Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Blow Job

Somewhere, somehow it was determined by the powers that be not to let the owners, managers, coaches and or players intimidate the umpires, referees or simply put, the game officials.

Well the National Hockey League misfiled that memo. (The lining up and shaking hands at the end of each series is such hypocrisy when you think of all the unsportsmanlike acts that were executed for the sake of winning despite the risk of bodily harm. There's no grace in losing just the unfortunate circumstances those -on the short end of the stick- must endure.)

Meanwhile, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association and the National Football League prefer the method of bringing up the idea of amending certain rules, for the sake of clarification, as a way of giving those on the outside looking in (which, oh by the way, includes the fans) the impression that they are trying to do something about those instances when the interpretation of the rules gets lost in the translation. But the more it appears something is being done the more confusing it all becomes. Ladies and gentleman, it's all smoke and mirrors!

Those athletes, current and former, who are participating in the sporting event lack the sportsmanship required for those who pay the inflated prices to attend such contests. How often do you think highly of the way a player or team conducted themselves was why the victory was that much sweeter? For me, I'd say more often than not.

But nowadays you have the arbiters of the game (the officials) who are trained and or instructed to never admit they made a mistake as if they knew the difference between being accurate and inaccurate. Sportsmanship also applies to the game officials moreso than the players, coaches and owners. I don't get the feeling there is fairness in following the rules of the game. In major league baseball there is no equity emanating from any of the umpires or from those in-charge. It's something that has been allowed to get out of hand and nobody or no one is held accountable for these unathletic attitudes-in-need of adjustment. (We know that if you're a player, coach or owner and you bad-mouth the official it is you who are assessed a fine.) We never read about an official being fined, why is that?

Last night in a game between the Colorado Rockies and San Francisco Giants at AT&T park there was a runner on third for the Rockies when the home plate umpire (Gary Darling) interrupted the pitcher's motion by signalling for a time out and then as he signalled "Time Out" he withdrew that request and called the pitcher (Tim Lincecum) for a balk. Preposterous! Manager Bruce Bochy sought an explanation and because Darling was incapable of admitting he made a mistake Bochy got the "heave ho!"

It's all Twilight Zone material, I tell ya! Last night, once again I clicked the channel-changer to the Sci-Fi station and there was Rod Serling, adding his final thoughts on another curious episode. And I quote:

Odd how the real consorts with the shadows.
How the present fuses with the past.
How does it happen? The question is on file in the silent desert and the answer is waiting in the Twilight Zone.

Another game when there were no explanations for what just happened. Oh, we have a good idea of who the culprit of such condemnation was but how much more must we tolerate such behavior? Games whose outcome is determined by some schlep whose purpose for being there can best be described as "a mistake." But what about those people who went to the game to have a good time? What do they get out of this bad sportsmanship displayed by the home plate umpire (whose initials are Gary Darling)?

If some of them decided to never again attend a ball game, could you blame them?
Do sports care about how many fans are turned away by their representatives in stripes or dark blue?

I'm addicted to baseball and am fond of football. Except for the Stanley Cup playoff officiating, I enjoy hockey.
So for me, I'll just file it under: BLOW JOB.

(thanks again, to Rod Serling)

Kevin Marquez

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Who's Next, in line, for bus tickets to and from Fresno?

For those of you Giant fans who are wondering (whenever a player on the big club is struggling) who is in Fresno, or maybe even San Jose, that is next in line for a shot with the major league San Francisco Giants you are right there with Brian Sabean, Dick Tidrow, Bobby Evans and Fred Stanley.

Fred Stanley's name is one I have seen associated with some of these moves, even though on the senority list he is perched at the bottom of the aforementioned list of Sabean, Tidrow and Evans. Known as Chicken during his playing days with, among others, the New York Yankees, Stanley is the current director of player development who has not hesitated to do the switcheroo.

The next player in line for a demotion from the big club is infielder Jose Castillo. His inconsistent play at the plate and in the field could use a change of scenery, which is sometimes all a young player with a new organization needs to straighten himself out. The player worthy of an opportunity is 27-year old infielder from Caracas, Venezuela, Julio Cordido.

I saw a note during last night's telecast between the Giants and Rockies that read... since moving to San Francisco, the Giants have stolen more bases this April 2008 than any other season. The record had been 28, with the 1999 team.

With two more games to play, the Giants are currently at 31 stolen bases.

Kevin Marquez

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Could it Be Our Favorite Columnists and Beat Writers are Enhanced ?

It has occurred to me on more than one occasion that these people, who we sports fans rely on to get our information (or at least enough to know where to dig up more if we so choose), might just be enhanced when they are planting ideas in their daily assertions.

Who's to say the people we look to for information and keen insight about our favorite teams and or players aren't assisted by the use of the forbidden fruit? Devil's dandruff? Old Testament herbs?

In the popular Dean Martin, That's Amore, are the lyrics:
When the world seems to shine
like you've had too much wine
That's Amore
Bells will ring ting-a-ling, ting-a-ling
And you'll sing "vita bella"
Hearts will play tippy-tippy-tay, tippy-tippy-tay
like a gay tarantella.

These are happy times. Go for it! Life's too short to be pointing the finger at others and saying how they're doing it all wrong.
Who are we to judge?

And while some may say this impairs their ability to think clearly others may disagree because they see it as them being in a relaxed state where thoughts go to flourish.

I don't think it matters what people do as long as the only person they are hurting is themselves. The whole if you ain't cheating, you ain't trying way of thinking is something each and every individual has to treat differently. I just don't like the idea that one of baseball's greatest hitters has not been signed to play this 2008 season and a large part of that has to do with writers who didn't like the way he (Barry Bonds) treated them. And some of these spineless scribes are only going by what others say, having never met or confronted Bonds face-to-face. I believe a lot of this is hearsay. Just like with the fans. Who among the fans of baseball has ever met Barry Bonds in person?

We cannot take the word of a man we ourselves do not know personally. How do we know what we are being told is 100% accurate or made up of confabulations?

When we roll off the couch or out of the chair, laughing hysterically, are we laughing AT someone or something or WITH them?

So much has been made of athletes using performance enhancing drugs. I think anything that sustains and assists you in your line of work can be seen as a performance enhancer. Let's not be so quick to point fingers at those some say aren't good people. It's not for them or us to judge. And when what we say affects the livelihood of someone then that is a crying shame.

I, for one, hope someone comes to their senses and signs Barry Bonds. He should be allowed to go out on his terms and not on those established by people who couldn't dream of doing what Barry Bonds has done between the foul lines. Those jealous people who ask questions not to acquire answers but instead to stir up some ill feelings. These are not the people we should be seeking advice from nor should we care what they think if they are so prejudiced and narrow-minded as to dredge up things on someone they themselves uncovered but instead chose to use someone else's material with their own spin on it. (I believe this is what some writers do and that makes them purloiners. This ain't cheating it's stealing!)

Kevin Marquez

Friday, April 25, 2008

Is Eugenio Velez Cheesy Good Enough?

I'm watching Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants have quite a pitching duel with Chris Young of the San Diego Padres. And while I'm wondering if any fans are giving, home plate umpire, James Hoy, an earful for his struggles with the strike zone I was miffed that no matter how much or how loud I voiced my dislike of Hoy's strike zone I was pretty sure he would not be able to hear me (on the other side of my television).

Meanwhile, I noticed the striking resemblance between the Giants' Eugenio Velez and the Cheetohs Cheetah. Just then the thought of nicknames popped up. How do players get their nicknames? Is it their resemblance facially or behaviorally or both?

I'm going to throw out a list of nicknames and they are all pretty much self-explanatory. Those players who have more than one popular nickname (Ruth, DiMaggio) had to be the greatest of all-time. The more adjectives it takes to describe someone's performance on the field of play- in a positive or negative manner- the better impression that player makes. And it's likely you will remember players of this ilk long after they called it quits.

Hammerin Hank Aaron
Little Louie Aparicio
Yogi - Lawrence Peter Berra
Dominican Dandy- Juan Marichal
Cha Cha, Baby Bull- Orlando Cepeda (his father was legendary)
Georgia Peach- Ty Cobb
Dizzy- Jay Hanna Dean
Yankee Clipper, Joltin' Joe-Joe DiMaggio
Stretch, Big Mac- Willie Mc Covey
Say Hey- Willie Mays
Leo -the Lip- Durocher
Big Six- Christy Mathewson
Rapid Robert Feller
Fordham Flash- Frankie Frisch
Iron Horse- Lou Gehrig
Hoot- Bob Gibson
Big Train, Barney- Walter Johnson
Commerce Comet, the Mick- Mickey Mantle
Big Cat- Johnny Mize, Andres Jose Padovani Galarraga
Flying Dutchman- Honus Wagner
Cyclone- Denton True Young
Babe, the Bambino, Sultan of Swat, Colossus of Clout- George Herman Ruth
"El Enano" - Rafael Furcal (while with the Atlanta Braves...translation: the dwarf)
Speed Limit- Russell Martin (Dodgers' young catcher)
Phat Albert- Albert Pujols
Little Poison- Lloyd Waner
Big Poison- Paul Waner (rumor has it Poison is based on Brooklynese for "person.")

I don't know if Velez looking like the Cheetohs' Cheetah or his being fleet of foot contribute to those thoughts of the fast cat that make Eugenio worthy of such a nickname but my first impression of the young Giant infielder-outfielder is cheesy good...Look at him. The classic goatee and lean build of said cat. Not quite Tony the Tiger GREAT, but fast approaching. Catcher's Beware: this object may suddenly appear in your rear-view window just like that (snap of finger)! Slow pitching deliveries to the plate may prove fatal to your chances of catching him.

(thanks to Wikipedia for their help with some nicknames.)

-Kevin Marquez

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Barry Zito: Not Setting the Good Example

When a Diamondback jacks one out of the park the song that gets played is Won't Get Fooled Again, by the Who. I wish I could say the same for Barry Zito.

The toughest thing in major league baseball is to be credited with a win if you are a starting pitcher. Hitting a ball is said to be the most difficult thing to do but if the pitcher is having trouble locating his pitches and more times than not leaves one over the plate, hitting aint that tough.

Enter Barry Zito. He doesn't give the impression of someone who learns from his mistakes.

In back-to-back starts he faced the Arizona Diamondbacks and their ace, Brandon Webb. And in back-to-back games he allowed the opposing pitcher (Webb) to smack the hit that drove in 2 runs. Webb has 4 runs-batted-in this year, all courtesy of Barry Zito.

There is another thing Zito should learn from this lack of concentration and that is to make himself a better hitter. That way if the opposing team chooses to pitch around the eighth place hitter to get to Zito he can make them pay. It takes some of the pressure off of his teammate and really is a part of the game he didn't have to work at in the specialized American League.

When I see Zito lay one in there to the opposing pitcher it reminds me of how the Giants' pitching staff handled the opponent's pitcher last year. I don't know how I could go about getting a hold of such a statistic but I'm pretty confident when I say I think they didn't fare too well against the opposition's pitcher. I think they led the league in allowing the most hits, RBI, total bases and runs scored to the pitcher's spot in the batting order. (Not necessarily the 9th spot.)

To the point: the opposing pitchers did a pretty good job of rubbing it back in the Giants' pitchers faces by not allowing them what they were allowed when they were at-bat.

Kevin Marquez

Friday, April 18, 2008

Ted Leitner and Todd Jones on Baseball

At nights I can pick up the San Diego Padre games better than any other signal. That includes Giants on 680KNBR, Dodgers 1340-1400KFI, Fresno Grizzly station or even the occasional NBA's Utah Jazz game.

Last night was a doozie between the Padres and Colorado Rockies that lasted 22 innings. During the bottom of the 19th, play-by-play announcer Ted Leitner directed the listeners attention to what the remaining fans were doing in the stands. "They're doing some kind of bird dance. It's really quite disturbing the way they're flapping their arms as if to create a wind tunnel so the ball off the bat of a Padre will fly outta here. I dunno... 'Third Base!' (came the response of his sidekick, which is a reference to the Abbott and Costello Who's on First skit)."

When I heard Leitner's call I immediately flashed to my favorite animated cartoon series, the Flintstones, as I pictured all the cave people doing the popular dance of their day, the Pterodactyl. There they were, flapping their arms, "cawing" all the while.

But I digress. In the top of the 22nd inning, the Rockies' Troy Tulowitzki doubled off of Glendon Rusch after Willy Taveras had reached first base on a Khalil Greene error and then advanced to second on catcher Josh Bard's errant toss. Tough to hang a loss on Rusch with that kind of support (I visited the Land of Nod but having taken a liking to Ted Leitner, that's just the kind of thing he would have told the fans. I like an announcer who will tell the fans-for the team he announces- precisely what took place, no holds barred but with aplomb). The game lasted 6 hours and 16 minutes.

Todd Jones has a column in the Sporting News called The Closer.
Todd Barton Givin Jones is his birth name. He was a former 1st round selection (27th pick) of the Houston Astros. Currently Jones is in his second tour of duty with the Detroit Tigers. In his lengthy career he has collected 304 saves.

Todd's column is givin, in that it offers a perspective of someone who sees the game from the pitcher's mound. And all that goes on between and outside the foul lines.

In an article, Someone should sign Barry Bonds, he lists the possible teams who might consider signing Bonds. Like for the Kansas City Royals: Could work, surprisingly. Seattle Mariners: Their marketing department is so good that it could make fans like him.

I especially liked And you thought the mound was just a pile of the week of March 17th issue.

He says next time you check out a game in high-def, take a look at the mound. They are not all created equal.

Baseball is one of the few sports in which 90% of the game is played in two areas: the mound and the batter's box.

Back in the day, mounds were built with the home team in mind. The Astrodome was notorious for high mounds. And look who pitched there: Nolan Ryan, James Rodney- J.R. Richard and Mike Scott- all tall, hard throwers who benefited from a high mound.

Everyone knew the mound at Candlestick Park was the worst in baseball. Because of the wind, the mound would dry out. By the middle of the game, it was like you were pitching on baby powder.

He made sure to note: Few pitchers bother calling the grounds crew to fix a hole. Do that and you feel like you've got to strike out the next three guys on nine pitches because you've made a fuss and slowed down the game. Umps don't like the game to be held up for this reason, so most pitchers figure it's best to keep things moving.

How about them umps? They don't care if the condition of the mound could be a hazard to a pitcher's health. They want to hurry things up so they can do whatever it is they do outside the foul lines.

Thanks to Todd Jones and Ted Leitner and the Hanna-Barbera classic, the Flintstones.

Kevin Marquez

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Another AT&T Night Game

AT&T is sometimes a common place, if somewhat grim if you are the home plate umpire and you personify inconsistency.

This unsocial event known as a nightime party where the guest of dishonor was a chowboy named Rick Reed. It wasn't like he was a moment away from a rope, a short dance several feet off the ground and then the dark eternity all umpires- who choose to adhere to whichever interpretation of whatever rule they come face to face with- go when their actions are that of an impersonator of the ambassadors of the rules of the game.

Afterall, what IS the purpose of an umpire? Why has it gotten to the point that a player, coach or manager cannot ask where a particular pitch missed?

Mr. Rick Reed, who when the Good Lord passed out a conscience, a heart and a feeling for fellow men, must have been out for a beer and missed out.

I'm sure when he came up through the ranks of an umpire's instructional training he played the game just the way the instructors would have liked it only to do it his way once he made the big time.

It didn't matter who was pitching because the plate as every fan in the stands-and armchair experts- saw was its usual diamond shape. Only with Reed the corners were covered in dirt and the height of each pitch was not measured by the batter in the box and or his stance because Reed seemed to have no guidelines at all. From my perspective, the armchair-expert vantage point, he appeared to go by the flight of the ball in an imaginery spheroid and just randomly called the pitches according to what he thought he saw. Rather than use the conceptual three dimensional right angle pentagonal zone over home plate as described in the rules of baseball's strike zone. (Hey, it all seems complicated to me to but I don't think I would discard the whole idea for some fly-by-night derivation like our Rick Reed!)

Sylvester the cat, of Warner Brothers cartoon fame, always cried that he "thought he saw a putty cat," so I suppose it's okay for Rick Reed, of MLB umpires, to say he thought he saw a strike!

(Thanks to Wikipedia and the great Rod Serling who inspired this piece as I was flipping channels in-between innings of last night's Giants' 5-4 win over the Diamondbacks.)

Kevin Marquez

Monday, April 14, 2008


When it comes to bringing up someone deemed to make an impact, it's all hit or miss. Some times you get lucky, and other times you aren't so fortuitous in your thinking. Here's a rundown of the players currently performing at an enhanced level- for Triple A Fresno- without the 'roids.

Geno Espinelli- a relief pitcher, is considered an under-the-radar southpaw coming off an All-Star campaign in the Eastern League. Years of Age (YOA): 25.

Alex Hinshaw- a power lefty with impressive strikeout rate making his Triple A debut with Fresno. YOA: 25

Brian Horwitz- Cal product has hit everywhere he's been, as .322 career average attests.
YOA: 25.

Giants' fans are somewhat familiar with Pat Misch, the lefty sent to Fresno to get some work as well as Nate Schierholtz, the outfielder who was caught up in the numbers game. He still had some options while others players did not, so it was Nate who got the bus ticket to Fresno. Nate's 24-YOA, and Pat Misch is 26 YOA.

Julio Cordido is 27-YOA, but a very valuable utility player who has jumped out of the gates early this season. Looking at the box scores it seems like the Venezuelan always has 2 hits.

I'll be keeping an eye and ear on Double A and Single A clubs. Hopefully I can gather enough information to pass along.

Kevin Marquez

Friday, April 11, 2008

Good Pitching Needs Some Help

The past three (3) games, all of which were won by the Giants, have been outstanding pitching performances by starters Tim Lincecum, Jonathan Sanchez, Kevin Correia and clutch bullpen contributions. The Giants have received very little clutch hitting, with the exception of the aforemention pitcher's battery mate, Benjito Molina.

Which goes to show, good defense and stellar pitching will win you its share of games. Provided, of course, you have enough offense to generate more runs than the opponent.

It appears Brad Hennessey is finding his form as he began the season on shaky grounds. But the one guy who just doesn't seem to have found his comfort zone is Brian "Wouldn't it Be Nice" Wilson. I'm waiting for the day I can change the somewhat cynical label 'Wouldn't it Be Nice' to a more confident Brian Don't Worry Baby Wilson.

And believe it or not there are still a few Giants' fans who are holding out hope that Brian Sabean will do something to bolster the hardly intimidating eight playing the field for the orange and black. That maybe he can come to some kind of agreement with #25... I kid you not!

Now if Barry Zito can come around and consistently give his team a solid outing of at least 6 innings the idea of manufacturing runs may not be something fans used to the home run prefer but if the wins keep coming the fans will have no problem adjusting. Winning does cure all ills in the sporting world, that much is certain.

Let's go back to the 1965 major league baseball season. The Los Angeles Dodgers had a W-97 L-65 season and defeated the Minnesota Twins in the best of seven, 4 games to 3, World Series.

This Dodger team was flawless afield with the glove but not much with the bat.
Maury Wills led the team batting .286 and stealing 94 bases (thrown out 31 times). Ron Fairly led the team with 70 RBI. Lou Johnson and Jim Lefebvre tied for the team lead with 12 home runs. But they had Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax.

Sandy Koufax was W-26 L-8 with 27 complete games and 8 shutouts.
Don Drysdale was W-23 L-12 with 20 complete games and 7 shutouts. AND on an anemic hitting team double D hit 7 homers while batting .300!
Claude Osteen posted a W-15 and L-15 record.

In the World Series they were facing the Minnesota Twins. A powerful lineup that featured Harmon Killebrew, Jimmie Hall, Bobby Allison and Don Mincher (all hitting at least 20 homers).
The American League MVP that year was the Twins shortstop, Zoilo Versalles (who also hit 19 homers) and sweet swinging Tony Oliva was coming off a .321 season at the plate with 16-HRs of his own.

Game One at Metropolitan Stadium the Twins won 8-2.
Game Two at Metropolitan Stadium the Twins won 5-1.
Game Three at Dodger Stadium the Dodgers won 4-0. Claude Osteen pitched the shutout.
Game Four at Dodger Stadium the Dodgers won 7-2.
Game Five at Dodger Stadium the Dodgers won 7-0. Sandy Koufax pitched the shutout.
Game Six at Metropolitan Stadium the Twins won 5-1.
Game Seven at Metropolitan Stadium the Dodgers won on a 2-0 shutout by Sandy Koufax.

Three (3) shutouts in the World Series and that is why the anemic hitting Dodgers won the 1965 World Series championship. Smooth fielding, timely hitting and superb pitching.

Something Giants' fans can only hope will happen with the 2008 San Francisco Giants. Hey, it's still early enough for hope to spring eternal, right?

Kevin Marquez

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

What I'm Picking Up on the Dial

Last night, when it was apparent the Giants would NOT be on television I had to reach for my radio dial in hopes of tuning in the San Francisco Giants/San Diego Padre game.

While the Giants on 680KNBR was coming in fuzzy I was able to get the Padres, a crystal clear connection on 1090AM, or as the broadcasters refer to it, "double XX." (Also fuzzy was the Dodger game but it wasn't my intention to listen to the dreaded Dodgers.)

To start the game the first broadcaster I heard was former Yankee star Jerry Coleman. He has some good insight that cannot be taken for granted. For instance, in the 10th inning, Eugenio Velez led off the inning with a single and promptly stole second base. It was Coleman's contention that had Velez slid in feet first he'd have been able to advance to third rather easily (on a ball that got away from the fielder attempting to tag Velez out). But because he goes in face first he gets some dirt in his face and can't really see what's happening around him. Then, as fate would have it, with Velez on second the batter Randy Winn hit a sharp grounder that Adrian Gonzalez was able to spear, step on first and without hesitation he threw a one-hopper to Kevin Kouzmanoff who received the throw and easily tagged out the head first sliding Velez by using his leg to block the bag. Again, Coleman emphasized that had Velez went in feet first he would have gotten over the leg of Kouzmanoff and probably been safe at third.

In a year where the Giants have to be doing the little things this is yet another example of them NOT doing those things to help them win ballgames -not to mention- overcome their lack of home run power.

The announcer who did the brunt of the work was Ted Leitner. This guy really has a flair, almost a Bill Murray like "here we are at Augusta" quality that I swear if I was still in the accompaniment of a bong would have been laughing hysterically. It sure was enjoyable listening to him carry on and it wasn't like he was a homer of the Monte Moore ilk (although Monte is on a plane all by himself in that regard). I mean, if there were two guys named Enrique Rojas, one on each team, you would know which one was the Padre.

Leitner brought up an excellent point. With Scott Hairston batting there was a close pitch Hairston asked the home plate umpire, Tim Timmons, about and the umpire tossed him from the game. Leitner's voice lilted exclamatorily, "you can no longer ask some umpires where that pitch missed. Why? And if you use the wrong tone of voice, what's that? It's see ya!"

I wholeheartedly concur, Mr. Leitner. It's almost as if the umpire being questioned is questioning his own ability to make the call, so he sure doesn't what you questioning him, know what I mean?

Kevin Marquez

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Zero Tolerance for Bush League Behavior

Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz are still holding their own on the mound.
Maddux (W-348 L-214); Glavine (W-303 L-199) and Smoltz (W-208 L-145..with a 4 year span from 2001 thru 2004 when he collected 154 Saves).

All three are good for at least 6 innings, can field their positions, move the runner over when they are up to bat and rarely miss a start. All are Hall of Famers and it's a pleasure watching these masters of their craft when it's their turn to pitch.

Yesterday's home opener was a beautiful day with all of its pageantry, saluting 50 years of San Francisco Giants baseball under clear blue skies and when it's time to "play ball" the fans witnessed a home plate umpire (Jim Reynolds) misinterpret the rulebook's diagram and definition of a strike zone.

Why do some umpires feel the need to improvise the basic fundamentals of a rule when their whole purpose is to see that the rule is adhered to? Whether you were a seasoned veteran of fandom or a rookie out at his/her first ballgame, you could not elucidate why Reynolds had such a difficult time determining what a strike was or why he was unable to show any kind of consistency. His grade for yesterday's performance is simply: 'T'row da bum out!'

Something happened yesterday that is simply inexcusable and quite frankly as a Giants' fan- and I hope other Giants' fans agree- was intolerable. On Randy Winn's game-ending flyout to the left fielder, some bush leaguer threw a souvenir baseball in the same area where the fielder had camped under the fly of the game ball in hopes the fielder would catch the souvenir ball instead. Well, even if the fielder did catch the wrong ball ALL FOUR UMPIRES would have called the batter out for fan interference.

Just as when a fan leans over the railing to try to catch a souvenir with the ball in play, these bush league acts only disrupt the game and hurt the home team. Let's leave all that is bush league to the Texas native, son of a former commander-in-chief, and current Republican President of the United States. A man who clearly doesn't care about treating persons of all classes in the same way but rather uses his power for those citizens entitled to vote who exercised their right to vote for him, however shadily that was handled.

Kevin Marquez

Monday, April 7, 2008

Sometimes I Gotta Wonder

I was reading a Sports Illustrated magazine (that's a few weeks old) I came across this article on steroid use-not only in sports- and in it was a reference to the made for television movie, A Body to Die For. I looked up the author's name and discovered it was Katie White. Then I tried to find out something about the author because I was intrigued by the name of the character played by Ben Affleck, Aaron Henry.

Nowhere does she mention anything about the choice of name for the main character in A Body to Die For as her way of paying tribute to one of baseball's greatest ballplayers ever. I told the architect of this blog that if he were to have a baby he should name him Henry Louis (if the child was to be a girl she could just as well be Henrietta Louise) because it might be just the thing to get the little guy/gal going if s/he was to fall in love with baseball. Two other noteworthy gentleman had the names Henry Louis (Gehrig) and (Aaron) and you would be hard-pressed to find two better all-around ballplayers than those two.

Henry Louis Aaron, "the Hammer," posted some extra special numbers while wearing the numbers 5 and 44. When he first came up in the Milwaukee Brave organization he was a second baseman and was issued the number 5, later changing it to the familiar #44.

He is the all-time leader in runs batted in with 2,297. Babe Ruth is second with 2,217.
Not only is Aaron second on the all-time home run leader board (755) he is also second in all-time at-bats(12,364). Babe Ruth had 8,398 at-bats which was 3,966 fewer than Aaron. He is third on the all-time leader board in hits (3771). In runs scored he is tied for 4th with Babe Ruth (2,174).

I list George Herman "Babe" Ruth's numbers because many consider him the greatest ballplayer ever. He lost some at-bats because he began his career as a pitcher and after he was converted into an outfielder he was issued an astounding number of walks. In fact, not until Barry Bonds reached immortality in the orange and black had any batter ever been walked so often as the Bambino.

Perhaps it is a mere coincidence that a character would bear the same name as one of the greatest all-time players in America's game. That when she finished typing the story and presented the finished work to whatever book company, for their approval, NO ONE did a double-take on the name of the character. Perhaps someone did and it raised a few eyebrows but not enough so that the author made mention of it.

Then again, it may be my own appreciation of Henry Louis Aaron's ability between the white lines and for my being weaned on baseball that I noticed it and responded the way I did. In other words, maybe it's me.

I did the exact same thing when I saw the word alkaline on my father's double-a (aa) batteries. I thought Eveready was paying homage to the great Detroit Tiger outfielder of the same name, Al Kaline.

Kevin Marquez

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The 2008 season has begun... lots of slippage

Having a tough time scoring runs and not making the routine plays is what's happening on the field but having to absorb the constant criticism from fans who are beleaguerers-at best- is woe's biggest pain.

Most of us know this is going to be a long year but as with years past we are trying to find the best way to deal with these inadequacies. It's our way of giving the team the benefit of the doubt until further notice.

Who cares if Rajai Davis is making every pitcher look like Ray Milland in It Happens Every Spring? Or that Rich Aurilia may be the first of the veterans to bite the dust when it comes to being replaced. I mean, geez, he has warning track power, lost a step in his limited range, has never been known for being fleet of foot, is prone to injury and to state the obvious, his best years are behind him. He does have a great smile, but this isn't about who should do the next toothpaste commercial. It's about the San Francisco Giants and how Uncle Brian has done very little to help Bruce Bochy.

(Oh by the way, I'm hearing the feedback of someone who claims to be a Giants' fan and he pronounces the skipper's name as Botch-ey. Which as poetic justice would have it is another way of saying mismanage. As someone who grew up in the days when white out was a substance used to correct typos I had to be very creative when the white out was hardening to the point of not being able to use and would magically derive of things off of the Freudian slip. I was capable of turning the typo into a fresh approach for the topic.

Another thing, why do people like to refer to the word suck when they are expressing their utmost dislike of a team or player? The word means to devour, consume, ingest, and or swallow. These people are mistakenly referring to the antonyms of suck. Words like repel, spew, spit out, vomit, eject or discharge. When someone barks that another individual sucks he/she is really saying that the individual blows. This is not a Freudian slip, this is a sign of ignorance. Unless, of course, that person is speaking of someone in porn. Cat Stevens' lyrics to, get this, "Can't Keep it In," off the album Catch Bull at Four are quite apropos: You've got so much to say, say what you mean, mean what you're thinking and think anything. Why not? )

If Richie is the first to get the hook it may be at the expense of Brett Harper. A 6'4" first baseman who bats left and throws right who is out of the Mets organization. Last year at Double AA Binghamton he batted .296, with 24-HR and 88-RBI.

Some say Ray Durham is next on the list of replacing oldsters with youngsters. That may be and if so, Emmanuel Burriss, the Giants' 1st round pick of 2006 would probably get a good look.

I'm living in the not so bustling metropolis of Bass Lake, CA. The newspaper here is the Fresno Bee. This paper is dedicated to Fresno. Anything anyone needs to know about the current events of Fresno is in the Bee. There is access to knowledge of those up and coming stars for the Fresno Grizzlies, the San Francisco Giants' Triple AAA affiliate.

Never forget why you are a Giants' fan. Set the good example.

Kevin Marquez

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Wiffle Ball

This is going to be a long season. So if I can borrow a story now and again to keep the interest of San Francisco Giants' fans, then that's just what I'll do.

First one I thought was a dandy was something out of ESPN magazine. In fact, if you have access to a computer you can check out the wiffle magic at

Joe Nord, a member of the New York Knights, Long Island's championship winner in Fast Plastic, the preeminent Wiffle ball organization in the country. (Nord won 64 straight in Fast Plastic tournament play.)

Nord gives some pointers on how to make pitches.

The Drop. Delivered sidearm with the holes facing skyward, the 12-to-6 curve has been known to dip thirty-six inches (36") as it travels the 48 feet to the 23-inch by 27-inch strike zone. To ensure that it isn't still on the table when it gets there, Nord says you should twist your wrist forward over the top of the ball as you let it fly.

The Screwball. Nord's out pitch. Thrown overhead, elbow by the ear, with the globe's holes facing left. It can be hard on the thrower's arm.

The Riser. With the holes down and your fingers along the seam, release this sidearm pitch at around hip level, snapping your wrist at the end. Nord's heater travels over 70mph and jumps to eye level at the plate, as it mows down Fast Plastic's 5-man lineups. Nordian tip: more rotations equals more movement.

The Slider. In Fast Plastic play, singles and doubles are determined by lines on the field, triples make it to the wall and home runs make it over. Up to three fielders chase down batted balls, but the down-and-away motion of Nord's overhand slider- holes to the right, a finger on the seam- often makes them superfluous.

Again, watch Nord demonstrate some WIFFLE magic at ESPNTHEMAG.COM.
Thanks to ESPN magazine for this slice of baseball life.

Kevin Marquez