Sunday, December 30, 2007
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
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
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
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.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Sunday, November 25, 2007
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
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?
Thursday, October 25, 2007
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
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Saturday, October 20, 2007
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
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
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
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 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
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?
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
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.
Friday, October 5, 2007
My new name for the man who blows in October, going O fer, is O-Rod
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
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
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.
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
Thursday, September 27, 2007
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
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
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
Friday, September 14, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Friday, August 17, 2007
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
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
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
- 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.
We've got tickets for Monday night at home against Washington. Will Barry do it?
Thursday, August 2, 2007
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
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
Friday, July 20, 2007
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
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
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
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
Sunday, July 8, 2007
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
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
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
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
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.
Friday, June 15, 2007
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
Saturday, June 2, 2007
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
"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
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
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
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
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.