Friday, October 24, 2014

You've Got to be Kidding!

How in the hell can Major League baseball be telling everyone that it grades the umpires on a day-to-day basis and they go and assign an umpire (Eric Cooper) the job of calling balls and strikes in Game 2 of the World Series, when the sumbitch chooses not to call the corners?

Mike Krukow, has created a fantastic book on how umpires call games. He no doubt used one when he was pitching for the Cubs, Phillies, and Giants. If in his scouting report he says the person in charge of calling balls and strikes 'doesn't call the corners' and the games goes by innings one through nine and the umpire doesn't call any corners I would say that's a nightmare for the both the batter and the pitcher. Jake Peavy is a pitcher who relies on being able to pitch to the corner. Take away a part of his game and you put a choke hold on their entire staff for that night's game.

How in the hell can you have someone as visually challenged as Eric Cooper umpire a game in the World Series? "It's the World Series, Nurse Ratched!" The major leagues doesn't get it. They have the review but what you and I see on the video replay say one thing and what those booze hounds in the New York central studios (those grand poobahs of the loyal order of imbibe) see are two different things. And that just proves there's a flaw in the system.

So far no tag plays have been blown by the umps. But assigning an ump to call balls and strikes who doesn't call the corners is inexcusable.

Kevin J. Marquez

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Phillies/Padres Brawl of 1985

When the Phillies and Padres brawled in 1985, pitcher John Denny and infielder Tim Flannery began slugging each other near third base. San Diego's backup catcher, Bruce Bochy and closer Goose Gossage hopped the bullpen fence.

After 10 seasons of professional squatting, seven of them in the big leagues, Bochy's feet tended to kick out when he walked, an endless source of amusement for his teammates. Unfortunately for the Padres' relievers, the combination of having to navigate both the bullpen mound and the catcher's extremities while keeping their eyes on the fight proved to be too much; pitchers Tim Stoddard and Greg Booker clipped Bochy's ankles, and all 3 tumbled to the ground.

"I give myself credit because I was the first one out of the bullpen," said Bochy. "Unfortunately, I couldn't run very well, so everyone was catching up... Those two guys who went over me are probably 500 pounds alone, and then myself, so the guys behind them all went down also. We were all just laying there on the ground, laughing. Meanwhile, Flannery's getting beat up awhile, so he's wondering where we were."

Even before they made the move to San Francisco, Bochy and Flannery were quite the tandem.

Kevin J. Marquez

Today is Game One of the 2014 World Series between the home team Kansas City Royals and the visiting San Francisco Giants.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Bad for Baseball

When I am following a ballgame on the radio I make it a point to follow the announcer's lead. Hear what it is that is catching the speaker's interest, because he is "at the game" and hopefully his description is filling-in-the-blanks of any fan who is also 'at the game' but wants some in-depth explanation about what it is he/she is seeing between the foul lines.

Now in this day and age of constantly advertising for a Subway play of the day or the Toyota call of the game or the Hawaiian Airline tip of the day, e.g. from Richard Pryor: My uncle had said, "Boy, don't you ever kiss no pussy. I mean that! Whatever you do in life, don't kiss no pussy. So I couldn't wait to kiss the pussy, since he'd been wrong about everything else!" And that's your tip of the day...

Anywho, we all know the major leagues has the best ballplayers in the world. Why can't we say that about the umpires? Every game there is a home plate, first base, second base and third base umpire. And with every crew it always seems like 2 of its members have an idea about what a strike is while the other two give the impression they are guessing. Am I right?

I think it is painfully obvious in the playoffs who has a consistent strike zone that benefits the game, not the pitcher or the hitter, as in 'he has a pitcher's strike zone' or with Laz Diaz in the Giants/Nationals first game, if you don't call the corners and the pitcher has to throw right down the middle of the plate, in the "hit me zone" you are going to get a nail-biter like yesterday, considering the Nationals have almost an entire lineup, one through eight that can go yard, that are just waiting for that pitch to launch since they know the umpire's plate is a fuzzy circle without corners. (Question, when an umpire goes for an eye test, you think they are shown all sizes of home plates, the way the letter "E" is flipped around, to see if the guy really can't see the corners?)

How many times have you been watching or listening to a game and throughout the game the announcer (Jon Miller or Dave Fleming) is repeatedly saying how the K-zone showed that to be a strike, I really don't know what the umpire is looking at, and then all of a sudden the pitcher becomes the benefactor of an altered strike zone. What is the cause of this? Why does the umpire change his choice of what is and what isn't a strike? Is it because the pitcher, the individual on the mound just somehow got through to the ump that 'hey, you're missing a good game.' And due to the reputation of this pitcher the ump just went along with the pitcher's suggestion. I mean it happens that fast and seemingly out of nowhere. I don't see what the ump has to gain by suddenly giving in to one strike zone while the other pitcher gets no adjustment whatsoever.

For a high percentage of games, in the major leagues, it works like this: GIVE A BATTER MORE THAN 3 STRIKES AND THE PITCHER PAYS DEARLY and SNAP A PITCHER OUT OF HIS FUNK (DUE TO YOUR POOR STRIKE ZONE) AND A GAME'S MOMENTUM CHANGES IN THAT PITCHER'S FAVOR. Umpires like this are bad for baseball.

Kevin J. Marquez

Saturday, August 30, 2014

One May Be the Loneliest Number but...

On August 29, 1977, Duane Kuiper hit the only home run of his career off of Steve Stone, while Stone was with the White Sox at Cleveland's Municipal Stadium.

Steve Stone was originally drafted by the San Francisco Giants.

On November 29, 1972 Stone was traded with (OF) Ken Henderson to the White Sox for Tom Bradley.
On December 11, 1973, Stone was traded with Steve Swisher to the Chicago Cubs for Ron Santo.
On November 29, 1978, Stone was signed by the Baltimore Orioles as a free agent. In 1980, Stone would win the American League Cy Young award, posting a 25-7 won/loss record with a 3.23 ERA.

Duane Kuiper was drafted by the Chicago White Sox of the 1970 amateur draft in the 1st round but did not sign.
In the 1972 amateur draft he was selected by the Cleveland Indians in the 1st round and did sign.
On November 14, 1981, the Cleveland Indians traded Kuip to the San Francisco Giants for RHP- Ed Whitson.

Like Kuip says, he sure got a lot of mileage out of that home run off of Stoney in August of 1977.

(thanks to for the facts)

Kevin Marquez

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Some Guys are Just CLUTCH. In Orange and Black it's spelled: B-U-S-T-E-R.

August 26th, 2014 at AT&T Park, in a game between the Colorado Rockies and SF Giants and its scoreless after 5 innings.

Not a whole lot different from many of the Giants' games but one thing had to pique one's interest was that MadBum was perfect. In baseball terminology, that meant 15 men up and 15 men down.

Then Buster Posey, Bum's battery-mate, rips one over the wall, and it's Orange and Black-2 Purple-0.

When Justin Morneau got the double to break up the perfect game you realized the score was only 2-0, with the leadoff batter on second base, in scoring position. How many times had a perfect game turned into defeat when a pitcher was pitching a gem of a ball game?

Ask Bob Hendley, of the Chicago Cubs, the night Sandy Koufax threw his perfecto. (Charles Robert (Bobby) Hendley was born on April 30, 1939 in Macon, Georgia, where he still lives today. He attended Lanier High School (now called Central High School) and led his team to the Georgia State High School Championship. Hendley was also a standout athlete on the school’s basketball and track teams.

Hendley received a scholarship to the University of Georgia; however he elected to forego college to sign with the Milwaukee Braves after being drafted by them in 1958.

Drafted out of high school, Bobby Hendley made his Major League debut with the Milwaukee Braves on June 23, 1961.

After the 1963 season, Hendley was traded from Milwaukee to the San Francisco Giants in a six-player deal. On May 28, 1965, he and Harvey Kuenn were traded by the Giants to the Chicago Cubs. Although they didn’t know it at the time, both Hendley and Kuenn would become immortalized in baseball history a short four months later.)

The fact that the Koufax’s perfect game ended with a score of 1-0, although remarkable, is not what sets the game apart from any of the other (now) 23 perfect games ever pitched; in fact there have been seven perfect games with a 1-0 final score. No, what puts the Koufax perfect game into a class of its own is that while no Cubs player managed to get a hit or reached base safely, the Dodgers themselves managed to get only one hit and had only two base runners during the entire game. If you really want to get technical, there was actually only one Dodger player to reach base safely during the game when you consider that it was Dodgers left fielder “Sweet” Lou Johnson who reached base both times – once on a 5th-inning walk and the other on a bloop double behind Cubs Hall of Fame first baseman Ernie Banks in the 7th inning.

Obviously the fact that Koufax faced the minimum of 27 batters without allowing a base runner is the big story here, but the fact that Cubs left-hander Bobby Hendley allowed only one hit himself is what makes this epic pitcher’s dual the greatest game ever played.

What makes this game even more incredible it that it wasn’t even Sweet Lou’s bloop double that accounted for the only run scored in the game – in fact, Johnson was left stranded on second base. It was the leadoff walk to Johnson in the bottom of the 5th inning on a 3-2 pitch (that could have been called either way) that led to the only run of the game. That questionable 3-2 pitch was the difference between a 1-0 shutout and a double no-hitter through 8 1/2 innings.

Then Buster hits another bomb and the score is 3-0. The catcher helps the pitcher and the Giants win 3-0.

It's now officially "Put a Fork In It Time." Because now, and only now is there hope of something special happening.
Like hitting rock bottom, not until then is there reason to believe things will change.

Kevin J. Marquez

(thanks to this website for the Bobby Hendley info:

Monday, August 25, 2014

Time to Put a Fork in the 2014 San Francisco Giants

After seeing Mike Morse bumble around in left field with the reasoning that as long as he hits homers and drives in runs his pathetic defense won't be enough to cost the team any games (that theory really backfired, eh?) and then the horrific Monday night game on August 25th, against a Rockies team with the worst record in baseball (although against the Giants they are 8-4) it is time to put a fork in the 2014 Giants.

If you look up the old posts I may have done the same thing in 2010 and 2012, because in either year there was a point of no return that, well, being a Giant's fan is just too much to endure. Nothing sickens me more than bad baseball. When you make mistake after mistake, do everything possible to assist the opponent into scoring runs and then the age old inconsistent strike zone. Enough, is enough.

Time to see if the 49ers can come to their senses and re-sign Alex Boone and if Colin Kaepernick can learn how to add touch to his passes and not throw the fastball every time.

Barring a miracle, like the ones in 2010 and 2012 I don't see any reason for me to tune into 680AM, KNBR. With their lame ads and idiotic promos, that too is something I don't really need to be subjected to, know what I mean.

Kevin J. Marquez

PS: They better sign Pablo (Pah-blow) not (pab-low) or next season will be another six months of futility.

One should note, that WHEN to put a fork in something is the key to making it happen.
In 2010 and 2012, the torture and total frustration were enough to place el tenedor in the orange and black hopes.
Now, this 2014 team is the year of Panik, and the fork needed to be applied. It is the last hope to change the fate of a favorite team.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I Thank Joe Torre

Go back in your San Francisco Giants' time machine.
Back to the dreary days of when Orlando Cepeda was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for Ray Sadecki.
Cepeda goes on to win the MVP and the Cardinals win the World Series in 1967.

Then on March 17, 1969, Cepeda was traded to the Atlanta Braves for Joe Torre. Torre, joins the Cardinals and he too gets the "magic" as he wins the 1971 MVP. Torre remembers these days and sees how the Giants got "Ground-screwed" by those buffoons on the Cub payroll. He takes the Giants protest and makes the Cubs have to continue the game in the bottom of the 5th inning, ahead 2-0, Thursday, August 21, 2014 at the friendly confines of Wrigley Field.

Sometimes there is justice.

Kevin J. Marquez

They Got "Grounds-Screwed" at Wrigley Field, August 19,2014

Did you see the ultimate in incompetence when it comes to a grounds crew putting, or attempting to place, a tarp on the infield during a downpour of rain?

On August 19, 2014, at Wrigley Field, the crew re-enacted an old Three Stooges skit as they fussed with, and miscalculated the length and distance of tarp while the skies opened up with a hard-driving rain. And in a season where the Giants have had their share of being "Replayed" by the Stooges in their New York call center, tonight they got a once in a lifetime flogging by the most incompetent group of jokers since the sound effects reduced Curly, Moe, and Larry to buffoons of the most recognizable order. The Giants indeed got "Grounds-Screwed."

And since the major leagues probably will not do a thing about this inability to cover the field, one has to wonder if there wasn't a degree of intent or purpose to this mockery of unrolling the tarp and placing it over the infield of a baseball diamond. That this is allowed just goes to show how the powers that be really aren't concerned with "getting the call right" but instead just giving the illusion that they'd like all calls to be accurate but the end result is that those buffoons in New York are getting footage the teams AT that particular game are not seeing and that what happened to the Giants at Cubs on August 19, 2014 is just an "oops" that no one will do a damned thing about.

The world is filled with people who act as if they give a damn but after further review you come to realize it's all an act.

This so-called effort comes across as pitiful. What we witnessed tonight was DESPICABLE. Those hired to review calls-in-question and even the inept performances like the comedic grounds crew chumps of Chi-town on August 19, 2014, ought to be ashamed. When those involved cannot accept responsibility or those "chosen few" in New York hide behind the facade of never being introduced by major league baseball by name and title,no photo ID, no name, and no accountability is just plain pathetic.

Kevin J. Marquez

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Unbelievable Circumstances Cost Giants One Run. What IS the Rule?

BASE PATH - The base path belongs to the runner EXCEPT when a fielder is in the path attempting to field a batted ball or when a fielder is in the path and in possession of the ball. After a runner has been put out (typically on a force play at second) he has NO rights to the base path. If R1 is put out at second by a long distance, he must duck or get out of the path. If he is hit with the throw while in the path, or makes contact with the fielder who is in the act of throwing, while on his feet, he is guilty. Rule 7.08(b), 7.09(L)

In the bottom of the first inning of a game (August 12, 2014 @ AT&T) between the Chisox and Giants, Hunter Pence triples. Next batter, Buster Posey, grounds one to shortstop but as Pence begins his sprint home he notices the bat is in the way so he goes in standing up and gets tagged out because of his inability to slide.

Because it was his teammate who dropped the bat is this legal? What about sportsmanship? As an umpire or catcher I immediately would toss the bat aside to clear the path as to avoid any possibility of injury. That the catcher and home plate umpire just left the bat lying there annoys me. Am I wrong for thinking that because they did leave the bat in the path of the runner there must be a rule protecting both the catcher and home plate umpire? Otherwise, one of the aforementioned would have kicked or tossed the stick aside. It wouldn't have been a matter of safety for the catcher but rather an opportunity to make a play.

What is the rule?

Kevin J. Marquez

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Something Shady

When an umpire rules that a base runner-sliding into a base- came off of the base, in which the fielder kept the glove on the base runner OUT, isn't the same true, depending on whether the great and powerful video crew gets the appropriate angle. Can you then rule "Safe!" if while the defender is applying the tag, the ball rattles around inside his glove?

You won't always get the shot that shows the ball rattling around in the glove, but on those fortuitous moments when the glove happens to be turned in a way as to expose the insecure ball this should be definitive enough to either over-rule or leave the damned call alone.

Just who are those douches in New York, anyway? Why aren't the players, managers, and coaches seeing EXACTLY what those douchebags in New York are viewing to allow them to make the decisions they are arriving at? There is something shady about this newly implemented system in Major League Baseball.

Kevin J. Marquez

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Home Plate Umpires Be Aware!

Far as I can see, fans are not showing up to the games to see you. But if you don't do the job you were hired to do you will be heckled.
I understand you guys/gals have it rough. But you knew what you were getting into when you signed up for the duty of umpiring baseball games.

I would like to see the home plate umpire pay attention to how the pitcher is throwing the ball on a given night and see if you can adjust to his pitch. Rather than making him adjust to your strike zone, take an inning or two to see what the pitcher is doing. Now if the guy is all over the place and unable to enter anywhere near the strike zone (rulebook version) then you go by what you deem to be a strike. (Hopefully, rulebook version.)

I say this because the fans that went to see that game were going to see the pitcher on their favorite team. And if the pitcher is known to be "around the plate" but on a particular night was in the lower half of the strike zone (or upper) I think it's the home plate umpire's duty to make the adjustment for the better game outcome.

If your strike zone is strictly yours and one team is getting the benefit of an easier adjustment, who do you think is going to win? That is not why umpires were added to the game of baseball. Quite the contrary. Umpires were introduced into the game to follow a set of rules that kept the game fair and eliminated any extra curricular or unseemly behavior. Your job initially was to keep things in line. No hanky-panky.

When one teams appears to have an advantage the umpires truly are the "bad guys." There is a real good chance that game will have gotten out-of-hand and an indelible scuff mark will remain in the fans' and players' minds because of the ineptness of that particular game's umpire crew.

Finally, I think it behooves you to have a yielding manner in which to call balls and strikes. Those who have this style of assessing what is and is not a strike will get a better understanding from the players,coaches, and managers because they will remember how your flexibility was for the betterment of the game and they'll think twice about giving you grief on a bad night you may have in the future.

Kevin J. Marquez

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Lincecum's Full House

On June 25, 2014, I was wondering what to do for the day game between the Giants and Padres. After the two games before (on Monday and Tuesday) I probably shouldn't have put much thought into it, but I'm unemployed and awaiting a call as to whether I will or will not be hired. So I have what some might refer to as nervous energy.

Shall I walk to Golden Gate Park or just get a bite to eat and listen to Lincecum vs. Ian Kennedy on 680 KNBR? The two pitchers used to go head-to-head in college when Tim was on the University of Washington and Kennedy on the Trojans of USC. So I was kind of looking forward to the meeting. Besides, I had a book I was reading that I was fully invested in and I wanted to finish it. (Johnny Cash, The Life)

After six innings I started thinking, 'Hmmm, the home plate umpire has a pitcher's strike zone and Lincecum was breezing through the Padre batting order. The 7th inning was quick and the Giants scored two runs to make it 4-0.

The Eighth inning was of no difficulty and the ninth had a grounder in which Lincecum actually made the play on. Sometimes he's so tangled up in the wind-up of his he is in no position to field. So you knew that yesterday he was feeling pretty good. Then the grounder to Panik, love that name, and his second no-hitter is in the book.

He even got two hits and scored two runs. Wow, he expressed joy over that feat himself.

Then I began to think about pitchers who pitched great games and also did well with the bat. And I remembered on June 23, 1971 (yes, I had to look up the actual date) Rick Wise, of the Philadelphia Phillies pitched a no-hitter and hit two home runs in the game. He would hit two homers again in one game that season, finishing that season with 6 homers.

I remembered a game in 1966, when I was a kid when Tony Cloniger belted two grand slams against our beloved Giants. When I looked it up I was re-assured that it was on a Sunday, July 3, 1966. Why is that? Because I was at my cousins house for someone's birthday. Sunday would have been the day, for sure. In Cloniger's game he had AB-5 R-2 H-3 RBI-9. And he also served up a big fly to his opposing pitcher, Ray Sadecki. The guy we got in the Orlando Cepeda trade.

And I would be remissed, Holy Cow! if I didn't mention Buster Posey. Here was yet another example of how this ballplayer rises to the occasion. He went 4-for-4 and it was his blast off the bricks that upped the count from 2-0 to 4-0. Clutch. What is clutch? To me, it is doing what it takes when it matters most. And much like the pitcher in yesterday's classic, the two of these guys have shown San Francisco Giants' fans they have what it takes to make "it" happen. These two are winners.

No matter how many callers waste the listeners time to whine about how Timmy blows or Posey is overrated, on the Sports Leader (KNBR680AM), we all know that when the chips are down these two ballplayers find a way to get in the win column.

(thanks to for making my memories more accurate than they might have been)

Oh, what's Lincecum's full house?...55 2,2,2 (2-Cy Youngs, 2-World Series rings, 2-no-hitters)

Kevin J. Marquez

Monday, June 16, 2014

Who Are These Guys?

In back to back to back games in which their closer threw a pitch that was hit in such a way as to "fool" Angel Pagan and the failue to execute a double-play in Sunday's game led to comeback victories by the Colorado Rockies the one thing that really captured my attention was the umpires' effort to make themselves known.

Two unknown umpires, youths breaking onto the scene, both had the attitude that they were going to make themselves known by subscribing to a strike zone not in your 2014 Major League Rulebook. Their strike zone will not be found in any rule book, unless, of course, they have come out with their own. And if this is true, who do they think they are, to shove aside the rules that have been etched in the book since it was decided that an unbiased arbiter rule on the plays made by one team on another team?

Sure, in the 1800s there was plenty of hiring "their own" going on. In 1893, the distance from the pitcher's mound to home plate increased from 50 feet to 60 feet and six inches. And it was around this time that some stabilization was being assigned to the rules of the game. In 1883, foul balls caught on the bounce were outs in the Junior Circuit. But the National League said no more to that rule.

It wasn't until 1933 that the major leagues adopted the three-umpires system. In 1952, a four-man team was instituted for all regular season major league games.

When the mounds were lowered after the 1968 season, the strike zone for 1969 was altered as such: The Strike Zone is that space over home plate which is between the batter's armpits and the top of his knees when he assumes a natural stance. Rickey Henderson's stance would not be considered natural as I'm sure he had umpires explain why they called the pitches the manner in which they did.

In 1988, the strike zone was that area over home plate, the upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants. Lower level is the line at the top of the knees. The Strike Zone shall be determined from a batter's stance as the batter prepares to swing at the pitched ball.

In 1996, The strike zone is expanded on the lower end, moving from the top of the knees to the bottom of the knees (bottom has been identified as the hollow beneath the kneecap. "Hollow" is that place the doctor hits with the rubber hammer to check your reflexes.)

Chris Segal on Saturday and Mike Muchlinski on Sunday basically said, 'to hell with that interpretation.' I'm here to make a name for myself and I'm calling what I think is the perfect pitch for a strike. Pitchers had to work harder to get calls and batters weren't confident the umpires knew what an actual strike was and some were called out on strikes more than once. Which is a signal that they weren't sure what the umpire was calling a strike.

This an inexcusable error on the home plate umpire's part. They aren't there to deceive the batters and pitchers. Fans cannot enjoy a game they paid hard earned money to see and not know themselves what was being called a strike.

Jon Miller, in one of his rambling rants so much as said that Segal was averse at calling strikes. That he seemed to not want to call the pitch a strike. No bueno.

Muchlinski tossed Bruce Bochy at the game's end on Sunday but not before Bochy vented his displeasure of the intermittant strike zone displayed over the weekend.

Something just doesn't seem right when those who were hired to adhere to the rules can't seem to. Ya think?

Kevin J. Marquez

Thursday, June 5, 2014

From Torture to Unbelievable to Panik

Joe Panik is the name to remember.

He has always been referred to as a professional hitter. The former number one draft choice, in 2011 amateur draft, out of St. Johns University, has a way of getting on base and is competitive. His walks/strikeouts ratio is respectable. Whenever I read anything on him I am reminded of Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox. I'm not putting him in Pedroia's class just yet but his style of play is similar. He needs only the opportunity to prove he belongs.

Giant fans know that the Giants will make the necessary adjustments to the roster to assist them in their quest for the 2014 World Championship. And I'm saying they already have their second-baseman. Heck, Marco Scutaro may be able to crack the roster as a pinch-hitter.

In 2010, there was torture.

In 2012, there was worry, doubt and dread.

In 2014, with the possibility of calling up Joe Panik we how have apprehension because of the early success. Giant fans are aware that the Los Angeles Dodgers are an extremely talented group of individuals. But we also know the Giants are a "team" that plays within its limitations and brings the best out of one another on a consistent basis. Giant's fans just don't want any frustration with the team after it has shown the importance of "teamwork" throughout its run to the World Series and the success they have attained in the aforementioned years (2010, 2012).

Please Giants, do not tease us, even though it appears to be PANIK time!

Kevin J. Marquez

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Pablo Lost Home Run to Replay Speculation

A flaw in the system? On May 21, 2014, in Colorado, Pablo Sandoval lost a home run. Or was it that those MLB representatives- selected to provide a service at Major League Baseball's New York central location for replay reviews-do not know conclusive from inconclusive?

Can they discern something as obvious as the ball being blocked by the foul pole? That is, one particular slide showed the ball had disappeared behind the foul pole. Think about it, if the ball disappeared that means the ball went around the pole and in the manner it "WENT AROUND" it snuck inside the line/foul pole. That was the only clear view of what was otherwise an optical illusion. If the modern technology that allowed the frame to be frozen so you could clearly see just a foul pole justice would have been served just as well if the ball was in front of the pole at that freeze-frame moment. This would have been the proof necessary to prove that the ball curved foul before passing the pole.

In the book Pinstripe Empirea reference is made to numerous "would be" home runs by the Babe himself at Yankee Stadium. Evidently Babe Ruth hit many pop ups down the line that went over the right field foul pole that the author claims with modern day technology may have been called fair.

Some stadiums are easier to align yourself with the foul line and make the call fair or foul without the slightest hesitation. Others have obstacles that get in the way. As a home plate umpire I liked to straddle the line to help gauge the flight of the ball. It was the best position provided the ball didn't sail over the foul pole. In that case the replay review should be able to determine fair or foul.

One last question, is the matter of the ball being fair or foul the same as with a field goal. That if the ball goes over the upright it is considered by some (not all) to be "NO GOOD" because the ball did not go through the uprights.
I don't want to hear "it looked fair/foul." Leave the speculators out of the equation, please!

Kevin J. Marquez

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

These New Umpires in the MLB(2014) Need to Tighten it Up

Wikipedia has a list of current umpires and I don't recognize a whole helluva lot of them.
Some are vaguely familiar like #87 Scott Barry, #89 Cory Blaser, #94 Lance Barrett, #98 Chris Conroy, #51 Marvin Hudson and #2 Daniel Bellino but the majority of these guys are unrecognizable. And it has to do with their inability to call tag plays at the plate or distinguish a ball from a strike.

That and their ever-changing strike zone. Damn, when are the powers that be going to stick to the rulebook definition of what a strike is and have these improvisation artists adhere to said rules? How can someone just hired have so much leeway in how they do their job? Tighten it up, Powers That Be. It's an outrage!

Will Little, DJ Reyburn, Adrian Johnson, David Rackley,John Tumpane, Quinn Wolcott, Adam Hamari,Pat Hoberg, Chris Segal, Marcus Pattillo,Toby Basner, Gabe Morales, Tom Woodring, Seth Buckminster (got a thumbs down for his attempted at calling balls and strikes in both an A's and Giants game)Jordan Baker, Mike Muchlinski, Alan Porter (who did opening day at Dodger Stadium, so if you saw that game you saw how badly this guy stunk!!), Todd Tichenor, Manny Gonzalez, and finally Vic Carapazza (son-in-law of former AL ump Rich you see that favortism happens in the umpire ranks as with everything else on this planet)all need to be schooled on what a strike is and not leave it to their imaginations as to what is and what is not a strike. It is a head-scratching conundrum when you continually ask yourself who hired this guy? Balls and strikes are a struggle and his positioning on tag plays is giving him no chance to get the call right. Are the people who grade these guys going to take into account that these guys almost always have their calls overturned? Isn't that a reason to give them the boot? That and their willingness to put on some "rabbit ears" so that they can give a player, manager or coach the heave-ho, even though the player, manager, or coach is actually in the right for questioning the inaccuracy of the umps' call. Is anything these new umpires valid? I'd say as of April 22nd the answer is their ball/strike zones and ability to call tag plays are D- at best.

This and a few pitchers who seem to think they have the authority to slow the game down to a crawl is what is making the game of baseball drag to unwatchable proportions.

Kevin J. Marquez

Sunday, April 6, 2014

What Happened to Calling Balls and Strikes OR why has a tag play suddenly gotten harder to call?


Alan Porter behind the plate is unwatchable.
The home plate umpire in the Los Angeles Dodgers' opening day game for 2014 had no idea what a strike was. Judged based on his body language, if you asked him about his "strike zone" you may as well have been speaking a foreign language because his facial countenance would have reflected total disbelief. As if someone slipped something in his morning coffee and he just couldn't assimilate what the hell was happening.

It is amazing how extremely boring the game of baseball can be when umpires act as if something else besides the game is going on. When the home plate umpire is wearing sunglasses, as was Porter, even though the rules do not permit such "equipment" for the arbiter of balls and strikes it's understandable why they can use their own interpretation of the rulebook strike zone.

Hey, this rule says this and that rule says this but I'm the umpire and I can interpret each and every rule any way I see fit. Which in layman's terms means however they can make it work best for them they will most assuredly interpret the rule in that fashion.

All this moaning and groaning about speeding up the game. How about the umpires just follow the rules they were hired to adhere to? If you call a strike a strike and not leave it to your imbecilic interpretation perhaps the batters will swing and pitchers will throw in more of a rhythm than when they have to rub their eyes or ask where the pitch missed.

Michael Morse's defensive approach to Adrian Gonzalez' homer was an optical illusion. He (Morse) played that homer like he was 5'6" when the last I looked he stands 6 feet tall and 5 inches. The Giants had to know he was defensively challenged? How could they not know he was so inept?

Earlier in the season some "expert" came on a show on the A's flagship station and said Morse was the worst fielder he ever saw. It was like listening to Bobby Slayton, the comedian, rip into some overpaid ballplayer who didn't know which hand to put his glove on. I mean the guy's statement was a bull's eye. Unfortunately, I cannot remember his name. But his ball busting was point blank bingo.

The 2014 Los Angeles Dodger season opener was simply unwatchable. Alan Porter somehow making it to the big leagues as an umpire and Michael Morse in the big leagues as a left fielder.

The missed tag play by Eric Cooper in Arizona vs. Giants is unacceptable.

Kevin J. Marquez

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Eric Cooper Stunk it Up on April 1, 2014 in Arizona

Eric Cooper. Had trouble with balls and strikes and missed a tag play at the plate. Maybe he smelled good upon arrival for the game but by game's end he most surely stunk.

How tough is it to call balls and strikes?
How tough is it to get into position to make a call on a tag play?

Evidently these are things the people who grade the umpires are still working out. Like with instant replay, in all of the preparation for using replay on questioned calls and it had not been established that on all plays at the plate, these were grounds for a reviewable call.

Anything that causes one team to score or not to score, that is the question. And Major League baseball did not think to implement into the replay procedures. It somehow slipped the minds of everyone involved. They were spending too much time worrying about the "pace of the game." But when it was determined to GET THE DAMNED CALL RIGHT you threw out the "pace of the game."

C'mon people, get your priorities in order. You've may have already cost a team a game (unfortunately it's the team I root for) and you don't think plays at the plate warrant a view from the important people in New York? New York, everything about the need to go to New York smells like low tide at Candlestick or a rainy night at the former Oakland Coliseum, home of the A's and Raiders.

And that smell last night was Eric Cooper, home plate umpire in the Giants @ Diamondbacks. Game 2 of the 2014 season.

Kevin J. Marquez

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Gentleman's Agreement to Jim Crow Laws to Getting Even With Whitey: Which is More Ignorant?

There is no hypocrisy like major league baseball hypocrisy. For the best and most current example look at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

The Gentleman's Agreement The 'old gentleman's agreement' was an agreement between Major League baseball owners not to sign African-American ballplayers to their team. This agreement helped keep blacks out of the Major Leagues and helped continue segregation not only in baseball but in life.

Jim Crow Laws- a term describing the Americans racist culture against blacks, it originated as a derogatory way of depicting black people in the minstrel shows of early 19th century America. By the 1890s, the term had come to mean the separation of blacks from whites and the general customs and laws that subordinated blacks as an inferior people. Historians have used the term in reference to the process of segregation or setting the races apart- sometimes meaning customary or informal segregation and sometimes meaning legal or codified segregation.

Whenever I read the aforementioned I get a knot in my stomach. How can you treat anyone, regardless of race as if they were inferior to you? What about the do unto others, Matthew 7:12? I just don't get how this ever originated. And I'm disgusted that one race (Caucasian) can be so separate from another (African-American). But I also didn't have anything to do with the aforementioned.

Why do I mention such a thing? Because now I am the recipient of African-Americans who just happen to sit behind the wheel of a Muni vehicle who get the greatest joy out of giving me a transfer that is less than two hours. Meanwhile, they let their own ethnicity enter through the backdoor for free.

How does this make up for whomever created the Jim Crow laws? As I said, I am sickened by such degrading treatment of another human being. And yet I am the recipient of "getting back at whitey."

Which is more ignorant? I'd really like to know. Somebody please respond to this outcry for help in this matter. I just don't get it.

Let's delve more into Jim Crow.Good information can be received on

You know how when you went to school and learned certain historical facts only to discover later on in life that this was incorrect? And to think your right answer may have been marked wrong. Oh the sleepless nights.

The election of Theodore Roosevelt in 1904 heralded one of the first Presidential administrations openly opposed to civil rights and suffrage for blacks. Roosevelt is remembered for inviting the black leader and entrepreneur,Booker T. Washington, to the White House for dinner, the first instance of such an invitation for a black person. Southern Democrats were offended, and were vocal in their disapproval. Though Washington's visit was distinctive in its novelty, Roosevelt invited Washington not to improve the situation of blacks, but because they agreed that blacks should not strive for political and social equality. Washington privately used his wealth and influence to challenge Jim Crow, despite his public declarations of the opposite, while Roosevelt's administration was not supportive of civil rights for blacks.

President Taft, a Republican elected in 1908, publicly endorsed the idea that blacks should not participate in politics, and perpetuated the racist party line of his predecessor.

Virginia Democrat, Woodrow Wilson, won both the 1912 and 1916 presidential elections.
Wilson pushed for segregation of federal workers, systematically demoted black civil servants, and claimed nothing could be done to improve the situation for blacks in the country. He refused to meet with black leaders, to appear at black conferences on race issues, or to publicly denounce lynching. President Wilson's wartime administration relegated black Army soldiers to non-combat labor billets, claiming that blacks were unable to fight courageously. Under Wilson, the Navy only allowed blacks to serve as messboys, and the Marines did not accept blacks at all.

For a guy who never met with the black leaders or chose not to appear at black conferences, places where the cream of the crop of African-Americans may have been a part of, how in God's name can he say they 'were unable to fight courageously'?

What proof of this does he have and because he chose to do exactly what Kenesaw Mountain Landis did as commissioner of major league baseball, which was to tap dance around their obvious unwillingness to treat the African-American/Negro fairly. In other words, the only people speaking jive back in the day of Kenesaw and Woodrow were the President of the United States (Woodrow) and the Commissioner of major league baseball (Kenesaw).

Kevin J. Marquez

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Pablo Sandoval: Is he worth the years or the money?

Now you see what a reputation does to someone. Pablo has not shown his employers, the San Francisco Giants, that he can be trusted to keep himself at a playing weight that would allow him to field his position to the best of his ability and or stay off of the injured list.

Due to the freakish incidents that he injured both hammate bones we all learned that because we only get two of those at birth and that he got both of his removed, he cannot injure another hammate bone again. That and the fact that he came into camp in excellent shape makes one think it would be highly unfortunate for him to experience any time on the disabled list in 2014.

On the morning show, KNBR680AM, Larry Krueger (with Gary Radnich) says if they aren't going to re-sign him they ought to trade him so they can get a prospect now rather than wait for the draft pick to bloom into a major league player. Draft picks in baseball are as valuable as they are in the National Football League they just take longer to become big league ballplayers while the college level seems to speed up the process in the NFL. (Note: Usually those players drafted out of college in baseball reach the big leagues sooner because they have had the seasoning in school. It's the players enter the minor leagues out of high school that generally take longer.)

Should the Giants sign Pablo or trade him?

Personally, I believe if he comes out of the gates swinging and starts producing that Brian Sabean and his staff will come to the conclusion that it would be best to sign the Panda for 4-years at 15 million per. Making it 4-years at $60 million.

Kevin J. Marquez

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Integrity in Baseball is an Oxymoron

On the tombstone of Kenesaw Mountain Landis reads: His integrity and leadership established baseball in the respect, esteem and affection of the American people.

Here are a few astute recollections from
It is hard to say which Landis harmed more- America's National Pastime, or its Common Decency.
He was ghoulish even to look at, "a wasted man," wrote John Reed, "with untidy white hair and emaciated face in which two burning eyes (were) set like jewels, (his) parchment skin split by a crack for a mouth- the face of Andrew Jackson three years dead.

Virtually every hateful outrage in baseball history can be ascribed, in some measure, to Landis' integrity and leadership. It started around 1915, when competition from the upstart Federal League threatened to undo the notorious "reserve clause," which bound each player to his team like an indentured servant. The clause was laughably illegal, an obvious violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act, but Landis took care of that. First, he arranged a backroom deal in which the Federals were paid off and the monopoly restored; the, in a breathtaking masterstroke, Landis almost certainly used his influence to obtain baseball's antitrust exemption from the Supreme Court. With competition gone and players stripped of all legal protection, he was soon able to suspend Babe Ruth for having the audacity to play ball in the off-season. (All the sordid details can be found in a marvelous scholarly paper called "Larceny and Old Leather" by Prof. Eldon Ham of Chicago-Kent Law School.

Landis is best known for imposing a lifetime ban on eight members of the Chicago "Black Sox" who accepted bribes from gamblers to throw the 1919 World Series.

By far the most scandalous aspect of the Black Sox scandal was not the fix, but the legal proceedings that followed it. Three players confessed and eight were indicted, but before the case went to trial, the grand jury records, complete with confessions, went a-missing. They turned up four years later in the possession of one George Hudnall, who just happened to be Charles Comiskey's lawyer. Apparently, someone, or several someones, had decided that a public trial would be bad for the baseball business. So the players were acquitted; but Landis, in a final insult to American justice, banned them from baseball for life, as he put it, "regardless of the verdict of juries."

Examining Judge Landis' actions as a judge is helpful towards understanding his decisions as commissioner of baseball. As Federal judge his decisions could be overruled by both the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of the United States, whereas in baseball, Landis himself was the ultimate decision maker on any matter- the court of last, and only, resort.

It was Landis' handling of the federal League case, which may not have been a prominent legal issue at the time, introduced organized Baseball to the federal judge. But I say it may have been the other way around. Have you ever seen pictures or a picture of Kenesaw Mountain Landis? And then teaming that with his antics on the bench must have caught a couple owners' attention.

A contemporary Chicago Herald article on one Landis' cases noted that the judge "did the prosecuting, the defending, the questioning...he even bullied when necessary to get information out of a witness."

At a time when the owners decided it was best for a commissioner to have all the power to rule on incidents in the league because all they cared about was making money it did not matter what the commissioner's tactics were as long as he got the desired results, which was what the owner's considered to be establishing the league of integrity. The owners weren't about to nitpick since they were sullied, despicable sorts who happened to fall ass backwards into their fortunes which allowed them to own their franchise. (Exhibit A: Bud Selig)

It was Landis' harsh treatment of and willingness to stand up to powerful defendants that made his reputation among the public. And even though Landis saw most of his major judgments being overruled on appeal and the popular courtroom consensus considered the scary looking bully as a "showboat judge" and derided him as the "kind of guy who gets a lot of headlines and then all of his decisions are overturned."

What I would like to know is who did their homework on this judge? And then, are there actual records of that particular owner presenting "his case" for Kenesaw Mountain Landis? Landis, a man who upon learning that President Woodrow Wilson had commuted a maximum sentence of a millionaire cattle rancher convected of selling diseased cattle, Landis responded by placing no penalty whatsoever upon a man convicted of stealing sugar, rationalizing that selling diseased cattle was not subject to punishment then why should stealing sugar?

Isn't the definition of commutation, in Law, a change of punishment or sentence to one that is less severe? Sounds to me like the cattle rancher still got penalized where Landis interpreted it wrongly. Stealing vs. selling is different. Only because the seller probably wasn't aware his livestock was poisoned or that his goods were damaged but once that was known a price of some kind was paid. Meanwhile the sugar thief got off merely on the technicality that he/she was not a millionaire. And this is the guy those owners wanted as their commissioner.

Kevin J. Marquez

Monday, March 24, 2014

Herman Franks (Manager of 1965-1968 SF Giants)

When you are hired by owner Horace Stoneham there are a couple of things you need to know and at least one you will find out. The first being, do you know the ins and outs of baseball. If so-called experts were brought in to grill you in an interview to see just how much you claim to know versus the bullshit in your resume, could you pass the test? Second, would be, does a so-called expert recommend you? And finally, certainly listed last but not the least bit important is CAN YOU BE HORACE'S DRINKING BUDDY?

Herman Franks answered these questions and then some.

I got a hold of something entitled, They Were There, and lo and behold it was about Herman Franks. I will try to set this up to the best of my ability based on the knowledge brought forth in a couple of articles. To be honest, there is a smile on my face likened to that of a slit watermelon.

When asked where he was when Bobby Thomson hit his "Shot Heard 'Round the World" Franks replied, "Doing something for Durocher" as he was Leo's bench coach for the '51 Giants.

As told to Ed Attanasio, This Great Game:
On his role in the Bobby Thomson home run: "They say that I stole Brooklyn's signs that day and I've never admitted to anything. And I never will. There's been a lot of talk about it since 1951. People don't ever get tired of talking about it. I must have talked to this writer (Prager) more than 50 times. Prager researched the hell out of that story, let me tell you. (Gee, he tells us this much, at least.) I read things in there I didn't know. Sal Yvars has blabbed all over the place, but no one else has talked. (Yvars was the backup catcher. Franks supposedly was stationed in the Giants' center field clubhouse at the Polo Grounds. He would steal the opposing catcher's signs through a telescope and relayed them through Yvars who was stationed in the bullpen who could then share his information with the coaches and hitters accordingly.)

Look, it's an easy assumption to think Franks did such a thing. He was Leo Durocher's bench coach who was always running errands anyway. So why not go out to the outer reaches of the Polo Grounds and make yourself useful. He was the perfect gobe-mouches, schlemiel, pigeon for the job. And, don't forget, he was a drinking buddy of Horace Stoneham. That he was able to help out in the "Shot Heard 'Round the World" made him a lot of money with the Giants as long as Horace Stoneham was the owner.

And, in the same article Franks claims the best team he ever managed was the 1965 San Francisco Giants except he didn't have a shortstop or a second baseman who couldn't turn a double-play. "We tried out a bunch of shortstops and second basemen, but we couldn't find anyone to fill the holes there. Damn, I always thought Hal Lanier was a slick fielding shortstop and Tito Fuentes was said to be very quick with getting rid of the ball from second base.

Here is a list of shortstops and second-basemen from 1965-1968: Dick Schofield, Jose Pagan, Lanier, Fuentes, Bob Schroder, Don Mason...And the positions were interchangeable. Damn, their GM was Chub Feeney, Chub, couldn't you have made a move with another major league team? I mean Schofield was way past his prime by the team the Giants acquired him.

Also to consider is that Matty Alou was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates after the 1965 season for a pitcher named Joe Gibbon. In '66 Matty Alou led the National League in batting.
Then there was the Orlando Cepeda trade to St. Louis for Ray Sadecki. And the following year Cepeda not only won the MVP award but led the Redbirds to a World Series title. So you see, Chub Feeney was as much of an achilles heel to the all-time drinking buddy of Horace Stoneham.

This makes me even prouder of the current Giants' staff since they got us two World Series titles. And now just around the corner,here comes 2014!

Kevin Marquez

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Rube "Sousepaw" Waddell: Respected by Those Who Knew Him

The players who played ball in the early 1900s may have all had a little color added to them by writers whose intentions of selling newspapers was priority number one.

In looking up information on Rube Waddell I came across something Bill James said that may explain the eccentricities of George Edward Waddell. James suggested that Waddell may have suffered from a developmental disability, mental retardation, autism, or attention deficit disorder (ADD) which essentially were metal issues that were unheard of or improperly diagnosed at the time.

Rube was referred to as the "Sousepaw" a reference to his being a left-handed pitcher who participated in the sampling of alcoholic beverages.

(When Athletics' centerfield Danny Hoffman was knocked unconscious by a fastball to the temple. Wrote Connie Mack, "Then the man they had called the playboy and clown went into action. Pushing everybody to one side, he gently placed Danny over his shoulder and actually ran across the field." Rube flagged down a carriage, which carted the pair to the nearest hospital. Rube, still in uniform, sat at Hoffman's bedside for most of the night, and held ice to Hoffman's head.

His 349 strikeouts in a season was the standard set for major league pitchers until Sandy Koufax broke the record in 1965. In 1965 Koufax had 382 and in 1973 Nolan Ryan had 383 as a California Angel.

Here are some things said about George Edward "Rube" Waddell, a man who was born on a Friday the 13th (Oct 1876) and died on April Fools Day (1914), by people/players who knew him.

"He made my team. He was the greatest pitcher in the game and although widely known for his eccentricities, was more sinned against than sinning. He was the best-hearted man on our team and every man with whom he came in contact will verify my statement. When a comrade was sick the Rube was first on hand to see him and the last to leave and if he had money it went for some gift or offering to the sick man."

Rube's activity with Connie Mack's band virtually saved the American League from bankruptcy in the stormy season following the American's raid on the National rank and file. - Pittsburgh Press

Baseball was more joyous because of him. He was a fun-maker extraordinary. He drove away gloom like the sun dispersing the fog. He made everybody happy. Millions smiled at his antics. - Washington Post

The end of the spectacular life of George Edward Waddell calls the attention of the vast army of baseball fans to one of those characters, at once the most enviable and the saddest and most pitiful in the world, who are too giant-hearted for the civilization in which they live. They are affectionate, good-hearted giants, too big to see how little they serve their own interest, too impatient and too full of animal energy to stop and work out all the little tricks and artifices that would bring them gain/ giving always open-handedly and with both hands;relying absolutely in abounding energy, even finding pleasure and exhilaration in wasting and destroying that energy; angered only as a child is angered, by the sting of little annoyances, and sobered only in the presence of the genuine distress of others.- Literary digest

Rube was many kinds of man - angler, trap-shoot, football player, actor, fire fiend, amateur barkeeper, prize borrower, practical joker, comedian, a sworn enemy of gloom, a joyous wastrel, a boy that never grew up - as well as one of the greatest pitchers. As the leading comedian of baseball he was on the job, day and night, 365 days in the year. -Chicago Inter-Ocean

To our way of thinking the man who causes laughter and chases care is a philanthropist and a doer of most goodly deed, even though his antics may sometimes be exaggerated by over indulgence. Poor Rube at least made millions smile, his escapades rocked the nation with the richness of their humor, and his capers left no sting.
Rube Waddell left no enemies behind; he hurt no one save himself; and even there, who has a right to say damage was done? For the Rube lived his life and enjoyed it to the fullest. - The Sporting News

His brilliant achievements on the diamond and sensational escapades were advertising mediums which brought thousands of dollars. - Detroit Free Press

The kindest, most amiable, but most irresponsible figure that ever graced baseball's stage, a physical wonder and the greatest left-handed pitcher of all-time, a jester who toyed with life as a bauble and tossed it way at last as a useless thing- that man, the "haggard harlequin" of our national game, was George Edward Waddell.
Now that he has passed from the Known to the Unknown, let us forget the weakness of spirit, and remember only the kindly heart and splendid courage of the man who was the wonder of his profession. - Philadelphia Public Ledger

He was idolized and imitated in the barn-lots of lonely prairie farms, and in the crowded parks and back alleys of the great cities. He was a human, roistering adventurer with all the lovable frailties of Captain Kidd or John Silver. And the fans knew him as a pal. He endeared himself to the public with his Huckleberry Finn peregrinations. - Esquire.

Who would be the perfect actor to play the part of George Edward "Rube" Waddell? Could it be Richard "Rook" Reinholdt? Now wouldn't that be something.

Kevin J. Marquez

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Concussion: It's Not Just a Headache

If you are a catcher in baseball your best friend is not the chest protector or shin guards or protective cup. While they may prevent you from bruising up like a mishandled banana it is the face mask that can save you from debilitating headaches and even concussions.

The first masks were all about visibility. Carbon-steel wire mesh remains the material of choice to this day. Carbon-steel is used because it is flexible but strong. The goal is to get some deformation in the mesh to reduce some of the shock but still retain its structural integrity.

The hockey-style mask, the one Mike Matheny wore when his career came to a sudden end (while the aforementioned carbon-steel well-padded model was the mask in which he broke into the big leagues wearing) is made of high-tech polycarbon. The helmet is said to protect the top, sides, and back of the head but I beg to differ based on the amount of padding used on these models.

The hockey-style mask is said to deflect the ball rather than having the ball hit the catcher flush. Perhaps that is how the carbon-steel model was manufactured but as one who wore both (I used the hockey mask while umpiring) and was really uncomfortable wearing it. It felt too light. And too light made me feel unsafe.

While others considered the big, well-padded mask too weighty for their necks, I was comforted by the support it gave my noggin' when some punch and judy hitter would be up there flailing away at pitches barely getting the bat on the ball and having many a ball glance off my mask.

I can't go into why the hockey mask isn't better because one would think if it could stop a puck at xxx miles per hour it surely could protect a catcher from a batter's foul tips. But I think the fact that goalies can see the puck and it's flight, regardless of how fast it is going, is easy to detect and at the least get out of the pucks way rather than standing idly by letting the hardened rubber meet your mask. Talk about new meaning to "rubber meets the road." "Don't let the rubber meet your mug or you will be seeing images that have never before or ever existed!"

So seeing the ball gives the catcher a chance to react to it. But on pitches above the catcher's head where they can only rely on instinct that's where the deflections seem to dominate the unsuspecting backstop. A player who doesn't see the ball can only hope it lands somewhere on God's green (or brown, depending on where you hang out) earth besides the back, top or side of his head.

In looking up how a catcher's mask has evolved no writer is privy to such information. They can only give you their interpretation based on the information they have. Where Major League Baseball (MLB) comes in is that issues seem to focus on whether the MLB is doing something about concussions not how to better suit the player with gear that prevents such a discussion in the first place. (Exhibit A: an article dated 2/25/14 "The Year of Living Less Dangerously" website: should pull up a somewhat limited perspective of the evolution of the "tools of ignorance" and how to better serve a catcher with the proper equipment.

Isn't that something. He wants to play baseball and actually loves settling in behind the plate, close to the batter. A person with a club who grunts and groans with every swing or ball called a strike in which no attempt to swing was made. And that person, with a glove, chest-protector, shit-guards and a face mask is wearing all of this protective equipment called the "tools of ignorance" and yet that's exactly where it stops. Nothing will be done to advance the protective equipment until enough people wearing the "tools of ignorance" get injured bad enough for the MLB to stop being ignorant on the matter of the health and well-being of its participants.

A new stop sign doesn't go up at the corner of Elm and Grand because of a PTA meeting. It goes there because little Johnny, Mary, Suzy, Billy, and Mikey have all been hit buy a car at that intersection. It took bodily harm for that stop sign to go up at Elm and Grand.

And that's the way the MLB will handle arriving at the best equipment possible in which their logo must be placed so they can receive some monetary gains-regardless if their receiving something for the mere fact that they only wanted their fucking logo to go onto the innovator's equipment- and you would still astute if you get the feeling that the ultimate concern of the player's health and well-being was secondary to the MLB. Yep, that's the way it works.

Welcome to baseball 2014.

Kevin J. Marquez

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Do You Need Another Reason to BEAT LA!

It's one day before the 2014 San Francisco Giants report to Scottsdale, Arizona. And while it may be pitchers/catchers, when you speak of the orange and black, it's pretty much all about the pitchers and catchers.

Anyway, I am currently reading a book by Tim Wendel entitled, "Summer of '68." What a crazy bombastic year. The same year Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated and weeks later Robert Kennedy joined the list of politicians/Civil rights leader shot in the light of day.

In baseball, this was the year of the pitcher. Bob Gibson had an ERA of 1.12 and it was the first time in major league history that pitchers threw back-to-back no-hitters in the same ballpark. Where was the ballpark? Candlestick Park. The pitchers were: Gaylord Perry of the Giants and Ray Washburn of the Cardinals. (I remember this vividly and I was 8 years old at the time!)

But perhaps the biggest record breaking event occurred on May 31, 1968 at Chavez Ravine between the Los Angeles Dodgers and their rivals the San Francisco Giants. At that point, Drysdale had thrown 5 consecutive shutouts. Not since Guy Harris "Doc" White threw five consecutive shutouts for the Chicago White Sox in 1904 had such a feat been accomplished.

The all-time scoreless innings steak was held by Walter "Big Train" Johnson who pitched 55 2/3 innings of shutout baseball in 1913. This is what Don Drysdale was up against on that memorable night at Dodger Stadium.

Against the Giants, Drysdale was sailing along, holding a 3-0 lead into the top of the ninth. That's when Willie McCovey led off with a walk, Jim Ray Hart singled and Dave Marshall walked to load the bases. Nobody out. (Note: Marshall would break up Drysdale's bid for a no-hitter later in the summer at Candlestick Park.) Up to bat came Dick Dietz. The count was two balls and two strikes. Double D's next pitch grazed Dietz to force in a run and the Giants still had the bases loaded with nobody out. But wait! I can't believe what just happened. Rookie umpire Harry Wendelstedt claimed that Dietz made no effort to get out of the way of the pitch therefore he was ordered back in the batter's box and the count went to 3-balls 2-strikes.

Did it ever occur to the rookie home plate ump that Dietz had been fooled by Drysdale the entire evening therefore he was locked up and couldn't get out of the way of an errant throw way off the inside corner? How can you make a judgment call of intent? Who are you to determine that a player purposely refused to get out of the way of a pitch that was too far inside to avoid?

Had Dietz pulled a Craig Biggio and leaned into the pitch then perhaps we could say that Wendelstedt had a legitimate reason for making such an observation. But to assume the guy just wanted to get hit to break up a record setting shutout streak is to well, make an ass out of you and me.

Let's face it, Harry Wendelstedt saw a golden opportunity to get his name in the baseball annals, forever to be remembered, and he belly-flopped into the shallow end of the Cooperstown pool for fear of sinking like a stone in the deeper end.

As an eight year old boy learning about the game of baseball I thought this was the worst call ever conceived of by an umpire. And as I sit here some 46 years later it still remains the worst call ever made.

Sure an umpire cost a pitcher a perfect game. But that particular umpire admitted he erred and for that he gets exonerated. This guy Wendelstedt was simply trying to get his name into the record books/Hall of Fame. No ifs, ands or buts.

"It took a lot of balls on Harry's part to make the call," Drysdale said, "but he was absolutely right. Dietz made no effort to avoid that pitch." Holy Suzy chapstick that's some serious ass-kissing by ole #53. He must've have bought the calorically challenged umpire the biggest steak money could buy after the game.

The 2014 season is beginning to unfold. Do you need another reason to beat LA?

Kevin J. Marquez

Note: In the 1968 season, the Giants had a right-hander from Hickory, North Carolina by the name of Bobby Bolin. That year he was 10-5 with a 1.99 ERA. In a season where he started 34 games and beat Bob Gibson head-on, it was by far his best individual season.