Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bonds to Red Sox?

Just a completely wild guess, but a rumor just came out while listening to the Giants/Dodgers game on the radio. The Red Sox are rumored to be trying to trade Manny Ramirez in a three way deal with the Marlins and Pirates. I can see Ramirez going to Florida, since they're in contention and the Pirates wouldn't cough up that type of cash anyway. A lesser known will go from Florida to Pittsburgh, and the Sox would get somebody from the Pirates. The Sox will be missing a big bat for the final push, so why not Bonds? Crazy. I'm just guessing at this moment so as to have predicted it just in case it came true. It won't happen, but if it does, you heard it here first. If it doesn't happen, then I'm stupid. Fair enough?

A's Floundering; Giants sucking

The A's have fallen off the radar screen lately. Can't see them anymore. The Giants have the worst home record in baseball. Not quite like the good ol' days.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Making The MLB Schedule

I read a few interesting articles about the making of the MLB schedule. For 25 years, 1980 to 2004 it was a mom and pop operation...quite literally. A husband and wife team prepared it each year. Now, a consulting firm puts it together. With much criticism of the schedule, the articles explained just how difficult it is to make.

I've studied schedules for decades and love to find patterns, trends and changes from era to era. I'll go into more detail in a future post.

In recent years, since realignment, we have had an unbalanced schedule, yet also asymmetrical. In years past, it was unbalanced but symmetrical. Before division play it was both balanced and symmetrical. I'll also talk about the pro's and con's of each type of schedule.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Giants, Cain, Sweep Nats

Just when you thought the Giants were really bad... They swept the Nationals in a three game series. They also swept a four game series earlier in the season in Washington, making that a sweep of the season series. Yes, the Giants are still that bad. But the Nats are worse.

Matt Cain tossed a complete game, four-hit shutout. The Gyros scored their lone run in the bottom of the 8th in only a 2-hour contest. Cain took the mound in the ninth, letting two runners into scoring position with one out, but closing it out. My friend Shelly was there to enjoy.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Former Fellow Bum Finds My Blog

I was pleasantly surprised to find a comment in my inbox from one of the A's center field bleacher bums from so many years ago who had found my blog by accident. Her name is PegiRae, and I mentioned her in my Centerfield Bums post (click to read her comment) that is part of my Cast and Crew series. One of the fun features about our observation of the center field bums was that we had nicknames for many of them before I knew any of them. PegiRae calls me "Bleacher Steve", a name I never knew I had. That's only fair I think.

She has such fond memories of those days, too. It was really something special, the community and the fun. Her blog is here and her specific blog post is here.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Ray Durham Now Makes Beer

About five minutes ago the Giants announced that Ray Durham was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers. They just completed their series with them, so I assume he just switched dugouts at the end of the game. I've been suggesting the Giants do this for quite a while, and now that they've done it, it seems a bit sad. That's just because Ray was a "fan favorite" type. I'm sure I'll be over it, like, when I wake up tomorrow. They got a couple of prospects, and I hope they pan out well. So long, Ray. It's been nice and it's been fun, but we gotta think about winning.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

How To Heckle An Umpire Using A New iPhone

Last night at the Giants/Brewers game, there was a bad call made by the first base ump on a grounder to first covered by the pitcher. I was in the men's room, and they have the radio broadcast going in there. The announcers saw the replay and said the ump blew it. Once back at my seats, my friend Mike pulled out his brand new iPhone and somehow within a few clicks found a replay of the bad call. We watched several times, and yes, the ump did blow it. It was reminiscent of Don Denkinger's bad call in the '85 Series. Nora suggested that umps should have the benefit of iPhones. So I told her I'd heckle the ump, Jerry Davis if I remember correctly.

CC Sabathia dominated the Giants and threw a complete game 4-hitter, so there were no bullpen pitchers to heckle. So I stood up, and in the loudest voice I could force out, I yelled, "Hey, ump! You blew that call! We watched the replay on the new iPhone, and he was out! He was out! He was out! You blew the call! You're a bum!" This was a complete verbal thrashing of the umpire.

It was extremely loud, and I felt very dizzy and almost passed out. I'm sure half our side of the stadium heard it, many people cheered, and I even got a high five. My voice was ruined for today's game, too. Innings later, I could hear people talking about checking an iPhone to see replays of things.

Umpires are not exempt by any means from heckling, and I've enjoyed it over the years. I've never gone far enough to be tossed out of the game by the umpire (yes, they do have the ability to eject fans), but I may have come close a few times.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Giants Loss Projection Through July 15

July 1 through July 13:

37-47, 91; 37-48, 91; 38-48, 90; 38-49, 91; 39-49, 90; 39-50, 91; 39-51, 92; 39-52, 93; 39-53, 93; 39-54, 94; 39-55, 95; 40-55, 94.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

All-Star Marathon

Well, tonight's game had quite a bit to watch. It was a very good game. Fifteen innings, four potential game deciding plays at the plate. I enjoyed nearly every minute of it. I loved the pre-game ceremonies. I love when a bunch of hall of famers are gathered together and the current players get to meet them. It was so good to see all those players I grew up with, and a few that were before my time. My all time favorite is Willie McCovey.

One thing that really disappointed me was the huge number of people that left early. What was that all about? The last all-star game at Yankee Stadium, and they had to pay plenty of money to get in. Yet, in extra innings there were tens of thousands of empty seats. Mrs. Scott suggested that it might have been because it was late there. Late? You have a ticket to one of the greatest baseball events in decades and you leave early? That's one day when you tell the boss, "I'm going and I might be late to work tomorrow." I wouldn't have left early for anything. Must have been a bunch of corporate sponsor types, yes? No? I dunno.

The National League can't buy a win these years. They had plenty of opportunities to put the game away and didn't. Not like the AL didn't either. I'm not a fan of the late game substitutions every few pitches. It kinda ruins the game. The Giants' Brian Wilson was on in the 8th with a one run lead, got the first two batters out, then got replaced. Billy Wagner then coughed up the tying run.

The really exciting inning was when the AL had the bases loaded with no outs in extras, and there were two consecutive plays at home plate. The NL got out of a bad jam, and I wondered if the game would ever end. But it did, and there were some good memories.

Monday, July 14, 2008

All-Star Memories: Ichiro's Inside The Park Homer

I went to last year's All-Star game in San Francisco. I took many pictures. I just happened to get this one perfectly. It is right in Ichiro Suzuki's swing; the very swing that resulted in his inside the park home run. Click on the picture to see it full size. Pretty cool.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

All-Star Performance

The Giants two All-Star selections, Tim Lincecum and Brian Wilson, on the last day before the All-Star break teamed up to defeat the team with the best record in baseball, the Cubs. Lincecum threw eight strong innings and Wilson saved it in the ninth. They showed why they're going to Yankee Stadium on Tuesday.

Players Hate Home Field Advantage Tie To All-Star Game

It seems that a majority of players hate the home field advantage for the World Series being decided by the All-Star game. Read the article here. I hate it too. What I didn't know was that it is apparently part of baseball's labor agreement through 2011.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

An ERA Made of Wingdings

Grant at McCovey Chronicles suggests that the Giants weak lineup could torch a pitcher with an ERA made of the font Wingdings. I laughed hard and long. Read the short post here.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Cynic's Favorite Post Season Picks

Here's a list of post season teams that would make for the least fan interest, worst TV ratings, and one I would personally watch as much as I could:

AL west: Texas Rangers
AL central: Kansas City Royals
AL east: Tampa Bay Rays
AL wildcard: Seattle Mariners

NL west: Colorado Rockies
NL central: Pittsburgh Pirates
NL east: Florida Marlins
NL wildcard: Milwaukee Brewers

Honorable mentions: Arizona Diamondbacks, Oakland A's, Minnesota Twins, San Diego Padres

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Batting Practice

I used to catch batting practice quite often. I'd get out there when the gates opened two hours before the game. I don't know why, but the A's and Giants have always opened the gates two hours before game time. Of all other cities I've visited, I can't recall any of them opening gates any earlier than an hour and a half before game time. Why so late?

Showing up early at the park is just magic when the crowd is going to be small. There's a peace and quiet to be enjoyed, even with the music playing during BP and infield. The home team always took BP first, and were on the field when the gates opened. Teams switched after a bit, and the visitors could be seen taking full BP. A lull found itself between BP and infield. More quiet. Some times during BP, pairings of power hitting players might hit a number of homers, even quite a few in the case of, say, Canseco and McGwire. Most teams had weak hitting players so there wasn't great urgency to shag balls, but a glove on at all times was the norm.

After infield, the ground crew dragged the infield and applied the chalk for the batter's box and base lines. Many players did wind sprints. Alfredo Griffin was one such player. I used to yell at him, "Aaaaaaal-Freeeeee-Dooooooo!" He took to giving me a small wave behind his back each game, telling me how he appreciated it. Finally, one game he sent out a bat boy to the bleachers to give me a bat. Unbroken, black bat with pine tarred tape. I had him autograph it a few years ago. It's been a long while since I've been that early at a game. Maybe soon.

How To Heckle A Tampa Bay Player

Well, the Tampa Bay Rays have the best record in baseball at the moment. But, before now they've always sucked, they're the only team in baseball to never make the playoffs, and they're the butt of all kinds of jokes.

I've heckled Tampa Bay pitchers warming up in the bullpen like this: "Hey, [player's name], at least you can't be traded to Tampa Bay!" For some reason, people find this hilarious.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Giants Loss Projection Through June 30

June 16 through June 30:

31-40, 91; 31-41, 92; 31-42, 93; 32-42, 92; 32-43, 93; 32-44, 94; 33-44, 93; 34-44, 91; 34-45, 92; 34-46, 93; 35-46, 92; 36-46, 91; 36-47, 92.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Fourth of July Double Headers

In baseball past, the 4th of July was a popular day for double headers. I remember one strange one in 1984. The Giants played the St. Louis Cardinals in a double header at Candlestick Park. The strange thing was that the starting time of game one was 10:30am. I went with Mike and the then future Mrs. Scott. We were dating at the time, and she wasn't a big baseball fan yet, in fact not one at all, so she brought a book to read.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Before Mt. Davis

I found a picture of the Oakland Coliseum before Mt. Davis was built for the Raiders. It had about the best bleacher sections in all of baseball. That's where I called home. There was a great view of the Oakland hills, and most of all, it looked like a ballpark. Check it out at the McCovey Chronicles.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Everything About the Cubs Sucks

The Chicago Cubs came to San Fran tonight, along with a few thousand of their frenzied, fair-weather fans. I have loathed the Cubs for a number of years now, and it's not from any envy or jealousy. It's the whole package. Yeah, I hate the Yankees, and their fans are obnoxious, but they've won twenty-freaking-something championships. That counts for something.

The Cubs, on the other hand, don't have much in the way of trophies. So it would seem that they're harmless. Well, they are in a major way. But their whole aura seems to be yuppification on steroids. Not that every Cubs fan is a yuppie, but they have some unexplainable weirdness about them that's not quite user friendly. Most of their fans are yahoos. The team has sucked forever, and a dying songwriter with cancer wrote a song about them telling how much they sucked. And the crowd went wild.

Their radio announcers suck, too, and I'm really glad I don't have to listen to them day in and day out. I hear "highlight" radio clips on all the major sports news from all the teams' announcers, and sometimes it's completely impossible to tell what just happened from the Cubs announcers. The other day I heard an unintelligible call on a scoring play, with the announcer saying something like this (the color guy I'll put in parenthesis): "Here's the 2-2 pitch.... Whoa! (Yeah!) There it is!...I don't believe it (Yahooooooooo!) Unbelievable! (Ohmygod!) Wow!" I think the Cubs scored, but they could just as easily won the game from all I could gather.

Maybe Wednesday at the Giants game I can have some fun not only heckling the Cubs, but their fans as well. Tonight the guy that sits behind us noticed that many of the Cubs fans were wearing Fukudome jerseys. He thought they were protesting a proposed domed stadium in Chicago.