What a great game that was today! There was a lot of back and forth with getting runs, but we were finally able to pull it off. So happy that Hunter’s back, and he’s already contributing in a big way. Heston got tested after that rain delay, but at least he did well before that. Major kudos to the relievers for keeping us in it, especially Casilla for his amazing save. Where did all that run production come from in the last few days? Belt got his first homerun of the season on Friday, then proceeded to get two more the next two days. When you look at the current batting averages of the starters, it really makes you feel confident that these boys can get some offense going. I mean come on – 30 runs in the last 3 days, including 7 homeruns, and one of the homeruns was a grand salami by Brandon Crawford. I was texting with my siblings during yesterday’s and today’s games, and I just kept texting, “This is great!” It was so nice to be in the lead for the majority of the time – for once! I know the broadcasters kept calling it Great American “Small” Park because it’s easy to score runs there, but still! So proud of all my boys for taking 3 of 4 against the Reds.
Did anyone else notice how extra buff Hunter looks? He must have spent a lot of time in the last couple months pumping iron because the boy has developed some wicked biceps. And did you notice how Heston was swearing into his mitt when he left the game today? He really must have been upset with himself as he usually seems pretty mellow. But there it was – the mitt coming up to cover the face, then that head jerk. At least he covered his mouth for the kiddies.
There was one play today that you don’t see every day. Crawford threw the ball into third to get a runner out, the ball hit the helmet of the runner, then it rolled into the dugout. The runner got home, but the guy coming from 2nd had to stop at 3rd. The Reds complained that the runner from 2nd should have gotten to go all the way home, but once the ball went into the dugout, it was dead and players were only able to advance two bases from where they started. Crawford got charged with an error. Poor guy – it wasn’t really his fault that the guy ran into the ball.
I forgot to mention yesterday that Hector Sanchez got sent to Sacramento to make room for Hunter on the 25-man roster. Guess Andrew Susac had made a better showing than him recently. I’m sure we’ll see more of him with the big boys this season. Hope he can work on getting that batting average back up. Good luck, Hector. Hey, at least it’s Sacramento and not Fresno! Erik Cordier came off the DL today and was subsequently designated for assignment. How sad! I’m sure he’ll be picked up by someone – that guy is pretty talented. That leaves a space on the 40-man roster that can be filled. I’ll keep an eye out for details on whoever that is – no one has been mentioned yet.
I have a couple of cool links for you. Here’s a video of Sergio Romo being interviewed on Intentional Talk. Pretty entertaining. Sergio is just so loveable! I love how he interacts with Dan Plesac at the end, a fellow reliever. Also here’s an article that explains the origin of every current MLB team name (thanks to Tina from SF Giants Gamer Babes Facebook Group for the link). I always wondered why they were called the Giants, and why the A’s have an elephant as their mascot. Some of the stories are pretty interesting, especially the ones with political and military significance. And I never knew that some of the names were actually voted on by fans. It’s also interesting to hear what the teams were named before they received the current names. Redlegs?? Really?
I finally tracked down the whereabouts of Tyler Colvin. You’ll recall that he was the 2014 overall Spit Master General. He’s landed with the White Sox Triple A Affiliate, the Charlotte Knights. That certificate is on its way to you, Tyler! I’m sure you’ll be thrilled with it!
I was able to do another spit count today. It was the first one I’ve ever done with a rain delay. I didn’t count spits during the delay in order to be consistent (even though there was definitely spitting going on during the wait to get back on the field). Here you go:
- Belt 5
- Aoki 3
- Petit 3
- Duffy 2
- Affeldt 2
- Heston 1
- Bochy 1
- Casilla 1
- DeSclafani 13
- Byrd 8
- Frazier 8
- Phillips 7
- Cozart 3
- Chapman 3
- Pena 1
- Votto 1
- Bruce 1
Game Spit Master General = DeSclafani at 13
Giants Game Spit Master General = Belt at 5
That’s a total of 63 spits during a 3 hour and 30 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 3.3 minutes.
Several of Brandon Belt’s spits were pretty juicy, even though I don’t think they were due to chewing tobacco because he was chewing gum at the time. What’s up with that?? The really nice thing I’ve noticed is that Buster Posey is not spitting nearly as much as he has in years past. In fact, I didn’t catch him once today. Giants in general have been spitting much less than guys on other teams. Good job, Boys!
The guys had a happy flight home and will face the Dodgers next starting on Tuesday. I hope they take advantage of their day off tomorrow to get some rest so they’ll be prepared. And I hope the momentum from that awesome series in Cincinnati will carry over against their rival. We’re currently in second place in the division, with only 4.5 games standing between us and the Dodgers. It would definitely be nice to gain some ground on them this week. You can do it, Boys! You’ve shown that you have the potential to keep that line moving. And now Hunter’s back! And Casey’s batting average is above the Mendoza line! You can do it! GO GIANTS!! BEAT THOSE STINKIN’ DODGERS!
I was so happy that it worked out for me and my sister to go to the game on Mother’s Day. I didn’t want to spend a ton of money, but we were able to get Field Level seats for a decent price, so YAY! Everything about it was great (except for the fact we didn’t get the scarf giveaway even though we got there an hour early). Think it’s time for a list of the great things that happened that day:
- We got free parking. The meters on Mariposa right near the park were empty when we got there, and meters are free on Sundays. SCORE! I had never done that before, and we would not have noticed this time if we hadn’t been turned back at Parking lot A for some reason that day.
- Got to hang out with one of my favorite people in the world, my sister, and talk baseball all day.
- Treated myself to a crab sandwich. I had forgotten how amazingly yummy those things are. Bummer that they raised the price another dollar this season ($17).
- While in line for said sandwich, got complimented on the Giants themed Vans that my daughter made for me. I gave the girl one of my bracelets for being awesome.
- Our seats were great – in the shade on Field Level between home and first.
- Had a great view of my boy Michael Morse at first base (they played the Marlins that day). Was so happy to see the videos of him getting his ring a few days before. He was like a little kid at Christmas! And what was up with Cain goosing him???
- Got to sit next to an adorable 20-month-old little girl who was saying “GO GIANTS” and clapping the entire game. Gave her mom one of my bracelets for Mother’s Day.
- Vogey pitched, and he did a fantastic job. Wore my Vogey shirt in his honor. I knew he would come through both this game and the last one he pitched because his previous start was stinky and he always does better when he’s angry.
- WE WON! And with a walk-off hit from Matt Duffy to boot! It was such a great game. Everyone was high fiving at the end. Hearing Tony sing is always marvelous.
Of course, no trip to AT&T would be complete without the tallest man in the world sitting right in front of me. It never fails. Thankfully it was only for about three innings as he came late and left early. That’s one of my biggest pet peeves – why do people only watch the game for such a short time when they’ve paid good money for those seats?? Give them up to someone who really cares!
Matt Duffy said something interesting in his post game interview. He mentioned that he had planned out the 9th inning ahead of time in his head, and he knew that if he got up that inning, it would be with the bases loaded and 2 outs. He said that way he could prepare himself ahead of time for that situation and not be as nervous. Isn’t that brilliant? What a smart dude! It was also cute that he mentioned he would be giving the bat he got that hit with to his mom. AW!!
After the game, we were listening to KNBR on the way home, and a guy called in saying that he and a bunch of his family went to the game wearing Duffy jerseys in honor of his brother who had passed away. His brother’s name was Duffy. He said it was so appropriate that Duffy won the game for the team that day. The only problem was that their jerseys all had the number 50 on them (Duffy recently changed his number to 5). Bummer for them, but I’m sure they didn’t really care. What a great moment for that family. Maybe Duffy had a little extra help that day.
Learned something new about Casey McGehee that I’m kind of surprised I hadn’t heard about yet. He has a kid with cerebral palsy. Here’s a video he did years back with his wife and son. McGehee and his wife are supporters of United Cerebral Palsy, and fans and teammates in the past have shown support for the organization in their honor as well. I would imagine there will be something in the future involving the Giants and this organization. I hope so. Makes me want to pull for McGehee even more, and thankfully he’s been hitting a little better recently.
The other day I was watching a Kansas City Royals game at my mom’s house with my brothers, and something happened that I had never seen before. The batter hit the ball, it bounced just to the right of the first base foul line, but it had some spit on it and it came back into fair territory before it got past first base. A player picked it up and threw it to first before the batter got there (the batter thought it was foul and wasn’t running), and he was out. WHAT?? I thought once the ball bounced foul it was a foul. Apparently not. According to the official MLB definition of foul ball, it is “a batted ball that settles on foul territory between home and first base.” It’s only ruled foul once it stops or once someone picks it up. Thus even though it bounced out, it rolled back in and was fair. Always learning new, crazy things here.
I was excited to see that I have a new blog follower, and I don’t even know her! I would like to give a warm welcome to Zelda. Thanks for reading!
I have a couple new spit counts for you. Here you go:
- Bumgarner 6
- McGehee 5
- Lincecum 2
- Aoki 2
- Belt 2
- Vogelsong 2
- Machi 2
- Kelly 1
- Hayes 1
- Maxwell 1
- Bochy 1 (seeds)
- Pagan 1
- ? 1 (some coach in the dugout)
- Realmuto 13
- Hechavarria 4
- Prado 2
- Stanton 2 (seeds)
- Ramos 1
- Solano 1
- Redmond 1
- Umpire 1
Game Spit Master General = Realmuto at 13
Giants Game Spit Master General = Bumgarner at 6
That’s a total of 52 spits during a 3 hour and 25 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 3.9 minutes.
Surprisingly, Bum’s count of 6 sets the record for the Giants this season. My boys are nowhere near the records for other teams so far. Keep it up, Guys! Sadly though, it is obvious that Casey McGehee is chewing tobacco by the way he spits. Sigh. Since this was a Bumgarner start, I also recorded his snot rockets – he logged 4 today.
- McGehee 5
- Pagan 3
- Belt 2
- Bumgarner 2
- Lincecum 1
- Arias 1
- Votto 7
- Frazier 7
- Negron 3
- Marquis 2
- Mesoraco 2
- Cozart 1
- Badenhop 1
- Lorenzen 1
- Byrd 1
- Mattheus 1
Game Spit Master General = Tie between Votto and Frazier at 7
Giants Game Spit Master General = McGehee at 5
That’s a total of 40 spits during a 2 hour and 50 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 4.3 minutes.
Madison expelled 3 snot rockets during this game.
I was sad to see the PNC Power Stacks at Great American Ballpark on fire last night. That was my favorite park feature during our baseball trip in 2012. Wasn’t that crazy? Apparently it was caused by a malfunctioning propane valve, and the fire started due to some fireworks that went off. And the game just went on while that stack was burning. Kind of ridiculous that they didn’t stop until it was put out. I did learn something about that feature from the broadcasters. There are 14 bats that surround the top of the two stacks, and they represent the number Pete Rose wore, 14. Major League Baseball has restricted his number from being displayed due to him being cited for gambling on baseball, and that’s how the team got around the ban to honor him.
Hope the boys can pull off another great win there tonight. Wasn’t the offense last night fantastic?? And Belt got his first homerun of the season, plus two other hits. Hopefully this will be the start of a streak for him. Panik has an 11-hit streak going, and Posey and McGehee have been hitting better of late (Posey got another homer yesterday). And the pitching has settled down and seems to be better. Not sure what happened with Timmy and the sliding the other day – I felt so bad for him! That’s so scary, and he really could have hurt himself. It cracked me up that he was using a fork to get the dirt off his cleats! Whatever works, I guess! The thing I’m most excited about is that HUNTER’S BACK!! And he’s in the lineup for today’s game!!!! HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!! I’m so happy for him – I’m sure he’s raring to go, and we’re raring to see him play again! Hope he can bring some energy back to the clubhouse and help us to keep winning. Welcome back, Kid! We’ve missed you! Until next time, GO GIANTS!!! KEEP THE MOMENTUM GOING!!
I have to thank Greg Papa from Comcast SportsNet for today’s title. That’s what he exclaimed at the end of yesterday’s game. And with what I’ve been saying about Casey McGehee, I thought it was just too appropriate. Finally! McGehee shushes his critics and blasts a grand slam, allowing Timmy to relax and pitch a great game. It was so great to see his fist pump as he rounded first – you could visualize the weight being lifted off of him. He ended up with one other hit last night (not going to mention the two double plays he hit into afterwards as we are focusing on accentuating the positive, plus we were far ahead at that point anyway.). I think the guy was close to tears in his post-game interview with Amy G. Check it out. And it was so appropriate that Casey got his slump-busting homer on the evening he was presented with his Comeback Player of the Year award for last season. Nice comeback, Kid. Hope the fans lay off you for a bit. Wish I could give you a big hug. And hope the hitting continues.
I was wondering if it was McGehee’s first grand slam (someone mentioned this yesterday – can’t remember who), so I scanned the internet and came across this video. Guess it wasn’t his first. So funny. The reaction of these guys is priceless.
I was listening to KNBR this morning and Bill Laskey and Vida Blue were hosting. I really enjoy listening to them and getting their point of view. Vida pointed out an interesting fact that I hadn’t thought of. They were talking about how Casey’s been grinding trying to fill Pablo’s shoes and playing for the first time on his home team. Vida mentioned that it can be tough for a guy who’s playing near his family because you are constantly bombarded with ticket requests. I could see how that could put you under a lot of extra pressure and distract you.
I also found out from Bill Laskey this morning that Matt Duffy changed his number from 50 to 5. Typically rookies wear the higher numbers, with some exceptions being George Kontos (70) and Barry Zito (75). Guess Duffy’s just making it official that he’s a big boy now!
It was so great to see Michael Morse receive his World Series ring before the game on Thursday. There is still so much love for that guy from everyone connected to the Giants, including the management, the players, and the fans. Love that they played “Take On Me” after he received the ring. He was acting like a little kid at Christmas! Miss him so much. I’ll get to see him in person tomorrow as I’ll be celebrating Mother’s Day with my sister in the stands at AT&T Park. WOOHOO!
Since I last blogged, they went 2 for 3 against the Padres and they’ve gone 1 for 2 so far against the Marlins. Pitching overall has been better (even though Heston and Hudson got lit up this week). I’m most impressed with Timmy, who frankly I was most concerned about at the beginning of the season. The guy’s got a 2.00 ERA on the season! Also, some of the bats have awoken, most notably Brandon Belt’s. He’s had multiple hits in four of his last five starts. He’s gotten his batting average up to .308. They just need to keep winning series, and they’ll get back on track. Right now they’re at exactly .500 – hopefully next time I blog, they’ll move over to the winning side. Today’s game should be good with Madison on the mound. Until next time, GO GIANTS! REEL IN THE FISH!
Can I start with a WOOHOO!!! They swiffered the Angels! They’re only one game from being at .500 for the season! And they did it on a Timmy start! I was watching the game at my mom’s house today, and she hates Timmy. Of course, the only game we took her to last season, Timmy started. Anyway, the game started, and she asked, “Who are we playing?” I said, “The Angels.” She said, “Again?” I guess she doesn’t get that they play the same team three or four days in a row because she knew they played the Angels yesterday. Then I cringed as I anticipated the next question. “Who’s pitching?” I said, “Your favorite.” Thus started the groaning and the whining. But boy did that kid prove her wrong! What a great start – he went eight innings, only gave up 3 hits and 1 walk (which was so out of the ordinary for him), and got 2 hits and a walk himself to boot! So happy for him. You could see his body language was so positive, and he was smiling the entire game, especially at first base! And how can you not love 2 home runs by Aoki and Panik to start off a game? That was amazing! So glad that Aoki was interviewed after the game by Amy G. That guy never gets any credit. Did you see how when his interpreter thought Amy asked how to say “sweet” in Japanese (she actually said “sweep”) he dropped a cuss word and the interpreter was shaking his finger at him? Love how real he is! So happy for my boys.
You know how I mentioned that the game yesterday ended with a guy running from first to second got hit by a ball from the batter, causing him to be out? Well, even though this happens rarely, the exact same thing happened in the Dodgers vs. Diamondbacks game yesterday. And the same thing happened in another game played yesterday, but it wasn’t the game ending play. Craziness!
Did anyone notice that Vogey finally shaved his crazy Wilson-like beard off? I haven’t seen him yet, but Alex Pavlovic reported on this yesterday. I am ecstatic – I hated that thing. Can’t wait to see him officially clean-shaven again. He looks so much better that way. And did you see how Timmy did his post-game interview today with this huge headband covering most of his head? I think it’s because he hates his haircut and he’s covering up the bald. Must be. Hope the hair grows in quickly for him so he can have a redo.
I had the privilege of meeting George Kontos today at Lefty’s in Burlingame, but I have to say it wasn’t really a memorable experience. It went by so fast! And I didn’t even realize he was wearing his World Series ring until I got home and looked at the pictures on my phone (they took pictures of me with my phone – one was blurry and I’m talking in the other). I would have loved to look at it up close. So disappointing. He is a doll though. I met a woman there from the Gamer Babes Facebook page, and she loves George, so I was even more excited for her than I was for myself. She seemed very happy with the experience. Not sure I would do it again. I had all these questions and comments ready for him but just didn’t have the time. I thanked him for responding to his tweets (he’s responded to several of mine) and gave him one of my rubber band bracelets and he thanked me, but that was about it. Sigh.
Tomorrow starts the series against the Padres. Their offense has gotten a lot better this season, but they have major holes in their defense, especially in the outfield, and their bullpen. Hopefully we can take advantage of those holes and keep playing the small ball that we are so good at. And those homers every once in a while don’t hurt! Come on, Guys! You can do it! A win tomorrow means the win-loss slate has been wiped clean. GO GIANTS! BEAT THE PADRES!
Since I last blogged, we went 1 and 2 vs. the Dodgers in our second series against them (BOOOOOOO!!), but I like to accentuate the positive here, so you have to remember that we’re 4 and 2 overall against them (YAAAAAY!). And speaking of positives, how about those boys taking the first 2 from the Angels, eh?? I’m liking this! And both games were great and close. Love the great pitching outings from Hesto Presto and Huddy, both going deep into the game. The relievers sure needed that! And the guys are hitting when it counts most. My brother Paul brought up an interesting stat today that Ginny will especially like – Brandon Crawford has the most homeruns on the season for the team at 5. Are you as surprised as I was? And I’m so impressed with how Nori Aoki is batting that I’ve even taken him this week as my Beat the Streak pick. He’s been wonderful at the top of the lineup. The boys sure are keeping things torturous, though. Bases loaded in the ninth with 2 outs yesterday in a tied game, then Joe Panik comes through with his walk off hit. Then today the bullpen almost loses Huddy’s 5-2 lead, but they win it with a crazy ending – the runner from first got hit by the ball in play. Here’s a link to the video of that craziness. They love to keep us at the edge of our seats, don’t they??
Speaking of that game ending situation, I had forgotten what the rule was governing this sort of thing – if a runner is hit by a batted ball while he is off the base. I looked it up, and according to MLB rule 7.08f, “Any runner is out when he is touched by a fair ball in fair territory before the ball has touched or passed an infielder.” So the runner going from first to second was out, ending the game. So weird, but we’ll take it! The interesting thing was that the batter was credited with a single even though the runner was out. Apparently the batter lucked out on this because the announcers were saying that it probably would have been an easy play for Panik to get him out had the runner not deflected the ball. Go buy a lottery ticket today, Matt Joyce!
This next paragraph is directed at all the Casey McGehee haters out there. STOP IT!! Give the guy a break! Every time I read a story or post online about the Giants, someone is bashing Casey and his batting slump. Knock it off! Can you imagine what pressure the poor guy is under, playing for the team he loved since he was a kid and trying to fill Pablo’s shoes? Every time he’s interviewed he’s asked about the Pablo thing. So unfair. I’m pulling for you, Casey! I know you will come back. Everyone goes through slumps. And way to silence the haters today with those three hits, one for an RBI. I was so happy for you. Hope you’re feeling some relief tonight.
Did you hear about the game played this week with no one in attendance? The White Sox played the Orioles in Baltimore this week, but no one was allowed into the stands due to the riots in Baltimore following the funeral of Freddie Gray who died of injuries after being taken into custody by the police. The game time was moved up to comply with the curfew in place due to the riots. The previous two games of the series had been cancelled due to the dangerous situation unfolding nearby. An MLB game played with no fans was unprecedented. So strange and so sad. Can you imagine how hard it must have been for the players to concentrate? And how weird it would be to make a great play and only hear cheers coming from your teammates? But more importantly, can you imagine how the citizens of Baltimore are dealing with all this? We all need to keep them in our thoughts and hope that the craziness for them can end.
I heard on KNBR that the National League is thinking of adopting the designated hitter. Apparently this debate has been going on for years, with the powers that be attempting to make the rules for both leagues uniform. Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper have strong feelings about this, saying that both a non-hitting pitcher and a designated hitter are not complete players. Plus they mention that having a pitcher in the batting order makes for some interesting strategizing that would be lost. I have to agree with them. What do you think? Recently, Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer commented on the topic after his teammate, pitcher Adam Wainwright, suffered a season ending achilles tear apparently after he stumbled out of the batter’s box. Scherzer said, “Who would people rather see, a real hitter hitting home runs or a pitcher swinging a wet newspaper? Both leagues need to be on the same set of rules.” Well, one of my boys took major offense to this. That would be Madison Bumgarner, that guy who earned the Silver Slugger for his batting prowess last season. Bumgarner fired back at Scherzer’s comments, saying, “Oh, well, my wet newspaper is 34 ½ inches, 33 ½ ounces, and I’m waiting on some new ones right now. What if [Wainwright] got hurt pitching? Should we say we can’t pitch anymore? I hate what happened to him. He works his butt off out there. But I don’t think it was because he was hitting. What if he gets hurt getting out of his truck? You tell him not to drive anymore?” Scherzer later responded that his comments were taken out of context and he wasn’t directing them at any individual player. Take home lesson – don’t mess with Big Country and his hitting!
I had a baseball question from my friend Angel the other day, and I didn’t know the answer so I decided to check it out. She asked at what point a guy is out running the bases on a force play: Does the ball have to be in the glove or just touching the glove? I looked it up, and the best answer I could find came from the official MLB definition of a tag. The definition is, “A tag is the action of a fielder in touching a base with his body while holding the ball securely and firmly in his hand or glove; or touching a runner with the ball, or with his hand or glove holding the ball, while holding the ball securely and firmly in his hand or glove.” So according to this, the ball has to be firmly in the glove before he is out. Of course, the umpire is the one who has to make this call, so there is some judgment on his part as to when the ball is firmly in the glove. Thanks for the question, Angel! I learned something in the process, too. If you have any questions like this, please feel free to send them my way. Always learning here!
I’ve got a spit count for you that I did last weekend. Here you go:
- Belt 2
- McGehee 2
- Vogelsong 1
- Petit 1
- LeMahieu 6
- Arenado 4
- Dickerson 4
- Blackmon 4
- Hundley 2
- Morneau 1
- Ynoa 1
- Gonzalez 1
- Tulowitzki 1
- Logan 1
- Umpire 1 (seeds)
- Fan 1 (seeds)
Game Spit Master General = LeMahieu at 6
Giants Game Spit Master General = Tie between Belt and McGehee at 2
That’s a total of 33 spits during a 2 hour and 50 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 5.2 minutes.
Dickerson of the Rockies has that yucky habit of spitting into his batting glove. And I was bummed that I actually observed Buster doing that yesterday. Blech! The first non-player spits of the season were logged today, and both were seeds.
I’ll end today with some bragging. I can’t help myself – I was so excited! The other day, I got a pingback on my website dashboard. Of course, me being non-tech savvy, I had to look up what “pingback” means. It happens when you post something, then someone links to it, and you get a notification that they linked to you. Someone linked to my blog!!! HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!! It was Mark Newman from MLB.com blogs. Here’s a link to the blog he wrote that mentioned me. So much excitement! Hoping my boys can sweep (or as someone on the Gamer Babes Facebook page said, “swiffer”) the Angels tomorrow. We need to show all the Southern California boys that we mean business! It will be Timmy on the mound. Keeping my fingers crossed that he can get it together and not tax the relievers any more. Hoping, hoping, hoping! Until next time, GO GIANTS!! SWIFFER THE ANGELS!
I had withdrawals today since the Rockies game was rained out, so I’ve decided to relive the joy that was a Dodger’s sweep. Wasn’t that amazing??? Did any of you predict that? I sure didn’t. But there’s just something about that rivalry that brings out the best in the boys. And since that series, I’ve decided that this team does have what it takes to make it this season, especially since they’ve shown they can do it even without Hunter. Just think what they’ll be like when he comes back! I’m loving the top of the lineup with Aoki, Panik, and Pagan. And I don’t have that yucky feeling at the bottom of the lineup anymore that they can’t get a hit and keep the line moving (well, maybe with McGehee, but I’m confident he’ll figure things out). Lots of potential. Plus Maxwell has been amazing! What a nice surprise he’s been. Hoping his hitting prowess can continue through the season. Bochy said he’s going to have some hard choices to make once Hunter comes back. And the pitching seems to be coming together as well – much better starts from the guys recently.
Thanks to my amazing brother Paul and my tutoring coworker who covered for me last minute, I was able to attend the Dodgers game last Wednesday night with my brother Nick. Yes – the Bumgarner/Kershaw duel. And it was Club Level seats to boot! What a great game – my first of the season. Probably one of the best games I’ve seen at AT&T, and we won! It was so great to see my boys battling and keeping the line moving. That 2 run homer by Guerroro to tie it up was definitely ulcer-inducing. Seems those boys can’t win a game without making it “exciting.”
I had some interesting experiences during this game. First off, before the game, we were walking around the Club Level and I saw someone I recognized. It was Chris Gargano, Senior Director of SFG Productions and Entertainment. I recognized him because he does the G-cast interviews with all the players during Spring Training. Here’s one of him with Timmy (when Timmy still had hair). I told him I knew him, and he looked like he was trying to figure out who I was. I then said that I recognized him from the G-cast videos, and his face lit up. I think he was surprised that someone recognized him. I was surprised at how short he was – he is always sitting down in the interviews. But he has beautiful eyes and he was very friendly and spoke with me for a while, then he said, “Thanks for making my day, and I really needed it!” Aw! Sounded like he had had a rough day, so I asked if he needed a hug and we hugged and then he went off to do his thing. I think during the games he works with Renel. Nice encounter!
Then we went to our seats and were sitting next to these two guys. We started talking to them and they were very friendly. At one point during the game, I was booing the Dodgers, and one of the guys said, “You’re killing me!” to me. I was confused and asked him what was up, and he said, “You’re booing my guys!” He was a Dodgers fan! I asked how he could be a Dodgers fan while wearing a Giants beanie, and he said because his head was cold (he got the cap from his wife who’s a Giants fan). He also said he was wearing his Dodger blue under his jacket so he wouldn’t get killed. I told him Giants fans aren’t that bad. Anyway, in about the 6th inning, he and his friend got up to leave their seats and he asked me if it was OK if he left his blanket on the seat. I said, “It’s your seat – you can do what you want! But I’ll watch your stuff for you while you’re gone.” They left and came back a couple of innings later, and he put two Giants scarves on my lap and said, “Thanks for watching my stuff.” WHAT?? I hadn’t even realized that he had left his backpack behind. The scarves are totally cool! What a nice guy! We thanked him 10 million times over, and then they left. So great! I’ll remember that game every time I wear that thing. Take home lesson – Dodgers fans ain’t so bad!
There were two plays during that game that were controversial, and since a big part of this blog is about learning how the game is played, I figured I would do some research and share the knowledge. First off, Aoki almost got tagged running back to first base, and the Dodgers said he had run out of the baseline to get back. What is the official rule on this? According to rule 7.08a “Any runner is out when he runs more than three feet away from his baseline to avoid being tagged unless his action is to avoid interference with a fielder fielding a batted ball. A runner’s baseline is established when the tag attempt occurs and is a straight line from the runner to the base he is attempting to reach safely.” So the line is not a straight line from base to base like you would think, but a line from where the tag attempt was made to the base. According to this rule, I don’t think Aoki was out (he didn’t seem to run that far out of his original path), and he was called safe by the umpire. Here’s the play – you decide. Don Mattingly sure didn’t like it.
Also during this game, there was some controversy over coach interference. Here’s the video for this one. Blanco was rounding third, and third base coach Roberto Kelly wanted him to stop, but Blanco ran into him. Don Mattingly again came out of the dugout and was complaining that this was interference and Blanco should be out. What’s the rule governing this one? Rule 7.09g states “It is interference by a batter or a runner when in the judgment of the umpire, the base coach at third base, or first base, by touching or holding the runner, physically assists him in returning to or leaving third base or first base.” The penalty is that the runner is out and the ball is dead. Again, the umpire ruled Blanco safe. Kelly did stop Blanco, but Gregor was obviously already slowing down, and even if he didn’t stop him he would have gotten back to the base safely. The funny thing was when this all happened, all of us watching the game in person had no clue what was going on, and everyone was calling Mattingly a baby. He does have a reputation for whining a lot, and Dodgers games are some of the longest in the league. So ha ha on both counts, Dodgers! And now your baseball knowledge has been expanded!
I enjoyed watching the Rockies games Friday and Saturday, but I heard Dave Fleming make an interesting comment on KNBR about Coors Field, the Rockies home field. He said that the baseball they play there is not real baseball, referring to the fact that the ball is so affected by the altitude that everything about the game is different there. I started thinking about the ramifications of this, and they are numerous. Since all the Rockies play half the games of the season in that stadium, the batters all have inflated batting averages (the ball travels a lot further at altitude), and all the pitchers have higher ERAs because of it. Isn’t that crazy? Dave also mentioned that the fans are some of the most loyal because there aren’t any other major league teams anywhere near there, and some people travel over a hundred miles to get to the games. Kind of sad. Those folks don’t get to watch “real” baseball. Also must be really hard for the Rockies to attract good pitchers.
Did anyone else feel really sad for Justin Maxwell yesterday when he hit that home run? It hit a small fence in the outfield above the yellow line that marks the homerun limit, making it look like it hit off the wall. Poor Justin was doing his victory lap, but the umpire stopped him before he reached home saying he was out. Poor guy! It was appealed and shown to be a true home run, but Justin got gypped out of his home run glory strut! The guys in the dugout did all slap him around when the ruling came down.
Also during that game I had a sad Andrew Susac revelation. He had just hit a home run, so the cameras were all on him in the dugout. As he was getting his catching gear on, he obviously put a pinch of chewing tobacco in his mouth. NOOOOO!! I’m going to have to talk to that boy (or maybe I can get Gregor, the non-spitter, to).
And what is it with the Rockies mascot? Does anyone else hate him? He is so annoying! While the Giants were pitching, he would sit right behind home plate with only his goofy head showing so that the pitchers couldn’t help but gaze upon his goofiness. How distracting for them! Isn’t there some rule about mascots distracting the pitcher? If I ever make it to Coors Field, I’m gonna punch his lights out! Don’t mess with my boys!
Had to share this video with you. It’s a pitcher getting creative to make a play. Here you go. The ball got caught in the pitcher’s glove, so he threw the entire glove to first base to make the out. Quick thinking, Lester! I love this game!
I recently sent out my spit certificates – the four that went to non-spitters Gregor Blanco, Michael Morse, Matt Cain, and Joe Panik. Spit Master General Tyler Colvin won’t be getting his until he settles somewhere – he is currently a free agent and not connected to any team, so I don’t have an address for him. I wonder if this will be the first year I’ll get some sort of response. Still haven’t heard from anyone. Will keep hoping. Also, I realized that my blog made MLB.com Blogs Central Top 50 list for websites by fans last October. Here’s a link to the page where I’m recognized. I noticed that someone got to my blog through this site, and lo and behold, there was Giants Fan Carm listed at #28! WOOHOO! For some reason, I got a lot of traffic to the blog that month. Wonder what was happening last October that I was blogging about?? Hmmm…..
I’ve got a new spit count that I’ll post later this week. Until then, looking forward to my boys taking on the Dodgers again, this time on their turf. Hopefully the extra rest they got today will serve them well against their dreaded rival. Until next time, GO GIANTS!! SWEEP LA – AGAIN!!
Couldn’t go to bed without blogging about how well my boys did tonight against their number one rival. Guess that off day after two straight weeks of play did them some good! So many wonderful things happened tonight. I was in heaven watching – it was like the post-season last year! And they did it against the Dodgers, snapping their 7-game winning streak. Life is beautiful! Since I enjoy lists, gonna make a list of just some of the wonderful things that happened in this game:
– There were 4 double plays made in this game. One involved a great catch by Buster. One involved an amazing glove toss by Brandon Crawford to Joe Panik to Buster. Spectacular!
– Justin Maxwell made a beautiful catch of Yasiel Puig’s foul fly ball, crashing into the concrete at the bottom of the wall knee first. Even Puig applauded.
– Justin Maxwell also hit a homerun, and this was after he had hit the wall. I think that guy is going places.
– Timmy pitched a great game. That’s always something to cheer for.
– They played small ball again tonight. They kept moving the line along, and that’s what this team needs to do to win. Six guys got two hits each.
– They got 6 runs tonight. 6 in one game. They only had 21 in the previous 11 games.
– THEY ENDED THE DODGERS’ 7-GAME WINNING STREAK!!!! SWEETEST OF ALL!!!
Going to head off to bed now so I can dream my sweet Giants dreams. Tomorrow it’s Bumgarner against Kershaw. Should be a good one. Hope a fire has been lit. They always seem to do better when they have a challenge. I’m so happy, and so proud of my boys! Until next time, GO GIANTS!!! BEAT LA!
Explain this one to me: How do both teams earn the same number of hits (8) in today’s Diamondbacks game, yet there’s a 4 run differential? Why can’t our guys get their buds in? WHY?? It’s always the same story. So frustrating. Well, at least they have their first day off of the season tomorrow, so they can get some rest and regroup. They’re going to need it for the Dodgers. Don’t forget to wear those rings, Kuip – we’ll need all the help we can get.
And on a positive note (always looking for the positive note), Brandon Belt got a couple more hits today, raising his batting average to …. Wait, still below the Mendoza line. *Sigh* But the other Brandon got two hits today, raising his batting average to…Wait, EXACTLY the Mendoza line (.200). Yikes! But they’re on the upswing, right?? At least my boy George Kontos is a ray of sunshine in the darkness – he didn’t give up any hits in 2 innings today, AND I was shocked to see that his current ERA is 0.84! Way to make me feel better, Kid!
You know what? I just realized that I totally dropped the ball during this series. I forgot to punch my snake! It’s all my fault! Oh the shame!
Let’s change the subject and move on to my first spit count of the season. At first, I was thinking, “When are they going to start spitting?” but of course, the boys didn’t disappoint on that front. Here you go:
- Susac 3
- Blanco 3 (all seeds – whew!)
- Casilla 3
- McGehee 2
- ? 2 (someone in the dugout off camera)
- Bochy 1
- Meulens 1
- Pagan 1
- Kelly 1
- Peavy 1 (seeds)
- Posey 1
- Heston 1
- Righetti 1
- Gosewisch 32 (!!!!!!!)
- De La Rosa 1
- Lamb 1
Game Spit Master General = Gosewisch at 32
Giants Game Spit Master General = Susac, Blanco, and Casilla at 3
That’s a total of 55 spits during a 2 hour and 40 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 2.9 minutes.
Sheesh! If it wasn’t for Tuffy Gosewisch (yes, that’s the nickname he uses), this would have been a low-spitting game over all. But Tuffy had to go blow it and spit more than any single player did all of last season. Way to go, Tuffy! NOT! Granted Tuffy is a catcher and the camera is on him a lot, but seriously? He spat after almost every single pitch. I was disappointed that my boy Gregor made the list today, but at least it was sunflower seeds. Still spitting and yucky, though. And I was so excited about newbie Chris Heston when he walked to the dugout after pitching his 7 2/3 innings spit-free, then he went and blew it by being caught in the dugout in the 9th inning. So disappointed. There was also a touching moment during the game when Bochy and Susac shared a spit side by side in the dugout. Quality bonding time.
So it’s on to the Dodgers on Tuesday. We’ll see if the rest does them good. I sure hope so. I didn’t realize how much I missed Tony Bennett’s voice until yesterday. Will be sending positive vibes and being sure not to wear any speck of blue in support. Until next time, GO GIANTS! BEAT LA! BEAT LA! BEAT LA!
Well, it’s been a while since I’ve blogged, but the win tonight has definitely motivated me! Guess getting those rings today reminded the guys of the potential they have. Bochy mentioned that it was nice to see the guys’ teeth again today after that 8-game losing streak. I have to admit, I was getting teary during the ring ceremony today. I kept thinking about my dad and how he would have enjoyed it. So happy for my boys. The Giants do such a great job with their ceremonies. And that ring – talk about bling!
So let’s start with the official Giants 40-man roster. I’ll post the original one and note the changes (already have several injuries to deal with):
Matt Cain (15-day DL)
Eric Cordier (15-day DL)
Jake Peavy (15-day DL)
Travis Ishikawa (15-day DL)
Hunter Pence (15-day DL)
*=Not on active roster
Already we’ve got two of our starters on the DL, but thankfully Chris Heston has filled in nicely. Heston’s wearing my favorite number, 53. Hope it brings him luck (and washes away the sour Melky memories – he wore that same number). Otherwise the starting pitching has been kind of scary of late. Those boys need to get their act together, and quickly! Andrew Susac came up today to replace Jake Peavy. Was worried that my boy George Kontos wasn’t going to make the team (he was in a battle with Jean Machi), but both were kept because the Giants have very few days off at the beginning of the season, so they carried an extra reliever to help out the starters. Also Gary Brown was designated for assignment – his bat just hadn’t matched his defensive play in the bigs. He was picked up by Cardinals and is currently on their 40-man roster. Maybe he’ll be able to improve his offense with them. Good luck, Gary!
At first it was looking like the boys were playing small ball well, especially at the top of the lineup, but that sure did go sour. Panik had been struggling, but he seemed OK today, so that’s hopeful. Nori and Angel have sure started off the year hot, currently hitting .327 and .340 respectively. But the Brandons and Casey have been cold. I’m hoping that when Hunter comes back (which is expected to be in the next couple of weeks), things will liven up a bit and the bats will magically awaken. I do enjoy watching Aoki’s at bats, though. And the way he throws his bat at the ball. And have you noticed how Casey bounces his front foot up and down while he bats?
Also did you notice Timmy’s haircut today? Check it out. I have to agree with Bochy – downright weird-looking. He ruined the cute.
I have a bunch of random things to share since it’s been a while. Since spit is a big part of this blog, the first has to do with that. Apparently a lawmaker in California is trying to outlaw all tobacco products, including chewing tobacco, at games in California. That would be wonderful, but personally I don’t think it will go anywhere. It was interesting to hear on KNBR that Mike Krukow is actually for the ban. He’d like it to be banned all together in baseball. Go Kruk! It will be interesting to see if others in baseball will come out in support of it, especially after the death of Tony Gwynn last year due to salivary gland cancer.
On a funny note, during a recent game I was watching, my hubby came into the room and asked me who was pitching. I said Ryan Vogelsong. The funny thing is, even though he’s not a huge baseball fan, he knows who Ryan Vogelsong is. He just didn’t recognize him due to the mountain man beard he’s been sporting. I am not a fan of said beard. He’s cute without it. Don’t cover up the cute.
Here’s something I learned that you might find interesting. In Brandon Crawford’s blog, he gave some insight into what it’s like to get used to a new third baseman, namely Casey McGehee. McGehee asked him if he could give him a heads up on breaking balls (Crawford can see the catcher’s signs from his position in center field, but McGehee can’t). Crawford said he makes a little noise to alert McGehee, and he used to do the same for Pablo. He said he thinks it helps him position himself. There’s so much behind-the-scenes strategy stuff that goes on – I love learning about it. And Brandon didn’t say what exactly the sound is. It would have to be loud enough for Casey to hear but not the players on the other team. Maybe a little whistle? Or a click? Maybe he doesn’t want us knowing all his secrets.
Another bit of strategy I learned about deals with when you add a guy to your roster. Cubs prospect Kris Bryant had an amazing spring, hitting .425 and launching 9 homers, the most for any player in either the Cactus or Grapefruit Leagues. How could the Cubs not add this guy to their starting day roster? Well, they didn’t. But they did add him to the roster recently. This delay actually does make sense. Due to a controversial rule in the collective bargaining agreement, if a player plays in the majors for 172 out of the 183 total days of the season, it counts as a full year. By holding him back, they will have control over him for an extra year before he becomes a free agent (players become free agents after 6 years). So essentially they’ll have him for almost 7 years. Sneaky.
Did you hear that the A’s have a dual-handed pitcher in their minor league system? His name is Pat Venditte. I always wondered why more guys didn’t try this – what an advantage he has! He’s the first ambidextrous pitcher to play baseball in over 100 years! He played for the A’s during Spring Training. One aspect of this that hadn’t occurred to me is that he has to use an ambidextrous glove! Depending on which side he’s pitching from, he’s got to switch the glove to the other hand. So weird! He has to declare which side he is pitching from before he pitches to each batter (switch hitters have a chance to switch after he declares). Check out this video of him in action (and check out the mitt!). Does sound like his dad may have pushed him a bit much when he was a little kid, wanting him to succeed where he hadn’t. But the kid seems pretty happy now. He’s currently playing for the Nashville Sounds, the A’s triple A affiliate, and coincidentally the team that Barry Zito has landed on. Would love to see that guy in the big leagues some day.
I’ve got a video to share with you. Here’s one of Hunter’s Hitters youth baseball camp. It totally cracked me up. That guy is so kooky! I also wanted to share Buster’s interview on CBS regarding his winning the Face of MLB award, but it’s not there anymore. WHY???? It was great! My favorite part was the goofy faces Buster made at his son when he started acting up. I got to learn a little more about him from it, too, including the fact that he met his wife in high school studying for the SAT (he mentioned that he scored higher than her), they live on the old turkey farm he grew up on, his daughter walks around the house saying, “Ay, que lindo!” (a quote from the telenovela commercial he did with Sergio Romo last year), and he corrects his wife’s grammar. Love that boy! Wish I could find that video! If anyone out there can, please let me know and I’ll share it.
I had a fantastic time at Spring Training with my siblings. We were there for 4 glorious days and saw 5 games. Yes. And it was fabulous. I got autographs from Casey McGehee, Kruk, Kuip, Jon Miller, Hensley Meulens, and a bunch of the kids, plus I took a picture with Hunter Strickland. We only won one of the games, but it was great to hang out with my siblings and be silly and see my boys again, up close and personal. And I can now say that I’ve been to Talking Stick. And it was hot. Extremely hot. Not as hot as last year, but hot. We also found a couple of new, marvelous eating establishments, and somehow I didn’t gain any weight. Probably because of all the walking and sweating because it was REALLY HOT. Can’t wait to go again next year.
The boys have one last game against the Diamondbacks tomorrow, and I’m really hoping that they win so they’ll have momentum as they go into the series with the Dodgers starting Tuesday. Kuip mentioned during the game today that he will be wearing his three rings on Tuesday. In your face, LA! I did my first spit count today, but I think I’ll post it tomorrow (love to keep you in suspense). I’ll tease with the fact that one of the Diamondbacks sure does enjoy his spitting! Hoping that the win today will lead to bigger and better things from my boys and that Hunter will return soon. Keep the faith, Giants fans! Until next time, GO GIANTS!!
By now, I’m sure everyone has heard the news that Bruce Bochy was suffering from chest discomfort and had two stents put in. He was back on the job today, and he says that he’s fine. While he was in the hospital, it was as if a good friend of mine was ailing. He’s come to be that important in a lot of our lives. Kind of like a father figure. So glad he’s doing well, and so glad he has a great medical staff around him constantly to take care of him. Thanks to them, an irregularity in his heart was discovered during a routine physical, and they were able to immediately take action. Who knows what could have happened if he was employed in another occupation, especially since heart disease runs in his family (his father died from a heart attack). So glad you’re back and doing well, Boch!
MLB has announced some new rules designed to speed up the pace of games. Hallelujah! I know there are a lot of people excited about this, including me! Here’s a summary of the new rules which will be implemented starting with this season’s Spring Training:
- Batters must keep one foot in the batter’s box (Exceptions include pitches where the batter swings, pitches that force the batter out of the box, and pickoff attempts). This should save a decent amount of time, and prevent ridiculous antics like these (check this out). That’s almost a minute right there to see one pitch!
- The between innings breaks will last no longer than 2:25, or 2:45 for nationally televised games. Each stadium will feature countdown clocks, one near the outfield scoreboard and another behind home plate. That will be different and take some getting used to.
- Pitchers must finish warm-up pitches with at least 30 seconds remaining. I hope this doesn’t make my boys nervous. They could get hurt out there if they’re rushing things.
- Batters must enter the box with at least 5 seconds remaining. The first person who came to mind on this one was Pablo. He’s going to have to go out there ASAP once an inning is over if he’s up first and start his pre-batting routine!
- Pitchers must throw the first pitch before time expires. I’m getting nervous for them just typing this!
- Players will be warned and then fined for violations, up to $500 per infraction. These penalties won’t be in effect during Spring Training or the month of April. It seems to me that this isn’t much of a deterrent when these guys are making millions of dollars.
- Managers can challenge plays from the top of the dugout. They are no longer required to approach the umpire. They will still allow time for staff to review the play in question. They are supposed to use some sort of hand signal to get the umpire’s attention. I wonder if they can be creative with their hand signals. That could be interesting!
- Managers retain their challenge as long as they continue to successfully challenge plays. Previously, they got one challenge and if they were successful, one more. Now they have an indefinite amount. This might actually add time to a game. Hope this encourages umpires to be on the ball so managers don’t have to use said challenges. I’m really glad they’re keeping the challenges this season, and they’ve tweaked them a bit to make them better. Bochy really used them to his advantage last season, getting 22 overturned calls on 35 challenges.
- Managers get one challenge for regular season games. They get two for the All-Star game, playoff games, and tie-breaker games.
- The manager, not the crew chief, must use a challenge for home plate collision calls.
I’m glad guys will get used to these rules during Spring Training because some are going to have to make drastic changes in their batting and pitching routines to comply. We’ll see if they do indeed shorten the length of games.
We’re starting to get some insight into how players are doing after the off-season. Matt Cain and Tim Hudson appear to be right on schedule with their comebacks from surgery. Tim Lincecum spent the offseason working on his mechanics with his dad, and we’ll see if that keeps him his position in the starting five (plus his long locks and cookie-crumb moustache are back!). On the unfortunate side, Sergio Romo is behind schedule due to shoulder soreness. The staff isn’t taking any chances with him, but he expects to be throwing off a mound by sometime this week. The rest of the team is scheduled to report on Monday, and I’m hoping we’ll get a look at how Angel Pagan is doing then.
Brian Sabean and Bobby Evans have received a lot of flack for not signing any huge names this offseason. However, I found out recently that they tried pretty darn hard for James Shields, but possibly their timing was off. Shields declined a 4 year, $80 million offer from the Giants a few weeks before he signed for $5 million less with the Padres. Rumor is that the Giants offer came too early and he wanted to see what other offers he would get. But the Giants needed to act, so when they signed Jake Peavy, they removed their offer. So there. At least they tried, and valiantly. They deserve some credit for that.
Only 9 more days until the first Spring Training game vs. the A’s. Can you believe baseball is almost back? I feel like an old friend is returning from a long vacation! Several of the games will be broadcast on KNBR, so if I’m not working, I hope to be able to listen to my boys battle it out again. And I’m hoping at least a couple of the games will be on Comcast this season. I need a fix! Will keep my ears open for how the boys do during Spring Training. Until next time, GO GIANTS!!