Thursday, December 10, 2009

Rudy Jaramillo (2010 Cubs' hitting coach) and Ernie Harwell

Sporting News magazine, the 11/23/2009 edition had several good articles. About Quarterbacks and how they approach certain situations. The best broadcasters and analysts going in sports today. And the gurus of the coaching world.

One of these coaches, a hitting coach who gets rave reviews wherever he goes is Rudy Jaramillo.
Here are some tidbits about the hitting coach guru...

Best advice I ever got: "Be patient." That says a lot in everything you do. (He aint kidding. In my approach at the plate I too need to be more patient. Not so eager to swing. Let the ball reach my kill zone.)

Best book about hitting: The Science of Hitting by Ted Williams.

If I could get the people I work with to remember one thing, it would be: Believe in yourself.
(This too hits home. In my most important at-bat, in summer league ball, I made the last out of the championship game. I didn't think I could do, so I didn't do it. I have vowed to never again let that happen and so far, so good.)

Best hitter I ever saw: Barry Bonds. He did the most damage of anyone.

The one training aide I can't do without: A one-hand short bat. Best tool I've ever used. It trains you to get in the power slot. It helps you learn how to unfold with your top hand or bottom hand, the proper approach. Also, it helps you get in an athletic position. The big key when you're using both hands, you have to let the ball get deep.

Favorite training technique: Get in an athletic position. You've got to have balance to be able to strike the ball.

Words to succeed by: Don't be scared. Be fearless.

Things I believe in:

Attitude. You've got to believe in yourself. You've got to compete. I think you have that competitiveness naturally, but some have it more than others. (in the words of George Carlin, on his 7 Dirty Words album...'You have to want it!')

Aptitude: What makes a good hitter is someone who can repeat his swing and make adjustments.
You've got to have a lot of discipline. The more mentally strong you are, the shorter those slumps are.

Ernie Harwell

Things about the game of baseball I love...
- The game's simplicity. The team with the most runs wins.
- the game's complexity. Signs, the double-switch, the squeeze play and the hit and run.
- Bob Gibson's determined intimidation.
- Willie Mays' basket catch. And his losing his cap while rounding the bases.
- the grace in a Ted Williams home run swing.
- the dedicated hustle of Pete Rose.
- the national anthem by Jose Feliciano (1968 World Series).
- the class of Al Kaline.
- a no-hitter by Nolan Ryan.
- Mark Fidrych's charisma.
- box scores and coffee/breakfast with the morning newspaper.
- the smell of a new baseball.
- the green symmetry of the diamond. (When I'm on the bus, and the bus passes all the lonely downtrodden people and you are just about gasping for breath, hoping something happens to change the way you are feeling and then you come upon a ball field. It just makes all that you saw so much more acceptable. Seeing the freshly dragged infield, even if your mind is playing tricks, makes everything a whole lot better.)

- the thrill of an 8-year-old seeing his first game.
- baseball's generation-to-generation appeal.
- animated chat around the batting cage.
- the give-and-take repartee in the clubhouse.
- the passion of hometown fans.

Ernie's personal favorites...

*Interviewing Ty Cobb, Connie Mack and Babe Ruth.
*Broadcasting the debuts of Willie Mays and Brooks Robinson and other superstars.
* Broadcasting at Ebbets Field and the Polo Grounds
*Listening to Hank Aaron, Stan Musial and Ted Williams discuss hitting techniques at veterans committee dinners in Tampa.
*The hope and optimism of spring training.
* Working the NBC telecast when Bob Thomson hit his "Shot Heard 'Round the World."
*And Ernie's true claim to fame: When I left the Brooklyn Dodgers, after the 1949 season to go to the Giants, Vin Scully took my place.

(thanks to the Sporting News for their well-thought out articles)

Kevin Marquez

Monday, December 7, 2009

Worst Attendances in Major League Baseball

When I first saw these games and the number of people that attended the game I was shocked.
That so few people saw the need to go a game. It just doesn't seem possible that so few would attend a game. It must have been like "The game is starting and there's nobody in the stands."

April 9, 1997: Toronto Blue Jays @ Chicago White Sox 746 fans
September 8, 1975: Houston Astros @ Atlanta Braves 737 fans
September 21, 1970: Kansas City Royals @ Chicago White Sox 672 fans
September 12, 2007: Washington Nationals @ Florida Marlins 375 fans.

On the Oakland Athletics' worst attendance night it at least reaches a couple thousand. That seems bad until you see the aforementioned numbers. And those chilly nights at Candlestick never drew so poorly which goes to show how loyal Giants' fans are to the black and orange.

(thanks to ESPN mag for the listing)

Kevin Marquez

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

More on Lincecum and Matt Cain

On September 28, 2009 there was an article by the Sporting News on Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum, entitled I Just Love Watching Him Pitch.

After learning that Lincecum won his second Cy Young in-a-row, and was the first to do so during his first 2 complete seasons as a major leaguer, the big focus now is if the San Francisco Giants will sign Tim Lincecum before his case reaches arbitration.

Here are some snipets of that article that delve into the personalities of both Lincecum and Matt Cain.

The Franchise and The Freak. Big Daddy and Big Sugar. Does anybody actually call you these things?
Lincecum: I hear them all the time. I get them from fans every place we go. ( Former Giants reliever) Steve Kline tagged me with the Franchise or French Fries, whatever you want to call it. It's just funny names. You just roll with it.

Cain: I've had the Big Daddy one ever since my high school coach gave it to me. The Big Sugar one, I'm not too fond of; it makes me feel like I'm just eating too much candy. I don't know if I approve of that one.

On a friendship level, what about the other guy's personality appeals to you most?
Lincecum: I think it's both our competitiveness. That's why we mesh well. It's taken, like, a couple years for us to get closer, though. Our first year was a little different, but the last couple years we've become pretty good friends and we've gotten closer and just gotten to know each other. We play catch together all the time. Before, it was almost like a competition between us, like we didn't even know each other, like we were on different teams. But now it's just fun stuff, giving each other a hard time just like two good guys will do.

Cain: We come from kind of total opposite upbringings, and baseball definitely connects us in a lot of ways. He's definitely open-minded about things. I'm open-minded about things. We started to share a lot more things in common than we probably felt we would have at first.

Out of high school, Matt was drafted in the first round. Tim was drafted in the 48th round. At that point, what were your personal expectations about having big league careers?
Cain: I think mine might have been different than his coming out of high school. I got drafted in the first round , so they kind of put that "He's going to try to be the guy" tag on me. I thought, 'All right, I'm going to have to get better and better as fast as possible to get to the big leagues real quick.' Whereas Timmy came out his junior and senior years in college. (After his junior season at Washington, in 2006, Lincecum was selected 10th overall by the Giants-his third time going through the draft.)

Lincecum: He just had more of a plan. College prepares us in a different fashion than his preparation, which was in the minors. You take what you can from that. Cain, you can just look at this guy-ever since the first day I met him, he was that old young guy, just beyond his years. He was a grown man before most other guys.

What roles have your physical sizes played in your athletic lives?
Lincecum: I've always dealt with the lack-of-size issue. Going into college, I was like 135 pounds. That's pretty small for anybody. I met girls in their freshman year that were bigger than me.
Cain: (Laughing) That's awesome.

On your best day, is one of you a more dominant pitcher than the other?
Lincecum: I just love watching him pitch. Cain's that guy who doesn't give up any hits. You're looking at the board, your like, "They've only got two hits?" He just sneaky-dominates you. It's awesome to watch.

Cain: For me, it's the same way. Suddenly, it's the sixth inning and Timmy has punched out eight guys already. He does it sneaky, too. I think we do different things different . He's definitely going to be a guy who strikes out guys no matter what, where I probably won't strike out as many guys. I think I could, but I don't think it's effective for me. I can't effectively strike out that many guys.

A lack of run support has been an issue on this team. Matt has had tougher luck in that regard than perhaps anyone in baseball the past couple of years. How have you dealt with that?

Lincecum: Just watching him (Matt Cain) the last couple years, the way he battles through the run support issues that he's had to deal with... he deals with it better than anybody. You can get so frustrated, take it badly, get (ticked) off, but he just takes the ball and doesn't worry about that. He's going to pitch his game. Whether he wins or loses by one run, Cain just lets it go. I've learned from that.

Cain: It's got to be one of those situations that makes you better. I would get in situations where we were winning, 2-1 or whatever, and I'd think about it too much and give up a couple runs. Then I'd watch Timmy out there: he'd be winning, 2-0, getting the same runs but focusing more in some situations; he'd keep it 2-0. That's what I've tried to get better at this year.

Lincecum: I find it's good to somehow have that pressure on you. It's good to pitch in close games. It brings out a different side of you.

What have you learned from having Randy Johnson as a teammate? And is Jonathan Sanchez, who threw a no-hitter in July, as talented as you guys are?

Cain: I think Sanchez is what R.J. has helped with most, actually, in the past couple months. We know Sanchez is obviously very talented, but he's got his games where he goes out and deals and his games where he struggles. It's about focus. It comes at different times for different guys, but we know he has the ability to focus because there's no way you don't stay focused the whole time when you throw a no-hitter-there's no room to let down.

Lincecum: Just sitting down and talking to R.J. when were were at spring training, he said, "You never become content; you keep getting better." He said, "Look at the four Cy Youngs I won in a row (1999-2002) it wasn't like they got worse-they got better through the last one."

Who are your favorite pitchers, now and ever?

Lincecum: Sandy Koufax was definitely one of them. Nolan Ryan. Man, I just dig strikeouts.

Cain: I liked watching (Greg) Maddux and (John) Smoltz. Two different guys. Smoltz, when I was young, he was just a "Here it comes" fastball, slider, split guy. Maddux moved the ball and did different things. Those guys working together, I'll bet they helped each other a ton. It's kind of like how I feel I can try to do different things with the ball now from watching Timmy.

You'll both be 25 at the end of this season (2009). How important is it for you to be a 1-2 punch for a long time?

Lincecum: It's definitely important. Matty is going to be a workhorse for this organization for as long as he can be. I hope to do the same thing.

Cain: We both love being in the organization and hope that we can stay together and really be a Big Three with (Barry) Zito or even a Big Four with Sanchez.

It's up to the Giant's front office to see that this happens. That is, of course, if the San Diego Padres want Sanchez as part of a trade for Adrian Gonzalez. They may want Madison Bumgarner as well. Tough call.

We shall see what happens in the off-season. I was listen to my walkman and what sounded like Carlos Santana on guitar had the lyrics: Pain never makes me cry, but happiness does.
This must be the on-going sentiment for major league baseball's general managers and their associates.

(thanks to the Sporting News for their 9/28/09 article on Lincecum and Cain)

Kevin J. Marquez

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tim Lincecum is the First to Do It

Tim Lincecum is the first pitcher to win back-to-back Cy Young awards in his first two-full-major league seasons. Puff on that for a while, eh?

With all the hoopla over his recent arrest it must be nice to see the better man get the nod.
He had the burden of pitching with very few runs (as teammates Barry Zito, Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez can attest) and still managed to keep his team in the game, most every time he toed the slab.

Lincecum most definitely has to make his teammates feel like it's WIN NIGHT every time the skipper hands him the ball. And if the San Francisco Giants can go out an acquire a couple of players' whose plate approach can expand the strike zone and who have enough oomph in their swings to accumulate dozens of extra-base hits and some round-trippers then it would relieve some of the tension their pitchers would have to endure on a daily/nightly basis.

I'm sure the powers that be, in the Giants organization, realize that last year was an excellent year for the pitchers but that with an injury here and an injury there the Giants will need more help for their pitching.

Good offense and solid defense.

Easier said than done.

Anyway, kudos to the Freak, Franchise or just plain Timmy Lincecum. This is the kind of news Scotty Ostler was talking about. (see article by Scott Ostler, dated November 17 on the Cha Cha Bowl.)

Kevin J. Marquez

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

In the Playoffs

(Sorry for the delay but the information from Sporting News magazine is good so I decided to go ahead and share it with you.)

What doesn't matter? The better regular-season record. That goes for teams and players.
White Sox center fielder Scott Podsednik didn't hit a home run the entire 2005 regular season, but his walkoff blast in Game 2 was the turning point for Chicago's win.

"The bigger the moment, the more I'm relaxed," says John Smoltz, who is tied with Andy Pettitte for most postseason victories (15). Note: And I don't recall Smoltz being accused of taking performance enhancers. The only thing I'll never forget about Smoltz' off-field actions was that he burned himself while ironing. He ironed the shirt while still wearing it. This prompted some wise guy scribe to say 'How does he take a bath, in the washing machine?' or something of that ilk.

Former major league OF, Steve Finley, a member of the 2001 World Series champion Diamondbacks.

"Generally, a manager is a good people person who knows how to read people and put people in spots where they have the best chance for success.

Bob Brenly had his horses that year. Managers also have to play hunches. They have to know when to pull the trigger in certain areas, and Bob pulled all the right triggers in that postseason."

David Eckstein, World Series MVP for 2006 St. Louis Cardinals.
"We were able to get healthy when the playoffs arrived, and we weren't that way basically the last six (6) weeks of the season. It was like a breath of fresh air when we made the playoffs. For us, it was like, OK, now we can put the regular season behind us. It was an opportunity to be the same club we were at the beginning of the year. And we definitely gained momentum after beating the Padres in the first round. That gave us the feeling that, OK, we're back. One thing about the postseason is that it's whoever gets hot. (Getting) into the playoffs means you are a quality club no matter what your record was."

(thanks to The Sporting News for sharing these insights. This stuff is good to know.)

Kevin Marquez

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Scott Ostler on Tim Lincecum (11/7/09 SF Chronicle)

I read Scott Osler's piece on Tim Linceum in which he posed the question: High crime? Nope, just irresponsible.

I underlined the key points.

Lincecum will get off easy in the Bay Area court of public opinion. In fact, his moment of reefer madness might even enhance his stature as a free-spirited goofball.

I do know that if you are a sports hero busted for pot, you should be thankful if you play for a Bay Area team. Remember how, not so many years ago, Warriors' fans would convene at halftime on the "dope ramp," turning the Oakland Arena into the world's largest bong?

Lincecum won't shrug off his crime. We've all gotten to know him well enough to realize that behind the garage-band hair and the cartwheels in the clubhouse is an intelligent young man who approaches his job in a professional manner and spares himself the self-importance and lack of accountability embraced by many ball stars.

Too bad when Timmy placed the pot and the pipe in his car, his events-memory didn't set off alarms. Michael Phelps! Michael Phelps!! Oooogah!

Lincecum will be properly embarrassed and he will make proper apologies, which will be immediately accepted - here and probably everywhere.

But even we zonked-out Bay Area hipsters hope the Franchise plays it smarter next time, because whether the media's reaction is frenzied or laidback, that isn't the kind of news we like to see him make.

(kudos to Scott Ostler)

Kevin Marquez

Meet the Prospect (Madison Bumgarner)

In the Sporting News edition, dated September 28, 2009 was an article entitled Meet the Prospect: Madison Bumgarner.

Who he is: The 10th overall pick in the 2007 draft. Bumgarner made his major league debut on 9/8/09, a month after his 20th birthday. Pitching this season at Advanced Class A and Class AA, Bumgarner went 12-2 with a 1.85 ERA, which puts his career minor league numbers at 27-5 and 1.65. Not too shabby.

Scouting Report: Bumgarne has ace stuff and throws in the mid-90s from a deceptive release point. He needs to tighten his slider and do a better job of hitting his spots down in the zone, but he has the potential to be a front-of-the-rotation starter. Expect him to win a permanent big league rotation spot by mid 2010, if not earlier.

Bumgarner says: The one thing I'm concentrating on improving is throwing breaking balls for strikes and having confidence in them.

His team won the Sally League championship last year and the one thing he cannot live without is his faith. He's a christian and that's a big part of his life.

With the Lord as Bumgarner's shepherd, hopefully the sky is the limit for the success he can attain while in the major leagues.

(thanks to the Sporting News for a little information on an up-and-coming player in the Giants organization.)

Kevin Marquez

Friday, November 6, 2009

Performance Enhancers or Not?

Zev Chafets had a piece in ESPN magazine that listed some familiar players and their choice of enhancers.

Says Chafets... I found that the Hall, like any shrine, is full of secrets. Here's the worst-kept one: Not every immortal is a gentleman.

Some surely were. But Tris Speaker and Rogers Hornsby, both of whom belonged to the Klan? Probably not. How about Hank Greenberg and Joe DiMaggio, with their serious mob connections? Ty Cobb bragged of committing a murder and was suspected of fixing at least one game. Grover Cleveland Alexander pitched drunk when alcohol was a federally banned substance.

Between the lines, old-timers were happy to use any substance they thought would give them an edge. In 1889, pitcher Pud Galvin drank monkey testoserone. Mickey Mantle was forced out of part of the 1961 pennant race by an infection he got from the needle of a quack doctor who shot him up with a concoction of steroids and amphetamine. Sandy Koufax took so many nonanabolic steroids for his sore arm that he was sometimes "half high" on the field. Even Hank Aaron admitted to taking amphetamines once during a game. All of them are in Cooperstown-and the walls haven't crumbled.

Remember, it took a player, Jose Canseco, to spill the beans about widespread steroid use. Now, though, the writers have found religion. With the zeal of the newly converted, they voted by a 3 to 1 margin to keep Mark McGwire out of the Hall.

The Hall can't just exclude two generations of superstars. And if the writers don't like this, well, they need to be reminded that they serve as Cooperstown's electoral college at the pleasure of the Hall's controllers- a nonprofit organization, not MLB- and they can be replaced.

There are plenty of potential voters awaiting their chance...Those less bound to the false pieties those writers have perpetuated over the years.

The Cooperstown museum will include a chapter on steroids as a part of baseball's narrative, just as it includes the chapters on the Negro Leagues and how equipment evolved.

And in the plaque gallery, Manny(Ramirez) and Barry (Bonds), A-Rod and (Roger) Clemens will hang next to the greats of other eras, right where they belong. They earned their spots the old-fashioned way-by doing what was necessary to stand above their peers.

(Zev Chafets is the author of Cooperstown Confidential: Heroes, Rogues and the Inside Sortory of the Baseball Hall of Fame. I know I will find a way to get a hold of a copy. This is good stuff!)
This was all Zev, all I did was retype and edit.

Kevin Marquez

Monday, October 26, 2009

Buster Olney's Point of View

Don't think playoff baseball is different? You're not a player, Are You? was the Olney article in ESPN mag and it uses Randy Winn.

With the end prize at long last in sight, the ghosts of playoffs past-better known as guys who have made it through a series or two- share their tales. And when they do, Randy Winn can only listen.

The Giants outfielder has played 12 seasons, about 1600 games, more than any other active player who has never reached the playoffs. But with the NL wildcard up for grabs that could finally change. (We know it did not.) "When you are a kid, you dream about playing in the big leagues," Winn says. "But once you get drafted, you dream about the postseason."

And when you do, you wonder if it will feel any different from every other time you've stepped on the diamond. The ghosts of October have the answer.

The ghosts would tell Winn preparation means everything. Before Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS, Dave Roberts stood in rightfield, pretending he was taking a lead off first. Red Sox coach Lynn Jones played the role of a Yankees reliever, with his back to Roberts. The game began without Roberts in the lineup, and he retreated to the clubhouse to loosen up, just in case he'd be needed as a late-game pinch runner. There is no space to sprint in Boston's tiny clubhouse, so he got loose by leaping to touch items mounted on the walls-the TV near Jason Varitek's locker, the steel bars by Manny Ramirez's digs. "I was like a little kid," says Roberts. "It's kind of comical, thinking back."

The ghosts would tell Winn he will store memories, but maybe not the kind he expects.

Stop, right there!

This is where the Giants organization has to know what it is that will help them score runs.
What is it that will help the team win games? They have to get players into the fold that make scoring runs something not so difficult. Give the pitchers a reason to believe they have a chance to win every time they toe the slab not so much as believing in their ability to throw and their teammates ability to field but also believing in their ability to manufacture runs. By having teammates who can lose the ball into the outfield stands or rocket balls off the wall moreso than dinking and dunking balls where opposing fielders are nowhere to be found.

(thanks to Buster Olney for the inspiration of this rant.)

Kevin Marquez

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Why Bring Bruce Bochy Back?

For the past two seasons Manager Bruce Bochy was given a free pass because of the anemic lineup he had to work with. With the exception of Pablo Sandoval, the Panda, there was nobody in the lineup that posed a threat. Pitch around Pablo and let the guy batting after him hurt you. Often that batter was Benjie Molina. And for the most part, since arriving in San Francisco, Molina has put up solid numbers. Unfortunately, because he is so slow afoot, if he led the inning off with a single, chances are it would take 3 more singles to drive him in. And the station-to-station brand of baseball usually doesn't net the best results. Too many times the inning ends with the bags loaded or runners on second and third but no one scores.

The unbelievably consistent pitching of Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum and (late season acquisition) Brad Penny got very little run support. And Barry Zito, who finally came into his own and delivered some stellar outings, would lead the league in least amount of run support. An ominous statistic his fellow pitchers Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum are all too familiar with.

Talk show host, Damon Bruce, rants about how the Giants only seem to be concerned with being competitive vs. doing what it takes to win the division. When you look at their recent history it's hard to disagree with the usually negative Bruce.

Signing Edgardo Alfonso was not an upgrade but rather a far cry from having Jeff Kent.
Signing a broken down Edgar Renteria when it was reported that Detroit had to get rid of him because his defensive skills have diminished to a point where he was a liability. And although Detroit did one of the all-time el foldos in baseball history they were much better in 2009 than they were in 2008 and they'll point to their improved defense with Adam Everett at short and Brandon Inge moved from catcher to third base. And no Edgar Renteria.

Some teams have a way of landing on the luckless side of things. When the Giants acquired Freddy Sanchez from the Pittsburgh Pirates it looked to be a good move for the orange and black. That was until Sanchez spent frequent bystander time on the disabled list. Nobody saw that coming. But it's the kind of thing that happens to the Giants. Can you say Noah Lowry?

This off-season will go a long way to showing the Giant faithfuls of the lunatic fringe just how bad Brian Sabean and his cohorts want to win the National League Western Division. It's a very competitive division with everyone having just as much chance as the others to win the division.

Whoever makes the moves that most improves its roster that will be the team favored to win the division when Spring Training begins.

(thanks to Damon Bruce for his rant on the Giants being satisfied with being competitive)

Kevin Marquez

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Umpires...Brought to You just in time for Playoffs

These arbiters of baseball are given too much flexibility in the way they are allowed to do the job they were hired to do.

Personally I am not familiar with how all Umpiring Schools are run and why they teach what they teach (the emphasis on what they think is important and all that stuff) but I did attend the Joe Brinkman/Bruce Froemming school located in Cocoa Cocoa Beach, Florida. Home of former TV sitcom, I Dream of Jeannie.

The only glaring incident happened when the Wisconsin born Bruce Froemming taught his method of umpiring the bases. To Froemming, getting the call right wasn't as important as where you were when you made the call. In other words, as long as you weren't out-of-position nobody could have a reasonable conclusion as to why you made the call the way you did. Because one thing you weren't was out-of-position.

Hank Greenwald, the former Giant, Yankees and A's announcer, has an autobiography that is a must read for local sports fans. The information in this book is enough to keep you interested.

Anywho, Hank has some opinions on umpiring. I am delightfully compelled by Hank's insights on umpires because Hank's thoughts are remarkably close to my own.

The next big baseball war will involve umpires. Something that speaks to the question of integrity. Why is it that whenever you mention that word, it raises the cry, "How dare you question our integrity?" Why not?

Major league umpires have become untouchable... if a player is disciplined for actions involving an umpire, it's announced to the world. When was the last time you were informed of an umpire's being fined or suspended for his conduct?

Is there integrity when an umpire deliberately follows a player who is walking away after an argument and tries to bait him into saying something so he can throw him out of the game? Where's the integrity when 3 umpires know the fourth has missed a call and won't say anything because they don't want to "show him up"?

Where's the integrity when an umpire misses a play and refuses to ask for help? Where's the integrity when an umpire decides to "stick it" to some player who has the nerve to question a call? Where's the integrity when umpires put themselves above the rule book and announce they'll decide what the strike zone should be?

(Says Hank) I'm not talking about bad judgment with regard to balls and strikes. That speaks for itself. I'm talking about the arrogance that allows umpires to adopt the attitude they're all-powerful and rulebook be damned. The point is, the questions of integrity raised here are not ones I alone should be raising.

They should be raised by league presidents and the commissioner. What else do they have to do that's more important? When were umpires granted infallibility status, and how did I miss that?

How come baseball can deal with Pete Rose, but won't raise the question of integrity when it comes to umpires? Do you think for a moment that an umpire can't affect the outcome of a game by "sticking it" to a player on a ball or strike call at a crucial moment? Do you think an umpire can't affect the outcome of a game by arbitrarily throwing a player out?

Next time you hear an umpire say he threw out a player because "he showed me up," ask yourself this question: To Whom?

Umpires often throw players and managers out of games because they're afraid they'll look bad in the eyes of their fellow umpires. They're afraid not only of what the other guys on their crew will think, but of what their brethren watching the highlights on TV that night will think. They're officiating not in the best interests of the game but in the best interests of their image. (I've had people tell me umps have had TV games taped for them in their clubhouse so they can hear what announcers said about them afterward.)

(thanks to Hank Greenwald's insights)

Kevin J. Marquez

Friday, September 18, 2009

Hank Greenwald's "This Copyrighted Broadcast" Insights and ESPN's Tim Keown

Before the Hank insights:

On September 15, 2009, during the post-game wrap, Mike Krukow liked that Pablo "Panda" Sandoval went ape when Benjie Molina scored from third base on a grounder to flame-throwing shortstop, Troy Tulowitzki.

Except his partner, Duane Kuiper didn't agree with Krukow's assessment. "He can't go ape he can only go bear. He's a panda!" Laughter ensued. Gut bustin' hoo-hahing. Kuiper's timing was as impeccable as his response was priceless.


"This Copyrighted Broadcast" ...(excerpts from the book of the same title)

...There is no doubt today's players are better athletes than their predecessors. They're bigger, stronger, faster and they jump higher than the players of my youth, but they don't play baseball as well. They can't. The system works against it.

If players of today have all these physical attributes, why can't baseball produce a starting pitcher who can go more than 6 innings? For some reason, those in high places have decreed these well-conditioned athletes must be placed on pitch counts and are never allowed to develop the arm strength that might enable them to throw a complete game.

Major league teams fear that these young men, to whom large sums have been paid, might develop arm trouble... Take a look at the disabled list and see how many of those pitchers you pampered in the minor leagues are out for 15, 30, or 60 days.

Why develop a starting pitcher to go the distance when you have these men to fill in the late inning roles? Get serious. Only 2 or 3 teams have pitchers who fit those descriptions. The others are using guys who are now with their twelfth club... I'd never seen such a mess as i did with pitching, I saw far too many who looked like they'd rather walk a batter than risk letting him hit the ball. History shows one of the best ways to get a batter out is to get him to hit the ball to somebody with a glove on.
-- Hank Greenwald

In an ESPN magazine article by Tim Keown that went on to say...many causes and culprits-long term contracts for veterans, large bonuses for top draft picks, increased influence from agents and orthopedists-combined to shift the emphasis from production to protection.

Nolan Ryan, the Texas Rangers' president, says the game itself should dictate the number of pitches, not the other way around. "All this outside crap came into play," Ryan says. "All of a sudden you have people who haven't pitched and haven't played and don't understand baseball driving the front offices to come up with a number. 'Oh, he's at 100 pitches. I need to take him out.' NO! He should be getting one more out to get out of the inning."

Rangers' pitching coach, Mike Maddux (brother of Greg) says, "We've had to educate guys to understand a perfect inning isn't nine pitches and three strikeouts; it's 3 pitches and 3 outs.

The Rangers have experimented with live batting practice and gotten good results. Maddux told hitting instructor, Rudy Jaramillo to bring a lot of bats, because his pitchers planned on breaking some. To which Jaramillo responded, 'make sure you have a lot of baseballs, because my hitters plan on losing some.'

Maddux noticed an unexpected benefit: His pitchers were being forced to concentrate far more than a typical bullpen session. Said Maddux, "We talk about concentration being one of the most important parts of the game, but we never practice it." "You almost have to concentrate to concentrate. Well, here we were, practicing concentration without even realizing it."

(thanks to Hank Greenwald and Tim Keown for the inspiration to do this piece.)

Kevin J. Marquez

Thursday, September 10, 2009

About to Put A Fork in 'Em

The 2009 San Francisco Giants just cannot execute well enough to score runners in scoring position and that doesn't bode well for a team without any threats-in the lineup-to hit the home run.

Look at how pitchers continue to pitch to Albert Pujols. It's mind boggling that pitchers don't give Prince Albert the Barry Bonds treatment. We shall see the strategy once the post-season begins.

After watching Edgar Renteria play this year, in the orange and black, I am convinced this guy is a Lucky Pedro Feliz. Where Pedro's no-think approach generally netted him a fly out or unsuccessful plate appearance, Edgar's "no-think" approach will some times find the hole. And if you find the hole at critical times all is forgotten, right?

Doesn't it bother you how the Giants continually squander opportunities. I don't mean "bother" like if you're swimming with the sharks and you happen to bump into one. I'm not sure "bother" is the right word to use. Per Robert Schimmel, "Bother. How does a shark bother you? It's not like you asked him for 50 cents." (You know the thing to do don't you? According to a scuba diver buddy of Robert Schimmel, you punch the shark in the nose. And if that doesn't work, you poke the shark in the eye with your stump!) Where the shark is concerned, you really shouldn't have been there in the first place. But in regards to the Giants, starting the inning off with a couple of runners on base, it might just be an aberration. Many Giants' fans, as well as myself, have yet to figure that one out.

With 22 games to go and the Giants 4 games behind the Rockies they are really putting themselves behind the 8-ball if they don't win the Dodger series and sweep the Rockies one mo' time.

In the 1970s and 1980s we San Franciscans could always rely on the crimson and gold, 49ers to come to the rescue. And that still could happen but right now the team with the better shot at making the playoffs is the Giants.

Perhaps because my personal life hasn't been even a hint of moonlight and canoes I tend to see things as the glass being half empty. (I like the suds overflowing with the cheers echoing in the background. But it just ain't happening.)

The pristine blue skies overhead are being covered in a steady flow of fog and the forecast although inconclusive doesn't look to be changing any time soon. The hope that sprang eternal in April, May, June, July and August now appears to be withering away with each September loss.

This 2009 San Francisco Giants' team has been surprising up until now and if they do fail which one of us is going to admit they had a feeling this is how it would end? C'mon, raise your hands!

The Giants could still surprise and if they do I may go into a state of shock from which I may never return. And that just might be a good thing. Because the glass half empty won't even matter. I'll be having too good of a time inside the shirt with too many sleeves.

Kevin Marquez

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Former Chisox Numbers and Hoping the Rockies Lose More Games

Just looked at some numbers posted by Aaron Rowand and Juan Uribe when they wore Chicago White Sox uniforms during that franchise's 2005 World Series championship season.

Aaron Rowand, a first-round pick by the ChiSox in 1998 (35th overall pick) had 13-HR, 69-RBI with a .270 batting average.

Juan Uribe, originally signed by the Colorado Rockies in 1997, had 16-HR, 71-RBI while batting .252.

Looking at these two players' statistics before Tuesday's game vs the Padres look like this...

Rowand: 13-HR, 56-RBI, .271-BA. He would need 13 more RBI to be identical with his 2005 season stats, the year the White Sox won it.

Uribe (pronounced Oooh-Ree-Bay): 12-HR, 40-RBI, .282-BA. Beginning the season as a part-time player who only recently got some ABs, Juan only needs 4 more HRs to match his 2005 totals. He's 31 runs batted in short of 2005, and due to their being only 3 weeks left that doesn't appear to be a possibility. The good thing is, he's hitting 30 points higher.

So IF (life's middle name) Uribe can maintain the hot bat and Rowand can stay out of hitting into triple plays, these two players are hitting damn near identical to that ring bearing season of theirs in 2005.

That and a healthy Freddy Sanchez, a steady: Brad Penny, Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Barry Zito and Jonathan Sanchez and it is not too far from the realm of possibility to believe the Giants can do the unthinkable, which is reach the post-season.

Still things have to go right, like Colorado losing a few more games. This may be the most unlikely of all to happen.

Because after the Padres, the Giants face the archrival Los Angeles Dodgers for 3. You take 2 out of 3 in this series and you did well. But that's one more loss, putting the Rockies a possible 3 games ahead of the Giants in the wildcard. (This is hoping the Giants sweep the Pads and with 2 left that's not a given!) Even if the Giants take the series in their remaining matchup with Colorado, they still play 4 games at home vs. the Cubs, a team needing to win. Then they finish out the regular schedule in San Diego, where they are currently 0-6. How the Giants do in their final 7 games and how the Rockies do in their final 7 will determine the winner of the wildcard.
Unless, of course, the Los Angeles Dodgers fall flat on their face like a drunkard and just lose out. And that just ain't happening.

If any team falls on its face you'd have to say, with their inconsistent hitting, that burdensome task would belong to our beloved Giants.

Kevin Marquez

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Hank's Kid (Dougie) Not So Good

I love this world. The good ole United States of America.
A person gets his opportunity strictly based on the fact that his DAD was a one-time announcer for the organization.

I am out looking for work and all the time I see the letters EOE. Someone told me that means Equal Opportunity Employment...I knew it, but based on what I have gone through to get a job, it was good to hear somebody else say it.

Doug Greenwald needs to get his facts straight. He needs not to talk so much. He needs to learn how to judge a home run. But hey, he can call a TRIPLE PLAY!

I apologize if I come off so harsh, but I am currently looking for work and have been dealt the "over-qualified" hand and then never heard back from those who told me they were interested.

I kept waiting and nary a sound. Meanwhile, my bank account has dwindled to a mere bag of shells. And all of those people who phonily told me they were interested never got back to me. Why? Because my dad hadn't done that before or laid the tracks for me to follow in his footsteps?
How many people working jive the interviewer into believing they can speak English when in fact the whole time they are at that place of business people have to clean-up their mistakes due to not really understanding what was said. Yes, it IS because much gets lost in the translation.

Favortism is sickening. Almost as sickening as the 2009 San Francisco Giants' offense. (Hopefully with Freddie Sanchez due to return, perhaps the ailment of orange and black's batting order will not be as gut-wrenching as the dry heaves- with few exceptions- that fill the line-up card when Freddie isn't penciled in.)

Kevin Marquez

Friday, September 4, 2009

Notes on Baseball

According to Willie McCovey, the Hall of Famer who finished with 521 homers, same as "The Splendid Splinter" Ted Williams...Ted Williams used to always ask if you could smell the burning wood. Willie would respond, "No, I was too busy trying to hit." After a laugh Big Mac continued, "It's like Hank Aaron. Yogi Berra told him he had his trademark upside down and Hank's response was, "I didn't come here to read."

But think about it. A batter doesn't read WORDS but he reads body language, the spin of the ball and the positioning of the defending squad. So Hammerin' Hank wasn't entirely accurate, the way I see it. Reading isn't always about the words.

"Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do." John Wooden

And a slice from Robert Schimmel...
When a movie goes bad you always say 'It went straight to 8-track!'

While in Vegas I called for some room service. I had orange juice, pancakes, eggs, toast and coffee for $25 bucks. For twenty-five bucks I want Mrs. Butterworth to blow me, while I'm eating!

The Giants called up a left-hander, Dan Runzler, who has made his way from Single A, to Double A, to Triple A and now is on the big league roster with the San Francisco Giants all in one year.

He started the year in Augusta. And I can't help but think of the Bill Murray character-who was a groundskeeper in the movie Caddyshack- when he became the make-believe announcer.

What an incredible Cinderella story.
This unknown, comes out of nowhere
to lead the pack at Augusta. He's on his final hole. About 454 yards away (he's gonna hit about a 2-iron I think).

Oh, he got all of that.
The crowd is standing on its feet here at Augusta.
The normally reserved Augusta crowd is going wild, for this young cinderella boy, who is coming out of nowhere. A hush fills the air. He's got about 350 yards. (I suspect he's gonna hit about a 5-iron, don't ya think?)

He's got a beautiful backswing, oh, he got all of that one. He's got to be pleased with that... the crowd is on its feet here (at Augusta). He's the Cinderella Boy , tears in his eyes as he lines up this last shot. He's got about 195 yards left. Looks like he's got about an 8-iron. This crowd has gone deadly silent. Cinderella Story, out of nowhere, former groundskeeper, now about to become the Master's champion.

It looks like a miraculous shot...uh, IT'S IN THE HOLE! IT'S IN THE HOLE!!!!!!!!!!

(when I heard Dan Runzler began the season in Augusta, GA, this seemed like the flashback to refer to...)

Kevin Marquez

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

One Move Too Many

Going into the bottom of the 5th inning, Hamel of the Rockies was staked to a 4-1 lead. But the first couple of batters got on and Jim Tracy didn't think pitcher-Hamel was the guy to get some outs. So he called on Franklin Morales.

Franklin Morales is a lefty with some nasty stuff and Tracy panicked into thinking the time was now to bring in Morales, even though there was plenty of game left. Up until the fifth inning the Rocks worked the ball/strike count enough to get Giants' pitcher, Matt Cain, to a point you knew he wasn't going to last more than an inning. (Cain did leave after only 6 innings.) While the Rockie starter (Hamel) had thrown a modicum number of pitches in comparison. So I had to question why the Rockies' starter was removed when he was, as I walked the streets of San Francisco.

At first, the move looked to be a fortuitous one. Something about the lefty's deliver gave the home plate umpire (Fairchild, no kidding) the look that everything the lefty threw was a strike. Franklin Morales had the home plate umpire's eye(s). And Jim Tracy should have recognized this as one of those intracacies that you keep in play. Knowing a thing like this is serendipitous and comes along as often as Halley's comet, it was more surprising that Jim Tracy removed Franklin Morales for Rafael Betencourt than Hamel for Morales.

(Just then, as the commercial for Speedee Auto (when you think of a change, think Speedee Auto) was playing into my headset I pass a sign that read: Jesus Hates Fun. Man, was I bamboozled. Right away my first thought was, 'What, the Giants can't take advantage of this situation? The crowd can't go nuts? I mean my head was spinning.)

With Edgar Renteria standing in the batter's box and the bags FOG'd (full of Giants) it would only be a short time before the game swung mightily in the Gigantes/Giants' favor.

Jim Tracy, whose career as a manager against the Giants is pretty remarkable, took away his team's advantage by paying attention to something other than the importance of a strike zone.
He ignored the home plate umpire's tendencies and didn't see them as advantageous for his crew. He got caught up in the matchup between his pitcher and the Giants due to bat. He forgot about the game within the game aspect of baseball. And it allowed the Giants to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Kevin Marquez

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Why do we live and die when the Giants lose a lead and flail away at the ball as it wiffles past their bats?

Why does it cloud the day from the sun when the Giants lose or make for sunny skies when they win?

Do we not have lives? I'm beginning to wonder.

The little things always matter. The inconsistent strike zone of home plate umpires is always HUGE when the Giants are playing because they have such a difficult, struggle of a time scoring runs. I mean, phew, listening to the broadcast of Giants games is excruciating.

Oh well, I was just wondering about the Giants players Bruce Bochy thinks will give them the best chance to win and how they continue to come up short. Eugenio "Brain Spasm Pharoah" Velez is a guy who hits with some pop and has blazing speed but he's not a thinker. And to play ball you have got to know every situation as it arises and what is the best way to get the most out of it and in these instances this guy is clueless.

Maybe I need a life because listening to Dave Fleming's negative-ridden play-by-play is killing my thirst for the game of baseball. It may have something to do with the teams' inability to manufacture runs. Making supposed "no-name" pitchers look like all-stars. (On that note, I saw a trivia question asking Who played Adam on Bonanza? And I immediately thought Bobby Parnell, the NY Met pitcher who has spoon fed the toothless, bib-adorned Giants on two separate occasions. But in actuality the correct answer was Pernell Roberts. Not Bobby Parnell.) I just think most people don't like hearing someone state the obvious over and over and over again, the way Dave F-f-f-f-leming is wont to do.

Kevin Marquez

Monday, August 17, 2009

Not Nate the Great, Yet

Those of us who have lived in San Francisco for over a quarter of a century know that Nate the Great was what all-time great announcer Bill King called the center of the San Francisco/Golden State Warriors', Nate Thurmond. His relentless defense and slick play with the number 42 on his cable car adorned jersey is neither lost nor forgotten.

Now as we slip into 2009, the Giants have a Nate, on their team, who is raising some eyebrows with his play between the foul lines.

You can listen to sports talk radio until the cows come home and somebody somewhere will ask why Nate Schierholtz isn't in the every day starting lineup and it's hard not to agree. He has the best arm, has excellent mobility and is a hitter who shows occasional pop.

Now, in defense of Randy Winn, I can see where Manager Bruce Bochy has this feeling Winn will come out of his funk. And he does play a good outfield. But the need to play Aaron Rowand may be losing it's purpose, since Nate needs to be in the lineup every day. So if it's a toss up between Nate and Aaron, c'mon man! Give it to the guy who brings something to the table not the guy struggling.

George Carlin once said: Swimming isn't a sport, it's a way to keep from drowning, well if the Giants continue to play Aaron Rowand their season most certainly will sink into the drink.

Kevin Marquez

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Amazing Barry Zito Statistic

After coming from behind to beat the 2008 World Champion Philadelphia Phillies, Barry Zito had this to say about newest teammate Freddy Sanchez: "The guy just knows how to find barrel."

Not done passing out the compliments, Zito then turned to Eugenio Velez, dubbed the Pharaoh by beat writer Henry Schulman, and offered: "I don't know what adjustments he made in Triple A, but he has...been a huge part of this team for the last week. I think he's on a mission."

Speaking of on a mission, did you know that when Barry Zito gets 4 or more runs his won/loss record is 104-6. (15-2 as a Giant.)

Seems to me a statistic so glaringly incandescent as the aforementioned had to be known by those wanting to sign Mr. Zito. Not to take away from Barry Zito but the fact that Zito had to learn the basics of hitting had to be a concern as well (because in the National League pitchers who have the most success often help themselves with the glove and bat aside from how they throw on a given day).

You can definitely see Zito get into a zone when given the support of some runs scored. Zito is a starter for the San Francisco Giants who on 7 occasions got ZERO runs scored for him and he's still hanging in there with a 7-10 record. He's proven to be durable over his career and I can sense a coming out for the San Francisco hurler.

He's been the butt of jokes and on the short end of any compliments but it looks as if he'll be a bigtime contributor down the stretch. With the injury to Randy Johnson and the overall consistency of Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, a third and fourth starter who can rise to the occasion will be a much needed tonic for the Giants to reach the post season and then succeed once the playoffs begin.

Jonathan Sanchez is the other hurler, also a left-hander, who will get the good look by Manager Bruce Bochy and his staff. He's shown what he can do when he puts it all together but he still has a matter of consistency to address. I have faith in 26-year old Sanchez and 33-year old Zito. There's no reason why they can't pitch well enough for the Giants to continue on this glorious ride to post-season play.

All aboard the bandwagon. Next stop, at a non-believer's house near you!

Kevin Marquez

Friday, July 31, 2009

If You Listen to Dave Fleming You'll HEAR How the Giants are Doing

As a youth following the Giants it was always about the June Swoon. But as I age, like a fine Boone's Farm wine, it is becoming apparent that the swoon really begins after the All-Star break.

I understand that during every season a team will go through a period of time when the opponents' grounders appear to have eyes on them as they find a hole or take a fortuitous hop over a beloved Giant fielder's glove. Or an individual player will struggle at the plate and get into what most refer to as a slump just as a pitcher will have difficulty doing what he wants to when he throws the ball. But listening to Dave Fleming describe these struggles is painstakingly brutal. In fact, on bad days (and you know we all have them) it's downright medieval (i.e., heads usually roll.).

Fleming struggles with his choice of words by being verbose when the Giants are struggling on the field. And yet, when the Giants are winning, Flem isn't nearly as harsh. For whatever reason, the Stanford graduate-Fleming suddenly empathizes with the Giant players while being concise in his description of their actions. He isn't quite as appalled as when things are going against the orange and black attired hometown nine.

It could make a listener think that Fleming is a bad sport. The way he rants about how the pitcher is "immediately in the stretch" after walking the leadoff batter. Then he groans on how the pitcher just "doesn't have it today" and its the second or third batter in the game!

If you listen, you can't help but notice how Duane Kuiper or JT Snow or FP Santangelo always cut the players some slack. Why? Because they know through experience that the game just is not as easy as some players make it look. When was the last time Fleming played ball?

Players aren't going to make the play every time. The ones who do, well, they are called Hall of Famers. How many players are there in the game and how many make it into Cooperstown?

On a couple of occasions the broadcast crew of Duane Kuiper, Jon Miller, Mike Krukow and Flem urged Jon Miller to do his John Wayne impression of some movie he makes reference to once in a while. So Miller does his John Wayne saying how his mom worked hard to put his brother through college and Wayne hears his brother use the word clum for the word climb.
"Clum? He didn't clum the wall he climbed it. What did you do in school all day, college boy?!" Miller goes on to use a couple of examples to get his point across, all in the familiar tones of Duke-delivery.

In borrowing from that hillarious bit by Jon Miller I would like to say... Can't I just tune into a ballgame and hear what's going on between the lines and NOT how it's seen through the eyes of some college boy?

(much appreciation to Jon Miller)

Kevin Marquez

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sticks and Stones

Viewing an old VCR tape I came across one of the first episodes of All in the Family with Mike Stivic (also known as Meathead). He and Archie were talking about baseball and Archie goes on to say how the game changed dramatically in 1947 (the year Jackie Robinson broke the color line).

After expressing himself, "Meathead" told Archie he was ignorant. To which Archie replied, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but you are one dumb Pollock!"


On a Flintstone's cartoon, Fred was reading from a book entitled "The Power of Positive Umpiring"




Remember: Sticks and stones may break your bones
but names will never hurt you

YOU BUM!!!!!!!

Some of the names of the players and a park:

Mickey Rockburn (Mickey Cochrane)
Mickey Mountain (Mickey Mantle)
Roger Marble (Roger Maris)
Warren Spindle (Warren Spahn)
Joe DiRockyo (Joe DiMaggio)
Candlestone Park (Candlestick Park)

Kevin Marquez

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Tip of the Cap to Jonathan Sanchez

On a July 10th, 2009 night @ AT&T Park, the Giants were scheduled to play their Western Divsion rival, San Diego Padres. The Padres, currently occupying the cellar of the Western Division, aren't a good draw unless the Giants were in San Diego. Especially since the Giants were filling the void of a disabled 300-game winner in Randy Johnson with a pitcher whose unlimited potential had staked him to a 2-8 won/loss record, with an earned run average (ERA) of over 5 runs per start. I'm speaking of Jonathan Sanchez.

Earlier in the day, on the KNBR680AM-Gary Radnich show, a caller couldn't understand why there were so many empty seats when Tim Lincecum was pitching. It was Radnich's contention that when you're playing a last place team during a time of economic strife you can only expect, (maybe) 1,000 diehard fans willing to attend.

With that in mind, the jewel of a diamond on Third Street and King, at Willie Mays Plaza, should have been half-full (half-empty...depending on if you're a glass half-full or half-empty kind of gal/guy) if not for the Friday factor.

Jonathan Sanchez' family thought enough of the game to fly in from Florida to see #57 pitch. They saw this game as Jonathan's "second chance."

Isn't it funny how it works in the game of life, one man's injury is another man's opportunity?
Like with Wally Pipp and Lou Gehrig, strange things can happen. (Pipp wasn't feeling good so Gehrig was inserted into the line-up. But not for one game, but over 2,000 consecutive games. In the words of one-time Yankee broadcaster, Mel Allen, How about that?)

Sanchez lost his starters role due to insonsistent showings and it introduced us all to Ryan Sadowski, a man Mike Krukow dubbed as "the Big Sadowski." So now the local media-folk refer to Sadowski as Dude-A-Reno or His Dudeness or simply Dude.

Then Randy Johnson tweaks his shoulder swinging a bat, of all things, and Sanchez gets his second chance.

In his second chance Sanchez throws a complete game, no-hitter, while striking out 11 and walking none (0). The only base-runner allowed was on an in-between hop to Juan Uribe (Jose's nephew) that he couldn't handle. E5 was no shame for the nephew of the man known to Giant fans as UUUUUH-REEE-BAY. Because on the offensive end, #5 was a major contributor to the Giants' 8 run total.

Another contributor was Aaron Rowand. A player who was struggling mercifully at the plate until manager Bruce Bochy inserted him into the leadoff spot on May 20th. Since then he's been among the leaders of all major league leadoff hitters. Rowand had 3 hits and 3-runs batted in along with a sparkling catch in the 9th inning to preserve Jonathan Sanchez' no-hit bid.

Last, but certainly not least, was the contribution of a player who is every bit as popular as another Latin who arrived with the San Francisco Giants when they arrived from New York in 1958. (I'm speaking of Orlando Cha Cha Cepeda.) The current favorite of Giant fans everywhere is Pablo Sandoval, the chaw-chewing Panda. Pablo's mammoth 3-run homer broke the game wide-open. (When I heard the play-by-play of Jon Miller, it sent chills up and down my spine. That with the background noise of the crowd erupting into a crescendo only the Panda could elicit and then the curtain call, well, it was something to remember.)

And to all of those fans who bothered to attend last night's game, regardless of who the Giants were playing and who was slated as the starting pitcher for the Gigantes, congratulations!

You got your just due, a memory that'll last forever.

Kevin J. Marquez

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Why Are Teams Pitching to Albert Pujols?

Earlier in the 2009 season teams were electing to walk Albert Pujols every time he came to bat.
Albert was losing patience and in time teams thought it was okay to pitch to him. Why?

If you see he was losing patience, continue to frustrate the guy. Do not give in and think he won't find a way to correct the problem.

The Giants had a guy who was lucky if he saw one pitch to hit, every night he played. You remember Barry Bonds, don't you?

Until Albert Pujols is able to hit that one pitch a game I will not be convinced he's as good as they (the media) say he is. Oh, don't get me wrong, the guy is good. But teams are pitching to a guy who showed he couldn't handle being issued bases-on-balls. He swung out of the strike zone. He did exactly what the opponent wanted him to do.

And now, for some reason, teams are beginning to pitch to him. I just don't understand it.

Four wide ones is the way to go. Frustrate him by not giving him anything to hit. It is the opponents' objective to annoy, bother, bug, etc., a player who can hurt you if you choose to ignore such tactics. You're doing him a favor by pitching to him. Don't give him what he wants. Pitching to a guy like Pujols allows him to get into a comfort zone.

He's the enemy! You don't give him what he wants.

Kevin Marquez

Sunday, June 28, 2009

It's Been A While

It's been a while but Joe West, the home plate umpire in yesterday's Giants @ Brewers game (although to be exact, on Mexican heritage day it was the Cerveceros vs Gigantes) had a curious strike zone that benefitted the hometown Milwaukee boys.

I'm on a leisurely walk, listening to Duane Kuiper on KNBR, 680 on your AM dial, describe a Barry Zito pitch as high, when upon further review I saw the pitch cross the batter's belt. I ask you, when was a pitch across the belt high? When the umpire is so fat he has to take the shoe shiner's word for it when he says 'Your shoes are shined, sir.'

Zito kind of looked in as if he couldn't believe his eyes and West glared out at him. That's the thing about Joe West. He has zero tolerance for players who display what he considers to be a bad attitude by showing their outward bad body language in reaction to a Joe West call. When this happens, beware, Joe West will exact revenge. For the rest of the game throw out the rulebook because every call will be left to West's interpretation. It is Joe West's understanding that since a good number of calls he makes are left to his interpretation that any given rule can be overlooked in the case of making his point that a player who tried to show him up must be held accountable for his actions.

As for West's accountability, that's not necessary. Because you see, Joe West is a hypocrite, emphasis on the hippo.

So Zito looks at West wrong and the next thing you know "Munch" Fielder now needs 4 strikes to be out, since one of Zito's gems was purposely missed by West. Next pitch, Fielder deposits in the right-field seats. Score: Gigantes 4 Cerveceros 3.

Zito is removed for Medders and on Medders' first delivery McGehee puts that gift into the left field seats. Gigantes 4 Cerveceros 4.

Game remains tied until the top of the 9th when the Giants score 2 runs. And coming in to pitch the bottom half of the 9th is Brian Help Me Rhonda Wilson. And boy was Wilson a test dummy for the attitude-in-need of adjustment calling balls and strikes. Throughout his entire time on the mound, Wilson got squeezed by West like he was a plastic container of ketchup and West's hamburger was too dry for the fat man to choke down without the condiment.

Wilson didn't show up West but there was a moment when West put both hands on his bulging hips and Wilson did a double-take after a call and from then on it was four strikes yer out. Well, the Brewers/Cerveceros are too good a hitting ball club to let that advantage slip away. They made it work to their advantage and won, when Munch Fielder ripped one down the rightfield line for a game winning RBI. Cerveceros- 7 Gigantes- 6.

Alas, I must mention one more thing before putting to rest this sad ending to a Giants/Gigantes game. When you let an umpire have full control and all the decisions are left to his judgment there will be times when he just misses the call. Leaving ALL calls to an umpire's interpretation can have those moments where the umpire totally misinterprets the call. And that's what happened on this day. More than once West misinterpreted what was and was not a strike and the Brewers/Cerveceros benifitted greatly.

Kevin Marquez

Saturday, June 27, 2009

There Seems to be a Pattern Shaping Up in 2009 Major League Season

Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson dead on the same day (June 25, 2009). Made for lots of conversation at the local watering holes or workplace water cooler. Even though I know enough about both Farrah and Michael I chose not to enter into the conversations instead opting for laying back while others shared their stories.

Only a couple of things I enjoy talking about and that's baseball and football. It's not football season so the hometown San Francisco Giants are front and center.

Or shall I call them the San Francisco-Fresno Giants, as they are filling the holes of those- not doing their jobs worthy of remaining with the big club- with players on their triple A affiliate (in Fresno). And in doing so, we can see that there is talent from withing the Giants' minor league farm system.

One thing about the 2009 season is that several teams are calling on their young stud pitchers to make their debuts in the majors and seeing if they can stay a while. There is the factor that if you have never seen a pitcher before, it is the pitcher who has the edge. Team the pitcher with a headsy batterymate (catcher) and this may be an effective tool.

The Giants have had series after series where it was the first time they faced the pitcher throughout the series. And their won/loss record shows dramatically how it favors the never-before seen pitcher and his team, that is, if the pitcher keeps the opponent under 3 runs or better.

With all of the charts and newfangled numbers utilized by those whe appear to be in-the-know, there may even be a way to further enhance this usage of a pitcher who the league is without book.

We're all experts watching the game, you've got to know being there (in person) exposes things national coverage (on television) couldn't possibly reveal. If that's an accurate assessment, there's no doubt the guys in the dugout will figure something out for that newcomer to succeed.

Kevin Marquez

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Good Call Jeffrey!

"I've often wondered what happens to a players' I.Q. in certain situations." Jeff Van Gundy

This is so true. How many times are you watching your favorite team and you think you know what you are getting and a player surprises you by doing something uncharted?

Think coaching is hard, try figuring out the players based on what they show athletically, their behavior and mental make-up. Bruce Bochy hasn't been given a whole lot to work with but he does have some talented kids and determined veterans and they seem to be putting together a respectable season, at least as of June 12, 2009.

At the beginning of the season, general manager, Brian Sabean said if the team was competitive, the Giants would be in the market to make a deal. Well Brian Sabean, they are there, what do you plan on doing?

Listening to Damon Douche,uh, Bruce, on KNBR SportsTalk radio and he's all over the Giants for not signing Manny Ramirez. Now he's in his 'all they need is a serviceable player, an extra-bat in that anemic lineup,' mode.

As long as they don't depart with one of their up and coming stars and choose instead to deal a Fred Lewis or Jonathan Sanchez I'm okay with it. I don't want a Conor Gillaspie, Ryan Rohlinger or Tim Alderson to be included as part of a deal for a guy with no future. And I'm confident Sabes wants the same. The player they trade for has to have a future with the orange and black or it's a rental and that's not going to help the team in the long run.

Meanwhile, tune into KNBR680AM or Comcast and watch these guys. They're becoming a ballclub that is more than a .500 team.

Kevin Marquez

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Some Giants' News...Old and New

ESPN magazine issue in May had a list of the Most Runs by one team, by inning.

1st inning: Brooklyn Dodgers 15 runs in 1952.
2nd inning: Cleveland Indians 14 runs in 2009.
3rd : San Francisco Giants 13 runs in 1966.
4th: Chicago Cubs 14 runs in 1922.
5th: New York Yankees 14 runs in 1920.
6th: Cleveland Indians of 1923, Detroit Tigers of 1925 and Montreal Expos of 1997 all scored 13 runs
7th: Boston Red Sox scored 17 runs in 1953.
8th: Texas Rangers scored 16 runs in 1996.
9th: California Angels of 1978 and Detroit Tigers of 2001 both scored 13 runs in the final inning.
Extra innings: Texas Rangers scored 12 runs in the 15th inning in 1983.


In the same ESPN mag, there was a little notice entitled A Giant Wave of Talent that offers some hope to the fans of the orange and black.

The article starts out: For the past two decades, the Giants have earned a reputation for relying on veterans and free agents. In fact, from Royce Clayton (their 1st round draft pick of 1988) until Noah Lowry (2001), San Fran didn't have a single first-rounder contribute significantly in the bigs. But homegrown hurlers Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain have started a new trend by the Bay. Over the past three years, the Giants have handed out the five largest amateur bonuses in club history, and their new emphasis on player development is on display every night in San Jose, their Class A affiliate in the California League.

Angel Villalona (an 18-year old), 2008 first-round pick Conor Gillaspie, a third baseman who saw some action last season with the big league club; 2007 first-rounder Nick Noonan, a second-baseman; slugging outfielder Roger Kieschnick, nephew of former major leaguer Brooks Kieschnick; and shortstop Brandon Crawford, a UCLA product who just might be the steal of the 2008 draft (as a 4th rounder).

And those guys aren't even the prize players. Buster Posey, 22, Catcher. Madison Bumgarner, 19, left-handed pitcher. Tim Alderson, 20, right-handed pitcher.


In other news, it looks like the time is now to send Fred Lewis back to the minor leagues and give someone else a look. He's tailed off considerably and is not appearing to be having any fun. In other words, he's trying too hard and nothing he does is working. (Been there, done that...Haven't we all?)

(thanks to ESPN magazine for the bulk of this piece.)

Kevin Marquez

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays Manager, Joe Maddon

He has something called controlling the controllables. (To Maddon) As a baseball player, the one aspect of your game you have the most control over is your defense. How you work at doing your due diligence. Does that need some 'splaining? (I could sure use some!)

Per, due diligence: refers to the care a reasonable person should take before entering in an agreement or transaction with another party. (2) an investigation or audit of a potential investment. Due diligence serves to confirm all material facts in regards to a sale.

In other words, to a potential acquirer, "making sure you get what you think you're paying for."

Hope that helps.

Best advice Joe Maddon ever heard...I was on an airplane going from Phoenix, AZ to Midland, TX. In the early 1990s I was very annoyed and upset because I had been passed over as a major league coach. I thought it was very unfair, very wrong, and I was upset. I was carrying it over into my work. My concentration wasn't as good. I was always concerned about why I was being passed over-kinda had that victim's complex going on. This lady sits next to me on the plane, and I did not want to talk to anybody, but she chose to talk to me.

She threw out this phrase to me: Remember one thing always: whatever you put out there will come back to you."

When I'm getting outside myself or things aren't quite right or if I'm not feeling right, I do a little self-check. Am I putting the right stuff out there?

And if I'm not, I really make a conscious effort to do so.

Just one question, for Angels manager Mike Scioscia:
What did you and Joe Maddon talk about-other than baseball-when you were together with the Angels?

"You open up any football conversation with Joe and it's going to lead right back to his quarterbacking days out at Lafayette. And his collegiate football days were the source of a lot of inspiration to a lot of our comebacks. He was a big Joe Willie Namath fan growing up, wore #12 at Lafayette. We got a hold of some college football films of him, and from high school, too. We put them on a DVD and showed them on a plane to the guys. That was great."

(thanks to Sporting News magazine, dated 4/27/09 for the articles that inspired this commentary.)

Kevin Marquez

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Give Credit Where Credit is Due

We all like to get credit for things we did. Quiet, subtle behavior with a focus on attention to detail and manners should be recognized rather than the attention given to those who attract attention to themselves. You know, bright colored clothing, jewelry and a loud-mouth that never shuts-up. And the person operating that tongue and those lips doesn't pay particular attention to the timing of things because there is only one time AND that's when their lips and tongue are in motion.

Occasionally in sports, the one place where feats are magnified to an unbelievable size and with the prose used to describe the event(s) what is being seen or read about is poetry in motion. A player/participant may have only made a singular contribution and that one moment in the sun will afford them many opportunities to see if they can duplicate that feat.

Such is the case of Jim Qualls.

(In an article about Tom Seaver and the 1969 New York Mets, Seaver talks about his near perfect game in which Jimmy Qualls was the only Chicago Cub to reach base.)

In front of 50,000 fans the Chicago Cubs didn't get anybody on base until the 9th inning. Jimmy Qualls, a left-hand hitting rookie. Seaver said he had never faced Qualls before that game but that Qualls hit him hard all 3 times at the plate.

Seaver says this was a game that made everyone take note that the New York Mets were for real and for those lucky Met fans, they would find out later how wonderful the year would be for the Miracle Mets.

But about Qualls. Seaver said he was a left-handed batter. Actually, Qualls was a right-handed batter early in his career until he suffered a broken jaw after being hit by a pitch from a right-handed pitcher. After that, Qualls became a switch-hitter.

Qualls made his major league debut in 1969 with the Chicago Cubs.
He was traded to the Montreal Expos early in 1970. After appearing in 9 games with Montreal he was sent down to the Winnipeg Whips. With the Whips, he got into a dispute with the club about meal expenses, and he eventually returned home to California in August 1970.

He spent the entire 1971 season with the Indianapolis Indians, an affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds.
In 1972, he was traded to the Chicago White Sox. He made the Opening Day roster. Appeared in just 11 games, primarily as a pinch-hitter, and was released.

Jim Qualls finished his career in Japan during the 1972-73 seasons.

Qualls was born on October 9, 1946 and his career ended in 1973. He was 27 years of age.

But he will forever be recognized as the player who spoiled Tom "Terrific's" perfect game bid on July 9, 1969. Not many of us will be recognized for playing baseball but hopefully if we do the right thing we will be recognized as someone who is a fine and decent human being.

(thanks to Baseball-Reference for the info on Jim Qualls and the inspiration by Sporting News magazine on Tom Seaver's day, 7/9/69.)

Kevin Marquez

Saturday, May 23, 2009

May 23, This Day in Baseball

I'm sorry, but after reading Bruce Jenkins' article about the Giants, not to expect anything until 2011, I went right back to the history books. And after listening to them, on the radio, and how they have fared at the plate (in both San Diego and Seattle) Bruce probably has a beat on something. Even if he's a beat off.

Hope for the 2009 season is dwindling rather quickly even if it is only May 23rd.

This day in baseball...

On May 23rd, 1926, Hack Wilson, Lewis Robert Wilson, of the Chicago Cubs belted a homer off the scoreboard at Wrigley Field. At the time of the homer, the scoreboard was situated at ground level. Wilson became the first player to hit a ball off the scoreboard, which in 1937, will be moved atop the newly built bleachers.

On May 23, 1948, Joltin' Joe DiMaggio hit 3 consecutive home runs in a 6-5 win over the Cleveland Indians. Two of the homers were hit off of Rapid Robert Feller.

May 23, 1970: The San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants battled for 15 innings with the Padres winning 17-16. Nate Colbert led the Padres with 5 hits and 4 RBIs. This was a day I recall as if it were yesterday. I recall getting in the car after Saturday church and hearing that Clyde King got fired and the new manager was Charlie Fox. I looked it up and King was let go in 1970 with Fox being his replacement. The unfortunate thing was this was King's 46th birthday, as he was born in 1924.

How is it I was able to recall this date and look it up because I had just enough facts to check it out? Because I'm a Giants fan and will always be a fan of the Gigantes/Giants.

It's refreshing to know not all of my memories are distorted. And even though Bruce Jenkins has reasons to believe the Giants will keep it close to the vest, come trading time, I still hold out hope the orange and black can turn it around like the Padres of San Diego have recently exhibited.

With me, hope springs eternal through the merry month of May and hopefully past the month of June when the Giants are known to swoon.

Keep the faith, Giants fans.

(thanks to for the day in baseball facts)

Kevin Marquez

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Noah Lowry's Karma is Catching Up with Him

Noah Lowry, a Pepperdine graduate, showed some promise as a pitcher when he first came up with the San Francisco Giants. And that he was left-handed was all the more reason to have high hopes for the 28-year old who will turn 29 in October.

As recently as 2007, he led the team in victories with 14. But lately he's been having trouble pitching pain-free. 'The Giants were very diligent in having him see a variety of doctors, but ultimately it's based on results,' said Lowry's agent, Damon Lapa.

According to Lapa the Giants misdiagnosed Lowry's ailment, possibly leading to two (2) wasted seasons away from the mound because of a previous surgery that was not necessary.

Now, you the casual fan of baseball, can probably imagine the pain Damon Lapa is in, now that he and Noah finally learned the cause of Noah's painful arc, or shall I say, discomfort in his delivery.
All the money they both could have made had Noah pitched. Well, how about the money the San Francisco Giants lost after investing a substantial amount in a player who suddenly became damaged goods?

Noah's karma wasn't right.

I recall going to Spring Training one year. Everything about Scottsdale, Arizona was fantastic until it came time for me to try and get a few autographs on a baseball for my nephew. When I approached Noah Lowry he looked at me like I was a stalker. Like I was this older guy, a guy older than he, who wanted his autograph, only saying I wanted it for my nephew so he'd go ahead and sign the ball.

Well, I didn't get the signature nor did my nephew. He got a ball with Duane Kuiper and Jon Miller's name on it and my brother busted my chops asking, "All you could get was the announcers, a backup backstop and a bullpen catcher? What's with that?"

In closing, I have to go with Demon, uh, Damon Lapa's comments that had to make at least half of the Giants' fans bitter and that remark was: It's a happy day in the sense that we're excited the cause has been found... There's nothing worse than robbing a guy of what he loves to do.'

How many people had to figure something out when it was discovered they weren't going to do what it was they wanted to do? About half the population? At least.

And maybe half of those unfortunate Giant fans, who just happened to read that comment by Lowry's agent, would like an opportunity to do at least one thing they wanted to do and that would be to grab Damon Lapa by the throat and rob him of some oxygen.

Kevin Marquez

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

2009 Giants Still Need some This Day inBaseball to create an interest

All Giants' fans have to be liking how Matt Cain has busted out of the gates with a 4-1 record. And in watching Matt, you have to know,(by now) he takes a while to get warmed up. Announcers are always pointing towards the pitch-count with #18 on the hill, but #18 has worked on his conditioning in the off-season, so it takes about 50 game-tosses to get him warmed up for the critically acclaimed strike zone of that game's umpire.

Sorry, but, Eugenio Velez is "No-brainy-oh" until he proves me wrong.

Very interesting stat in Sunday Night's ESPN telecast. As of that game the Giants were 14-0 when they scored first. Make it 15-0! Oh by the way, they are the only team in majors to do that.

This Day in Baseball ('cause I just love the feats)

In the merry month of May...

May 5, 1935: At Braves Field, young pitcher Dizzy Dean of the St. Louis Cardinals faces Boston Braves and a 40-year old Babe Ruth. Dean walks Ruth his first 2 times up, then with 2 strikes on the Bambino, waves his outfielders back and throws a fastball by the big guy for strike three. Dean wins 7-0, and in his first at-bat, hits a homer over Ruth's head in right field.

May 6, 1915: Babe Ruth, pitching for the Boston Red Sox, collects 3 hits, including his first major league home run when he connected off of Jack Warhop of the NY Yankees at the Polo Grounds.

In 1931, on May 6, Willie Howard Mays, Jr. was born in Westfield, Alabama. Mays would make his major league debut in 1951. And hit his first homer at the Polo Grounds.

May 7, 1917: Babe Ruth of the Boston Red Sox allows only 2 hits and he outpitches Walter "Big Train" Johnson of the Washington Senators, 1-0, at Griffith Stadium. Ruth helps his cause by driving in the only run with a sacrifice fly .

May 10, 1967: In the 8th inning, with Jim Bunning of the Philadelphia Phillies on the mound, Hammerin' Hank Aaron drove a ball to deep center field and scores ahead of the relay. It will be the only inside-the-park home run among his 755.

May 12, 1932: Carey Selph of the Chicago White Sox collects his ninth (9) strike out. But it won't happen again. Selph will go another 89 games without striking out. Selph's record will last until 1958 when Nellie Fox sets a new mark with 98 consecutive games without a whiff.

May 20, 1919: Babe Ruth won a game pitching and batting as he hit his first career grand slam versus the St. Louis Browns (would later become the Baltimore Orioles) at Sportsman's Park.

(to get more of these Days in baseball log on to:

Kevin Marquez

Saturday, May 16, 2009

May 15th...

This day in baseball, on May 15, 2009, Tim Lincecum was on the mound. At one point the score was 5-1 Giants but due to one circumstance or another he ran out of pitches and his bullpen let him down... We'll get back to the Giants after some historical feats of note.

May 15th was a day for pitchers, ya think?

1918: Washington's Walter Johnson pitched a 1-0, 18-inning victory over Lefty Williams of the Chicago White Sox, who also went the distance.

1919: After 12 scoreless innings, Cincinnati scored 10 runs off Al Mamaux in the 13th inning to beat the Brooklyn Dodgers 10-0.

1941: Joe DiMaggio began his 56-game hitting streak against Chicago's Eddie Smith, going 1-for-4 with one RBI.

1944: Clyde Shoun of the Reds tossed a no-hitter against the Boston Braves for a 1-0 victory in Cincinnati. Chuck Aleno's only homer of the season was the difference.

1952: Detroit's Virgil Trucks pitched his first of 2 no-hitters for the season, beating the Washington Senators 1-0. Vic Wertz's two-out homer in the 9th inning off Bob Porterfield won the game.

1960: Don Cardwell became the first pitcher to throw a no-hitter in his first start after being traded. The Chicago Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-0 at Wrigley Field.

1973: Nolan Ryan of the California Angels pitched the first of a record 7 no-hitters, beating the Kansas City Royals 3-0. Ryan tossed his second gem 2 months later.

1981: Len Barker of Cleveland pitched the first perfect game in 13 years as the Indians beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-0 at Municipal Stadium in Cleveland. (Sometimes referred to as the
mistake by the lake.)

(back to the 2009 San Francisco Giants)

Bullpen. It's not been Brian "Don't Worry Baby" Wilson in 2009. More like Brian "Help Me Rhonda" Wilson. Because last season was a breakout season for the guy- with the same name as the leader of the Beach Boys- I have shed the "Wouldn't it Be Nice." Fortunately, the Beach Boys have many song titles and I feel I can always arrive at one that fits his performance level.

The Giants. Where do I begin? Offense? Okay, let's go to when they are up to bat. This is a team that has to pay attention to its base coaches. Otherwise, just get a couple of cardboard cut-outs and stand them up, until a gust of wind blows them down and then stand them up again in their spots at first and third bases. It could be a job for the ageless "ball dudes or dudettes" to do, since attempting to catch a screamer down the line seems a bit life-threatening.

This offense cannot afford to run themselves out of innings. And, what's so damn difficult about sacrificing a runner over? Has bunting suddenly become blase for the person asked to do so and that's why the batter fails more times than not? The Giants have to do the Ground Attack (per Duane Kuiper, Giants' announcer) better than their opponent to have a chance to win. If not, it's gut-wrenching defeat after heartbreaking loss.

And for defense, what is it about Freddie Lewis? He's the only outfielder, I can think of, that always gets to the ball and just plain misses it. How about forking out the cash for some lasik surgery, huh Giants? Has there ever been a player who consistently got to the ball and then stabbed blindly at the passing orb?

I recall the story about Paul Waner, that it was discovered he was seeing the ball as a blurry object. And even still, he was proficient at making contact with that blurry white thing at a very successful rate. When he put the spectacles on he saw the ball clearly but now he was introduced to all of its movements and he wasn't as successful. Somebody couldn't leave well enough alone or they got greedy and wanted more!

Something has to be done with Freddie or take him out of the lineup completely and replace him with someone who gets to the ball and then catches it.

It's almost time for another timeout from YOUR San Francisco Giants. (Exactly one month from the first timeout.) Let's see how they handle the final game with the New York Mets. (If the Mets sweep it'll be the first time in their history that they swept the Giants in San Francisco. Holy Got-them city!)

(thanks to This day in Baseball)

Kevin Marquez

Friday, May 15, 2009

Know Your Role

Mike Krukow is a San Francisco Giants' broadcaster who does the majority of his games (on television) with former teammate Duane Kuiper. Kruk and Kuip have fun at the ball yard and don't hesitate to express themselves about a particular player. Whether that player is Barry Bonds, who was out of this world, or Brian "Help Me Rhonda" Wilson, ('cause you never know what you're getting with the Giant closer) Kruk and Kuip share their thoughts.

Last night, after the Mets 7-4 victory over the Giants, Krukow lambasted Brian Wilson, who came into the game in the 9th inning to hold a 4-4 tie. Krukow said Wilson completely forgot what his job as a pitcher is and that is: to keep the hitter off balance with an assortment of pitches to offset his timing and to change his sequence of deliveries so the baserunner isn't able to get into a rhythm with the pitcher's motion. In essence, what a pitcher must do with each and every batter he must also do with each and every baserunner.

Krukow's major league totals don't jump out at you and because he rarely let's the viewing audience watch the game without commenting on every little thing one might say Krukow must've been good when he played. Well, his career consisted of him playing for losing teams more often than not. His career record was 124W 117L with an ERA of 3.90. He had 1478 K's and 767 walks, 41-complete games, 1-save, and 10-Shutouts. Again, for being on teams that usually finished the season below .500 these are solid numbers. But you'd think a guy who has so much to say would have done a lot better, like won an award or something. He did win 20-games as a Giant in 1986 (after being traded by the Phillies with Mark Davis to the Giants for Al Holland and Joe Morgan in 1982).

Then again there is the understanding that sometimes the player who toiled around in the minors, for several years, who was able to absorb every morsel of information is the best candidate to manage a team because unlike the superstar (who may take for granted the natural abilities he had and expect them from others not so gifted) he won't be so demanding on athleticism as he would on fundamentals. The career minor leaguer will know how to manufacture runs and better yet how to implement the ballplayers to do it. Whether it be speed or ability to hit the long ball, the anti-superstar will have many options to make something happen where the superstar may just get frustrated that no one was able to do what he or another superstar did on-call.

Krukow said the other day, on the post-game Wrap, that he never wanted to come across as a former player who knew it all and I was abashed that those very words came from Kruk's lips.
Because since he's been on- the other side of the microphone- he's talked as if his game was infallible. Perhaps to those who know him he's just Mike but to listeners he's a know-it-all, who if he hushed up once in a while, would be heard as opposed to talked over.

I agree with his assessment of Brian Wilson, because the Mets just ran at will. It had to be a lack of concentration where Wilson just didn't pay attention to the runners and that is something that cost him the game every bit as much as his ball not getting past the hitter's bat. Fans of the Giants know that Wilson does get lapses like the one he got last night. And he will be instructed by the coaches so that the same scenario will not take place again.

I like an announcer who says it like it is, just give us listeners a break. We know something about the game, we don't need to be told about everything we are seeing. The nuances and intricacies of the game, things where the expertise of a player (who made it into the bigs) might lend to some insight are appreciated.

I'm listening because I hope to get an occasional tasty morsel vs. the repetitive hammering like the colorful yet annoying woodpecker.

Kevin Marquez