Sunday, December 30, 2007

Candlestick Snow Globe

Candlestick Park was notorious for being windy. Not like in Wrigley Field where the wind blows either in or out, but it would blow in every direction at the same time. It swirled. The wind would come in over the hill behind the park and drop downward into center field. It would hit the enclosed center field stands and split into two, each half of the wind rotating around the stadium until they collided behind home plate. The result of the collision was wind that swirled in every direction, filling the rest of the ballpark.

One night it was very warm, about 70 degrees, and the wind was the strongest I ever experienced at the 'Stick. At a typical Candlestick game, all the hot dog wrappers (which then were 8" squares of wax paper) and other garbage would be blown by the wind and would collect in the front rows several inches deep. Most of the garbage would end up in the left field corner, sometimes a foot or two deep. On this night, the wind blew quite a bit of the garbage up into the air, and was quite a spectacle for the fans. Random flying shopping bags and hot dog wrappers swirling everywhere.

Then a few fans in the front row got the idea to throw handfuls of collected garbage up into the air. This caught on and hundreds of fans started doing it. The result was an incredible scene and the fans were cheering wildly. Candlestick Park looked like a huge snow globe that was freshly shaken. It was so awesome I got the idea of selling Candlestick snow globes with a caption that had the word "snow" crossed out and "hot dog wrappers" written in. I never followed up on my invention and kick myself. It coulda sold thousands.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Is The A's New Stadium For Real?

A good question to ask is if the A's new stadium is for real. Is it? The owners seem to impress upon the media that it is. Unlike the Nationals, Yankees, Mets and Twins, the A's have no definitive date for the opening of their new yard, Cisco Field. Sometime in 2010 or 2011, I guess.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Giants Season Tickets Available

If anybody is interesting in sharing in a partial season ticket plan for the 2008 Giants season, please contact me through a comment. Up to a quarter of the season is available. Some of our ticket partners have cut back this year on how many tickets they want, so there are some available.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Cast and Crew: Other Characters

Many other characters inhabited the left field bleachers at the Oakland Coliseum. Among them are a couple named Alan & Halle. Alan was as much a real life hippie as there is. (See him here in a bleacher picture) He made his own tie-dye t-shirts, and for other people too. Halle was a folk singer who put out an album and performed in local clubs. They were funny and fun to talk with. Wendy and Doc were a lesbian couple. Wendy was a huge baseball fan, and when weather permitted, she wore a bright blue Cubs jacket and/or hat. She was a social worker, and Doc was a doctor who, if I remember correctly, worked in medical clinics. Wendy had a great sense of humor. Dennis and Priscilla were a married couple. Dennis was a particle physicist at a big lab, and I forget what Priscilla did. Jay was a carpenter turned contractor who always had time to come to the game. He was a ball hound and always wore an Orioles hat. He was a friend of Young Mike.

Marvin and Evelyn were David's parents. They attended quite a few games and always had opinions on players and strategy. Others included a guy named Kevin and a friend. They always heckled Phil Bradley. Early on in the early 80's, a girl named Desiree was there. We had a nickname for her: the bleacher queen. Occasionally she would wear a halter top, shorts and high heels, attracting attention. Also Rick and Myrna.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Mitchell on Steroids

So former Senator George Mitchell released his "independent" report on baseball's steroids situation. Independent? Yeah, right. Commissioner Bud Selig hires a politician who works for the Boston Red Sox to investigate baseball. His "findings" aren't in the least surprising, despite the attempt of the media to make it look like it. The "list" consists of mostly aging or retired players, or nobodies. No Red Sox and tons of Yankees at that. The "proof" comes from putting the squeeze on a former bat boy. So gossip and hearsay are okay to skewer players in the court of public opinion? That's why Selig is a spineless weasel and Mitchell is a wanker politician. But the players' "crimes" occurred mostly while steroids were completely legal in baseball.

And completely known. We've known about the rampant use of steroids since the 80's. Owners like Bud Selig and commissioners like Bud Selig purposefully ignored the "problem" as it certainly didn't hurt the ticket sales. Now, President Bush is troubled by the findings. He said, "The players and the owners must take the Mitchell Report seriously. I'm confident they will." It's too bad you didn't take the issue seriously, Mr. President, when you were the owner of the Texas Rangers. Remember your star player Mr. President? Jose Canseco? The player for whom the "steeee-roooids" chant became popular even before then? Maybe a member of your staff can remind you.

The biggest problems by far are the hypocrisy of baseball's leadership and the zealousness of the feds' prosecution Nazis. Leave Bonds, Clemens and F.P. Santangelo alone and take a look at Selig, Mitchell and the prosecutors. Spring training is a few months away. Let's have a cold beer and watch some baseball.

Giants Newest Centerfielder

The Giants recently signed Aaron Rowand to a contract. He joins Randy Winn, Dave Roberts, Rajai Davis and potentially Fred Lewis in centerfield. I know Willie Mays was the greatest centerfielder ever, but there really is something to the saying that quality is better than quantity.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Bonds to A's?

There was an article in the paper a few days ago stating that the A's were interested in Barry Bonds. This makes sense. He would instantly be their best hitter - or one of the best, could DH without any requirement to play the field. He could even play the outfield in NL cities during interleague. He wouldn't have to move. The A's are in need of attendance as they ready themselves for their new yard. Many Giants fans would show up in Oakland to see him. The A's may work out some kind of non-guaranteed contract in case he shifts to pursuing the prison softball home run record. It's a win-win idea.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Big Red Machine

A friend reminded me of the Big Red Machine today. They played during my fever pitch collection of baseball cards. I knew the lineups of every team, including the Big Red Machine. I can rattle off - completely off the top of my head - the 70's Reds in the field. Bench, Perez, Morgan, Concepcion, Rose, Foster, Geronimo, Griffey. I can vividly remember each player's batting stance and swing. Concepcion's one-hop throws to Perez off the gawd-awful astro-turf. I also remember those awful double-knit polyester pullover pajama uniforms and the symmetrical outfield fence with that stupid yellow line at the top.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Rumors: Not the Fleetwood Mac Kind

Miguel Cabrera a Giant? Santana? Trades? What about the prospects the A's traded Marco Scutaro for? Will Bonds set the all time prison softball home run record? Each of my ticket partners for the Giants season tickets have told me that they want fewer games next year. I'll have to get more bodies. Any takers?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Reggie? Yawn...

During the 1986 season the then California Angels came to Oakland and one of the games was to be on ABC's Monday Night Baseball. Even though it was late in Reggie Jackson's career and he sucked by then, the media still gave him top billing as an attraction. So Kevin and I had a great idea for a prank. We saved up newspapers for a month or so and got together for a newspaper sorting party. When the game arrived, we stationed ourselves at each of the entrances to the bleachers and quickly gave each fan a single folded sheet of a newspaper and told them to act like they were reading it when Reggie Jackson came up to bat. We cut a tiny hole in each paper so the fans could really watch his at bat.

Well he came up the first time, and it was hilarious to see thousands of fans in the entire bleachers section from foul pole to foul pole reading newspapers! The message was that Reggie was washed up and boring. This was at a time that the networks decided not to show aberrant fan behavior like streaking and other things, so ABC didn't show us on national TV. But 40,000 other fans at the game saw us. It was worth every minute of prep.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Baseball Cards

I collected baseball cards when I was a kid. It started in 1971, and Topps were my favorites, and almost the only brand I ever collected. In Little League, we bought cards at the snack shack after games. My fever pitch year was 1974 when I collected the entire '74 set through individual packs. In college in the 80's I collected old cards to fill in voids. I preferred commons to stars because I could get so many more cards.

My most valued card is a 1975 George Brett rookie card. It was a part of the mini-size set issued on the West Coast and is more valuable because of it. I almost threw all my mini cards away at one time because they always fell out from a handfull of cards. I always refused to put baseball cards in my bicycle spokes. I used playing cards instead.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Longest World Series Droughts

Here's an updated list of how long it's been for each team not to have won a world series. Years in parenthesis mean that franchise or specific team has never won, and the year listed is the year when they were an expansion team or moved to their current city.

1908 Chicago Cubs
1948 Cleveland Indians
1954 New York/San Francisco Giants
(1958) San Francisco Giants
(1961) Washington Senators/Texas Rangers
(1962) Houston Astros
(1969) San Diego Padres
(1969) Seattle Pilots/Milwaukee Brewers
(1969) Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals
(1970) Milwaukee Brewers
(1972) Texas Rangers
(1977) Seattle Mariners
1979 Pittsburgh Pirates
1980 Philadelphia Phillies
1983 Baltimore Orioles
1984 Detroit Tigers
1985 Kansas City Royals
1986 New York Mets
1988 Los Angeles Dodgers
1989 Oakland A's
1990 Cincinnati Reds
1991 Minnesota Twins
1993 Toronto Blue Jays
(1993) Colorado Rockies
1995 Atlanta Braves
(1998) Tampa Bay Devil Rays
2000 New York Yankees
2001 Arizona Diamondbacks
2002 Anaheim Angels or Los Angeles or whatever
2003 Florida Marlins
(2005) Washington Nationals
2005 Chicago White Sox
2006 St. Louis Cardinals
2007 Boston Red Sox

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A-Rod to Yanks, Bonds to Giants?

The publicity stunt that was Alex Rodriguez promising he wouldn't play for the Yankees and the Yankees telling him to kiss off, only to sign him to a record contract says something about the possibility of Bonds returning to the Giants. Now that Bonds is indicted on federal charges, no other team would touch him. Except maybe the Giants.

I could see the Giants signing Bonds at a low salary - one they could take a risk on - with no guaranteed pay for prison time, taking advantage of his fallen name. The Giants are used to his antics and I'm wondering if refusing to resign him wasn't a ploy to resign him - for less.

Ten Games In History I Would Like To See

Here's a list of ten games in baseball history that I would like to have seen in person.

10 - Game 1 of the 1909 World Series - the war between Honus Wagner and Ty Cobb.

9 - Giants/Braves game in the 60's where Juan Marichal and Warren Spahn dueled a 16 inning scoreless affair (both pitched complete games). Willie Mays won it with a homer in the bottom of the 16th, 1-0. Probably the greatest game ever pitched.

8 - 1984 All-Star Game in San Francisco, because I didn't go.

7 - Nolan Ryan's sixth no-hitter in Oakland. I was going to go but stayed home because I felt ill.

6 - Game 7 of the 1962 World Series, even though the Giants lost.

5 - A game at Ebbet's Field.

4 - Hank Aaron's all time home run record, 1974

3 - All time record for lowest attendance. The St. Louis Browns game in the 1930's that drew 34 fans.

2 - Babe Ruth's "called shot" - 1932 World Series vs. Cubs

1 - Bobby Thompson's "Shot heard 'round the world" - Oct 3, 1951 - Giants vs. Dodgers

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Proposed Stat: Incomplete Plate Appearance

I've thought of a new statistic that could prove some use for baseball. I'll call it the "Incomplete Plate Appearance." Baseball has a stat called the "At Bat" which consists of all hits, outs and fielder's errors combined. An expanded stat called the "Plate Appearance" (is this the "AP" for "Appearance at the Plate"?) includes "At Bats" but adds walks, hit by pitch, sacrifices and sac flies." This is commonly viewed as the number of times a batter appears at the plate. But it is not.

Another incident in baseball that has no official accounting anywhere is the time when a batter comes to the plate, sees pitches, but the third out of the inning is made on the bases before his at bat concludes. This has no category. Because the third out is made during the at bat, he leads off the next inning, and that plate appearance is counted. But I'm wondering if his "appearance" the previous inning isn't counted anywhere because he doesn't decide the out. This unaccounted for "thing" may actually have a large effect on the game. It could eat up the pitcher's pitch count.

Say a batter comes up with a runner on and two out. He works the count to 2-2, fouls off five pitches, and the next pitch sees the runner caught stealing for the third out. He just ate up 10 pitches. If the pitcher has a 100 pitch limit, that one "thing" that isn't counted for is responsible for 10% of the opposing pitcher's time out there. And if he leads off the next inning with a five pitch "real" accounted for plate appearance, he could chew up 15% of the other pitcher's value, get him yanked an inning early, setting up a bullpen meltdown, resulting in a victory. The most valuable plate "appearance" could go unnoticed in the stats. The pitches he uses up are counted against the pitcher's pitch count, but the plate appearance isn't.

Better yet, let's say this player is a pinch hitter who doesn't stay in the field for the next half inning. He could prove to be the most valuable player of the game, but shows up nowhere in the stats. Let's account for this by creating the "Incomplete Plate Appearance."

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Slime-Rod and The FOX Sox Nation

This is old news by now, but I don't know what was more slimy, the announcement by A-Rod's agent during a World Series game that he would not pick up his option to play with the Yankees, or FOX's coverage of it with the immediate suggestion as to the Red Sox being just about the only team capable of affording him. A shot of owner John Henry just happened to be on the video in the truck, so they switched to it.

Right in the middle of a World Series game is not the place for a TV broadcaster to be interviewing a player agent. He wasn't doing his job. His job was covering the game. Now if FOX put him up to it, FOX wasn't doing its job. FOX's ratings were in the toilet, anyway. Desperate times call for desperate measures, I guess.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Number Nine: Yankee Announcer's Voice on Beatles' White Album

I'm convinced that the voice saying "number nine" repeatedly in the Beatles' White Album song "Revolution 9" is none other than the Yankees PA announcer Bob Sheppard. The White Album was put out in '68, so I'm guessing that the voice is an audio clip from Sheppard announcing a Roger Maris at bat sometime in '66 or earlier.

I Googled and surfed to find some confirmation of this. I did find a YouTube clip of him announcing a game in '06. At about 0:41 on this clip you can hear him announce a Texas Ranger player who wears uniform number nine. Forty years later, it sounds just like the White Album. After my discovery, I found this on Wikipedia.

Joe Torre Is A Bum

Joe Torre is a Bum. That's right, with a capital "B." Why would I say such a thing since I have recently said I have respect for him? Well, he's a Bum in the sense that the Dodgers are 'Dem Bums. I don't hate Joe Torre. Yet. But he's a Dodger now. I'm sure it will change.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

All-Star Game Prevents Sox From Winning at Home

The really dumb rule of letting an exhibition game decide who has home field advantage in the World Series has failed again. Miserably. If fact it hasn't worked yet. In 2003, the AL won the ASG, eventually giving the Yankees home field advantage in the WS. It certainly didn't work for them, as the Marlins clinched in the Big Stadium. In 2004, it prevented the Red Sox from clinching their sweep at home. Great gift to fans waiting 86 years to see it. It happened on the road. Same thing in 2005 for the 88 years White Sox fans waited. Their "home field advantage" forced them to win on the road. In 2006, the AL won again, but the Tigers "home field advantage" allowed the NL team to win at home. Now the same thing in 2007 for the Red Sox.

Wonder how long it will take for fans to demand the All-Star game revert to alternating years between leagues for home field advantage so that somebody could see their team win at home?

It's Now Football Season

One of my rules of baseball is that football season doesn't start until the last out of the World Series. I don't understand football season starting so early in the year. With so much happening in the last two months of baseball, there's just simply no time to watch football. Now that it's football season, I have to catch up on half a season of what already occurred. But this takes too much time, so I'm not able to get into football as much as I like.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Red Sox Are The New Yankees - Or Maybe Worse

It's gotten beyond the point of contemptful toleration. The whole Red Sox thing is sickening. With all the attention, media coverage, East Coast bias, fan idiocy, transplants worldwide, and the like, the Red Sox are the new Yankees. But I'm going to say that it might be worse.

The Yankees are those pinstriped bunch that the whole world loves to hate more than any other team, Dodgers from Giants fans excepted. I've hated the Yankees my whole life, and for all the regular reasons. They're always on TV, in the media, constant press. ESPN is their superstation. Their fans are everywhere. They always get the prime time TV slot for the post season; no wacky day games in bizarre time zones for them. They have the highest payroll. They are the first topic of conversation even when they aren't involved. Jealousy? Yeah, maybe. Wanting David to beat Goliath is normal. And now the Red Sox have all this.

But there's a difference. As much as I hate the Yankees, I can have respect for them in the very reasons I hate them. "And how many rings has your team won?" This isn't arrogance, it is accomplishment. New York is the largest market there is by way far. So I can expect them to be on because of ratings. I expect them to sell out. I expect their manager and players to be the highest paid. Their fans have the confidence and swagger. And they have won 26 championships after all.

The current Red Sox thing goes beyond this. It took them 86 years to win one. And now they (Red Sox Nation) think they deserve the same. They think they're America's sweetheart losers now on top. They assume that their own terms of endearment are everybody's. They're not. "Big Papi" is to them more than simply their nick name for Ortiz, it is assumed that it is everybody's. It's one thing to say, "Big Papi Ortiz" as a nickname because it ties his nickname to his real name, but quite another to use "Big Papi" by itself, as if I would, too. He's just not my big papi. Or "Manny just being Manny." Huh? Papelbon's dance, the permanent image of the bloody sock, the steal. As I heard one fan say, it used to be that watching the Red Sox in the post season meant seeing 35,000 fans terrified of the next pitch. It took faith. Now it's all presumption. I might be rooting for the Yankees to beat them next year.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Rox vs. Sox - A Fan Torn In Two

Douglas Dinsmoor at Open Stance, one of my first blog reads (and on my favorites list), has come over time to be a fan of both the Rockies and Red Sox. Originally from Denver, he moved to Boston before Denver ever had a team, and became a Red Sox die hard. Then, back in Denver, he followed the expansion Rockies and even became an usher at Coors Field. Now, his two teams are playing each other and he's torn about the Series. Read his interesting thoughts here.

Sox in Five - or - Rockies in Four

My prediction(s) is(are): game 1 will decide whether the Red Sox win in five games, or the Rockies in four.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Wanted: Third Base Coach - Apply Cleveland Indians

Losing the pennant in game 7 is one thing, but when your third base coach chokes the obvious pennant tying run and holds him at third, it's time to fry him. Joel Skinner is the inside favorite for the Pirates managerial job for next year, but if I were the Pirates, I would think twice (instead of not at all). Bill Buckner, Steve Bartman, Joel Skinner?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

A Night of Drinking with George Brett

One of my favorite stories is when I spent a night drinking with then future Hall of Famer George Brett. Back in about '86, the Royals were in Oakland to take on the A's. John was an autograph, ball, bat and attention hound for ballplayers. He tried to get a bunch of us bleacher bums to go with him to the lounge of the Royals' hotel after the game to schmooze and get autographs from the recent World Champs. Well, only Margaret and I went along with it, and insisted on driving separately.

The hotel for the visitors in Oakland was in the middle of crime infested industrial Oakland, so ballplayers were confined to the hotel lounge for fun. There was nowhere to go "out on the town." Most of the Royals that night were there. John brought his canvas gym bag full of balls, baseball cards and various other souvenirs with him. Sharpies in big supply. He had nicknames for all the Royals: "Saber" (Brett Saberhagen), "DJ" (Danny Jackson), "Goobie" (Mark Gubicza), etc., and after about five seconds of his trying to make advances toward the ballplayers, Margaret and I retired to the bar.

As we sat, a man came up next to us and plopped a beer glass down, then ordered another one. While he waited, he turned to us and said, "Hi, how you folks doing?" We turned to find out it was none other than George Brett. And when megastar George Brett asks how you're doing, you answer. He engaged us in conversation, and when he received his beer he hugged the stool with his rear in a way that suggested he'd be sitting a while. It was obvious that he already had a few. Giddy with circumstance, we talked baseball. He bought us a round of beers. Early on, Brett Saberhagen came up and ordered a Corona and walked away, forgetting all about it. I asked George if he thought Brett would mind if I had a sip of his beer. George flicked the lemon off, took a strong swig, pounded it on the bar and said, "HELL, NO! It's yours!"

We talked about many things. I asked George who the worst fans in baseball were, hoping to see where A's fans ranked. He replied that the Yankee fans were worst, but if you asked Royals outfielders, they would say the bleacher bums in Oakland. YES! What a confirmation of what we did every day. He mentioned specific fans that said specific things to Royals players. He also mentioned a fan who heckled him once with "Hey, George, you got your Preparation H and your pine tar mixed up!" There was no way I was gonna tell him that fan was me! I'm glad he remembered!

Meanwhile, John was frustrated with being turned down by every Royals player so far. They all knew him and his m.o., and made fun of him subtly in front of him without him noticing. John was such a character. Anyway, his frustration brought him to the bar to tell us that he was going home. Then he saw who was sitting with us. "Awwww, you dogs!" he said in green envy. True to his method, he started in on George by asking for an autograph. Then a ball, then a bat. George replied with a really loose, "If I'm gonna give anybody a bat, it's gonna be Marrrrrgaret!" and flopped his arms around her shoulders with one of those big, fat, wet been-drinking hugs. John was pissed. So he split, and let us know how lucky we were for days.

We continued sitting there with George, and he kept buying beers. In California the bars close at 2am. Last call and he bought a final round. When George Brett buys, you let him. The bartender finally closed the bar. But George stayed. When George Brett stays, you stay with him. The bar tender then ordered us out. But George ignored him. When George Brett ignores the bartender, you ignore him, too. At long last, the bartender finally called down the hotel manager to kick us out. George reluctantly complied. When George Brett reluctantly complies, you comply. George was a bit tipsy, so to say. The next day was a day game. We wondered if he might be a bit hung over the next day, but remembered that this was probably the norm for many ballplayers. I've always liked George Brett and will never forget that memorable night.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Cast and Crew: Drunk Buddy Ed

Drunk Buddy Ed was one of the most animated characters, not just in the bleachers, but probably in all of human history. He was the only person I ever heard who had a louder voice than me (now there's a Giants peanut vendor that's easy #1). He was perpetually bombed out of his gourd, but at the same time had the highest tolerance for alcohol and drugs ever. He had a friend named Terry, who usually accompanied him, who drove a Budweiser truck. Ed was the perfect combination of lovable drunk and obnoxious drunk.

Ed usually made his entrance, a half inning late, by running down the aisle with a giant beer, the beer sloshing from side to side, yelling "aaaaaaAAAAAAAAA's!" in his patented way. He got to the front row and yelled the same thing several more times. He always started "Let's go A's" chants, and when it was rally time, he yelled, "Raaaallllly time. Ding-a-ling-a-ling-a-ling!", stomping his foot on each "-ling." He was so hilariously drunk that multitudes joined him in cheering. Before each game, he drank a six pack in the parking lot, and smoked several Peruvian hash balls, then had four or five giant beers during the game. You could tell he was really blitzed when he dropped the "s" from "aaaaaaAAAAAA's." He also heckled the other team's players mercilessly, usually with old, corny yells.

Back in '85 he was safely in the next section over. But in '86, I had to invite him over once. To the dismay of all my other friends because he was so obnoxious, he made our section his new home. I was in the dog house from then on.

Drunk Buddy Ed: Bleacher bum

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Cast and Crew: Margaret

Margaret was an interesting, if a bit eccentric, woman who joined the crew in '85. One night, John and Mac were reading the A's magazine, and came across an article about an A's fan. A woman who was sitting about 8 rows behind us matched the photo. We decided to investigate. It was her.

She was originally from the South and moved to Berkeley and became a hippie in '68, the year the A's moved here from Kansas City. So she was a bleacher bum from the beginning. She did all kinds of computer work at UC, along with a bunch of other hippies, and I remember her having email back in the mid 80's. She also saw Catfish Hunter's perfect game along with only a few other fans. She had a huge memorabilia collection, and was a very literate person.

It didn't take very long for her to move down to the front row to become a part of the gang. She had many stories from the Finley era, and for years was the only woman to play in the A's fantasy camp each year.

Margaret: Bleacher bum

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Congratulations Rockies

The Rockies win the pennant! The Rockies win the pennant! Okay, it doesn't have the same ring to it. What a finish to a season. I feel good for Todd Helton.

Now, with every other team in the division having made the playoffs since the Giants have, maybe this will make the Giants jealous enough to do something about their situation. I wish the Rockies well in the Series, but just may want the Indians to win if they play them. Might snow.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Baseball's Post-Season Problems Made Worse

The two biggest problems with baseball's post season - too many off days, and Series games being played in ever-cooler weather - were made worse this year by baseball's addition of three off days in the playoff schedule. The three off days added were one extra day off between the end of the season and start of the playoffs (playoffs started on Wednesday instead of Tuesday), another day off between games four and five of the division series, and a third day off between games four and five of the LCS. [update 10-15-07: Oops, I counted wrong. There have been four off days added. I didn't see the extra day between the LSC and World Series.]

Baseball already has a problem with too many days off. With all the sweeps in the division series, we sat around all week waiting for the LCS to start. And with already two days off in a seven game series, a third in the LCS is completely unnecessary. This was done, of course, with TV in mind. Why are multiple days off needed in a playoff series? They're called "travel days," but there are few of these during the regular season. Post season scheduling favors teams with fewer good pitchers, because all the days off allow them to max out on their 1-2 starters. The Two Headed Monster in 2001 was a good example. Johnson and Schilling won the four games.

Playing late into October has been a problem, too, with all the cold weather. Now with the extra days off, even a season that ends in September will push the World Series into November. What baseball needs to do is cut the days off in a seven game series to a max of one, maybe between games five and six. Each series should start only one travel day after the previous serieses end. This year, the NLCS would have started on Wednesday instead of Thursday and the ALCS could have started on Wednesday instead of Friday. What difference does it make to start a series on a date set before the season even starts when playoff starting times aren't even announced until the last minute?

Friday, October 12, 2007

United Countries of Baseball

I found a cool site on that shows a map of the country divided up, not into states, but according to fan loyalties. The site is called United Countries of Baseball, and the map can be found by clicking here. Fans can help define the areas by filling out the survey stating their favorite team by zip code.

The area covered doesn't necessarily translate into number of fans because of metro area populations. I don't know how accurate this map is, but I wouldn't argue with most of the areas. The Giants take the coast, while the A's, being in the East Bay, go further inland. The big orange knob in the middle is the Sacramento area, even though the A's AAA team plays there. The Cubs take the entire state if Iowa, which figures, since they have heavy minor league representation there. Why the Marlins would take part of Georgia is anybody's guess. Alaska? Hawaii?

Mountain Time Series

Only two teams in baseball play in the Mountain Time Zone. And they're playing each other in the NLCS. The Rockies are the hottest playoff team in history, now having won 18 out of their last 19 games. How long can they keep it up? Time will tell, and so will FOX.

I'm not a fan of the Diamondbacks, so I don't want them to win. They're not one of my hated teams, it's just that there's nothing to like about them for me. They're an expansion team. They've already won a World Series. Their uniforms are blah. So is their ballpark. So is their name. I could go on.

Game 3 in Denver should be a rocking good time for the Rockies fans. They've never experienced anything like this. Can they hold up to a Red Sox lineup?

Monday, October 8, 2007

No Sympathy

It is very difficult to have sympathy for the New York Yankees for almost any baseball reason. I do have respect for Joe Torre and Mariano Rivera, but none others. King George must be royally pissed right now. But he's partly to blame. He has more money than everybody else but can't assemble a winner. It's been seven years since their last ring, and have had seven consecutive October disappointments. It's funny, but the Yanks are out and the Rockies are still in.

George said in the media before today's game that Torre's job was on the line tonight. Nice way to instill confidence in you main man. But in another way, to whom much is given, much is required. So although I respect Joe Torre, I don't have sympathy for him. He's the highest paid manager with the highest payroll and an annual winner. Managers are always canned when the owner is pissed, even if it's not their fault. Everybody knew this was coming twenty years ago.

too little, too lAte-Rod

Sorry, Alex, but your first post season RBI in three years came as a solo homer behind by enough runs in the late innings to not make a difference. Your pop-out to right field in the ninth with Joe Torre's job on the line was impressive. I'm not sure I want the Giants to sign you, and if they do, you'll have to change your m.o. to one of winning in October. Heaven knows we have enough problems with that.

Friday, October 5, 2007


A-Rod is 0-for October. Yet another post season without performing. Yes, there are still possibly three games left in the Cleveland series. But an interesting point can be made about A-Rod. The Yankees just might not re-sign him this off season. Best player in baseball or not, the Yankees don't need help making it to the post season. They've done it 13 years in a row. What they need is somebody to help them win it all. If A-Rod can't do that, he is meaningless to them.

My new name for the man who blows in October, going O fer, is O-Rod

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Disneyland Angels of Orange County

Or maybe the OC Angels of Disneyland? Whatever their name is, I want them to lose this October.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Post-Season Picks

Here are several types of picks for not only this, but any post season in general. First, for this year: Indians over Yankees, Red Sox over Angels, Diamondbacks over Cubs, Phillies over Rockies; Indians over Red Sox, Phillies over Diamondbacks; Indians over Phillies.

Now for playoff teams for best TV ratings: Angels, White Sox, Yankees and Red Sox (this happened in '05); Giants, Dodgers, Cubs and Mets. Worst TV ratings: Rangers, Royals, Devil Rays and Twins; Rockies, Pirates, Marlins and Milwaukee.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Season Ends Wild, Wicked and Weird

Trevor Hoffman spewed a playoff berth for the second time in three days in a blown save far more tragic than the previous one. I actually feel sorry for him. And the final play of the season was as bizarre a play as I've seen in years, and topped a thrilling 13 inning game. The wild-card winning sacrifice fly involved three individuals at the plate. Would be Rockie scorer Matt Holliday, Padres catcher Michael Barrett and ump Tim McClelland. Each one acted in a mysterious way.

Holliday slid (slud?) head first into Barrett's foot, which blocked the plate. Holliday missed the plate completely, but Barrett dropped the ball, and it squirted out. Holliday lay dazed in the dirt without the slightest attempt to return to tag the plate. Actaully, though, this may have been a wise move, proving to the ump that he touched the plate. Or he could have been laying there too injured to care about a possible World Series victory. McClelland saw the ball squirt away, and in body language that is only used when both the tag isn't made and the runner misses the plate, McClelland did nothing, indicating that the play was still on. Barrett knew that Holliday missed the plate because he retrieved the ball and tagged Holliday. But McClelland signalled a weak, non-challant safe sign just before Barrett tagged him. Barrett let up in his effort as McClelland made his call. Why didn't McClelland make the call right away? And why didn't Barrett protest the blown call? Or at least tag Holliday vigorously in celebration of the out? After all, the season was on the line. Holliday was attended to by medical personnel as the rest of the team celebrated wildly, completely ignorant of Holliday's injury.

And by the way, TBS's coverage of the game was the weirdest, and least interesting I've ever seen. Who were those clowns in the booth and why were those guys so bizarre? Anyway, it should be a great set of playoff series.

What a Finish This Season Has

I never would have guessed the Mets would collapse like they have. I always ask the question of what will happen if a team folds at the last minute. I had the Mets still winning the wild card. But now they're in a position of buying 25 new plasma HD TV's to watch the post season. I'm not feeling sorry yet. On the other hand, the Padres were one pitch away from the post season on Saturday with Trevor Hoffman on the mound in the 9th inning against the Brewers. Tony Gwynn Jr. was the party pooper, of all ironies. If the Pads lose tomorrow, Hoffman's blown save will be one of baseball's biggest. I'm hoping for a Rockies victory. It would be great if they kept it up and won it all.

The Philllies were in first place all of about 2 seconds this whole season. But the last 2 seconds of the season is good enough. The Brew Crew went non-alcoholic in the second half, and allowed the mediocre record Cubs in as NL Central champs. I hope the Cubs are swept by the D-Backs. It'll be interesting to see the attendance for the tie-breaker in Denver. The Rockies spent years selling out as an expansion team.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

On Saying Good-Bye to Barry

I've got some things to say about Barry Bonds' farewell that will take more time than I have right now. I'll delay them to a future post. Of course, that may just be all the less effective on readers of my blog, but that's the chance I'll take. Old news is old.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Shirt-Sleeve Weather In San Francisco

Mark Twain is attributed with the quote, "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." As a Giants baseball fan who lives about 30 miles inland on the east side of the Oakland Hills, I can agree. As summer winds down and temperatures drop in the rest of the country, San Francisco is getting its warmest weather of the year. As ocean currents in the northern hemisphere run clockwise, we on the west coast get our ocean water from Alaska. It's cold. This gives San Francisco its famous fog. But an autumn reversal of airflow brings hot air in from California's central valley.

The last several Giants night games were warm enough for people to wear shirtsleeves. I've been to nearly a thousand games in my life and I can count on my fingers the number of night games comfortable enough to wear shorts. The cold fog, high winds, coastal range, Oakland Hills, hot inland weather, and breaks in the hills make the Bay Area the toughest micro-climate area for meteorologists. It's not uncommon in the summer for temps to vary 35 degrees over a half mile in some areas. It might be 105 out here, then we go to a night game with layers of sweaters, jackets and blankets to freeze our fannies off with fog and wind in the low 50's, then return home only to go swimming. It really is true that the 49ers have better weather than the Giants.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Seven Team Race

The National League has hot pennant races during the last week of the season, with all three divsions and the wild card still undecided. I'm hoping for a three-way tie for the wild card between the Padres, Phillies and the very hot Rockies. A tie for the Central between the Cubs and Brewers would add another playoff game. There would be two days of single game playoffs before the divisional playoffs started on Wednesday. That would be awesome.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Cleanup Hitter?

I took the kids to the Giants game on Sunday, with one week left in the season. With Bonds still nursing his foot, our cleanup hitter, Rich Aurelia, who they signed this year to protect Bonds in the lineup, was batting .248 with 5HR and 33RBI. Comparable to Bad Vlad, I'd say.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

End Of An Era

Yesterday the Giants announced that they won't be signing Barry Bonds for the 2008 season. With only four home games left and Bonds still nursing his injured toe, I'm wondering how many Giants fans will get the chance to say goodbye in person at the game. We're going tomorrow, but with such short notice it's not likely that we'll see his last game on Wednesday night. I wish they would have given more notice so that fans could take advantage of it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Cast and Crew: David

David was this redheaded high school kid who sat about ten rows behind us in the A's bleachers. He heard our cheering and heckling, and some of us talked to him a few times. He found that our group would be a good circle of people with which to interact, given his love for baseball. So he moved down to join us regularly. This was in about '87.

A couple years later he went off to college (to study sports broadcasting, I think), and was there only June to August. After school, he was back for full seasons. He became an outspoken - by the minute - critic of manager Tony LaRussa. He later went to work for the A's doing stats for TV broadcasts, later becoming their play-by-play internet broadcaster, and finally and currently doing TV production for the A's. He was a character in his own right.

David: Bleacher bum

[Update 07-10-09: his name is David Feldman, and he was the official scorekeeper for the Giants' Johnathan Sanchez's no-hitter tonight]

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Why Late Inning Sub For Bonds?

Barry Bonds is often replaced in the late innings when the Giants are leading for "defensive reasons." But why? Any defensive liability due to Bonds' age is much smaller than the offensive liability of not having his bat in the lineup to help with a comeback after the bullpen coughs it up.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Freudian Slip Describes Giants' Season

Many parents sing a lullaby to their toddler at bedtime. Not our house. We sing "Take Me Out To The Ballgame." Last night, Mrs. Scott made a Freudian slip while singing. "Root, root, root for the home team, if they don't win it's the same..." Sums up the Giants season very well.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Spoiling Dodger Dreams

This weekend the Giants and Dodgers tangled up for the millionth time. The Gyros took two of three in spectacular fashion from the pennant contenders, with a walkoff homer on Friday and a pinch-hit, three run homer in the 8th on Sunday. It's September, and that's what baseball is made of. The Giants and Dodgers beating each other up to kill the other's dream. It's because of playing spoiler that I think it's a greater rivalry than the Yankees/Red Sox.

These two sets of teams have finished first/second more times than any other sets of teams ever. They're the two greatest rivalries. But the Yankees usually beat the second place Sox by 15 games, and they have relatively fewer pennant races against each other. Each set has had monster playoffs against each other; major history. But where the rivalries really tilt toward Giants/Dodgers is in the area of spoiler. Every several years, one of the teams knocks the other out in the last series of the season. This is almost non-existent with the Yanks/Sox. In the last 20 years alone, the Giants and Dodgers have had either pennant races with each other decided in the last weekend of the season, or have directly knocked the other out of the race on the last weekend of the season six times ('91, '93, '97, '01, '02, '04) compared to the Yanks/Sox whopping zero. They play the last series of the year again this year and the Dodgers are still in the race. Time to add '07 to the list.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Pizza Face Down

One of the most hilarious bleacher stories happened to Mike. It's not one of those "you had to be there" stories. It was funny, period. One day, with a packed crowd in the bleachers, Mike went up to get something to eat. He returned with an extra large pizza and a drink. The pizza was so large that he couldn't carry it between his thumb and fingers, but had to center his hand under the box, palm up and fingers spread out to balance it. He had a drink in his other hand.

When somebody walks down the aisle in the bleachers with an extra large pizza, everybody notices. His seat was on the aisle, and trying to take his seat with his food items was a slight challenge. First, he had to put his drink down, so he set it on the ground under the bench. Then he could concentrate on the pizza. He wanted to put it on the bench first so he could get into it to give some pieces to other people. But with his hand under the box, he couldn't set it right down onto the bench. So he took both hands and grabbed each side of the box so that he could set it down flat and centered on the bench.

A pizza box is constructed with the bottom folding up to make the sides. The lid then has flaps that fit inside of the folded sides. Well, there was one small problem. It seems the person at the concession stand gave him the unmarked box upside down. What this meant was that when he grabbed the box by the sides, the lid's flaps were inserted inside of the sides. In one quick sequence, he moved his hands to the sides of the box. The lid, which was on the bottom, acted like a trap door under the weight of the pizza, and fell out, the pizza sliding out, toppings down, SPLAT! Right in the middle of the aisle! With everybody already staring at him, this made for one of the most embarrassing, and funny, events possible. We still bust up to this day.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Bonds in 2008?

Will Barry Bonds play in 2008? He seems to think so and the Giants have yet to comment. If history is any indication, the Giants will start talking about this in December or January. I'm not sure it will be in the best interest of the team to sign him. Yeah, he'll put some butts in the seats, but not as many as in the past. He's already broken the record so each new homer is a yawner.

Although he's as potent a hitter as there is in baseball, and his on-base percentage is second to none, he as no lineup around him to make him effective. His defense is lagging because he's not an aging star - he's an aged star. He misses every third game and the games he does play in he's out by the late innings, usually substituted for defensive purposes. But I think substituting for him for defensive purposes backfires because the bullpen usually blows the lead, then the offense is short his bat in trying to come back. Then they lose. The bullpen is more of a liability than Bonds' defense.

He's still one of the better players in the game, and because of his popularity (in San Francisco, that is) and his ties to the Giants, I'm willing to bet that the Giants will sign him again and try to make him a Giant for the rest of his life. It'll be a bit awkward letting him DH in the AL only to have him immediately return for a lifetime involvement as a legend and mentor like Mays, McCovey and the rest of the Giants hall-of-famers.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Upcoming New Ballparks

With the construction of Skydome in Toronto, opening in 1989, a flurry of new ballparks have been built. A majority of teams have built new parks since then. There are a few more on the horizon for the next several years.

In 2008, the Washington Nationals will have a new park, followed by both New York teams in 2009. A new Yankee Stadium is being built in the parking lot of the existing one, and the same thing is happening for Shea Stadium. I'm not sure it's new name will be Shea. The Minnesota Twins just broke ground this week on their new open-air downtown park which is scheduled to open in 2010. The Oakland A's are planning Cisco Field in Fremont, and the schedule is a bit sketchy, but it looks like it will open in 2010 or 2011.

Once these parks are built, all but six teams will have a new or newish park. Wrigley Field and Fenway Park are quite old and the classics of classics, and many want never to build new ones. The Dodgers and Angels each have older parks from the 60's. Then the two Florida teams each have parks built in the 80's, but not specifically for baseball, so I don't really place them in the "new ballpark" category.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Baby's First Game

Today, I was scheduled to bring my oldest sons to the game, and Mike had the other ticket. He was out of town and we didn't find out until a few hours before game time. So Mrs. Scott grabbed her stuff and our 8 week old boy and we decided to buy a single ticket to get her in the game, then sit in our friend's empty seat. Well, some guy was giving away free bleacher tickets, probably from group sales that fell a few people short, and we went in.

Guest Services will give you a certificate of baby's first game. We did that after the game. Sundays also feature kids under 14 getting to run the bases right after the game. One kid got trampled, and I stopped to see if he was okay, and it turned out to be somebody from our church that we spotted earlier in the game.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

When No Fans Show Up

The Giants just played one of those weird four game weekend series with the last game on Monday. The Marlins scheduled the game as a day game. Monday is the worst attendance day, and a day game on Monday is the worst possible. It was also the first day of school in Miami, and it was extremely hot. I listened on the radio, while Mrs. Scott watched on TV. We talked on the phone, and she was very surprised to see so few fans there. The official attendance (okay, MLB, you really mean tickets sold) was 10,000. But there were a majority of no-shows, and just a few thousand in a huge football stadium looks even smaller.

Mrs. Scott didn't become a baseball fan until the early 90's, which is after baseball's revival here in the Bay Area. She doesn't recall the days of 3000 fans per game (or less) when both the Giants and A's sucked. She asked about what the players thought of so few fans, and many other curiosities.

As I explained to her, the joys of small crowds are merely a memory to me. Those were my favorite games of all. I went on to recount to her the many blessings. There is no parking problem, no lines for food or restrooms. You're guaranteed a great seat. Each fan has personal vendors. And with no crowd, there's no noise. So when you yell, everybody in the ballpark hears you. The chances of getting a foul ball increase greatly (as do the chances of getting a fair ball). Foul balls down the line are great entertainment, because nobody is sitting within ten sections. Kids stream through the seats to retrieve the ball. But because the ball rolls between the rows, it's like looking for a needle in a haystack. Finally, about ten minutes later, somebody finds it and holds it up high. Everybody gives a standing ovation. And at last, there's no traffic when you leave.

Take for example, I told her, the game with the smallest crowd that I ever attended. A's vs. Texas, September, 1986. I counted the attendance myself in less than an inning (1603). The fan in the upper deck left in the second inning. I don't think he went home, he just found a better seat downstairs. Sitting in the bleachers, I got to heckle the left fielder the entire game instead of only when he was in the field. Nobody was there so he could easily hear me from the dugout, so I yelled at him from across the stadium and reminded him that he could hear me. When I finished my first beer, my favorite beer vendor, named Tommy, was on the other side of the stadium, behind the first base dugout. No problem. I just yelled, "Heeeeey, Tooooommmy, I wannanother beeeeeer!" He looked up across the stadium at me and waved. He walked all the way around the stadium to sell me a beer. It's not like there was anybody else to sell to, so it was a good sale. Then, we talked for a few innings because it wasn't like there was anybody else there that wanted a beer. Three home runs were hit that day. And since there wasn't anybody else there, as school was back in and it was a day game, there were no other kids with gloves. Heck, there were only 33 people in all the huge bleachers that day. So I got to take all three home run balls home with me as souvenirs. That might have been my favorite game ever.

Some people just don't know what they missed from back in the day.

Benitez Caught Playing With Matches

I saw on the sports news tonight that Armando Benitez was lit up in the 8th inning for a blown save. As traumatic as his performance was as a Giant, he is even worse (if you can possibly believe that!) as a Marlin. Brian Sabean pulled off the greatest trade in baseball history.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Giants Are Bad - But Not Little League Bad

All this week, the Giants have been in a virtual tie with the Pirates for worst record in the league. Only Tampa Bay has a worse record. This has been a truly awful season for the Giants, with an exception of one area. They've been bad, but not Little League bad.

I've experienced Bay Area baseball since 1970, and have endured some really bad Giants and A's teams. The late 70's A's and mid 80's Giants were especially horrid. And there's something that all really bad teams usually have in common that isn't present this year. This year's team lacks the mindless, brain failure level of play. Sure, forget gasoline, the bullpen is rocket fuel to the fire. The lineup is anemic. They don't score for Matt Cain.

But they don't end up in a double play because three runners find themselves on the same base and two of them are tagged out. Runners aren't passing each other on the base paths or running the wrong way. The other team's bunt to move the runners over hasn't turned into a little league home run because there were three throwing errors on the same play, two by the same player. Wild pitches aren't scoring runners from first base with the batter reaching third because it was ball four. Three players aren't colliding trying to catch the ball with extra bases taken because there are no infielders left to cover the bases. Armando Benitez did have a few reality checks, but he's gone now. We're simply stuck with veterans who can no longer play.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

757, 758 - More?

Barry Bonds said that the home run chase was tough on his ability to hit home runs and now that the record is broken, he would be able to hit them more often. So far, that has been the case. Will he hit many more now? If he does, it should help the Giants, but they need far more help if they are to win consistently. Being 13 games out in August has been overcome in several historic pennant races in history, but the Giants have to pass four teams in front of them. Don't hold your breath. If they win it, it will no doubt be the greatest comeback ever.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

756! Congratulations Barry Bonds

Congratulations to the new home run king. We weren't there tonight, unfortunately, as I took our little ones there last night in hopes of seeing history. Hank Aaron's speech was as fitting as it could be. The pitcher was great in his press conference. And baseball has a great career to look back upon. The memories will last forever.

Cast and Crew: Nora

Nora is Mrs. Scott's best friend, and has been attending games with us since PacBell Park opened, and with Mrs. Scott since the early 90's. She buys into our season tickets with us, and is frequently at a game with us along with Mike. She is known for always having a beer, and good taste in beer at that. She used to work for the Giants and still knows many concessionaires and other employees there.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Cast and Crew - All The Links

Here's a list of links to every member of my baseball life cast and crew. I will continue to add links as I add new people. I'll be placing this in the margin for easy access in case you want the bio on a character. See a further explanation of Cast and Crew here. To see all the Cast and Crew posts together on one page, click here.

Alan and Halle ; Bert ; Centerfield Bums ; Clara ; Coliseum Security Guards ; Dan's Family ; David ; Drunk Buddy Ed ; John ; Ken ; Kevin ; Kurt ; Louie ; Mac ; Margaret ; Mike ; Mrs. Scott ; New York Mike ; Nora ; Other characters ; Patty ; Young Mike ; Young New York Mike ;

Monday, August 6, 2007

Why I'm Not Convinced That Bonds' Record Is Tainted Or That Steroid Use Is Cheating

A friend recently asked me why I didn't think Barry Bonds' home run record is "tainted." Here are some brief points. Also, I'll add a second set of brief points as to why I don't think his steroid use is "cheating" in the traditional sense of the word.
  • The steroids Bonds allegedly took were not banned by baseball during the time he took them. It seems odd that people would retroactively apply the current ban to Bonds and others.
  • There is an arbitrary standard as to which performance enhancing steroids are banned. Curt Schilling had radical surgery and received non-banned performance enhancing steroids prior to his famous "bloody sock" game, which led to the Red Sox' championship.
  • Americans are biased toward hitting and offense, especially home runs. Last time I saw a list of players busted for testing positive, there were more pitchers than hitters. Over whom did Bonds have an unfair advantage? All the pitchers who were just as "juiced" as he was?
  • Sosa and McGwire were both purported steroids users in their home run chase. But Bonds' rival for his record-breaking season, Luis Gonzales, vehemently denies using them, complete with character witnesses. How did a journeyman like him hit so many?
  • I'm way too familiar with statistical fluctuations throughout baseball history - and the reasons for them (such as ballpark dimensions, baseball strategy fads, philosophy, weather, strike zone enforcement, rule changes, etc.) to believe that the offensive surge during the mid 90's to early 00's was caused by steroids. Again, why do people believe that steroids helped hitters and not pitchers?
  • Baseball history (as well as life) is full of performance enhancing substances. Medicine, nutritional supplements, dietary aids, protein powders, etc. Heck, we've been told for fifty years that a bowl of Wheaties is a performance enhancing substance. Popeye's spinach?
  • Bonds' steroids were illegal? The US government and its legal system is usually the last place I look for guidance in morality and ethics.

And as for steroids as "cheating":
  • The arbitrary standard for performance enhancing substances, as listed above.
  • Traditionally, "cheating" is a term applied to situations when personal performance is NOT enhanced. Using a cheat sheet in taking an exam, for example, is NOT an enhancement in personal performance. The test taker doesn't know the answers. It is a mere illusion to performance. Using a corked bat in baseball is NOT an enhancement in personal performance, it is an enhancement in the performance of the equipment. Cutting in front of a base when the umpire is not looking to get to the next base quicker is not an enhancement of personal performance. Applying a foreign substance to the pitched ball is not an enhancement of personal performance, but it is, again, an enhancement of the performance of the equipment. But steroids are not some magical pill, either. Benefits are only gained through hard work and exercise, which are part of being an athlete. The actual performance of the players themselves has been enhanced.

Maybe I'll post some additional thoughts some time soon.

755 and 756

Bonds tied the all time HR record, and most of the crowd in San Diego was on board with acknowledging his accomplishment. I saw more than a few Padres jerseys in the crowd jump up out of their seats with arms high at the swing of his bat. Only a small percentage of the crowd seemed to boo.

We've got tickets for Monday night at home against Washington. Will Barry do it?

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Fashionably LAte

Los Gigantes faced Los Dogjers tonight in what coulda been Barry's 755 night. As usual, LA fans are late. When Bonds took his first at bat, only about 10,000 of the "sold out" crowd were in their seats. The rest of them were still on the freeway - until the fifth inning.

Now, I'm often late to a game, but that usually means that I'm in the park before the first pitch - and get to see it - and get my food and beer before sitting down in the bottom of the first. I rarely catch the national anthem, which is good because the poor slob usually butchers it. But when tens of thousands of fans show up in the fifth inning, that's late.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Biggio Farewell - Missed Opportunity

Craig Biggio announced that his retirement would be at the end of this season. With the diluted schedule, Houston's only trip to San Francisco already happened. We won't be able to say goodbye unless we travel somewhere else.

I love seeing players on their last go-arounds. There's an anticipation and a special feeling form knowing I saw their careers. I really appreciate the moment. Notable in-attendance good-byes from my past include Carl Yastrzemski, Reggie Jackson and Tony Gwynn. I was in attendance at Mike Schmidt's last game, but he announced his retirement suddenly right after that game. If I only knew.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Updated Resume

I have updated my Baseball Resume as a result of attending the All-Star game, and a new Busch Stadium being built, and a few other minor tweaks.

View it here.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Yo, Commish! Get With The Program!

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig decides to show up in Milwaukee to watch Barry Bonds chase the home run record, because it's "the right thing to do," according to an article on Selig has been weaseling around this subject for months. The right thing to do?

So, you have a day job, do you Mr. Commish? So do I. I took the day off to see the All-Star game. I also took a week and a half off so my wife could deliver a baby and bring him home. I've flown all over two countries to watch otherwise meaningless games. Business travel not a part of your day job? You're not promoting the breaking of the single most revered record in all of sports? You are commissioner, aren't you?

"This is a big game and I understand all the history," said Selig, who hails from Milwaukee and owned the Brewers in the waning days of Aaron's career. "I don't want to be trite about it. In fact, I'm glad to be here."

Trite? That's all you've been. A commissioner who understands baseball, is a big fan, who used to own the team that Aaron played for should say nothing other than, "Damned right I want to be there. I'm going to try everything I can to be there." But you didn't. You need a different day job.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Baseball's Worst Uniforms

In my opinion, the worst uniforms in baseball are those of the Toronto Blue Jays. Or is it just plain Jays? Whatever. Their uniforms have always been among the worst. For me it's the combination of bad font choice and some dumb picture on their hats. Their numbers have always looked stupid and so has everything to do with their hats.

I've never been thrilled with anything the Diamondbacks have done either. Their recent change of team colors to red just makes things confusing when trying to watch on TV. The Brewers, although not horrible, are not among the best. Their choice of fonts also detracts from readability of names and numbers. The revealed uni's of the Nationals were also a major disappointment. They kept their classic "W" hats of the late 60's, but ruined them with bad logos and fonts. That "W" doesn't match anything else they wear.

This topic can't go without naming some of the worst uni's of all time. Many of the colors of the 70's were bad, no matter what team. The Astros rainblow uni's were grotesque. The Padres taco uni's were similarly wild. Or the White Sox bermuda shorts and collared shirts. The Indians blood red tops. The Cardinals baby blue road jammies were also vile. Polyester double knit pullovers and beltless pants with the elastic waste bands. Barf. I do like Oscar Gamble's 'fro, though.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

This Blog Is Rated NC-17

Look at the words below that got me the rating. Just everyday baseball slang. Who's running this rating site, a bunch of fundamentalists?

Free Online Dating

Mingle2 - Free Online Dating

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

death (7x) bomb (5x) suck (4x) viagra (3x) drugs (2x) crack (1x)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Bad Vlad Wears Orange and Black

Okay, it happened for only a day and a half, but Vladimir Guerrero actually wore orange and black during the home run derby and the All-Star game BP. Woulda, coulda, shoulda. Dang.

All-Star Wrap Up

The All-Star game on Tuesday was a spectacular event. I was struck by all the talent gathered together in one place. I have seats behind the visitor's bullpen (the American League for this game) and saw all the AL players. We saw each AL pitcher warm up, and there wasn't an inning where somebody wasn't warming up. A favorite moment of mine was seeing Ivan Rodriguez and Jorge Posada, two of baseball's best catchers, gather to watch Oakland's Dan Haren warm up before the game. They were discussing observation.

Willie Mays was honored in a graceful first pitch ceremony. He threw out the first pitch from center field, a fitting gesture to a great career. A really good game followed, with the level of play matching the level of talent. The home-town Giants fans never missed an opportunity to cheer for Barry Bonds, and likewise never missed an opportunity to passionately and lustily boo any announcement or performance of a player from their long time, bitter rival, the Dodgers.

The game had its share of bizarre moments, too. During the 7th inning stretch, an unknown to me pop singer named Paula Cole (Mrs. Scott is the entertainment buff in the family and never heard of her either) came out to sing "God Bless America." Technical difficulties - which were the norm rather than the exception at old Candlestick Park - prevented her from starting. The sarcastic San Franciscan crowd started singing it for her, as if urging her on from forgetting the words. Part way through I couldn't resist a sarcastic one-upish reaction of my own, and started singing "Take Me Out To The Ballgame", the real 7th inning song, at the top of my lungs. The clashing melody drew quite a bit of attention, and a number of people joined me, creating a cacophony of confusion. Say what you will about San Francisco, but this is one thing I've always loved about Giants fans. They have the best sense of humor of any fans in baseball by a mile.

The singer then whined out a sappy, drawn out chick-music love song version (search for it here under the heading "more game highlights". The technical difficulties were edited out and you can hear the announcer at the end say the wait was well worth it. Huh?). Gag. It was horrible, and really took the fun out of the 7th inning stretch. I think baseball should do away with this song during the 7th inning stretch. We should make "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" our national anthem. Anyway...

Also bizarre was Tony LaRussa's brain freeze managerial non-move in not pinch-hitting Albert Pujols in the bottom of the 9th with the bases loaded and the game on the line. Whassup wit dat, Tony? The last hurrah was commish Bud Selig presenting Ichiro Suzuki with MVP honors. Selig is no fan favorite in SF with his waffling on the Bonds home run record issue. Selig's name wasn't announced as the one presenting the award. His voice simply started with "Ichiro Suzuki..." I'm guessing that was a political move designed to spare the commish the embarrassment of the loudest booing of the evening.

All in all, it was a night to remember, and I'll never forget it. I plan to be there in Fremont when the A's host the game in their new stadium.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

What An All-Star Game

I was at last night's All-Star game. It was a great time of seeing all the great baseball players in one place. The game didn't disappoint, either, as the National League mounted a rally in the bottom of the 9th that brought the winning run into scoring position. More later.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Baseball's Best Uniforms

Which team has baseball's best uniform? Well, it's hard for me to decide the best, but I can say that there are six (home) uni's that set themselves apart from the other 24. Those are, in no particular order, the Giants, Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox, Cardinals and Tigers. It's interesting that, aside from the Tigers, the first five are the five teams with the most colorful and storied pasts, rich traditions and most famed of all teams in history.

The Yankees and Dodgers have had their home uni's for the longest without change, followed by the Tigers, if I'm not mistaken. The Cards have had their theme for a long time, but they succumbed to the double-knit pullover pajama tops for a few decades. That style really killed a traditional look.

Road uni's are a different matter. I like the current Giants roadies the best. The tall, skinny lettering resulting from cramming "SAN FRANCISCO" in to such a limited space really makes the look classic. The classic Yankee roadies from years past, with the solid gray, no piping and block letters, "NEW YORK" are among the all-time best. Their current roadies with the piping and black band just don't make the cut. The Tigers' roadies stink, and not many good ones come off well with the gray shirts.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

New Busch Stadium

The Giants are playing a three game series in St. Louis. The new Busch Stadium opened in 2006. I need to add it to my list of parks to see. It looks cool on TV, and I'm sure it would be a good place to visit, especially since they were able to build in much of the stuff surrounding the Cardinals' rich tradition.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Bonds Voted All-Star-ter

Barry Bonds was voted in as a starter for the All-Star game to be held in his own yard. Say what you want about his stats as compared with those others around the league, but Bonds is a clear fan favorite to be seen playing in this game. Bonds has had a fairly good year, with the first month and a half simply amazing. He hit over .350 with 11 homers. Not bad for an old guy.

I have a ticket for next Tuesday's game, and can't wait to see him bat against whoever will be the AL starter. How storybook is this that in what may be his final year, the All-Star game is in his own yard, he's voted in as a starter, and he's within five homers of the all time record? Will he hit a home run?

Monday, July 2, 2007

Welcome Newest Baseball Fan

The youngest baseball fan is now here. Mrs. Scott and I welcome our youngest little slugger, born Friday morning.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

All-Star Hecklers

All the star players will be there. Former all-stars, too. And some veteran hecklers will be just behind the American League's bullpen mound. We'll get to razz every AL pitcher that pitches, because each of them has to warm up, and maybe a few more that don't get the nod. I just realized this a few days ago. It will be the heckling experience of a lifetime. My heckling line of choice this year to visiting pitchers has been, "I'll be at the All-Star Game and you won't!," but I won't be able to use it during the game, obviously.

I just hope that all the regular hecklers in our area will be there to put on an All-Star heckling show and won't have sold out to special event groupies that will whine to ushers about our time-honored, traditional baseball conduct of heckling the opponents. People like that really suck.

Got All-Star Game Tickets?

Tickets just arrived today for the All-Star Game in San Francisco. They look pretty cool. It'll be interesting to see what the Giants have in store for the day of the game. I'm betting that Mays, McCovey, Perry, Marichal and Cepeda will be on hand, most likely together for a pre-game ceremony of some kind. Stay Tuned.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Giants Invade Fenway

Fenway Park is the oldest ballpark in the major leagues. It was built in 1912. The last time the Giants played the Red Sox in Fenway Park was in 1912, the year it was built. And in the World Series at that. The Giants did play some games in Fenway in 1914 and '15 because the Boston Braves leased the park before building Braves Field, but they didn't play the Red Sox those years.

So this interleague series between the Giants and Red Sox was one of the original promises of interleague play. Too bad it took 11 years to occur.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Nothing Like Fireworks in SF Fog

Friday night before last, I took my kids to the Giants game. It was fireworks night. The fog level was about half way up the vertical range of firework blasts. The ones that went off in the fog were truly spectacular, lighting up the entire sky with an eerie, all encompassing glow.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Balk-Off Benitez Balked Out of Town

The Giants' "closer" Armando Benitez had one of the most bizarre and stupid ways of blowing a save and the game the other night against the Mets. Taking the mound to save a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the 12th, Benitez walked the leadoff hitter, balked him to second, the Mets sacrificed him to third, then in a play that is always tried in Little League, but never seems to work even there, the runner danced off third base in a feeble attempt to distract Benitez. But his attempt wasn't so feeble after all.

He got Benitez to flinch into a balk, and the tying run trotted home. Carlos Delgato, who was up at the time, promptly deposited a subsequent pitch into the night for the walk-off homer. Two balks in one inning? During the post-game show, the Giants radio announcers reported that the Shea stadium security guards saw Benitez leave without getting on the team bus for Philly. A few minutes later a rumor of his being traded surfaced. Later that evening it was confirmed.

Good-bye Armando. It's not been fun. In fact, it has really sucked. Brian Sabean pulled off a miracle by getting something in return for him, when peace of mind would have worked just fine.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

My Five Year Old Heckler

I took our kids to the Giants game the other night while Mrs. Scott stayed home to be with our baby soon to be. It was fireworks night. Our five year old started a pretty impressive streak of heckling of the Rockies bullpen. This lasted for three innings, almost non-stop. He took cues from everybody else, daddy included, but held his own. It was incredible some of the things he thought to yell. He even gained somewhat of a cult following from some of the fans sitting behind him.

"Hey number 3-2. You're a big zero!" "Hey, you're a popsicle head!" I wish I could remember more. Great start. We'll see how much can rub off on him and how much he can create by himself.

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Voice of God Is Back

Roy Steele, the PA announcer at the Oakland Coliseum for the A's is back this season after more than a year absence. Roy is easily the second most recognizable (next to the Yankees' Bob Shepherd) PA voice in baseball. He started doing the stadium PA in 1968 when the A's moved here from Kansas City. He had a health issue that apparently included some form of acid reflux that affected his voice.

Steele has lived with the nickname "the Voice of God" for almost his entire career. A young radio announcer for the A's in 1970, named Jon Miller - yes, that Jon Miller - was in the stands one game and his booming, baritone voice came over the PA system. It sounded to Miller like it was the voice of God. The rest is history, as they say.

I have attended nearly 500 A's games in my life, and Roy is truly one of those memorable fixtures of my life. I, just like Jon Miller, do a pretty mean imitation of Roy. I loved his announcement of Jose Canseco the best. Dave Stewart and Mark McGwire were up there too, as was Shooty Babbitt.

He's predictable in many ways, which makes a great part of his personality. He always gave the starting lineups by starting with, "Leading off for the Athletics, number xx,..." then would say, "batting second," "batting third," etc, all the way through ninth. Except for fifth, which he would start out, "In the fifth position, number 39, Daaaaaaave Parker...designated hitter." With the DH in the AL, he would conclude with, "Warming up in the bullpen, today's starting pitcher for the Athletics, number 34, Daaaaave Stewart."

If you've never heard Roy Steele, book the next flight to Oakland and enjoy. Welcome back, Roy.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

It Ain't Over Til It's Over

I watched the end of the A's game today on TV. The A's were down 7-5 to the Indians with 2 outs and 2 strikes and nobody on in the bottom of the 9th (that's one pitch away from losing) and they won. A hit followed by a Milton Bradley homer tied it. The next two batters got hits before Jack Cust blasted a walk-off homer. The A's won 10-7.

Just another reason baseball is a better sport than football, basketball, hockey or soccer. It's the only one of these games that is never, ever over until it's finally over. Not even after the final strike is it over, because the catcher must catch the ball to make the putout.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

A-Rod Lands Yanks In Cellar

Where has all of A-Rod's home runs and records for the first month of the season placed the Yankees? In dead last place. Kinda smacks of self-serving, contract year showboating, doesn't it? Hitting all the home runs when they don't mean anything because the rest of your team is terrible. There IS an "I" in "team" after all.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Schmendrick Update

I first saw the Gatorade commercial the day after the Angels left town. Now maybe I can go to an Angels game when they come up here later so I can heckle Lackey.


Three Game Sweep! In Dodger Stadium. It doesn't get any better than this. Well, it does if you make the trip down there.

Map of Dodger Stadium

From the McCovey Chronicles. Somehow the teetotaling conservatives were left out.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

John Lackey Is A Schmendrick

Some TV commercials are good enough to make me remember the content of that commercial, but not the product it was designed to sell. I searched for and found this one on YouTube, and discovered that it was a Gatorade commercial. Hmmm, coulda fooled me.

Derek Jeter starts the commercial out by hitting a single off the Angels' John Lackey. Actor Harvey Keitel then walks on the field, with aura mafioso, and plays the dark side of Jeter's conscience and convinces him to steal second base. Keitel refers to Lackey as a schmendrick. (I looked up Lackey, too.) Once stolen, Keitel glories in the concept of theft. This is classic. But I'll never buy Gatorade as a result. View it here.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Molina, Molina, Molina

Seeing all three Molina brothers start for their respective teams at catcher in one day was pretty cool. Not sure even their mom has done that. All three Alou brothers started in the same outfield one day for the Giants back in the 60's. I enjoy special things like this.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

A Double Header the Hard Way

A few days ago on Wednesday, a rare occurrence occurred. The A's and Giants played home games on the same day, the A's a day game, the Giants a night game. Every off-season when the next year's schedule comes out, I check it to see if this occurs, and plan to buy tickets. This doesn't happen every year, as baseball's schedule makers make a point of scheduling teams that share a metro market with opposite home/road schedules. So the A's and Giants rarely play any home games on the same day, and it's even more rare for them to play at differing times during that same day. But this year it did. What a day it was.
I took the day off work, and took the train to both games. The A's beat the Angels in the afternoon, while the Giants squeaked by the Cardinals in 12 innings in the nightcap. That's 21 innings of baseball. Pujols and Bonds both went very deep, with awesome shots each. It was a cold windy day, and even colder night. It took a while to thaw out.
The A's game took only a bit over 2 hours to play, so I got to The City really early. I took in some BP from the knothole area in the first few archways until the gates opened, which is 2 hours before game time. Once in, the Giants were still taking BP, and I caught a home run ball in the bleachers, right in my glove. I didn't even have to move. I couldn't tell which player hit it, since they were wearing their warmup jackets.
I sat in the bleachers for the A's game, and there weren't that many fans there. There were enough vocal bums there for some good heckling. Garrett Anderson, the Halos' left fielder, was a choice target. A good time was had by all. I had a guy right in front of me and another behind me (on the aisle), and we talked some good ball all day. All of us had a bag of spits, and we even compared seed brands. The Giants game proved good for heckling the Cards' bullpen, too. To tell a pitcher that Bonds is gonna go yard on him, then to see it that inning is pretty fun. As an added all-time record, set by me and anybody else who went to both games, I saw all three Molina brothers - Jose (Angels), Yadier (Cards) and Bengie (Giants) start at catcher in the same day.