Thursday, January 29, 2009

Looks Like Giants Got an Infielder with Some Pop

In a story from Henry Schulman that he got from John Heyman at, the Giants have signed 30-year old shortstop, Juan Uribe to a minor league contract.

Uribe hit 20 homers in 2007 but due to injury lost his place in the Chicago White Sox' lineup to rookie phenom Alexei Ramirez.

Uribe plays second and third base as well as shortstop. As well as Rich Aurilia, I have never gotten that feeling from the Chisox announcers. Are the Giants sacrificing leather for stick? Because it is a minor league contract, it may not be wise to count out Aurilia, the possibility of Richie being invited to Spring Training does exist.


The Giants hired Will Clark to be a special assistance. I anticipate "the Thrill" to make several stops at the TV booth where Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper call the play-by-play. There, you'll probably see the Will Clark smile frequently, since that threesome goes back to Candlestick "Humm Baby," days.

Clark's toothy grin reminds me of Burt Lancaster in Elmer Gantry. That ear to ear grin, like a slit watermelon with the seeds aligned just right, to make it appear like the biggest smile ever seen. You'd need a wide-screen to capture all the teeth, lips and entire face.

The hand-held portable may only get a nostril, depending on where the camera-person thought was the centermost spot.

(thanks to the SF Chronicle's beat-writer Henry Schulman, John Heyman from SI and the Giants)

Kevin Marquez

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Hall of Fame Voters and Their Explanations...Not Convincing Me One Bit

USA Today's Sports Weekly, a weekly publication, had an article entitled Candidates await tally of ayes, nays. USA Today writers reveal whom they voted for and why.

1. Mel Antonen voted for Rickey Henderson, Jim Rice, Bert Blyleven, Jack Morris, Tim Raines and Alan Trammel.

His reasons on Jim Rice, Bert Blyleven, Jack Morris, Tim Raines and Alan Trammell. We don't need to go over Rickey Henderson, he's a first ballot Hall of Famer.

Said Antonen: I'm a late convert on Rice and have voted for him in each of the last 5 years.

Why the last 5 years? Jim Rice's numbers haven't changed.

He doesn't say how many times he voted for Bert Blyleven only that Bert had the best curveball of his time. (Ole Mel throws a mean curve himself.)

Jack Morris was the best pitcher of his era. (So that's it, it's his job to convince the other writers to believe what he's saying.)

Raines didn't have the pizzazz of Henderson and Trammel's 2,365 hits are impressive for a shortstop of his era. (Blah, blah, blah!)

2. Mike Dodd a.k.a. Michael Dudd
Dodd's explanation: The toughest choices on this year's vote involved two excellent players (Jim Rice and Tommy John) in their 15th and final year on the writer's ballot.

I hadn't voted for either before this year and, after renewed study, decided not to put the check next to their names.

-second half of Rice's career falls short of the Hall standard
-John was a consistent 10-14 game winner rarely ranked among the best in his league.

I remember Tommy John, the guy they named a surgery after. And not just any surgery but one that extends the livelihood of a pitcher who otherwise would not be pitching. I took Casey Stengel's advice and 'looked it up.' Tommy John won 20-games three times. (20-7 in 1977; 21-9 in 1979; 22-9 in 1980)

It's standards like these that keep deserving players from entering the Hall of Fame of their chosen profession. Rice, of course, was inducted and Tommy John will be now that the writers don't have a say (aye).

3. Bob Nightengale. Voted for... Rickey Henderson, Jim Rice, Bert Blyleven, Jack Morris and Andre Dawson.

Bobby Nightengale writes in political correct. But he misspoke when he spoke of Jack Morris. Morris was the greatest pitcher of his generation. No one was more feared. No one was a greater big-game pitcher. And his 10-inning shutout in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series was the greatest postseason game ever pitched. (Sorry Don Larsen.)

Sorry Don Larsen? Don Larsen pitched the only perfect game in World Series play and that is the best possible game a hurler could pitch. It's the straight flush of pitching performances. Hands down.

(thanks to Sports Weekly magazine for inspiring the follow-up commentary on Hall of Fame voting)

Kevin Marquez

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Baseball Bits of Rhythm as 2009 Season Approaches

In ESPN the mag's December 15, 2008 edition some fun facts were revealed.

  1. The two-year, $8 million deal the Giants gave lefty reliever Jeremy Affeldt will look even smarter after a season in spacious AT&T Park. Last season with the Reds, Affeldt had a 4.64 ERA at tiny Great America Ball Park; on the road: 1.77...
  2. Baseball...Right now, Sportvision measures the release, velocity, spin and movement of every pitch. For next year, engineers hope to track batted balls, as well as player movements in the field and on the basepaths, to create a full, info-packed digital record of each event during a game.
  3. They say necessity is the mother of invention...Problem: Bats break during Major League Baseball games. Solution: inventor Ward Dill's Radial Bat, which, made up of interlocking wedges of wood, is said to be shatterproof. Problem: It's not legal for use in MLB games.
  4. Blood Simple. Marlins outfielder, Cody Ross, spent most of 2007 plagued by a gimpy hamstring that just wouldn't heal. Seeking a permanent fix he limped to the Steadman Hawkins Clinic in Colorado and received a platelet-rich plasma injection. During the procedure, a patient's blood is drawn, and both his platelets and the protein thrombin-which stimulates healing-are isolated. The nurturing cells are then injected back into the wound "inflamed tissue won't heal if an athlete keeps playing on it," says David Karli, a Steadman Hawkins specialist. "This is a healing boost." Ross took just one shot, did some rehab and stayed healthy all of 2008, tallying career highs in games, home runs and runs batted in (RBI).
  5. He isn't the only one having benefitted from a PRP (platelet-rich plasma) tune-up. Los Angeles Dodgers' closer, Takashi Saito, staved off Tommy John surgery in July by quick-fixing his partially torn UCL. Karli says that's just the beginning for these types of procedures: "We're looking at manipulating stem cells in conjunction with PRP. It's an evolution." And a man-made one at that.
  6. Smokey Robinson has written many songs. His lyrics fit the scene of the "crime," so to speak. As for baseball, these lyrics are a daily reminder of what might be going on in the dugout, bullpen or somewhere between the lines of play. And then sometimes carries over to the press and the way those spin doctors ask questions.
  7. I said, what I thought was sure to last, to last was just a minute instead. Too bad I got misled. Ah, but you don't have to hang your head. No 'cause I Don't Blame You At All 'cause you played it cool. You don't owe me a thing 'cause I played the fool. No, no, no, no, no.
  8. When making up a bullpen, don't overspecialize. Part of the 2008 New York Mets' failure was lack of relievers who could get out both lefties and righties. Pedro Feliciano and Scott Schoeneweis are useful southpaws only one batter at a time. Too many lefties will leave you left out in October. (* This note is intended for your 2009 San Francisco Giants)

(thanks to Charles Curtis and Tim Kurkjian of ESPN the magazine)

Kevin Marquez

Friday, January 16, 2009

Some Guys Are Must Reads

I search the net for interesting perspectives on athletes and try to find as much stuff related to the San Francisco Giants as is humanly possible. I miss some, to be sure, but when I see something, glance at it and gag with laughter I have to share it with other Gigantes fans.

Scott Ostler, of the San Francisco Chronicle and Rick Reilly of ESPN the mag are must reads.
I'm going to post some excerpts by both Ostler and Reilly to prove my point. I hope you find it as enjoyable as I have.

Rick Reilly, Life of Reilly column on the back page of ESPN the mag (just like when he was writing for Sports Illustrated) the 12/1/08 issue.

No matter how he screws up his life-and the young Kerry Collins found more ways than MapQuest-he always faces the music.

There's a reason you can't fool all the people all the time. It's exhausting.

Tired of athletes and their lame Excuses (title of article), remember when former Cub (who was originally a Giant) Jose Cardenal said he didn't play one night because an eyelid was stuck open?

Scott Ostler, in Friday, January 16th's edition of the San Francisco Chronicle
The Giants owe it to Major League Baseball to sign Ramirez under that "best interests of baseball" clause. Manny needs a home, and only one team in baseball is trained and qualified to handle the man.

Ramirez seems to quit on his team? We understand! He's taking a mental break, checking out momentarily to save his finite store of focus.

Ramirez is expensive, but so is sucking. I believe it was Alan Greenspan who said, "Empty seats don't buy garlic fries."

Tim Lincecum changed the whole picture. Had Lincecum not emerged, as Timmy being Timmy, the Giants' brass could make the case that acquiring one big bat, one Manny, would not make enough of a difference to justify the huge price tag.

But Timmy is being Timmy, and suddenly the Giants have a foundation, an opportunity and an obligation. You don't discover Sinatra and then back him up with Those Damn Accordions.

Let Manny be Manny in old San Franny.

(thanks to ESPN the mag and the San Francisco Chronicle for Rick Reilly and Scott Ostler)

Kevin Marquez

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Hall of Fame Voting Needs Change(s)

Is voting for a player's entry into their chosen sport's Hall of Fame a popularity contest? Just like with the all-star games do these people, who have supposedly earned the right to vote for who deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, factor this into their equation as to who belongs in the hallowed halls.

What are the criteria for a player to receive the key to Cooperstown, NY, Canton, OH or Springfield, MA? Must he kiss the writer's ass and offer the writer material goods to make an impression on the guy who holds the power, that if followed by other writers to reach 75%, to elect this player into a place that player will forever be seen in a good light. Regardless of the tales that may have been written before or after his/her admission.

Who should vote? Some say writers have too much animosity towards the athlete and they file a player's career under payback just for this sort of important time in the player's life. And there are some, like Mike Golic of Mike & Mike, a former pro football player, who thinks if peers were the ones to vote, they too would hold grudges. If this is true, why can't there be someone who oversees these voters and questions the validity of why they voted the way they did. In other words, not voting for a guy, for fear he might get 100% of the voting (when Babe Ruth didn't get 100%) is no reason not to vote for a guy. An appointed person, unbiased of course, to make sure these voters are held accountable. Or is this like not allowing access to a doctor's success rate. We all know a coach's won/loss record but not a doctor's successful/unsuccessful operations record. Why isn't there someone holding these voters accountable. It may be the same fools who made Jim Rice wait until his last season of eligibility to be elected. Why? Did his stats change?

Is a hall of famer the player with the best numbers for the longest time? Someone who changed the way the game is played? I think this is exactly what voters need to keep in mind and not their petty differences.

How about the character of a player, is that factored into the voting? Did Pete Rose saying he gambled, despite the world's screaming at him not to, because he had oppositional defiant disorder rub the voters wrong?

It isn't for the writers to judge a man's character, for his own may be in question. If you believe Mark McGwire took steroids, during a time there was no rule against it, and you saw how much Big Mac changed his opponents' approach and created such a stir amongst fans that re-created a buzz about attending baseball games yet you still feel it's your duty, your obligation, to uphold the integrity of the game because you basically don't have the intestinal fortitude to begin to understand what the player was doing was keeping his career alive and re-acquainting fans to the game they once loved, because you believe the player cheated. It's not for you or anyone else to say. That's God's call.

The one flaw we humans have to endure throughout our lives is these people who find fault in others and when someone points a bony finger at them they cry like babies. Those people who act as if they deserve all the credit and none of the blame are not good for anyone or anything. They are doing their job half-assed and when they act as if they do things to their fullest that makes them whole ass, or better yet ass-----.

There has to be a system that allows for someone to oversee the voting and question why a voter chose to vote the way he/she did. There has to be some accountability. Because I guarantee if you knew a particular writer voted against players you felt were deserving of the award you wouldn't support them. Hey, the writer didn't care how he/she besmirched the player's reputation why should we care how we harmed his/her career.

How gutless is it to do something when nobody has a way of knowing you did it and only your spineless self takes it to the grave. Scripture has it that if you do things with bad intention your bad karma will come back to harm you. But the way it is for these voters, no harm no foul. No way.

It would take away Hall of Fame credibility AND a sex change to kiss the ass of someone who is half-ass. No way, just can't be done.

(thanks to Rick Reilly for the Pete Rose reference; Mike&Mike for some ideas on the Hall voting and Bobby Knight's input on who should vote for those with the potential of making into the hall of fame for their game. And, yes, the Mike Singletary quote after his talk with Vernon Davis.)

Kevin Marquez

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Good Stuff

(as seen in the Sporting News magazine dated 12/08/08, with Clinton Portis on the cover)

The San Francisco Giants have signed a deal with software company QCue that enables them to change single-game ticket prices at any time. QCue's formula plugs in factors such as team performance, opponent, starting pitchers, weather conditions, day of the week and gate giveaways.

The Giants will use those results to raise or lower ticket prices as late as the morning of a game for 2,000 seats in AT&T Park's outfield bleachers and upper deck, typically the last seats to sell.

Pretty neat idea, huh?

This way, if the market says this is a game people want to see they have to pay more (if they waited until the last minute) or it could mean very reasonable prices for a game you thought might be worth checking out when the masses didn't think so. Sometimes it's all a matter of convenience.

And for the San Francisco Giants to come up with a way that may make it possible for some casual fans -who ordinarily wouldn't consider going to a game, 'cause they can see it on television- to decide it's time to check out a game, that's good stuff.

(as a courtesy to The Sporting News, if you'd like to sign up for the best sports business coverage anywhere, go to )

Kevin Marquez

Friday, January 2, 2009

2009 and it's Time to Create Interest Amongst the Masses

So the Denver Post is the first place the story was heard that Manny Ramirez and the San Francisco Giants have been talking. Something about a 4-year deal?

In all of the interviews that Brian Sabean has had with Ralph "the Obnoxious One" Barbieri (the Chronicle's annointed "Razor") the one with the voice that's like fingernails on the chalkboard and KNBR's go-to-guy for what seems like forever, a four-year deal for anyone Manny's age just aint happening.

If that were true why wouldn't the Giants re-consider re-signing Barry Bonds with the stipulation that he would also be their hitting coach. A part-time player and full-time hitting coach and if Manny were somehow signed the two might have enough in 'em to deliver the goods to the needy San Francisco Giants organization.

All organizations are nothing without fans.

Fans are the heart and soul of the organization. These are the ones who have supported the orange and black because they look forward to listening to the game on the radio or turning on their televisions when it's time for the game. These are the ones who have to indure insults and laughs from people who could only hope to have the passion to stick-with-it, and they may just the same, just not for the orange and black. Don't Giant fans get a chance to see their team go all the way?

Sure the Giants have come close and things happen, listening to Red Sox fans moan and groan about how close they came and every situation getting exaggerated to the point you had to almost root that their suffering would continue. But when it didn't and they won another title 2 years later it all but made you search for reasons why you remain loyal to your San Francisco Giants.

Now it's the Red Sox nation who are gloating and boasting about their team and loving every sad tale about the San Francisco Giants. It's win-win in beantown and for those Sawks fans everywhere.

Now the lovable losers, the Chicago Cubs, get all the wishes and attention. People in the media over-emphasize the sad tales about how the Cubs are cursed. Former Cubs like Rick Sutcliffe and Ron Santo bemoan the pains and woes and we're all supposed to light a candle or say a prayer. Then there's that rumor about a goat.

Enough already ! Give me and every other fan (of any other team but the Cubs) a break!

How long until the Giants' fans get to see a winner?

Kevin Marquez