Saturday, May 31, 2008

Update - Ballparks From The Air

In my last post I said I saw Dodger stadium at night all lit up from the airplane. Yes, the lights were on, but I made the mistake of saying that they were playing that night. Actually the Dodgers and Mets played in New York. I don't know why the lights were on.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Ballparks From The Air

Yesterday, I flew to our firm's San Diego office on business from the Oakland airport. It was a down-and-up trip, same day. San Diego is about 500 miles south of the Bay Area. (When you consider that we are still six driving hours south of the Oregon state line, it shows just how big California is). The flight starts out curving over the bay, then over San Fransisco out to the ocean. It follows the coast all the way down to San Diego. It is important to get a window seat on the left side of the plane.

From the air, I saw Dodger stadium, just to the east of all the huge buildings in downtown, from 35,000 feet. Then I saw Anaheim Stadium, or whatever they were calling it at 10am yesterday, just a few minutes later (it is 30 miles south of LA). I also saw our firm's San Diego office from the air. The approach to the San Diego airport, under normal wind conditions, is from the southeast. So I was able to see Petco Park close up amongst the downtown buildings. Nobody else on the flight would have been interested, so I got to see all these things in quiet wonder.

I had several meetings in San Diego, and didn't get any normal work done. But knowing that I was there while the Padres played a day game (I couldn't go to the game), was a bit of a downer. On my return flight, which was just after sunset, I had an aisle seat on the right side, so the view was extremely limited. But, I did get to see Dodger stadium again - in the dark with the stadium lights on. They were playing the Mets at 8pm when I flew by. It was an awesome view from the air.

The only thing I missed was seeing Pac Bell/SBC/AT&T/eHarmony Park on the takeoff out of Oakland. Usually, the flights go over downtown SF, making the park visible. But we veered off to the south, and it was foggy anyway.

Seeing parks from the air was really cool, and these were a couple of flights to remember.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My 1987 Season

After my 1986 season of going to 173 regular season games in 11 ballparks, I kept it up in 1987 by going to 165 games in 7 ballparks. Only two of the ballparks were new for me, Royals Stadium in Kansas City and Busch Stadium in St. Louis. But, in addition to all those regular season games, I went to 10 spring training games (7 of them in Arizona, one in San Diego vs. the A's and the two Bay Bridge Series games), the All-Star Game in Oakland, the three NLCS games in San Francisco, and a minor league game in Reno. This for a total of 180 games. Plus, I was at the All-Star workout the day before the All-Star game.

A few noteworthy things about the '87 season. Spring training was lots of fun. I saw the A's in Kansas City, and I caught a foul ball off the A's Carney Lansford. Later that night former Royals manager Dick Howser died from cancer. The minor league game occurred during the All-Star break when Mike and I went to Reno to gamble. We looked up the minor league team (then Reno Padres, California A league). They played the Stockton Ports (Brewers) with future star Gary Sheffield. Sheffield had been recently involved in a police incident with his cousin (uncle?) Dwight Gooden in Florida. Sheffield was heckled greatly. I also attended my first LCS with the Giants playing the Cards. 1986 and 1987 were my all-out seasons, and I haven't attended nearly as many games ever since.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Tampa Bay Best Record In Baseball

As of right now, the Tampa Bay Rays have the best record in all of baseball. No, it's not opening day. Amazing. The Yankees are also in last place.

More On My 1986 Season

In 1986 I attended 173 regular season games in 11 ballparks. I forgot to mention that I also attended two exhibition games just prior to the season. These were the last two spring training games played between the A's and Giants, one game in each Oakland and San Francisco, called "The Bay Bridge Series." So there were 175 games total.

The 11 ballparks I visited were: Oakland Coliseum, Candlestick Park, The Kingdome (Seattle), County Stadium (Milwaukee), Wrigley Field, Old Comiskey Park, Anaheim Stadium, Jack Murphy Stadium (San Diego), Dodger Stadium, Yankee Stadium and Olympic Stadium (Montreal).

In addition to the two "double headers the hard way" I did between Wrigley and Comiskey, I also did Dodger Stadium (day game) and Jack Murphy Stadium (night game) in LA and San Diego.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Saturday, May 24, 2008


The highest paid pitcher in history just recorded his first victory of the year, and is now 1-8. He pitched a three hitter into the seventh inning, but walked four and threw a lot of pitches. But, I'll take it. Maybe he'll get his confidence back, not to mention his fast ball. He needs to, he's being paid.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Every Fifth Game

In a typical season, the best of teams win about 96 games for a winning percentage of about .600. The worst of teams lose about 96 games for a winning percentage of about .400. These winning percentages can be had in as few as five games. A record of 3-2 yields a percentage of .600 and a 2-3 record is .400. So both the best of teams and the worst of teams win two games and lose two games. The difference between the good and bad teams is what they do with the fifth game.

It is interesting that the outcome of only every fifth game makes such a huge difference in a team's season. Over 162 games, this small difference is magnified greatly.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Giants Loss Projection Thru May 19

May 3 through May 19:

14-17, 89; 14-18, 91; 14-19, 93; 14-20, 95; 14-21, 97; 14-22, 99; 15-22, 96; 16-22, 94; 16-23, 96; 17-23, 93; 17-24, 95; 17-25, 96; 17-26, 98; 17-27, 99; 17-28, 101; 17-29, 102.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Magowan: Rags To Riches But Without Rings

Today Giants managing general partner Peter Magowan announced his resigning from his position(s) of Giants president and managing general partner, making way for another owning partner and member of the organization to step up. This is a bittersweet thing. Magowan led a group of investors in an eleventh-hour buy of the Giants (actually it was about 12:30am) from an already made deal to a group from Tampa Bay. Imagine the Tampa Bay Giants. Ick.

Their wild dreams came true to a great extent and put San Francisco on the baseball map in a number of ways. The Giants former owner Bob Lurie put the team up for sale following the '92 season. Magowan rescued the Giants from sure ridicule in Tampa. Not only this, but this new ownership group immediately and stealthily signed Barry Bonds without the action from a general manager. They also recruited Jon Miller, baseball announcer extraordinaire, and built the most popular and widely acclaimed new stadium in all of baseball. The Giants sold out the entire first season, and have drawn over 3 million fans for 8 consecutive years. Giants fans were treated to amazing home run record chasing events by Bonds - along with 5 consecutive MVP awards (one from Kent) - and also saw a World Series and an All-Star game, not to mention the most competitive team in all of baseball. In the 8 years from 1997 through 2004, the Giants played only 11 regular season games that did not have a direct affect on their post-season destiny. The Bonds era saw the Giants run up the third best record in all of baseball.

Yet all this happened without a World Series ring. The current state of the team brings more questions than answers, and it appears that it will be a long while before they put themselves in another position to win it all. And God only knows that they've had a multitude of those chances. All in all, the current ownership group seems to have been more marketing than performance, more show than go. Maybe it's time for a change.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Too Busy To Blog

I've been busy, and hope to be back blogging on Monday.

Monday, May 12, 2008


Eugenio, pronounced "ay-oo-HAY-nee-oh", as far as I can see, is Spanish for "Eugene." The dad in a family I know, is sometimes called "Eugene" by his wife, who reads my blog. I know him as Gene. But the Giants have a kid playing right now named Eugenio Velez, and the Spanish pronunciation has caught on with some kind of cult following. I doubt she'll ever call him Eugenio.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

My 1986 Season

My 1986 season was a special one for me. I went to 173 regular season games in 11 different ballparks. People have asked me how I could have gone to 173 games when there are only 162 games in a season. Well, the baseball season is actually 179 days long (or was back then). Twenty six weeks (26 x 7) minus 3 days off for the All-Star break = (182-3=179). My basic pattern, with a few exceptions, was to go to every A's home game and every Giants home game, then travel to other ballparks on days off. (Note: for metro markets with two teams like New York, LA, Chicago and San Fran, baseball tries its best to schedule each team with opposite home/road schedules to give teams the best shot possible at the highest attendance plus minimizing radio and TV conflicts. 1986 for example saw no A's/Giants home games on the same day.)

I had a job working for my then future father-in-law out of his house. He allowed me to more or less make my own hours, so I would work a day shift for night games, and work a split shift for day games. I didn't start the season with the idea that I would go to so many games (I went to 64 in 1985 and 36 in 1984). I just went to each game I could, which happened to be every day for the first few weeks. Late in April I realized that I had gone to every game so far, and only then did I decide I would make an all-out season. Over all, I missed only one A's home game and six Giants home games (two three-game series); I was in other cities during these days.

Over the winters in the 80's (pre-internet) I made it a practice to write to every team requesting their schedule for the upcoming year. I made a master schedule and planned my traveling from that. My greatest trip was a whirlwind 8 games in 5 days in 5 ballparks with a friend. May 4, there was a double header at Candlestick vs. Montreal, May 5 we flew to Chicago and rented a car and drove up to Milwaukee to see the Brewers play Seattle. May 6 and 7 were "double headers the hard way." Both the Cubs (vs. Dodgers) and White Sox (vs. Yankees) were home on the same days (a rare occurrence), with the Cubs playing day games and the Sox night games - another four games in two days. Then, an early morning flight on May 8 landed in Oakland at 10:30am for a 12:15 A's game vs. Milwaukee. Whew! The only A's home game I missed was on May 7. Other trips included a three game series with the A's in Seattle in April (missed a Giants series), and a trip to Montreal at the end of the season vs. the division champ Mets (missed a Giants series) with a layover in New York to see the Yankees play the Blue Jays. Down and back day trips to Anaheim, LA and San Diego on days off were also regular during 1986.

It was a whirlwind season full of amazing memories. I still have stories to write about staying in the Mets hotel in Montreal and the trip to Seattle, as well as the 8/5/5 trip. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Betting on the Other Team As Insurance

I thought about what it means to bet on one's favorite team. Conventionally, people put money on their own team. This means that if their team wins, they also win some money. Double payoff. But if their team loses, not only do they have to endure the pain of losing a big game, they're out some cashola, too. Double pain.

But what about betting on the other team? Fans often say things like, "I'll give anything for my team to win the Series/Superbowl, etc." So why not bet on the other team in the amount that one would give to see their own team win? If their team wins, then the monetary loss would be worth it. But if their team loses, then they win some money to console them in their misery. Before the 2002 World Series, I should have put up some good money on the Angels - the amount I would have given to see the Giants win - so that when the Giants lost, I could have afforded to drown my sorrows.

Monday, May 5, 2008

My Altercation With Pete Incaviglia's Mother

I what I can only call my greatest game as a fan with all the weird stuff that happened, it was capped off with a truly bizarre incident. It was near the end of the 1986 season, the A's were in the tank, school was back in and it was a mid-week day game. Of the nearly 1000 games I've attended, it had the lowest attendance of all of them. I personally counted it at 1603. There were only 33 people in the bleachers and one lone fan in the third deck. He found a better seat downstairs in the 2nd inning.

The Rangers beat the A's that day 4-0, with all their runs coming off three home runs, two of them by rookie star Pete Incaviglia. Since school was back in, no kids with gloves were there, and with only 33 people in all the bleachers, I shagged all three home run balls. All the scoring in the entire game went home in my backpack that day. How many fans can claim that? Wow.

After the game, the friend I sat with and I decided to try to get Incaviglia's autograph. We waited at the player exit, and since it was getaway day, the bus was inside the barricade. The players came out, and I yelled at Incavigila that I had his home runs and wanted an autograph. But he got on the bus. There was a large group of people in the exit area, obviously players' families. One woman came over to me and asked why I was yelling at Incaviglia and said that she was his mother. I told her that I caught both balls and wanted an autograph but he got on the bus. "Oh, that's great!" she replied, "I'm glad for you! I'm his mother, so I can get him off the bus for you. I'm his mother."

I agreed, and was grateful that she was so kind. She went over to the bus for a minute, then returned. "Oh, he's already seated on the bus and can't come out. But he said if I bring him a ball, he would sign it for you. I'm his mother." I was delighted. So I gave her one of the balls, and she took it. Suddenly, she said, "On second thought, I'm his mother. I want the ball." "Huh?" I replied. "I'm his mother, I'm his mother. I've been to every game he's ever played, little league, high school, college, and I have all his souvenirs and collect everything. I'm his mother!" She must have said "I'm his mother" about a hundred times. "You know, you said you would get him to sign it, but if you won't, I want it back" I said. "No, I'm going to keep it! I'm his mother!"

By this time the situation was completely out of hand. She was going to steal the ball from me. She was still within arm's length, so I reached over the barricade and grabbed it back from her. But she clutched onto it and wouldn't let go. We were having a tugging war over a baseball. Then she screamed for security! "Help, security! He's taking the ball away from me!" Unbelievable. Now, how's this going to look to security: a long haired bleacher bum is fighting with a player's mother over a baseball. The guard came over and she pleaded her case. But fortunately I had gone to so many games that I knew the guard personally. "Hey, Bob, I caught both of Inci's homers today and she's the one trying to steal it from me." He believed me instead of her, and made her let go. Man what a day. View the box score here. (At the time, the American League counted tickets sold as the attendance, not the actual number of people that were there. I'm the one reporting that number!)

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Giants Loss Projection Thru May 2

More loss projection for the Giants for games between April 18 and May 2:

6-11, 105; 7-11, 99; 8-11, 94; 8-12, 97; 8-13, 100; 9-13, 96; 10-13, 92; 11-13, 88; 11-14, 91; 11-15, 93; 12-15, 90; 12-16, 93; 13-16, 89; 13-17, 92.

So far this year their loss pace has been between 88 and 139 games.