavy fog we encountered.  Would there be fog in the City as well?  Would we be waiting in line for over 2 hours drenched in mist?  Luckily, the fog dissipated as we got closer to the ballpark.  Whew!

Ah, the feeling you get as AT&T Park comes into view.  Pure bliss.  Like seeing an old friend.  We parked in Lot A (parking was supposed to be $10, but for some reason we got charged $16).  Then we set out to wait in line with all the other fans.  We got to the park at about 7:45 am and were waiting right in front of the entrance about 10 people back.  I think that is the sweet spot time because the line grew exponentially after that.  We made friends with three girls in line behind us, all college age.  Turns out that we had several life connections as one of them had just graduated from UC Davis (my alma mater), one was planning on transferring there, and they all were from Antioch (I lived there for 19 years)!  I even wondered if I had ever subbed in their classes while I lived there!  Their goal was to get Brandon Crawford’s autograph – hope it worked out for them.  Really nice kids.  Chatting with them made the time pass quickly, and before we knew it, it was 10:00 am and the gates were opened.

We had a different overall strategy for FanFest this year.  I’ve given up on trying to get autographs.  Last year, even though we got in line at 6 am, I still would have had a 2 hour wait to get any autographs.  Waste of precious FanFest time.  So instead we started off at the Giants’ Clubhouse tour.  I had always wanted to do this, but the lines later in the day are always too long.  We were able to walk right in and we were the only ones in there, so we could spend as much time as we wanted getting goosebumps being in the boys’ home.  We got to see where they eat, their lockers, and we got to walk down the stairs they take to the field.  So cool!  The funniest part was that we got to see where they keep the gum!  5 flavors:  Juicy Fruit, Doublemint, Big Red, Spearmint, and Winterfresh.

Next we tried to walk into the dugout (which you’ve been able to do before), but it was cordoned off.   We decided to hit the sponsor tents instead.  We just missed getting some cool orange Peet’s coffee mugs, but we did get orange Giants shirts and some free coffee.  We also watched Brandon Crawford being interviewed by KNBR on the field for a bit.  Not sure I’m into his man bun, but at least it keeps the hair out of his beautiful face.

After being on the field, we headed to the Press Box.  I had never gone in there before, and again we were able to walk right in.  Those guys have a sweet view of the field.  I noticed that each of the media outlets has an assigned seat.  Who knew?  I had fun fantasizing about covering a game from in there.  The Willie Mac Award plaque with the names of the previous winners was displayed on the wall.  We also got to peek into the area where Renel does her thing, but it was closed off.  And of course, being the sillies we are, we had to use the Press Box restroom because we knew that’s the one Renel uses.  One stall – just for her.  I even took a picture!

When we left the Press Box, we realized that we could use elevators that are normally blocked off to fans, so we headed to the Club Level in one of these elevators.  We ended up in a hallway that went right by Bobby Evans office!  As we continued on our way we passed a table where they were promoting park tours.  One of the people at the table was the head of park tours, and she was wearing her 2014 World Series ring.  She was gracious enough to let both of us try it on!  I asked the other guy at the table where his ring was, and he said he didn’t have one – yet.  He had high hopes that the even year would bring him one as well.

After that we headed to the Q&A stage on the Club Level.  We got there as Brandon Crawford, Joe Panik, and Bruce Bochy were being interviewed by Kate Scott of KNBR.  We were pretty far back in the crowd, but we could still see them.  So cool to have them right there in front of us.  I even got to ask Joe Panik a question!  I asked him who would win the homerun contest between him and Matt Duffy this season.  He seemed a little embarrassed by the question, and of course he said he would if he was able to play the entire season (he was out with an injury for a decent part of the season last year).  Crawford also said Panik would win, also mentioning the fact that it’s much harder for lefties to hit homers at AT&T Park.  At the end of the session, the three posed for pictures together.  Never realized how tall Boch is – he was at least 3 inches taller than either Panik or Crawford plus he’s huge!

After those three left, the apple of Angel’s eye arrived.  BUSTER!  He was in the next session with Denard Span and Matt Duffy.  They were being interviewed by Larry Krueger of KNBR.  Since a lot of people left after the previous session, we were able to get much closer to the stage, and Angel was in heaven.  At one point, she waved to Buster, and he waved back!  Day made!  The interesting part about this session was that Denard Span mentioned that he still hadn’t officially been told that he would be playing center field, even though in the previous session Bochy said he would be.  Guess they hadn’t been able to break the news to Angel in person yet and make it official.  Nice that they care about how he is going to take it.  It was nice to get a feel for Denard’s personality – he’s really funny and should mix well with the rest of the boys.  We were both dying to ask questions during this session, but goofball Larry Krueger only allowed 2 questions during the last 5 minutes.  One guy standing next to me kept complaining loudly enough for the guys on stage to hear.  Hope Kate was able to school Larry and he’ll do better next season.

After that we headed to the View Level to see if we could spy some of the guys who were signing autographs up there.  That’s the thing – you don’t have to wait in those long lines to get close to the players, especially if they are changing shifts when you get there.  At the first booth they were about to change, and Dave Righetti and Mac Williamson walked right by me.  You just don’t realize how very tall those guys are!  They were replaced by Joe Panik, Ehire Adrianza, and Hensley Meulens.  Joe walked right by me as he approached the table.  Was able to get close enough to get some great shots of them, including several of Joe Panik’s beautiful smile.  As I was taking pictures, another fan near me wasn’t sure who Hensley was, and I told her that he was the batting coach and mentioned that he was knighted so you had to call him “Sir”.  Hensley must have overheard this because he turned to me, smiled and gave me a thumbs up!

At the next booth I saw Jarrett Parker and Dave Righetti (again) just sitting there, not signing yet.  I decided to strike up a conversation with Jarrett, saying that it was amazing he had hit 3 homeruns in one game and telling him that I had seen him hit the grand slam over the centerfield fence at Spring Training.  He said, “Thank you for the support!”  Then I realized why they were just waiting there as Hunter Pence walked right past me headed for their table.  He was taking selfies with everyone as he walked.  He was so generous with his time.  Even while he was signing autographs, he would get up from the table and take selfies with people in the crowd.  The guy must have been exhausted at the end of the day!  As they left their table, I tried to get close enough to Jarrett Parker to take a selfie, but the guy seemed kind of overwhelmed by the whole thing.  I did get close enough to realize how tall he is.  You just don’t realize it watching them on TV.

By that time, it was 3:00 pm and FanFest was over.  Amazing how quickly 5 hours can fly when you are in heaven!  We headed out and got to glimpse a couple of guys as they headed out of the parking lot.  What a fabulous day I got to share with my bud!  And the weather turned out to be gorgeous.  Definitely has me amped up for the season to come.

The boys are in Arizona as we speak getting ready for their Spring Training games.  Love seeing the videos of them practicing, including one of Madison blowing a snot rocket as he walks alongside Jeff Samardzija!  Check it out!  Looking forward to my Spring Training adventure with my brothers at the end of March.  We’re even going to a Giants/Dodgers game this season.  Can’t wait!  Hope they televise a lot of the Spring Training games so I can get an early fix.  It’s also fun to see the kids that are up-and-coming.  Until next time, GO GIANTS!!  WELCOME BACK!!

Racking Up the Hardware

My boys continue to rack up the awards over the break.  Three of them received Silver Slugger Awards for the 2015 season.  This award is given to players who stand out offensively at their position, and it’s voted on by the MLB managers and coaches.  Buster won the catcher award for the third time, Madison took home the pitcher award for the second time (I pretty much figured he had it in the bag, so this was no surprise to me), and Brandon Crawford won a silver bat to go with his gold glove, winning the short stop award for the first time.  The Giants were the only MLB team to take home three of these awards – just goes to show you that we no longer just have to depend on pitching and defense to win games!  Congrats, Guys!  In addition, Buster also won the 2015 Wilson Defensive Player of the Year at catcher.  Unlike the Gold Glove, this award is determined solely by statistics using sabermetrics (the award was created in 2012).  Buster’s gonna have to buy a new house just to store all those trophies!

The team won its own award, being named the 2015 recipient of the MLB Commissioner’s Award for Philanthropic Excellence.  The Giants were recognized for the Junior Giants program.  Commissioner Manfred said, “I congratulate Larry Baer, the Giants Community Fund and the entire Giants organization for the continued success of the Junior Giants program, which is a perfect example of our commitment to reaching young people both inside and outside the game. For many years, the program has used the popularity of our sport to help change thousands of young lives. The program teaches healthy habits, improves literacy and prevents bullying. I thank the Giants and all of our Clubs for their year-round efforts to reach out to their respective communities.”  Nice job, Larry.  Makes me proud to be a fan.

Ginny was able to breathe a sigh of relief this week as Brandon Crawford was given a 6 year, $75 million contract which includes a no trade clause.  This buys out two years of arbitration and four years of free agency.  So happy the Giants did this quickly – that guy is so precious to the future of this team.  Love the fact that so many of my boys will be around for a while.  And Ginny – the jersey’s good for at least a few years longer!  Interesting that he also got a $1.2 million signing bonus that vests over the six years.  When you’re making that much dough, why is that necessary??  That boy and his kids and his kids’ kids are set for life already!  He mentioned in an interview that since he knows he’ll be on the team for a while, he’s looking at buying a home in the East Bay.  Probably wants to be close to the folks.  Very happy for the kid – definitely well deserved.  Still waiting to hear what will happen with Brandon Belt, another guy who is arbitration eligible and important to the team.

In personal news, Andrew Susac got married on November 15th.  Congratulations, Andrew!  He’s also been one of the few being mentioned in trade rumors during the Hot Stove.  Grant Brisbee mentioned in an article that Susac would be the perfect trade fodder to acquire right-handed pitcher Shelby Miller from the Braves (thanks for giving me a heads-up on this, Nick).  We need pitching – they may need a catcher to start over Christian Bethancourt.  Brisbee also believes Susac would not be enough, and we’d probably have to trade additional prospects.  However the nice thing is we’d have Miller under control for 3 years with that trade.  Giants are going to have to do something in the pitching arena.  Still holding out for Greinke (I can dream!).  At least he didn’t win the Cy Young this year, so maybe there’s still hope we can get him for a reasonable price (yeah, right!).

Speaking of pitching, the Giants added 8 minor league prospects to the 40-man roster today, all of them pitchers.  The five right-handers are Kyle Crick, Chris Stratton, Clayton Blackburn, Ian Gardeck, and Jake Smith and the three left-handers are Steven Okert, Adalberto Mejia, and Ty Blach.  Guess they’re really taking the pitching thing seriously.

In weird news, former Giant Aubrey Huff is trying to launch a comeback after being out of baseball for three years.  In an interview on CSN, Huff said he left originally due to anxiety and depression issues, but he’s put that behind him and feels like a new person.  He’s been working out and thinks he’s still got what it takes to play.  He’s going to try to get on a Winter Ball team and hopes to try out for a team during Spring Training.  My opinion on this:  The guy will be 39 years old next month.  He missed baseball after he left, like anyone who leaves does.  I don’t see it happening.  But I’ll wish him luck anyway cause he’ll always be one of my boys.

In family news, my brother and my niece went to a book signing with Amy G.  They bought her book Smarty Marty’s Got Game and had her sign it.  My brother said she was very gracious and spent a lot of time speaking with my niece.  Love her!  He also ran into one of the Comcast broadcasters there, Mindi Bach.  I love her, too!  He chatted with her for a long time and said she was really friendly.  She lives in San Carlos and her kids attend the same school as my niece.  Mindi is the one who asked Amy G. to come to the school for the event.  All around awesome experience for them.

Somehow I never posted the last spit count of the season, so here you go:

October 4th

Giants:

  • Williams 3
  • Parker 3
  • Noonan 2
  • Meulens 2
  • Byrd 2
  • Cain 1
  • Frandsen 1 (spat out gum)
  • Pagan 1
  • Hall 1
  • Perez 1
  • Blanco 1 (seeds)
  • De Aza 1
  • Tomlinson 1

Rockies:

  • Descalso 2
  • Bergman 2
  • Blackmon 2
  • Reyes 2
  • Dickerson 2 (into batting glove)
  • Parker 1
  • Weiss 1

Game Spit Master General = Tie between Williams and Parker at 3

That’s a total of 32 spits during a 3 hour and 5 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 5.8 minutes (lowest spit average of the season!).

They waited until the final game of the season to back off on the spitting, logging the least amount of spits per minute of the season on this day.  I’m wondering if that’s because there were so many kids playing in that game – look at that list!  Whatever it was, I’ll take it.  I want to give a special thank you to Jeremy Affeldt who took the gum out of his mouth with his hand instead of spitting it out onto the field during this game.  A true gentleman who will be sorely missed.

Sorry I keep delaying that final spit analysis that you’ve all been waiting for, but I promise it will be out before next season!  Waiting for the Hot Stove to heat up and any news whatsoever on that front.  Will try to post as soon as I hear anything.  Would love to know what’s going on behind closed doors right now.  They sure are keeping hush hush about it.  Gosh, I miss baseball.  Until next time, GO GIANTS!

It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over

My title today is a tribute to Yogi Berra who unfortunately passed this week at the age of 90.  What a storied baseball career that guy had.  He was voted MVP of the American League three times (and came in the top 4 four other times), made 18 All-Star teams in 19 seasons of playing, was a World Series champion 10 times (most all-time), and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1972.  And with all those accolades, he was just a down-to-earth kind of guy.  Buster Posey had the privilege of meeting him in 2012 at the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center.  Here’s some video of their meeting.  Buster posted on Instagram about Yogi’s passing, saying, “Had the pleasure to meet Yogi Berra one time.  Easy to see why he was such a beloved person.  A genuinely kind and happy person that will be missed.  But a wonderful life that impacted so many.”  He’ll definitely never be forgotten.

Yogi’s words inspired me this week regarding the fate of my boys.  It ain’t over till it’s over.  That about sums it up.  It ain’t over.  The magic number (or as Greg Papa calls it the “tragic number”) stands at 2 right now.  The fact that there’s still a magic number to keep track of means we’re not out of it yet.  Just remember that.  And there’s still some fight in this team.  And if we aren’t eliminated tomorrow, we take on the Dodgers 4 times, and you all know how my boys rise to the occasion when they’re pitted against those guys.  It ain’t over till it’s over.  Thanks for the inspiration, Yogi.

Did you watch today’s game?  The Hudson/Zito tribute game?  I was so excited that these two guys were to be honored during this game, but I have to say the outcome as far as they were concerned got me super emotional.  I’m sure that wasn’t how any one dreamed it would turn out.  I almost started tearing up when they showed Tim in the dugout after he came out of the game.  He had never walked in two runs ever in his career.  He couldn’t even last as long as Barry did.  But that’s what happens when you expect too much of guys that are at the end of fantastic careers.  Still love them both and I’m still happy that they were honored.  And especially proud of my boy Buster when he tipped his cap to Barry when he went out to hit against him.  That’s class right there.  I loved the beginning montage that Comcast showed of the two of them.  Lots to be proud of.

Thankfully, someone took our minds off of all this:  Jarrett Parker.  WOW!  Three homeruns in a single game, including a tie-breaking grand slam in the eighth.  Boch said that was the best offensive game he had ever seen in person.  And the kid’s hit a total of 6 homeruns since he came up on September 11th, 5 of those within the last 3 days!  He had a rough time of it when he first came up in June, going 1 for 9 with 5 strikeouts.  Guess he figured something out!  My siblings and I were privileged to see the guy hit a grand slam at Spring Training two years ago.  As I recall, everyone in that park (especially the coaching staff) took note as he hit the ball over the center field wall in Scottsdale stadium.  That’s no ordinary wall –  it’s 430 feet from home plate and 30 feet high!  Gotta have some wicked power to do that!

Today’s game combined with the season winding down got me to thinking about next season and the potential makeup of the team (apparently Ginny was thinking the same thing – smart minds think alike!).  I have to say I am feeling good about things, especially the kids.  I think if they can get at least one big name starting pitcher, we’ll be OK.  The kids are alright – Duffy, Panik (a healthy one), Williamson (who I really think will get better as he gets used to being in the bigs), Parker, Osich, Strickland, Heston (with some rest).  I like it.  I think we’ll be good.

I saw a post earlier today on Facebook about all the guys that are currently injured.  I hate to be a whiner and blame our plight on injuries, but the numbers truly are staggering.  Here’s the summary:  Four guys are still on the DL from concussions (Adrianza, Aoki, Belt, Blanco), Timmy’s recovering from left hip surgery, Panik has lower back inflammation, two have left oblique strains (Pence and Perez), Sanchez has a left ankle sprain, Scutaro has back issues, and Susac had wrist surgery.  None of these guys is expected to return before the end of the season.  I can’t remember it ever being this bad.  And lots of the guys listed are key players.

My boys gave me more reasons to love them with their own special tributes to Tim Hudson this week.  Earlier this week, the entire team dressed in white polo shirts (Huddy’s usual travel attire) and bald caps to pay homage to him.  Here’s a photo of some of them.  Then today, Javi had ordered #17 black Hudson T-shirts for all the team members and clubhouse staff to wear.  Check it out.  I bet he really loved that.  My boys rock!

I’m posting the next video because I missed watching this game live and I laugh out loud every time I watch it.  I couldn’t believe it when I heard about it.  It’s the staredown between umpire Joe West and Madison Bumgarner on Thursday night during the Padres game.  Here’s the video.  Guess Madison was pretty ticked about some of West’s pitch calls, but he kept his cool so he wouldn’t get kicked out of the game.  I love how Buster keeps looking back and forth between the two of them!  That is the longest staredown EVER!  What a crackup!  And what an immature umpire that guy is!  The show’s not about you, Umpire Guy!  You go, Madison!

More randomness:  Noticed today that Brett Lawrie of the A’s uses “Fat Bottomed Girls” by Queen as his walk-up music.  Would love to know the story behind that.  If anyone knows, please share.  Fascinating.

I did a spit count during the Hudson/Zito tribute game today.  Guess guys don’t spit any less when they’re honoring their teammates.  On the contrary!  Sheesh!  Here you go:

September 26th

Giants:

  • Parker 5 (hitting homeruns makes you salivate I guess)
  • Byrd 4
  • Hudson 4 (so does being honored)
  • Duffy 3
  • Brown 3
  • Hall 2
  • Reyes 2 (seeds)
  • Pagan 2
  • Posey 1
  • Righetti 1
  • Meulens 1
  • Wotus 1
  • Osich 1
  • Bochy 1

A’s:

  • Vogt 34 (way to ruin the moment, dude!)
  • Brooks 3
  • Canha 2
  • Sogard 2
  • Otero 2
  • Lawrie 1
  • Zito 1
  • Crisp 1

Game Spit Master General = Vogt at 34

Giants Game Spit Master General = Parker at 5

That’s a total of 77 spits during a 3 hour and 30 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 2.7 minutes.

Unbelievably Stephen Vogt of the A’s didn’t set the season record with his antics today, but he is an interesting spitting specimen.  He is one of a select few catchers that has the ability to spit through his catcher’s mask.  He is interesting in that the majority of his spits were through his mask, unlike previous catchers who have this ability.  And the spits that came through the mask were amazing sprays of saliva.  I wouldn’t be surprised if spray made its way onto some of the batters.  So disgusting.  I would hate to have to clean that thing after he’s used it – I wonder if that job falls to the clubhouse manager.  Poor soul.  On a positive note, this was the first spit count I did where my boy Mac Williamson played, and he didn’t spit once.  Keeping my fingers crossed that at least I have one non-spitter in the future since all the other kids got caught today.

One more game against the A’s with Chris Heston at the helm, then a 4 game series against the Dodgers.  It ain’t over (especially since I just found out that the Dodgers lost again today – HA HA!).  The boys just need to listen to those inspiring words chanted by Jarrett Parker as he left the field after his third homerun of the game:  “LET’S GO!”  Indeed.  Until next time, GO GIANTS!  KEEP ON FIGHTING!

Not Giving Up…Yet

Last I blogged, we had just won the Saturday game against the Rockies.  The boys came through and won on Sunday as well.  Even with a 7 ½ game deficit to the Dodgers and only a handful of games left to play, I was staying positive.  Tough thing to do under those circumstances.  But I’m a pretty positive person.  Then it happened.  We were facing the Diamondbacks, and the Diamondbacks stink.  Low hanging fruit.  A chance to gain some ground.  And we lost the series, only winning one game against them.  Sigh.  I have to admit, I was ready to throw in the towel.  Even had the title for my next blog ready, and it wasn’t a happy one.  Looking ahead to a future filled with a lack of run support for pitchers who are finally seeming to pull it together was not promising.  I had hit rock bottom and given up.

Then the Padres series happened.  The Padres also suck, but I assumed after the Diamondback trouncing we were in for it again.  Nothing had changed – same lineup lacking several key players (Pence, Aoki, Panik, Crawford), same lack of power.  Never assume.  And never underestimate the strength of this team.  They demolished the Padres.  And that lack of power somehow morphed into a series where we outscored the Pads 27 to 4.  And the inexperienced rookies (including Adrianza and Tomlinson) gained some confidence and started making beautiful plays just like their ailing counterparts.  And then all of a sudden Angel was back hitting the way he used to, stealing bases, and making amazing catches in the outfield like this one.  And then there was that almost perfect game by our pitching savior, Madison Bumgarner.  How could you lose faith in a team like that?  We’re still 7 ½ games behind the Dodgers, just like last week.  Only 19 games to play.  But again, 4 of those games are against the Dodgers.  If we can gain at least 3 games on them by the time they come here at the end of the month, it’s still possible.  And we’re looking better than we were last week at this time.  Tough, but still possible.  Staying positive.

How about Madison last night?  If anyone deserves a perfect game, he does.  I was so disappointed when Upton got that hit, but still a stellar performance by our boy.  Definitely something to be proud of.  And what a frustrating night it was for me last night!  Of all nights, for the first time ever I couldn’t get the game on TV.  For some reason the local NBC affiliate wasn’t showing it, even though everyone I know was watching on NBC.  I was losing my mind, especially when the importance of that game became clear.  I got on social media to see if anyone else in the area could find the game to no avail.  I even called Comcast, but they couldn’t help me.  I ended up going out to my car to listen on the radio so that I could somehow share in the excitement and listen to my guys calling the game (watching on Gameday just wasn’t cutting it!).  Finally MLB network switched over from the Angels game to the Giants in about the 7th inning, so I was able to catch the amazing defensive play made by Adrianza that kept the perfect game alive and then the hit by Upton that killed it.  Sigh.  I apologize to anyone who had to read my texts and posts on Facebook during that time.  I was one frantic woman!

Going to share some random thoughts from the last week that I thought you might find interesting.  First off, the fact that Bruce Bochy got booed at home for the first time ever.  And if I was at the park, I would have booed him, too.  His son, Brett, was pitching in the ninth inning on Friday night.  Brett managed to get two guys out, but then dad came out to get him so that Yusmeiro Petit could get some work in (the bullpen is so huge now that guys aren’t getting much of a chance to pitch).  Boch got booed big time by the crowd on his way out to the mound.  According to the elder Bochy, “That was pretty emotional for me. I was kind of caught there. I’m not going to lie to you, the crowd influenced me. I needed to get Petey some work. I got a battalion down there (in the bullpen). I could hear the crowd. I told Brett: I need to give Petey some work, but you’ve got this hitter.”  As Boch walked back to the dugout, the crowd cheered and started chanting, “Boch-y!  Boch-y!”  What a great moment for the kid.  And he proceeded to strike out that hitter, ending the game.  Sweet.

In the 8th inning of that game, this guy made an appearance.  That’s Giants relief pitcher Cory Gearrin.  I had never heard of him before, and magically he was there.  He played for the River Cats this season and was called up on September 8th.  Why am I even mentioning this?  The guy has major stink eye.  If I had to hit against him, I think I would drop the bat, run away, and cry.  Creepy.

Has anyone else noticed the plastic animals that the guys have in the dugout on the Powerade cooler?  They’re a collection of multicolored dinosaurs and snakes and other critters.  Found out through Amy G.’s Instagram account that some mystery player started the whole thing with one green dinosaur.  They call him “Winodactyl.”  He even showed up on Matt Cain’s dashboard.  Then a grey rat showed up.  And they continue to multiply.  During today’s game, I noticed at least 10 critters atop the Powerade cooler.  They even have their own hashtag now – #dinopower.  Even fans are adding to the collection.  Check out Amy’s picture from today’s game.  And here’s the original picture of Winodactly.  Guess they’re good luck charms.  They sure worked this weekend!  Love those crazy boys!  Always having fun!

Haven’t done a spit count in a while (was planning on doing one last night, but Comcast nixed that!!), but I did have a snotrocket sighting the other day.  It was during the game on September 7th.  And it wasn’t the usual suspect, Mad Bum.  This time it was, of all people, Matt Duffy!  He let one fly during an at bat.  So silly.  And so yucky.

This week we take on the Reds and the D-Bags.  Both stink.  Especially the Reds who are 60 and 82.  We need to capitalize and creep up on the Dodgers this week.  I’m hoping that being at home will do the boys some good – it sure did this weekend.  Maybe that will make a difference with the D-Bags this time.  And my boys get another day of rest this Thursday, so they can be fresh for Friday.  Maybe next weekend I’ll be able to report that we’re only 5.5 games out.  It could happen, especially since the stinkin’ Dodgers are taking on the Pirates this week, and the Pirates definitely don’t stink.  Still keeping the faith.  Hope you are, too.  Until next time, GO GIANTS!!  FEEL THE POWER OF THE WINADACTYL!