Saturday, November 29, 2008

How To Heckle - Saving My Voice By Discerning The Crowd

I learned how to heckle and was at the top of my heckling game during bad times for the teams I followed. The Giants and A's were both bad in the early and mid 80's. When the crowd is small, heckling is easy because everybody can hear you. But when there is a large crowd it is more difficult because the ambient crowd noise is so great. When your team is winning and all the games are sold out, it's usually loud out there.

Sometimes for large crowds, I would get a feel for how a crowd reacted to heckling. If the crowd were noisy enough, my strategy changed from yelling loud to getting others to do the yelling for me. If there were enough instant-asshole-just-add-water types around me, I would yell (unexpectedly for them because they weren't regulars there) at a player. Those fans would laugh. I would yell again, and if any of the other regulars added something, those fans figured out that yelling at the visiting player was a community thing and they joined in. Instead of yelling louder to overcome the crowd noise, I could save my voice for the next game by getting others to do it for me.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Renteria? Furcal? CC?

The news today was thick with speculation over the Giants signing a free agent shortstop. It almost looks like they're entertaining two of them at the same time. Rumors are false. Rumors are from reliable sources. What about the youth movement from guys like Burriss or Ochoa? If we sign Renteria for two years, then we might have the next shortstop waiting to take over.

What about Sabbathia? (I don't know whether there are one or two B's in his name - oh, I just checked. There's one) He's a hometown boy and would like to play here, but money is a big factor, too. But there are a few questions surrounding him. First, he could very well be yesterday's news. Sure, he's gone a thousand and one in his last 1001 starts with an ERA of about 3 below zero. Here's the question: does he show any signs of improvement in 2009? How about in 2010? Ever? Next, if not, will he be equal to his recent past? Less than equal? Remember Barry Zito? Maybe the Giants could just sign him to hit DH in interleague road games. Which would hopefully include the World Series.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Welcome Jeremy Affeldt

The Giants were the first team to sign a free agent. Left hander Jeremy Affeldt who pitched with the Reds last year will be setting the table for Brian Wilson. Hope he pans out in a positive way, unlike most other players over the last four years. Go Giants.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tim LinCYcum

Congratulations to Tim Lincecum for winning the NL Cy Young award! I wasn't totally surprised that he won the award, but I was surprised by the margin of victory. Going into the stretch run I was convinced that Webb was the media frontrunner but that Lincecum had put up enough of a fight to make it close. Personally, I believed Lincecum should win it outright based on three factors. His ERA was clearly better. He led the universe in strikeouts. Webb led in wins, but only because he played for a contender. Lincecum had six leads torched by the hapless bullpen.

I'm glad to see that, unlike the national TV media, the sportswriters saw the same things I did. He gained 23 of 32 first place votes. Webb had 4, Santana 4 and Sabathia one. Some schmuck sportswriter from Chicago didn't even have Lincecum on his ballot. Wonder what he was smoking.

That this was only the SF Giants' second Cy Young award ever, compared to nine position player MVP's, shows that the team has concentrated on hitting and not pitching in its history. Hitting without pitching has resulted in zero rings. Maybe they'll learn from this. Hopefully, the Giants can put a team together before Cain and Lincecum are able to file for free agency so they aren't wasted on exclusively non-World Series winning teams. Way to go Timmy.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Why I've Come To Dislike The Star Spangled Banner and God Bless America

I've come to a point in my life where I now dislike The Star Spangled Banner and God Bless America. These were staple songs of just the average patriotism of the average American when I was a kid. The Star Spangled Banner is a tradition before the game of baseball, the national pastime. I grew up fairly conservative, and the national anthem was sung in a conservative way before a game started. Quite often, it was played by the ballpark organ and the crowd sung along as they wanted. In the 80's, the San Francisco Giants often invited odd characters to sing before the game, and they sang the national anthem in odd ways. Some of them butchered both the melody and content. Many San Franciscans approved, cheering wildly at the inappropriate times. I'm not sure if this happened across the country at non-nationally televised games, but it happened here. And not in Oakland, either.

Now, it seems to be a fad to have some "award winning recording star" butcher the song on every occasion. During this World Series, Patti Labelle got up to sing during one game. I had to change a diaper before the game started, and at about two words into it, I cut the sound. I had no idea she incinerated the song until several days later when it was a topic on sports talk radio.

I cringe in embarrassment every time I hear it before a game. I'm usually just on time at a baseball game, which means that I'm in the food or beer line, or maybe restroom, during the anthem. The Giants, ever since 9/11, have taken to playing the anthem on the radio. Not live either, but spliced in between commercial segments. It sounds so fake. I cut to an FM rock station. Then there's the Olympics. I have to hear it played about 83 times. Anything repeated that many times will result in stomach illness. So, mostly out of liking the song as a kid, I've come to dislike it as an adult.

God Bless America has similar problems. It was inserted into the 7th inning stretch by Major League Baseball just after 9/11. Now it's presence has faded to Sunday games only, with the exception that the Yankess still play it every game. If you go to the bathroom during the song, the Yankees' security will throw you out of the stadium forcefully. It doesn't belong in the 7th inning stretch. Take Me Out To The Ballgame does. God Bless America is sung first. This throws the fans off, and it disrupts a hundred year old tradition. It completely takes away from Take Me Out To The Ballgame.

Neither song belongs the way it currently exists. That's why I dislike them now. I don't listen anymore. I avoid them when I can.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Jamie Moyer Is Older Than Me

Phillies pitcher Jamie Moyer has been around for a long time. At 44, I'm younger than Moyer, who is 45. There are still several players older than me. I wonder who will be the last player to be older than me. I remember back in the 80's that Dwight Gooden was the first player that was younger than me. It made an impression. I was finally no longer able to look completely forward at baseball. Somebody had jumped ahead of me. Now, a bunch of kids are playing out there and I'm almost completely looking back at baseball.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Every Kid Dreams Of Playing In National League

Every kid's childhood dream. Three balls, two strikes, two outs, bases loaded, bottom of the ninth, game seven of the World Series, down three runs against the Yankees. The kid hits a grand slam to win the World Series. To beat the Yankees means to play in the National League.