Talking Giants Baseball: A San Francisco Giants/Baseball Blog: December 2010

Friday, December 31, 2010

Excellent Comment on the Giants Winning the World Series

Here is an excellent comment from Chris Scarberry about the Giants' road to the World Series. This was aimed at a few Phillies fans who still cannot accept the fact that the Giants were a better team. Here's the comment from my most recent Bleacher Report article. Check it out.

"Under the radar, that's where I like it. Under-appreciated, under-estimated, and "un"-respected, that is where the San Francisco Giants currently sit. They got lucky, they got hot at the right time, Bruce Bochy's giant head created a flux in the earth's gravitational pull that gave them an advantage. Whatever conspiracy theory pops up, it does not change the fact that the San Francisco Giants are the 2010 World Series Champions. All that bitterness from opposing "enter your team here" homers and naysayers will never change the reality that the Commissioners Trophy is shining bright on the mantle of the orange and black. Regardless, I am glad the Giants are still flying under the radar, it gives the champs something to prove, and provides the perfect hangover remedy. Pressure creates problems with even the most dynamic of teams. So with all that being said, the most pressure is on the champs in 2011. No, not the World Series Champ Giants, but the NLDS champ Philadelphia Phillies. This type of pressure to succeed, when a team has four of the best arms in baseball, is going to be suffocating and with the spotlight and pressure taken off of the defending world series champs, this could very well be a huge reason to look forward to continued ownership of a trophy that has, up until this year, eluded my favorite team for over half a century."

One more thing that must be said. For those of you who think the Phillies' pitching staff is worlds better than the Giants', consider this. The combined ERA for the Giants' starting five for 2011 is 3.40, while the Phillies' 3.45. The numbers don't lie.

Will these numbers reflect reality or are they a mirage?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

San Francisco Giants: 10 Reasons They Might Just Win Another World Series (Part 4)

Reason #8: Brian Sabean:

The creator of might want to issue an apology.

When Giants' General Manager Brian Sabean is given enough financial flexibility, he does a nice job fielding a competitive team. How many teams can say they were in a pennant race in September for all but two years between 1997 and 2010?

The Giants were smack in the middle of one from 1997-2006, 2009-2010. Yes, even when they finished well below .500 in 2005 and 2006, they still had a legitimate shot at the play-offs in September.

Although Sabean had some problems bringing in solid players in recent years, 2010 was a good year for him. When the Giants did not have a solidified bullpen, he brought in Javier Lopez and Ramon Ramirez mid-season to fill that gap. When the Giants were in desperate need of a professional plate approach and power, he acquired Pat Burrell and Aubrey Huff from free agency. Not to mention, he brought in Cody Ross for almost nothing.

Don't forget that he also had a hand in assembling the world class pitching staff of Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner, and Sanchez, along with selecting Buster Posey.

Sabean should effectively add pieces again in 2011. With the Giants' payroll expecting to reach $120 million, he will have more than enough financially to improve the team if need be, regardless of Barry Zito's big contract.

Reason #9: Bruce Bochy

Just like Brian Sabean, the Giants' manager, Bruce Bochy, was put on the chopping block, and just like Sabean, Bochy turned from goat to hero in 2010.

When given decent pieces to work with, Bochy can assemble a competitive team. In his first years as the Giants' manager, he was given little to work with as far as on-field talent, and hence the losing records. However, once the starting pitching blossomed in 2009, and Bochy was given a strong bullpen with the acquisition of Jeremy Affeldt and the emergence of Brian Wilson, he somehow squeezed 88 games out of the Giants' horrendous 2009 offensive team.

In 2010, the Giants gave Bochy his most-talented team as manager. He had versatility in the bullpen and with his position players. With hitters who could finally give professional at-bats, like Pat Burrell and Aubrey Huff, he was able to actually manage and win. 

Another one of Bochy's strengths is that he knows how to develop and manage a bullpen, as seen by the 2010 playoffs. Since a strong bullpen is a necessary foundation for any winning team, this is extremely important.

Bochy's immense knowledge of the game should also be mentioned. In 2010, many learned that Bochy is a very sharp baseball man, as shown by the time he helped the Giants win a game at Dodger Stadium when Don Mattingly had to take out Jonathon Broxton because he made two mound visits.

Bochy will be given the same bullpen depth and position player versatility in 2011. As a knowledgeable baseball man, and a former catcher, expect another well-managed season from him.

Reason #10: The Machine

Who is this masked man wearing a bondage outfit? Is it Brian Wilson's neighbor? Is it Pat Burrell in his holiday party getup?

Whoever he is, he was present when the Giants won their first championship in San Francisco, so let's just say he was the Giants' good luck charm in 2010.

The Machine will probably be back for an encore in 2011 to bring the Giants more good fortune. Who knows what surprises he will bring forth?

The mystery that is The Machine will just have to continue into next year.

San Francisco Giants: 10 Reasons They Might Just Win Another World Series (Part 3)

Reason #7: The Giants' Media Crew

It sounds crazy, but even the Giants' media crew had a helping hand in the 2010 championship season, and they should not go unnoticed.

The Giants' 2010 media crew (CSN Bay Area, KNBR, Marty Lurie, Mychael Urban, Amy Gutierrez, FP Santangelo, and even Ashkon) will be back in 2011. The mass media is pervasive, it's everywhere, and can rapidly spread information or break stories.

They not only reported for the Giants very well, but they also looked out for the Giants when they felt something was not right. An excellent example was when Jon Miller and F.P. Santangelo broke out the story about the unregulated Coors Field humidor. Their investigations and opinions prompted Major League Baseball to investigate the issue, and they even sent someone from the MLB to regulate the humidified baseballs during a crucial series between the Giants and the Rockies. 

If something is amiss during the 2011 season, the Giants' media crew will surely be there to investigate.


Final part coming next.

San Francisco Giants: 10 Reasons They Might Just Win Another World Series (Part 2)

Reason #4: The Decent Defense, Led by Buster Posey

On paper, the Giants look less than spectacular on defense in 2011. In fact, one might say the Giants are full of defensive liabilities with Pat Burrell in left field and Aubrey Huff at first.

Although the Giants lack the range of a good defensive team, the Giants catch the balls they can get to and make all the routine plays. In 2010, they made only 73 errors, the fourth lowest in Major League Baseball. For a pitching staff who led all of baseball in strikeouts in 2010, the defensive liabilities will become less exposed anyway.

The only three clearly above-average defensive players on the Giants are Freddy Sanchez, Andres Torres, and Buster Posey. Torres' speed and excellent range is a big plus at AT&T Park, especially with the big right-center field. Sanchez also picks it at second-base, as he showed throughout the 2010 playoffs.

Somebody who has really separated himself defensively is Buster Posey. With his cannon arm, and his impressive ability to handle a World Series-winning pitching staff, he will surely win his fair share of gold gloves.

It is no secret that Pablo Sandoval struggled defensively in 2010. However, if he continues to lose weight this offseason and gets his act together, he might be less of a liability at third base in 2011. The extra weight not only affected his range, but it had a clear effect on his throwing, compared to 2009.

If the Giants can catch the ball like they did in 2010, 2011 might bring forth another championship in San Francisco.

Reason #5: The Team Chemistry

Some say team chemistry is overrated, but the Giants will probably tell you otherwise.

Even after tough losses, the Giants would come back the next night in high spirits, leaving behind whatever woes that happened the previous night. In baseball, this is extremely important. A player must have a short memory because he might just be out there the next night in a key a situation.

What helped the Giants keep their chin up from day to day?

Staying positive is much easier in a clubhouse where everybody is getting along. Like in any sport, a team that sticks together will prevail in the end. As cliche as it sounds, the togetherness of the Giants allowed them to bounce back after tough losses all season long. They had just the right juju to get them through 162 games.

With Juan Uribe gone to the rival Dodgers, a prominent clubhouse figure, the Giants replaced him with the best possible alternative, Miguel Tejada. The Tejada signing showed that the Giants know the importance of clubhouse chemistry. Not only is Tejada a veteran leader, he also can have a prominent influence on the Latin players on the Giants, particularly Pablo Sandoval, who he said he was going to keep in contact with throughout the offseason.

With the 2010 championship team mostly kept in tact, expect a similar clubhouse vibe to last year.

Reason #6: Fan Support

It has been a tough road for Giants fans, waiting since 1958 for their Giants to win a championship in San Francisco, but it finally happened, largely because of their support.

In years past, it seemed like Giants fans just about gave up. Even when the rival Los Angeles Dodgers came to AT&T Park, the stadium would be seemingly half-full of Dodger blue, but 2010 did away with all that.

From the first pitch to the last out, Giants fans were always on their feet. They did not cheer after strike three happened, but they cheered before strike three happened. During the play-offs and the final three regular-season games of 2010, they waved their rally towels, blanketed the ballpark in orange, and roared in anticipation for their hometown Giants.

They made songs that encouraged the Giants and their loyal fans to "Don't Stop Believin," even when things looked bleak. They were even celebrities like Rob Schneider, Robin Williams, and Steve Perry.

Because of the fine efforts of Giants fans from all across the country, they gave a helping hand in this 2010 championship season and are expected to do the same in 2011 and beyond.


The last 4 are coming next!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

San Francisco Giants: 10 Reasons They Might Just Win Another World Series (Part 1)

Nearly two months ago, the San Francisco Giants took care of some unfinished business, their first world championship in San Francisco.

Now, with spring training just two months away, the Giants have little time to prepare for next season's campaign. They brought back most of their 2010 championship team, including their pitching staff, and added Miguel Tejada to replace Juan Uribe, but is it enough?

The rest of the National League has appeared to become stronger, especially with the Phillies' "Fantastic Four" starting pitching staff, but the Giants still have the tools to take home the Major League Baseball championship crown again in 2011.

Here are 10 reasons why the Giants just might bring home another World Series title to the city by the bay.


Reason #1: The Superb Starting Pitching:

This should come to no surprise to anyone. Since the end of the Barry Bonds era, the Giants have shifted philosophies. Playing in the wide open spaces of AT&T Park, they realized that a lineup full of sluggers and aging free agents alone will not get the job done. Hence, the star-studded young starting rotation of Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, and Jonathon Sanchez were born and bred within the Giants organization. Add a former Cy-Young winner in Barry Zito as a fifth starter, and there lies the only starting staff that can match up with the Phillies' "Fantastic Four."

This Giants' elite starting pitchers from 2010, who were third in the major leagues with a 3.54 ERA, will be back for an encore performance in 2011. The 2010 starting pitcher ERA was even skewed with Barry Zito and Todd Wellemeyer's less than stellar 2010 regular season performances. Not to mention, the Giants' starting pitchers led all of baseball with 888 strikeouts and held opponents to just a .236 batting average.

For those who believe the Phillies' starting pitching will be the best in baseball in 2011, consider this. The combined 2010 ERA of Cliff Lee, Joe Blanton, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hammels was 3.45. As for the Giants, the combined 2010 ERA of Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez, Bumgarner, and Zito was 3.40. Also, keep in mind that the Giants' 2011 starting pitchers are younger, and have all pitched in the World Series with the exception of Zito.

Reason #2: The Bullpen

Perhaps the biggest reason why any team wins the World Series is because of its strong bullpen. Just look at what Mariano Rivera has done for the Yankees in both the regular and post-season when they were winning all their championships.

The Giants have not just become one of those great bullpens, but they are one of them. In 2010, they posted a 2.99 ERA with a major-league leading 57 saves, even though closer Brian Wilson saved 48 of them.

What makes the Giants' bullpen so great is their versatility. Nearly all of the 2010 bullpen will be back in the orange and black in 2011, with the exception of Chris Ray, and all of the bullpen can come up big if they need to. Even Guillermo Mota, who the Giants shored up for the back end of their bullpen, can set-up or close games if say Brian Wilson were to be out with an injury or is unavailable.

The Giants have a reliever for any situation it seems. If the Giants need to face one of the National League Wests' toughest lefties, there is Javier Lopez to sling a swooping breaking ball for a strikeout. If they need a flamethrower to strike out someone late in the game with runners in scoring position, Santiago Casilla can come out with his 96+ MPH fastball and blow away any hitter.

Then there's Brian Wilson, the reincarnation of Mariano Rivera so far. In his 11.2 innings pitched in the 2010 postseason, Wilson was unscored upon, giving up only 5 hits and striking out 16, while saving 6 games. Although he has a flare for the dramatic, he finds a way to get the job done and makes quality pitches when he needs to.

Expect the same lights out bullpen in 2011.

Reason #3: The Offense

The Giants offense only needs mediocrity to win the West, but anything less will not get the job done. In 2009, the Giants offense was abysmal, nearly the worst in baseball. Even so, they somehow won 88 games, but it was not enough to beat out the Rockies for the Wild Card.

In 2010, the Giants were closer to the middle of the pack in hitting, and they won the West with 92 games. Now that the Giants added Miguel Tejada, Cody Ross (mid-2010), Pat Burrell (mid-2010), re-signed Aubrey Huff, and a healthier Pablo Sandoval (who lost 15 pounds in San Diego so far), the Giants' offense is worlds better than on April of 2010. They also have a stronger bench, with Mark DeRosa returning in 2011. Don't forget Buster Posey, who just jolted the offense in July.

More than at any other time of the post-Bonds era, the Giants' lineup features some pop, and that's all they need to repeat as World Series champions. In 2010, the Giants brought the home run ball back to San Francisco, as they hit 162 team home runs, something they have not done since 2006.

Now that the Giants can enjoy a full season of Cody Ross, Pat Burrell, and Buster Posey, expect the Giants to surpass their offensive numbers from 2010.

The rest coming later. Too long to post in one entry.

Friday, December 24, 2010

San Francisco Giants Trivia of the Day

Sometimes, when there's not much going on with the Giants or when I'm looking for something to post, I will give out some San Francisco Giants trivia just to keep the blog interesting. How it works is I'll give you a question, and then, I'll give a little more background about the question and answer.

This first question is for Giants history buffs, so sit back, relax, and take a sip of coffee (or beer). Here it is.

In Major League Baseball history, 107 players have hit home runs in their first major league at-bat. Who was the last to do so for the Giants?

Take a guess before you look at the answer below.


The answer is a fan-favorite in San Francisco. He debuted with the Giants on April 8, 1986. In his 15-year big-league career, he hit a career .303 with 284 home runs and 1,205 RBIs. Currently, he works with the Giants in their front office, and fans love him just as much today as they did back when he played. This Giants legend is none other than Will "The Thrill" Clark.

On opening day 1986 at the Houston Astrodome, the rookie Clark stepped up against the Astros' Nolan Ryan. Clark, unfazed by his greatness, hit a Ryan fastball out of the ballpark. It was his first swing he ever took in the major leagues. The Giants ended up winning the game 8-3.

Is it just me, or do the Giants open the season in Houston a lot?

Oddly enough, in his minor league debut, Clark hit a home run against none other than Dodger great Fernando Valenzuela.

Can Brandon Belt be the next Giant to hit a home run in career at-bat number one?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Major League Baseball Broadcaster Poll Results Are In!

Question: Who is the best baseball broadcaster today?

Jon Miller     (3)     25%
Vin Scully     (4)     33%
Duane Kuiper/Mike Krukow (5) 41%

The Talking Giants Baseball Broadcaster Award goes to Kruk and Kuipe! Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow are the well-known Bay Area sportscasters who announce for the San Francsco Giants. 

Duane Kuiper joined the San Francisco Giants in 1982, playing 3 seasons for them. In 1986, after retirement, Kuiper took a broadcasting job with the Giants, calling games alongside Joe Morgan. Kuiper is the current broadcaster for the San Francisco Giants with former Giants pitcher Mike Krukow. In 2010, Kuiper coined the phrase, "Giants baseball, torture," to describe that years' team.

After joining the Giants in December of 1982, Krukow won 20 games for them in 1986. After his retirement in 1989, he joined Kuiper in the broadcast booth as a part-time color analyst in 1990. In 1994, he became a full-time Giants broadcaster. His famous line with the Giants is "grab some pine meat!". Together, Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper make up the famous Kruk and Kuipe duo. 

There you have our broadcaster award winners! Look out for a story featuring them on here and on the Bleacher Report.

 What are your favorite Kruk and Kuipe moments?

Check out my Bleacher Report Profile here.

If you have any questions or comments, please email me or leave a comment below.

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San Francisco Giants Re-sign Guillermo Mota, 2011 Season Thoughts

The Giants have agreed to re-sign hard-throwing righty Guillermo Mota to a minor-league contract. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays were reportedly going after Mota, but he decided to ultimately return to the world champion San Francisco Giants.

The 37-year-old Mota posted a 4.33 ERA in 56 games with San Francisco, including 2.1 scoreless innings in the postseason. Even during the playoffs, Mota had a mid-90's fastball.

Mota was serviceable out of the bullpen in 2010. When Brian Wilson was unavailable to close, Mota stepped up and got the job done. One of his notable outings was a dominant win out of the bullpen against the Dodgers when Brian Wilson was unable to pitch the ninth. Highlights from that outing can be found here

This is a good deal. You get an experienced veteran out of the bullpen for virtually minimum salary. He can come through nicely in a mop-up roll or can even fill a more important gap if a setup man or closer got hurt. Let's just hope he doesn't face Juan Uribe too much if he indeed makes the big club.

Most importantly, he does not walk people, which is a recipe for success out of the bullpen.

Although I'm all for bringing back as much as the 2010 championship team as possible, the Giants need to get some youth, speed, and energy into the lineup. Cody Ross provided a little bit of that at the end of the season, but the Giants can still upgrade at left field and third base, granted Sandoval doesn't lose weight. Pat Burrell, who played the bulk of the time in left field, is a good player and can contribute, but his inability to put the bat on the ball in the World Series was worrisome.

As for Edgar Renteria, I think it is fine to bring him back as a back-up infielder, but for no more than the $1 million they offered. He, like Mota, can fill a hole if say Freddy Sanchez or Miguel Tejada were lost to injury. He can be a short-term solution, since he is streaky, but is not ideal for a starting role. Still, he has a flare for the clutch as shown by the World Series, and his game-tying home run during the home opener. Despite him feeling disrespected about the Giants' contract offer, Renteria needs to realize the Giants did anything but that, considering they were the only team thus far to offer him a major league contract.

What do you guys think the Giants should do to improve their team for 2011? Please leave a comment below. I am curious to hear your thoughts.

Photo courtesy of Anthony Zappia

Questions or comments? Email me here

Look up Vinnie Cestone on The Bleacher Report

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Bleacher Report is now my second home.

Thanks to Paul Strobeck, I am now a writer for the Bleacher Report. I posted a few articles from here on there, so you probably would not be reading anything new as of right now, but if you can leave a comment on there, that would help a great deal. I will continue to post here, and will post what I write here on there. Hopefully, this is a step in the right direction to launching my career. Thank you to all who have been reading my work. Here is the link to my Bleacher Report profile.

Also, please do not hesitate to leave me comments on here or there. I really want to hear fans' opinions and answer them. Be sure to take my polls!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

San Francisco Giants Millionaire Triva Game

On this post, we are going to have a little fun. It's gonna be a game of Who Wants to be a Millionaire (the classic version). It's the same game we all used to love, but the questions will be about the San Francisco Giants.

How it works: I will ask 15 questions below in order of difficulty from easiest to hardest. You will be given 4 possible choices. Pick one choice you think is correct. If you get it right, move up and pocket the $ amount. If you get one question wrong, you lose and the game is over. If you reach the $1,000 or $32,000 mark, you cannot lose more than that (for example, if you get the $2,000 question wrong, then you still win $1,000). If you can answer all 15 questions, you are a millionaire! There is no time limit to answer a question, and you can walk away at any time even after you see the next question.

To help you along the way, you get three lifelines 50/50 (take away two wrong answers), phone a friend (just call someone on the phone and ask if they know the answer; give them 30 seconds), and ask the audience (I advise that you ask 5 people if they know the answer, and go with what most people say the answer is ). You can only use a lifeline once.

The best way to play is to have somebody read you the questions and then have him or her ask you what your final answer is. He or she can write down the answers which will be posted below the $1,000,000 question. Have your friend record the answers so you can't see them. If you have to play solo, just scroll down carefully and look at the answers after you make a guess. I will write them vertically, so you are able to do that. Also, the 50/50 answer choices I will take away will also be displayed vertically next to the answers.

Good luck! You know the rules, you know the lifelines, and now, let's play Who Wants to be a Millionaire!

#1 - $100 - What is the name of the stadium where the San Francisco Giants currently play in?
                   A) AT&T Park  B) Candlestick Park  C) Giants Stadium  D) Seals Stadium

#2 - $200 - What can be found just beyond the right-field wall at the San Francisco Giants' ballpark?
                   A) Bleachers  B) San Francisco Bay  C) Upper Deck  D) Tommy Lasorda

#3 - $300 - Since the two teams have been part of the National League, which team is the Giants' arch-rival?
                   A) San Diego Padres  B) Los Angeles Dodgers  C) New York Yankees  D) Oakland A's

#4 - $500 - How many times have the San Francisco Giants won the World Series in San Francisco?
                   A) 0  B) 2  C) 6  D) 1

#5 - $1,000 - Who is the current all-time home run leader?
                   A) Willie Mays  B) Barry Bonds  C) Mark Mcgwire  D) Albert Pujols

#6 - $2,000 - Which of the following sportscasters currently announce for the Giants?
                      A) Hank Greenwald  B) Ted Robinson  C) Jon Miller  D) Glen Kuiper

#7 - $4,000 - What year did the Giants play their first game in San Francisco?
                      A) 1957  B) 1956  C) 1958  D) 1962

#8 - $8,000 - Before KNBR, what radio station covered San Francisco Giants games?
                      A) KGO  B) KNBC  C) KCBS  D) KSFO

#9 - $16,000 - Which current professional baseball team carries the old New York Giants' hat logo?
                        A) New York Yankees  B) New York Mets  C) Buffalo Bisons  D) Rochester Red Wings

#10 - $32,000 - Who was the first black manager in the National League?
                          A) Frank Robinson  B) Dusty Baker  C) Ernie Banks  D) Cito Gaston

#11 - $64,000 - Who was the first player to win the NLCS MVP award on a losing team?
                          A) Barry Bonds  B) Willie Mays  C) Jeffrey Leonard  D) Will Clark

#12 - $125,000 - In 1999, the San Francisco Giants broke which players' 30-game hitting streak?
        A) Tony Gwynn  B) Luis Gonzalez  C) Ken Griffey Jr.  D) Larry Walker

#13 - $250,000 - In 2000, the San Francisco Giants' first 8 hitters scored against what team?
                            A) Arizona Diamondbacks  B) Montreal Expos  C) San Diego Padres  D) Colorado Rockies

#14 - $500,000 - In 1908, who cost the Giants a victory against the Chicago Cubs by failing to touch second base on a game-winning hit by Al Bridwell?
A) Christy Mathewson  B) Fred Merkle  C) John McGraw  D) Fred Snodgrass

You have made it to $500,000. If you miss this question, you lose $468,000. You can walk away or keep going after you see the question. For $1,000,000, let's play!

#15 - $1,000,000 - With a reputation for extreme wildness, which New York Giants pitcher issued 13 walks in one game, and also pitched both games of a double-header in 1895?
       A) George Meekin  B) Amos Rusie  C) Cy Seymour  D) George Davis

CONGRATULATIONS!!!! If you answered the last question right, you have won a virtual ONE MILLION DOLLARS!!!!

Answers                                                         50/50 Eliminated Answers

1. A                                                                                   1. BD 
2. B                                                                                   2. CA
3. B                                                                                   3. CD
4. D                                                                                   4. BA
5. B                                                                                   5. CD
6. C                                                                                   6. DA
7. C                                                                                   7. AB
8. D                                                                                   8. BC
9. B                                                                                   9. AD
10. A                                                                               10. BD
11. C.                                                                              11. AB
12. B                                                                               12. CD
13. A                                                                               13. BD
14. B                                                                               14. AD
15. C                                                                               15. AB

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Los Angeles Dodgers sign Eugenio Velez, Godzilla comes to the Bay Area, Cliff Lee signs with Philadelphia Phillies

The Dodgers have reached an agreement with former Giants utility man Eugenio Velez to a minor league deal. Velez, 28, was non-tendered earlier in the month and was given numerous opportunities to succeed over the years. His career statistics are found here.

Although he occasionally sparked the Giants with his lightning speed and quick bat , his head spasms, defensive mishaps, and over-aggressive plate appearances posed a problem. One such occurrence cost the Giants an extra-inning game against Philadelphia early in 2010, where he dropped a Wilson Valdez fly ball.
That video can be found here. Also, check out this classic Eugenio moment where he lost track of how many outs there were. Don't forget when he got hit on the head by a foul ball.

Good luck with the Eugenio relationship, Dodgers. Still, I really liked him for some reason.

In other news, the A's finally got the potent bat they were looking for. According to, the A's signed Hideki Matsui for a one-year $4.25 million dollar contract. Matsui, 36, hit .274 with 21 home runs last year with the angels. Not to mention, he has played postseason baseball with the Yankees, hitting a career .312 with 10 career home runs. He would serve primarily as the DH. Hopefully for the A's, he has a Frank Thomas-like impact on the team.

The A's have also been talking to Rich Harden, but Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle says that Harden appears to have better offers elsewhere. The A's are also talking to Justin Duchscherer.

In a surprising twist of events, Cliff Lee has signed with the Phillies for five years at 120 million. The Yankees and Rangers reportedly offered more money, according to, but Lee preferred to play in a city he liked for less money, a rarity for athletes today. Damon Bruce of KNBR speculates that this will happen only ten times in a lifetime, and I have to agree with him. Money trumps location overwhelmingly. Just look at Carl Crawford for example. At least the Cliff Lee rumors can now be silenced.

Lastly, CSN Bay Area reported that World Series MVP Edgar Renteria was offered a 1 million dollar one-year contract by the Giants, but has not responded. Even Renteria's agent had a hard time getting a hold of Renteria. Although, from what I read and heard from, Renteria is leaning toward re-signing with the Giants as a backup shortstop. If the Giants can get this done, it would be a solid low-risk move that would put experience back on the bench.

Next, I will be continuing my NL West preview with the Colorado Rockies. Will they have what it takes to win the West in 2011? Also, I will have something fun posted as well. Until then, the host stove is sizzling. 

Picture attribution: StormXor


Los Angeles Dodgers' Vin Scully Is a Broadcasting Legend

"And a pleasant good evening to you, wherever you may be..."

I am a fan of the San Francisco Giants, simply put. I admire the orange and black and everything the Giants stand for, including the great broadcasters. The likes of Jon Miller, Lon Simmons, Duane Kuiper, Dave Fleming, and Mike Krukow are what really made me passionate about the game of baseball. They painted a picture better than any television screen could show me and taught me what I know about the sport. Although I rank these fine broadcasters very high on my list of favorites, I consider Dodgers' broadcaster Vin Scully as the greatest broadcaster of all time.

One of the things I like to do is use my account on my PlayStation 3 just to hear Vin Scully call Giants games. Each game I hear, I just have more of an appreciation for what he does. You don't say this about every sportscaster, but Vin Scully tells baseball fans something new and interesting each broadcast.

Vin Scully should be lauded for more than his longevity or for the fact he calls games by himself. He has been the voice of the Dodgers for over 60 years, dating back to their Brooklyn days, and tells you the story of baseball like no other. How he fills in the gaps between pitches as both play-by-play man and analyst is remarkable.

As a student at UCLA, I had the pleasure of watching many Dodgers games that Vin Scully announced. When the Giants would play the Dodgers, I would be excited to hear how he described the game of baseball. I learned more about the Giants from him than I did from Jon Miller or Mike Krukow, and I learned a great deal from them.

For example, I learned so much background about individual Giants players from him. Take Aubrey Huff for instance. When Huff came to bat at Dodger Stadium during a Giants/Dodgers game, Scully filled the time with an anecdote about Aubrey Huff. He explained how after Huff went to a Texas Rangers game with his mom, Huff told her he wanted to be a baseball player when he grew up. In response, Mrs. Huff bought him a batting cage, and it sure paid off with a 2010 championship ring on Huff's fingers. Another story about Huff that Scully told was how when he was in an art class, he was asked to paint a picture for a project. What picture did he chose? None other than Barry Bonds at Pacific Bell Park.

Scully does an excellent job painting these pictures with many other opposing players. His unbiased commentary during Dodger broadcasts is a rare breed, and he is an example every young broadcaster should follow.

Many sports broadcasters today, especially national, are headline readers (just listen to the national announcers during the play-offs). Scully does more than just read headlines. He puts in time and effort researching players, the game, and match-ups. He is a scholar of baseball, and it shows up in his work. If anybody has an opportunity to watch a game Scully broadcasts when the Dodgers play your favorite baseball team, I encourage you to do so. This can be done easily if you will be in Los Angeles this summer or if you have an pass. You will feel like he is your home broadcaster with his immense knowledge of teams other than the Dodgers.

If Vin Scully teaches you anything, it should be that the real work does not come from doing the actual broadcast. It comes from all the preparation that goes into the broadcast before it happens - the research, looking up stats, preparing what to say, reading the press guide, etc. Same goes to anybody who wants to work in the media. The real work is not what you see on television, but it comes from those who work 9-5 Monday through Friday to make the broadcast happen. This I learned from the office workers I had the pleasure of meeting while I was interning at Fox Sports.

Unfortunately, I will not be able to hear Vin Scully on a regular basis now that I moved back to the Bay Area, but I will always have to hear him call baseball games, through 2011 at least. To baseball fans' delight, he will be saying " It's time for Dodger Baseball" for at least one more year. Vin Scully retiring will be a sad day in baseball when it happens.

For more on Vin Scully and to hear some Vin Scully quotes and audio calls, click here. For Giants fans, click here for his call from Will Clark's NLCS single to win a game and his prime 9 moments from MLB Network. Also, if you have it, go on your pass and listen to Vin Scully when he called Aubrey Huff's home run on Sept. 16, 2010. As a Giants fan, it is just a great call, especially when he says "she is gone" like he did on Gibson's 1988 World Series home run.

Photo Attribution: Craigfnp at en.wikipedia

Saturday, December 11, 2010

National League West Sneak Peek No. 2: Can LA Dodgers' Glory Days Return?

Hello fans,

I know this is a Giants blog, but in this blog entry, we will be previewing the rival Los Angeles Dodgers. I always write the posts, but this time I brought in a guest blogger who knows more about the team than I do. His name is Robert Cody Binyon and he's the author of a fine blog called LA Sports Minute. Check it out. He lives in LA, goes to UCLA, and loves LA Sports, but lets not get on him too much Giants fans. I want to thank him personally for taking the time to write for us. Here's his preview of the Dodgers


Last season the Dodgers ended with an 80-82 record, far below the 95 wins they had in 2009. A few different things contributed to their drastic fall in performance. In no order:

1.) Matt Kemp - Since 2007, when Kemp played 92 games and had nearly 300 at bats, he's never had a season in which he batted below.290. Last season he hit only .249, and while his power continued to develop, his tremendous decrease in contact made him a less dangerous RBI guy, and robbed him of several possible home run opportunities. I don't know if its his newly formed relationship with Rihanna or just an off year, but Kemp's defense also took a terrible tumble. He was coming off a gold glove season in center field with every night having a possible web gem, but last season he continuously misplayed balls and looked foolish. Kemp will need to regain his earlier, more promising form if the Dodgers are going to have a chance to win the NL West.

2.) Jonathan Broxton - What the hell happened to Broxton? He was terrible last season. All of a sudden he looked scared and confused, like he had no idea what he was doing on a pitcher's mound. In previous years, when the Dodgers would send Broxton and his 100MPH fastball out for the final 3 outs, there was very little doubt that he would get the job done. Maybe his two previous collapse's in the NLCS against the Phillies finally caught up to him, but last season his ERA ballooned to 4.04. In his previous four seasons, Broxtons ERA had only been above 2.85 once (3.13, 2008). Unless Broxton is dealt this season, he will need to come back down to Earth and start knocking people down again.

3.) The Divorce - The McCourt's looming divorce didn't allow the Dodgers to go out and add the pieces they needed in order to compete. They needed to fill out the rotation better and the people who we did add were all old journeyman. It was almost as though they made some moves to make it look like they were still trying to compete. This off-season however, when many people thought that the trend would continue, we've been one of the most active teams (besides Boston, or New York). We've gone out and bolstered our starting five, with the re-signing of Kiroki Kuroda and Ted Lilly along with the addition of Jon Garland. Based on last year's statistics, this group is the best rotation in the MLB. If they can continue to work deep into ballgames, and keep our team in position to win games, we just have to hope our pen can handle the rest.

4.) Manny Ramirez - Well...Manny wasn't really Manny anymore. Maybe this is the new manny we have to look forward to, but luckily, as a team, we don't have to worry about it anymore. Personally, I've always been a big Ramirez fan, but after he was suspended for his "PED's" he was never the same. Coincidence? I don't really care, either way he was not the same middle of the lineup threat that he used to be. In 66 games with the Dodgers he did manage to hit .311, but only hit 8 homeruns. In 2010 his AB/HR ratio was 24.5/1, a far cry from the end of 2008 when he came to the Dodgers and propelled them into the playoffs when it was 11/1. Manny has to be having fun to play good baseball, and after he was suspended fifty games he didn't seem to handle the pressure of the LA fans very well. Good luck Manny.

With these reasons looking to change, the Dodgers should be at least 10 wins better than they were a year ago. That puts them at minimum 90-72. Not the 100 wins that I boldly (and semi-jokingly) predicted at the beginning of this preview. The biggest weaknesses for the Dodgers last season were driving in runs, and late-game bullpen issues. Those are two very pivotal issues when it comes to baseball, but I think with Matt Kemp returning to form, the possible addition of Bill Hall (+ power), the additions of Vicente Padilla to the bullpen and Tony Gwynn (+ speed) to the outfield, the Dodgers have already improved. With the rumors swirling that they are after Prince Fielder (for Broxton and Loney), the Dodgers aren't done changing this team. At the current state the Dodgers are in I think think they are a lock for nothing lower than #2 in the NL West. With the addition of a big bat in Left Field and ONE MORE ARM in the bullpen, I think we can realistically contend for a 100 win season, and the NL West title.


Those were Mr. Binyon's thoughts on the Los Angeles Dodgers. Thank you Cody! Bad luck to the Dodgers.

To end the preview, here are some links to some top moments between the Giants and Dodgers (mostly in 2010).

1. Joe Morgan's home run to knock the Dodgers out of the play-offs in 1982.
2. Betty White's refusal to root for the Giants during the 2010 post-season.
3. Steve Finley's grand slam to clinch the NL West title for the Dodgers in 2004.
4. Matt Cain gets his first career win against the Dodgers in 2010.
5. Tim Lincecum hits Matt Kemp; then Clayton Kershaw is ejected for hitting Aaron Rowand (2010).
6. Barry Bonds hits home run number 73 in 2001.
7. Steve Perry of Journey upset over Dodger Stadium playing "Don't Stop Believin" in the bottom of the 8th inning of every game (2009).
8. Pat Burrell's dramatic go-ahead home run off Jonathan Broxton on Fox Saturday Baseball (2010).
9. Manny Ramirez's home run against Sergio Romo to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead (2010).
10. Juan Uribe's 9th inning go-ahead home run against the Dodgers in September (2010).
11. Andres Torres' clutch 2-run double in the 9th inning that gave the Giants a lead at Dodger Stadium. This was after Bochy had Broxton removed from the game because Don Mattingly made two trips to the mound.

This concludes me and Cody's NL West Preview #2. Just to throw in my two cents, I disagree with Cody. I predict that the Dodgers will come in 3rd place in 2011, mostly because they have not solidified their sub-par bullpen. Also, I see a noticeable regression in Loney, Kemp, and Ethier, the Dodgers' core young players. I wanted to highlight Kemp especially. He made so many mental errors this year, especially against the Giants, that cost his team ball games. One noticeable incident was when Matt Cain picked him off on Sunday Night Baseball or when he foolishly tried to move first to third on a single during the Mattingly mound incident (I think he got frustrated when Lincecum hit him).

Next, I will be previewing the Colorado Rockies, and I will write my piece on Vin Scully. I also want to put up some of my top 10 Giants moments of 2010.

Please contact me with questions or comments. My email is or just reply with a comment with your feedback. I want to know what you're top 10 Dodgers/Giants moments were or even your top moments from 2010.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

2011 National League West Sneak Peek No. 1: Can the San Francisco Giants Repeat?

Pitchers and catchers report in about two months, but this doesn't silence the baseball talk. Let's look at the NL West thus far. We'll start with the Giants and then move on to different teams on different posts. Be sure to take the appropriate themed poll on the right.

The Winter Meetings have started, but it seems the Giants prefer to stand pat. They have publicly stated they aren't going after any of the top free agents, and why should they? The team of misfits they put together last year achieved baseball immortality, so why should the team be assembled any differently?

So far, the Giants appear to be the favorite in 2011. They have retained  most of their tremendous pitching staff, who was first in baseball in ERA and strikeouts in 2010. All they lost were the likes of Guillermo Mota and Chris Ray, but their whole starting rotation remains in tact for 2011 and beyond.

The Giants' offense only needs to be passable to win the West, but anything less will not get the job done. In 2009, the Giants' offense was abysmal, one of the worst in baseball history. Even so, they somehow won 88 games, but it was not enough to beat out the Rockies for the Wild Card. In 2010, the Giants were closer to the middle of the pact in hitting, and they won the West with 92 games. Now that the Giants added Tejada, Cody Ross (mid-2010), Pat Burrell (mid-2010), and a more healthy Pablo Sandoval (who lost 15 pounds in San Diego so far), the Giants' offense is a worlds better than on April of 2010. Not to mention a stronger bench, with Mark Derosa returning in 2011. Don't forget Buster Posey who just jolted the offense in July.

The one weakness I see for the Giants is athleticism. With the exception of Torres and Schierholtz, team speed is week and so is their range. If Pablo Sandoval loses a few more pounds, I think he can give the Giants more athleticism as he did when he first came up in 2008. Watch any of his baserunning from '08, and you would think he was Carl Crawford compared to the way he runs now. Right now, I think the Giants need to pick up a speedster who isn't a loss at the plate (not an Eugenio Velez). Darren Ford can fly, but I don't think the Giants trust him entirely at the plate yet.

That said, I pick the San Francisco Giants to win the West once again. Their pitching is just superb, and I think having Burrell, Ross, Buster Posey, and Torres in the lineup for a full season will get them 95-100 wins. Imagine how many of those early season 2010 games they would have won with these players.

Next, we will look at the Los Angeles Dodgers. Uribe is a Dodger, but will it really help them? Stay tuned for their analysis. Also, be sure to take my poll on the right! For more on the Dodgers, check out the LA Sports Minute Blog on the right. My man Cody Binyon has got some good thoughts, although I disagree with him about how the Dodgers are good.

Also, I will give out my awards for 2010 for all of baseball!

One more thing. I am thinking of conducting interviews with baseball fans a la Marty Lurie and posting them here. Let me know what you think or if you want to be an interviewee! I like meeting new people and talking baseball, so I feel this would be a great little project for me. Post your comments and let me know.

If you have any questions or comments about my blog, contact me at

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Giants hot-stove update, Velez and Ray free agents, Giants re-sign Pat Burrell

Got some news off the wire to pass along...

The Giants have non-tendered Chris Ray and Eugenio Velez. They are both now free agents. For Ray, it appears he fell victim to a crowded bullpen. The Giants already have Javier Lopez, Brian Wilson, Sergio Romo, Jeremy Affeldt, Ramon Ramirez, and Santiago Casilla set in the bullpen for 2011. Dan Runzler is planned to be a factor as well as Casilla's brother Jose. As for Velez, they gave him ample chances to succeed, but his career .256 average, career .300 OBP, and his countless defensive lapses were too much for the Giants to give him a contract.

On the other hand, Cody Ross, Andres Torres, Javier Lopez, Jonathan Sanchez, Santiago Casilla, Ramon Ramirez, and Mike Fontenot were all tendered contract. In addition, Pat Burrell was re-signed by the Giants for a discounted price. The official dollar amount is still unknown. Re-signing Aubrey Huff might have had something to do with this.

I guess the Giants are sticking to the "don't fix it, if it aint broke" mentality. The vast majority of the 2010 championship team remains in tact so far, with the exception of Juan Uribe, Edgar Renteria, and Guillermo Mota. Not to mention, the signing of Miguel Tejada brings that Uribe-like leader type into the clubhouse who can mentor the Latin players, such as Pablo Sandoval. If they couldn't have Uribe, why not sign someone who is almost like him attitude-wise?

I also heard from KNBR that Uribe said he didn't decide he wanted to go sign with the Dodgers. Does this mean his agent made the decision for him? I thought the player had the final say over where to sign.

Here's another note to pass along. The Dodgers non-tendered Russell Martin tonight. He is now a free agent. I think the Giants should pick him up as Posey's backup catcher. He can also play first or third, which gives the Giants another option in case Pablo Sandoval cannot get his act together. Plus, he can still contribute and a change of scenery might do him well (it worked for Huff after all). He is only 27 years old and gets on base (.365 career OBP), which is something the Giants struggle with. The Dodgers took one of the Giants' players, why not return the favor?

The hot stove will continue to sizzle. Check back for more updates.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Giants' First World Series Title In San Francisco Excites San Jose Sports Bar

Fans have dubbed most of the Giants’ 2010 season and post-season as torture, but after the team’s impressive World Series victory against the Texas Rangers, the Giants’ faithful at the High Five Pizza Co. restaurant and sports bar felt euphoric.
The Giants won the seven-game World Series in just five games, courtesy of a Game 5 seventh-inning three-run home run from the series’ MVP Edgar Renteria, and brought home the first championship in their San Francisco history.
Cathleen Belknap, a manager at High Five, was among those who were thrilled about the Giants’ World Series title. She said that although she was a southern California native, she began following the Giants when the play-off games were on the televisions at work, and when everyone came into the restaurant to watch them.
“I feel very good about it because it will bring revenue to the city, and it’s long overdue so it is nice for the fans,” Belknap said.
Like Belknap, bartender Mark Mitchell recently began following the Giants during the frenzy when the play-offs began. As a fan of San Francisco itself, he felt the Giants’ World Series victory was one of the best things to happen to the city.
“I really liked what it did to the city of San Francisco,” Mitchell said. “It was similar to what happened when the Saints won the Super Bowl.”
Mitchell was also drawn to the team by the personality and charm of some of the players, including Buster Posey, his favorite.
“I saw Buster Posey in an interview, and I was impressed with the way he conducted himself,” Mitchell said. “If I see him, I would like to buy him a beer.”
Some were so excited about the Giants’ World Series title that they celebrated in surprising ways. Kealaa Kai, a concrete foreman for the city of San Jose and regular patron at High Five, told of his experience at another San Jose sports bar.
“I went to a bar in downtown San Jose, and after the Giants won, the owner bought a round of drinks for all his customers in the bar at the time,” Kai said.
Others were just relieved that the Giants won at least one title in their lifetime, and they are confident many more are on the way.
“I’m so happy they did it while I’m young,” said Katerina Nowack, a cashier and cook at the restaurant. “I am excited that everyone on the team is so young, and there’s a good chance it (a Giants World Series title) might happen again.”
Even fans of opposing teams, including the Giants’ archrival Los Angeles Dodgers, could not help but feel happy for Giants fans. Greg Scaglione, another High Five bartender, has been a Dodger fan since birth, but showed an understanding of what the World Series victory meant to Giants fans.
“I’ve known a lot of people who were Giants fans, and it’s really good for them,” Scaglione said.
             In years past, every last game of the season for San Francisco has ended in defeat, but this year, it was the San Francisco Giants who had the last victorious word in Major League Baseball.

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