Saturday, December 25, 2010

Bottom of the Order Rose to the Occasion

Thoughout the Twenty Ten major league baseball postseason, the bottom of the order had something to say about the outcome of the game. For the most part, as with everything, there are always exceptions to the rule.

The Phillies winning 6-1, in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series didn't have any production, to speak of, from the lower half of the batting order for either club. And Game 3 of the NLDS was the game when Brooks Conrad made three (3) errors (totalling 4 for the series).

Aside from that, here's what some notes I took tallied up to...

Game 1 of the Atlanta Braves vs San Francisco Divisional Series was when the Giants' eighth place hitter, Cody Ross drove in the only run of a 1-0 win for the Gigantes.

Game 2 of Atlanta vs San Francisco, Rick Ankiel, the Braves' eighth place hitter hit the game-winning homer.

Game 4 of the NLDS was when Cody Ross broke up a no-hitter by Derek Lowe by hitting a home run in the top half of the sixth inning. Ross would go on to drive in another run in the 3-2 Giants' win that enabled them to advance to the National League Championship Series.

Game 1 of the NLCS, Ross belted 2 homers off ace Roy Halladay as Giants won Game 1.
Game 3, of the NLCS, Aaron Rowand batted in the eighth slot and scored a run, while driving in another. Giants won 3-0.

Game 4, of the NLCS, Pablo Sandoval batted in the seventh hole and hit a 2-run double to help the Giants get past the Phillies, 6-5.

Game 6, of the NLCS, Juan Uribe was batting seventh, he hit the game-winning homer.

In the World Series, the Texas Rangers' eighth place hitter, Mitch Moreland, hit the 3-run homer in Game 3, to help give Texas it's only World Series victory. He would lead the team in hitting.

For the World Champion San Francisco Giants Edgar Renteria batted eighth, and he would win the most valuable player award in the series.

Let that be a lesson to one and all of those who play the game of baseball. It's not where you bat, it's when you bat.

Kevin Marquez

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Getting Better All the Time

In every Sporting News there is the section Since You Asked (You have questions, they have answers) and in the December 6, 2010 edition I found one question particularly fascinating, as well as hopeful (for us San Francisco Giants' fans).

Question: It has been a long time since we've seen a baseball player who disrupts the game the way Maury Wills did, whose presence in every at-bat had the potential to be game-changing. Are there any current players he believes can dominate the playing field in the way he did?

Answer: Maury Wills, 1962 MVP, 5-time All-Star

There are some who have the talent, the ability. But if I want to put it bluntly, I would say they just don't want to work that hard. They're just not interested in doing that. There are a lot of talented players who have speed and quickness, I don't know if they get on base.

Carl Crawford is my No.1 guy when I start naming people. He's outstanding. I'd like to meet him in-person. I can't say anything but good things about him.

Jimmy Rollins from Philly, but I think he's interested in hitting the long ball, too. He could cause some havoc getting on base.

One of my proteges, Shane Victorino. I worked with him one-on-one. He and I still communicate now and then. He could be that kind of player.

Let me name one other-Emmanuel Burriss, with the Giants. He could be that kind of a player. I would love to work with him.

(Calling all Giants' scouts, coaches and front office people. The man who could wreak the kind of havoc Wills did, on the bases, MAURY WILLS, would like to work with our very own Emmanuel Burriss. Somebody make this happen!)

(thanks to TSN for the thoughts)

Kevin J. Marquez

Monday, December 13, 2010

John Feinstein Chimes in

In an article dated November 22, 2010 from Sporting News magazine, John Feinstein had this to say about major league baseball.

The World Series was a disaster. The TV ratings were horrific, as low as any in history. But it had to be. After all, no Yankees. No Red Sox. Certainly no Cubs. Not even any Phillies.

Heck, if you paid attention to the New York media, baseball would have been smart to call off the Series. Why bother? No one cared-just look at the ratings, down 28% from 2009, when the Yankees beat the Phillies.

Seriously, how much did most fans see this summer of Josh Hamilton? Or Tim Lincecum? Most people know a lot more about Yankees backup catcher, Francisco Cervelli, than they do about Giants rookie phenom Buster Posey.

It is the more casual fan, the younger fan, the potential fan who tunes into ESPN or on Saturday afternoon to watch the Fox game of the week. Those are fans getting the message that the Padres and Tigers don't actually exist-unless they happen to be playing the Yankees.

One of the measures Bud Selig pushed for early in his tenure as commissioner was the wild card. It has been wildly successful, not only because wild card teams have been extremely strong in the postseason-the Marlins have the unique distinction of having won two (2) World Series without ever having won a division title-but because it keeps so many more teams in contention deep into September.

...The Rangers in the World Series and the Giants winning the World Series is very healthy for the sport. Now, if the TV networks and their partners on Park Avenue would turn the spotlight on that more often, the game would be much better for it.

(Kudos to John Feinstein. That's what I was looking for, a little positive the Giants' way while educating the people on why it was good the San Francisco Giants were the Twenty Ten World Series champions.)

Kevin J. Marquez

Eugenio Velez also Goes to Los Angeles Dodgers

Can I get a show of hands of how many people are glad Eugenio -"No Brain-y-yo" on the bases-Velez went to the dreaded Dodgers?

Talk show host (9am-Noon, KNBR 680AM) Gary Radnich has this thing whenever somebody calls about some obscure thing, although not to the caller, of course, there will be a "drop" from his producer of someone saying "nobody cares." And this move most definitely falls into that category.

Velez acted like he was blindfolded whenever he reached base and then had to figure out a way to score. He was fast but couldn't steal a bag to save his life. Was it just me or didn't it seem like he was always on the verge of being picked off whenever he did reach base?

I don't think Eugenio's in the class of Ricky Ledee. Nobody was a worse Giant than Ledee. His forgettable statistics for his year with the orange and black, 2004, were as follows:
AB-53, R-6, H-6, 2B-2, RBI-4, Base on Balls-5, Times struck out-20, BA-.113.

As I've stated before, nobody to my recollection has done this bad with at least 50 at-bats. Any manager could see after so many at-bats that he just wasn't producing.

Eugenio should do at least that good, but c'mon, how high are we setting the bar?

Kevin J. Marquez

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bumgarner Grooves When Madison has the Blues

Now I know a gal, her name is Lindsey Lou
She told me she loved me but I know it ain't true
Put on your Madison shoes
put on your Madison blues shoes
I've got the Madison blues
Now put on your Madison blues shoes

Yes, it's a borrowed line from a George Thorogood song. Who's he? Maybe you haven't heard of George but if you saw him live he'd leave a noteworthy impression. Take my word, like the aforementioned lyrics, it's all about the groove.

In an article by Josh Alper of MLB Blogger, back on June 9, 2010 he kind of "strafed" Madison. But he didn't see what Manager Bruce Bochy saw. Let's go back and rekindle the love that was back in June, when none of us had a clue what would happen in October and eventually culminate on November 1, 2010.

Bumgarner was expected to battle for a spot in the San Francisco Giants' rotation this spring after tearing up the minor leagues in 2009 and earning that cup of (insert name brand here) coffee.

But he got strafed during the exhibition season. His velocity dropped while continuing to be strafed, in his first two Triple-A outings which earned him a tongue-lashing by Brian Sabean for what must have appeared to Sir Brian like a pre-occupation with off-field matters that were the apparent cause of hindering his development. (If I might interject, "strafed" is more like an enemy attack in combat, so I don't approve of the over-exaggeration...And Madison is a married man, what sort of things could he being doing off the field that could hinder his growth as a pitcher?)

Then came Monday. He unraveled in the sixth inning after his centerfielder misplayed a fly ball.

That said, Manager Bruce Bochy didn't seem too put off by Monday night's behavior.

"He's competitive. We know that," Bochy said. "We're excited about his progress. We feel like he's a guy who's really close. If there's any move made, we're going to do it when we feel like it's the right time."

The Boch-man read it right! His man, Madison Bumgarner blew a fuse because of who knows what, besides the misplayed ball in the outfield. The fact that he went bonkers tipped off Bochy that the kid might be ready to come up to the big club and contribute.

I mean, c'mon on, I saw an article in Sporting News magazine in which an official scorer offered his little helpful hints on how he scores a game. The guy went on to say...I have my own television right next to me. It's on a 7-second delay. So I see the play live, I see it 7 seconds later, and I can rewind if I need to. What I try to do is make my initial call within 15 seconds, 20 seconds at the most. I'm looking for the initial position of the defensive player, what the defensive player's first move is, I'm looking for his angle to the ball, I'm looking to see where the batter/runner is in relation to where the defender is when he catches the ball and the position where the batter/runner is in relation to where the defender is when he throws the ball. It's all of these things.

That may be well and good, but it was 15 seconds of suck (oh, perhaps 20) that MadBum didn't agree with. The feeble call and his lack of support by his teammates put him over the edge. And we aren't even bringing up the possibility of the umpire and his strike zone.

After giving up 21 hits and 11 earned runs in his first two Class AAA starts, Bumgarner corrected the "mechanical flaw." He changed his grip, allowing him to create more of a downhill angle from his three-quarters delivery. Suddenly, he was pumping 90-plus-mph fastballs and putting up the numbers more in line with those of his first two minor league seasons (27-5, 1.65 ERA).

Bumgarner was called up in late June, settled into one of the majors' best rotations and posted a 1.18 ERA in his final six (6) starts, prompting Bochy to start him over Barry Zito in the postseason. Bumgarner won the NLDS clincher against the Braves and turned in an outing for the ages in the World Series. He dominated Game 4 by becoming the youngest rookie (21 years, 91 days) to pitch 8 scoreless innings in a World Series game.

Bumgarner not only consistently threw 90-mph fastballs but had his best changeup of the season according to pitching coach Dave Righetti. "I know how I would have felt on this stage, trying to calm down," Righetti says. "In the third or fourth inning, I might come around. For a young guy to pitch with that poise was impressive."

(the Sporting News contributed those postseason stats. Finally a contribution from TSN, about the World Series Champion San Francisco Giants.)

Kevin J. Marquez

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Plague of the Plaque

(From an article in the SF Examiner on October 26, 2010, by Katie Worth,)

The story starts close to 100 years ago, when a graceful utility infielder named Eddie Grant spent 2 1/2 seasons on the New York Giants. He was not a typical ballplayer- in off-seasons he went to Harvard University and acquired a law degree.

"Harvard Eddie," as he came to be known, retired from the game at 32 years of age, in 1915. Two years later, World War I broke out, and though he was not drafted because of his age, he volunteered. In 1918, he was killed in battle in the French Argonne Forrest.

On Memorial Day in 1921, the New York Giants honored Grant by placing a plaque on a memorial-right in the middle of deep center field, at the Polo Grounds.

The plaque remained there until 1957, during which time the Giants won four (4) World Series titles. But when the Giants decided to move to San Francisco, the plaque disappeared.

The Giants let the mystery rest and little was said about the plaque until the late 1990s, when a Smithsonian article about up the war hero's history. During the next several years, multiple organizations offered to replace the plaque but the Giants' brass blew off the opportunity, saying Grant was part of New York Giant history, not San Francisco Giant history.

Finally, in the mid-2000s-after the team's most recent blown chance for a World Series title (I'm guessing 2002), and after several articles began linking the missing plaque with a string of bad luck with a title on the line stories- the Giants starting paying attention.

On Memorial Day 2006, a replica of the plaque was put up at AT&T Park near the Lefty O'Doul gate.

Said Pat Gallaher, president of Giants Development Services, "Baseball fans are so superstitious, and players are too, so you have to take this stuff seriously." "And if by putting up a plaque we can break some sort of curse, who's to say it's not the right thing to do."

As a Giants' fan I must add...This is just another example of the exemplary job done by the San Francisco Giants' front office.

Kevin J. Marquez

Everybody Does Things Their Own Way

Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays had background and personalities as well as their views on social issues that could not have been more different. Everything about the young Mays-apprehensive, amicable, fearful of controversy-Robinson contradicted. Robinson grew up amid affluence in Pasadena, California. Even as a boy, Robinson had a quick temper-he threw rocks at the father of a girl who called him a "nigger."

Unlike Mays, he could not abide blacks' second-class status, which led to repeated confrontations.

Branch Rickey saw Robinson's defiance as a source of strength, which he would need to endure the slurs. On his expense account, along with the usual items (such as meals, rent, transportation, cleaners, etc.) he inserted "humiliation," without specifying an amount, and suggested the Dodgers quantify the indignities he had suffered.

Robinson's frequent confrontations with the umpires prompted Jocko Conlan to say that Robinson "was the most difficult ballplayer I had to deal with... Jackie was one of those players who could never accept a decision...Almost every time he was called out on strikes or on a close play on the bases, there seemed to be a few words."

Mays, by contrast, rarely argued with umpires, would greet them as he jogged to center field, and was never ejected from a game-in 22 seasons. He says he couldn't help the team from the clubhouse.

Where Robinson bitterly opposed discrimination, Mays turned segregation into a profit center. In St. Louis, baseball teams stayed at the Chase Hotel, which banned black patrons. Robinson demanded that the Chase drop it's racial barrier, and in 1954 the hotel finally relented on a limited basis: blacks could sleep there but could not use the dining room, the swimming pool, or loiter in the lobby.

Mays didn't care about the Chase, he preferred staying in a black hotel. The Giants gave him the cash to cover the expenses for all the minority players, but the hotel waived their bill as long as they hung out in the dining room and bar- it was great publicity-and Mays divvied up the surplus cash among himself and the other banned players.

Don Newcomber, (former Brooklyn Dodger teammate) on Jackie Robinson, "He was the kind of man who had to make his presence felt. He sometimes overdid it. Like a boiler, he could not keep it all inside him."

Donald Honig said: "Robinson by virtue of seething pride, unforgiving resentments, his belligerency, and his outspokenness, was always the symbol of racial progress and aspiration. For some blacks, the innocent laughing Mays seemed too close to stereotype. Where Robinson threatened the social order, Willie approximated a comfortable fit."

Wells Twombley, of the San Francisco Examiner wrote: "The first time that it became obvious that racism was starting to slip in this country came one spring morning in 1966. On a Texas meadow here was this blue-eyed, freckle-faced grandson of a Klansman catching a fly ball in a Little League game and shouting, "Look at me, I'm Willie Mays."

(from the Autobiography of Willie Mays by James Hirsch)

I may eventually run out of stories to share.

Kevin J. Marquez

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Interesting Perspective

Jim Bouton, a former pitcher for the New York Yankees, Seattle Pilots, Houston Astros, Chicago White Sox and Atlanta Braves. He became famous for the book he wrote while with the Yankees entitled, Ball Four.

He has an interesting perspective that I'd like to share (as told in Willie Mays' Autobiography by James Hirsch)...

He said Mays's skin color was different than everyone else, and that difference thrilled us."
Bouton's exposure to race came mainly through baseball, where he noticed that few blacks sat on the bench. "They were the better players," Bouton says, "And Willie was the best."

"There were a lot of kids like me," he says, "who learned to love him before anybody told us we couldn't."

I too felt that way as a youngster (who saw his first major league ball games at the windy, not-yet enclosed Candlestick Park).

I remember collecting baseball cards and memorizing everything about the player from the information on the back of the card. And I remember thinking the black guys were the ones I liked the best.

I don't recall all of the bigotry by the "grown-ups" but I do know that some arguments, however futile, were over skin color and I always studied up on the ballplayers so if I was ever thrown into the argument I could backup my answer with facts. And for the most part, I was seen as some "know-it-all" punk, fat kid (and was told as much) because the conversation usually ended when I was allowed the opportunity to hit 'em with the facts (they selectively forgot for the sake of arguing.)

A Bill Clinton quote further expresses my feelings towards the "grown-ups," : "When you see someone doing something you admire," like Willie Mays- "the image of that makes a mockery of all forms of bigotry."

It works both ways.

Said Willie Mays, '... because it always seemed to me that when the fans cheered, I did better.'" "I believe this is true of every ballplayer who's every lived." To which the author added, Mays responded to carrots, not sticks.

Kevin J. Marquez (the know-it-all, punk, fat kid)

Jimmy Ray Hart (1963-1972)

Jimmy Ray Hart played for the San Francisco Giants from 1963 (a late season call-up) until 1972 (an injury plagued season). He ended his playing career as one of the original successful designated hitters with the New York Yankees, hitting 13 HRs and driving in 53 runs in 1973.

From Hookerston, North Carolina, probably more than a stones throw away from Andy, Barney, Floyd, Goober, Gomer, Opie and the others in Mayberry.

As the team captain, Mays remembered how Leo Durocher dealt with Dusty Rhodes. (Rhodes delighted in being known as Horace Stoneham's personal bartender.) Durocher didn't forbid it and actually gave him money for the booze. In exchange, Rhodes agreed not to consume alcohol for the rest of the week. Then Durocher would give him money again and Rhodes would make the same pledge.

Mays told Hart: "If you play for me 6 days, I'll give you one (1)." He explained that if Hart stopped by his locker every Monday morning, he (Mays) would give him a bottle. They shook hands on it.

Hart excelled under Mays's vigilance. When he was suspended he had 9 homers. In the last 68 games, Hart hit 14 homers, finishing the season with a .299 batting average and 96-runs batted in, while playing in 160 games. When that 1965 was over, Mays took $500 out of his wallet to give to Hart. "It's for telling me the truth and playing every day."

In 1964 Hart hit 31-HR, had 81-RBI and batted .286.
In 1966 Hart hit 33-HR, had 93-RBI and batted .285.
In 1967 Hart hit 29-HR, had 99-RBI and batted .289.

You could say Willie Mays saved Jimmy Ray Hart's career. Because he believed in Jimmy Ray. Unfortunately, the demons were too much and he was unable to conquer them to maintain a consistent level of play which would allow him to produce in the major leagues.

He missed a good portion of the 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971 and 1972 seasons due to various illnesses and or injuries. Upon further review, he had more "no show" seasons than respectable, productive seasons (5-4).

(from the Autobiography of Willie Mays by James Hirsch and

Kevin J. Marquez

Monday, November 22, 2010

Polo Grounds, Tallulah, Brotherly Love, Furman Bisher and 2010

(from the Autobiography of Willie Mays by James Hirsch)

The Polo Grounds was hunched on the eastern shoulder of Manhattan beside the Harlem River. Built at the foot of a cliff-Coogan's Bluff-so patrons actually walked downhill to their seats.

The oddity of the Polo Grounds was that no one ever played polo thee. The name was derived from a polo field used by a Giant team in the 1880s.

Baseball Magazine called the Polo Grounds "the mightiest temple ever erected to the Goddess of sport."

The stadium's most distinctive feature was its elongated shape-from above it looked like a horseshoe, a footprint, or even a bowling alley. The right field foul pole was 258' from home plate. The left field foul pole was twenty-two feet farther (280'). Many "pop flies" flew a little farther than originally anticipated as they became home runs if hit right down the lines. The stands, instead of curving into a conventional oval, extended straight out until they reached the outfield bleachers. The alleys were about 450 feet away from home plate. Dead center field was a staggering 505 feet, where the massive green scoreboard urged patrons to buy Chesterfield cigarettes and where the clubhouses offered a distant haven for a struggling pitcher sent to the showers.

Of course, with all of that real estate for Willie Mays to track down balls it made for great theatre. Donald Honig wrote, "Putting Mays in a small ballpark would have been like trimming a masterpiece to fit a frame."

Candlestick Park factoids...

Had artificial turf from 1970-1978.

While the Giants dugout and clubhouse were connected by a tunnel under the stands, the visitors dugout and clubhouse were not. The entrance to the visitor's clubhouse was located beyond the right field foul pole. Whenever visiting players, managers and or coaches were ejected from a game, they had to walk down the right field foul line to the clubhouse. This feature was a carryover from the fourth and final incarnation of the Polo Grounds. At the Polo Grounds, the clubhouses for both teams were located beyond center field. Like the visitors dugout at Candlestick, both Polo Grounds dugouts had no attached facilities other than restrooms and drinking fountains.
Actress Tallulah Bankhead. Her greatest passion was number twenty-four. "Everything he does on the field has a theatrical quality. Even when he strikes out he can put on a show. In the terms of my trade, Willie lifts the mortgage five minutes before the curtain falls. He rescues the heroine from the railroad tracks just as she's about to be sliced up by the midnight express. He routs the villain when all seems lost." Bankhead also noted: "There have been two geniuses, Willie Mays and Willie Shakespeare."
In 1954, three songs about Willie Mays were released.
"Amazing Willie Mays," by the King Odom Quartet.
"Say Hey Willie Mays," by the Wanderers.
And the most famous/popular, "Say Hey (The Willie Mays Song)" by the Treniers, a rhythm and blues group from Mobile, Alabama; the recording session was supervised by a young Quincy Jones.
In 1967, Phillie manager, Gene Mauch, said, "Willie Mays is not Willie Mays four times a game anymore."

When a Philadelphia Bulletin columnist repeatedly asked Willie why he was sitting out, Mays refused to answer. "I'm keeping my thoughts to myself." "You want a story, you write what you want." The columnist did just that: "Everybody thinks Willie Mays is nice, friendly, warm, sociable, fun-loving...a joy to be around. It will come as a shock to those out there in fantasyland that Willie Mays is cold, surly, suspicious, uncooperative. He is not an easy guy to talk to." Only in Philadelphia could you get that- description from a hack- about a player who was tired of answering lame questions by people who "fill-in-the-blanks" any way they see fit. I believe the word for that is confabulation.
(I first saw Furman Bisher back when the Sporting News was all-baseball all of the time)

"Willie Mays," wrote Atlanta Constitution's Furman Bisher, "wasn't supposed to grow old. He was supposed to go on forever, his cap flying off as he broke the sound barrier on foot, face bright and two eyes twinkling like stars, Willie Mays was born for eternal youth. Age is acting in direct violation of that code."
In the October 11, 2010, Sporting News there was a little piece had listed all of the teams that made it to the playoffs. For the GIANTS, a Division rival's view, it was Padre closer Heath Bell offering insights...

"They have a never say die attitude and tremendous hitters. Anybody in the lineup can come up with a big hit. They also have a great rotation and a solid closer. The only bad thing is it seems like they picked everybody up off waivers. They got Pat Burrell, Cody Ross. Maybe they have too many outfielders. Then again, if they all mesh together, they're going to win."

The man some call "Taco" Bell had some complimentary things to say about the Giants and proved to be accurate in his assessment. A tip of the cap to Heath Bell.

Kevin J. Marquez

Thursday, November 18, 2010

August 22, 1965 at Candlestick Park

Juan Marichal, the Domincan Dandy, was 19-9, 1.73ERA. Sandy Koufax, the nicknameless one, was 21-8, with an ERA of 2.10.

In the Roseboro-Marichal incident it really began the day before. When leadoff hitter, Maury Wills squared around to bunt, Giant catcher Tom Haller moved forward just then Wills pulled his bat back making contact with Haller's glove or mask. Catcher's interference was awarded. This was something Wills had in his bag of tricks and it atagonized the Giants.

Manager Herman Franks instructed Matty Alou to do the same thing Wills had done (as Alou was the leadoff hitter in the Giants' half of the inning).

Roseboro, who replaced Roy Campanella, had been the Dodger receiver since the team moved to LA. A stout, rugged, gold-glover who tried to unnerve hitters with his taunting and was unapologetic in his calling for knockdown pitches. "When a hitter is standing on top of the plate, fearless and swinging from his ass, you have to move him back," said the Dodger backstop.

Alou squared to bunt and pulled the bat back, but no interference was called. The move, however, distracted Roseboro, and the pitch missed his glove and smacked him in the chest protector. Roseboro was outraged. "You weasel bastard!" he snarled. Roseboro was going to get him.

From the bench, Franks and Marichal began barking at Roseboro. Roseboro was not one to back down. He yelled back, ridiculed Franks about his weight. Marichal yelled that Alou had only attempted what Wills had done one-half inning earlier.

Roseboro blared, "The next time something like that happens, you're going to get hit in the head with the ball."

Johnny Roseboro had invited trouble and it would come to him in a force he couldn't handle.

Next day, it was Marichal vs. Koufax.
Wills was the leadoff hitter. He leadoff with a bunt single. Later scoring on a double by Ron Fairly.

Wills' next at-bat, the Dominican Dandy dusted him off. Roseboro didn't like that, Wills was Johnny's roommate.

Top of the 3rd inning, Dodgers-2 Giants-1. Marichal moved Fairly off the plate and the Dodger bench began to bark.

Marichal was due to leadoff in the Giants' half of the inning and Roseboro lost all hope in Koufax dusting Marichal off. "Koufax was constitutionally incapable of throwing at anyone's head, so I decided to take matters into my own hands," Roseboro would say later.

Roseboro went to the mound and told Koufax to throw the ball down and in which would position him to buzz Marichal from behind the plate (on the throw back to the pitcher). First pitch was a strike. Next pitch was low and inside. Roseboro dropped the ball, picked it up and fired it back to Koufax. Marichal later said the ball nicked his ear.

Marichal turned around and yelled, "Why did you do that?" "You better not hit me with that ball!" According to Marichal, Roseboro cursed his mother. By the time Koufax, third base coach Charlie Fox and home plate umpire Shag Crawford could intervene, Marichal had struck Roseboro three times with glancing blows. Crawford stopped the swings by grabbing Marichal and throwing him to the ground.

Los Angeles rookie pitcher, Mike Kekich, had one arm around Marichal's neck but was not able to deliver the decisive punch. Afterwards Kekich says, "I blew it." (Kekich and former Yankee teammate, Fritz Peterson swapped wives. The swinger-who could connect with the ladies, was unable to help his Dodger teammate. Not very credible. More like dirtbag.)

Dodger coach, Danny Ozark was quoted as saying that Marichal 'was asking Roseboro to come and get some more. I guess. A guy like that would hit a woman." What do you mean, 'I guess.' And if he knew nothing of Roseboro's tactics while being positioned behind the plate his comments are no less credible than Mike Kekich's.

Koufax was so shaken by what had taken place that he walked the next two batters before Willie Mays. Mays launched a pitch for a home run and the Giants took a 4-2 lead. The Giants would win the game 4-3.

Though Roseboro admitted to starting the fight he wasn't disciplined. Are you kidding? So I guess, according to the powers that be, he got what he deserved? Marichal was fined $1,750. And 8 games (which came to 3 starts).

I have trouble with the decision not to discipline Roseboro.
Had Roseboro not went to the lengths he did to try to scare the beejeezus out of any hitter who he thought wasn't playing properly (as if Roseboro was judge, jury and ghostwriter of the infamous book of Unwritten Rules of Baseball) he wouldn't have tempted fate. But Roseboro did tempt fate and fate came-a-knocking.

Moral? Don't look for trouble or better yet, don't think you're big and bad enough to take the law (Rules of Game according to how you deem them) into your own hands. And that goes for San Francisco, San Mateo, Daly City and South San Francisco's finest.

We want umpires to protect the integrity of the game but nothing more than that. We don't need attitudinal punks over-officiating. Same with the police. We want you to protect us from those whose ignorance for the law should not be tolerated. If someone violates something or someone else, then apprehend the offender. But don't go looking for trouble and abusing your authority. Because then you lose respect.

Roseboro thought because he was bigger and badder than most ballplayers that he could bully his way around. Look what happened on August 22, 1965? A man much smaller than he was scared into self-defense any way he knew how. And that guy who defended himself was the one found guilty not the one who admittedly went out of his way to start what would be a very ugly event.

Blind justice, once again.

(August 22, 1965 came from the James Hirsch autobiography of Willie Mays.)

Kevin J. Marquez

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Looking Back in Giants' History

I'm still reading the autobiography on Willie Mays by James Hirsch.
I'm entering the year 1965.
But for this I want to go back to 1963.
July 2, 1963 to be exact. It was at Candlestick Park. The San Francisco Giants versus the Milwaukee Braves. On the mound were Juan Marichal for the Giants, Warren Spahn for the Braves. From here on I'll let Mr. Hirsch take over...

Neither team could score through 9 innings, and both Marichal and Spahn kept pitching. "In the 12th or 13th, he (Dark) wanted to take me out and I said, 'Please, please let me stay,'" Marichal recalled. "Then in the 14th inning, he said, 'No more for you.' And I said, 'Do you see the man on the mound?' And I was pointing to Warren. "That man is 42-years-old, and I'm 25. I'm not ready for you to take me out."

By the time Mays came to bat in the bottom of the 16th, with one out, he had gone 0-for-5 with a walk. But Spahn, after 276 pitches, finally made a mistake- a screwball that (as he put it) "didn't break worth a damn," and Mays hit it over the left center field fence, ending the 4-hour, ten minute marathon.

Two hundred seventy-six pitches. Are you friggin' kiddin' me? And he was how old at the time? Ya think the old-timers think today's pitchers are soft? Nolan Ryan has the proper approach and by golly he just may get up on the mound (during spring training) just to prove his point to the pitch-count stifled youth of today.

By the time he retired, Mays had hit a homer in every inning from one to sixteen (1-16). This may be a record that never gets broken.

During one week in August 1963, Mays hit 4 balls that struck the top of the center field fence in Candlestick, giving him four doubles instead of 4 homers. Holy Ian Kinsler! You mean that Game 2 shot by the Ranger second baseman, that for all intensive purposes told the World Series watching public that the baseball gods were smiling on the orange and black has happened before? And to the Say Hey Kid, no less!

When Matt Cain tightened things up and didn't allow Kinsler to score and the Rangers would be shutout and give the Giants a comfortable 2-0 lead in the best of seven series things were feeling pretty good. Even if the Rangers did win their Saturday contest at Texas, which they did.

But that was it, baby! There would be no more wins after Madison Bumgarner's gem and then the Tim Lincecum outdueling of Ranger ace Cliff "Getty" Lee, as in get outta here with that supposed "unbeatable" label.

Are you still enjoying the ride? I sure as heck am.

Kevin J. Marquez

As a Fanatic, I Need to Know!

When your favorite ball club is built around pitching it's good to know who the home plate umpire is for that day's game. For the entire post-season the Giants' KNBR/680AM had Mike Krukow give the lowdown on the home plate umpire. And his scouting report was flawless. In fact, if an umpire worked earlier and he was due to work again I had a pretty queasy feeling about the Giants' chances.

On at least three (3) occasions I was so disturbed by Krukow's scouting report on the ump's inconsistencies in calling balls and strikes that I chose not to watch the ballgame at Clooney's on 25th and Valencia. The Giants lost all three games. In the entire post-season the Giants were 11-4, and on these 3 nights I had a bad feeling and well, Krukow's scouting report was dead on.

I would like to see the Giants feature this throughout the entire 2011 season as a way of myself being educated on the ability of the umpire. Because I'm a little tired of seeing how the rulebook interpretation of what a strike should be is left to the umpire's interpretation. I want a little more information on the attitude in need of adjustment. As for other fans, the scouting report could be a warm-up for someone at the park who likes to interject a little heckle every now and then. He/she should be educated about the home plate umpire. And after Krukow's brief synopsis he/she can feel good about the things they are about to share with the crowd in regards to the man in blue behind the dish.

I must harken to a popular subtle reminder in closing. The 40,000 plus fans are NOT paying their hard-earned money to see YOU! They are paying their money to see the hometown team have a fair shot at defeating the opponent. And if the umpire calling balls and strikes has a bug up his ass chances are the fans (of a team built around pitching) may not like the outcome.

Kevin J. Marquez

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Men Behind the Champs

In Monday's SF chronicle, John Shea had an insightful article showing just how a "team" works. And we all know, this "team" pulled together and took all of the help coaches and scouts could afford them and made it work out for the best possible results. Let's reflect back on an article that points out just how well the San Francisco Giants pulled together as one big "team."

Brian Sabean is baseball's longest tenured general manager. He came up through the scouting ranks, dating to his NY Yankee days, and several of his top men are old Yankees, including Steve "Bye Bye" Balboni and Jim Lefebvre, who were teammates of Sabean in the 70's at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The pair spent the regular season one step ahead of the Giants. The two scouted upcoming opponents, chronicling strengths, weaknesses, tendencies and quirks.

During the postseason, most of the Giants' other 11 pro scouts followed playoff teams and passed info to Lefebvre and Balboni, who accompanied the Giants throughout October to report to the coaches in person after packaging the scouts' reports and examining a ton of video.

Pitching coach Dave Righetti said the coaching staff referred to the scouts as "Brian's merry band of Robin Hoods." Righetti called them "immeasurable" and added, "They're all ex-players who understand what we want. We don't want a bunch of junk. We need simple things. I want to get it to Buster so he could keep it simple and take it from there."

"I would say Buster is the knowledge man," said Dick Tidrow, the Giants vice-president of player personnel. "He was right on. He has a really good feel for what the hitter wants to hit. It's pretty enlightening how good a brain he's got to be able to do it under pressure and understand what the hitters can handle and the pitchers can do.

We haven't seen too much of that at that age. Most teams don't have an awfully young rookie catcher lead them to a World Series." (Yogi Berra did it for the Yankees in 1947.)

"We could tell them what the playoffs and World Series were like as far as media coverage and hype," J.T. Snow said. "You're so amped up, it was about trying to get these guys to relax. Just another game. Control the adrenaline. I wish I had somebody telling me that. It's a different animal."

For all that's accumulated outside the lines, what's done between the lines is what makes everyone, including scouts, look good.

"You have to give the pitching credit," Sabean said. "You could have the best scouting report in the world, but you still have to do it in real time. That's the nuance between the pitcher and catcher as the game develops."

(very informative article by John Shea. Thank you Mr. Shea.)

Kevin J. Marquez

Friday, November 5, 2010

Young Madison Reminiscent of Young Jim Palmer

Except for the obvious (Madison Bumgarner is a left-hander and Jim Palmer was a right-hander) both made their World Series debuts in fantastic fashion.

In 1966, the Baltimore Oriole 20-year old Jim Palmer pitched a complete game shutout. Walking 3 and striking out 6 while allowing 4 hits versus the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers would go on to win that series.

On October 31, 2010, Madison Bumgarner pitched 8 innings of shutout ball. Walked three, struck out six and allowed three hits before handing the ball over to closer Brian Wilson. Wilson had a post season for the ages. Holy Mariano Rivera, he was that good!

In ten games he pitched 11 and 2/3 innings. He allowed 5-hits and 4-bases on balls, while striking out 16. That's dominance. He picked up 6 saves and 1-win. No blown saves, no losses. And more important, no tortures to speak of. (Oh, there were a few doubters who quickly needed to be consoled because their negativity was upsetting some folks. But all was restored and happiness filled the air at Clooney's on 25th and Valencia.)

When your team has a combined 11-4 record in the division series, national league championship and World Series, you don't have too much time to panic. At least, I didn't.

Of course, I was the one with the headphones. So I had a head's up as to what was going to happen seconds before it did. I didn't let on as to ruin it for the others and I caught on quickly how to behave so that the others could enjoy the game and not endure too much torture.

From April to November, the Twenty Ten (2010) San Francisco Giants were the best team a fan could ever imagine. And, yes, good pitching does beat good hitting just about every time.

Kevin J. Marquez

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Bruce Bochy

This guy got his team to believe they were the best. And you could see how badly they wanted to win for him. As the season crept into September you could sense this bond developing and these likable ballplayers putting it together to beat the odds.

Bochy listened to advice from management, heard what the media had pre-determined for his ballclub but only he knew how good his 25-man roster in the playoffs was and would be.

It was tough that Barry Zito didn't make the roster. But as the season played out you saw that he didn't belong on the roster. Pablo's inconsistency played a big part in how Bochy put together his starting lineup. It led to Bochy relying on Edgar Renteria. And he led them to the promised land. They all got to taste the forbidden fruits of their labor on November 1, 2010.

The Giants beat the Braves in Atlanta to move into the championship round.
The Giants beat the Phillies in Philadelphia to move onto the World Series.
The Giants beat the Rangers in Texas to win the friggin' World Series championship.
The Giants were 11-4 in the playoffs.

THAT WASN'T SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN. Three different times they were picked to pack their bags and head for home. I could say the prognosticators get the CACTUS (visualize what a cactus looks like and you'll understand what I'm saying. Something about the upright middle finger.).

Hoist a cold refreshing beverage to the perfect manager-Bruce Bochy- for a team like our 2010 San Francisco Giants.

Congratulations BOch. This one's for you.

Kevin J. Marquez


Edgar Renteria. The same guy I dubbed "Rent-an-error." Because at that time he was pitiful.
But the man knows when it counts most. And that's why Ed-Garrrrr, was MVP of your 2010 San Francisco Giants, the World Series Champs!

He was overpaid.
Brian Sabean sucks hind tit. What the heck was he thinking? (Feel pretty foolish now, eh? I don't 'cause I'm one of those guys, hey if you prove me wrong I can accept that I have egg on my face.
As for eating crow, you what goes good with crow? Lots and lots of beer, baby!)

All those prognosticating sons of bitches. We all know the playoffs are like a good mystery movie. Because you have no idea who will do what or how it will happen. You just got to watch the best do their thing. And when you have pitchers like the 2010 Gigantes, it'll be torture (for the opponent).

Matt Cain to capture Game 2. Madison Bumgarner to capture win #3. And Tim Lincecum to collect win number 4 (both his wins coming against Cliff Lee, a guy some of the experts were comparing to Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson and Whitey Ford. Sure, he was good but don't you think they got a little carried away?).

Bumgarner's 8-inning 3-hitter was the key to the mint. A twenty-one year old with the determination of a seasoned veteran. Or Lincecum's gem on Monday night versus the equally tough Cliff Lee. If not for a homer with two men on base versus the solo shot, they might still be playing. Hey, our only loss came because it was the Giants who hit the solo shots and the Rangers who had the 3-run homer.

Who would have thought that the guy batting ninth for the Rangers would be their best hitter. Heck, isn't that where Edgar batted and look at what he did. So much for where you bat in the order. It's all about producing when it's your turn to bat.

Last but certainly not least, Brian Wilson.
No torture in Game 5 at Texas. He just mowed 'em down. And then we got to watch our Giants celebrate. Tuh-Dah, baby!!

Kevin J. Marquez

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Getting Ready for Game 3 of the 2010 World Series

The saying used to be Spahn and Sain and pray for rain. Well you can now say: Lincecum and Cain and pray for Sanchy! Just when the opponent is thinking they have a chance to win Sanchy does his thing. And don't forget, he's the one who has thrown a no-hitter.

Song by Ashkon to the beat of Journey's Don't Stop Believing

Just a loyal fan
Trying to do the best I can
But these last three, four years have made it hard

But I had faith and I had hope
Thankfully the Padres choked
Even better maybe it was the rally thong

Let's Go Giants
NL West Division champions
Feels good, but we aint stopping here...

Getting a lot of play on You Tube.

Game 3 in Arlington, Texas. I know the starting Giants lineup to be:
(J Sanchez-P)

Sure would like to see Pablo contribute. So far it's been a new hero each game. Continue the trend and we may get to celebrate a World Series championship.

Go Giants/Gigantes!

Kevin J. Marquez

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Unlimited Information on Your 2010 Giants

The Sunday San Francisco Examiner, (10/24), had an article by Andrea Koskey entitled Giants Biggest Catches. And lest you think it was how these particular Giants flashed their leather the caption below read: Local ladies have eyes on bad-boy Wilson as most desirable SF player.

There was a list of Top Giant Heartthrobs. Playboy tells you about their playmate of the month with measurements, there was no flattering buildup such as: when the owl asks "Who?" the answer is always him... the world's most interesting man. No, this article just let you know which of the "hotties" was single or not.

Going more for the information that might help me reason that the Giants have a chance to beat the Texas Rangers I chose to go to the box scores to see how impressive the bullpen was in the Game 6 victory over the favored Philadelphia Phillies.

After replacing an erratic Jonathan Sanchez, Jeremy Affeldt had his best performance in 2010. IP-2, H-0, R-0, BB-0, K's-2. 26 pitches.
Following Affeldt was rookie Madison Bumgarner. His numbers: IP-2, H-3, R-0, BB-1, K's-1 on 26 pitches. Then came in Javier Lopez.
IP-1, H-0, R-0, BB-0, K-1. 12 pitches.
Tim Lincecum came in. Faced 3 batters struck one out. Gave up 2 hits but allowed no runs. It took him 16 pitches.
Brian Wilson cleaned up Lincecum's mess and had his third save of the series along with one win.
Wilson's numbers: IP-1 2/3 H-0, R-0, BB-2, K-1...26 pitches.

Brian Wilson was 3 for 3 in save opportunities and won one game. But the MVP of the NLCS went to the "Rodeo Clown" lookalike, Cody Ross.

10/27 -Wednesday's scheduled start time is 4:57pm at AT&T
10/28 -Thursday's scheduled start time is 4:57pm at AT&T
Game 3, Saturday at Texas 3:57pm
Game 4, Sunday at Texas 5:20pm
Game 5, Monday at Texas 4:57 pm
Game 6, Wednesday, 11/03 at 4:57pm
Game 7, Thursday, 11/04 at 4:57pm

If you're going to the game respect those around you but don't let that get in the way of a good time. Manners are always appreciated. And, GO GIANTS!

Kevin J. Marquez

Monday, October 25, 2010

Particles Happening to 2010 San Francisco Giants

This may be a title for a future SF Examiner headline, if the Giants are leading the series. The best of seven, World Series.

But what I have personally gone through, just making good use of my time (between games) is also filled with premonitions. And a lot of this is because I just took a book out of a library by James S. Hirsch, authorized by Willie Mays entitled, Willie Mays- The Life. The Legend.

As the Giants of 2010 were preparing for the Phillies- in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series- I was reading that Willie Mays would be getting the call in May of 1951. He was to be at Philadelphia.

And as the Hirsch book will do, it leads up to each event with baseball stories and so-called legends. Stuff baseball is made of!

So I'm flipping the pages, totally into what the Hirsch-man is saying (you'd think the open window caught a stiff breeze, the way those pages were turning) and he starts giving his Leo Durocher stories.

As told in the book, by James S. Hirsch:

At the time of lyrical nicknames, Leo Durocher's was simply "the Lip," from which obscenities constantly roared.

According to Leo: His first rule was, "Don't clutter your brain with ethics."
"Good sportsmanship is so much sheep dip. Good sports get that way because they have so much practice losing."

Dick Young, the abrasive Daily News columnist, prepared a young reporter for his first meeting with Durocher: "Figure you and Durocher are shipwrecked and you both end up on this little raft with sharks swimming around. Leo slips into the water. A shark closes in. You dive in and pull him out. But while you are rescuing him, the shark comes up and takes your right leg. You bleed like hell, but somehow you survive. The next day, you and Durocher start even."

Dodger general manager, Branch Rickey observed: "Leo has an infinite capacity for going into a bad situation and making it worse."

Willie Mays got called up on May 24, 1951. Hirsch poses the question with his articulate prose, is that where #24 Mays got it's call? (As a member of the Minneapolis Millers, for whom he was playing before the call-up, he wore #28...who wears #28 and is a rookie for the 2010 San Francisco Giants?)

After going 0-12, Mays was to face Warren Spahn and the Boston Braves in the Polo Grounds.
Spahn would become the winningest left-handed pitcher of all-time. In his first at-bat, this is what Giant announcer, Russ Hodges said. "If it's the only home run he ever hits, they'll still remember him."

Pitcher Warren Spahn said, "For the first sixty feet, it was a helluva pitch."

The book mentions how the organist at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn would play "Three Blind Mice," as the umpires appeared from the home team's dugout. Or how Dusty Rhodes described himself as "Horace Stoneham's bartender."

I'm only at the beginning of this story, as Willie is still playing at the Polo Grounds. It's chocked full of good particles.

About Willie Mays' first major league home run, Leo "the Lip" has the last say in this baseball story-filled lovefest. "I never saw a fucking ball, leave a fucking park, so fucking fast, in my fucking life."

(the book is Willie Mays-The Life. The Legend, by James S. Hirsch. Authorized by Willie Mays.)

Kevin J. Marquez

Friday, October 22, 2010


After listening to Mac (of Murph and Mac KNBR-680AM notoriety) tell his story of some selfish dame telling him the "way it is in Section 315" of AT&T, I had to say something. Whether you agree or disagree is not an issue nor is it the point. But that someone felt the need to express themselves in a selfish manner annoys me to no end.

Rules are an established practice that serves as a guide to usage. That being said, no rules should be given to you by a female because she is never expected to follow them the way she expects you to adhere to the letter of said "law."

The female will tell you her interpretation of the rules and emphasize how you must follow them to the letter and that it'll be to your benefit. She will convince you (as well as herself) knowing full-well the letter of the law never applies to her. Afterall, it's her and every other woman's prerogative.

Rules are established to set guidelines so that careless and or selfish acts can be limited as much as is humanly possible. Rules for how one should behave at a playoff game must take into consideration the overall big picture of how others choose to enjoy themselves.

If standing and cheering and even the occasional heckle are offensive to you you must ask yourself, honestly, What type of behavior did you expect?

Are you contributing to everyone's enjoyment or are you a detriment. A stick in the friggin' mud!

Nobody needs to be in the company of drunk and disorderly people but just the same nobody needs to hear how they should behave before the fun and frivolity begins. Don't tell someone this is how it is, WHO THE HELL ARE YOU? If you prefer things to be controlled without celebration perhaps you should stay home and watch the game, by yourself, on television. (I'm pretty sure I speak on behalf of every fan who jumps up to high-five anyone around them willing to reciprocate the love you're ready, willing, and able to share.)

Post season events don't happen all the time. We as fans have to have the freedom to express ourselves. As long as we aren't being disrespectful of those around us by shouting F-bombs or throwing things onto the field why not let people do what they feel like doing.

People who have the audacity to approach someone with their rules really need to stay home.

And oh yeah, GO GIANTS!

Kevin J. Marquez

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Could it Be?

Looking over the post-season numbers being posted by former Willie McCovey award winner and former San Francisco Giant catcher, Benjie Molina, I can't help but wonder what it would be like if the Texas Rangers advance to the World Series and the Giants keep getting stellar pitching and enough timely hitting to meet Benjie's hot-hitting teammates in the Fall Classic.

If Benjie Molina or Josh Hamilton aren't the hottest hitters on the planet then the Giants' Cody Ross must be that guy.

To think, the Giants merely tried to block the San Diego Padres from getting Ross and look how fortunate that shrewd move has worked in the Giants' favor. Brian Sabean, you rapscallion! Bet you didn't think the move would turn out so good, did you?

Benjie vs. Tampa Bay: AB-14, R-1, H-5, HR-1, RBI-2, BA-.357
vs Yankees AB-12 R-3, H-5, HR-1, RBI-5, BA-.417

Cody vs. Atlanta AB-14, R-2, H-4, HR-1, RBI-3, BA-.286
Cody vs. Philadelphia AB-9 R-3, H-4, HR-3, RBI-4 BA-..444

Wouldn't it be something if the Giants face Benjie's Rangers? You remember the last time the Giants reached the World Series, it was against Benjie's California Angels. Is history likely to repeat itself in that Benjie's team will come out of the World Series as the 2010 champions?

The Giants still must win 2 games and the Rangers one more. With All-World pitcher-Cliff Lee- on the hill (in at least one of the remaining games) it looks pretty good for the Texas Rangers.

Giants still need more timely hitting and stellar pitching from their talented staff to snatch victory from the jaws of the- twice defeated -Phillies.

Could it be...needs a couple more nights and at least 3 more games to play out.

Kevin J. Marquez

Friday, October 15, 2010

Baseball is Getting Good in the City by the Bay

In a Sporting News magazine article, recently, was a question to a former major league umpire (Vic Voltaggio).

Vic sounds a little bitter in his response as to whether he thinks there should be more instant replay in major league baseball.

In response to your question about replay-you'll notice I left off the word instant-the games are too long now, with players stepping out of the box on every pitch to adjust their batting gloves or the unending conferences on the mound and the argument over the most inane things.

I liked it better in my time when the players played and umpires were not afraid to umpire, if they want to bring all of this technology to a game I used to love, why not get rid of the umpires and use robots? (The thought is a possibility for future consideration, ya think? Especially when bitter people like Vic are entered into the equation. We are only searching for ways to get the call right. Not to demean a man attempting to do his job. Sometimes things happen that don't allow you the position to view the play. Certainly you don't want to call something you did not see?)

And Mr. Miserable, a.k.a. Vic Voltaggio finishes his thought with: That way the players will have no one to blame for their lack of skill except the robot.

At 25th and Valencia is a local watering hole called Clooney's. It's the place to watch the orange and black play post-season baseball.

A bartender (Debbie) colored some extra face-cloths orange so the regulars could have rally towels. And when the Giants are making plays the orange cloths are blurs of excitable moments.

Sometimes the chant of "Let's Go Giants" fills the air and the bonding that goes on is fantastic. People you may have seen once or twice are now rooting for the team you are rooting for and you're both "high-fiving" to every good thing that happens for the orange and black. (And you're in agreement with every blown call against the Giants, as well.)

The prices are right and the atmosphere is perfect to watch a game if you crave the "fan experience." I recommend it to anyone in the area.

The scheduled times for the National League Championship Series are as follows:

Game #1(at Philadelphia) 4:57pm
Game #2 (at Philadelphia) 5:19pm

Game #3 (@AT&T) 1:19pm
Game#4 (@AT&T) 4:57pm
Game#5 (@AT&T) 4:57pm

Games 6 & 7 are in Philadelphia. Times are currently unimportant.

Kevin J. Marquez

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Who Asked Ya?

There was an article in ESPN magazine entitled We're All Born Naked. A lot of ballplayers prefer to stay that way. And there was a picture of Willie Mays during his New York Giant days with his shirt off and a smile next to 1954 World Series hero, Dusty Rhodes.

Baseball is known for it's wacky players. Seven and sometimes eight months together (if you're good enough to reach the postseason) will bring the zaniness out of some individuals. And as long as it works for the chemistry of a team, helps them get along and understand one another's needs then I see it as being all good.

Some excerpts from the aforementioned article...

...I'll show up at the (batting) cage and the guy throwing to me has on his birthday suit. Let me tell you, nothing tests your focus more than trying to hit a baseball thrown by a man with his junk hanging out.

Dining areas tend to be favorite spots for a bout of spontaneous nudity. I can't tell you how many times I've heard my name called as I'm eating a plate of spaghetti, only to turn around to see a teammate's bare ass in my face. It's disgusting, but I take it in stride because it makes others guys laugh. And when you're laughing , you're usually playing well.

Don't want to answer questions? Leave your clothes off. Chances are reporters won't come near you. If I really feel like messing with the beat guys, I'll wear a shirt and nothing else. Especially if they've been writing negative stuff about me. At first they think it's safe to approach, until they realize it's not.

I know of one American League pitcher who is so consumed with the size of his penis-he thinks it's too small- that he is constantly screaming, "Look what God did to me!"

Mayne Street, an article by Kenny Mayne with Brian Wilson.

How often are you asked about sharing a name with a famous Beach Boy?
"At least 7 times a day. Now I just say, 'I am him. I'm done with music and now I've started playing baseball.' I've also said he's my uncle."

For the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League Championship Series, do the Giants adjust the roster?

And as far as playing time, is Pablo Sandoval going to see time or is it Mike Fontenot or bust?
And since Pablo's being punished for not fielding or hitting, where does that leave the struggling Juan Uribe?

Who asked Ya?

I say you play a player according to how well he has done when facing a particular pitcher.
If Aaron Rowand has success against Cole Hamels, you start him. If Pablo hits Roy Halladay you insert him into the lineup. The Giants need to score runs to ease some of the pressure off of their pitchers.

During the regular season, Eli Whiteside hit a homer off of Halladay. He should be the first player considered as a pinch-hitter if the situation calls for such a move. Don't forget, Pablo has caught. If Posey were to get dinged and Whiteside was already used, you still have the Panda. Don't discount the Panda. He may have some magic yet to add to this 2010 season.

(thanks to ESPN mag for the "naked" takes. A slice of (baseball) life.)

Kevin J. Marquez

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Just Showing Up is a Colossal Waste of Time

In Mr. Arangure's theories as to why the left-handed pitcher usually wins the battle when facing the left-handed batter he offers:

The culprit may be the specialization of pitching, which has filled bullpens with LOOGYs (Lefty One-Out Guys...Javier Lopez of the San Francisco Giants). Their sole task is to get lefthanded hitters out, usually with breaking balls away. Some pitchers, like Pedro Feliciano of the New York Mets, sets up on the edge of the pitcher's rubber closest to first base, then pitches with a deceptive sidearm delivery.

A lefty hitter must either open his stance so he can see the wide release point, or use his normal stance and hope he reacts quickly enough to make contact when he finally sees the pitch.

It is thought that opposing managers can neutralize slugging left-handed batter (Ryan Howard) in close games by using LOOGYs. The same can be said of rightfield Jay Bruce, Joey Votto's teammate.

Even with the preponderance of LOOGYs, some say the failure of lefty hitters is really just a product of laziness. "You have to work on it and do your homework," says Hall of Fame lefthanded hitter Tony Gwynn, who batted .325 against southpaws for his career. "The video is there if you want it. To get better you have to practice. I know it's tough and it's a long season. But for me, I hated to suck."

You hear all of the time how the great ones put in the work. And for some it was something as simple as that classic quote of Tony Gwynn. God bless people like Tony Gwynn. Too much suck-age exists in the world today with people who don't mind doing something for the fun of it. Not thinking for one minute that maybe they are taking away someone elses fun by doing what they do so badly.

If you are going to do anything you have to want to do your best. Practice. Do the work to make yourself better. I'm glad you showed up to practice now break a sweat. Try to catch that popup that doesn't appear to want to reach you so you can do that useless behind the back catch. And maybe on the third or fourth anemic popup you can see that you are getting closer to catching the weakly hit ball. If you just let it land, figuring there was no way you could catch it, why did you show up for practice?

In a team sport, just "showing up" is a colossal waste of time. Because there are those who want to put in the work to make themselves better.

As for the batter hitting the weak pop-ups, perhaps s/he is trying hard not to hit the ball so poorly and s/he's doing everything physically possible to change the ineptitude of his/her bat-on-ball contact results. For that there must be the realization that perhaps s/he should be doing something else.

When you put in the work and are dedicated to making yourself better you generally see some sort of improvement. And any improvement motivates you to continue your efforts into making yourself better. But if you're skills have deteriorated to the point of zero results you may be attempting to do something you just are not able to do.

Why put yourself into a situation where no progress is made no matter what you do?

An exception would be an injury. You do the therapy and it may take a certain amount of time to be able to walk. Heck, some quacks may tell you that you can never walk again. But that's not stopping you. And in all your efforts you continue to fall flat on your face. Yet you still go to church and pray that some day you may walk again and the days become months, months become years and you still feel like some days are better than others. (Those days in which you caught yourself before you bit carpet/tile/turf, etc.).

Then again, this may be the one thing that is keeping you alive. The will and desire are so great that you will not stop trying.

This isn't "just showing up" because that's all about effort. This is your livelihood that has been effected by an injury your body is having a hard time healing from.

But if it is a recreational thing (just to get out and get some fresh air) please, do more than 'just showing up.'

(inspired by ESPN mag article by Jorge Arangure, Jr. in 9/6/2010 edition)

Kevin Marquez

Monday, October 4, 2010

Nice Acquisitions Added by Sabean

Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants!

A tip of the cap to the players and to general manager, Brian Sabean, for adding the necessary ingredients to a team that needed a little of this and a little of that to get over the HUMP.

When you look up and down the roster you recognize Pat Burrell and Andres Torres as genuine steals. Cody Ross and Mike Fontenot (whose beard is as scary as anyone's on the Giant roster) have been contributors as well. And this is big because when you are traded to a team you want to feel a part of that new team and all of the above have most definitely contributed and will continue to do so in the post-season.

But the Giant bullpen really came together as the season wore on when San Diego's well-used bullpen ran out of gas. Acquisitions such as Santiago Casilla, Guillermo Mota, Ramon Ramirez and Javier Lopez added to an already reliable corps.

And although Jeremy Affeldt had an off-year, you almost had to expect it since last year was an unbelievable season. Sergio Romo had a unsettling start but he has pulled it together to be a very solid addition. And Brian "Don't Worry Baby" Wilson, what can you say other than the guy is the heart and soul of the bullpen.

A bullpen that pulls together is one that is easy to root for. And Brian Sabean gets kudos for the trades he didn't make and those ones he did pull off. The chemistry on this team is special and you have got to believe because they believe in one another that anything is possible.

First opponet in the 2010 post-season, the Atlanta Braves. What d'ya say Giants' fans, let's put a kibosh on that oh so tired tomahawk chop.


Note: Pat Burrell was born on 10/10/1976. Sunday is his birthday. And the date will read: 10/10/10. Are the stars aligning or what?

Kevin Marquez

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fake Beard?

From Aubrey Huff's rally thong to Cody Ross' eye-black we must venture even further to discover that closer, Brian "Help Me, Rhonda" Wilson has got a most interesting look.

Wilson's look is what conjured up the "Help Me, Rhonda" because at further review, his beard looks fake!

In an interview after Wednesday night's game (9/29), broadcaster Dave Fleming asked Javier Lopez about Brian Wilson. Lopez is the left-hander who comes in specifically to face left-handed batters, replied, "Brian is the real deal, except for his beard."

Two other relievers who are going along with this facial hair masquerade are Sergio Romo and Jeremy Affeldt.

But as disturbing as this "fake beard" appears it is better than anything a reliever has come up with before him. I mean, if the thought process for such a bizarre look is to make the batter lose focus on his at-bat...

Al Hrabosky, "the Mad Hungarian" had the fu manchu while both Sparky Lyle and Rollie Fingers hand the over-emphasized mustache look. Even Ryne Duren, whose look may have been the most subtle, had the coke-bottle glasses, giving the scary thought that he might be the real-life Mister Magoo, as he'd throw a warm-up pitch over the backstop.


It may have been F.P. Santangelo asking who Buster Posey reminds you of and he referred to Richie Cunnningham (of Happy Days fame). But Richie was a redhead and that's not a look easily mistaken. Now Lumpy Rutherford or Wally Cleaver, of Leave it to Beaver might be a little better if for no other reason than the television show being in black and white.

F.P. was kind of reaching for answers when a woman called up and suggested "Toad" the character in American Graffiti. He played the part of Terry Fields and I could see the resemblance since I went to school with a guy who referred to "Toad" as "Rebholtz," a guy we both knew from junior high and high school days.

I'm sticking with Wally Cleaver. The "golly gee, cut it out Beave" response fits the baby-faced slugging catcher.


On long-toss Barry Zito (who throws from 300 feet once between starts) said, "When you're on the mound you want to have that free feeling of letting the ball go. When you aim the ball it's not going to go anywhere."

Jonathan Sanchez said he doesn't play long-toss during the season, but does during the winter.

Tim Lincecum says 'it forces you to pull the ball from behind your body as opposed to pushing it, like throwing a dart.'

Kevin J. Marquez

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Who Taught Cody Ross how to put on Eye-Black?

When I think of the ballplayers then and now who put on the eye-black I immediately go to former Baltimore Oriole and California Angel, Doug DeCinces. Our own F.P. Santangelo comes to mind. Both of these guys knew what they were doing.

Cody Ross? The black line "drawn" under each eye is a big splotch of black and it has no sense of style. It's like he can't be bothered doing such a thing in front of a mirror. I don't mean to exaggerate, but any more eye-black and I'd confuse Ross with Al Jolson.

Order of the Day: Jonathan Sanchez going into the 7th, at least, and the Giants scratching out more runs than the visiting Diamondbacks.

Seems every day there's a new hero (besides Pat Burrell, Buster Posey, Juan Uribe or Aubrey Huff). Cody has been swinging the bat much better (very successful versus left-handers) and Mike Fontenot seems to come through when least expected.

Teams that win the division need a contribution from the entire roster.

Those of you, fortunate enough to make the games Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, be prepared to cheer loudly for the hometown nine.

The final series versus San Diego, it'd be good if those fans who chose to drive down to San Diego on September 10, 11, and 12, could get a mention by the public address announcer. Because, as FP said (on his radio show) that was HUGE!! Bigger than Aubrey Huff's rally thong, which in and of itself is epic stuff.

Any fan who attends more than one of the remaining six games I hope you get to cheer heartily and see wins. This is a time to enjoy the games as the torturous season winds down to a close.

Go Giants! Win each series and we'll make the post season!

Kevin Marquez

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ten Games Remain As Do Possible Personal Afflictions

As I await the first pitch (in the final game of a 3-game series at Wrigley Field) I can hear a sense of panic in some callers on KNBR 680AM, the Sports Leader.

Gary Radnich says if the Giants fall short of the playoffs that it was still a good, entertaining season.

One caller, seemingly of "reasonable intelligence," responded by saying that all the pieces are there for next year to be the year they go all the way. But what he must realize is one injury to the wrong player could render that prognostication erroneous.

A certain degree of fortuity, ok LUCK, has to factor into the equation of a team that wins their division, their league championship and then defeat the opposing league champion for the World Series title.

After tonight's game (Thursday), the Giants head to Colorado for 3 games against a team with something to play for since the resurrection of the humidor has resurfaced and the Giants have supposedly bought into an on-going theory that cannot prove how the game balls make it into the ball bag.

With the recent string of games where the pitching staff has consistently put solid pitching performances together while showing an uncanny knack of inconsistency on offense, you have to go to the Duane Kuiper quote: 2010 (Twenty Ten) Giants baseball: Torture!

Who steps up and delivers in the batter's box? Does the pitching continue at this record pace?

Will Pablo "the Panda" Sandoval awaken from his hybernation or revert to his 2010 ways and become Flash-in-the-Panda. Or even worse yet, Pablo Strand-'em-all? (Borrowed from the last caller on the Gary Radnich show, Thursday 9/23/2010.)

As fans I harken back to the classic comedy, Blazing Saddles, when describing how many fans may be feeling at this point in time. Let me set the scene. It was when the small town had to make a fake town in the middle of the night and they weren't sure if it could be done. Just then the pastor (standing on a hill, waving his Bible) began to preach..."Oh Lord, do we have the strength to carry on this mighty task in one (1) night OR are we just jerking off?!"

Kevin Marquez

Monday, September 20, 2010

Rivalry has Value

The Brooklyn Trolly Dodgers played their last game at Ebbets Field on September 24, 1957. Before that season, to ease the fans' pain, Owner Walter O'Malley hired the clown Emmett Kelly to perform before and after games. Kelly's character, Weary Willie, looked very much like the famous Brooklyn Bum drawn by cartoonist Willard Mullin.

At the close of Spring training in 1958, O'Malley met with New York Giant owner, Horace Stoneham, who had decided to move his team to Minneapolis, Minnesota. O'Malley didn't try to persuade Stoneham to stay in New York, but he did suggest that the Giants owner consider San Francisco. If he moved there and the Dodgers went to Los Angeles, O'Malley said, they could re-create the fierce Giants-Dodgers rivalry on the West Coast.

Yesterday the Los Angeles Dodgers finally showed up and played some hard ball. Coming back from a 6-1 deficit, at the expense of the surging Colorado Rockies, had to put smiles on many Giants' fans' faces. Up until the Dodgers 7-6 victory, in extra innings, the Dodgers were no shows.

The Dodgers can play a key role in determining who will win the west, since they play the Padres this upcoming week.

The Giants will be heading to Colorado after playing three at Wrigley Field versus the Cubs. The weekend series (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) will most likely determine who wins the west, especially if the Dodgers win their series versus the Padres.

It's good to see the Dodgers get involved. Nobody respects those teams that appear to have mailed in the final two weeks of the season. It's better for the game to have all teams represent.

It was good the Giants took care of business when the Dodgers came to town and they'll need to win both the Cub and Rockies series to have a chance at the Western Division title (before facing the Padres in their final series of the regular schedule). It goes without saying, they'll need to win that series as well.

Because the Rockies and Padres are no more than one game different winning the series is a must.

Sandwiched between the Colorado series and the final three games versus San Diego at AT&T Park is 3-games with the Diamondbacks. The Giants can't allow what happened to Milwaukee to happen with Arizona. They had better take two out of three in all of their remaining games if they expect to make it into the post season.

3 at Wrigley
3 at Colorado

Day off on Monday, September 27.

3 vs Arizona @ AT&T
3 vs San Diego @ AT&T (October 1, 2, and 3.)

(information on the move west from an article out of Sports Illustratedd)

Kevin Marquez

Monday, September 13, 2010

Those Who Played for Both the Giants and Dodgers

Some may not recall that it was Los Angeles where Juan Marichal (the Dominican Dandy) ended his Hall of Fame career. Ole #27 wore #46 in his short stint for the dreaded Dodgers in 1975. (He wore #21 for the Red Sox in 1974, his won/loss record for the Bosox was 5-1.)

Immediately you think of Brett Butler or Jeff Kent. KNBR host F.P. Santangelo is another. Jeff Leonard, Candy Maldonado, Von Joshua, Len Gabrielson, Jim Gott, Ricky Ledee, Jose Viscaino to name a few. Current Giant Cody Ross began his career with the Dodgers. (Note: Ledee is Le Douche. He was a horrible Giant but a Giant killer as a Dodger. Worst Giant ever? Yes, to me that's exactly what LeDouche had been.)

No Alou played for the Dodgers though they all played for the Athletics and Giants.

I don't know where I am going with this other than to say, nobody other than Jeff Kent was a great ballplayer. Kent, will one day enter the hallowed halls of Cooperstown and he will enter wearing a Giants' ball cap. He has said as much in recent interviews.

Years ago, Jackie Robinson turned down a trade that would have sent him from the Dodgers to the Giants. You have to respect that. He just couldn't see himself playing for a team he hated. While others choose to prolong their careers he decided there was more to life than playing for the Giants.

This Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (9/14, 9/15 and 9/16) the Dodgers will have Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly throwing against the Giants who will counter with Barry Finito Zito, Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez.

We Giant fans saw how the Dodgers rolled over for the Padres after the Pads had lost 10 in-a-row. But they're going to do everything in their power to destroy the Giant season, since, well, their season isn't going anywhere but home for the fall.

But keep the Giants from going anywhere and your season isn't a total bust, right? The Giants have been there before and Joe Morgan hit a memorable home run much to Manager Tom Lasorda's dismay.

The Giants have to be better. Like the Dodgers were more times than not. The Giants didn't always destroy the Dodgers' post-season plans. That's what this 2010 team has to accomplish this week. It's the first line of business this week.

Nobody is thinking about the weekend series vs. the Milwaukee Brewers.

Not yet.

Go Giants!

Kevin Marquez

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Eat it Pablo! You Appear to have Eaten everything else!!

(In Baseball) Luck is the residue of being in the right place at the right time and your glove happens to be facing the right way for the ball to land inside the pocket of your glove versus a not so fortuitous hop hitting off the outside of the leather covering for the "would-be" fielder's hand.

Never has luck been the residue of hard work because it cannot be planned since it can happen regardless of one's efforts.

(lucky implies a favorable or advantageous event happening by mere chance often unexpectedly, and not as the result of effort or merit. Providential: connotes the intervention of God or some higher agency in bringing about the favorable event.)

In yesterday's 2-0 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks, Gerardo Parra's diving catch of a Buster Posey duck snort was lucky. No two ways about it. Do you think he'd have turned into Tony Minero if it wasn't lucky? Watching him pick himself up off the ground was like flashing back to a younger John Travolta. You could hear the words as if the Bee Gees were playing in between innings of the 11-inning Giant thriller.

Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk
I'm a woman's man no time to talk
Ah ha ha ha
staying alive, staying alive
Ah ha ha ha
staying alive, staying alive.

In the Sporting News issue dated August 2, 2010, former reliever Todd Jones had this to say: The San Diego Padres are a good story but the season is long and their weaknesses will be exposed.

A ten-game losing streak may be the shape of things to come. I think they think they can get fat off of the San Francisco Giants. It's up to the Giants to take 4 of the remaining 7. The series is amazing in that anything that could go San Diego's way has. Has that element of luck worn off?
We shall see.

Did you know, Padres closer Heath Bell is sometimes called "Taco," because like Pablo (Sandoval) he appears to have eaten his share.

Personally, one of my better lines was on the day the Giants caught and passed the Reds to lead 11-10 in the top of the 9th inning. After one out was made Pablo air-mailed the ball on a throw he probably shouldn't have made. I articulated for all to hear, "Eat it! You appear to have eaten everything else!!!!!!"

I killed.

But then the Reds killed all Giant fans by eventually winning the game.

Kevin Marquez

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Zito is Finito

After watching Barry Zito let another batter off the hook, after having a two-strike count on the batter, (and it just happened to be the opposing pitcher) I have had it with number 75.

I had hoped this season he would come into his own, after reading articles (and sharing some on this blog) about how much he had learned through all the bad press. But he lacks the killer instinct to put batters away and therefore his team loses.

Sure, the Giants are notorious for not matching good offense with good pitching but a pitcher has to handle his end and Zito fails to do so, time and time again. I mean the guy is an automatic out who has learned to bunt but for the money he is being paid you'd think he'd do more.

Since he signed the outrageous contract offered him by Brian Sabean and Giants' brass he has led the league in allowing opposing pitchers base hits off of him and batters reaching base after being behind in the count. You can look it up! (as Casey Stengel used to say. AND, it should be duly noted, when he gives up these hits the count is usually: no balls, two strikes.)

What is it about Barry Zito that says to opponents, 'let him get ahead of you because he seems to lose ferocity after that happens.'

Most pitchers use a no-balls two-strike count to bury the batter but not Mr. Nice Guy, Barry Zito. Nope, he just feels the need to offer up one more meatball for good measure. And the end result is, boy does the San Francisco Giants' organization look stupid for signing Barry Zito to such a high-priced contract. (Once again, the idea that Zito doesn't miss a start just boils down to Zito "just showing up" because he really doesn't make his appearance worthy of anything positive.)

Kevin Marquez

Monday, August 30, 2010

Bungle in the Tunnel

Yes, this is in reference to the Botcher, a.k.a. Bruce Bochy.

Yesterday, in the Giants 9-7 win, I ask Manager Bochy, why was Javier Lopez brought in to face just one batter? It wasn't his fault Juan Uribe has less range than the ageless Omar Visquel (who is still playing at a high level with the Chicago White Sox) and yet he gets removed for Santiago Casilla. A pitcher who takes your breath away, not because of his awesome ball movement, which can be sensational, but more because you know the catcher doesn't know where Casilla's next pitch will be going.

The Giants need to look seriously at a shortstop who can cover ground. Brandon Crawford, the top selection in the 2008 First Year Player Draft from U.C.L.A. should be high on their list of choices for someone who plays shortstop next year.

Do they do the Buster Posey thing by letting him hang around the minors for the first couple of months or do they bring him with the big club when training camp breaks?

You see, in baseball, you can only hide someone with limited ability so long. And the shortstop position as well as Jose Guillen in right-field is asking for trouble. In every game of the recent series (Aug. 27-29) versus the Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Guillen had misplayed a ball. And it's largely due to the fact that he moves like Bengie Molina would if he were in the outfield.

Not a good fit, to say the least.

This 2010 season has been a fun year and I would hate like hell to see the Giants blow their chances for winning enough games to enter the post-season because the manager thinks a bat is more important than a glove.

Your thoughts? Or is this like what (KNBR sportstalk host) Gary Radnich says most days, "Nobody cares." (When referencing something the vast majority of the listening audience has little to no interest in discussing.)

Kevin Marquez

Monday, August 23, 2010

Fielding Culbreth...Is That A Chip on Your Shoulder?

Say Fielding, every fourth day it's your turn to call balls and strikes, correct? Does this work for you? I mean you get treated well being that you are representing the Major Leagues of Baseball, albeit as an umpire, right?

Judging by your efforts on Sunday, August 22, 2010 at St. Louis, I'd say you were disinterested at best.

The sporadic strike zone you allowed for Barry Zito and the favorable one you provided for a St. Louis Cardinal rookie was in a word: sickening.

The San Francisco Giants pitching staff has had only 2 wins from its starters in the past 16 games and I think the fact that some umpires are inconsistent with the strike zone has a lot to do with it.

Sure, the pitcher has to adjust. But if that means having to throw pitches over the middle of the plate he may as well ask the batter where he wants the pitch thrown. When the umpire exhibits a poor judgment of what a strike is then it is the umpires who need make the adjustments. Someone up in the Replay Booth needs to taser the ump with a tweet that he's off the mark and the game itself is suffering because of it.

The umpires are arbiters of the text inside the rulebooks. They must and shall aways adhere to these rules. The umpire is the person who knows the full-intent and meaning of these rules. It's not open to interpretation. If it is the umpire who needs an interpretation of the rules, he is NOT doing his job.

These "chips on their shoulders" in blue have the attitude that they are the law. Fu-get-about da rulesbook! I am the law. That attitude is as old and stale as the calorically-challenged-umpire's breath.

This is why we need Instant Replay. The same way You Tube has invaded our privacy, a constant camera angle on the "Chips'" work behind the plate will show those (whose job it is to review the umpire) just how consistent that particular "Chip" is and if the umpire gives a half-hearted effort, for whatever reason, it'll be duly noted by the person reviewing his performance.

It has been long overdue that all sports use the technology to get the calls right and not give the officials unlimited power in how they choose to interpret rules. I am the first one to say I'd rather have a human do it but if the human is stubborn and appears to be ad-libbing something that has a distinguished rule assigned to it then that person needs to be replaced.

If you don't want to follow the rules and do what you were hired to do, you no longer do that job.

Of course, like with everything else, not everybody is guilty of this half-hearted effort. We just need to weed out the ones whose consistency leaves something to be desired.

Umpires have set the bar very high for their profession. They don't need attitudes in need of adjustment or chips on their shoulders to lower the bar. They are there to see to it that the rules are followed and no one is getting an unfair advantage. By no means can we accept that it is the umpires whose bad judgment and questionable behavior is what's providing the unfair advantage.

Kevin Marquez

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Best Advice I Ever Got

(From an article in ESPN magazine, dated 8/9/10)

Richard Jefferson (San Antonio Spurs)

"When I first got here, Tim Duncan told me, "Don't suck. As long as you don't suck, you'll be helping the team.' He basically told me that I wasn't very good. Now, most nights, if I play okay, Tim says, "Yo, you didn't suck tonight.' So, for the most part, I try not to think about anything other than not sucking. It's good to know that as long as I don't suck, as long as I don't hurt the team, as long as I'm neutral, I'm okay."

Mariano Rivera (New York Yankees)
"A long time ago, Whitey Ford told me, 'When you're getting a pinch-hitter, don't try to change.'"

Mardy Fish (tennis)
"'If you play like you're broke and hungry, you'll never be either.'" My dad told me that."

Brandon Jennings (Milwaukee Bucks)
"The harder you work during peace, the less you bleed during war."

Barry Bonds (all-time MLB HR leader)
"I got so much good advice from my father and from Willie (Mays). Once when I was a kid, I was talking too much and Willie said: 'Open your eyes, and that'll quiet your voice." I used to talk a lot, but when I started to be quiet and study more, I became a better player."

Jennifer Harman (professional poker player)
"Chip Reese gave me some great advice about 10 years ago. 'You know Jen, If you play your hands right, you can't worry about the outcome.'"

Elton Brand (Philadelphia 76ers)
"My mom always gives me motivation. A long time ago we were going through tough times, and she's very religious, so she says, 'Greater is he that's in me that he that's in the world.' To me, that means you stay with your faith, focus and work hard, and everything will pan out. And it always sseems to do that."


(thanks to the ESPN mag dated August 9, 2010 for the advice)

Kevin Marquez

Everyone With an Opinion is an Expert

It's tough listening to sports talk radio when your favorite team is struggling. And that is because, everyone with an opinion thinks they're an expert.

Just as the word great is often misused, so is the word expert. Not everyone referred to as an expert has that special skill or knowledge in the subject introduced by the sports talk show's host(s). But just as Yogi Berra's quotes are funny, as well as remarkably accurate, what seems so grammatically imperfect is its own charm. Sometimes a caller says something so outrageous you lose track of the subject matter and just laugh hysterically.

Most comments heard on the radio are conjecture. Words spewed from the mouths of fans that have reached their fill of what's been happening and they are not amused.

You may be educated by the host of the show but you cannot expect much from the callers. Occasionally callers will surprise you and perhaps even enlighten you-the listener- but they aren't the reason why I listen. I want to hear the host discuss what he has determined to be the hot topics based on what happened the previous day.

Good hosts have a low tolerance for bad callers, unless the callers are so outrageous it's gut-busting funny! (The host can always blame the bad call on the call screeners.)

680AM, KNBR and 1050AM have hosts with good sense of humors so their shows will have their moments.

Kevin Marquez

Baseball Terminology...A Lot Depends on Broadcasters

I feel very fortunate that the San Francisco Giants hire the best play-by-play announcers. These "voices" sell the product that is Giants baseball better than any advertisement could and they have decent ads.

Baseball begins in March, with Spring training, and ends in October (if your favorite team plays well enough to make the post-season). That's eight months of a twelve month year. The voices of your favorite ballclub are like family, the way they enter your life by way of the airwaves. Some people prefer watching baseball on television, but when I first followed the grand old game I had a transistor and it's my preference to listen to games on the radio.

People see me walking with my walkman and they probably see something that is outdated but it serves me just fine.

I enjoy tuning into Giants baseball and am entertained by the likes of Jon Miller, Dave Fleming, Duane Kuiper, Mike Krukow and occasionally J.T. Snow or F.P. Santangelo. I am so plugged into their insights that often I'll say something and moments later the announcer will repeat what I just said.

Baseball terms, you can find them under Wikipedia's glossary of baseball. The explanation of terms is interesting, especially since the glossary is an ever-growing list of words.

For example, it's no longer a bloop, excuse-me swing, duck snort or dying quail. The in vogue term, according to Giant broadcasters (Miller and or Fleming), is looping liner.

Ninety-nine percent of the time a looping liner falls safely. If a fielder were somehow able to catch this accidental phenomenon it would have been described as a squibber or a ball that was cued as if hit with a billiard stick.

Kevin Marquez

Monday, August 16, 2010

Be on the Lookout for Bad Home Plate Umpiring.

Nothing ruins the good ole game of baseball like bad home plate umpiring.

Yesterday, at AT&T, Daryl Cousins assumed the role of umpire calling balls and strikes. And the attitude he exuded was, 'it doesn't matter what you think, if I say it's a strike, it's a strike.'

The San Diego Padres were the benefactors of a more batter-friendly strike zone than were the hometown Giants.

Now, I've said this before and it bears repeating, when your team struggles to score runs, things like this are magnified tremendously.

And as far as Cousins is concerned, this was another day of bad judgment and questionable behavior. It wasn't so much a matter of teaching an old dog (as Cousins has been around a few years) new tricks but more like teaching a dumb ass dog a (one-singular) new trick. But apparently, Cousins never got "fetch!"

You could see the look on his face, the countenance of someone searching for trouble as if armed and ready to toss the first person who questioned his questionable efforts. It was, in a word, disgusting.

Meanwhile, the Padres hit duck snort after duck fart and they bled the Giants with dukeys until the final score read 8-2.

Perhaps the outcome would have been different had Jose Guillen decided to be happy with a leadoff double. Or the several batters who had 3-balls 0-strike counts only to get 2 phantom strikes on pitches way off the plate but in the center of the catcher's glove (word to Cousins, it kind of matters where his glove is before you bellow "Strike." I mean, uh, if the catcher is setting up outside of the strike zone, it's, uh, not a strike."

A count that goes from 3-and-0 to full, means the batter, not knowing what the umpire's strike zone is, will probably protect. And sometimes the foul is a popup to a fielder.

Oh well, it was only one game. I hadn't graded the performance of Daryl Cousins before yesterday but I will now. To see just how consistently bad this guy is when it's his turn to call balls and strikes.

I won't give him the benefit of the doubt because of his demeanor. He is not worthy of such respect.

Kevin Marquez