Tagged: Rob Drake

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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Spit Analysis 2012

Finally!  Here it is! DUT DUH DUH DAH!  My spit analysis for the 2012 season!  I did spit counts during 25 games this season.  Here are the results, organized into a nice table for you:

# of games caught Total # of spits Avg. # spits/game Highest # of
spitting spits/game
Sandoval 20 142 7.1 21
Lincecum 11 67 6.1 13
Cabrera 16 82 5.1 15
Pagan 20 88 4.4 9
Posey 23 92 4 12
Blackley 1 4 4 4
Zito 5 19 3.8 12
Casilla 10 32 3.2 9
Theriot 18 58 3.2 8
Pill 3 9 3 4
Whiteside 1 3 3 3
Bumgarner 9 26 2.9 9
Arias 7 20 2.9 5
Cain 5 13 2.6 9
H. Sanchez 7 18 2.6 4
Bochy 11 26 2.4 8
Scutaro 8 19 2.4 7
Romo 5 12 2.4 5
Vogelsong 6 14 2.3 5
Groeschner 3 7 2.3 3
Otero 2 4 2 2
Nady 1 2 2 2
Gillespie 1 2 2 2
Lopez 1 2 2 2
Flannery 1 2 2 2
Belt 16 30 1.9 5
Kontos 6 11 1.8 4
Schierholtz 6 11 1.8 3
Burriss 5 9 1.8 3
Penny 4 7 1.8 3
Christian 2 3 1.5 2
Huff 6 8 1.3 3
Kelly 4 5 1.3 2
Righetti 4 5 1.3 2
Affeldt 5 6 1.2 2
Hensley 6 6 1 1
Meulens 4 4 1 1
Reyes 2 2 1 1
Mijares 2 2 1 1
Wotus 1 1 1 1
Clark 1 1 1 1
Loux 1 1 1 1
Edlefsen 1 1 1 1

Our boy, Pablo “The Panda” Sandoval, was the leader with 21 on camera spits during one game on July 14th.  He also had the highest average number of spits per game at 7.1.  I’m sure several of you predicted he would be the winner of the overall Giants Spit Master General award this season.  However, he came nowhere near Chris Stewart’s record from last year of 38 spits in one game.  He also could not match the overall season Spit Master General, Chris Snyder of the Astros, with 44 spits in that same game on July 14th.  That game went to 12 innings, but come on!  That’s still a lot of spitting!  Pablo didn’t even beat the record for umpire spits, that being 40 spits achieved by Rob Drake on August 24th.

Here are some other notable records that were set for this season:

–          Most spits by a manager:  Bruce Bochy at 8 (August 5th)

–          Game Spit Master General who didn’t even play in that game:  Tim Lincecum at 7 (July 21st)

–          Madison Bumgarner snot rocket record:  9 (September 9th)

–          Lowest spit count average:  1 spit every 5 minutes (August 15th)

–          Highest spit count average:  1 spit every 1.5 minutes (July 14th)

–          Most total spits in a single game:  160 (of course, on July 14th)

–          Least total spits in a single game:  33 (May 26th)

OK.  So there are all the disgusting results.  Now onto one of the main reasons I do this:  looking for the guys who don’t expel the contents of their mouths during games EVER!!!  These are the true gentlemen of the game, the boys whose mammas have raised them right.

I’ll have to start off with one guy who was never caught spitting that I had to disqualify from the competition.   Guillermo Mota was never caught spitting during my spit counts.  However, since he was suspended for 100 games (more than half) of the season, I have chosen to disqualify him.  He was only caught spitting once last season as well.  Better luck next season, Guillermo.  Just stay out of your kid’s cough syrup this time please!

Our first winner of the Thank You For Not Spitting award is receiving recognition for the second season.  My thanks goes to BRANDON CRAWFORD for keeping his saliva where it belongs for his two years with the big boys.  Yes, Ginny – your boy has done it again!  Brandon – please give your mom a big hug from me for teaching her kid manners.  And I’m so glad you’re not chewing tobacco and ruining your health – we need you around on the team for a long, long time!

Our second winner was a new addition to the team this season.  Even though he was only with the Giants for August and September (and of course, during the post season), I am counting him because he played in every one of the games that I counted during that time.  He also did not spit in a game that I counted while he was playing for his previous team.  That team is the Philadelphia Phillies.  And that player is…HUNTER PENCE!!!  I mentioned in an earlier blog that I hadn’t caught him spitting yet, and he kept that going through the rest of the season.  This guy has shown himself to be a true gentleman in so many ways, especially through his acknowledgement of his teammates’ accomplishments when asked about his own.  Sending your mom my thanks for raising one of the good ones, and please keep it up next season.

Finally, I have a surprise winner.  I really thought I had caught this guy spitting during the season, but when I looked over the stats, he didn’t appear anywhere.  He is another new addition to the team this season, one of the kids.  I hope his saliva-retaining abilities will rub off on some of his fellow Latin teammates (especially Pablo!).  That player is…GREGOR BLANCO!!!  Congratulations on your fantastic first season with the Giants, and thanks from all the female baseball fans for keeping your spit off the field and out of the dugout.  Estoy enviando abrazos a su madre para criar a su hijo correctamente.

So at the beginning of next season, I’ll send out Spit Master General certificates to Pablo and Chris Snyder (and Rob Drake if I can figure out how to get one to him) and Thank You For Not Spitting certificates to Brandon, Hunter, and Gregor.  Included with the Spit Master General certificates will be some educational info on the dangers of chewing tobacco because you know that’s why they are spitting so much.  Unfortunately, the average number of spits per game by Giants team members has not changed significantly since last year (34.3 last year vs. 35.0 this year).  But I guess that means it hasn’t gone up significantly either (always trying to look for the positive).  I’m still holding out hope that one day MLB will ban chewing tobacco so that this madness (and grossness) will end.  Until that day, I’m begging all my boys to PLEASE KNOCK OFF ALL THIS SPITTING!!!!  Thank you for listening.

Next blog will be about contract status of the current players.  There have already been some changes made, with Eli going to the Yankees (sniff), Emanuel Burriss being sent down to Triple A Fresno, and Clay Hensley (aka “praying mantis tamer”) electing for free agency.  Plus awards (including MVP) will be announced soon.  I’ll try to keep you updated when I hear anything.  Until then, as ever, GO GIANTS!!

Check, Please!

One aspect of baseball I’ve always wondered about is the check swing.  I know that basically it’s when a batter starts to swing at a pitch but then pulls back and doesn’t follow through.  But what decides if he actually swung or not?  Is there some imaginary line that the bat has to cross?  During the replay of a check swing, you’ll hear the announcers say, “He definitely went,” or, “He didn’t go.”  Went where???

I decided to research this further to find the exact definition in the MLB rulebook.  Well, guess what?  There is no rule in the rulebook!  Check swing is not mentioned anywhere in the rules.  The definition of a strike is “a legal pitch when so called by the umpire, which is struck at by the batter and is missed.”  This is the rule that the umpire has to go by, so you can see where this is basically a judgment call.  They somehow need to decide if the batter swung, even though a swing is not defined.  Some umpires call it a strike if the player “breaks his wrists” meaning that he crosses the front of the plate with his wrists.  Others will call it based on how far the bat went (guess that’s where the imaginary line comes in).  Others will call it if they think the player had intent to swing (yes, seriously – what kind of a rule is that???).

Regardless, the initial call on a check swing is made by the home plate umpire.  If it’s called a ball, the catcher or manager can appeal to one of the base coaches to make the call since they have a better view of how far the player swung (1st base umpire for righties, 3rd base umpire for lefties).  They will often base their decision on whether or not they saw the end of the bat.  If they determine it was a swing, they will make the “out” gesture (clenched fist).  If they determine it was not a swing, they will make the “safe” gesture (arms outstretched to the sides).

Mike Krukow and Jon Miller were discussing check swing calls the other day, and they alluded to the fact that it is basically a judgment call.  Why can’t someone just define what a swing is?  It should be black and white and not up for interpretation.  There have been so many instances that I’ve seen where it looked like someone pulled back and they were called for a strike.  Come on, people!  Just write the rule!

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest (whew!), let’s get to some spit counts.  I know I’ve kept you waiting for a couple of weeks, so I’ll reward you with four today:

August 15th

Giants:

–          Sandoval 5

–          Lincecum 4

–          Pagan 3

–          Theriot 3

–          Posey 2

–          Belt 2

–          Kontos 2

–          H. Sanchez 2

–          Hensley 1

–          Scutaro 1

–          Coach 1

Nationals:

–          Espinosa 8

–          Strasburg 3

–          R. Zimmerman 1

–          Morse 1

–          Harper 1

Game Spit Master General = Espinosa with 8

Giants Game Spit Master General = Sandoval with 5

That’s a total of 40 spits during a 3 hour and 20 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 5 minutes (ties the record for lowest spit count average ever).

The coach for the Giants who was caught spitting has been caught several times, but I don’t know his name.  He looks to be Filipino, and I think he works with the bullpen.  If anyone can enlighten me with his name, I would appreciate it.

During this game, they showed several close-ups of Stephen Strasburg, the pitcher for the Nationals.  He’s captured the nation’s attention because he is a star pitcher, but because he is so young, had Tommy John surgery (elbow surgery – I think I’ll blog about that someday), and pitched so few innings in 2011, they didn’t want to wear him out.   Thus it was predetermined that he would only pitch a certain number of innings this season.  This has never happened in the history of baseball.  He in fact pitched his last game of the season on September 8th, leaving the Nationals without their star pitcher for the rest of the season and probably into the post-season since they are in first place in their division.  This was the reason the cameras were on Strasburg a lot during this game.  And when the cameras are on you, you tend to get caught spitting.  Though he only accumulated three on-camera spits during the game, during one of his close-ups in the dugout, you could clearly see the wad of tobacco between his lower lip and teeth.  Bleeeeccchhh!!  Don’t these cameramen know when the shot is disgusting??

August 19th

Giants:

–          Posey 12

–          Vogelsong 4

–          Pagan 3

–          Scutaro 3

–          Sandoval 3

–          Mijares 1

–          Bochy 1

Padres:

–          Baker 3

–          Richard 3

–          Maybin 2

–          Cabrera 2

Misc.:

–          Umpire 1

Game Spit Master General = Posey with 12

That’s a total of 37 spits during a 3 hour and 5 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 5 minutes (another low spitting game).

August 24th

Giants:

–          Pagan 9

–          Sandoval 6

–          Belt 3

–          Posey 3

–          Scutaro 2

–          Kontos 1

–          Vogelsong 1

–          Wotus 1

–          Clark 1

–          Mijares 1

–          Casilla 1

–          Theriot 1

–          Kelly 1

–          Bochy 1

Braves:

–          Sheets 7

–          Jones 3

–          Bourn 3

–          Prado 2

–          Heyward 1

–          Johnson 1

–          Uggla 1

Misc.:

–          Umpire 40 (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! – all spits were from home plate umpire, Rob Drake)

Game Spit Master General = Drake with 40 (new umpire record)

Giants Spit Master General = Pagan with 9

That’s a total of 90 spits (!) during a 2 hour and 55 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 1.9 minutes.

Everybody was getting in on the spitting for the Giants, including most of the coaches!  And why does Rob Drake (the umpire) spit so much?  He shattered the previous umpire record of 18.  How can he concentrate on the game when he is lifting his mask after every pitch to spit??  If he’s chewing, he really needs to quit so he can focus.  I really think they need to monitor these things, especially since every one of those spits was caught by the camera (for my disgusted eyes!).

September 8th

Giants:

–          Posey 8

–          Sandoval 5

–          Belt 1

–          Scutaro 1

–          Cain 1

–          Casilla 1

–          Huff 1

–          Bochy 1

–          Pagan 1

–          Meulens 1

Dodgers:

–          Ethier 8

–          Gonzalez 5

–          Capuano 3

–          Cruz 3

–          Belisario 2

–          Ramirez 2

Game Spit Master General = Posey with 8

That’s a total of 44 spits during a 2 hour and 55 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 4.4 minutes.

Thanks to all the umpires in this game for keeping their spit in their mouths!  Buster is really starting to establish himself as one of the predominant spitters.  Even though Pablo holds the record so far this season, Buster puts up big numbers every game.  There was a game the other night in which he just never stopped.   Too bad I didn’t count that one.  Maybe it was a good thing because I didn’t have to focus on all those spits!

During an episode of Inside the Clubhouse, Ryan Vogelsong mentioned that he eats chicken enchiladas the night before a game for good luck.  I love that!  Apparently he knows every good Mexican restaurant in the cities that they travel to.  Ryan Theriot mentioned that he used to eat two grilled cheese sandwiches smothered in syrup the night before a game, but then at around age 30, he started getting too fat so he had to discontinue this ritual.  What a crackup!  I love how superstitious my boys are.

I have been noticing so many of the boys’ rituals on the field lately.  Have you seen Pablo pretend to get an arrow from his back and shoot it whenever he gets a hit?  And Angel saluting the dugout when he gets on base?  I love that stuff because it tells me that my boys are having fun out there.  Have you noticed any others (besides the three outfielders coming together and jumping in the air when they win)?  Let me know.

At the game I attended on August 26th vs. the Braves, I witnessed something interesting in the stands.  There was a couple sitting a few rows down from us, and the guy kept nodding off throughout the entire game!  The poor guy behind him kept having to deal with his head on his knees!  Then to top it off, his wife was sitting there playing solitaire on her phone during the entire game.  Why the hell did they go??  If you’re not going to be a good fan and cheer my boys on, give up your seat to someone who will get into the game!

Did you guys see the amazing play that Pablo and Brandon Crawford made on August 28th during the Astros game?  If not, check this out!  Those two are unbelievable!  I’ve never seen anything like that in my life!

I got to go to the Dodgers game with my sister on September 7th.  As usual, we had a fantastic time, and the boys won the first game of the series!  Always love to hear Tony sing!  I made a sign for us that read, “Sister Gamer Babes,” and it had the word “Giants” in a heart and said “Beat LA” on the side.  They were broadcasting the pregame from right outside the ballpark that night, so Keen and I tried to get in the shot.  Before they started shooting, Comcast SportsNet Anchor Greg Papa saw my sign and read it.  He asked if we were really sisters, and I said, “Of course we are!”  Then he said, “No, I mean ‘sisters’”, and then he proceeded to make the sign of the cross!  I said, “Definitely not!”  That was fun!  When they started shooting, Keen and I were able to get on TV!  That’s my second time!  Thanks to Ginny for taking a picture of her TV so that I could see us on there.  During the game, we experienced a new cheer in honor of the recent hottest Giant on the team, Marco Scutaro.  One guy behind us would yell, “Marco!” then another guy would yell, “Scutaro!” just like they were playing Marco Polo!  It was a crack up!  By the end of the game, we were all doing it any time Marco came up.  So much silliness and fun!

Beat the Streak update:  I’ve taken over the lead and am now sitting at a streak of 16!  WOOHOO!  And it still continues today (hope I’m not jinxing myself).  Still no takers for the Coke offer if you can beat me.  Come on!  There’s still time left in the season!  Hoping that I can hold off my brothers and my cousin and win that free dinner!

Can you believe that the magic number for my boys now stands at 13???  Can you believe we’re even talking magic numbers this soon??  I am soooooo excited!  They are going to pull it off this year!  Ginny and I are already talking about taking the day off work to go to the parade!  Wouldn’t that be fabulous if they could do it again??  Trying not to count my chickens yet, but it’s sure tough not to.  Good luck with the D-Bags this weekend, Boys!  At least take the series this time.  Until next time, GO GIANTS!  Knock out the snake!