Thursday, April 2, 2009

Some Old and Some New

Kevin Frandsen didn't show Bruce Bochy, or his coaches, enough to warrant making the Opening Day roster. But with a 162-game schedule the end is not near. Frandsen will start the year in Fresno, with the Triple A affiliate. Some way, somehow he'll be back.

The Giants will start the season with only 2 catchers. Bengie Molina and Pablo Sandoval as his backup.

I see former Giants' manager, Herman Franks, passed away at 95.

I remember he was the manager of my beloved Giants when I first took to following baseball. With Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Juan Marichal it was rather easy to like this team. Maybe Herman didn't roll the dice as much as he should have or just figured he had all these Hall-of-Famers, it might be best to just let 'em play, the Giants always seemed to finish the season in second place. In every season as a Giants' manager from 1965 thru 1968 they finished 2nd.

This was back before playoffs, which they most assuredly would have made. But back then, the team who ended the season in first place in one league played the first place finisher in the other league for the World Series.

That's the thing about determining who was the best, especially in clutch situations. The game is different today with all the opportunities teams have to make the playoffs (and that includes the NBA and NFL).

In today's brand of baseball there are two stages of playoff games before the World Series. You have the division series and then the championship series. The Division series is a best of 5 (3 games takes it) and the Championship series is best of 7 (4 games decides it.) Then the World Series is another best of 7. So you can see where some teams may play the maximum of games and get several at-bats.

The Championship series began in 1969.
The Division series began in 1981 and resumed after the strike infested 1994 season.

So before then there were many great ballplayers who never had the opportunity to display their gifts in postseason. Players like Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson and Ernie Banks shined in the regular season but didn't have the benefit of the wildcard.

Back to Herman Franks. I remember all the stories told about him and since everyone pretty much had the same thing to say about the guy you had to believe nobody exaggerated. He reminded me of the actor who played the Otis Campbell character on the Andy Griffith show that starred Andy Griffith, of course, and Don Knotts.

That's not to say Franks was the town drunk but he certainly was a character.

In another day and time he may have had more to show for what he did as a manager. Unfortunately, for Herman Franks, that's a never-ending line shared with many other players and managers who played during his time, before and after.