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

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Baseball Humor

Out of the book, Ball Four, by Jim Bouton.

Then there's the tale Jim Gosger (former outfielder) told about hiding in a closet to shoot a little beaver while his roommate made out in the bed with some local talent. Nothing sneaky about it, the roommate even provided the towel for Gosger to bite on in case he was moved to laughter.

At the height of the activity on the bed, local talent, moaning, says, "Oh darling, I've never done it that way before." Whereupon Gosger sticks his head out of the closet and drawls, "Yeah, surre." and retreats in the closet.

After he told us the story, "Yeah surrre," became a watchword around the club.

"I only had three beers last night."
"Yeah, surre."

kevin marquez

Monday, July 16, 2007

Lot of Similarities between Ted Williams and Barry Bonds

Wrote biographer Ed Linn: "He was sometimes unbearable, but he was never dull."
(This too is from John Updike's writings of Ted Williams.)

Fenway Park, in Boston, is a lytic little bandbox of a ballpark. It was built in 1912 and rebuilt in 1934. It's right field is one of the deepest in the American League, while its left field is the shortest; the high left-field wall, three hundred and fifteen feet from home plate along the foul line, virtually thrusts its surface at right-handed hitters.

The affair between Boston and Ted Williams was no mere summer romance; it was a marriage composed of spats, mutual disappointments, and, toward the end, a mellowing hoard, of shared memories. It fell into three stages, which may be termed youth, maturity and age; or thesis, antithesis and synthesis; or Jason, Achilles and Nestor.

One might say the relationship between Barry Bonds and the fans is much more civil but the scribes most definitely seem to go out of their way to display, pure unabridged haterism when they describe a struggling Bonds or that they go out of their way to express themselves about something they don't feel Bonds should have done, whether someone asked them or not, like they're the know-it-all types, sort of a Rush Limbaugh with pen, if you will.

Said Ted Williams, the young bridegroom who came out of the West (San Diego to be exact), "All I want out of life is that when I walk down the street folks will say, 'There goes the greatest hitter who ever lived.' "

Williams reported to the Red Sox training camp in Sarasota, FL in 1938 and, after showing more volubility than skill, and was shipped down to the Minneapolis Millers, the top Sox farm team.
At Minneapolis he hit .366, batted in 142, scored 130 runs and hit 43 home runs. He also loafed in the field, jabbered at the fans and smashed a water cooler with his fist.

In 1939, he came north with the Red Sox. On the way, he dropped a foul fly, accidentally kicked it away in trying to pick it up, picked it up and threw it out of the park.

"Williams vs. the Press"

It is Ed Linn's suggestion that Williams walked into a circulation war among the seven (7) Boston newspapers, who in their competitive zeal headlined incidents that the New York papers, say, would have minimized, just as they had minimized the less genial side of the moody and aloof Joe DiMaggio and smoothed Babe Ruth into a folk hero.

The dowagers of local journalism attempted to give elementary deportment lessons to this child who spake as a god, and to their horror were themselves rebuked. Thus began the long exchange of backbiting, bat-flipping, booing, and spitting that has distinguished Williams' public relations.

The spitting incidents of 1957 and 1958 and the similar dockside courtesies that Williams has now and then extended to the grandstand should be judged against his background: the left-field stands at Fenway Park, for twenty (20) years have held large number of customers who have bought their way in primarily for the privilege of showering abuse on Williams. Greatness necessarily attracts debunkers, but in Williams' case the hostility has been systematic and unappeasable. His basic offense against the fans has been to wish that they weren't there.

Seeking a perfectionist's vacuum, he has quixotically desired to sever the game from the ground of paid spectatorship and publicity that supports it. It has been a costly theory- it has probably cost him, among other evidences of good will, two MVP awards, which are voted by reporters- but he has held to it.

While his critics, oral and literary, remained beyond the reach of his discipline, the opposing pitchers were accessible, and he spanked them to the tune of .406 in 1941.

Baseball is a game of the long season, of relentless and gradual averaging-out. Irrelevance- since the reference point of most individual contests is remote and statistical- always threatens its interest, which can be maintained not by the occasional heroics that sportswriters feed upon but by players who always care; who care, that is to say, about themselves and their art. Insofar as the clutch hitter is not a sportswriter's myth, he is a vulgarity, like a writer who writes only for money.

It may be, compared to such managers' dreams as the manifestly classy Joe DiMaggio and the always helpful Stan Musial, Williams was an icy star. But of all team sports, baseball, with its graceful intermittences of action, its immense and tranquil field sparsely settled with poised men in white, its dispassionate mathematics, seems to me best suited to accommodate, and be ornamented by, a loner.

It is an essentially lonely game. No other player visible to my generation concentrated within himself so much of the sport's poignance, so assiduously refined his natural skills, so constantly brought to the plate that intensity of competence that crowds the throat with joy.

Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey assembled a team of lesser stars around Williams (sound familiar?) and their skills began to fade (or free agency took them elsewhere?), Williams' (Bonds'?) rigorous pride of craftsmanship had become itself a kind of heroism. This brittle and temperamental player developed an unexpected quality of persistence. He was always coming back- back from Korea, back from a broken collarbone, a shattered elbow, a bruised heel, back from drastic bouts of flu and ptomaine poisoning. Hardly a season went by without some enfeebling mishap, yet he always came back, and always looked like himself. The delicate mechanism of timing and power seemed sealed, shockproof, in some case deep within his frame. (A non-smoker, non-drinker, habitual walker, and year-round outdoorsman, Williams spared his body the vicissitudes of the seasonal athlete. And his hitting was in large part a mental process; the amount of cerebration he devoted to such details as pitchers' patterns, prevailing winds, and the muscular mechanics of swinging a bat would seem ridiculous, if it had not paid off.

Ted Williams' last at-bat as described by John Updike.

In the 8th inning of the last game of the 1960 Boston Red Sox season, Ted Williams faced Jack Fisher.

As he was announced Red Sox fans stood and cheered. No calling, no whistling, just an ocean of handclaps, minute after minute, burst after burst, crowding and running together in continuous succession like the pushes of surf at the edge of the sand. It was a somber and considered tumult. There was not a boo in it. It seemed to renew itself out of a shifting set of memories as the Kid, the Marine, the veteran of fueds and failures and injuries, the friend of children, and the enduring old pro evolved down the bright tunnel of twenty-two summers toward this moment.
At last, the umpire signalled for Fisher to pitch; with the other players, he had been frozen in position. Only Williams had moved during the ovation, switching his bat impatiently, ignoring everything except his cherished task. Fisher wound up, and the applause sank into a hush.

Fisher, after his unssettling wait was low with his first pitch. He put the second one over, and Williams swung mightily and missed. The crowd grunted, seeing that classic swing, so long and smooth and quick, exposed. Fisher threw the third time, Williams swung again, and there it was.

The ball climbed a diagonal line into the vast volume of air over center field. From my angle, behind third base, the ball seemed less an object in flight than the top of a towering, motionless construct, like the Eiffel Tower or the Tappan Zee Bridge. It was in the books while it was still in the sky. Centerfielder, Jackie Brandt (originally a Giant) ran back to the deepest corner of the outfield grass, the ball descended beyond his reach and struck in the crotch where the bullpen met the wall, bounced chunkily, and vanished.

Williams ran around the square of bases as he always ran out home runs- hurriedly, unsmiling, head down, as if our praise were a storm of rain to get out of. He didn't tip his cap (Barry would?). Though we thumped, wept, and chanted, "We Want Ted," for minutes after he hid in the dugout, he did not come back. Our noise for some seconds passed beyond excitement into a kind of immense open anguish, a wailing, a cry to be saved. But immortality is nontransferable. The papers said that the other players, and even the umpires on the field, begged him to come out and acknowledge us in some way, but he refused. Gods do not answer letters.

(special thanks to John Updike)

kevin marquez

Early Ted Williams rating

My mother has a phrase she will revert to now and again and it's this:
It is better to appear stupid than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

The following excerpt on someone involved with organized baseball named Bill Cunningham personifies the aforementioned statement.

It was Bill Cunningham who, when Williams first appeared in a Red Sox uniform at the 1938 spring training camp, wrote with melodious prescience:

The Sox seem to think Williams is just cocky enough and gabby enough to make a great and colorful outfielder, possibly the Babe Herman type. Me? I don't like the way he stands at the plate. He bends his front knee inward and moves his foot just before he takes a swing. That's exactly what happens to the golf balls I drive, I don't believe this kid will ever hit half a singer midget's weight in a bathing suit."

from John Updike's writings on Ted Williams.

-Kevin Marquez

The Base Stealer

Poised between going on and back, pulled
both ways taut like a tightrope-walker,
Fingertips pointing the opposites,
Now bouncing tiptoe like a dropped ball
or a kid skipping rope, come on, come on,
Running a scattering of steps sidewise,
How he teeters, skitters, tingles, teases,
Taunts them, hovers like an ecstatic bird,
he's only flirting, crowd him, crowd him,
delicate, delicate, delicate, delicate - NOW!!!

by Robert Francis

kevin marquez

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Giants-Dodgers Rivalry

The story goes that after the 1957 Brooklyn Dodger season, owner, Walter O'Malley decided to move the team to Los Angeles, for financial reasons, among others.

Meanwhile, Horace Stoneham, New York Giants' owner, was looking to move his team to Minnesota, home of his Triple A affiliate, Minneapolis Millers. But Walt convinced Hore, the move to California was in the best interests of both teams. Not to mention the continuation of baseball's greatest rivalry.

In 1957, the New York Giants swapped ownership of their top farm team, the Minneapolis Millers, with the Boston Red Sox top farm team, the San Francisco Seals. This enabled the Giants to move west and use Seals Stadium until they could build a new, modern stadium. (The restaurant Connecticut Yankee has history because the Bosox were a top notch minor league team in San Francisco, just up the street.)

The Dodgers would play at the Los Angeles Coliseum, home of the Olympics and USC/UCLA football. Somehow they would configure this into a baseball stadium. Due to the odd configuration of this West Coast Coliseum, left field was only 250' from home plate. Newly acquired Wally Moon quickly learned the benefits of lofting lazy fly balls over the 40' screen and he earned the nickname of "Moon Shots" because of this gift.

In the Giants' move to San Francisco came the Baby Bull. Also known as Cha Cha, Orlando Cepeda was the rookie of the year in 1958, having hit 25-HR, 96-RBI, with a batting average of .312.

The future Hall-of-Famer did the San Francisco Giants right. Compiling impressive numbers each and every year and then, in 1961, the year the Cincinnati Reds went to the World Series, lost his bid for the MVP to Frank Robinson. (I say this because it has always seemed to me, Golden Gloves have a tendency to be given to the fielder with the better offensive numbers...MVP is a post-season thing, I guess.)

In 1961: Orlando had 46-HR, 142-RBI, .312-AVE.
Frank Robinson had 37-HR, 124-RBI, .323-AVE.

The two players had something else in common. Both were involved in trades that were considered the worst ever in major league history.
And darned near at the same time. (5 months apart, almost to the day.)

On December 9, 1965, Frank Robinson was traded by the Cincinnati Reds to the Baltimore Orioles for Milt Pappas, Jack Baldschun, and Dick Simpson. In 1966, Frank Robinson won the Triple Crown.
(In 1967, Carl Yastrzemski, a former Minneapolis Miller, won the last Triple Crown.)

In 1966, the Baltimore Orioles swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series, 4-0.

This was a World Series of very few runs and record setting futility by #3, center fielder for the Dodgers, Willie Davis.
I can still remember the cameraman's purposeful focus on Davis' jersey with it's #3, after he made his third error in the 5th inning. (It was a camera shot from the seats in center field.)

Games 3 and 4 were both 1-0 victories by the Orioles.
Game 3 belonged to Wally Bunker, a graduate of Westmoor High School. (He came in second to Tony Oliva, Twins-OF, for rookie of the year for 1964. (Upstart Wally was 19, Tony was 25. Still, Tony had credible numbers: 32-HR, 94-RBI, .323 AVE to Young Wally's 19W 5L, 2.69 ERA...tough call. Perhaps, if Wally gets numero viente-20, it changes things.)

Game 4 was a win for Dave McNally. The celebratory "W" is a victory all twirlers should experience. Being on the field before the champagne pours, WOW, that's something.

On May 8, 1966, Orlando Cepeda was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals, straight up, for Raymond Sadecki. The Baby Bull would win the 1967 MVP, and his Cardinals took the World Series from a Dick Williams managed Boston Red Sox.

Whether it was the individual play or team play, somehow, the Giants and Dodgers are always hooked up in some memorable battles.

Baseball came our way from New York and we are all grateful.

-Kevin Marquez

Baseball Jargon

On Wikipedia encyclopedia there is all sorts of baseball related information. I came across a section titled baseball jargon. It's set up from A to Z.

Some of the words have interesting reasoning for their existence so I thought I'd share some of them.

In alphabetical order:

banjo hitter- lacks power. Comes from twanging sound of the bat at contact, like that of a banjo.

blowser (pronounced blo-zer) A closer who seems to get more blown saves than saves.

bush league- play that is of minor league or unprofessional quality. The "bushes" or the "sticks" are small towns where minor league teams may operate.

bench jockey- a player, coach or manager with the talent of annoying and or distracting opposition players and umpires from his team's dugout with verbal repartee. Especially useful against those with rabbit ears.

can of corn- Supposedly comes from a general store clerk reaching up and dropping a can from a high shelf. Mike Zolk, from Frankford High School in Philadelphia, PA, coined the phrase in a 1936 game at North East High.

crackerjack- a player or team with power and whom are exceptionally skilled. Even though the picture on a box of Cracker Jacks is that of a sailor, it's the kind of snack one eats at a ballgame.

daisy cutter or worm burner- old-fashioned term for hard hit grounder, close enough to the grass to theoretically be able to lop the tops off any daisies that might be growing on the field.
worm burner is a hard hit grounder that "burns" the ground when the ball rolls on it.

duck snort- a softly hit ball that goes over the infielders and lands in the outfield for a hit. Originally called a duck fart because it was assumed that a duck's feathers would make its farts as soft (or quiet) as the hit. Changed to a snort for use in polite company. (Political correctness begins in baseball terminology.)

Lawrence Welk- A 1-2-3 double play. (And a 1 and a 2 and a 3.)

Olympic Rings- when a batter strikes out five(5) times. Also referred to as a Platinum Sombrero.

Pearl- slang for a baseball. Unlike the way Mike Krukow uses it. He uses it to describe any pitch that reaches textbook perfection in his eyes. Subsequently, Krukow usually follows his over-usage of the word pearl with his signature, "grab some pine, meat!!"

rabbit ears- indicates a participant in the game who hears things perhaps too well for his own good.

Strike zone- an imaginary box used to call strikes (two dimensional plane to the front of the plate and perpendicular to the playing surface.) Another way of describing what the strike zone is the Rule book definition: is that area over home plate, the upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the uniform pants, and the lower level is a line at the hollow beneath the kneecap.

The strike zone shall be determined from the batter's stance as the batter is prepared to swing at a pitched ball.

Formal definition of the upper limit of the strike zone is sometimes reduced to "the letters," also known as the "nipple line." (Taking the anatomical comparisons further, the ever-earthy Ted "Splendid Splinter" Williams used to describe certain good pitches to hit as being "at cock level.")

toolsie- a player with a lot of tools who hasn't yet developed into a mature player. See potential. (Former center for the Atlanta Falcons, Jeff VanNote, defined potential as: haven't made it yet.)

twirler- old-fashioned term for a pitcher.

kevin marquez

Monday, July 9, 2007

All-Star Tidbits

The All-Star games began in 1933.

The only year there was no game was in 1945, due to World War II.

There were 2 All-Star games from 1959 thru 1962. The second game was added to raise money for players' pension funds.

In the 1934 All-Star game, only one (1) of the eighteen (18) starters is not in the Hall of Fame. His name is Wally Berger.(Berger had these respectable numbers as a member of the Boston Braves during the 1933, 1934 and 1935 seasons:
1933: 27-HR 106-RBI .313 AVG
1934: 34-HR 121-RBI .298 AVG
1935: 34-HR 130-RBI .295 AVG.)

In 1957, fans of the Cincinnati Reds stuffed the ballot boxes and elected 7 Reds to start in that year's game. The players were:

Johnny Temple -2B
Roy McMillan -SS
Don Hoak -3B
Ed Bailey -C
Frank Robinson -OF
Gus Bell -OF (Buddy's dad, and David's grandfather)
Wally Post -OF

The only non-Red elected to start for the National League team was St.Louis Cardinal first-baseman, Stan Musial.

Commissioner Ford Frick decided to appoint Willie Mays (NYG) and Hank Aaron (Milw.) to sub for Gus Bell and Wally Post.

Frick also stripped the fans of their voting rights. Managers, coaches and players would vote from 1958 thru 1968. In 1969, the vote returned to the fans.

Rico Carty was the first player ever selected to an All-Star team as a write-in by fans in 1970. (Carty would lead the NL in batting with a .366 average.)

In 1974, Steve Garvey was the second player voted onto the starting lineup as a write-in by the fans. He became the first write-in player to win the MVP of that game.

In 1983, Fred Lynn became the first player to hit a grand slam in the All-Star game. He hit it off of San Francisco Giant pitcher, Atlee Hammaker.

(thanks to Wikipedia encyclopedia for the fun facts.)

Kevin Marquez

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Scorekeeper Error

'Twas a Friday night game at the new Busch Stadium in St. Louis, after the Redbirds just intentionally walked Barry Bonds, to load the bases, when up to the plate stepped Benjito Molina.

On the first pitch he saw he rapped it deep into straight-away center field where fielder So Taguchi had to leap up and crash into the fence to keep the ball from making contact with the barrier. In doing so the ball made contact with Taguchi's glove and the bases-clearing smack was ruled an error.

The effort of Taguchi was overlooked. Instead what was seen was where the ball made initial contact and that happened to be the pocket of Taguchi's glove. Forgetting that he was airborne and making solid contact with the fence the at-bat was ruled an error.

Rule 10.5, Base hits, A base hit shall be scored in the following cases:

(a) when a batter reaches first base (or any succeeding base) safely on a fair ball which settles on the ground or touches a fence before being touched by a fielder, or which clears a fence.

NOTE: A hit shall be scored if the fielder attempting to handle the ball cannot make a play...

The rulebook goes on further to say...

10.05 (f) When a fielder unsuccessfully attempts to put out a preceding runner, and in the scorer's judgment the batter-runner would not have been put out at first base by ordinary effort.

NOTE: In applying the above rules, always give the batter the benefit of the doubt. A safe course to follow is to score a hit when exceptionally good fielding of a ball fails to result in a putout.

Here again, like with the umpires, is some person not gifted enough to be on the field performing judging how the play should have been made.

Yep, it's always easier to judge from a cushioned seat as you stuff your face with snacks and the libation(s) of choice moistens your parched throat.

kevin marquez

Friday, July 6, 2007

Bonehead vs Pie in the Face

Due to the season having gone terribly wrong and three more games until the 2007 All-Star break, I'm going to be as honest as anyone who gets his information from the broadcasting crew of Jon Miller, Duane Kuiper, Greg Papa, Mike Krukow and Dave Fleming.

Either the GIANTS lost because of a boneheaded play on their part or an umpire's wild hair impaired his hardly athletic ability to put himself in position to make the right call.

As for strike zones, if it's a mutual feeling that both teams are giving YOUR GIANTS' announcers the impression that the person responsible for calling strikes is in need of a white cane, sunglasses, eye-drops, and or a bag of carrot sticks to gnaw on then he'll probably be a prime candidate to get some carrot cake/pie in the face.

It's pretty much a given the person responsible for calling balls and strikes is of legend in his own mind status. He could curse at the batter, coach or manager, entice the argument with any number of gestures and or bad body language. (But he had bad body language picking his ass when he was assigned to umpire one of the bases.) Remember, the umpire is never at fault. It's hard to digest but these guys get free reign to be the A-holes we've come to expect from umpires. That's what happens when you don't have to answer to anyone. They all have had full autonomy since Sandy Alderson left for a job with the San Diego Padres.

In fact, whenever you come across a Durwood Merrill it's few and far between. Durwood was a character who was good for the profession of umpiring. The game could use more like him, too bad that is highly unlikely.

kevin marquez

Matty, Matty Morris, How Could You?

Matty, how could you?

After striking out the first two batters in the top of the 2nd inning you decided to throw a straight ball right down the middle of the plate to the pitcher. A pitcher who has shown he is capable of hitting a home run and that's exactly what he did. Bronson Arroyo took that fat one deep.

Matt, you of all people. You're a pitcher! You have known all along that pitchers were always the best athletes from Little League on through high school. An opposing pitcher wouldn't be wise if he threw you a straight one right down "broadway" because you'd make him pay.

Matty, Matty Morris, How could ya? That was the turning point in yet another LOSS.

Kevin Marquez

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Now Batting, Number 14, Fred Lewis

Frederick Deshaun Lewis. Born December 9, 1980, in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The same birth place as former Giants, Charlie Hayes and Dustan Mohr.

Although he came up from the minor leagues last year, he shall be considered a rookie unless, during a previous season or seasons, he has (a) exceeded 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the major leagues or (b) accumulated more than 45 days on an active major league roster, excluding the military service.

Last year he played in 13-games. In those 13 games he had: 11-AB 5-R 5-H, for a .455 batting average.

Since he has returned to the San Francisco Giants he has hit for the cycle (single,double,triple and homer in one game...doesn't have to be in that order) and belted two (2) grand slams.(He tied a rookie record previously set by Daryl Spencer for the New York Giants in 1953. Which makes him the first San Francisco Giant to hit 2 bases-loaded homers in his rookie year.)

He's fleet-of-foot and has shown a discipline at the plate that makes one think he CAN be a good hitter in this league. But more importantly, he's providing Giants' fans with some hope for the future.

The Giants have had a rough first 81 games this season. So any bright spot is very much appreciated.
The next time you're at AT&T Park and you hear the public address announcer say: Now batting, #14, Fred Lewis, you might want to wait before you get the refreshments and or bite to eat.

kevin marquez

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Barry Lamar Bonds

Son of Bobby Bonds, cousin of Reggie Jackson and his godfather is Willie Mays. How could Barry not succeed? He had the best players in the game to bounce things off of whenever he had questions. Can you imagine having Willie Mays as the person you asked about playing defense or running the bases?

Well, he certainly hasn't let anyone, close to him, down.

Drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 2nd round of the 1982 amateur draft. Did not sign.
Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates, 1st round (6th pick) of 1986 amateur draft.
On October 26, 1992 granted free agency.
On December 8, 1992 signed by the San Francisco Giants.

Winner of seven (7) Most Valuable Player awards.
Was second in the balloting to Terry Pendleton (Atlanta Braves) in 1991.
Again he was second to Jeff Kent (SF Giants) in 2000.

In 1991 Terry Pendleton's statistics were as follows:
AB-586 R-94 H-187 HR-22 RBI-86 BA-.319...Barry's 1991 numbers:
AB-510 R-95 H-149 HR-25 RBI-116 BA-.292.. Barry had 107 bases on balls vs Pendleton's 43. Pendleton got 274 points vs. Bonds' 259. The writers had a chance for some "payback" with Barry Bonds, because Barry won't kiss their lily white asses, they just couldn't allow such an opportunity to slip away. The fraternity of hacks would've had a most difficult time swallowing their shallow pride had this not taken place. You can bet on it!

In 2000, Jeff Kent doesn't come close to the numbers he achieved if Barry isn't on the same lineup card. Not the other way around. (But he did put up the numbers, so he was more deserving than Terry Pendleton.)

My recollection of the 2002 World Series was that Barry shined and Kent disappeared for a few games. In a 7-game series not being visible in 3 (games 1,4, and 7) of the games- when you're of MVP caliber- is huge.

In 2000, Jeff Kent's numbers were:
AB-587 R-117 H-187 HR-33 RBI-125 BB-90 K-107 BA-.334
Bonds in 2000
AB-480 R-129 H-147 HR-49 RBI-106 BB-117 K-77 BA- .306

World Series numbers:
Kent: AB-29 R-6 H-8 HR-3 RBI-7 BB-1 K-7 BA-.276

(In Game 6, the 16-4 SF win, the one when JT Snow saved Darrin Baker (Dusty's kid) in an unforgettable act of selflessness around the area of home plate, was Kent's coming out party in that Series. He had an incredible game. AB-5, R-4, H-3, RBI-4 and 2 HRs.)

Bonds: AB-17 R-8 H-8 HR-4 RBI-6 BB-13 K-3 BA- .471
JT Snow: AB-27 R- 6 H-11 HR-1 RBI-4 BA- .407

Now here we are in the 2007 season, and although his teammates seem to be at the ends of their collective ropes, Bonds continues to flourish.

He deserved to be voted into the National League starting lineup. His numbers are once again right there at the top.

After 74 games (the number I said it would take him to pass Hammerin' Hank) he has hit 17 HRs (4 short of 755), 42-RBI, 44-R, 60-H in 197-ABs. He's been issued 86 bases on balls, has 5 stolen bags and is batting .305.

Not to shabby for a 42 year old, who turns 43 on July 24th. There are some jealous hacks who mistakenly said, in so many words, that Barry Lamar Bonds is in need of a rocking chair. Wishful thinking on the part of those who think their vantage point is the best seat in the house. They are both judge and jury when it comes to telling those, who choose to read their sports column, how it is. Looking at his numbers as of July 3rd, I'd say some of his teammates should invest in their own rocking chairs, because the man is having a rocking good time.

I remember when I was a boy and Willie Mays was in his last year as a Giant, before being traded to the New York Mets for some unknown pitcher named Charlie Williams, my father would go into this song like rant of Rocking Chair's got me every time Mays' name was announced as the batter or mentioned in the starting lineup. As much as it bothered me, I knew #24 was a shadow of his former self.

So far, the same cannot be said of #25.

kevin marquez

Sunday, July 1, 2007

A Twenty Loss Season Isn't Always the Pitcher's Fault

Matt Cain is having a season to forget but the statisticians might look at it as a season to remember. Because he has a chance of maybe losing 20 games and in doing so will compile some pretty respectable numbers in accomplishing this dubious feat if the trend of April thru June continues for your 2007 San Francisco Giants (when Cain toes the slab).

Many pitchers have lost twenty (20) games as opposed to winning twenty. Some have done both.
As recently as 1979, Phil Niekro (Lance's uncle) was 21W 20L for the Atlanta Braves. In 1973, the Chicago White Sox had two twenty game losers in: Wilbur Wood at W24 L20, and Stan Bahnsen, (former rookie sensation for the New York Yankees) was W18 L 21.

Interestingly enough, most 20-game losers are pitchers whose names are familiar to even the casual fan. It's really quite unfortunate that this durable player, who has played a few years and aside from his won/loss record is actually consistent in his efforts but for some unknown reason seems to be the recipient of very little support, either offensively or defensively.

One exception to this rule is when a pitcher has the unenviable task of pitching for an expansion team. The team: San Diego Padres. The year was 1972 and the Padres were awful. (They went from Pacific Coast League to Major Leagues in 1969 and their won/loss records were hapless. In 1969 they were 52-110, 1970: 63-99; 1971: 61-100; 1972: 58-95; 1973 and 1974 they had identical records of 60-102.)

The pitcher was Steve Arlin, from Ohio State University. A former number one pick of the Philadelphia Phillies back in 1966 (13th overall). He pitched 12 complete games and his record was 10W 21L, with an ERA of 3.60. In 250 innings pitched he allowed 217 hits. 9 batters were hit by his pitch and 15 were scored as wild. A league leading number, at that. He had to have some release for all of his frustrations. Perhaps a little serenity now for the career W34 L67 hurler.

If some Giants' fans are thi
nking maybe Matt Cain is getting the worst support ever from his major league teammates, think again. The all-time worst support given to a pitcher happened during the Dead Ball Era. In 1916, Hall of Famer, Walter "Big Train" Johnson posted a W25-20L record, despite having an earned run average of 1.90 and completing 36 of 38 starts on a team that finished with a record of 76W and 77L. (Stay Tuned.)

Roger Craig, the Giant fans' beloved Humm Baby, while pitching for the expansion New York Mets went a very dismal W-5 L-22 in 1963, even though he pitched 14 complete games and posted an earned run average of 3.78. And this was after the horrific 1962 NY Mets season when both Humm Baby and Al Jackson lost 20 games. Hard to believe he didn't let his dobber down.

Miracle Mets' ace lefty, Jerry Koosman posted an 8W 20L season for the Mets in 1977, while posting an ERA of 3.49. But he bounced back with a 20-win season in 1979 for the Minnesota Twins.

A pitcher has to be good to be given the opportunity to continue to take the ball each time his turn comes around in the rotation. The manager and his coaches know if this bad luck pitcher had any support he'd be flipping the wins and losses around. In fact, you could say that it's a good bet a pitcher who got charged with 20 losses probably wouldn't have gotten the opportunity if he wasn't that good. So maybe part of the blame should be directed toward his manager for penciling in his name every fourth or fifth day.

Here's a thought...
Could it be, the manager was trying to deflect some of the boo-birds and bad publicity he was receiving by putting in the pitcher who was always there to take the ball, regardless of the outcome? If this is true this Bud's for the pitcher and a Jan Stenerud/Morten Andersen swift-kick in butt goes to the manager. (Not to the left, not to the right, but right in the groove!)