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