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