Tagged: spit

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 2016

As promised, I’ve compiled all my spit data from last season.  Everybody hates all the spitting, right??  Well, here’s the scoop on who’s been doing all the spitting on the Giants, plus recognition for those who refrain from it and make me happy.  During the 2016 Giants baseball season, I counted spits during a total of 13 games.  These are my results:

# of games Total # of Avg. # of Highest # of
caught spitting spits spits/game spits/game
Cueto 6 67 11.2 26
Law 1 5 5 5
Gillaspie 5 24 4.8 9
Green 1 4 4 4
Peavy 3 10 3.3 6
Belt 13 40 3.1 6
Bumgarner 4 12 3 5
Span 9 26 2.9 6
Duffy 4 10 2.5 4
Tejada 2 5 2.5 4
Parker 7 16 2.3 4
Bochy 6 12 2 3
Pagan 6 12 2 3
Wotus 1 2 2 2*
Strickland 5 9 1.8 2
Casilla 4 6 1.5 2
Meulens 2 3 1.5 2
Posey 7 7 1 1
Samardzija 5 5 1 1
Tomlinson 3 3 1 1
Osich 2 2 1 1
Blanco 1 1 1 1*
Crawford 1 1 1 1
Kontos 1 1 1 1
Stratton 1 1 1 1
Hayes 1 1 1 1
Suarez 1 1 1 1*
Pence 1 1 1 1*
Kelly 1 1 1 1
Panik 1 1 1 1
Adrianza 1 1 1 1

 

*indicates that spit logged was due to expelling sunflower seed shells

I have to say that unlike last season, I was not surprised at our spit count leader this season.  The overall Spit Master General for the 2016 season was one of our newer additions and a favorite of mine, JOHNNY CUETO.  I noticed right from the start that Johnny was going to be a high volume spitter.  He logged 26 spits during the game on April 16th, the highest single game spit record for a Giants player last season.  Thankfully he came nowhere near the all-time Giants record set last season by Andrew Susac at 41.  And also thankfully the spitting does not appear to be due to tobacco chewing.  Still love watching the guy pitch, but the spitting definitely can make it challenging sometimes.

Here are some other records of note in the area of spit counts last season:

  • Most spits in a game by a non-Giant – Stephen Vogt of the A’s (again) at 32 on June 29th
  • Lowest spit count average – 1 spit every 6.9 minutes (April 9th the Dodgers)
  • Highest spit count average – 1 spit every 2.5 minutes (June 29th the A’s – again Vogt skewed the data on this one!)
  • Highest number of Madison Bumgarner snot rockets in a single game – 7 (on both April 9th the Dodgers and June 8th vs. the Red Sox)

Also of note is the fact that Brandon Belt was caught spitting in every single spit count that I did.  For shame!!  And YUCK!!

Even though all the spitting (and snot rockets) does get me down, I always look forward to recognizing those guys that somehow have not picked up the nasty habit of expelling their saliva like the vast majority of their counterparts.  These guys are my heroes.  And thankfully, I’ve got a bunch to recognize from last season.

First off, there were an amazing four guys who played regularly during the season and were NEVER caught spitting.  (envelope please)  The Thank You For Not Spitting Award for the 2016 Giants season goes to JAVIER LOPEZ, TREVOR BROWN, CORY GEARRIN, and RAMIRO PENA!!  Javi makes the list for the second season in a row, even while he pitched in 9 of the games that I counted.  Way to go, Javi!  Trevor was a surprise to me, especially because he is a catcher.  When catchers are in the game they are on camera a lot – tough to sneak a spit that way.  Trevor played in 6 of the games that I counted and never got caught once.  Cory was another surprise as it’s tough for pitchers to make my list as well since they are on camera almost the entire time they are in the game.  Cory pitched in 4 of the games I counted and stayed spit-free.  Then there’s Ramiro who I almost forgot about since he didn’t play near the end of the season when Joe Panik came back and we acquired Eduardo Nunez.  Ramiro never got caught spitting even though he played in 4 of the games that I counted.  I salute and appreciate all of you for keeping your saliva where it belongs – IN YOUR MOUTH!  Check your mailboxes come next April for those certificates (suitable for framing, of course!)!

Two other players were each only caught once spitting even though they played in the majority of the games I counted.  And each of those single spits was due to expelling sunflower seeds.  I’m going to give them a break and recognize this achievement as well.  They are GREGOR BLANCO and HUNTER PENCE.  Both these guys have made my list before, and both deserve recognition for this feat.  Thanks for resisting the urge to spit, Guys!

I’m also giving several Honorable Mentions this season – guys who won’t be officially recognized with a certificate but still deserve some kudos.  Brandon Crawford and George Kontos were only caught spitting once each.  Try a little harder next time and you might just get that certificate!  Sergio Romo was never caught spitting, but he was out for a large part of the season and only pitched in 2 of the games I counted.  Thanks for the effort, Sergio!  Also Matt Cain only pitched in one of the games I counted, but he didn’t launch a single spit through 6 innings.  This is definitely worth recognizing.  Albert Suarez was in the same category as Gregor and Hunter, getting caught once and the one spit being a sunflower seed spit, but he didn’t pitch in any of the games I counted, so it doesn’t feel right to send a certificate.  For next season, I’ll definitely keep my eye on him in addition to Matt Moore, Eduardo Nunez, and Will Smith (who joined the team after I had stopped doing spit counts).  Remember – I’ll be watching!

Still waiting to hear some solid Hot Stove gossip, but nothing juicy yet.  Just a rumor that the Giants are thinking about getting Pablo back from the Red Sox.  Yeah, right.  There is no way that could ever happen.  He can’t keep the weight off (remember when his belt burst open while he was batting??), his numbers were way down last season, he was injured again, and he totally dissed the team and management on his way out of SF.  No.  This will not occur.  I don’t know who the writer from Boston is who “broke” this story, but he must be desperate for readers.  Come on!

Also heard that Sergio Romo is disappointed that no one from the Giants has contacted him yet about resigning.  Sergio is currently a free agent, and he says that other teams have shown interest.  I would assume he won’t hear anything until the Giants have signed a solid closer – that will dictate how much money they have left to offer.  Plus I still have a bad taste in my mouth about how Romo acted during the end of the season, laughing a couple of times walking off the field and in the dugout when Bochy took him out.  I hate disrespect.  I also think the Giants staff doesn’t appreciate it, either.  Romo says he wants to come back to the Giants, but he can also find happiness somewhere else.  We’ll see where he ends up.  With all the young up-and-coming bullpen talent the Giants have, I have a feeling it might be somewhere else.

On a final note, today is Hunter Pence’s wedding day.  I’m so excited for both him and Lexi – they make such an adorable couple and always seem to have so much fun together, including sharing lots of silliness.  Wishing both of them the best.  Also found out that like me, Hunter plays Pokemon Go (plus he’s on the same team as me – Team Instinct!).  Here’s a video of him and Lexi trying to get to a coffee shop in the City while Pokemon Go kind of gets in the way.  So funny!!  Love these two!

Still keeping my ears open for anything on the rumor front.  Hoping, hoping, hoping they can actually sign one of the top closers.  This is always one of the most frustrating times to be a baseball fan.  If you happen to hear anything, let me know.  On a happy note, I think we finalized the dates for our Spring Training trip.  Can’t wait!!  Until next time, GO GIANTS!!  SIGN A WICKED CLOSER!!

Keeping It Together

The boys continue to hold it together while dealing with key players out of the lineup.  At the halfway point (after 81 games), we had 50 wins.  If we can keep this up, that puts us on track to win 100 games this season.  Wouldn’t that be wonderful?   And we’re still 5 games up on the Dodgers.  Plus even though I actually like Clayton Kershaw, it doesn’t hurt that he’s out with back issues.

Even the backups are starting to get hurt!  Ramiro Peña has been out with a sprained ankle the past few games, an injury he sustained while crashing into Mac Williamson as they both went for a pop up in the outfield during the third game in the A’s series.  Luckily he was back today to pinch hit, getting the game-winning RBI.  Way to come back big, Kid!  That game against the A’s was unbelievable!  Those were not my boys out there!  I think some A’s fan had a set of Giants voodoo dolls or something.  And poor Mac Williamson.  It just was not his night.  Besides crashing into Peña (which, by the way, was not Mac’s fault – the outfielder has first dibs on those plays, and he called Peña off), he also hit into a double play with the bases loaded.  Then there was that homerun ball that was in the pocket of his mitt that he just couldn’t hang onto.  It would have been an amazing catch if he had held onto it, especially since he had to jump so high to get it and time the jump perfectly, but luck was not with him that evening (voodoo dolls, I’m telling you!).  Then, to top it all off, he slid into second trying to break up a double play, but since he slid past the base, he was called out as well as the batter.  This is because of the new rule they are calling the “Tejada Rule” where you have to be able to touch the bag after you slide into second.  Oh, and how ironic was it that Ruben Tejada, appearing in his first Giants game, the guy who the rule is named after, was in the on deck circle witnessing the event as it all went down!  Poor Ruben!  And poor Mac!

I was watching the game Friday night against the D-Backs (which we won – YAY!) and noticed that my boy Johnny Cueto was acting kind of strange.  He normally takes very little time between pitches, but this night he kept walking off the mound and wandering around trying to get focused.  He just looked really uncomfortable.  I found out why.  First, he had a pretty bad stomach bug!  He kept grabbing his stomach in between pitches.  I can’t believe he was able to pitch that well when dealing with something like that.  But he was also dealing with an extremely sad event.  He had just learned that his beloved pony, Popeye (named after the restaurant), had died in the Dominican Republic.  Aw!  Double whammy for the poor guy, and he was still able to pull off a win.  So sorry for your loss, Johnny.  I know how much you love horses.  And thanks for the heads up on this, Andrew Baggarly.

Mike Krukow made an interesting comment during the Cueto start on Friday.  He mentioned, “I’d like to know at what point in Johnny Cueto’s life he came up with the shimmie.”  I’d like to know, too.  He was shimmying a lot during that game.  How do you decide that should be part of your repertoire?  If I ever meet him, I’ll have to ask.  Just keep shimmying, Johnny.  We all love it, and it’s working!

I have a new installment of “Angel’s Question” for you.  We were watching the game last night together, and she asked if I knew how players from other countries (like Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, or Japan) are able to play in the United States and stay here.  I didn’t know, so I did some research.  Found out that there are two paths they can take.  They can either apply for a green card to become a permanent resident or they can apply for a visa.  There are actually specific visas for athletes.  The visa allows them to be temporarily employed in the United States.  The team serves as the official sponsor for the player.  Established players are typically issued visas that allow them to remain in the states for up to 5 years, while minor league players usually receive visas for 1 year.  Individual teams are primarily responsible for obtaining visas for their players, though MLB works closely with the state department if any issues should arise.  Getting that visa is not always an easy proposition, especially if the athlete has had a brush with the law while in the United States.  Every season, you hear about foreign players arriving late to Spring Training due to problems with the visa process.  For example, just this spring, former Giant Juan Uribe had to return to his home in the Dominican Republic midway through spring training in order to resolve some issues with his visa.  So there you go.  Thanks for the question, Angel!

I’ve got two new spit counts for you.  A prediction came true, and sad to say one of my heroes let me down:

June 29th

Giants:

  • Gillaspie 5
  • Tejada 4
  • Belt 3
  • Parker 3
  • Pagan 2
  • Peavy 2
  • Crawford 1 (NOOOOOO!!!)
  • Kontos 1
  • Stratton 1

A’s:

  • Vogt 32 (SEE???)
  • Hendriks 4
  • Reddick 2
  • Axford 2
  • Semien 1
  • Lowrie 1
  • Valencia 1
  • Dull 1 (another unfortunate name)

Game Spit Master General = Vogt at 32 (new season record)

Giants Game Spit Master General = Gillaspie at 5

That’s a total of 66 spits during a 2 hour and 45 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 2.5 minutes (new season record).

As I mentioned in my last blog, Stephen Vogt spits A LOT, so I wasn’t surprised by this result.  At least he didn’t exceed his record of 34 from last season.  I did notice something interesting while watching him, though.  He can’t spit through his mask any more (he did last season).  I guess they redesigned the catcher’s mask so that it has padding in front of your mouth.  He had to lift the mask every time he spat.  Didn’t seem to slow him down much.  Even more concerning that Vogt’s plethora of spits was the fact that Brandon Crawford logged even one!  I’ve sent that guy Thank You For Not Spitting certificates before!  So disappointed!  I also observed him spit once yesterday (in the dugout) and again today (on the field after making an amazing play).  What is this insanity?  Is it those voodoo dolls again?  Josh Reddick’s spits spread out like a fan.  Not sure how he does that.  And Jarrett Parker spat three times in succession, catching the last one on his beard.  So totally nasty!  Also Ruben Tejada made his debut on the list this evening.  Sigh.

July 1st

Giants:

  • Cueto 17
  • Gillaspie 9
  • Parker 4
  • Green 4
  • Belt 2
  • Casilla 2
  • Posey 1 (seeds)
  • Tejada 1
  • Bochy 1

Diamondbacks:

  • Castillo 5
  • The Goldschmidt 4
  • Bourn 2
  • Hale 1
  • Miller 1
  • Segura 1
  • Delgado 1
  • Lamb 1
  • Herrmann 1
  • Gosselin 1

Game Spit Master General = Cueto at 17

That’s a total of 59 spits during a 2 hour and 50 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 2.9 minutes.

My boy Johnny Cueto “won” again, but at least he didn’t pass his record for the season of 26.  Gotta give the guy a break as he had a tummy ache that day.  Maybe spitting was helping him feel better.  Grant Green logged his first spits as a Giant today.  Every spit was launched into his batting glove.

The All Star roster will be announced on Tuesday.  If at least Buster and Brandon Crawford aren’t on there I will be very ticked off.  They’ve both played like All Stars so far this season.  Would be nice to have a couple of other guys in there, too.  I’m pretty sure Madison and Johnny will be invited as well.  We start a series against the Rockies tomorrow.  Not gonna jinx anything, but hoping we can at least take the series.  The kids have continued to come through for us, so I have high hopes.  Until next time, GO GIANTS!  MAKE IT A HAPPY 4TH OF JULY WEEK!

It Wasn’t All Bad…

It’s all my fault!  The Giants lost the last two days because of me!  I posted at the end of my last blog that the A’s stink, and that must have ticked them off!  What has gotten into them?  Actually, they had just taken a series against the Angels 3 games out of 4, and I would imagine that gave them some momentum coming into the Bay Area rivalry.  I’m sorry, Giants fans!  It’s all on me!

Seriously, what is going to happen with Jeff Samardzija?  He’s had some issues of late with guys making solid contact off of him.  I wonder if maybe he’s forgotten the advice I’m sure Dave Righetti gave him at the beginning of the season.  Somehow he was doing better then.  And the bullpen got lit up yesterday (except for Josh Osich and Derek Law).  This was strange because they had been doing so well lately.  Do you think that rivalry really means that much to the A’s that they were just more motivated to win?

And I’ve been really trying hard not to go there, but we really need to do something about the Casilla situation.  He just doesn’t seem to consistently be able to handle the closer role.  I think it’s too much pressure for him.  I bet Bobby Evans is extremely busy right now trying to find someone who would be a little more dependable as it’s looking like we have a good shot at making the playoffs.  Sorry, Santiago, but you’re driving everyone NUTS!

I was at the game yesterday.  I mentioned the $10 View Level tickets in my last blog, plus my brother got a free parking pass.  Cheapest AT&T Park experience for me in a long while.  Even though we lost, I still really enjoyed that game.  Of course, going with my family (my brother along with my other brother and by niece who tagged along with us) is always a fun thing.  And my niece and I were able to get on TV while they were doing the CSN broadcast from Willie Mays Plaza!  Our heads were right behind Tim Flannery!  Our minute of fame!  There were a ton of A’s fans there, and you really had to appreciate what loyal fans they are what with the horrible things Billy Beane has done to that team.  Tough to stay loyal when the players are constantly changing.  There was even a crowd of yellow in the right field bleachers, complete with a drummer!  That’s some loyalty!  There was one sitting behind us, along with his father who is a Giants fan.  He was a crackup!  He kept spouting trivia to his dad that wasn’t true!  He celebrated a lot when the A’s would do something good (which is to be expected – and he wasn’t really obnoxious), but then he also kept it real and constantly was cutting down the A’s players as well.  So funny!  We laughed a lot.  The part I really enjoyed was how even though the pitching crashed, the offense kept coming back and scoring runs.  I’m sure this was a huge ego boost for a lot of our players, especially the kids.  Five guys had multiple hit games, plus Conor Gillaspie went 4 for 5 and Brandon Crawford had 5 RBI.  And those back-to-back homers by Jarrett Parker and Denard Span revived the overwhelmed crowd at the end of the game.  I like offense, and this team is going to need it if they are to survive all the injuries they’ve been plagued with.

Speaking of injuries, want to send a shoutout to Joe Panik, who was pulled from the lineup right before the game yesterday due to concussion symptoms.  He had been struck by a pitch on the back of his helmet 10 days previous in Tampa Bay.  He passed three days worth of concussion tests at the time, but concussions can be tricky.  I’m guessing he has had other symptoms all along that he was hiding.  Hope now he can get some rest and get over it.  We all know how long it took Brandon Belt to overcome his concussion last season.  Don’t want to have Joe out of the lineup that long, but would rather that than have him seriously injured.  Take it easy, Joe, and please let the coaches know how you are really feeling.  Actually, LISTEN, BOYS – BE HONEST WHEN DISCUSSING INJURIES!  It is better in the longrun for you and your fans.

I’m definitely going to do a spit count tonight.  At the game last night, I saw Stephen Vogt catching for the A’s and was reminded that he can spit up a storm.  In fact, he logged the most spits by a non-Giant last season, expelling 34 in a single game, the majority of which exited THROUGH HIS CATCHER’S MASK!  I see he’s catching tonight, so that game should be spitacular!

I’ll leave you with a little nugget I found on Gregor Blanco’s blog today.  If you haven’t read his blog, you should.  Here’s the link.  Today’s addition is extra specially heartwarming because he discusses how great an experience it was to work with kids in the Challenger Divisions of Little League Baseball.  Also in his blog, he mentions that each team is running someone for president this season.  He just happens to be the candidate for the Giants.  Check out his campaign video.  So much silliness!  And definitely better looking!

So I think since we lost two in our house to the A’s, we need to take two from them in their house.  It’s only fair.  Jake and Madison (if they get run support like last night) can do it.  We just need the starters to go deep so the bullpen can get some rest.  Until next time, GO GIANTS!  GIVE THE GIANTS FANS AT OAKLAND COLISEUM SOMETHING TO CHEER ABOUT!

Injuries, Shminjuries!

The Giants have been plagued with a lot of injuries lately.  Matt Cain’s out with a right hamstring strain, Hunter Pence is out with a torn right hamstring tendon (he underwent surgery for this on June 9th), and most recently Matt Duffy is out with a left Achilles strain.  Is this Giants fan worried about how these injuries will affect her team?  NOPE!  I am so thrilled with the way my boys have bounced back from all this.  Albert Suarez has done an amazing job filling in for Matt Cain.  Both Jarrett Parker and Mac Williamson have helped Gregor Blanco fill in for the ailing Hunter Pence.  And in the last two games against the Pirates, both my boy Conor Gillaspie and Ramiro Peña have performed beautifully while replacing Matt Duffy, both contributing significantly to the wins.  Even with injuries, they had an 8-game winning streak going and now they’ve won the last 10 out of 11 games.  Add to that the fact that the bullpen performed so well tonight after Jeff Samardzija came out after pitching only 3 innings.  The bullpen combination of Law, Strickland, Osich, Gearrin, and Casilla allowed exactly zero runs in six innings.  Remember how worried we were about Sergio Romo being out?  Plus the bats came alive the last two games (unfortunately not in Madison’s game, though), with my boys scoring 15 runs on Tuesday and coming back from a 6 to 1 deficit to win tonight.  What’s there to worry about??

Ramiro Peña has really made a great first impression with the Giants.  He’s played in 5 games so far, and he’s batting  .462 (6 for 13).  He’s also got 4 RBI already.  And since he’s actually been in the bigs before (he played for both the Yankees and the Braves), you can’t blame it on the pitchers not knowing how to pitch to him.  Plus his defense looks pretty good, though he did make an error today after doing so well offensively.  Conor Gillaspie did the same thing last night – he went 4 for 5 and then made an error.  I guess the excitement just gets to you.  Hey, if they can continue to play like that, they can have an error every once in a while.  So happy that Conor was able to emerge from his hitting funk.  I knew he could do it!  Looking forward to him contributing more to the offense.

It was so great to see Ryan Vogelsong yesterday during the game.  If you didn’t know, he’s on the Pirates now, but he’s on the disabled list after being hit in the face with a 92 mph fastball.  Here’s video of him getting hit (definitely not for the squeamish – the sound alone is horrible).  They showed him in the dugout (you’ll see he makes a guest appearance in one of the spit counts!).  You can see the scar below his left eye.  I heard an interview with him on KNBR, and he said that he broke 7 bones in his face.  Three of those bones actually moved into his nose (YIKES!) and they had to be surgically moved back into place.  After a month, he said his face is still pretty swollen.  He was taking pictures with Madison before the game yesterday.  I also saw Nicole Vogelsong sitting in the stands with Ali Bumgarner tonight.  I miss them so much!  Both Ryan and his wife told Mike Krukow to be sure to tell all the Giants fans how much they appreciate all the support.  Ryan says he plans on making a comeback.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed for him because I think it’s a long shot.  But if anyone can do it, he can.

In minor league news our old friend Travis Ishikawa was given a minor league contract with the Giants.  Wouldn’t that be great if he could play with my boys again?  The Giants also acquired Ruben Tejada as a minor leaguer.  You may remember Tejada from the playoffs last season when idiot Chase Utley slid directly into him at second base and broke his leg.  Here’s video of the slide.  And then Utley got off scott-free.  He was originally suspended, but he fought it and got off.  Wouldn’t it be great to see Tejada in the bigs again playing in a Giants uniform against Utley of the Dodgers?  Payback is beautiful.

Tim Lincecum had his first start for the Angels against the A’s last Saturday, and he did pretty darn good!  He went 6 innings, gave up 1 run on 4 hits and walked 2.  His fastball peaked at 90 mph.  The caveat is that it was against the A’s who currently have a win/loss record of 29 and 42, but still.  I’m glad he’s made it back to pitching in the bigs and isn’t embarrassing himself.  A lot of Giants fans that I know were at that game.  We all still love the guy.  And happy to see that he’s still wearing #55.

The trade rumors have already started.  I’ve heard the name Ryan Braun connected to the Giants, and I have to say I am not pleased about it.  After his PED scandal where he basically threw a lab worker under the bus, I’m hoping the Giants steer clear of him.  If somehow the Giants do sign him (which I don’t think they will because he’s too expensive and the Brewers will want our top prospects), I will continue to boo him.  He will never be one of my boys.  The guy is a total loser in my book.  Another interesting name that I’ve heard recently connected to the Giants is Carlos Beltran.  He’s been doing quite well for the Yankees and might be a helpful addition in the outfield.  But I still think they should give the kids (Williamson and Parker) a chance to get more playing time before resorting to going elsewhere.

On the weird front, I heard this morning on KNBR that Jake Peavy was the victim of a Ponzi scheme that bilked him of $15 million.  This represented the vast majority of his capital.  He became aware of it right before the season started.  This could explain his extremely poor performance at the beginning of the season.  Could you imagine losing that much money, money that you were counting on retiring on?  They mentioned on KNBR this morning that Jake told the head of the player’s union about it and said he wanted to share his experience with other players so that something like this couldn’t happen again to them.  Gotta love the guy for that.  Hope he can at least get some of that money back.

Congratulations to both Santiago Casilla and Billy Hayes on the addition of baby girls to their families this past week.  Santiago was out three days on paternity leave.  Came back tonight like gangbusters!

On a funny note, my cousin Manny showed me this video that was produced when Johnny Cueto first joined the Kansas City Royals.  So funny!  We need to come up with a new one to welcome him to the Giants.  Johnny loves every minute of every game and always has so much fun.  He’s always got that great smile on his face, and he’s always going all out to win.  Best entertainment there is!

I’ve got 3 new spit counts for you.  Here you go:

June 8th

Giants:

  • Bumgarner 4
  • Belt 3
  • Tomlinson 1
  • Span 1
  • Parker 1
  • Strickland 1

Red Sox:

  • Price 17
  • Vazquez 6
  • Bogaerts 6
  • Ortiz 4
  • Young 2
  • Shaw 1
  • ? 1 (someone in the dugout)

Misc.:

  • Umpires 2

Game Spit Master General = Price at 17

Giants Game Spit Master General = Bumgarner at 4

That’s a total of 50 spits during a 2 hour and 45 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 3.3 minutes.

It was interesting that David Price didn’t start spitting a lot until the later innings of the game when he was under pressure.  Also David Ortiz spits into his batting glove.  Since this was a Bumgarner start, I also did a snot rocket count.  Madison logged 7 during this game.

June 20th

Giants:

  • Bumgarner 5
  • Pagan 2
  • Hayes 1
  • Parker 1
  • Belt 1
  • Suarez 1 (seeds)
  • Cueto 1 (seeds)

Pirates:

  • Locke 11
  • Harrison 3
  • Polanco 2
  • McCutchen 1
  • Kratz 1
  • Vogelsong 1
  • Watson 1

Game Spit Master General = Locke at 11

Giants Game Spit Master General = Bumgarner at 5

That’s a total of 32 spits during a 2 hour and 25 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 4.5 minutes.

Kratz spat into his batting glove.  Again, as this was a Bumgarner start, I logged his snot rockets.  He shot off 5 during this game.

June 21st

Giants:

  • Cueto 16
  • Belt 4
  • Gillaspie 4
  • Span 2
  • Samardzija 1 (seeds)
  • Parker 1

Pirates:

  • Boscan 3
  • Harrison 3
  • Polanco 2
  • Caminero 1
  • Mercer 1
  • Hurdle 1 (seeds)

Game Spit Master General = Cueto at 16

That’s a total of 39 spits during a 3 hour and 50 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 5.9 minutes (pretty low average even though Johnny was his usual spitting self).

I noticed something spitwise during this game.  When Jarrett Parker logged his single spit, it landed in his goatee.  He had to wipe it off with his shirt.  I’ve seen Denard Span catch saliva in his beard as well.  YUCK!!  If you’re going to spit, get rid of the facial hair!  It’s just a lugie collector!  And it’s disgusting!

Tomorrow the boys play the final game of the series against the Pirates.  Not going to be able to watch as it starts at 9:35 am and I’ll be at work, but I’ll try to keep tabs on them.  I’m thinking with the way they’ve been playing, even with the injuries, they will take that game and take the series.  I know you can do it, Boys!  Just keep on doing what you’ve been doing, and please don’t get hurt!  Put more distance between yourselves and those Dodgers!  Until next time, GO GIANTS!!  BEAT THE BUCS!

Struggles in the Big Apple

The Mets are the reigning NL Champions.  In our series against them, we lost the first game (horribly, I might add – more comments later), almost took the second game (I was so hoping that they could come back), and won the third game.  I’m looking at this with glass-half-full eyes and being hopeful, especially since the first two starts were from our 4th and 5th starters, and we almost took that middle one.  Cain gave up runs, but he could still locate pitches when he needed to.  And we ended with a win going into Cincinnati.  And we’re still in a tie for first place in the division with the Dodgers.  Glass half full.

The only glass-half-empty part of all this was that Peavy start on Friday.  Have you ever seen back-to-back pitchers give up 6 runs each, and in the 3rd inning to boot??  We helped the Mets set a record that game, giving them their best single inning offensive output in their franchise’s history.  Yikes!  What are we going to do about Peavy?  I love giving guys chances, but we can’t afford for this to keep happening.  I guess Mike Broadway isn’t getting any second chances – he got sent down to the River Cats the next day, being replaced by Vin Mazzaro.  My guess is that Peavy was kept in because Bochy is loyal to his starters, hoping he could dig himself out of the hole, and Broadway was left in to save the bullpen for the upcoming long road trip.  During that game I kept wondering when does Bochy just give up and call it a loss?  He did make bench substitutions with Gillaspie and Brown for Duffy and Buster fairly early in the game.  That third inning seemed to go on for an eternity.  You start to wonder if it could just go on forever!  And what’s up with that Conforto kid on the Mets?  I’m going to have to remember that name for my Beat the Streak picks (which is currently in a 3-way tie between me and two of my brothers at 8 so far).  I’m sure Bochy won’t make any moves with Peavy in the near future (he mentioned this after the game), but I also know that if it continues much longer, there will have to be some sort of move made.  Come on, Jake!  Get it together!

Speaking of possible moves, remember Tim Lincecum?  Yeah, that guy that just about every Giants fan loves who’s been sorely missed and was supposed to have a showcase that never materialized?  Well folks, it’s about to happen.  It’s scheduled for this Friday in Arizona, and several teams are planning on attending to see what the kid’s got after his surgery, including the Giants.  Here’s a link to an interview with his dad and a story by Alex Pavlovic about it.  If you ask me, his dad sure likes being in the limelight!  A tad bit annoying!  But I have to say that I’m intrigued by all this and dying to hear how this thing goes.  And frankly, Timmy’s timing couldn’t be any better with the starter woes the Giants have been experiencing.  And if not starter, possibly long relief?  For all you Timmy lovers out there (and I know there are tons), you’ve got some hope!  Personally, I do miss seeing him in the clubhouse, and I know a lot of the players miss him as well.

Joe Panik suffered a groin injury during the game on Friday night (another major bummer about that game).  He was evaluated on Saturday and was out of the lineup both Saturday and Sunday.  He’s not expected to return until at least Tuesday, and Kelby Tomlinson will be filling in for him in the meantime.  Get better, Joe!  We need you!  And Brandon needs his double play buddy back!

During the game on Saturday, the new rule about sliding into second base came into play.  Brandon Crawford was attempting to throw to first after tagging second base and getting Neil Walker out, but Walker slid right into him and prevented him from getting a throw off.  Bochy protested, and the play was reviewed in New York.  If the slide was deemed illegal, the guy at first would have been out.  But the guys in New York said it was not illegal and the guy at first remained on the bag.  Here’s the video of the slide.  Note that the announcers for the video are Mets announcers, and they sided with the guys in New York.  The Giants announcers, on the other hand, thought that the slide should have been deemed illegal.  Interesting how both sets of announcers sided with their team.  I have to say that rereading the rule, even though I’m a Giants fan, I have to agree with the umpires in New York.  Rule 6.01(j) states:

A “bona fide slide” for purposes of Rule 6.01 occurs when the runner: (1) begins his slide (i.e., makes contact with the ground) before reaching the base; (2) is able and attempts to reach the base with his hand or foot; (3) is able and attempts to remain on the base (except home plate) after completion of the slide; and (4) slides within reach of the base without changing his pathway for the purpose of initiating contact with a fielder.

He slid before the base, reached the base with his hand, attempted to remain on the base, and didn’t change his path.  Granted he used his legs to try to take out Crawford, but he did not break this rule.  So why don’t they change the rule to say that you have to slide AIMING YOUR FEET AT THE BAG???  Wouldn’t that make more sense, especially if the goal of the rule is to protect the fielder?  I’m really starting to hate this rule because it’s being interpreted differently by different officials and it’s not doing what it was intended to do.  Plus it’s confusing runners who don’t know exactly how they are supposed to slide any more.  I’m hoping they can fix it at some point this season because it’s not working.

Just cause I’m feeling sassy, I wanted to throw something else out there.  Everyone keeps trying to find ways to shorten a baseball game.  Three hours for a sporting event is a loooooooong time.  The limits on mound visits and pitchers warming up have helped a bit, but really only cut off a few minutes from a game.  How about this – take off one or two innings.  I know, crazy right??  But is it really?  It would definitely shorten the game, and you wouldn’t have to worry about keeping so many relievers, thus saving money for the team that could be passed on in ticket prices (even though it probably wouldn’t).  Plus a lot of people leave after the 6th inning anyway.  I know there’s a big downside to this in that all the record keeping would be messed up (like a perfect game would not mean as much), and current records couldn’t be compared to previous ones, but it might keep people’s interest more if the game were shorter.  Just saying.  Do you think I’m crazy?  Let me know in the comments, or let me know if you have any other suggestions on shortening the game.

I have a new spit count for you.  Here you go:

April 30th

Giants:

  • Gillaspie 5 (Welcome back!)
  • Duffy 3
  • Span 2
  • Belt 2
  • Strickland 2
  • Posey 1
  • Pagan 1

Mets:

  • Cespedes 5
  • Rivera 3
  • Reed 3
  • deGrom 1

Game Spit Master General = tie between Gillaspie and Cespedes at 5

That’s a total of 28 spits during a 3 hour and 10 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 6.8 minutes.

This was a relatively low-spitting game.  Guess the guys got the spit knocked out of them in that game on Friday!  However, my boy Conor Gillaspie has come back with a vengeance to his old spitting ways, especially when you consider he came in to this game half way through.  I remember from his previous stint with the Giants that he always had a huge wad in his cheek, and that habit has continued.  I did notice a never before witnessed routine that he has that involves spitting.  Three different times he spat into his hand, picked up some dirt and mixed it with the spit, then worked it into the handle of the bat.  I’m assuming he did this to improve his grip.  Yeah.  I think maybe I should send the guy either some batting gloves or some Lizard Skins (here’s a link to their website).  SHEESH!  Also, once again, Matt Duffy was caught launching a snot rocket during this game.  Sigh.

The Giants continue their road trip tomorrow with three games against the Reds, then they come back home to battle the Rockies four times.  Both the Reds and the Rockies suck, however unfortunately for us, the Reds do well at home and the Rockies do well on the road.  So Boys, I’m not going to be super greedy, but continuing with the “Slow and Steady” theme, I’d like for you to take both series.  I really think this is possible, especially with 2 Cueto, 2 Samardzija, and 1 Bumgarner start in there.  Cain and Peavy, I know you can do better than you have, too.  You can all do it, Boys.  Until next time, GO GIANTS!  KEEP THE LEAD!

I Love Johnny Cueto!

I think Johnny Cueto is now officially my favorite guy on the team.  I’m seriously considering buying a Cueto jersey.  Isn’t this guy amazing??  I love the crazy way he pitches.  So much entertainment value there.  And even with that crazy, ever-changing delivery, he is so accurate.  He had a perfect game going into the 5th inning today and a shutout into the 7th.  And guys are always laughing when they try to bat off of him.  And he’s always smiling.  How could you not love this guy??  Then today, I realized that I enjoy his at bats just as much.  He tries really hard.  Mike Krukow mentioned that Roberto Kelly was giving signs, but Cueto wasn’t looking!  And did you see him run out that bunt attempt today?  Plus he got a hit!  So much fun in one package!  I can’t wait until he pitches again.  I am so thrilled that he has joined OUR team!

OK.  I’ll stop with the Cueto gushing. Other guys definitely contributed today to his win.  Panik, Crawford (thank goodness you’re back), and Span all had amazing plays defensively.  And we were able to score 4 runs off of Kazmir by keeping it moving.  And even though Lopez gave us a scare in the 8th (it’s OK, Javi – everyone’s entitled to a bad game once in a while), the other relievers held the dreaded Dodgers so that we could log a win.  So there’s that.  That game definitely got rid of the sour taste in my mouth from the game yesterday.  What were they doing yesterday?  So much sloppy baseball!  But today was great.  I did a spit count during the game today, and usually when I do that I make notes at the bottom of my tally sheet on interesting things that happened during the game.  Well, today’s had tons of notes on it, so I think I’ll put them all into one of my famous lists.  Here you go:

  • Cueto was wearing high socks today. I hadn’t noticed him do that before.  It definitely worked for him, so I hope he continues.
  • The broadcasters mentioned today that more Giants fans are being brave and wearing orange in Dodger Stadium. Maybe the fans there are starting to act more human.  That would be nice.  I’m still afraid to attend a game there again.
  • Why do Dodgers fans boo Buster? I noticed it when I attended a game in LA and I’ve noticed it in every game televised from Dodger Stadium.  He gets really loud boos compared to anyone else.  Are there any Dodger fans out there who can comment on this?  Is it because he’s so good?  Is it because he’s too innocent looking for Dodger fans?  I’m confused.
  • Tim Lincecum’s name came up during the broadcast today. Mike Krukow mentioned that he keeps in touch with Dave Groeschner, the head trainer.  They didn’t say what his status was, though.  He still hasn’t had the pitching showcase he was supposed to have in January that keeps getting delayed.  I’m hoping for the best for the kid.  Opening Day without him was really strange.  Sigh.
  • There was a great Krukow quote during this game about how Cueto changes it up on guys: “Jam sandwich – thanks for stopping by!”  Love Krukisms.
  • I’m really enjoying Jeremy Affeldt in the pre- and post-game shows. It’s great to get a reliever’s perspective, and he is so entertaining and kooky.  Love how they were blaming all the scuds during the game today on him.  Even though he’s not on the team any more, he’s still the butt of all the jokes!
  • I love that the outfielders are doing the jump again when they win.  They meet in the middle of the outfield and jump high toward each other.  They had stopped for a while last season when Aoki joined the outfield, and they were shaking hands instead.  Jumping > handshake.  Span really gets into it.

Here’s another spit count for you.  So far all three this season have been against the Dodgers:

April 16th

Giants:

  • Cueto 26 (!!!!)
  • Span 4
  • Belt 2
  • Wotus 2 (seeds)
  • Strickland 2
  • Panik 1
  • Posey 1
  • Casilla 1

Dodgers:

  • Seager 4
  • Thompson 3
  • Kershaw 1
  • Pederson 1
  • Culberson 1 (into batting glove)

Game Spit Master General = Cueto at 26

That’s a total of 49 spits during a 3 hour and 30 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 4.3 minutes.

So my boy Cueto may unfortunately be the overall Spit Master this season with that outing.  His spit output definitely increased as the game wore on, especially after the 4th inning.  Thankfully he doesn’t appear to be chewing tobacco, though.  Hope he switches over to gum – I noticed that after he started chewing gum in the dugout he didn’t spit as much.  Still no spits from Gregor, Brandon C., Hunter, and Javi.  Hope they can all make it to the end of the season spit-free.

I’ve got all the spit certificates ready to send out this week – Spit Master General Award for Andrew Susac (will have to send his to Sacramento) and Thank You For Not Spitting Awards to Javier Lopez (hope it makes up for the game today), Jake Peavy, and Gregor Blanco (for the 5th time).  Hope Samardzija can carry the Cueto momentum into tomorrow and get a win for us.  Looking forward to finally getting a chance to watch him pitch.  Until next time, GO GIANTS!  TAKE THE SERIES FROM THE DODGERS!  PUT US BACK IN THE LEAD OF THE NL WEST ALONE!