Monday, March 22, 2010

Commentary on the Ages

As a kid growing up there were always the comparisons of the home run hitters. Willie Mays versus Hammerin' Hank Aaron. Things like Aaron never losing any time to the military service or the fact that he played in stadiums known to aid and abet fly balls. I mean Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta, George was known as the Launching Pad. It was where the players may not have been on steroids but the winds were on steroids. It must have seemed like the intense breezes were squalls or a tornado to those who pitched there. (And, oh by the way, the place where Willie Mays played when the Giants moved to San Francisco, Candlestick Park, had the exact opposite problems with mighty winds.)

So years later, the son of a pretty good ballplayer (in Bobby Bonds) sees a big Irish man swat homer after homer and thinks, 'I can do that if I use whatever he's using to increase his strength' and puts up numbers Babe Ruth would be envious of, had he not been surrounded in the lineup with a group of players referred to as Murderer's Row.

I will always be a Barry Bonds fan. Nothing he did has an asterisk beside it. It's the way the game was played when he was playing. In Babe Ruth's day they had ghost writer's whose only job was to build up the hype of each feat as if it was something that would never happen again. Everything that was Ruthian was not matched until #25 stepped into the batter's box.

Players in Ruth's day rarely got any bad press. The writers new to back off when a player was playing around outside the foul lines. Nowadays the writers want to get any news they can regardless of how they invade a person's privacy. I heard a term on KNBR, the Sports Leader, last week that describes today pretty accurately: TMZ Sports.

Look how quick the tabloids pounced on Tiger Woods. The jokes came out one after the other and the mercy rule was overridden for the sake of selling papers/magazines.

So whether the prevailing winds are howling in steroidal fashion or someone has figured out a way to have his body absorb a performance enhancer without it being detected the advantage is something someone will always exploit.

Kevin Marquez

Thursday, March 18, 2010

2010 San Francisco Giants' Fifth Starter

(taken from Dan Brown, who is filling-in for Andrew Baggarly)

The fifth starter is between Madison Bumgarner, Todd Wellemeyer and Kevin Pucetas.
"So far in camp, he's the best guy I've caught," says catcher Eli Whiteside.

Pucetas throws a fastball in the low 90's complimented by a slider, curveball and changeup.

Pucetas, 25, has yet to make the majors but has made steady progress since being taken in the 17th round in 2006.

Over the course of four (4) professional seasons, the right-hander is 42W 13L with a 3.20ERA. In 500 1/3 innings he has 362 strikeouts and 117 bases on balls.

With just about two weeks left in Spring Training, I'd say he is in the lead for the fifth spot. A conversation on one of the games that was broadcasted by Dave Fleming and Doug Greenwald had the two broadcasters looking into the growth of Pucetas. How it's hard to overlook his progress while others in similar spots appear to be "treading water." (Not the announcers words, I just didn't want to be as verbose as the two play-by-play guys were so I chose to tie a neat little bow around what Fleming and Greenwald were discussing.)

(Thanks to Dan Brown for the facts on Kevin Pucetas.)

Kevin Marquez

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Let's Visit Minnesota

In 1951, Willie Howard Mays, Jr., played centerfield for the Minneapolis Millers. Hoyt Wilhelm and Tookie Gilbert were a couple of his teammates. In 35-games Mays put up the kind of numbers that caught the attention of the big club. It was time to be in the big leagues!

G-35 AB-149 R-38 H-71 HR-8 RBI-30 SB-5 AVE-.477.

Fifty-nine years later, the major league franchise Minnesota Twins open a new park. The Sporting News had a survey of former Twins about the new park.

Building a field without a dome in frigid Minnesota: good idea or bad? "I caught many games with pouring rain hitting the roof. The dome had a leak that dropped right behind the plate." Brian Harper

Should Joe Mauer stay at catcher or eventually move?
"Stay-and break every record in baseball at that position." Sandy Valdespino

Will the Twins win another World Series in the next 10 years, or are they doomed as a small-market team?

"The starting pitching needs to go deeper into games. The 100-pitch count sucks." - Bert Blyleven

The greatest Twin of any era is...

"Killebrew first, Puckett second, Carew third, (Jim) Kaat fourth. The greatest Twin of all, though, would have been Tony Oliva. Before the knee problems, he was the most feared hitter in the A.L." Eddie Bane

"Tony Oliva was my idol." Kent Hrbek

(thanks to the Sporting News the 2/1/2010 edition)

Kevin Marquez

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

(Henry) Schulman's-Valley of the Sun-Scoop

Short and sweet.
The closest to the bone, the sweeter is the meat. According to one Louis Prima.
And Henry Schulman's response to Aubrey Huff's debut.

First baseman, Aubrey Huff, summed up his entire reputation by hitting a monster home run to rightcenter on his first pitch as a Giant (batter). Then, in the bottom of the first, he dropped his first throw from an infielder, allowing Ichiro Suzuki to reach on an error.

Good topic for conversation, on March 3, 2010, will you sacrifice the dropped throw for the homer? Is it possible the dropped ball bothered Lincecum enough for him to stray a bit and "BOOM" just like that the bags were loaded for Ken Griffey? Who subsequently hit a fly ball for a sacrifice fly and an RBI. (Although he wasn't really sacrificing himself.)

(thanks to Henry Schulman for the precise piece written about Aubrey Huff on opening day, spring training.)

Kevin Marquez