Wednesday, December 26, 2007


At the end of the fascinating,stimulating and most of all informing book, Shades of Glory, is the appendix that is titled Statistics.

It goes on to list three (3) issues researchers must contend with when attempting to rebuild Negro league statistics.

- Which games should be included? We are talking about players who had to barnstorm to get to play those teams who would play them before more black teams were formed. Published schedules were not always accurate and the list of league-sanctioned games was not necessarily stable, so researchers do not have a simple list of games to target. Additionally, there were multiple leagues, independent teams and other exceptions which must be considered.

Makes me wonder just how accurate the white major league records were. Who knew how to keep score and when was the need to do so as much a part of the game as knowing how many outs there were? Was every base-runner treated as if they got on base by way of the base-hit? The phrase, "a walk is as good as a hit," may have been taken literally back in the day and if so, how many walks were credited as hits for players elected into Cooperstown, NY?

- The only source of raw data are the newspaper boxscores and these were not consistently reported by any one newspaper (so researchers must work with a wide variety of publications).

- How do you deal with imprecise information? Because there are many different sources there is an inconsistency to the data presented.

But this glorious book's final paragraph may best describe baseball's keeping of statistics.

More boxscores will be discovered in coming years and these will be added to the existing historical records but Negro leagues data will always contain gaps and inconsistencies.

Like other segments of baseball history, the folklore of the game will remain as important as the actual data, but the effort to rebuild this history will continue.

All of the writings by those who served their respective newspapers by selling its readers on the sport of baseball. Because so many owners thought the idea of broadcasting the game would turn fans away from the game only to find that when broadcasting began it actually increased the interest of prospective fans into becoming fans of baseball. Beginning in the 1920s the games were broadcast by a method referred to as "ree-creation."

The embellished tales were all about the idea of not letting the facts get in the way of a good story. Did Babe Ruth call his shot on October 1, 1932, in the World Series, at Wrigley Field, with Charlie Root on the mound for the hometown Cubs? Charlie Root's nickname was Chinski, d'ya suppose he liked to pitch in close to batters? Especially batters who talked the talk and walked the walk? Why else would the Babe pick him to humiliate?

(In fact, there is a Ford C. Frick Award given annually by the Baseball Hall of Fame to a broadcaster who has made major contributions to the game of baseball. Frick himself had initially gained fame as a ghostwriter for Babe Ruth in the 1920s. He later became the Commissioner, from 1951-1965.)

Kevin Marquez

Friday, December 14, 2007

Another Year Just Around the Corner

With another baseball season a little more than two months away I thought I'd share some old stories about America's pastime just to get you in the mood for the upcoming baseball season.

Apes gibber; Asses bray; Bears growl; Bees hum; Beetles drone; Blackbirds whistle; Bulls bellow, Calves bleat; Cats mew, purr; Chickens peep; Cocks crow; Cows moo; Dogs bark, bay, howl and yelp; Frogs croak; Geese cackle; Eagles, Vultures and Peacocks scream; Ducks quack; Horses neigh; Hens cackle and cluck; Owls hoot and screech; Parrots talk; Pigeons coo; Lambs baa or bleat; Snakes hiss; Sparrows chirp; Stags bellow and call; Swallows titter; Turkey-Cocks gobble; Swans cry and are said to sing just before death; Wolves howl and I'm going to begin with the snipets of yesteryear. Some long ago and some in more recent times.

In a book by former Umpire, Durwood Merrill are his opinions.
On Rod Carew: Never saw a pitch he couldn't hit. I once worked a game with the Minnesota Twins playing the California Angels when Nolan Ryan threw a 4-hitter. Carew got all four hits. To every other hitter on that day, the ball looked like an aspirin tablet. Carew told Merrill the ball looked like a volleyball.

On George Brett: At some point during his at-bat he knew exactly what the next pitch would be... The master of setting up the pitcher.

Per Durwood: Another thing I've never understood about major league pitchers is why they don't all keep track of the umpires' tendencies. We all have different strike zones. Wouldn't it be wise to keep a chart (even if it's just a mental chart) of all the umpires in both leagues? Hitters do. There's not a .300 hitter in either league who can't tell you the exact strike zone of every umpire in their league.

Don't you think guys like Wade Boggs, Tony Gwynn, Junior Griffey and Barry Bonds study umpires and their strike zones?

Pitchers should pay more attention. I've known pitchers who'll toss a great game-maybe a 3-hitter-and three hours later they've forgotten who was behind the plate.

A lot of pitchers today have a 6-inning mentality. They believe that success is pitching until the 6th inning. Somebody should tell these guys that baseball's last 30-game winner, Denny McLain, completed 28 of his 31 wins.

Merrill's simple formula for success in pitching: You've got to be able to bounce back after a rough inning, or even a tough game. The Sporting News hit upon a pretty revealing statistic. Forty percent (40%) of the pitchers in today's game (1990s) have been released at least one time. Merrill believes the pitchers who continually fail actually have strong arms and good stuff. You can't battle your way through the minor leagues and make the Bigs without some talent.

But the dividing line between success and failure in pitching is the neck.


After the Los Angeles Dodgers won the World Series in 1988, Bill Russell, one of the coaches, decided to invite Tommy Lasorda, the coaching staff, and the wives to his house for dinner. I'm sure you've heard Tommy harping about bleeding Dodger blue. Well, Bill and his wife decided to paint all of the toilet seats in their house Dodger blue. They used that quick drying Krylon paint, which at the time was being endorsed by retired Reds catcher, Johnny Bench.

By noon, the commodes were painted. The Russells figured they'd be dry in plenty of time for the dinner party. About halfway through the dinner that night, Mother Nature called Tommy and he answered. After several flushes, Tommy was still unable to get up because that quick-drying paint hadn't dried. He was stuck like a horsefly in wet asphalt.

Bill heard Tommy yelling and cursing and he came running into the bathroom to find his boss now Dodger blue in the face. Bill went to tugging on Tommy and pretty soon he realized that the old skipper was actually Dodger-glued to the seat. So Bill got a screwdriver and took the commode lid completely off. He wrapped Tommy up in a sheet and together they headed off to the local hospital.

They looked pretty funny walking into that emergency room and I'm sure all the patients were wondering why Tommy was dressed in a sheet. On top of that, you could tell he had something stuck to his rear end. The nurses told Tommy to climb onto the examining table and to set himself on all fours. Wouldn't you know that a female doctor was on duty that night, and Tommy, not being at a loss for words, said, "Doc, have you ever in the world seen anything like this?" And the doctor smiled, winked and said, "Well, now, Mr. Lasorda, I've seen ten thousand of those. But it's the first time I've ever seen one in a picture frame."
From Durwood Merrill's book...

The problem with the rule book is that you can't get everyone to agree on anything when it comes to interpretations.
I ran Billy Martin out. Then I tossed his A's coach, Charlie Metro, for arguing with me. A's centerfielder, Dwayne Murphy, walks past me and says, "What's wrong with you Durwood? You got a hot date after the game?" And I tossed him out, too! I was sending them out of the game fifteen-second intervals. It looked like a conga line.

Pat Kelly, a religious man, was sitting next to Earl Weaver. "Skip," Kelly said, "you need to learn to walk with the Lord." Weaver tilts his head and shoots back, "Fuck you, Kelly. You need to learn to walk with the bases loaded."

Kevin Marquez (from a book by Durwood Merrill and old notes)

Friday, December 7, 2007

Shades of Glory by Lawrence Hogan

I am currently reading a book entitled Shades of Glory by Lawrence Hogan and the very informative forward is written by Jules Tygiel.

A little piece of Tygiel's forward goes like this...'when clubs started signing players from Cuba and other interracial baseball-playing societies of the Caribbean, they sought assurances that these players had pure Caucasian blood in their veins. However, as the number of "white" Latino ballplayers grew in the 1920s and 1930s, some appeared in both the major leagues and the Negro leagues, prompting sportswriter, Red Smith, to speculate that perhaps "there was a Senegambian somewhere in the Cuban batpile."

This book is very informative and acknowledges all of those people who have opened the doors for all to participate in this great game. It is a must read.

Kevin Marquez

Career Win Leaders by Age 31

In an issue of Sports Weekly right around Thanksgiving there was an interesting snipet I thought was worth passing along, since right around the time the Veteran's Committee begins tossing around names that have yet to be inducted into Cooperstown, NY, former Chicago Cub third-baseman, Ron Santo's name always seems to be on that list.

Player wins are defined as the number of victories above the average that a player is deemed to contribute to his team, assuming an average player contributes a .500 record. The chart below presents the career leaders in player wins by age 31 up to the midpoint of the calendar year (June 30) during which they were 31. Fielding performance is factored into player-win totals.
This list consists of the top 30 players, some of which are still active.
All of the players on this list are in the Hall of Fame except for Ron Santo and the active players at the beginning of the 2007 season.

Babe Ruth 77.3 (Player wins by age 31) 129.0 (total player wins)
Walter Johnson 72.3 89.9
Rogers Hornsby 70.4 86.0
Ty Cobb 63.6 85.9
Nap Lajoie 59.5 101.0
Mickey Mantle 58.9 71.8
Alex Rodriguez 57.4
Rickey Henderson 57.3
Barry Bonds 56.4 128.7 (total player wins)
Christy Mathewson 55.3
Ted Williams 54.9 86.5
Charles Augustus "Kid" Nichols 54.7
Jimmie Foxx 54.1
Lou Gehrig 53.2
Tris Speaker 52.3
Hank Aaron 51.0
Willie Mays 50.2
Mike Schmidt, Eddie Collins, Eddie Mathews, Stan Musial, Mel Ott, Joe Morgan, Frank Robinson, Johnny Bench, Pedro Martinez*, John Clarkson, Lou Boudreau, Ken Griffey Jr.*, Arky Vaughan, Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell, Cal Ripken Jr., Ron Santo and Scott Rolen.

Kevin Marquez

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Approach for the 2008 Orange and Black

I see where the Pittsburgh Pirates just released Josh Phelps off of their 40-man roster. If my memory serves me correctly, this is the same Phelps who ripped Giants' pitching in the final series meeting between the two cellar dwellers.

As a Pirate, the first-baseman/outfielder batted 77 times and had 27 hits, that's a .351 batting average. Scored 13 runs, batted in 19, with 5 home runs (at least one of them came at the expense of the orange and black, an opposite field shot at AT&T, no less).

The San Francisco Giants have to approach this upcoming 2008 season with the attitude of bringing in as many non-roster invitees as possible. If some organization saw something in a player (who was claimed off of the New York Yankees roster by Pittsburgh in June of 2007) but due to a change in direction- because they now have a different manager-they no longer have that player in their plans this is just the guy the Giants should be considering. Especially since he had success in head-to-head competition with the orange and black.

Sometimes the timing isn't right with a ballplayer but that doesn't mean he will not fit in elsewhere with another ball club. A player than can hit like Josh Phelps should catch the eye of those scouts who work for clubs who are in need of some assistance. (He will be 30 in May.)

Last I looked, the Giants are one of those teams.

Kevin Marquez

Monday, November 26, 2007

Humor for the Holidays

Baseball and Football according to George Carlin.

Baseball is different from any other sport, very different. For instance, in most sports you score points or goals; in baseball you score runs. In most sports the ball, or object, is put in play by the offensive team; in baseball the defensive team puts the ball in play, and only the defensive is allowed to touch the ball. In fact, in baseball if an offensive player touches the ball intentionally, he's out; sometimes unintentionally, he's out.

Also: in football, basketball, soccer, volleyball, and all sports played with a ball, you score with the ball and in baseball the ball prevents you from scoring.

In most sports the team is run by a coach; in baseball the team is run by a manager. And only in baseball does the manager or coach wear the same clothing the players do. If you'd ever seen John Madden in his Oakland Raiders uniform, you'd know the reason for this custom. (Boom!)

Now, I've mentioned football. Baseball and football are the two most popular spectator sports in this country. And as such, it seems they ought to be able to tell us something about ourselves and our values.

I enjoy comparing baseball and football:

Baseball is a nineteenth-century pastoral game.

Football is a twentieth-century technological struggle.

Baseball is played on a diamond, in a park. The baseball park!! Football is played on a gridiron, in a stadium, sometimes called Soldier Field or War Memorial Stadium.

Baseball begins in the spring, the season of new life.

Football begins in the fall, when everything's dying.

In football you wear a helmet.

In baseball you wear a cap.

Football is concerned with downs- what down is it?

Baseball is concerned with ups- who's up?

In football you receive a penalty.
In baseball you make an error.

In football the specialist comes in to kick.
In baseball the specialist comes in to relieve somebody.

Football has hitting, clipping, spearing, piling on, personal fouls, late hitting and unnecessary roughness.
Baseball has the sacrifice.

Football is played in any kind of weather: rain, snow, sleet, hail, fog...
In baseball, if it rains, we don't go out to play.

Baseball has the seventh inning stretch.
Football has the two minute warning.

Baseball has no time limit: we don't know when it's gonna end- we might even have extra innings!!!
Football is rigidly timed, and it will end even if we've got to go to sudden death.

In baseball, during the game, in the stands, there's kind of a picnic feeling; emotions may run high or low but there's not too much unpleasantness.
In football, during the game in the stands, you can be sure that at least twenty-seven times you're capable of taking the life of a fellow human being.

And finally, the objectives of the two games are completely different.

In football, the object is for the quarterback, also known as the field general, to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the defense by hitting his receivers with deadly accuracy in spite of the blitz, even if he has to use the shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs, he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack that punches holes in the forward wall of the enemy's defensive line.

In baseball the object is to go home!! And to be safe! - I hope I'll be safe at home!

(from the George Carlin book Brain Droppings)

In Playboy's October 2002 issue, there's a question: How can someone become a pimp?
The WWF had the Godfather whose motto was: Pimpin' Aint Easy
But here it states, "It cannot be learned through osmosis, hypnosis or even mytosis. It can only be learned through pimpnosis."

Then the snipet of an article goes on to say: Like all delusionists, these guys take themselves seriously.

WARNING of the Surgeon General: Don't be surprised if one of these guys (Osmosis, Hypnosis, Mytosis or Pimpnosis) is catching passes, robbing opponents of home runs or dunking basketballs at a stadium, park or arena near you, sometime in the near future. OR that they're blonde and blue-eyed or red-haired with freckles!

Kevin Marquez

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

It's That Time of Year

Major League Baseball opens up for free agency today.

This has become a chance to open up new possibilities for the upcoming season as hope now has an opportunity to spring eternal for Spring Training.

As a youngster first becoming interested in the players I would memorize the players and their uniform numbers. The players' last names weren't sewn on the uniform jerseys like most teams have it today so it was a necessity to learn the players and their numbers.

I would get the program and scan the roster to see the names and the numbers they were assigned and then move on to the opposing team. It was that easy.

Nowadays, with the constant turnaround of team rosters I often flashback to players who wore that number before them. For example, the number 23 on the San Francisco Giants. When I first bundled up to head out to Candlestick Park, Tito Fuentes wore #23. Then it was Jose Uribe, Steve Scarsone, Ellis Burks and now its the guy they got for Aramando Benitez, Randy Messenger.

I do that with every team because the publications do not always provide the player and his jersey number. (Baseball Weekly does however provide this.)

With the reminiscing of past and present wearers of jersey numbers I find it interesting how we flash back to somethings. It's as if a button were pushed and we immediately reflect on those days gone by. Music does this for me as well.

I don't remember all of the details in particular, just those that pertain to specific lyrics. That first game. First kiss. First, ahem... All the firsts.

Ya think the advertising agencies may have gotten on the same page with this line of thinking? I do. To this day, every time I hear Carly Simon's Anticipation
I have this image of a ketchup bottle in suspended animation hanging over a freshly grilled hamburger as the ketchup slowly oozes out of the bottle.

Baseball conjures up all sorts of images. Some are bad memories (where your favorite team might be concerned), most are good. But they are all unforgettable.

And today is the unofficial beginning of the 2008 season.

Kevin Marquez

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Welcome Carney Lansford

The orange and black have brought in Carney Lansford to be their batting coach.
In 1981, with the Boston Red Sox, he led the American League in batting with a .336 average.
In 1989, he was second in the battle for batting leader, while posting the same .336 average. He did lead the league with fewest strikeouts per at-bat that season, while donning the green and gold of Oakland's Athletics.

In Lansford, born in San Jose, CA, the Giants have a former player who has tasted the fruits of victory and been successful as a hitter. A contact hitter who had the ability to move runners along and not be undisciplined in his approach as he rarely, if ever, hit the pitcher's pitch, which usually results in an inning double-play. And as a Giant's fan, I think I speak for everyone when I say, I think we're a little tired of inning-ending double-plays when our guys are at-bat. It's okay when we're on defense, but enough is enough when it's the Giants who are hitting.

With the Giants having a long ways to go, its good to see they are introducing quality baseball men into the fold. What better than to have someone (who made a name for himself while playing) now on-board to impart some wisdom onto our 2008 and future San Francisco Giants?

(Note: This could be just what the doctor ordered for someone like Ray Durham. Now, wouldn't that be nice?)

Kevin Marquez

Friday, October 26, 2007

2007 World Series.. So Far it's BoSox 2-0.

As for former Giants being in the 2007 World Series, right off of the cuff I'd say Colorado has more.
In the series, so far, it's Boston Red Sox 2 Colorado Rockies 0
Not good to be a Giant these days.
Oakland Athletics...boy could the Rockies use Jack Cust now!

Kevin Marquez

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

We Got Pierzynski'd and Joe Blo(s)

Since 2002, when the Angels and Most Valuably Enhanced Troy Glaus (Not Barry?) defeated the Giants in the World Series, it's been a what former Giants' players are on that team, kind of thing for me.

2003- Florida Marlins. Not a matter of who the former Giants were as it was that they defeated the Gigantes to get to the next round.
2004- Boston Red Sox. Third base coach was Wendell Kim. Reliever extraordinaire was Keith Foulke. Knuckleball receiving specialist Doug Mirabelli. Sweet fielding, I don't know why they didn't retain him- Bill Mueller was a league leading hitter playing third base for these unforgettable Bosox.
2005-Chisox. WE GOT PIERZYNSKI'D !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The guy leads the free world in hitting into double plays and costs us Nathan, Bonser, Lirianes.
2006- StL Cards...All I remember from this yawnfest was that Joe Buck and Tim McCarver, two St. Louis Cardinal announcers, no matter how you slice it, were god awful.
The fact that Joe Blows and is on the FUX network was a match. His smug attitude and McCarver's insistence on filling our heads with insignificant statistics was intolerable to me.
Why? Because I already knew those insignificant stats. My head is full of tainted wonders learnt way back when I was young and impetuous.

But I digress.

I must say something about the smug, Joe Blo(s)Buck. When I was in high school, the guys and I would always howl to no end, with the mentioning of someone who thinks he knows was brought up. In high school, we all, to some degree, "think we know" or else we wouldn't be doing what we were doing. But to put that whole attitude into one word, the word would be smug.

Joe Blo(s) Buck is smug. Or you could say, "he thinks he knows."

Don't you just hate people, in positions of authority (and lead announcer of the World Series would be a pretty good place to be to educate those who are worthy of your knowledge) who have a knack for saying things that suggest the aforementioned is as obvious as the zit on your forehead?

I mean, the guy he heard -on the radio- announcing the game was his dad. He ought to know something, right?

Kevin Marquez

Monday, October 22, 2007

Smoke and Mirrors

In last night's American League Championship Series (ALCS) game at Fenway Park, October 21, 2007, the third base coach of the Cleveland Indians (Joel Skinner) chose not to wave in the speedy Kenny Lofton, even though Manny Ramirez had not yet retrieved the line drive down the third-base line hit by Casey Blake, and Lofton had rounded the third sack.

Earlier in the game Lofton had hit a ball off the Green Monster, in left field, that Manny Ramirez played nicely and threw to Dustin Pedroia but Pedroia missed Lofton with his tag. He got Lofton on the sternum, after he had already touched the bag.

This proves once again that the umpires are rarely in position to call tag plays as most settle for calling the runner out simply because the ball got to the base first.

Seems the umpires don't think that the player on the receiving end of a throw needs to tag the runner. Much the same way most defenders still go for the pump fake of a quarterback even though the QB has clearly crossed the line of scrimmage.

Stay in school kids! Because as you mature and you learn the finer points of the game and if you enjoy the sport enough to become a fan you will, at some point in time, learn that it's all done with smoke and mirrors.

Kevin Marquez

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Garrett Broshuis

Garrett Brohuis is in the Giants' farm system. He was drafted out of the University of Missouri and is 24-years old.

He has a blog that offers his opinions on the trials and tribulations of minor league baseball.
This may be worth checking out, for all of you Gigante loving fans.

But know this, while in Double-A, with the Eastern League Connecticut Defenders, he posted a 3-W and 17-L season, 19 1/2 games out of first place.

Don't let his statistics prevent you from checking out his blog. The blog has to be better than his pitching performance, right? With numbers like his it ought to be a laugh riot.

Kevin Marquez

Saturday, October 13, 2007

There May Be Others We Don't Know About

(In memory of Barry Bonds, since the feds just can't seem to leave this guy alone nor can some bitter fans who are mad that Bonds didn't do more for the community, like mow their lawns or something. Originally sent to the SF Chronicle on 2/21/05...not to be seen by its readers.)

To all of the people employed to put in print their ideas of how they believe things are I prefer facts over speculative drivel and fancy adjectives. Or as Jon Miller has so eloquently put it, "I look at the bottom line."

Rule Number One: The fraternity that are writers, play favorites. Shoving the hatred of Barry aside, I think what Felipe Alou said should be duly noted. Said the former player then manager, "If you're good, you're good, whether it's the era of the steroids or cigars or hot dogs or beer or amphetamines or red juice or whiskey," Alou said: "Some of these guys whose names have been accused of (steroids) have gone into the (toilet) while a guy like Barry continues to play.

"Of all the names that came out, only one guy (Bonds) was an MVP last year. There is a big gap between Barry and everyone else, just like there was a big gap between the Babe and everyone else."

Back in the mid-1960s there was a left-hander from Brooklyn, New York who was the best but it took some time for his skills to be recognized by those other than his team and mates. If I flashed some statistics you can see the mediocrity become phenomenal.

1960: 8W 13L 3.91 ERA 37-Games 7-Complete games 175-Innings pitched 197-K's
1961: 18W 13L 3.52 ERA 42-games 15-complete games 255-innings pitched 269-K's
1962: 14W 7L 2.54 ERA 28-games 11-complete games 184.1 innings pitched 216-K's
1963: 25W 5L 1.88 ERA 40-games 20-complete games 311-innings pitched 306-K's

Jumping from 175 innings to 311 seems very precipitous. He used ointments and liniments to soothe his aching arm and joints.

One might say his efforts were heroic. But maybe, just maybe, some undetectable chemical was in the players' choice of ointments and or liniments?

In 1965, he pitched in 335 and 2/3 innings, striking out a record 382 batters versus 71 walks issued, just 3 years after hurling 184.1 innings.

The pitcher I am referring to is Sandy Koufax.

The aforementioned statistics are stand-by-themselves awesome. As are Barry's since he has worn the orange and black. I don't accuse Sandy Koufax of cheating nor do I want to take anything away from Koufax by inserting an asterisk. But looking at his numbers, what if?

Kevin Marquez

Note: Proving that getting a win, for a starting pitcher, may be the most difficult thing to accomplish statistically I'll post the World Series stats of Sandy Koufax.

1959 W-0 L-1 ERA 1.00 G-2 IP- 9 BB-1 K-7
1963 W-2 L-0 ERA 1.50 G-2 IP-18 BB-3 K-23 Complete Games-2
1965 W-2 L-1 ERA 0.38 G-3 IP-24 BB-5 K-29 Complete Games-2
1966 W-0 L-1 ERA 1.50 G-1 IP-6 BB-2 K-2
Totals W-4 L-3 ERA-0.95 G-8 IP-57 BB-11 K-61 CG-4

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

AL has history...NL making history

Cleveland Indians versus the Boston Red Sox. Tris Speaker vs Cy Young. Bob Feller vs Ted Williams. Jim Longborg vs Luis Tiant. (Of course, El Tiante was an ace for the Red Sox after the Indians let him go. Also, Dennis Eckersly was on both teams as well.) And now it's: C.C. Sabathia vs Tim Wakefield, Fausto Carmona vs. Josh Beckett, Paul Byrd vs Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Colorado Rockies versus Arizona Diamondbacks... D'backs have one World Series ring in their short history...Rockies have never advanced as far as the Championship series.

The team in the rarified air back in the days of the Blake Street Bombers: Dante Bichette, Andres Galarraga, Larry Walker and Vinny Castilla were quite a lineup. But today's lineup of Matt Holliday, Todd Helton, Garrett Atkins, Troy Tulowitzki, Yorvit Torreabla, Kaz Matsui, Willy Taveras and Brad Hawpe now have some pitching to go along with their limitless hitting. Jeff Francis, Josh Fogg and Aaron Cook get the Rocks into the late innings for the bullpen to hold down the fort.

But Arizona has a steady corps of hot prospects showing they belong in the majors. BJ Upton's little bro, J.D. Drew's little bro, El Duque's little bro all belong on the D'back roster. They also have the best story without steriod implications...Micah Owings. A left-handed pitcher who hits like Babe Ruth. And one cannot say anything about the Arizona Diamondbacks if they don't tip their caps to Eric Byrnes. A player of such effort that it has spread throughout the clubhouse as well as between the lines. Arizona leads the league in beating out infield hits, a bi-product of Byrnzie's hustle.

It is of interest that Game One at Bank One Ballpark is not a sellout. Probably because there is so much to do in the valley of the sun. If you figure baseball is one of man's favorite sports next to woman, this may help one deduce why there is a lack of attendance.

In this college environment there is a large contingency of the male population whose focus is on those hotties who kneel and bob versus being at the B.O.B. to watch the National League Championship Series. Or is it that they care more about the talent on-the-pole than between the foul poles? It's possible that there are as many people who could name the starting lineup of the D'baby backs as can name those baby's who got back at the numerous night clubs throughout the valley of the sun. A place that just may be hotter when the sun goes down!!

So sit back, grab a cold one and tune into these championship series games. They ought to be fun ballgames to watch. Not as fun as what is happening in the neighborhood of the B.O.B. but you always have spring training (Scottsdale, AZ) in March to make up for some time lost.

Kevin Marquez

Friday, October 5, 2007

PostSeason on the Airwaves

For the past couple of months I have gone without cable television. I guess that puts me in Gilligan's Island territory since most people in the free world have cable television, or so it seems. But as a baseball enthusiast I really need to get a feel for what is taking place by the very descriptive styles of some of baseball's best play-by-play announcers.

Doing the Yankees/Indians series is Jon Miller and Dusty Baker.
There's a rapport here that really has a good feel to it and makes listening all the more enjoyable.

Buck Martinez, an excellent color-commentator, has a real knack for calling something ahead of time and usually his insight is a bullseye. He's doing the Cubs/Diamondbacks games.

There hasn't been a broadcast of the Phillies/Rockies games that has aired on ESPN radio, at least for this neck of the woods so I don't know who was selected for that series.

And the Red Sox/Angels I cannot recall who the play-by-play guys are but they are both very good at letting you know what will happen before it occurs. I suppose, if you do not know the names of the people behind the voices and yet you listen still says a lot about the broadcasters.
Oh, I just remembered, Dave Campbell is the color commentator. The guy they call "Soup" has a flair for broadcasting and as with all of these voices on the airwaves is very good at what he does.

Good broadcasting cannot be beaten by HD television because it allows you to use your imagination. And while the listener doesn't need a whole lot of information to paint the picture the timely elements of suggestions brought on by guys who have done more than play the game, they studied the game. Knowledgeable broadcasters help the listeners adjust their way of hearing what might be expected by offering key points of insight. The listener may or may not have even thought of the scenario but after the listener thinks about who it is trying to execute such plays it makes perfect sense. The more you get well-thought-out reasons for why players are doing what they are doing you begin to think along those lines and it makes the game even more enjoyable.

The thing about baseball is that it never gets old learning new ways to make things happen. It helps you with your own efforts when it's your turn to play.

Baseball, ya gotta love it!

Kevin Marquez

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Shaw Den Froy Deh

Well, the Giants 2007 season is now (mercifully) drawing to a close. And it's perhaps understandable that we Orange-and-Black loyalists are focused primarily on our own feelings of frustration with the present and uncertainty about the future.

And it's perhaps likewise understandable that we might look around the NL West with some envy at our division rivals -- who at first glance seem so filled with promise and hopes of contention for 2008 and beyond.

Look below the surface, though, and all may not as rosy as it seems for at least one division rival -- the hated Dodgers.

Will their large ($120 Million payroll) and talented kids mixing in with their veterans, one might fear that Da Bums are poised to take over from Arizona or San Diego as the preeminent team in the division. However, it's a very real possibility that they may instead turn into the Dodgers of the past decade or so -- a collection of high-priced loners continually upset with one another and continuing to underachieve.

I mean, surely, by now you've heard about Jeff Kent scolding the Dodgers' younger players for "not getting it" and failing to play the game right. Apparently this is just a public vocalization of what has been a season-long rift between Dodger vets and the Dodger puppies.

According to the LA Times: "There has been an obvious and growing tension all season between the Dodgers' veterans and youngsters. Publicly, at least, that discord had remained largely under control and Kent is the only one who has spoken out on the record."

Next, there is reportedly widespread dissatisfaction with manager Grady Little within the Dodger clubhouse and among Dodgers fans, many of whom have been very vocal in calling for his head as well as suggesting that maybe it's time to show new GM Ned Colletti the door:

And so now the Dodgers, a team that went from 1954 to '96 with only two managers, have die-hard fans calling for them to fire their fifth manager since that time. It has been less than two years since the last one, Jim Tracy, was cashiered.

To be sure, not everyone thinks Little is the Dodgers' biggest problem. Some have blamed injuries, but Colletti is also taking a good deal of heat. He has a mixed record at best in player acquisitions, and there's a strong case to be made that most credit for whatever success the Dodgers are having should go to assistant GM of scouting Logan White, the man in charge of drafting most of the team's young talent. White and vice president/assistant GM Kim Ng are among the top candidates for any major league GM openings, and plenty have suggested that the Dodgers would be worse off to lose either of those two than Colletti.

Wow. I don't recall anything like this happening with the A's -- or the Diamondbacks. Maybe it's just 'cause it's LA and the payroll is $120 Million.

Here's what
Fox Sports had to say about it:

When we heard that notorious clubhouse lawyer Jeff Kent had criticized the comportment of some of the Dodgers' younger players, we just assumed L.A.'s resident grumpy old man was getting his kicks by alienating another generation of teammates before riding his dirt bike off into the sunset.

But the more we hear, the more it seems Kent was onto something regarding his younger teammates' lack of professionalism and proper respect for the game (not to mention their elders)…the hunch is that you will be hearing Matt Kemp's name in virtually every Dodger trade rumor until he is eventually dealt.

...And here's the LA Times, once again -- (just get a load of the article's title):

The Youth Movement is a Flop

Bill Plaschke, LA Times -- September 21, 2007

This youth movement has officially gotten old.

I thought it would work, I really did, but I admit today that I am wrong.

By using the last couple of months to integrate, the Dodgers have done nothing but alienate.

This mixture of kids and veterans is no longer charming, it's combustible.

The fans are mad. The front office is mad. And now, their future Hall of Fame second baseman is stomping and snorting mad.

In the wake of a barely-show-up loss Thursday in Colorado, a fifth consecutive defeat that essentially ended their playoff hopes, quiet Jeff Kent quaked.

Using words like "perplexing" and "curious" and "bitter," he took veiled shots at Manager Grady Little and direct shots at the Dodgers' kids. ."


Turns out, the clubhouse has been more eccentric than eclectic. The kids have driven veterans crazy with mistakes. The veterans have driven their manager nutty over lineup decisions.

The fans have turned on nearly all of them, howling at Little, chastising Colletti, booing the first bad pitch, begging for the sort of mass firings they once abhorred.

And now, the Dodgers' most celebrated player is spraying around blame like it was a 2-and-0 fastball.

Read the whole thing, it's truly an eye-opener.

Schadenfreude: from the German -- a term meaning "taking delight in the misery of others."

Perhaps it isn't exactly noble. But as we head into an uncertain Winter for our Gigantes, I'll take it. For now, at least.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Jeff Keppinger: Not to be confused with Don Kessinger

Currently on the Cincinnati Redlegs roster is a player named Jeff Keppinger. He plays shortstop.

With the emerging Brandon Phillips at second sack for the Redlegs, Keppinger is steadily putting up offensive numbers that has to have Cincinnati Red fans taking notice.

Sure, this blog is called the Cha Cha Bowl. Aptly named for the first homegrown (no pun intended) superstar who wore the orange and black,for the San Francisco Giants, Orlando Cepeda. Baseball is the kind of game that it's good to keep an eye on the statistics of all players. Because we are in a day and age of free agency there is always the possibility of that player playing for your favorite team. When a star is rising,it's good to get a newsflash, especially when the Giants' front office will be out and about in search of talent to help turn this organization around and play at .500 or better for the 2008 season.

Don Kessinger was a career .252 hitter with 14 homers. But back then all shortstops were glove-men, very few hit for average. Another example of that would be Dal Maxvill. He was a career .217 hitter, with just 6 career homers. But when the Cardinals got their use out of the slick fielding shortstop, the Pirates and Oakland Athletics had him fill a roster spot.

There used to always be a spot on the roster for slick fielders who could play more than one position well. Not any more. You have to be able to hit for average, have power and oh yeh, be able to field your position. If you make too many errors you will eventually be demoted or change rosters. But teams nowadays will hold onto your services if you HIT first and field second.

This guy Keppinger is looking like a player that will hit 10-20 homers, drive in 70-90 runs and bat at least in the neighborhood of .275.

Sorry, Donny boy, but only the name will dredge up memories of number 11 fielding the shortstop position at the friendly confines of Wrigley Field from 1964-1975. Because the similarities end at the name.

Kevin Marquez

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Could it be fans are Tired of Winning?

Yesterday's San Mateo Times had an article about the Brooklyn Dodgers leaving Brooklyn for Los Angeles, California.

The Brooklyn Dodgers were in the World Series in 1941, 1947, 1949, 1952, 1953...all losses to the mighty New York Yankees. Then in 1955 they beat those damned Yankees. And that's not counting the impossible comeback of the Giants in 1951.

As for the Oakland Athletics, they won the World Series in 1972, 1973 and 1974. In 1974, the team didn't even draw one million fans to the ball games.

Are these both a case of same ole, same ole? Somewhere boredom has to factor in to the lack of attendance for both ball clubs. Because both clubs deserved way better.

How can you ever get tired of winning? I don't know of any Yankee fans who are capable of catching something as unbelievable as, for lack of a better term, winningitis? In fact, most people have climbed aboard the Yankee bandwagon because these were fans who were tired of losing.

Kevin Marquez

Monday, September 17, 2007

Put a Fork in These Guys

It has been a practice of mine to keep track of where the San Francisco Giants are in the standings and at some time or another, when things just weren't clicking and losing was occurring more than winning it just seemed appropriate to put a fork in 'em.

This season never allowed for such a prognostication, since the Giants have been at least 10-15 games under .500 for the better part of the 2007 season.

Players who need forks in them, as their tenure in orange and black should come to end would be :

Brad Hennessey
Rich Aurilia
Ryan Klesko
Ray Durham -(although it might be okay to invite him to camp. His career warrants him another look in spring training to see if he truly has lost sight of the ball.)
Pedro Feliz?- I never really heard Bruce Bochy's feelings on Pedro. We know Bruce did well to get Rich Aurilia in the game but as for his feelings on Pedro, if he does like Pedro, the Giants will most likely re-sign him because he is more versatile than most Giants and is better on the roster than Aurilia because he hits more homers and drives in more runs.
Barry Bonds. Father Time has caught up to #25 and he'd be better served in the AL, if he still feels he can hit. And we all know he CAN still hit. If the Giants can get Bonds cheap and get him to agree to playing less and helping the youngsters I suppose something might be worked out.
Would you play for less than a lot of players who cannot hit close to what you're capable of???

If the Giants can get the right slugger someone like a Jonathan Sanchez might be involved in trade talks. And if it happens, oh well.

Lots of Giants' fans moan and groan about the A.J. Pierzynski trade or the Russ Ortiz trade. Sure, A.J. wasn't as good as advertised and Damien Moss proved to some that the world, she is... uh, flat. But before Joe Nathan was traded he had gotten in Felipe Alou's doghouse and that was enough to shop him around. Ortiz, a well-liked player within the organization, must have demanded too much money which is why the Braves jumped all over Russ and offered the Giants someone not half as established as Russ Ortiz and yet the Giants went for it... hook, line and sinker.

Nathan has been a fantastic Twin but he wasn't so special in orange and black. As for Francisco Liriano, those throw-ins are always a risky part of the business. Trades are simply a roll of the dice, you never really know how they'll turn out. You like to think you did all the necessary homework to acquire someone who seemed like the perfect fit, but you don't know until that person puts on the orange and black and performs.

Hopefully, this off-season brings the Giants the fruits of their labor. Perhaps a shout out from Harry Belafonte, "Come Mister Talisman," wouldn't hurt. In the world of free agency and acquisitions it may be better to be lucky than good.

Go Giants, 2008!

Kevin Marquez

Friday, September 14, 2007

As a Fan You Know that Some Players Don't Rate

J.D. Drew and Milton Bradley change uniforms almost as often as most people change their socks. If you're a fan of these teams both Drew and Bradley have played for it's a little disturbing to be rooting yourself silly only to find out this player sees fit to play elsewhere more often than not.

More often than not J.D. Drew and Milton Bradley are permanent fixtures on the disabled list. This has to irritate the team owners who willingly shelled out the cash in hopes that just once
the player would pay them back by producing on the field and not spending so much time off of the active roster.

David Jonathan Drew was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals and after he got his feet wet for a couple of seasons chose to play with the Atlanta Braves. In the 2004 season, with Atlanta, he hit a career high 31 home runs. You'd have thought he found his place to play but no, the next season he signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was in his second and last season, in Los Angeles, that he batted in a career high 100 runs. Again he departed for the riches of Boston Red Sox baseball, where he is currently playing.

Drew's a .280 hitter, having hit .323 in 2001, with St. Louis, in 109 games. The baseball season is 162-games long, but don't tell J.D. Drew because he wants a lot of money even though he will miss 7 weeks of the season. Can you imagine having a job where it would be okay to miss that much time and still expect to be paid handsomely?

Milton Bradley was drafted by the now extinct Montreal Expos and traded to the Cleveland Indians. In 2003, with the Tribe, Bradley batted .321 in 101 games. Again, don't expect Milton to be there for an entire season without spending ample time on the disabled list. He plays when he wants to, know what I mean?

His uniform changes went like this: Montreal, Cleveland, Los Angeles Dodgers, Oakland and now San Diego. He's good for a month and then he'll take a month off. Then he'll have a nagging injury between his ears. As if someone did something he didn't approve of and suddenly its "trade me somewhere else." And he gets his wish. Teams fawn all over this guy who has never hit 20 homers or driven in 70 runs in a season throughout his career.

It's tough being a fan when the owners of your favorite team signs players like J.D. Drew or Milton Bradley because you know those guys will not be there for the long haul. We like the idea of knowing our players are durable and reliable enough to be counted on for an entire season.
That's not asking a whole lot considering what these bums asked for AND GOT when they were signed by our favorite team.

Unfortunately, some players just don't rate. Such is the life of a fan. It does explain why we do meet people in our life who simply have no interest at all in spectator sports. If most players were like J.D. Drew and Milton Bradley, why would you want to root for the home team?

Kevin Marquez

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Good Defense Never Gets Old, Sign Omar Already!!!!!!!

On September 10th it was PU because Brad Hennessey let one go... as someone named Salazar, hit his first homer of the season and just like that a W becomes a loss.

With the improvement of Brian "Wouldn't it be Nice" Wilson and the remarkable recovery from Tommy John surgery of Tyler Walker, maybe this dredges up Bad Hennessey's name as a throw-in during trade talks because he has to be considered expendable.

(Note: Last season, Salazar hit his first and only homer of the year again versus the lowly Gigantes. So both of Salazar's home runs in the majors came at the expense of your San Francisco Giants.)

On September 11th, Omar Visquel ended the game with a diving stop of a bounder up the middle. He rolled around and flipped the ball to Ray Durham who got the force before throwing to first base for the game ending double-play. Win goes to Tyler Walker, his second in the teams' last three games.

In going over the replay of Visquel's play, former infieder turned broadcaster, Duane Kuiper exuberantly if not emphatically stated, "Good defense never gets old."

An apropos statement considering he was talking about the ageless one, Omar Visquel.

To not sign Omar Visquel would be criminal.

Kevin Marquez

Friday, September 7, 2007

Thinking of 2008 with Kevin Correia

Kevin Correia is 3-0 in the role of a starter and would be 4-0 if the bullpen didn't do its best to maintain the dubious statistic of allowing runners inherited to score.

Should Kevin C return to the starting rotation next season? Heck yes! If he can build up enough arm strength, that would extend him deeper than the 6th inning of a game, pencil him in right now.

On offense, the Giants have to be at the top or rocking back and forth, when it comes to grounding into twin-killings. Double-plays. Ray Durham, Kevin Frandsen, Ryan Klesko, Rich Aurilia, Benjie Molina and Randy Winn (in that order) have been far too giving when it comes to ending the inning suddenly.

On the upside, after listening to Brian Sabean on his radio show (KNBR/680) I was encouraged by the possibility of Omar Visquel returning for another season simply because nobody does it better at the shortstop position than #13.

Kevin Marquez

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Blind As A Bat

(These are the typical feelings and associations that occur on game day, for yours truly and hopefully everyone else who plays ball.)

Arrive at the site of the game. It won't be long until you see the familiar face of a teammate, or two or three, etc.

Put on your cleats and eventually someone will ask you if you would like to get loose and like Pavlov's dogs you reach in your bag for a ball (to warm up with your teammate) and respond with a delightful, "Sure!"

After some conversation with your teammate (and any others who may be alongside also warming up) you ask if your partner is loose and right then I begin thinking of the game that day.

I'm never concerned where I bat, as long as I'm batting, but I do like to see who's playing and where. Also, I'd like to know if we're home or away because it lets me know who bats first.

As I approach my position on the field the idea of batting never crosses my mind, even if I know I'm due to leadoff the next inning. The only time that reaches my thought process is when the third out of the preceding inning is made and only then do I begin to focus attention on my approach to batting.

It's my turn. The batter or runners before me that have reached base safely are my concern because it's up to me to get them across the plate or at least advance them to the next base. A pop-up or strike out just won't do.

As I approach the batter's box I hear some cheers from my teammates and occasionally something about a manpill as I do a little groundskeeping to help myself get adjusted to the well-used batter's box.

Then it's eyeball the pitcher time. I look at how the pitcher is playing his position, to see if a grounder up the middle will have no trouble getting past him because if he's going to give me anything I'm darn sure going to take it!

(I just flashed on a Letters to the Editor I had sent some years ago about Rod Beck. I remember saying one way for Beck to keep a batter off guard would have been to have long curly locks of hair tumbling out from under his baseball cap with a pair of Leon Hall hexagon tube earrings dangling and a big red clown's nose to go along with a grizzly five o'clock shadow, as he began swinging his throwing arm back and forth like a human grandfather's clock. It was a takeoff of the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz but the idea just struck me as gut-busting, acid indigestion, gasping-for-air hillarious. Needless to say it was not selected for print. Unfortunately, for Chronicle readers, the Editor doesn't have the same sense of humor I do.)

So I'm focused on the pitcher. Knowing however he plans to pitch to me that I have to adjust my swing to make solid contact with the ball and keep it between the lines. It's all up to me to do everything right because if I am- at any time- relying on the bat to bail me out of any possible indecision I'm in serious trouble because nothing is as blind as a bat.

Except perhaps the umpire. (No offense, Merle)

Kevin Marquez

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Boondoggle by the Bay

The home plate umpire in yesterday's game at Colorado (9/3/07) had zero consistency while calling balls and strikes.

Players, coaches and managers don't ask for much they only want consistency. And really, as far as jobs go, how tough is it to follow the rules you were hired to adhere to and be consistent in your judgments.

I have this feeling a lot of umpires have this misunderstood attitude and or belief that if a player was deemed good enough to play in the major leagues that they can hit any pitch, any where, as long as it's near the strike zone.

These same umpires have no idea how a missed pitch here or there is often times the difference between a win and a loss. These are the same attitudes in need of adjustment who act as if they never make a mistake or have a bad day and that it is everyone else who falls victim to such unpreparedness. Sort of a godlike approach to lesser beings, if you will.

But what really makes all of this rub me wrong is an announcer like Dave Fleming, of the San Francisco Giants (KNBR/680AM).

I know listening to 2007 Giants' baseball is a bit of a boondoggle but it's a way of passing the time for a guy like me whose way around is either by foot or public transportation. Still, to endure Fleming's Wally Cleaver impersonation is a horripilation of a price to pay for not having cable television.

Whenever the game reaches a point, in Wally's mind, uh I mean Dave, he'll recap the scenario and almost on cue will emphasize how through all of this the opponent has only scored one run and just like that the opponent will burst through with a crooked number.

(I guess you could say he's a jinx, but I'm not blaming him for that superstition because it may just be a coincidence that keeps reoccurring.)

In fact, I think the painful realization of how bad Giants' pitchers have been when they are ahead in the count is so dreadful because of golly gee man Fleming. His insistence on informing his listening audience on such trivial things as to what type of pitch it was that was thrown further emphasizes ones annoyance when the opposing batter hits one back to the wall and it's GONE!! comes out of the mouth of Fleming.

Every other Giants' broadcaster is more than tolerable, they are the reason to tune into Giants baseball despite the teams' penchant for finding ways to lose. A good broadcaster lets your imagination flow and I like to imagine what might happen next based on the picture sketched by each broadcaster, except for Dave "Wally" Fleming.

Because when it's David B. Fleming's turn to announce all you need to do is call to mind the worst possible case scenario for any situational hornswoggle "Wally" is articulating to his audience and more often than not you will be accurate in your assumptions.

Kevin Marquez

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Go Out on a High Note

In what can be described as a disappointing season, wouldn't it be something if the San Francisco Giants can pull it all together and finish this 2007 season on a high note?

After last night's off key, terribly sung National Anthem, which heard a cacophony of boos, and rightly so, the Giants were able to muster up a couple of hits together with another solid pitching effort from their starter (Barry Zito) and solid bullpen work by Brian "Wouldn't It Be Nice" Wilson and their closer, who is on a bit of a roll (sans the lettuce and tomatoes), Brian Hennessey.

Mixing young with old is somehow working now when it wasn't working before. The top of the order has been productive with Dave Roberts and Rajai Davis and I guess the ball is finding holes it wasn't finding from April thru July. And while the hits are mysteriously finding areas on the field where fielders are not positioned and perhaps even more important than that serendipitous revelation is now when the opponent hits a scorcher it's finding a Giants' glove .

The 0-2 pitches are still killing the Giants but they too have been feasting on opponents' 0-2 servings.

I guess it had to figure, in the long baseball season it wouldn't always go the way of the Giants' opponent.

Go Giants!!

Kevin Marquez

Friday, August 24, 2007

What Have YOU Done For Me Lately?

(From Baseball for the Love of It, Hall of Famers Tell it Like It Was, by Anthony Conner)

Stanley Coveleski put it best when he said:

It's a tough racket. There's always someone sitting on the bench just itching to get in there in your place. Wants your job in the worst way: back to the coal mines for you, pal.

The pressure never lets up. Doesn't matter what you did yesterday. That's history. It's tomorrow that counts. So you worry all the time. It never ends. Lord, baseball is a worrying thing.

Kevin Marquez

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Props to Pedro Feliz

For the most part the only press Pedro Feliz gets is usually negative. But the fact is he fields a damned good third base and doesn't miss games due to illness and or injury.

His versatility is invaluable. He's capable of playing third base, first base, outfield, shortstop and if needed showed he can handle the tools of ignorance as well.

And he's also a pretty good insurance policy when playing in front of #25, Barry Bonds, who is NOT the liability some like to say he is but still, having Feliz in front of him makes a difference.

Feliz is also good for 20 homers and 70 runs batted in.

So all of the "no think" comments about #7 are valid but you could find fault with every player if you tried hard enough. We sometimes forget the good some players do and I just wanted to say, "It's okay if you flail away, Pedro Feebaliz (pronounced Feeble-eeze)...All hitters go through those tough spells. I appreciate your glove and that you are usually there for roll call."

Kevin Marquez

Friday, August 17, 2007

Danny Ortmeier

What happened to Freddie Lewis? Or Nate Scheirholtz? (Apologies to Nate, if I misspelled his surname. I'm feeling a bit Dan Quayle-ish. Wanna bet ole Danny Quayle'd hurt himself trying to spell Nate's last name?)

I'm getting the feeling the Giants' brass likes the switch-hitting Dan Ortmeier. Having him play at first-base and the outfield says they're finding a way to get him the every day lineup.

I like it. Gives US a chance to see some youngsters acclimate themselves to the rigors of major league baseball.

Something good will come out of this dismal season. I'm not about to give up on Bruce Bochy. He's too good of a manager. The same goes for Brian Sabean and staff.

Kevin Marquez

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Frandsen Needs to Lighten Up

I saw in, Baseball For the Love of It- Hall of Famers Tell it Like it Was, by Anthony J. Connor, Roy Campanella say how he played in 5 World Series in 1949, 1952, 1953, 1955 and 1956 and how he considered himself to be a pretty lucky fella. But he was disappointed that they only won once, in 1955.

Roy: "One of our problems I believe is that we were trying too hard. You know there is such a thing as trying too hard. You get all knotted up. We wanted to beat the Yankees so badly that we maybe became a little overanxious.

That's quite the dynasty considering Giants' fans know what it took for the Giants to overcome the Dodgers in 1951.

Giants' fans currently have a youngster who falls directly into the category of trying too hard and perhaps even beats himself up when he fails to execute on the ball field. That player is Kevin Frandsen. I'm not so sure the Giants'organization should allow too much time for Frandsen to correct this problem. It's the kind of thing only Frandsen can rid himself of and if there aren't any players in their minor league systems than can replace the headcase that is Frandsen, the organization has more problems than just getting its major league club back on the road to being in contention in the National League West division.

Kevin Marquez

Harry "the Hat" Walker

On the outside, looking in, it appears the baseball Hall of Fame is for players who put up fantastic numbers offensively, could handle their position adequately when in the field with longevity.

Hall of Famers are usually so talented at their craft that their opponents had to alter their approach if they had any chance of beating the skilled player's team. It's often said that a Hall of Famer changed the game.

Well, how about if you coached players onto greatness that eventually led your pupils into Cooperstown, New York?

Harry "the Hat" Walker was acredited with helping Stan Musial, Roberto Clemente, Matty Alou and probably had something to do with Joe Morgan, since he was manager of the Houston Astros before the blockbuster trade between the Cincinnati Reds and Houston Astros took place. (Houston sent Morgan, Ed Armbrister, Jack Billingham, Cesar Geronimo and Denis Menke to Cincy for Lee May, Tommy Helms and Jimmy "Not a Wonderful Life" Stewart.)

Roberto was never really comfortable with Danny Murtaugh, as was learned on a biography done on "the Great One" with Jimmy Smits as the narrator and Matty Alou became a league leading hitter once under the guidance of Harry "the Hat."

It just seems to me, aside from winning a set number of games and having respectable numbers as a player, it'd be nice to induct someone without whose guidance some players may have never attained the legendary status most of us attribute to that player.

(Note: It was Joe Morgan and Al Holland who were dealt by the San Francisco Giants to the Philadelphia Phillies in order to obtain Mike Krukow, Mark Davis and somebody named Charles Penigar. And ever since that day, December 14, 1982, we fans have had to endure the voice whose signature phrase is: Ride Some Pine, Meat!!!!)

Kevin Marquez

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Whitey Ford ...Cheating to Win a Bet

(According to Whitey Ford...from the book..Baseball as it Anthony Connor.)

The 1961 All-Star game was at Candlestick Park. The game was on Tuesday and we got there on Monday, so Mickey and I headed right for the golf course. It was a place where the owner of the Giants, Horace Stoneham, was a member, and we played with his son, Peter. But we didn't have any equipment with Pete Stoneham said, "Just sign my father's name, " and that was the best offer we'd had for a long time.

We didn't go so far as to buy golf clubs, but we did get new shoes, a pack of sweaters, balls and shirts, and the whole bill came to around $200.

During the match Joe DiMaggio and Lefty O'Doul were playing behind us in a twosome. The 9th hole was on an elevated green where I guess they couldn't see us from the fairway. Anyway, Mickey was getting ready to putt, and this ball came flying down and hit him right on the head, sort of glanced off his head while he was lining up his putt. I'm not sure if it was O'Doul or DiMaggio, neither one of them would admit who hit the ball off Mickey's head.

Toots Shore had a suite and he invited me and Mickey over for a little cocktail party.

So while we were telling everybody about our golf game, and how Mickey got hit in the head by a ball, I went over to Horace Stoneham to pay back the $200 tab we ran up at his club. Horace is a nice, generous man, and he didn't seem to want to take the dough back. So he said, "Look, I'll make a deal with you. If you happen to get in the game tomorrow and you get to pitch to Willie Mays, if you get him out we'll call it even. But if he gets a hit off you, then we'll double it- you owe me $400, okay?"

Mickey wouldn't go for it. No way. He knew that Mays was like 9 for 12 off of me lifetime, and he didn't have any reason to think I was going to start getting Willie out, not especially in his own ballpark. But I talked him into it. Now all I had to do was get Willie out.

The next afternoon in Candlestick Park, I started for the American League and Willie was batting fourth for the National League. I got the first two batters out, but Roberto Clemente rapped a double and here comes #24.

Well, I got two strikes on him somehow, and now the money's on the line because I might not get to throw to him again.

So I did the only smart thing possible under the circumstances: I loaded the ball up real good. You know, I never threw the spitter-well, maybe once or twice when I needed to get a guy out really bad. But this time I gave it the old saliva treatment, and then I threw Willie the biggest spitball you ever saw.

It started out almost at his chest and then it just broke down to the left, like dying when it got to the plate and dropping straight down without any spin. Willie just leaned into it a little and then stared at the ball while it snapped the hell out of sight, and the umpire shot up his right hand for strike THREE.

Okay, so I struck out Willie Mays. But to this day people are probably still wondering why Mickey came running in from center field now that the inning was over, clapping his hands over his head and jumping up in the air like we'd just won the World Series. It was a money pitch and we'd just saved ourselves $400.

Kevin Marquez

Repeat Performance

Since the acquisition of Rajai Davis (#28 on your scorecard), from the Pittsburgh Pirates, for the embittered Matt Morris, he has turned a few heads.

If, and it's a big IF, Rajai can do what Randy Winn did, a couple of years ago, then this bad season indeed has its silver lining. With Winn also in the outfield, adding Rajai would mean the orange and black would have two-thirds of its outfield in position for years to come.

That with the pitching, after a year of Bruce Bochy seasoning, has the Giants leaning in the right direction.

Not too many people have given Bruce Bochy the slightest hint of a compliment this year, but the former catcher knows pitching, as do Dave Righetti and Mark Gardner.

Ask Noah Lowry what he thinks.

As a fan, my only question is WHY have there been so many 0-2 pitches clobbered against the Giants???????? Why are the Giants so unwilling to challenge the hitters with an 0-2 count, if they cannot spot their pitches?

The announcers seem to be enamored with the idea that the pitcher had poor location because the pitch was nowhere near the glove. Word to the broadcasters, just because the pitcher didn't hit my glove didn't mean much. Some catchers didn't give a target of any kind and the game went on as usual. So to blurt out how the pitcher was nowhere near the target is mindless babble.

Kevin Marquez

Friday, August 10, 2007

Charley Gehringer on Mickey Cochrane

After last season, when Mike Matheny got a foul ball off of the noggin that gave him a concussion in which he was unable to return. I came across something Hall of Famer Charlie Gehringer said about Hall of Famer Mickey Cochrane and I don't ever recall hearing anyone ever attribute his lack of ability to him getting beaned. That is, untill I read this piece on Charlie Gehringer. As if someone just figured Cochrane was getting up in years and his skills naturally eroded.

You know, back in Mickey Cochrane's day, the trainers weren't as well educated as they are now. In fact, many players played in spite of what the trainers prescribed, if you know what I mean.

(from Baseball ..Hall of Famers Tell it Like it Was)

Mickey Cochrane was super leader when he was playing but after he got beaned and had to manage from the bench he didn't call them quite so well because he wasn't close enough to the scene.

When Mickey was managing from behind-the-plate, I can't ever remember him ever fouling anything up. He made snap judgments that seemed to always work, especially in 1934 and 1935 when we (Detroit Tigers) won two pennants.

After he became bench manager it seemed like he weighed everything a little more, and you can't do that in baseball-in politics maybe, but not in baseball-you've got to jump into things or you miss your chance. And after Mickey got hit in the head, it seems like we missed more chances.

Kind of makes me think he never quite got over his concussion.

Oh, by the way, a young boy born in Commerce, Oklahoma was named after Mickey Cochrane.
He would go on to hit 536 home runs. His name, Mickey Mantle.

Kevin Marquez

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Coolest Nickname

Happy Days had Arthur Fonzarelli. Better known as the "Fonz," a character whose attire consisted of jeans, tee shirt, leather jacket and motorcycle. Only on television could such cool happen. With his infamous, "Heyyy," whenever he happened to pass a mirror, perhaps he was the caucasian Willie Mays, who went by the "Say Hey" Kid, when he came up through Trenton, New Jersey and then onto the New York Giants in the late 1940s into the 1950s.

What do you think is the coolest nickname for a major league ballplayer? You've got the Splendid Splinter (Ted Williams), Georgia Peach (Ty Cobb), Sultan of Swat (Babe Ruth), Iron Horse (Lou Gehrig), Say Hey Kid (Willie Mays), A-Rod (Alex Rodriguez), Dizzy (Jay Hanna Dean), etc.

I'm going with Stan "the Man" Musial. Simply because I cannot think of any guy who doesn't want to be referred to as the Man. (I think in the television world, FONZ was equivalent to the man.)

(In truth, it was when Henry "Hammerin' Hank" Aaron passed Stan Musial in all-time hits that there was something more than Aaron being the all-time home run hitter. Although he had 1392 more at-bats than Stan Musial (12,354 vs. Musial's 10,972) he was able to put into prominence, in the modern day, that not all home run hitters were just sluggers. Aaron had 141 more hits than Stan the Man, in 1392 more at-bats. His lifetime batting average was .305 compared to Musial's .330.

And there were flashes of that back in the 1920's and 1930's it's just that those fellows just didn't have as many at-bats as the modern day Hank Aaron or Pete Rose.

Ty Cobb's all-time average was .366. Ted Williams had a career .344 average, with 521 home runs and he lost 6 years to the war and injury (One year he was hurt in the All-Star game.). Babe Ruth, who was walked an amazing number of times until Barry Bonds came along to shatter every free-pass record the Bambino ever set, batted .342. Lou Gehrig, a guy who was unfortunate to have a life ending disease cost him some even more impressive numbers than he had already attained, batted .340.

Longevity, as Hank mentioned in his speech to Barry Bonds, is a big factor. It allows you to accumulate numbers you might not have otherwise been able to reach. When you are as great as the aforementioned players, it's safe to say each and every one of these players could have done what it took to set a new standard. But for whatever reason fate played its part with them the way it factors into everyone's life and the chips fall where they may. You could say it was injury, military service, changing positions, whatever the case may be the great ones played for as long as they could, or were allowed, and are forever enshrined in Cooperstown, New York with the numbers attributed to their careers.

There will always be comparisons about players and the times in which they played. But those of us baseball fanatics who enjoy the sport for all of its intangibles and idiosyncracies know this is as much of a reason why we like the game as it is to witness: Hank Aaron, Stan Musial, Barry Bonds or Omar Visquel, play the game of baseball.

It would have been great to see George Herman "Babe" Ruth play. What a thrill that must have been. Or even to see Sadahari Oh (apologies if misspelled) or Josh Gibson. The Japanese League or Negro League had their fair share of accomplished ballplayers but we must understand one thing, in each league those who were superior probably would have succeeded in the other respective leagues. But against a stiffer competition, each and every elite athlete may or may not have done as well as the fantasy we let our imaginations run away with (also known as, the legends in our minds) in regards to our favorites and their seemingly unending list of achievements attained.

Personally, I know I ingested all of the information from books and documentaries and confabulated some possibilities much the same way we did as kids when we were playing in the sandlots. Our collective memories never failed to make everything seem bigger and better, right?

Kevin Marquez

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Burleigh Grimes

(from Baseball for the Love it, Hall of Famers Tell it Like it Was by Anthony Connor)

"I can remember a reporter asking me for a quote, and I didn't know what a quote was. I thought it was some kind of soft drink."

Joltin' Joe Di Maggio

That's believable because it's very possible that there would be someone who would speak words that weren't always understood. Especially in the crazy media-hyped up world of New York.

Times were different then. Lifestyles were a lot more cultured, as all of the ethnicities were adjusting to one another, learning by trial and error, some lessons may have been of the gruff exterior type. That sort of behavior was accepted, back then.

World War I and World War II were times that had absolutely nothing to do with political correctness.

(In 1916, Burleigh Grimes was called up by the Pittsburgh Pirates. The following is according to the right-handed pitching, well-traveled, Burleigh Grimes.)

Honus Wagner was a wonderful fellow, always having fun. Never too serious. He loved to tell whoppers. He was forty-two (42), in 1916, but still covered his position at shortstop. I remember the first game I ever pitched against Brooklyn @ Ebbets Field. It was a tight spot, about the 7th inning, score tied 1-1, with a man on first. Wagner came over to the mound from the shortstop position and said, "Make him hit it to me, kid."

Coincidentally the batter did hit a hard grounder right to short. Perfect double-play ball. I was proud of myself and figured old Honus had to be impressed. Well, the ball bounced off of Wagner's foot out to left-center field, the runner scored and the batter wound up on third base!

Old Honus came over to me with his dobber down, looking kind of annoyed. He said, "Those damned big feet have always been in my way."

At 42, Honus Wagner was still called the Flying Dutchman.
The Giants have a shortstop who doesn't have a flashy nickname, but he's Hall of Fame worthy. Omar Visquel, wow, I'd like to see the Giants bring him and Barry back next year.

Great players earn "street cred" for always performing at a level where their bar is raised a wee bit higher than any one else, regardless of age. If they say they can play, what have they done to show you they cannot? Perhaps Bonds doesn't need to spend as much time on the field as the slick fielding Visquel. Then again, Barry should get a few more at-bats than Omar.

kevin marquez

Monday, August 6, 2007

Al Lopez

(from Baseball For the Love of It. Hall of Famers Tell it Like it Was by Anthony J. Connor)

In 1928, Brooklyn called me up at the end of the year after my minor league season at Macon, GA, had ended. So I sat around on the bench for 2 1/2 weeks. Finally Wilbert Robinson (manager) put me in the last 2 days of the season; a doubleheader on Saturday and a day game on Sunday.

It was a great experience but I did not get a hit. We were playing the Pirates, and they had Glenn Wright, who was a great shortstop, and Pie Traynor at third-base. I was a pull-hitter and I hit some hard shots to the left side, but every ball was either to Wright or Traynor. I was hitting the ball good, and I thought I had hits several times, but each time I'd see that ball flying into the first-baseman's mitt.

I'd never seen infielding like that at Macon and it was kind of discouraging. I went home to Florida for the winter, thinking to myself, what have I got to do to get a base hit in this league?

(Been there, done that. Anyone who has played baseball has, bet on it.)

Kevin Marquez

Remember Mike Jackson, the Reliever?

Cliff Lee, left-handed pitcher for the Cleveland Indians has given up 8 grand slams in his young career. Quite the antithesis of one Jim Palmer, former Orioles pitcher, who never gave up a grand slam in 19 years of major league pitching.

Lee's on pace to shatter the career mark of 10, held by both Nolan Ryan and ex-Giant Mike Jackson. Knowing that Nolan Ryan was on some average to bad teams with the California Angels and Texas Rangers, I'd have to say a few mishandled grounders were the cause of him having to get out of trouble and ten times he was unable to do so.

But recalling the exploits of one Mike Jackson, in the orange and black, I'd say he pretty much set the table and then threw a meatball at a batter who was craving Italian that day and he clobbered it for a grand salami. Ten salamis as a relief pitcher is HUGE!

kevin marquez

Sunday, August 5, 2007

No Shows in the Managerial School of Earl Weaver

August 3, 2007 in San Diego...

Unbelievably Jerry Hairston hit his second 3-run homer off of Vinnie "BoomBah" Chulk, to cost Matt Cain a victory on a night in which he struck out eleven and had yielded no runs. But on one lob (of what must look like a softball to Hairston when Vinnie's chulking it up to the plate) Cain got charged for 2 runs and a no decision.

Earlier in the season Chulk gave up a "big fly" to Hairston when Hairston was playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks and yet he was who Bruce Bochy selected as the pitcher to come in from the bullpen when it came time to remove Matt Cain.

This elicited memories of Dusty Baker replacing whomever the starting pitcher was, with Felix Rodriguez in the 2002 World Series. It didn't matter how Felix had struggled in the Series, Dusty just couldn't wait to insert him into a game if, in Dusty's eyes, the starter was appearing out of sorts.

Both Dusty Baker and current skipper Bruce Bochy apparently never took a course in Earl Weaver 101. He was a manager who would not, under any circumstances, allow a pitcher to be burned twice by the same hitter. He just saw no reason to let lightning strike twice because his glass "half empty" saw to it that once bitten was all that he'd allow. You know, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me...It's a good rule to follow unless you think it's okay to roll the dice with your career and the player you so deem as necessary for the job even though he hasn't executed against the hitter in the batter's box.

Think about it, a batter has a certain swagger to begin with, now throw in the knowledge that he has ownage, in his mind, on the pitcher and you have a monster. By putting your pitcher in against this hitter YOU are creating a monster in the hitter and serious doubt in your pitcher. Not a good combination if you look forward to winning some games with the help of this pitcher.

Bruce Bochy, this BONEHEAD award is all yours! And to Vinnie Chulk, an upright middle-finger salute is all you get.

Kevin Marquez

1946....Not so Fast, Rapid Robert Feller

After returning from military service, Bob Feller was determined to make up for lost time.

In 1946, the Cleveland Indians' pitcher was 26W 15L, while striking out 348 in 371 innings. He threw 10 shutouts and on April 30th tossed a no-hitter versus the then rival New York Yankees.

His 348 strikeouts surpassed Rube Waddell's 343 back in 1904. Some statisticians claimed Waddell's correct total was 349, even though no official stat sheets existed it is the adjusted figure of 349 that is the accepted total for Rube Waddell.

Rube Waddell was an eccentric fellow. Once while at-bat when the catcher threw to second base in an attempt to pickoff a base-runner, the errant throw went into the outfield, the runner then got up and took off for third and as he approached the bag was waved in by the third base coach.
As the throw came in for a play at the plate, Waddell stepped up and swung at it, knocking the ball over the fence. Not a home run though, he was called out for interference.

When he was asked why he did it, Rube responded: "It was the first pitch I saw, all day, that I could hit."

(Waddell's story from They Did What? by Bob Fenster. Feller's story by Anthony J. Connor's book entitled Baseball for the Love of It, Hall of Famers Tell it Like it Was.)

Kevin Marquez

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Thanks, Tommy John

Sure, I don't like the Los Angeles Dodgers. But I do like baseball.

Tommy John surgery.

After tearing the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his elbow he was told by Dr. Frank Jobe that his career was over, because his arm was dead.

Because Tommy John wouldn't accept such a bleak diagnosis and insisted Dr. Jobe find something to fix his ailing arm the sport of baseball had a breakthrough discovery.

After drilling holes in the humerus and ulna, the surgeon threads a tendon in a figure eight to replace the torn ulnar collateral ligament. A tendon working as a ligament works better than the ligament it replaced. Amazing stuff that may have never happened had Tommy John not been so stubborn.

Thank you, Tommy John.

Now is this like steroids? Because guys who have had this type of surgery lasted several years longer than they would have had they not had the successful surgery??? And we all know, to make Cooperstown, longevity and statistics are two components.

(from Sports Illustrated 6/18/2007...Michael Weinreb)

Kevin Marquez

Monday, July 30, 2007

Congratulations Mark Sweeney

It was good to hear the crowd cheer when Mark Sweeney got his 151st pinch-hit to pass former Giant Manny Mota.

The knowledgable fans cheered the clutch Sweeney as they should have and the man, who is number #2 on the all-time pinch hits list, said he'd never forget it.

In this long losing season it's appreciated when those deserving of thanks get their due.

Kudos to the fans and Mark Sweeney, who, oh by the way, got #152 in the Saturday night thrilling 9th inning come from behind victory over the Fish. Those of you who were there or watched on television remember this as the same game where Armando Benitez got booed resoundingly upon hearing the public address announcer's pronunciation of his name. Whole lotta hatred going on there, but the Gigantes won, so it's okay!!

kevin marquez

Friday, July 27, 2007

Is Benjito Calling a Good Game?

Seeing as how the Giants have a pitching staff full of youngsters, one would have to say that the catcher's ability, one Benjito Molina, to call a good game is paramount to the success of the Giants.

Because it is highly unlikely one of the youngsters (Lincecum, Cain, Lowry) would ever feel comfortable shaking off one of the veteran Benjie Molina' s signals, I'm wondering if he is resposible for calling a game that is not in the best interests of the pitcher.

Throughout the year the Giants' pitching staff has surrendered an unusual amount of 0-2 base hits, regardless if it's at the top, heart or bottom of the order. A "no balls" "two strike" count is to the pitcher's advantage and to throw anything that catches too much plate is inexcusable.

Recently I have noticed that Molina doesn't really set up outside of the strike zone when his pitcher has the advantage, therefore the pitcher is not throwing a pitch that the batter has to chase after as much as he should be. They are doing the batter a favor when their 0-2, or 1-2 pitches catch TOO MUCH of the plate and I blame Benjie Molina for allowing this to happen.

Hey, we all know pitchers make mistakes and maybe miss the target, but if you're giving a target without much room for error, is it the person giving the target who is at fault or the person trying to hit the target? I'm going with the guy giving the target, because he's a veteran and he should be doing everything possible to protect his young pitcher from being hit if he misses the target.

It's just that it has happened all too often this year and I have not heard one person mention Molina's ability to call "or not" call a game as a possible reason for the blown 0-2 pitches.

kevin marquez

Friday, July 20, 2007

Atta Boy Tony

Yesterday, on the Gary Radnich show, Tony Bruno predicted that Barry Bonds would hit a home run. Even with the negative vibe thrown out there by KNBR nerd, Dan Dibley, Tony Bruno stood firm on his prediction, calling it a Stone Cold Lock.

#25 hit the first Ted Lilly pitch he saw onto Sheffield Avenue.

And later, in the game, he hit another homer into the seats in left-center field, despite a heavy wind blowing in from left-center toward home plate.

Always the naysayers, like Dan Dibley, when it comes to Barry Bonds. All he does, time and time again, is prove that these "know-it-alls" are not the people you should be seeking knowledge from.

I am inspired by this guy because of all he has to go through and yet he is so focused on what it is he has to do that when he does execute it just gives me a chill up and down my spine when I think of all those people (my brother included!) who had nothing nice to say and how they went out of their way to bad mouth someone they have never met face to face. All of these people get their facts from hearsay and hacks who think the view from their cushioned seat is the best in the house.

Why isn't it enough that he performs the job he is paid to do? Do all of these people treat everyone they come into contact with, while on the job or off the job, in the same professional manner they expect from others?

Hey, if I met him (Bonds) and he treated me like I was inferior to him, I'd probably tell him to his face what I thought of that behavior and that'd be it. I would harbor the hatred forever more.

As a youth I was one of those kids who was an autograph seeker. And on one afternoon, an hour or so before a Pittsburgh Pirate/San Francisco Giants' game at Candlestick Park, I was at the Pirate dugout seeking autographs. My thinking was that this Pirate team had all kinds of players on it who would be good to add to my autograph book and that I could always get the Giant players' autographs. I mean I already had Mays, McCovey and Marichal, the others could wait. I'd be back at another game, soon enough.

Well, it was Roberto Clemente's understanding that there were many kids who couldn't afford to be out at the ball game so he didn't see why he should sign for a kid who at least got to see a game. I don't understand that, but respect his beliefs, however confusing they were. (What if a Boys Club made it possible for under-privileged youths to attend a ballgame and they wanted their hero's autograph. That hero being Clemente?)

Willie Stargell uttered Clemente's sentiments as he actually said, "I don't come here to sign autographs," as he scrawled out his last name into my autograph book. Some players like Manny Sanguillen, Dave Cash and Gene Alley were very courteous so you take the good with the bad. Although, every time "Pops" was up at the plate, there was one eleven year-old kid who put a little more volume into his "booing."

Regardless of how he presents himself, if he hits homers and makes plays in the field that's all I care about. All of the other stuff is nice and certainly wouldn't go unnoticed but it's not as important as the player peforming the task he was paid to do.

kevin marquez

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Giants at Wrigley Field

In a tribute to Harry Caray, a man who made the game incidental to what was actually happening in his life, I would like to re-create some of the happenings in the Monday, Tuesday and today's Wednesday day game at Wrigley Field.

On monday, Kevin Correia was unable to field a ball back up the middle hit by Ryan Theriot and when the fleet of foot Theriot was on first and began running toward second base, during a Derrick Lee at-bat, Ray Durham vacated his position to cover second for the throw only the ball was perfectly spanked by Lee to the spot where Durham had been. (Harry no doubt, in telling his listening audience how a beautiful lady got his attention and therefore nobody would have known exactly what happened but he'd have raised a glass of budweiser in celebration, saying something like 'I'm a Cubs' fan and a Bud man, Holy Cow, is that woman stacked!')

In the Barry Zito win, where he struck out eight batters and walked none, Jon Miller jumped all over home plate umpire Jim Reynolds saying, "Hey, hey, this IS my style. Well, take it to Broadway! How about just calling the rulebook definition of what a strike is, the way you're supposed to!"

In today's Wednesday game Jon Miller impersonated the late Harry Caray, "And he pops it up...How in the heck does the fourth place hitter pop up such a weakly hit ball with less than two out and the Cubs with a chance for a big inning?"

In true Harry Caray style, let me attempt to describe the 4th and 5th innings that allowed the Cubs to break the game wide open and win, 12-1.

"Jacque Jones, is the batter. Wow (elbows Steve Stone) how about that behind the visitor's dugout. What d'ya give her? I'm going with an 11. Ground ball by Jones, hits off of Klesko's glove and the Cubs score twice. Well, Steve, what d'ya say? Catcher (Guillermo) Rodriguez has the third passed ball in this, the 5th inning, go past him. Perhaps he sees the woman I'm talking about that Steve still can't find in his binoculars!!"

What actually happened with Klesko was he angled back in hopes of getting a better bounce but the ball still found a way to bounce funny enough to hit off of his glove. Rather than charge the ball he backed up? Not advisable for you youngsters out there learning to play the game. Take a tip from Uncle Kev, never allow the ball to play you because it'll play you right out of the lineup.

Another Matt Cain loss.

I'm sort of getting the feeling that Cain is beginning to show some feelings toward the lack of support his teammates are giving him on days he's scheduled to pitch.

kevin marquez