No More Requests!

It’s over.  Not gonna do it anymore.  No longer will I make requests of my boys to win games.  I think it puts too much pressure on them.  I asked them to take 5 of 6 on the road (pretty ambitious of me), and they ended up getting swept in both series.  So devastating!  It’s all my fault!  Every time I watch a game with my mom and I get frustrated, she reminds me that it’s just a game.  And she’s right.  I have to remember that.  Plus, even though we got swept (that’s so hard to type), there were some positives to that road trip.  You know how fond I am of lists, so let’s make a list of all the positive things going on with my boys right now:

  • Even though they lost all six games, they lost 3 by only 1 run and 2 by only 2 runs. At least they stayed competitive.
  • Duffy, Panik, Blanco, and Posey still have batting averages above .290. Gotta love that.
  • Newcomer relief pitcher Josh Osich pitched in 2 of the Washington games and he was brilliant. He pitched a total of 2 1/3 innings, allowing no runs, no hits, and he walked 2.  He also retired Bryce Harper of the Nationals twice – definitely a feat on its own!  Welcome to the bigs, Josh!
  • Jake Peavy had a fantastic first outing back from the DL on Friday, pitching 6 1/3 innings, allowing 2 runs on 3 hits, striking out 4 and walking 4. He would have gotten a win if it wasn’t for that one pitch (which resulted in a 2-run homer)!
  • Even though Matt Cain’s return on Thursday wasn’t what we were hoping for, Bochy said he was “encouraged.” He said he looked “comfortable.”  That’s gotta count for something.  Hopefully he’ll improve in his next few starts.
  • The Giants hit 6 homeruns in those 6 games, showing that the power is still there (Buster 3, Crawford 2, and Blanco 1).
  • Hunter will be back soon. He took batting practice with the guys in Washington, and people were commenting that he should be a part of the Home Run Derby!  I like it!
  • There were some amazing defensive plays made, including an amazing dive by Angel and a spectacular catch by Panik in yesterday’s game to rob Nats of hits.

See – it wasn’t that difficult to make a positives list.  And they’ll just have to work out the negatives, including some sloppy baserunning and defense.  I’m sure a lot of those boys are tired as well, and the upcoming All-Star Break will do them a world of good.

In yesterday’s game, the issue of whether umpires should call balls and strikes came up once more as home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi made some “creative” calls that hurt the Giants.  Even the Fox broadcasters had issue with a lot of his calls.  In one at bat, a third strike call was pitched to the exact same spot as an earlier pitch called a ball.  How is a batter supposed to know which pitches to take and which to swing at when that is going on?  Unfortunately for us some tempers flared, and Vogey and Bochy ended up being ejected for taking issue with the calls.  It was the first time Vogey had ever been ejected from a game for arguing with an ump.  Cuzzi has some history with the Giants as well.  According to Andrew Baggarly, Cuzzi blatantly blew a call at the plate in 2010 and called Travis Ishikawa out, causing them to lose a game to the Mets.

So should the job of calling balls and strikes be taken out of the hands of the umpires?  Each ballpark has the technology to be able to see if a pitch is within the strikezone.  You can see this when you watch games on Fox – a box appears over the plate, making it obvious when an umpire gets it wrong.  And they sure do get it wrong a lot.  The annoying thing is that different umpires have different strike zones.  Kruk will usually mention at the start of a game what the home plate umpire’s strike zone is – whether he calls high or low strikes, and how wide of a strike zone he has.  Kruk also mentioned that in general, umpires have evolved a lower strike zone, calling balls that are almost impossible to hit strikes.  With all the comments about the lack of offense in baseball, you would think it would be better to do away with this problem.  I heard Bob Fitzgerald of KNBR ranting about this today, saying that the strike zone is the strike zone and it’s not up to interpretation, especially when the technology to solve the problem is right there.  I once posed this question to Ray Ratto during an online chat, and he disagreed with using the technology, saying that it’s not a game of robots.  For myself, being a baseball purist, I want a strike to be called a strike.  I like the technology, and I think it’s time has come.  Some ideas for how this could work include a wristband that the ump could wear alerting him to whether a pitch was a strike or ball, or a KNBR listener suggested today that the ump could wear goggles with heads-up technology.  What do you think?

My cousin Manny made a comment about my earlier blog regarding the neighborhood play – how a second baseman can technically not touch the bag and a runner would still be forced out.  I said I don’t like the play, and he responded, “Tell that to Marco Scutaro.”  You’ll recall that during game 2 of the 2012 NLCS (which I just happen to have attended), Matt Holliday slid hard into Marco Scutaro at second base in an attempt at disrupting a double play.  Holliday slid so hard, in fact, that he went past the bag.  In fact really, he started the slide AFTER the bag.  Here’s the MLB rule that governs this play (rule 7.09e):  If, in the judgment of the umpire, a base runner willfully and deliberately interferes with a batted ball or a fielder in the act of fielding a batted ball with the obvious intent to break up a double play, the ball is dead.  The umpire shall call the runner out for interference and also call out the batter-runner because of the action of his teammate.  In no event may bases be run or runs scored because of such action by a runner.”  For me, this one’s pretty obvious – Holliday should have been out, the batter should have been out, and Holliday should have been fined up the wazoo.  He slid into Scutaro, not into the bag.  And if you watch the video here, it’s interesting to hear the take of either team’s announcers on the play.  How can you say that was a fair slide??  Scutaro did get hurt on the play, but he was able to continue in the game, eventually hitting the game winner.  Ha ha!  In this case, the neighborhood play wasn’t used – Scutaro tagged the bag.  But the injury came from an illegal move.  That’s where I think the impetus needs to be put, not on the second baseman.  Fine guys heavily so they stop doing this.  It would be interesting to hear what Scutaro would have to say about the whole thing.  At the time, he was quoted as saying, “Uhh… after I saw the replay… you know… that guy always plays hard.  I think he just kind of slid a little bit late. But I guess he wasn’t trying to do that. He was coming full speed. But to be honest, I’m just happy that nothing real bad happened…”  Then later he said if Holliday tried to apologize he would “kick his ass!”  Ah, Marco!  I miss you so much!  Thanks for the comment, Manny.

Lots of movement on the roster lately.  Right handed reliever Mike Broadway was recalled from the River Cats at the end of June but optioned back on July 3rd.  Casey McGehee was DFA’d (again) and replaced with Ehire Adrianza.  Adrianza’s already gotten some playing time, pinch hitting in two games and starting in yesterday’s game.  As expected, Timmy was placed on the DL to make room for Matt and Tim Hudson was placed on the DL to make room for Jake.  Sad to hear that Brett Bochy was DFA’d – that must have been a tough one for Boch.  Also Travis Ishikawa was DFA’d and picked up by the Pirates.  Hope he does well there – love that guy.  We’ll miss you.  Reliever Josh Osich came up from the River Cats as well as right fielder Ryan Lollis.  I remember Lollis from Spring Training – every time he would come up to bat, we would sing the “Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here” song from Schoolhouse Rock.  It will be interesting to see if any trades are made in the next few weeks.  Will keep you posted.

Here’s a fun video of a new Buster Posey commercial.  Seriously, the guy can act!  What a great job he does!  I love it!  So funny!  “Honey, you’re embarrassing me in front of Buster Posey!”  And congrats to Buster on being named the starting catcher for the National League All-Star Team.  Sweet!  And this just in:  Brandon Crawford, Joe Panik, and Madison Bumgarner have all also been named to the All-Star Team.  So well deserved by everyone.  And I voted for all of them!

I have a new spit count for you.  Andrew Susac seriously needs an intervention:

July 5th

Giants:

  • Susac 41 (there are no words)
  • Pagan 5
  • Meulens 2 (seeds)
  • Strickland 2
  • Bumgarner 1 (wasn’t even playing)
  • Posey 1
  • Vogelsong 1
  • Bochy 1
  • Affeldt 1
  • Decker 1
  • Belt 1

Nationals:

  • Williams 7 (mostly seeds)
  • ? 7 (some player in the dugout)
  • Harper 5
  • Desmond 3
  • Ramos 3
  • Espinosa 2
  • Escobar 2
  • Fister 1
  • Scherzer 1 (seeds)
  • Span 1
  • Thornton 1

Misc.:

  • Nationals Bat Boy 1 (seeds)

Game Spit Master General = Susac at 41 (new season high)

That’s a total of 91 spits during a 3 hour game for an average of 1 spit every 2 minutes (new season high).

Susac takes over the record for most spits in a single game this season, surpassing Tuffy Gosewisch’s previous high of 32.  He’s definitely on his way to earning that certificate.  The interesting thing is that I don’t think the guy is chewing tobacco – he is obviously chewing gum.  So why all the spitting??  Just a nervous habit?  Bochy seriously needs to get a spit intervention group together.  Batting coach Steve Decker logged his first spit of the season during this game.  Great.

We start the series against the Mets tonight.  No more requests for my boys – just hoping we can win some to get out of this slump.  Hope the boys are happy to be back home out of that crazy heat.  Maybe that will do them some good.  The Dodgers are still within our grasp.  GO GIANTS!!  SNAP THE SKID!!

KRUK AND KUIP ANSWERED MY QUESTION!

I was performing my usual morning routine of scrolling through Facebook postings the other day, and I noticed that the Giants were asking for questions for Kruk and Kuip.  They mentioned that some of the questions would be asked of the guys during the broadcast that day.  Never wanting to pass up on an opportunity to interact with anyone associated with my favorite team, I came up with a question and posted it:  “What was the most memorable moment of your career for each of you?”  I thought it would be interesting to get some insight into their playing careers since they are so good at what they do we often forget that they did actually play the game at one time.  I was bummed because I knew I wasn’t going to be able to see the game that afternoon, so I would never know if they answered or not and if they did, what their answers were.

While I was at lunch with some friends, I got an email from a former coworker telling me that she saw my question during the game and just wanted to send a note and let me know she was thinking about me.  Then I got a text from my brother with a screen shot he took during the game with my name and the question.  KRUK AND KUIP ANSWERED MY QUESTION!!  And thankfully, my brother was taping the game so I was able to see what their responses were (he’s so awesome that he actually recorded it for me using his phone and sent it to me so that I could see it right away!!).  Thanks to both Andrea and Nick for letting me know, otherwise I would have been clueless about the whole thing!

Kruk answered that his most memorable moment was when he pitched in game 4 of the playoffs against the Cardinals in 1987(he was on the Giants at that time).  They were behind in the series 2 games to 1, and they ended up winning 4 to 2.  I did some research, and that was the only post-season game he pitched in.  What a fabulous game it was for him – he pitched the entire 9 innings, allowed 2 runs on 9 hits and 1 walk.  No wonder it was memorable!

Kuip mentioned that his most memorable moment came during his first Opening Day in Cleveland.  He said there were close to 80,000 in attendance that day, and he commented, “I don’t remember taking a breath.”  Hard to imagine “Smooth” being nervous about anything.  Kruk chimed in and asked him about when he played second base during Dennis Eckersley’s no hitter and Len Barker’s perfect game.  Kuip replied, “Yeah, that was cool.”  Beautiful.  Thanks for answering my question, Guys!

So how about our boys?  Haven’t they been playing so well lately, even with the injuries they’ve had to endure?  Major kudos to Matt Duffy for stepping up and really strutting his stuff.  They had a side-by-side comparison of Matt vs. Pablo the other day after the game, and Matt has actually done better so far this season.  Remember during the off-season how concerned we were about who would replace Pablo?  Those days are gone and forgotten!  It’s kind of like Joe Panik last year, coming in and claiming the second base role.  Joe’s been having an amazing season as well.  And Brandon Crawford and Buster Posey have been on fire lately, adding to the increased offense we’ve seen in the last two series (which we took, by the way!!).  And Madison couldn’t be outdone on the offensive side, so he had to go and get a homerun yesterday!

The only concerns are the weakened outfield due to Hunter and Nori being out and the questionable lineup with Matt and Jake coming back.  We’ll get our first run through of the new lineup this week, with Matt scheduled to pitch on Thursday in Miami and Jake Friday in Washington.  I have to admit I’m kind of scared about this.  Matt’s coming back after a strained flexor tendon, so really he’s an unknown.  At least he did fairly well in his rehab starts.  Jake, on the other hand, was rather scary in his last rehab start, giving up 5 runs in the first inning.  And this was against a AAA team!  He’s coming back from a back injury and he’s not a spring chicken anymore at 34, so who knows if he’ll have a flare up.  I’m assuming that on Thursday Timmy will go on the DL due to his arm injury (that helped him save face since he probably would have been replaced anyway) and then Huddy will be put on the DL to give him some rest.  We’ll see.  The fingers are already crossed.  It sounds like Bochy will continue with the outfield bandage of Susac behind the dish, Buster at first, and Brandon Belt in left until our outfielders get back.  Susac’s bat has been another ray of sunshine in all of this.  I just hope Brandon can handle the defense in left – it would be tragic if teams start taking advantage of that weakness (and it’s not poor Brandon’s fault).

The guys begin a series in Miami tomorrow, then one in Washington.  They listened to me last time and took both series, so I’m going to make a plea again.  Since the Marlins haven’t been so hot lately, and since their star Giancarlo Stanton is out with an injury, I’m asking for a sweep in Miami.  I really think the boys are playing well enough that they can do it.  Just hope the heat and humidity don’t get to them.  The Nationals are another story, so I’m hoping we can take the series.  I know it’s a big order, but do it for Nori and Hunter – they deserve it.  Not to mention us fans!  Still one game behind the Dodgers in the West.  Hoping we can take over the lead by the time I blog again.  Come on boys!  You can do it!  GO GIANTS!!  WIN SOME FOR US!!

Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad, Right?

Oh, well – at least we took the series against the Dodgers, right?  Guess I got a little cocky there.  I did figure out the reason behind the failure to sweep in the end though – it was the nationally televised game jinx.  I should have figured that in to my calculations.  For some reason, my boys tend to lose games that are on national television (except for post season games, of course).  In fact the last time they played the Dodgers and one of the games in the series was televised, that also was the only game of the series they lost.  Does the pressure get to them?  They should grab that spotlight when they can.

We’re still only one game behind the boys from down south, though.  I was hoping they could have pulled it off last night to at least tie, but even with Madison’s spectacular performance, logging 14 strikeouts, the offense just couldn’t get it together.  We’ve still got a chance to get to the top again with two more against the Pads and three against the Rockies.  They both haven’t been so hot this season, and we need to try and take advantage of that.  Want our banner back at the top in AT&T soon!  I was actually wondering about something regarding those banners:  What do they do if two teams are in a tie?  Who wins out and gets to be on top?  I would hope that if we are in a tie with the Dodgers, we would be on top.  It’s only fair, right?  It’s our home.  I’ll have to do some research on this once we tie and then beat the Dodgers!  Positive thoughts!

I’m so bummed about the fact that Nori Aoki has a fractured right fibula and will probably be out for at least a month.  That guy sure can get things going at the top of the lineup.  Wishing him a super speedy recovery.  Travis Ishikawa will be filling in for him (his contract was purchased from Triple A today).  So at least there’s something positive that came from that.  Welcome back, Travis!  I missed you!  Glad you’ll be making more moola this season!  Hunter is still ailing with tendonitis in his left wrist.  It’s so weird how the guy played in every game the last two seasons but now he’s been out more than he’s been in this season.  You just never know.  Heal quickly, Kid.  We need your energy and punch back in the lineup!  Jean Machi is back off the DL, replacing Mike Broadway who went back down to the River Cats.  What a great baseball name – Broadway.  A guy who was destined for greatness!  Pretty good showing while he was up with the bigs.  He’ll probably be back at some point during the season.  He seemed to come out of nowhere – I hadn’t heard anything about him before he showed up.  Also Matt Cain and Jake Peavy should be making their return within the next week or so, so that lineup will get a shakeup soon.  Wonder who will be going to the bullpen – I would guess it will likely be Timmy and Ryan, but maybe they’ll put Tim Hudson on the DL to get some rest.  We’ll see soon enough.

I was so disappointed last Sunday while watching a game, and it had to do with spitting.  My boy Hunter Pence, a guy who’s earned a Thank You For Not Spitting certificate in a previous season, was shown expectorating at least three times in the dugout.  These spits were no ordinary spits – they were doosies.  I wasn’t doing an official spit count at the time, but the boy is officially off my thank you list.  Blech.  Clean up the act, Kid.  We’re watching and we’re not amused.  I was amused by the fact that Hunter is now using the Lion King’s “Circle of Life” as his walk-up music.  Thought I was hearing things one day at a game.  Still doesn’t make up for the spitting, though.

I’m sure everyone by now has heard the news about Pete Rose and how it was finally confirmed that he indeed was gambling on baseball while he was a player, not just as a manager like he claimed.  He’s been trying to make a comeback and get in the better graces of the powers that be in baseball, but he’s finally officially been caught in the lie.  Pretty pathetic.  I hope he’s gotten some help with his problem, but I don’t think there’s any place for him in baseball today.  Just my opinion.

Sending my deepest condolences to the family of former Giants player Darryl Hamilton.  He was the victim of a murder suicide.  The extra tragic complication is that his 14-month-old son was discovered in the house where the murder occurred.  Keeping the little one in my thoughts as well.  According to his friends in baseball (including Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper), Hamilton was a pretty great guy who always had a smile on his face.  At the time of his death, he was employed as a network analyst.for MLB Network.  Rest in peace.

I recently learned about a play in baseball from watching a game, and I’ve been meaning to blog about it because it totally ticks me off, but I hadn’t had the time to research it.  That time has finally come.  The play is called the neighborhood play, and it became important in the May 30th game vs. the Braves.  Joe Panik was running to second base from first after the batter had hit the ball, the Braves second baseman Jace Peterson got the ball right before Panik got there, then threw as quickly as he could to make the double play.  Nothing suspect there, right?  No, except for the fact that Peterson NEVER TOUCHED THE BAG!  And because of this silly neighborhood play, the play could not be challenged.  Insanity!  In the replay, it was obvious to anyone that he was a few inches away from the bag.

So what is the neighborhood play, and why is it in use?  It occurs in a double play situation.  Basically, the defender at second base can either a) catch the ball close to second base and throw to first or, b) tag the base and then catch the ball without being in contact with the base and then throw to first.  In either case the guy running to second is out, and the play cannot be challenged.  The only challenge that can be made is if the fielder was pulled off the base by an errant throw of if the catch itself is in doubt.  Why this insanity of calling a guy out when the fielder wasn’t touching the bag?  Primarily for safety’s sake.  Guys running full on from first to second like to barrel in to the second baseman while he’s trying to make the play, putting him at risk for severe injury.  In this way he can get out of the way of danger if it was deemed he could have easily made the play anyway.

What do I think about this whole thing?  It stinks!  It’s just not right to call a guy out when he’s not.  Either tag the base, or if it’s not safe, don’t make the double play.  Or even better – heavily fine guys that obviously run at the player and not the base.  I mean heavy – make it hurt.  That would solve the problem and keep the game intact.  What do you all think?  I know that during the telecast of that game, the broadcasters agreed with me.

Hoping the guys can come back tonight behind Vogey and get some offense going, then take the momentum through the weekend.  We’ve got to take these next two series since we’re playing much weaker teams.  I know it’s going to be tough without “Seaweed” and Hunter, but we can do it.  Maybe the guys just need a Pence on the Fence for motivation (Seriously, have you seen this commercial?  Pretty darn creepy!).  And maybe the Dodgers will help us out some by continuing to lose (just had to add that in).  Until next time, GO GIANTS!!  GET BACK ON TOP!!

Getting the Broom Ready

A win against the Dodgers is always extra sweet.  And a win against the Dodgers when Buster Posey hits a grand slam is just as sweet as can be!  Did you all love that game last night?  Those guys from down south always seem to bring out the fight in my boys.  What joy, especially since we’ve pulled back within a game and a half of them.  If we sweep them (again – ha ha!), we can take over the lead.  They’ve shown that they can do it – I’m keeping hopeful.  Pitching is getting back on track and the bats are batting again.  It could happen.

Since I last blogged, they listened to me and took 2 of 3 against the Mets (nice job!), were swept by the D-Bags (sigh), and split the series with the Mariners.  We’ve had some injury woes with Hunter having tendonitis in his left wrist (he was shown in the dugout wearing a splint yesterday during the game) and Gregor Blanco receiving a concussion during practice.  The Blanco injury was freaky – last season, Brandon Belt was hit in the head by a throw from Marco Scutaro during practice, and recently Gregor was hit in the head by a throw from Belt during practice.  Hey guys – be a bit more careful out there please!  Such a waste when guys are injured and it’s not even during a game.  Hunter will be out for a bit longer, but Gregor was back in the game yesterday and went 2 for 4 – sweet!  Gregor has really been an underrated asset to the team this season, and he was missed while he was out.  Jarrett Parker came up to cover for him while he was out, and though his offensive performance wasn’t great, he was able to log his first major league hit.  I’ll never forget the grand slam we saw him hit at Spring Training last year.  Maybe getting his feet wet will make his next call up more productive.

I enjoyed watching the Mariners game this Wednesday that pitted our boy Madison against the Mariners’ ace Felix Hernandez.  Great pitching is always fun to watch.  Bummer that Madison did such a great job, not allowing a hit until the 5th inning, giving up just 2 runs on 4 hits and striking out 9 only to log a loss.  I hate when that happens.  Hernandez was impressive, though.  Gotta give credit where credit is due, even if it’s to a guy on the opposing side.  I loved the King’s Court they do in Seattle.  What team spirit they have!  When Hernandez pitches, they have a section of seats they call the King’s court (they call Hernandez King Felix).  Just about everyone in that section wears bright yellow shirts with Ks on them, and when the count gets to 2 strikes, they stand up and hold K signs.  Love that!  Unfortunately for us, I think the court worked a little too well that night!

I have a new bond with Nori Aoki.  He and I have the same nickname – Seaweed.  The broadcasters mentioned Nori’s nickname during the game last night.  They mentioned that the guys on the team call him this because Nori in Japanese means seaweed.  My brother Paul started calling me Seaweed (actually C-weed) when I was a kid because he is the king of the nickname and my name starts with a C and he’s just goofy like that.

Sending my condolences to Roberto Kelly on the death of his mother-in-law.  He’s been out the last couple of days, being replaced as 3rd base coach by assistant batting coach Steve Decker.  You and your family are in my thoughts.

I was able to attend the Mariners game on June 15th with my son, my husband, and a family friend.  We had the sweet Club Level seats that my hubby gets occasionally.  Took advantage of being on that level and had an SF Giants Roll for dinner and strawberry shortcake for dessert.  Yum!  Unfortunately, they lost.  Even though I always have a good time at AT&T, there really was nothing to get excited about during that game.  Our friend was hoping to see my usual, over-the-top antics at a game, but besides the two of us starting the “Let’s Go Giants” chant a couple of times, the game was blah.  No offense or defense to thrill us pretty much at all.  That loss brings my season record to 2 and 2.  Gotta get that average up!

Learned about a new stat the other day from the broadcasters during a game.  There’s a stat that takes into account how well a catcher frames a ball – how well, by moving his mitt into the strike zone after catching a pitch, a catcher can make a ball look like a strike.  This sounds like it would be something of interest to a prospective team and could definitely make a difference to the outcome of a game.  And our boy Buster ranks up there with the best.  Just one more reason to love that guy and appreciate what he does for us.

Had to share this article that I read about Chris Heston’s no hitter.  It’s written by Grant Brisbee who is as fond of lists as I am.  This guy is a crackup – I’m so happy I’ve discovered his writing.  #26 and #44 are my favorites.  Hope reliving that moment in our history brings you as much joy as it did me.  Also realized something that I think I should have known by now.  Did any of you know that Sergio Romo’s youngest son has cerebral palsy?  He mentioned it in this video about the Giants Challenger Clinic, where kids with special needs can learn to play baseball.  Bullpen coach Mark Gardner and Tiny Felder also volunteered at the camp.  I blogged about the fact that Casey McGehee has a son with cerebral palsy, but I didn’t know about Sergio’s son.  Maybe he likes to keep it personal.  Hope they can receive some support from each other.

Remember how I posted the video of Matt Duffy getting punched in the privates by Matt Cain at the White House?  Well, Brandon Crawford actually addressed this issue in his last blog.  He confirmed that it was Matt Cain (and not him) who did this, and called this activity a “turkey tap.”  I had never heard of this term before, plus I didn’t realize this was such a popular activity with my boys.  Can all the guys out there tell me if this is just a guy thing??  What a bunch of goofballs!  Glad they have fun tormenting each other.  Gotta keep it light I guess.

I was flattered to be pinged by MLB.com blogs another 2 times, but there was an unfortunate error in the most recent blog.  They referred to my blog about Chris Heston’s no hitter, saying “What happens when Giants Fan Carm doesn’t check his phone during a Giants no-hitter?”  His.  I commented on the article, saying, “Just FYI – Giants Fan Carm is a she, not a he.  Yes, women actually do write blogs about baseball.”  I couldn’t let the error stand, but it didn’t really bother me.  I’ve had it happen before.  But the guy that wrote the article, Jacob Wilson, was so embarrassed by the mistake that he sent me an Email apologizing profusely, saying that he mixed up my blog with another Giants blog and he felt particularly awful because their site highlights women bloggers.  He also immediately changed the “he” to a “she” in the blog.  I thought that was pretty cool.  And again, I am so honored to have even been recognized by them.  Thanks for the respect, Jacob.

I’ve got two new spit counts for you, and both were responsible for some bubble bursting.  Here you go:

June 17th

Giants:

  • McGehee 5
  • Bumgarner 4
  • Duffy 3
  • Pagan 2
  • Aoki 1
  • Parker 1
  • Belt 1
  • Pence 1 (in dugout – burst bubble number 1)
  • Wotus 1

Mariners:

  • Hernandez 6
  • Cano 2
  • Cruz 2
  • Zunino 2 (into batting glove)
  • Miller 1
  • Morrison 1

Misc.:

  • Safeco Field Usher 1 (into cup)

Game Spit Master General = Hernandez at 6

Giants Game Spit Master General = McGehee at 5

That’s a total of 34 spits during a 2 hour and 25 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 4.3 minutes.

Yes, Hunter burst my first bubble.  He’s one of the guys who I almost never catch spitting, yet he got caught for the first time this season today.  And he wasn’t even playing in the game – he was in the dugout!  Oh, the disappointment!  Madison logged 9 snot rockets during this game.  That’s a record for him this season.  Somehow even though Casey hasn’t been playing much, he still managed to be crowned King Spitter for the Giants today.  Plus, what is up with that usher?  He was obviously chewing on the job and spitting into a cup.  Aren’t there rules against that??

June 19th

Giants:

  • Bochy 4
  • Meulens 4
  • Belt 4
  • Posey 3
  • Heston 3
  • Aoki 3 (all sprays)
  • Pagan 2
  • Vogelsong 1 (wasn’t even pitching)
  • Duffy 1
  • Panik 1 (Say it ain’t so!!!)

Dodgers:

  • Ethier 6
  • Pederson 3
  • Grandal 2
  • Gonzalez 2
  • Kershaw 2 (also wasn’t even pitching)
  • Puig 1
  • Bolsinger 1
  • Nicasio 1
  • Callaspo 1

Game Spit Master General = Ethier at 6

Giants Game Spit Master General = 3-way tie between Bochy, Meulens, and Belt at 4

That’s a total of 45 spits during a 3 hour and 20 minute game (Dodgers games always seem to go longer) for an average of 1 spit every 4.4 minutes.

The bubbles continue to be poked!  Joe Panik logged his first spit EVER today.  And it was a big, fat one.  I had such high hopes for the kid.  Also why do I always catch pitchers who aren’t pitching spitting in the dugout?  Stop that!!!  Even though you should never do it anyway, there is no excuse for this activity.

I’ve got my broom at the ready for the sweeping that’s going to happen the next couple of days.  Won’t it be sweet for our banner to be on top at AT&T again?  Positive thoughts, positive thoughts for the two more games we need to win.  You can do it boys.  Keep on fighting.  GO GIANTS!  SWEEP THE DODGERS!

#HestoNoNo

Yes.  That’s what greeted me when I checked my phone after work last night.  I had about 20 notifications from ESPN, numerous texts from my siblings, and several Tweets with the hashtag “#HestoNoNo”.   At about 5, I had asked a coworker (who’s also a Giants fan) if he had an update on the game, but he didn’t (I don’t keep my phone with me when I tutor because it’s a distraction – especially when my boys are playing).  Then at about a quarter to 7, the same coworker came by with a big grin on his face saying the game was over.  I asked him how it could be over already if it started after 4.  The grin widened, and he said, “Oh yeah.  You don’t know what happened.  Heston pitched a no hitter.”  WHAAAAAAAAAAAT??  I was sure he was just messing with me until I picked up my phone after work.  And I missed it all!  But they’re replaying it on Comcast SportsNet at noon today, so I have the opportunity to see how it all went down.

What an amazing accomplishment for this guy.  And what an adventure it’s been for him this season.  He didn’t get picked up by the team after Spring Training, but came in to cover for the injured Matt Cain.  He definitely impressed at first, but then had some problems with consistency.  With the return of Matt Cain and Jake Peavy to the lineup in the near future, it was a sure thing that Heston would be sent down to make room for them.  Take home lesson:  Never trust a sure thing.  I think he’s made his case to stay.

That game was so cool on so many levels.  Speaking of cool, the boy sure is calm under pressure.  He just doesn’t seem to get rattled by anything.  All the guys in the clubhouse ignored him once there was potential that he might have a no hitter as they normally would do.  But he had none of this.  He even went up to Matt Duffy and Nori Aoki and apologized to them for a baserunning error in the 8th that caused Aoki to lose an RBI and Duffy to lose a run (Heston didn’t realize there were 2 outs so he didn’t hustle to 2nd base).  Gee, I wonder why he lost track of the outs!  The park was a contributor to maintaining the cool factor, too, as Bochy had Casilla and Lopez warming up in the ninth, but Heston couldn’t see them because their bullpen is hidden.  During Matt Cain’s perfect game, Bochy had Shane Loux warming up in the batting cages so Matt couldn’t see him.  And Heston mentioned the fact that at one point he made a play at first, then Duffy came out to talk to him on the mound just to give him a breather.  I love how they look out for each other!  Then at the end, after that final strikeout, Heston didn’t know what to do and started walking over to the dugout, but Buster was having none of that.  He tossed the game-winning ball to Heston (who proceeded to drop it), then walked over to envelope him in the now famous Buster hug.  And I noticed that the post game pile on was much more subdued this game – mirroring the calm personality of Heston.

Usually during a no-hitter, there is some fantastic defensive play that contributes, like Gregor Blanco’s unbelievable diving catch during Matt Cain’s perfect game or Hunter Pence’s amazing reach during Tim Lincecum’s no-hitter.  None of those were needed in this game, making it all the more incredible.  Well, Brandon Crawford did make a nice play at short, but we’ve come to expect that from him (here’s the video of that one for Ginny).  Heston logged 11 strikeouts and walked no one.  The only imperfection was that he hit three guys, including the leadoff batter in the 9th.  But even that didn’t keep him from striking out the next three.

I love all the stories that you hear after the game when one of these happens.  It turns out Heston’s little league coach was at the game.  He lives in Florida, and thought it would be nice to take a trip up to New York to watch his former player pitch in the big leagues.  This was the first of Heston’s starts he had been to.  Nice choice!  He even got to celebrate with Heston in the clubhouse afterwards.  I think he needs to shuttle that guy to every game he starts!  Then there’s the story about Heston’s agent.  Jayson Stark tweeted the story of how Heston’s agent, Marc Kligman, had just flown in to SF last night, took a wrong turn and wound up at AT&T Park.  As he was driving by, he got a text from Giants general manager, Bobby Evans, that read, “Your guy’s pitching a no-hitter.  Where are you?”  Evans didn’t even know that Kligman was in SF.  He invited him into the clubhouse to watch the end of the game with him.  What a coincidence!

So I’m about to watch that history-making game for myself.  Sending huge congratulatory hugs to Chris Heston.  From all the wonderful comments about him from his teammates, sounds like it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.  Congrats to you also on scoring a full page of the New York Daily News today (check it out here – thanks for the heads up, Alex Pavlovic).  Everyone in the Big Apple knows your name now!  Until next time, GO GIANTS!!  KEEP THE MOMENTUM GOING!!

Off to the Big Apple

The roller coaster of a Giants season has continued since I last blogged.  We swept the Brewers (which we should have because they stink), we split the series with the Braves, we were swept by the Pirates (sigh), and we took 2 of 3 from the Phillies (who we should have swept because they also stink).  The boys have really got to take advantage of those weaker teams and get those brooms out!  They start the series against the Mets tonight, and surprisingly this season the Mets are a force to be reckoned with.  They are at the top of their division, but we actually have a better winning percentage than they do, so I’m looking forward to some really entertaining games between the two (and hopefully we at least take the series!).

The boys got to go to the White House again this last week to celebrate their World Series victory last year.  I loved seeing the pictures of all my boys dressed up.  Some of the boys were really stylin’, including Santiago Casilla with his purple suit and Gregor Blanco with his pink jacket.  They looked like they really had a good time there.  I think it meant the most to Tim Hudson, since it was the first trip there of his career.  He said, “It’s a thrill for all of us, but especially for me.  I spent a long time waiting for this opportunity, and this is why I came to San Francisco.”  He was even one of the lucky guys mentioned in the President’s speech about them.  Loved the President’s comments about Madison’s post-game celebrations!  I was happy that Michael Morse got to join them (and loved that checkered jacket!).  Sad that Timmy, Ishi, and Kruk and Kuip weren’t there.  Even though it was the third time for some of the guys, I would imagine that kind of stuff just doesn’t get old.

There was some naughtiness going on as the boys were lining up on the risers that you may have missed.  Those boys are always clowning around with each other and messing with the rookies.  Check out this video that Alex Pavlovic shared on Twitter.  When I first saw it, I didn’t know what was going on, but watch as Matt Cain walks up, and observe the reaction of Matt Duffy.  I think Brandon Crawford was in on the whole thing by the way he looked back before the incident occurred!  Maybe he dared Cain to do it.  Such sillies!

There’s been some roster movement since last I blogged.  Both Travis Ishikawa and Casey McGehee ended up accepting assignments to the Sacramento River Cats (YAY!  Glad they’re still with us!), then Casey was brought back up when Jean Machi was put on the disabled list due to a left groin strain (um…ouch and awkward).  Casey apparently lit it up when he went down to Triple A, hitting .357 with two home runs in just 10 games.  He’s only had one at bat since he’s been up because Matt Duffy has continued to impress, but I’m sure he’s happy to be hanging out with the big boys again.  Hunter Pence wasn’t put on the DL, but he’s been out since last Wednesday with a sore left wrist.  He may be back in the lineup tonight – I sure hope so!  Erik Cordier was designated for assignment after his rehab assignment ended, then he decided to explore free agency instead, then a few days later was picked up again by the Giants.  Things that make you go hmmmm…  The Giants also signed left fielder Kevin Frandsen to a minor league contract.  Frandsen played for the Giants from 2006 to 2009.

I came across a couple of interesting plays I wanted to share with you.  I love this kind of stuff.  First off, check out Jose Bautista being awarded a double after he hit a pitch that John Danks balked on.  I thought the ball was dead once the balk was called, but this is not true.  According to MLB rule 8.05, if there are runners on base and the batter reaches first on a hit, “the play proceeds without reference to the balk.”  So basically if the final outcome of the balk is positive for the offense, they get to take advantage of it.  Here’s one you’ve probably only ever seen in little league – a player walking on a count of three balls.  Yes.  Here’s proof.  Watch the pitch count in the lower left corner.  Joey Votto is one lucky guy.  How could no one have realized this mistake??  Definitely a head scratcher.  Who knows how that could have changed the outcome of that game (even though it ended up being a blowout).

I went to the Braves game with my brother Paul and my niece Giuliana on May 31st.  What a great day we had.  And that kid is such a trooper for being only 5-years old.  We got to the game about an hour early and took her on the Coke slides.  Then we got our lunch and settled into our seats. P and I got Chicago dogs – hadn’t had one in a while, and boy are they good!  We sat on the View Level but still had a great view of my boys.  I actually like sitting up there sometimes and being able to have a good view of the entire field, especially the outfield.  The game was extremely exciting (including back-to-back homeruns by the Brandons) up until the end when the boys had a win in their grasp several times and let it slip away.  After the game, we took G to run around the bases.  I was disappointed that they wouldn’t let me run with her (she wanted me to), but I did get a See’s candy butterscotch sucker out of the deal.  I have to take a minute to brag about my amazing niece.  First off, she knows all the Giants players’ names and actually watched the game.  She didn’t whine ever during the entire game, even with the extra hour before and extra hour after.  Love going to games with that kid.  Since we lost that day, my record for the season now stands at 2 and 1.  Can’t wait to go again!

Here’s the latest spit count.  Andrew Susac continues to disappoint…

May 30th

Giants:

  • Susac 13
  • Lincecum 4
  • Petit 3
  • Duffy 2
  • Belt 2
  • Bochy 2 (seeds)
  • Wotus 1
  • Kontos 1 (huge spray when leaving mound – sheesh!)

Braves:

  • Peterson 16
  • Perez 3
  • Bethancourt 3
  • Markakis 3

Misc.:

  • Umpire 1

Game Spit Master General = Peterson at 16

Giants Game Spit Master General = Susac at 13

That’s a total of 54 spits during a 2 hour and 50 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 3.1 minutes.

Peterson of the Braves was obviously chewing tobacco.  Shame!  Even though Andrew Susac didn’t match the record he set last time, he continued to make a name for himself on the spitting front.  And George – don’t you realize the ladies hate the saliva sprays??  That was horrible!

I’m really bummed that I’m not going to be able to watch any of the Mets series as I’ll either be working or taking Mom to bingo.  Why couldn’t Thursday be a day game??  This should be a very competitive series (I hope!).  We’ll be seeing their best pitching, so I hope the boys keep those bats hot.  Wishing my starting pitchers strength against the boys from the Big Apple.  Just keep it together.  You can do it.  You’ve done it before.  We’re only one game behind those pesky Dodgers.  GO GIANTS!!  TAKE THE SERIES FROM THE METS!

Putting Up Crooked Numbers

What a nice comeback it was today!  This is the first time the boys came back from a 3 run deficit to win all season.  Timmy started out strong, then was scary with the way he fell off the mound again.  And I think Bernie Brewer was getting a sore butt from coming down that slide so much with the 3 homeruns Timmy gave up.  But the boys came through for him with that amazing 6th inning, giving him the win.  Talk about putting up a crooked number!  I guess 7 is as crooked as it gets!  They scored more runs that inning (7) than they had all season in a single inning, even as far back as August 31st last season.  Also big kudos to Hunter Strickland for pitching 2 1/3 innings, not allowing a hit, and getting 3 strikeouts.  I was wondering if this was a test for Hunter as we had a 4-run lead and he faced mostly lefties, the guys who have rung him up in the past.  Nice job, Kid!  And super sweet job to all the guys that kept the line moving in that 6th inning.  And extra kudos to Hunter Pence for going 3 for 4 and our unsung hero Nori Aoki for going 4 for 4 with a walk.  What a joy to watch!  And they didn’t even torture us at the end!

Vida Blue made an interesting comment about the rally in the 6th.  The guys on Comcast SportsNet were mentioning that Hunter almost got a homerun at one point, but that sometimes a homerun can actually kill a hitting rally.  Vida explained why this can happen.  If a player gets a homerun, the pitcher can go back into the windup, a much more comfortable way for most pitchers to pitch.  Leaving guys on base forces him into the stretch and puts him under more pressure dealing with guys on base.  So interesting.  Thanks, Vida!

Guess I didn’t have to worry about the rain in Milwaukee like I mentioned yesterday as Miller Stadium, home of the Brewers, is a covered stadium.  And I learned today that the ball actually carries better when the dome is closed.  But what was up with them opening the roof right in the middle of Brandon Crawford’s at bat?  Aren’t there rules against that?  I would think that would be pretty distracting.  I researched this, and according to MLB official guidelines for retractable roofs, “If the game begins with the roof closed, it may be opened when, in the opinion of the home club, the climatic environment has reached a level where fan comfort and enjoyment will be best served by opening the roof to the natural atmospheric conditions.  The Umpire Crew Chief shall notify the visiting club, which may challenge the opening of the roof if it feels that a competitive imbalance will arise.”  Guess they decided it was better for the fans, and the Giants didn’t protest the decision.  As far as it being opened while Crawford was batting, “The opening of the roof shall only commence between innings.”  This was not the case, but perhaps they started opening it between innings.  Hank Schulman mentioned on Twitter that even if they start to open it between innings, it takes 10 minutes to fully open so it ends up overlapping the game.  My question:  why don’t they wait the 10 minutes for it to fully open before restarting the game to be fair?  Poor Brandon – he struck out on that at bat.  Who knows if things may have gone differently if the ceiling wasn’t opening up above him while he was trying to concentrate on hitting.  And as far as the comments I read mentioning that the Brewers may have been trying to get some sort of advantage by opening the roof – well, it didn’t work!

This whole discussion about the covered stadiums made me wonder about something:  Why isn’t Coors Field covered?  Wouldn’t that make sense?  They’ve had at least 4 rain postponed games this season, and we all know that there were several rain delays when we played them this last weekend.  The Arizona Diamondbacks even poked fun at them on their twitter account, saying, “@Rockies So…when are you guys going to get one of these?” adding a picture of their retractable roof.  Guess it’s too late to do it after the fact, but why didn’t anyone think of this when they built that stadium?  They even get snowed out!

I really like the fact that the guys honored our veterans who lost their lives today by wearing uniforms with camo numbers and letters, and even camo bills on their hats.  Good job, Guys.  They deserve our respect on this special day.  Made me proud to be a Giants fan.

Was anyone else confused about what was going on when Davis got that first homerun for the Brewers?  Dan and I were watching and had no idea what the delay was.  Once Braun came to the plate, they called Davis out, saying that when he ran the bases after the home run, he missed home plate.  You have to give some credit to Andrew Susac – the guy was watching the plate as Davis came home and was probably the one that mentioned it in the first place.  Who would be looking for that?  It turned out that when it was challenged, they couldn’t see clearly enough whether his foot actually touched the plate or not.  For me, it looked like his heel was above the plate, but hard to make out if it touched or not.  I had no idea this was a rule. You would think if he hit a home run, that’s it – done deal.  But as usual, we’re always learning new things here.  I looked up the official MLB rule, and the explanation I found for this case is (Rule 7.10d), “A runner shall be called out, on appeal, when he fails to touch home base and makes no attempt to return to that base, and home base is tagged.  Any appeal under this rule must be made before the next pitch, or any play or attempted play.”  Susac touched home plate when Braun came up to bat, so at that point, Davis was out (even though it got overturned).  So even hitting a home run doesn’t guarantee you a home run.  Still not sure why, with all the hoopla going on, the Brewers didn’t figure out what was going on and just have Davis go back and touch home plate.  It cracked me up that when Davis got his second home run (sigh) he made sure to plant his foot firmly on the plate.  Don’t think he’ll make that mistake again.  EVER!

The Brewers pitcher that got caught with stuff on his arm that I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, Will Smith, pitched today.  I carefully looked at both arms while he was pitching.  No stuff.  Guess he learned his lesson.

Unlike the Giants who embrace one mascot, namely Lou Seal, the Brewers have several different mascots.  There’s Bernie Brewer, the buff guy who slides down the slide whenever the Brewers get a home run.  Then I noticed this beer barrel guy.  He’s called Barrelman, and he was originally on the Brewers logo but only became a mascot this season.  Kind of creepy.  Finally I noticed a third mascot, and he’s my favorite.  He’s a dog and his name is Hank.  I also love that his number is K9.  Cute!  Hank (named after Hank Aaron) started out as a real stray dog who wandered onto the Brewers’ field at Spring Training last season.  He was taken in by the team and became an immediate hit with both team members and fans.  He became so popular that the Brewers started selling Hank T-shirts, with part of the proceeds going to benefit the Humane Society.  Now he’s been morphed into a human-sized mascot.  I have to say, besides my boy, Lou Seal, he’s one of the most adorable team mascots I’ve ever seen.  And what a great thing for the Brewers to do.  Good job, Boys!

I observed something interesting that the Brewers catcher, Martin Maldonado, did today.  While Aoki was up to bat, Maldonado put his glove on the right side of the plate and hit it, making it seem like he was looking for a pitch inside, but then he set his glove up on the left side of the plate.  Just as I noticed this, Kruk and Kuip commented about it.  He does this to confuse the batter into thinking that he’s getting a pitch inside when he’s not.  Sly little bugger.  I wonder if that move ever works.  It didn’t against Aoki.  HA HA!

As you can see, I learned an awful lot through observation in this game.  There is always so much to learn, and I really enjoy it.  Another opportunity for expanded knowledge reared its head when I noticed that the Brewers have their pitcher hit 8th instead of 9th.  I had seen this before when the pitcher was actually a good hitter, but the pitcher today had a batting average of .111 and the ninth hitter, Sardinas, had an average of .289, a pretty decent one.  What is the strategy behind this?  According to Vida Blue in the post-game show, you’re looking for the pitcher to be the last out, not to be the set up guy for the top of the lineup.  You want the top of the lineup to hit with guys on base, so that 9th guy can hopefully get on base.  For anyone who’s really into statistics, I found an in depth article on this strategy here (apparently it was really popular with Tony La Russa years ago), but even the author says that the advantage is super slim – you’d on average be 0.6 runs better off over the course of an entire season.  But I guess guys will still try anything to eek out an advantage.  Bochy seems to have his lineup all worked out, though, so keep that pitcher down at the bottom please.

More sad but inevitable news today from the team.  The Giants reinstated Travis Ishikawa from the disabled list only to designate him for assignment.  There just wasn’t room on the team for him.  I hope that something will work out for him, even if it has to be on another team because I love that guy and I want what’s best for him.  I will always remember being in the crowd for his game-winning walk off homerun to clinch the NLCS last season.  Thanks for that memory, Travis.  Wishing you all the best.  You’ll always have a place in Giants history and in my heart.  Keeping my fingers crossed that there’s some way you can still be a Giant.

I forgot to mention yesterday that I went to a San Jose Giants game on Saturday with my husband, my sister and her family, and my brother.  It was only the second one I had ever attended.  What a great time we had.  Dan and I got there early, and I found a ball in the stands.  So cool!  I had never seen one up close, and it looks like it had been hit several times – it’s pretty beat up!  We also got offered an upgrade on our seats (we sat in general admission and even those seats were pretty amazing), but we didn’t take it because we wanted to sit with the rest of the family.  Thankfully we didn’t because those seats were in the sun.  The game was so much fun.  They do so many fun activities while the game is going on.  Dan’s favorite was the Beer Batter.  They designate a batter from the other team to be the beer batter, and if he strikes out beers are half price for the next 15 minutes.  Whenever he got up, everyone chanted, “BEER, BEER, BEER!”  He did strike out once for us, so of course Dan and my brother took off!  They also had fireworks after the game and they were so much better than I expected.  For food, they have a great BBQ court – I had pulled pork and it was yummy.  Of course we also had to partake of the garlic fries.  Our boys ended up stomping the Rancho Cucamonga  Quakes (the Dodgers Triple A affiliate) 11 to 0!  HA HA!  Even our minor leaguers beat the boys from down south!  All in all it was a fantastic, fun night and I would love to go again.  I highly recommend it.  Plus the price can’t be beat – $11 for general admission seats, and $10 for parking.  Parking is $5 more on fire works nights and tickets cost $1 if you buy them on the day of the game, so get them in advance from the box office (no fees that way).

I have a new spit count for you from today’s game.  One of my boys was being pretty naughty.  Here you go:

May 25th

Giants:

  • Susac 23 (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
  • Strickland 4
  • Belt 3
  • Aoki 2
  • Lincecum 1
  • Posey 1 (seeds)
  • Duffy 1

Brewers:

  • Lohse 10
  • Gomez 3
  • Gomez 2
  • Davis 2
  • Lucroy 1
  • Braun 1
  • Cotts 1
  • Rodriguez 1
  • Maldonado 1

Misc.:

  • Umpires 2

Game Spit Master General = Susac at 23

That’s a total of 59 spits during a 3 hour and 15 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 3.3 minutes.

Yes, that’s 23 exclamation points for Andrew Susac’s 23 spits.  He set a new Giants record for the season.  So disappointed in that boy.  And it’s obvious that he is chewing tobacco – he has that telltale bulge in his cheek.  He has the habit (like Buster used to) of lifting his helmet a lot while he’s catching to spit.  That’s where most of his dings came from.  Guess the kids pick up this bad habit in the minors.  On a happy note, even though Hunter Strickland logged 4 spits, he was chewing gum at the time, so at least they weren’t due to tobacco.  Still yucky, though.

Finally, in keeping with the Memorial Day theme, here’s a video about a player who was involved in the military.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  I’m hoping that the boys can keep the line moving for the rest of this series.  Madison’s pitching tomorrow, and I’m sure he’ll be strong.  Then Vogey on Wednesday, and he’s coming off a fantastic start against the Rockies.  Just hope his tweaked calf is doing better.  The bats just need to keep it up.  After the Brewers, they’re back home to play the Braves.  I’m really hoping I can make it to one of those games.  That would be wonderful.  Sorry this blog ended up being so long, even after I just posted yesterday.  I just can’t help myself – I love this game and this team!  Until next time, GO GIANTS!!

BRANDON BELT ANSWERED MY QUESTION!!

Yes, Brandon Belt answered my question!  I asked him a question via his blog, and he was gracious enough to answer it, along with other questions people had asked in the comments.  Here’s mine, with his answer:

Me:  Do you hear conversations between the runner and first base coach?

Belt:  I certainly try!

Yeah, that was the extent of the reply.  But at least he responded!

OK, I’ve been avoiding the obvious topic of the day.  What happened in that game today?  I was planning on doing a spit count today (thank goodness that didn’t happen – it would have been dreadful to have to sit through that entire thing!), but when the game was delayed, my hubby and I decided to go to the movies instead.  Mad Max: Fury Road if you’re curious (not really my cup of tea, but it was non-stop action).  When the movie was over, I checked to see if the game had started, and I noticed a bunch of texts from my siblings.  Here’s the exact sequence of the texts:

“This sucks!”

“Way to go Machi”

(a thumbs down emoji)

(a bull emoji next to a poop emoji)

“This game stinks!”

“Yeah it does.”

Needless to say, I was afraid to look at the score.  It couldn’t be that bad, right?  WRONG!  When I checked we were behind 10 to 0.  Criminy!  Huddy allowed 8 runs (on 6 hits) in 3 2/3 innings.  The final score was 11 to 2.  The curse of Coors Field on Huddy continues!  He’s never won a game there in his entire career.  I was so hoping the curse would have been broken today, but sadly it reared its ugly head again, and big time.  Then to top it all off I had Hunter for one of my Beat the Streak picks, and he didn’t get a hit.  Sigh.  At least they didn’t get shut out, they ended up splitting the series with the Rockies, and they were able to high tail it out of there today, heading out to Milwaukee for the next series.  Craziness always seems to ensue whenever they travel to Denver – and rain delays are a pain in the butt!  And why is it that my boys seem to play better against better teams?  The Rockies and the Brewers were supposed to be a walk in the park.  Keeping my fingers crossed that they have better luck in the land of the Cheeseheads.

The inevitable happened today – Casey McGehee was designated for assignment.  I can’t say I was surprised, but I really feel for the guy.  It’s not like he wasn’t trying.  He apparently took it pretty hard.  He may not be picked up on waivers due to the large dollar amount left on his contract (roughly $3.5 million), but when he was interviewed he wasn’t sure he would take a minor league assignment if the Giants asked him back.  He said he had a lot to discuss with his family.  That’s understandable.  And kudos to McGehee for privately taking Matt Duffy (his replacement at third base) aside and telling him he shouldn’t feel guilty for the move, and he should be proud that he forced the issue.  McGehee told him that he was in the same situation when he was on the Brewers and took Bill Hall’s job.  My hope is that he will stay in the minors and figure things out.  Best of luck, Casey.  You’ve got class.

McGehee’s spot on the 25 man roster was filled with Hunter Strickland.  The Giants decided to increase their pitching staff by one as they don’t have another off day until June 4th, so he will most definitely be needed.  Strickland pitched 2 innings on Saturday, only allowing one hit and getting 3 strikeouts.  Nice job, Kid.  Welcome back to the Bigs.  I knew it would happen eventually.

I don’t know about you, but I feel the need for some positivity right about now.  How about a list of positive things that happened in the last week for my boys?  Here goes:

  • I’ll start off with the most awesome of all – THE GIANTS SWEPT THE DODGERS! HA, HA, HA!  Nothing is as sweet as this!  That’s a perfect record against the dreaded boys in blue at home this season.
  • Madison hit a homerun off of Clayton Kershaw. That’s sweet in itself, but it’s even sweeter because it’s the first time in Kershaw’s career that he’s allowed a pitcher to hit a homerun off of him.  EVER!  I’m sure Madison shared that info with all his buddies in the dugout.  Nice job!
  • Eight guys on the team are batting over .290, namely Angel (.311), Brandon B. (.311), Buster (.310), Brandon C. (.301), Joe (.301), Matt (.297), Nori (.295), and Hunter (.294). That’s all of the starting position players!  When’s the last time that was true??  Not any time I can remember.  The Giants have the highest overall batting average of any team in major league baseball for the month of May.  I like it!
  • Brandon Crawford holds the current record for RBI amongst shortstops this season at 31. An All-Star spot this season would definitely be well deserved with the way that guy is playing.
  • Buster has a 16-game hitting streak going on. Sweet!
  • Madison and Timmy have ERAs in the 2s.
  • It sounds like both Jake Peavy and Matt Cain are close to returning. Finally!  Jake had a rehab start in San Jose on Friday night.  He pitched 3 1/3 innings, allowed only 1 hit, 1 walk, and struck out 4 batters.  He also threw 37 strikes out of a total of 50 pitches.
  • We won the first two games against the Rockies, contributing to an 8-game winning streak.
  • Did I mention we SWEPT THE DODGERS??? AGAIN???  Can’t say that enough!

Did any of you witness the strikeout by Gregor Blanco at the beginning of the first game of the double header?  He ended up at 3rd base on that strikeout.  Baseball is definitely a crazy thing sometimes.  He even made some national highlights.  Here’s the video.  The last strike pitch got away from the catcher, allowing Gregor to run for first base.  Then a wild throw to first by the catcher allowed him to make it all the way to third base.  I’ve seen guys make it to first before on that type of play, but never to third.  Craziness.

I may have a clue as to why Matt Duffy recently changed his number from 50 to 5.  Joe Lefebvre recently left his job on the team as hitting assistant coach, and Lefebvre wore the number 5.  Maybe Matt really wanted it all along, but didn’t want to take it from him.  I couldn’t find out what number Matt wore in the minors, though.  So it’s still kind of a mystery.

I’ve got several interesting links for you today.  The first involves Brewers pitcher Will Smith being ejected for a foreign substance on his arm.  Turns out it was a mixture of rosin and sunscreen.  It was brought to the attention of the umpires by Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez.  Here’s the video of the ejection.  You might not want to watch this one with kiddies in the room due to Smith’s response!  From listening to the discussion about the incident, it seems that using something to get a better grip on the ball is pretty commonplace even though it’s against the rules.  This case was just too blatant to ignore I guess.  Here’s a video of an amazing slide by Mike Trout of the Angels.  How did he do that??  Here’s a link to an interesting article about how Tim Lincecum has reinvented himself, all explained through the wonders of statistics.  Kudos to you, Timmy!  Always love it when my boys make it into the national spotlight.  Here’s a link to an article about 10 bizarre baseball rules.  Some are pretty crazy, like being able to request where you wanted a pitch and catching balls off a bounce.  And finally, speaking of catching balls off a bounce, here‘s a fun video of Gregor Blanco trying to put one past the umpire last season.  What a crackup!

The boys should be in Milwaukee by now, heading off to bed for their game in the morning.  They’ve got an early start tomorrow, at 11:10 am our time.  Hope they can get some rest and forget about the last two days.  And I hope it doesn’t rain there!  Hope the boys can put those high batting averages to good use and tap the Brewers.  Maybe they can celebrate with a pint or two!  Until next time, GO GIANTS!!!

Hunter’s Our Good Luck Charm!

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:

May 17th

Giants:

  • Belt 5
  • Aoki 3
  • Petit 3
  • Duffy 2
  • Affeldt 2
  • Heston 1
  • Bochy 1
  • Casilla 1

Reds:

  • 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!

Happy Mother’s Day to Me!

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:

May 9th

Giants:

  • 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)

Marlins:

  • Realmuto 13
  • Hechavarria 4
  • Prado 2
  • Stanton 2 (seeds)
  • Ramos 1
  • Solano 1
  • Redmond 1

Misc.:

  • 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.

May 13th

Giants:

  • McGehee 5
  • Pagan 3
  • Belt 2
  • Bumgarner 2
  • Lincecum 1
  • Arias 1

Reds:

  • 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!!

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