Thursday, April 11, 2013

Why Los Angeles Dodgers Fans Hate the San Francisco Giants

I saw this commentary by Nick Ostiller and had to share it with my compadres-San Francisco Giants fans- as food for thought the next time them bums are in the city by the bay.

1. Shot Heard 'Round the World.
Every Dodgers fan has probably heard this and it never sounds good. Cue up the Public Address announcer before the National Anthem. We want to hear Russ Hodges say more than "Bye Bye Baby!"

2. Jackie Robinson.
He got traded to the Giants but refused to show up. All Dodger fans are endeared to the man even though some may have never learned to love him when he was playing. Perhaps only those who were taught the legend that was Robinson by their relatives. (Whatever the case, it's heartfelt so I chose to leave it in.)

3. Marichal vs. Roseboro
My understanding of this story was that Roseboro was barking the good bite. Constantly harrassing the Dominican Dandy. The Dodger catcher was much bigger than Juan so #27 felt the need to knock on Roseboro's door with his bat.
This isn't a reason for Dodger fans to hate the Giants. If it is they weren't told the story in it's entirety. Self-defense, is a situation where you just have to take it for what it is. Fear strikes us all differently and our reactions reflect this behavior.

4. Beyond Baseball
People from Southern California usually find the Northern California folks less appealing due to their being the stereotypical ultra-liberal hippies while the people from the laid back lands of the North consider those who inhabit SoCal as a superficial La La landites, always behaving like there's a camera rolling or a star with their name in it somewhere beneath their feet.

5. End of "Fernandomania"
When 20-year-old Fernando Valenzuela won his first 8 big league games leading to the 1981 World Series title, Fernandomania began. And becoming the first pitcher to win both the Rookie of the Year and Cy Young award, in the same season. But the Dodgers were swept in the final week of 1990 by the San Francisco Giants and Valenzuela would never pitch another game for Los Angeles again. Now thems grounds for some real hatred. No bueno? You better believe it!

6. Juan Uribe
All that he did for the 2010 Giants World Series winning club and all that he has not done since wearing Dodger blue.

7. Brian Johnson
Can you believe there are actually fans miffed at Johnson's game winner in extra innings at Candlestick. Hey, it's baseball. Things happen out of the ordinary when so many innings are played throughout the year. The fact that they cannot get over Johnson's climactic home run is an excellent reason to show this homer (during the 7th inning stretch of any home game versus the Dodgers), after the Bobby Thomson homer with Russ Hodges bellowing "the Giants won the pennant!" over and over (before every game). You cannot NOT play that video of Thomson's blast. Especially Hodges' call. Perhaps it IS rubbing it in. But it feels so good when you are on the winning end. It's the American way!

Have the Dodgers stopped playing Kirk Gibson's homer off of Dennis Eckersley in the 1988 World Series? I don't think so. I don't think that or any great fantastic finish ever goes away. In mind, as a visual, these moments are a part of every day conversation as the memory lives.

(thanks to Nicky Ostiller for the outlandish explanations as to why the fans of the orange and black are disliked. Can never get enough of this stuff. Fuel for the fire works for this rivalry. When you put the 2010 season in perspective it was the comeback win versus the Dodgers when Pat Burrell lost one in the seats as did Juan Uribe that fueled the teams' burst into the playoffs. Last year was "Backs against the wall." That's why more love should be given to Tim Flannery's tune "21 Days." Because that song captures the season so beautifully.)

Kevin J. Marquez

Hitting Really Has a Hold On Me

In an article posted by Carl Steward, 4/8/2013, in the San Jose Mercury, Steward goes on to say that the walk-up music for Marco Scutaro right now would be the Coasters' "Searchin'."

Says Scutaro: "I was fine in spring. I just lost the feeling. It's going to come sooner or later. You just keep playing, keep fighting. That's why hitting is so hard. It's a feeling sometimes, and you have to wait a while for it to get back. You just keep searching."

"I know what I'm doing wrong," Scutaro continued, "I don't want to do it, but my body doesn't want to cooperate. I'm jumping at the ball. Timing-wise, I'm just kind of jumpy at the plate. I don't let the ball travel."

Actually I've been in this very situation. Just couldn't contain myself. Itching to pull the trigger I cannot watch the ball go into the catcher's glove. I'm following the ball and measuring my swing and I just have to murder the darn thing.

I wouldn't say the song is "Searchin'" I'd say it's more like the Smokey Robinson tune, "You've Really Got a Hold on Me."

Baby, I don't want you, but I need you (here's the part where I just have to swing the damned bat)
Don't wanna kiss you, but I need to (like to let the ball go by but I just can't)
You do me wrong now, my love is strong now (the wide one isn't my friend but my hand-eye thinks it has a solution)
You've really got a hold on me
(You really got a hold on me)
You really got a hold on me
(You really got a hold on me) (after I hit a weak grounder to the third baseman. Or even worse, a roller back to the pitcher)

You have to get a feel for how the ball is moving. By watching it into the glove you get a sense of timing as you bend your knees, take a deep breath and await the next pitch. Or as Scutaro says, "I have to get my rhythm back. The student of the game that he is explains himself. "During the season, it's going to happen sooner or later. You're going to get off. (Song is your choice.) That's what you fight the entire year, hitting-wise. You just try to make adjustments every day."

One hundred and sixty-games, from April to October, is a long season. All kinds of things to deal with. But losing and the finding the rhythm can be an uncomfortable one seeing as how we all need a certain amount of balance incorporated in our every day lives. Movements must flow like a boot camp cadence or the shinbone will become a device for finding furniture in a dark room.

(thanks to Carl Steward of San Jose Mercury for his article about Marco Scutaro)

Kevin J. Marquez

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Bruce Dreckman: Two Thumbs Down (for his home plate umpiring performance on 4/3/13 in Chavez Ravine)

I listen to the Giants on KNBR 680 AM radio. The play-by-play in last night's 5-3 win over the Dodgers was done by Jon Miller and Dave Fleming. And for the entire game Miller and Fleming remarked how home plate umpire, Bruce Dreckman was not calling the pitch across the knees. To all baseball fans if the pitch is where they said it was THIS IS A STRIKE!

Now, let us go to the pitcher who started the game for the San Francisco Giants. He was Tim Lincecum. A player who struggled mightily in the 2012 season but who raised his game to a new level as a relief pitcher in the post season. And despite all of his woes last year and during the spring training season we are all trying to get a read on this beloved hurler for our esteemed Giants.

After watching him in the Cactus League I determined that if he has an umpire incapable of consistently calling balls and strikes that he would not fare well. Well, last night he got one of those buffoons behind the plate and he managed to make it through five innings (which qualifies a starting pitcher for a "win") with his team leading at his departure and at the end of the game. Tim Lincecum wasn't getting the "across the knees" strike therefore having to raise the zone and putting his pitches in harm's way. Only three hits were allowed. Tim Lincecum proved that he could overcome the adversity of an umpire with a shaky strike zone. And for that, I tip my cap.

Seven walks. Were they? Take away a portion of someone's livelihood and you force that someone to make adjustments on the fly. Heck, most people can't walk and chew gum at the same time. NOW put a pitcher in the unfriendly confines of Chavez Ravine with a heckling crowd and add someone dressed in dark blue, in the vicinity of home plate, misjudging how pitches are crossing the plate or landing in the catcher's glove and you know the man was focused. Throw in a passed ball by Hector Sanchez and a boot by Buster and you know number 55 was bound and determined.

I listened to the game trying to picture what it must have been like in Los Angeles where a major league umpire had the power to determine whether a pitcher had to get the batter out on his skill and guile or whether a batter had a chance to step into the batter's box, grip the stick and rip. And Bruce Dreckman chose the grip it and rip mode. Fortunately, it was the Giants who took advantage by ripping two homers (Panda and Pence).

And to put the cherry on the sundae my cousin's name was selected for the Grand Slam inning (Anita South). Unfortunately, for her, our man Lincecum led off with Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro following but they went 1-2-3. Earlier in the game Lincecum had a battle with his opposing pitcher, Josh Beckett and was able to hit a grounder up the middle to bring in the tying run. Scutaro made a stellar defensive play with Brandon Crawford following that up with a web gem that I'm sure ESPN played over and over. Anytime you get a player with the blazing speed of Carl Crawford you must get the spotlight. And if they did not, for shame.

Kevin J. Marquez