Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Matt Cain Wins!

I went to the Giants game last night. Man, was it a cold one. About 15,000 were there and it dwindled down to just a few thousand at game's end, even though an announced attendance of over 30,000 was given. But the big news is that the Giants actually scored enough runs - combined with the bullpen not torching a Cain lead - to give him a very rare win. Usually when Cain throws a shutout the Giants lose. This time, he threw a shutout and the Giants won it for him.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Voice Of God Back

It is good to again hear Roy Steele doing the PA at A's games. I heard him do the opening day lineups, and it brought back a lifetime worth of memories. It must be hard to live up to the nickname "voice of God", but Steele is a former preacher and his name was given to him by Jon Miller while Miller was a radio announcer for the A's way back in 1970. I pointed out to Mrs. Scott beforehand how when he does the lineup he breaks his "batting second... batting third", etc., when he gets to fifth and instead says, "in the fifth position..." He followed through.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Extra Inning Games

I love extra inning games. They are one reason baseball is such a great game. As I type, the Giants are in jeopardy of blowing a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the 13th inning in San Diego. Fresh in memory is still the Padres 22 inning game against the Rockies last week where all kinds of records were set. Extra inning games are so wonderful because nobody knows when they'll finish. During long extra inning games, managers can deplete both their bench and bullpen by substituting for players in strategic situations, only to have strategy fail inning after inning. Crazy things can result.

Extra inning games can magically (on insanely) push fans past that point of no return where they decide that they'll stay until the end no matter how long it lasts. It's even better when one or both games of a double header go extras. I have fond memories of extra inning games. One Giants/Dodgers gem I attended went 16, and the teams fell one player short of an all time record. Pitchers were playing the outfield, and Lasorda had the left and right fielders switch positions depending on whether a right or left handed batter was up. Giants closer Greg Minton played a hand in the end, when he had to bat for one of only a few times in his career, with two out and nobody on, trailing by a run. He got a hit and eventually scored. What a hilarious sight.

I used to tell people that I went to games with that I never left early, even if the game would go to the 25th inning at 3am. Well, the Giants just won, 3-2, gaining the final out after the Padres had the bases loaded and one run in. Now Mrs. Scott can watch Top Chef.

Eco-Friendly Giants Help The Environment

It all came to me these last two days. The Giants m.o. in losing Bonds and keeping worthless old men around all the while neglecting their farm system for a decade. The Giants suck so bad that nobody wants to come to the park to see them, and the lack of those people using polluting forms of transportation helps the environment.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Giants Weakest Offense

Through three full weeks of ball, the Giants have scored the fewest runs in the major leagues, while only six teams have allowed more runs. With a record of 8-11, on a pace to lose 94 games, the Giants are doing much better than their runs scored/runs allowed totals would suggest. Homers might blame the low run total on AT&T Park, but they can't do that for the pitching's high run total from a supposed great rotation.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Giants Loss Projector

I've decided to keep track of the Giants projected losses for the year based on each day's record. A few posts ago, they were 1-6, with a projected loss total of 139. After today's loss, they are 6-10, with a projected loss total of 101. Mike thinks they'll lose 103. I think they'll break the 100 mark. Anyway, for the first 16 games, their daily totals - won/loss/projected losses - are:

0-1, 162; 0-2, 162; 1-2, 108; 1-3, 122; 1-4, 130; 1-5, 135; 1-6, 139; 2-6, 122; 3-6, 108; 4-6, 96; 4-7, 103; 4-8, 108; 5-8, 100; 6-8, 93; 6-9, 97; 6-10, 101.

How To Heckle - Knowing The Minor Leagues

Knowing the minor league teams of the visiting team can be useful for heckling their players. A young or inexperienced player can be needled by reminding him that he is only one screwup from being sent down to the minors. Ahhh, yes, the minor leagues. Long bus rides and cheap motels. A far cry from the big show. Once back in the minors, it's a long way back to the majors.

"Hey, Johnson, can you spell 'Albuquerque'?" Or maybe, "It's a looooong bus ride back to Bakersfield!" That I chose traditional Dodger minor league teams is a mere coincidence. A good way to make an impression on the visiting target is to start with the AAA team. Then threaten demotion to the lower levels like AA and A ball. Players in the minors who have spent time up in the bigs will do anything to get back. But players in the bigs who are on the bubble are not looking forward to minor league hassles and minuscule salaries due to falling from grace.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

My First Foul Ball

My first foul ball came in 1982 at Candlestick Park. It was Giants pitcher Bill Laskey's first major league start, against the Montreal Expos. I was there with Mike. A foul ball came our way off the bat of an Expo and it landed in the stands right in front of us. We both jumped in to the scrum of a few fans, and each caught hold of part of the ball. We started a "fight" between us, punching each other to get the other to let go of the ball. I won the struggle, although I'm not sure that is a great accomplishment to get the ball. My friend is out of a ball. Anyway, it is good to remember getting even a chance, and with Bill Laskey's first start, it was something to remember. It turned out even better when Laskey pitched a complete game shutout. See the box score here.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Lose 139 Games?

At 1-6, the Giants are on a pace to go 23-139. No team has ever lost more than 120 games. My friend Mike got a bet at 4:1 for a Giants/A's over/under of 200 losses. If each team lost 100 games, he would win the bet. But if the Giants lost 139 games, the A's could have the best record in baseball and win the World Series and he could still win the bet. I don't think the Giants will lose 139 games, but maybe 103.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Opening Day 2008

Today the Giants had their home opener. It was a celebration of 50 years in San Francisco, 1958-2008. This celebration will last all year. It was a real treat to go to the game today. We secured the help of babysitters, and Mrs. Scott and I sat together without children for the first time in several years. The weather was sunny but cool. A perfect day for baseball until the sun made its way behind the light towers, making things a bit chilly. Mike and Nora were there too as was the family that always sits behind us. Although the Giants got killed - predictably so - there were a few highlights to take the mind off the pain of the impending tragedy known as the 2008 season.

The fans were sarcastic about this year's team, but individual players seemed to gain the endearment of the fans. We also got to ruthlessly heckle Trevor Hoffman while he was warming up in the bullpen in the ninth inning. We reminded him about his two blown pennant blown saves the last 3 games of last year's season.

Red Sox In Last Place

So said today's headlines. Cool!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Saturday Night Baseball?

For decades, three teams have traditionally played more than half of their games during the day. The Chicago Cubs, the Oakland A's and the San Francisco Giants. The Cubs didn't get stadium lights put in until 1988, and day baseball is still the tradition on the Northside. The A's and Giants have always played a high percentage of day games, and always a day game on Saturday, because of the cool, foggy nighttime weather in the Bay Area, with the midweek getaway day usually played under the sun, too.

Saturday afternoon at the ballpark in the sunshine has always been a treat. But things have changed, and the Giants have just this year started playing a large majority of their Saturday games at night. Why? The short answer is television. FOX has the rights to the daytime slot and teams are forbidden to televise their own games during that time. Since the Bonds era is over and the Giants really suck, FOX isn't going to show the Giants anytime soon. They were on FOX nearly every Saturday in at least a regional game for years. Now the Giants have nothing more than their historic name as a national TV draw. So, to take in TV revenue, they're moving most of their Saturday games to a night starting time so either the local FOX Sports Net or their new channel 11 can carry the game, and the Giants can still pull in some revenue. TV money rules baseball. Just my guess, anyway.

Friday, April 4, 2008

One Game Series?

Aside from the dumb regular season games in Japan, the opening game this year was the Braves in Washington for the opening of the Nats' new ballpark. What was truly strange about this is that each team played a different team in its next game. They played a one game series. Kind of a waste of travel, huh? But then, a one game series really isn't a series because it takes two things to be in series.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Speaking Of Wire To Wire

Yesterday was opening day, and the Giants were the only team in the NL west to lose, so they're all alone in last place. Long season?