Thursday, December 24, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Value Priced Season Tickets (2)

In Part 1 I laid out the idea the Giants are using this year with regard to season ticket prices. I have attached the schedule according to ticket price. One of the problems this idea poses for my ticket partners and I is that we can't pick the number of games in advance with a set price in mind. Traditionally, we've picked the number of games we all wanted to see, then later had a draft. Either we need to do the draft earlier this year, or we need to adjust for ticket prices after we pick. Somehow or other, it should be worked out, although it will surely be more complicated.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Value Priced Season Tickets (1)

The Giants have initiated this year a value priced scheme for season tickets. They have been doing some of this with public sale for a few years now, but this is the first for season tickets. Value pricing is the idea that a weekend Dodger game (or Red Sox this year in interleague) should be a higher price than a mid-week Nationals game for the same seat, etc.

Traditionally, tickets have been priced the same for all games, based on seat location and level of amenity. Back when I first started attending Giants games at Candlestick regularly (1981), box seats were $6, reserved $5 and bleachers $1 (going up to $2 the following year). There were only three price categories. What I always thought strange, was that box seats in the upper deck in center field were the same price as box seats in the front row behind home plate. Most teams today have made many adjustments to seat prices, depending on location.

What the Giants have done is to create four categories of prices, but totalling up over the entire season, the total cost for season tickets remains the same. They are priced roughly 72%, 91%, 115% and 164% of last year's prices. There are more cheaper games than pricier games. This all makes sense from a marketing standpoint, because the Dodgers and Red Sox games will still sell out, while Nationals games (and other lesser draws) should gain higher attendance due to lower prices. And, those dreaded exhibition games the weekend before Opening Day are now far less!

There are three categories of comparables for which tickets vary in value: team played, weekday vs. weekend games, and mid-summer vs. spring and early fall. So, Rockies games in July will be more than Rockies games in April, etc., but Dodger games in April will be more than Rockies games in July. A Thursday night game of a four game series will be less than the Saturday and Sunday games.

I'm hoping this will allow us to sell our tickets in a better way, but there are other problems that have arisen. More on that in another post.
See Part 2

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Cast and Crew: Kurt

I have been friends with Kurt for over 20 years, and we have also been co-workers for 14, and company softball double play combo for nine (I played short, Kurt 2nd; we even pulled off a triple play together). I first met Kurt on a company softball team, as my bosses knew him from a previous company. Several years later when I was out of work, Kurt was instrumental in gaining employment for me at his architecture firm, and he later became a principal of that firm.

Kurt and I have talked so much baseball and swapped so many stories that I'm sure we could write a book between us. He bought into my season ticket plan for years at Candlestick, and when Pac Bell Park first opened, Kurt was in charge of securing season tickets for our company. The company seats were in the exact same mirror image location down the 3rd base line as mine are on the 1st base line. I've sat there numerous times as well.

Kurt is a 19th century baseball buff, card and memorabilia collector and has such a keen "nose for baseball" that baseball often finds him. Two stories are in order here. Last year during Spring Training Kurt was flying home from China on a business trip (he designs homes on golf course communities there) when a flight attendant asked if he were a baseball fan. "Uhhhh, yes I am." Well, Joe Torre is sitting in first class. Okay, this is an impossibility. Joe Torre is NOT sitting in first class on a flight from China during spring training and flight attendants on international flights just don't ask passengers at random if they're baseball fans. Except he was. The Dodgers had been in China promoting baseball for the upcoming 2008 Olympics in Beijing and played a couple of games there. Of course, Kurt was the only person in the world that could have met Joe Torre on a flight from China. "Good luck this year, Joe" was Kurt's closing statement, until later when he realized that he, as a Giants fan, just wished the Dodger manager good luck!

Kurt's brother runs a charity that puts Kurt in occasional contact with all-time hall of fame greats. And of course, this year when I had tickets for Lincecum (who took a no-hitter into the 7th) and two days later, Cain, I didn't have tickets for the game in between when Johnathan Sanchez tossed his no-hitter, it was Kurt's daughter to whom I sold the tickets, and when she couldn't go, Kurt did.

Another story epitomizes my relationship with Kurt. I was laid off earlier this year, and when I called my former company for something, all the phone lines were disconnected. What I didn't know was that a brief power outage in their neighborhood caused the phone company to give their disconnected message, so freaked out a bit, I called Kurt on his cell phone. "Oh, hey, Steve, you'll never guess where I am! I'm in the beer line at the Metrodome at a Twins day game." Of course he is, he's Kurt. Every summer he takes a ballpark tour with some of his family.

After all these years of talking baseball, it just occurred to me that I can't remember ever going to a game with Kurt. What are the odds of that? Even though that's the case, I'm still adding Kurt to my cast and crew. Dang, Kurt, could we catch a game together sometime?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Lincecum Back To Back

Tim Lincecum won his second consecutive NL Cy Young award. This year's voting was very close and a bit controversial. Only three pitchers contended, and only five got any votes. Lincecum won despite Adam Wainwright gaining more first place votes. But Wainwright finished third. Chris Carpenter finished second, yet had fewer first place votes than the others. Carpenter's downfall was that two writers didn't even vote for him, which explains the single votes for both Vazquez and Haren.

But this wasn't an inside job, either, as I heard on the radio that neither of the two Bay Area writers gave Lincecum a first place vote.

When voting is this close, and it is obvious that all the contending candidates deserve to be considered for the top spot, then there shouldn't be any sour grapes upon losing. I would be content with any of these three winning, so no injustice was done. Of course, I wanted Lincecum to win because I'm a Giants fan. I'm used to awards and records, just not parades down Market Street or pitching awards.

In conclusion, congratulations Tim Lincecum!

Monday, November 16, 2009

7th Inning Jones

One of the more lighthearted heckling targets of the mid-80's left field bleacher scene in Oakland was a backup Kansas City outfielder named Lynn Jones. (alternate stat site) Jones gained a nickname amongst the bleacher faithful, coined by John if I remember correctly, due to his completely predictable use as a late inning defensive replacement. He simply played left field every game, but only at the end of the game. So, John gave him the nickname of "Seventh Inning Jones." We heckled him and let him know every game just where he stood; he was not a star or even a starter. Jones had little choice but to accept the label and be content with our antics. He even enjoyed the attention, so we let up a bit and he became one of the fun targets of our crew.

In fact, here is a string of box scores for five consecutive Royals games in Oakland in 1985 (#1, #2, #3, #4, #5), and two more at the end of 1986 (#4 and #5) that show Jones as a late inning left field replacement.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Phillies Fans Trump Yankee Fans

In my last post I asked about the state of Yankee fans who sit in the box seats. But, now I want to ask about Yankee fans living in other cities. I know all too well growing up with the Oakland A's as an American League team, that Yankee fans show up in droves to see their team play on the road. The very few times they've played in San Francisco shows the same thing.

This year's post season saw Yankee fans show up by the thousands at the Metrodome. And in a complete embarrassment to the Southern California mentality, they appeared to constitute at least a quarter - if not a third - of the total crowd in Anaheim. This is all normal stuff. But something changed in the World Series...

Yankee fans were hardly noticed in Philly. There weren't more than a few hundred, max. Why? My guess is that Philly fans were so hot about the World Series that ticket holders valued being at the Series far more than the market value of the tickets. Philly fans were so fanatic that they shut Yankee fans out of eBay and StubHub.

In San Francisco we had a similar experience for the entire 2000 season, the inaugural season of Pac Bell Park. Giants fans were so excited about the new ballpark that the entire season sold out in February - to Giants fans - so that there were almost no fans cheering for visiting teams all year. Including Dodger fans. So, I must say congratulations to Phillies fans. You really love your team.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Whither Yankees Fans?

I noticed somthing about Yankee fans this year, and I'm pretty sure the new ballpark has something to do with it. All year long, whenever I've seen a game on TV, the box seats looked half empty. I know the overpricing played a part. But during the post season, the same thing occurred in the ALDS and ALCS. If fans aren't going to show up due to overpricing of tickets, that's one thing. But when large numbers from the box seats are leaving early when the game goes into extra inninngs, then there's a problem.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Quality Post-Season Umpiring Needed

Calls for instant replay in baseball continue. Numerous instances of bad calls in the playoffs are highlighted with greater fervor and scrutinized with greater technology. I'm not going to address instant replay here, but rather focus on the quality of umpiring.

I'm not as concerned with bang-bang calls that could go either way. If it looked like he was safe, but the super slo-mo hi-def replay showed he was out by 1/4 inch, it's just not much to gripe about. What gets me is when two players are stuck at the same base, they both come off the base by five feet, the player with the ball tags both of them out while standing still, yet the umps screw up by not calling both of them out. Six umps are watching the same play, and not one of them can see the obvious? Why not have a conference then?

A great piece of ump teamwork was on the Rollins/Howard/Matsui double play. Rollins caught a bloop pop with his glove on the ground, then stepped on second and threw to Howard. The throw was wide, and Howard came off the bag with the batter/runner beating the throw. Matsui started walking off the field, and Howard tagged him. What to do? This play was logistically complicated. The replay showed that Rollins caught the bloop, but his stepping on second (just in case the ump blew the catch call) added confusion to the play. And even in the replay, Howard really did have his foot on the bag when he caught the throw. His heel came off first, but his toes were still on the bag when the ball hit his glove, even though he was in the process of coming off the bag. The TV announcers missed this. But he eventually tagged Matsui.

Here's how complicated this all was: Did Rollins catch the popup? How did this affect his stepping on second? How did this affect the play at first? Was his throw to get Matsui doubled up or the batter out? Did Howard need to tag Matsui? Did Howard get pulled off the bag? Did Matsui walk off the field because Rollins caught the ball in the air and doubled him off first or because he didn't but stepped on second base? Both Rollins and Howard made double efforts just in case the umps missed either call. Rollins touched second in case the umps missed his catch. Howard tagged Matsui in case the umps saw the catch because the umps might call him off the bag. But, all the umps were in on a conference and made the right call. Double play. Why didn't this happen for the two runners caught off third?

Getting the call right by using all umpires, if necessary, is where baseball needs to make its first improvement. It should be done at the slightest question of a call. If an ump blows a call and all the other umps see it, there should be no hesitation in reversing it. That's the way it works in my kid's soccer league, and there's no problem. When 50,000 fans, five umps, 50 players, a TV crew and two managers see things one way and a lone ump sees things another way, there should be no shame in admitting there might be a problem and help from others is welcome.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Five Hundred Posts

I've reached five hundred posts on this blog. I wanted to get the exact 500th, but somehow I missed it by about ten. Oops! I've enjoyed writing about baseball, and it seems like quite a bit more than 500 posts over the last 4 1/2 years. That's about 100 posts or so a year, or about one every three days or so. I'd love to increase that frequency, but will need to be in a writing groove in more of a writing environment to do so. Maybe that's my New Year's resolution for October.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

1989 Earthquake Aftermath

In a previous post, I wrote about my experience the day the earthquake occurred. The days, weeks and months that followed were ones of confusion and waiting. Even controversy. It turned out that there were far fewer deaths in the freeway collapse than previously feared, as most people left work early to watch the World Series! My good friend Mike was one such non-casualty. At the time of the quake, he would have been on that freeway on his way home, but he was already at the game.

The Bay Bridge was out of commission for months as a replacement section had to be constructed. This was a major bridge with six figure vehicle traffic each day. A new freeway in Oakland took years to be built. The World Series was delayed (ten days eventually) as there was structural damage to Candlestick Park. Expansion joints were located below seating section stairways. The concrete steps crumbled, and fans could see the parking lot through the new holes. There was talk of relocating the Series to Los Angeles. Over the dead bodies of 62,000 Giants fans would their first Series in 27 years be played at Dodger Stadium! Some people felt that a sporting event was so insignificant in light of such a disaster that it should be cancelled altogether. Cooler heads prevailed as the structural damage was fixed, and game 3 was played at the 'Stick after all. It turned out to be what the Bay Area needed as therapy.

The quake stirred fans, as they showed up for the postponed game 3 wearing hard hats with their team logo. The A's swept the Giants, and decided that in light of the catastrophe, they would celebrate their victory in the locker room without alcoholic beverages.

Another friend of mine was driving on the Bridge at the time of the quake and collapse. He had just passed the section that would collapse. Then when he reached the joint between the bridge and terra firma, the buckled pavement scraped the underside of his car. Not knowing what happened, he pulled off and checked his car out. He looked back up the bridge, and there was no traffic whatsoever in an eerie sight.

Having two teams close by has always been a blessing for me. Getting to drive to every game is something few fans have ever claimed. The '89 quake and Series are things I will never forget.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


World Series Ticket: $200
Airfare: $595
Hotel: $95
Seeing Manny take a mulligan off the first tee shot tomorrow morning: Priceless

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Phillies Have To Win

If the Phillies don't win the NLCS, then it's either the Dodgers and Angels in the World Series, or the Dodgers and Yankees. How could I watch either of these matchups?

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Tuesday, October 17, 1989, 5:04pm, minutes before the start of game 3 of the World Series between the San Francisco Giants and Oakland A's. It registered 7.1 on the Richter scale. Just prior to this I was in the upper deck at Candlestick Park visiting some friends who also had tickets. I was on my way down the ramp to the lower deck, and was near the bottom of the ramp with a friend, who said, "Is that an earthquake?" I stopped, felt some shaking and looked down. My head was still but I could see the ground move several feet in each direction under me. Yes it was an earthquake, and a huge one. It shook for 45 terrifying seconds.

There were 62,000 fans there, and when the shaking stopped, there was dead silence. Everybody looked up and around. A few seconds later, a monstrous cheer erupted. Welcome to San Francisco! "We had an earthquake on national TV! Awesome! Welcome to California!" could be heard by many of the fans. No visible damage. We proceeded to the concession line to buy some goodies. Just then, the power went out. The cash registers were electric, so no change could be made because the drawers were stuck shut. The concessionaires took the next bill up. We made it back to our seats (seven rows behind home plate were where my season tickets were.) People were dazed and confused. The scoreboard and PA system were not working due to the power outage.

Players and police were out on the field. A chant of "Play Ball!" erupted from the crowd. Who needs a scoreboard? Scoreboard, schmoreboard. A fan just behind us had a Sony Watchman (remember those?) He said that the Bay Bridge had collapsed. This was simply unbelievable news. A few minutes later (how can you sense time when something like this happens?), a police car with a hand held mega phone blurred something out that sounded like Charlie Brown's teacher. We were all told to go home. Go home? This is the World Series!

Once out into the parking lot, we saw a TV news van with an open door. There were many television monitors, and since it was operating on battery power, we could see the damage being broadcast by the blimp. What we saw were truly horrific pictures. A section of the Bay Bridge collapsed. A freeway had pancaked on top of itself and miles of it were laying on the ground. A massive fire broke out in the Marina district. This was a major catastrophe.

The SFPD told fans to stay close to the stadium, as bridges were out. All the other bridges in the Bay Area were closed for inspection. We had to wait. We figured that we would be there a while, so we proceeded to a mini-mart at a neighboring RV park to buy some beer. We bought a case. The door was blocked by a table, as they didn't let people in. They took orders and made sales at the door. When we turned around to leave, there was a line behind us hundreds of people deep. Suddenly we got questions about where we got the beer. Not wanting to wait in line, people started bidding on our beer! We sold to the highest bidder and walked away with eighty bucks.

After quite a while of waiting, it was getting dark. Police were being called away because there was heavy looting downtown. It was at this point we got scared. We decided to make a run for it, and anticipated heavy traffic as we headed 50 miles down to San Jose to wrap around the bottom of the bay and up the other side another 70 miles home. It was the only way home without crossing a bridge. By the time we got to the San Mateo bridge, it was open. We hit a Denny's on the way home, and it was filled with fans who were talking about the event. I eventually got home at 1:30am.

I will never forget that day or the experience of that earthquake. Hundreds of people were feared dead from the freeway collapse. Some tourists from Connecticut managed to shoot some video from the collapsed section of the bridge, with the eerie sight of a car crashing to the deck below. The replacement section had a different paving surface, a constant reminder of that day. I will write more about this event, its aftermath and what happened in the postponement of the Series. [Update: a followup post can be found here]

Thursday, October 15, 2009

1989 World Series and Earthquake

This week marks the 20th anniversary of the all-Bay Area World Series between the San Francisco Giants and Oakland A's, and the major earthquake that struck the Bay Area just minutes before game 3 at Candlestick Park. I was there. The World Series was more than major news here, and the earthquake caused much death and damage.

I'll be taking several posts to tell the story as I lived it.

The A's beat the Blue Jays in the ALCS, while the Giants took care of the Cubs in the NLCS. Ticket sales were simply unbelievable. Tens of thousands of tickets went on sale through a major ticket agency, and were sold out within a matter of hours. Approximately ten million calls were placed in a frantic attempt to buy tickets, jamming phone circuits. But this was no problem at all for me and some friends.

I already had Series tickets for the games in San Francisco, as I was a season ticket holder. But I pulled a major coup in accidentally discovering a back door into the ticket agency's phone system from trying to buy concert tickets months previously. The ticket agency was given a block of about a hundred phone numbers - in consecutive numerical order - by the phone company. A call to the main number, if busy, was rolled over to the next number, and so on. You received a busy signal only if all hundred lines were busy. I figured out that if I dialed a number up at the higher end of numbers, I could get in fairly easy, as higher numbers waited a fraction of a second for all the previous numbers to roll over. A direct dial on a higher number usually resulted in a connection.

So, out of the millions of phone calls made, a small five employee architecture firm was able to buy 2 percent of all tickets sold within a two hour period. I first bought my A's tickets, giving me tickets for all seven games. Other people in the office bought all their own personal tickets. We prepped for this coup by getting credit cards from friends, family, and everybody on our company softball team. We closed the office and made purchases until we ran out of friends' credit cards. We were swimming in tickets, and all of our friends were ecstatic at getting seats for the Series. Life was beautiful in October, 1989.

Coming Soon: Foul Balls and Fair

My family recently moved. As we packed, I came across my box of baseballs. I paused to go through them. I have a collection of balls over the years consisting of foul balls, home run balls, batting practice balls and other balls thrown up into the stands. The box is an empty motor oil case, full the top. Each ball had a piece of tape on it listing when and where (if I knew that info) I retrieved it.

I went through each one. I have fielded ten foul balls in four different ballparks and eight home runs in two ballparks. I put each one into a separate sandwich bag, as a few pieces of tape came loose. I was able to piece them back together based on the league president signature on each ball and when that president served crossed with the date on the piece of tape.

I'll be writing soon about each foul ball and home run ball I retrieved, plus other notable ones.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Frozen Division Series

With the other three series being sweeps, the already snow-delayed Phils/Rox series now has sole attention of everybody in baseball. If this thing goes five games with another delay or two, the other teams might just go into hibernation...

Note To Giants' Marketing Team:

We're still in this thing.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Go Phillies?

The Phillies are the only team in the playoffs that I don't have a problem with their winning the World Series. I hate, Hate, HATE the Dodgers. I hate the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels. I dislike the Cardinals and Rockies.

So, I'll root for the Phils. First, they're playing the Not-Giants in the NLDS.

[Update: In the comments section, shallowfrozenwater asks about the Twins. I noticed this after I posted it. Shows you where the Twinkies are in my thinking. They don't nearly exist. I don't like their stupid dome and their homer hanky World Series titles. So, they are the lesser of four evils in the American League. Phils/Twinks?]

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Yet Another Post-Season Scheduling Absurdity

Okay, Major League Baseball has a bunch of idiots running the post-season scheduling. I've written about this before, here, here, here and here. And here and here.

What I never knew prior to this year is that the home field advantage team gets to choose which division series schedule to play in. They can make their decision up until one hour after the regular season is completed. So the Yankees got to choose, but with one problem. The regular season didn't end until the Twins/Tigers tie-breaker was completed - on Tuesday, due to a Vikings game on Monday Night Football. So the Yankees could screw the Red Sox by making them play the next day with a warning only hours before the game. The tie-breaker game went 12 innings. Instead, they chose to screw the winner of the tie-breaker by forcing them to take a red-eye to Yankee Stadium where they would play the next day on sleep they could get only on the plane.

Baseball desperately needs to get rid of the guess work and pre-schedule which divisions play which and who hosts which games. They also need to ditch the network time slot pecking order. I'd hate to be a team's traveling secretary in the month of October.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Saying Goodbye To Rich Aurelia

Today was the Giants last home game of the year. Long time Giant Rich Aurelia played his last home game today. Eleven of his fifteen years were spent wearing the orange and black. Richie was a fan favorite. He had a stellar 2001 along side a nuclear year by Barry Bonds, and a 2002 that saw him rack up 17 RBI in the post season. Back in the early 2000's, my brother-in-law sported a goatee and he looked a dead ringer for Richie. The resemblance was simply stunning. He even wore an Aurelia shirt for a while.

Rich will never be forgotten among Giants fans, and today they paid tribute with numerous standing ovations. His last at bat was followed by taking his position at short stop in the ninth inning. Manager Bruce Bochy pulled the class move by replacing him before the first pitch of the inning so he could be cheered as he came off the field. Nora had the tickets for today's game and we're sure she shed tears for fondness of Rich.

We will miss you, Rich.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

We're Still In This Thing

Nevermind that the Giants are sucking and that not only are they far behind the Rockies in the wild card race, there are now three teams in front of them in that race. Nevermind that the elimination number stands at three. We're still in this thing.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

On Booing Your Own Player

In a commentary about the booing of Benjie Molina, Grant at McCovey Chronicles explains what it means for fans to boo their own players:

At the risk of repeating myself, one of the most important things that fans and players alike can remember is this:

When fans boo players or curse them out, it is almost always an editorial comment on the decision by the front office or manager to put the player in the position he’s in.
There are exceptions, of course. Armando Benitez was just an unlikable tub of goo. There are players who don’t try their hardest, don’t run out groundballs, or who curse the fans out. Those players earn their boos. Most of the time, though, a player is getting razzed because he shouldn’t be out there. When Marvin Benard would break in, back, up, and then back again to run after a fly ball, the boos didn’t translate to "Marvin Benard is a bad human being, and I object to his presence on this planet", it translated to "Jeez, guys, can’t you scrounge up a better centerfielder?"
I tend to agree with this assessment. Does this apply to fans in Philadelphia?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Giants Loss Projection Through September 15

September 1 through September 15, 2009:

L 72-60, 74; W 73-60, 73; L 73-61, 74; W 74-61, 73; W 75-61, 73; L 75-62, 73; W 76-62, 73; L 76-63, 73; L 76-64, 74; L 76-65, 75; L 76-66, 75; W 77-66, 75; W 78-66, 74; W 79-66, 74.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Giants Pitching Is Changing The Timing Of Restroom Trips

When the Giants come to town, it's bye, bye, baby. So says the song. Historically, the Giants have been more of an offensive franchise than a pitching franchise. Mike and I were talking about this earlier this year. It's always been more exciting to watch the Giants hit. So, traditionally, both Mike and I have always watched the Giants bat and have planned our trips to the restroom while they were out in the field.

Now that the Giants couldn't hit their way out of Wrigley Field with the wind blowing out, but have the best - and most exciting - pitching staff in baseball, Mike and I have inverted our scheduling so that we hit the head when the Giants are at bat. Neither of us can bear to miss an inning with a Gigante on the mound. If they just happen to score while we're in the men's room, we can hear it on the radio.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Ballpark Drive-By's

Last weekend my family drove to San Diego for some time away. It was a bummer that the Padres weren't home, but the R&R was more important. (At the end of our trip they were up here in San Francisco. Hey, let's get home!) But, I did endeavor to make three ballpark drive-by's. On the way down, I turned off the freeway (I-5) a few blocks and drove up to the Dodger Stadium parking lot entrance in Elysian Park. The one next to the Police Academy - yes the one in the Hollywood comedy! There was a game that night, and we were a few hours early, and a line about 10 cars deep were there. We still got a good view from left field in across to the stands on the first base line.

Our four year old loves baseball, so he gawked in wonder as I said, "Here's Dodger Stadium, where the Dodgers play." Then about an hour later we passed Angels Stadium (or whatever they're calling it this year). It is clearly visible from the freeway (I-5), just a few blocks down the boulevard, but a bit obscured from recent construction. The "Big A" in the parking lot with the halo around it is very red and can't be missed.

And while in San Diego, we drove downtown and made several circles around Petco Park on the city streets. Tours were available, and the kids fun lot was open behind left field, but our plans couldn't include those. Mrs. Scott and I have a special place in our hearts for Petco Park, since we used to vacation in San Diego all the time (and I had several business trips there) and got to see the construction of it progress from dirt to a completed ballpark. We saw a game there in its opening year, 2004.

I love looking into the open end of ballparks and seeing the huge bowl of seats and decks, flags flying, light towers above. We also saw Angels Stadium on the freeway on our way home (a better view while driving north) and the top of Dodger Stadium is visible from the freeway going north. Even without a game, the drive-by's were fun.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Giants Loss Projection Through August 31

August 16 through August 30:

L 63-54, 75; W 64-54, 74; W 65-54, 74; W 66-54, 73; L 66-55, 74; W 67-55, 73; L 67-56, 74; L 67-57, 74; L 67-58, 75; W 68-58, 75; W 69-58, 74; L 69-59, 75; W 70-59, 74; W 71-59, 74; W 72-59, 73.

Friday, August 28, 2009

T-Shirt and Shorts at Night Game!

Last night at AT&T Park against Arizona, the Giants played a warm weather game. I wore a t-shirt and shorts all night, and even on the long walk back to the train station, it was perfectly pleasant to be out. After 25 years of having season tickets, I still have maybe a dozen t-shirt/shorts night games. It was hot here in the suburbs, about 100 degrees, and never knowing what it will be like in the city, I took a chance and wore shorts without bringing long pants. My gamble paid off. A night game in San Francisco is usually shirt/sweatshirt/jacket weather and you still freeze your butt off.

The Giants got killed, 11-0. I watched seven of those runs in two short concession stand visits on the TV monitors on the concourse, the three run outburst in the first inning and the four spot in the fifth. I guess it was better than being in my seat for the punishment.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Throw Back Days

Back when I was much more of a baseball traditionalist, I liked those "turn back the clock" days, where old uniforms or old ways of doing things were put into play at a particular game. But not really anymore. I saw an A's/White Sox game recently that had throwback uniforms to 1929, a year the A's won the Series. The granddaughter of Connie Mack and grandson of Jimmy Foxx threw out first pitches.

The uniforms were interesting to look at, but when I looked at the total picture, it wasn't a real throwback attempt. Only the jerseys and pants were throwback. It just didn't look authentic because the uni's were polyester, not flannel with the right bagginess, and the players had their Nike swoosh spikes on, the A's wore their contemporary white shoes. Players also used modern gloves, had helmets, wore shin guards, arm guards, batting gloves, and other modern trappings. And I hate those throwback games where the current helmets are used if they don't fit the uniform. This game, the A's at least used blue helmets with a lone white "A" logo, like it was in 1929.

But the ones that are even worse are those games that use minor league uniforms or other past teams. Watching the highlights on SportsCenter is useless to identify those teams. If somebody broke some all time record or threw a no-hitter during one of those games, I'd hate to see endless replays of somebody who had to be explained every time. Oh, he threw a perfect game, but they were wearing minor league uni's in tribute to something or other.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Worst Umpired Series Ever?

This last week's Giants/Dodgers series in San Francisco has to be the worst umpired series I have ever seen. Numerous calls were completely blown by the umpires. Not just bang-bang plays that happened to be wrong, but obvious plays. The announcers commented on this all series long. It was a nationally covered story.

The third game of the series had all the blown calls going against the Giants. Giants announcer Duane Kuiper recounted that Dodger announcer Rick Monday leaned into the Giants booth and said, "Oh-for-five." A play in the first game of the series had a throw to the first baseman dropped, then he stepped off the bag to retrieve the ball, the runner crossed the base and was called out. Amazing.

In the third game, 1) Manny Ramirez was picked off first, and called safe. 2) Pablo Sandoval was plucked on the arm trying to get out of the way of a pitch. The pitch was a foot inside, and the umpire not only didn't call it a hit-by-pitch, he called it a strike. Sandoval even started out toward the pitcher and both benches cleared. 3) and 4) were two blown calls on the same play. A grounder to second resulted in Sandoval being tagged out in the base path on his way to second base. Only one problem with the tag, the ball wasn't in the second baseman's glove but in his right hand while being thrown to first base. The second base ump called him out, but the first base ump overruled the call mid-play, and the ball was thrown late to first, and the batter was safe by a half step. But, the first base ump was so distracted by overruling the other ump, he blew his own call. Both runners were clearly safe, yet it was almost called a double play. And 5), in the ninth inning, a ground out to short had the Dodger runner out by a half step, yet the ump called him safe.

During this game, both Bruce Bochy and then acting manager Ron Wotus were tossed from arguing. Although none of the outcomes of the games were affected, the fifth blown call in the ninth cost Tim Lincecum both the win and a complete game. I wonder what the worst umpired game ever is?


Unbelievable! While finishing typing the last paragraph, I witnessed two consecutive horribly blown calls on the A's/White Sox game on TV. A White Sox batter was out by a half step at first base, but called safe, and the A's argued the call [Update: I watched the replay, and not only was the runner out, he never even touched first base!]. Then the runner tried to steal second base and was thrown out as the runner over slid the base by several feet. The ump called him safe, saying the fielder shoved him out of the base path, and A's manager Bob Geren was thrown out for arguing. THE UMPIRE WAS THE SAME CREW CHIEF OF THE GIANTS/DODGER SERIES that blew all those calls last week. Gary Darling.

Unbelievable. Sandy Alderson, where are you?

Giants Loss Projection Through August 15

August 1 through August 15:

W 57-47, 73; W 58-47, 73; L 58-48, 73; W 59-48, 73; W 60-48, 72; L 60-49, 73; W 61-49, 72; L 61-50, 73; L 61-51, 74; L 61-52, 75; W 62-52, 74; L 62-53, 75; W 63-53, 74.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

New Profile Photo

I've added a new profile photo to my blogs. This photo was a professional headshot produced by my friend Deb Wat. The photo shoot was a very interesting process, and Deb is a true professional. Her objective for this shot was to draw me out of my element as a writer. I think it came out great, and my family and friends agree. Check out her site at Deb Wat Photography.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

I Got A Foul Ball, Then One Got Me

I got a foul ball in Friday night's Giants/Reds game at AT&T Park. A few minutes later, just one pitch after hanging up my cell phone conversation telling Mrs. Scott all about it, another scorching line drive came to the row just in front of me, and after leaning in over the ladies' heads in front of me (they duck and cover their heads, always, and are thankful for the chivalrous gentlemen around them who bring gloves) to glove it, a fan two rows in front deflected it slightly just as I was going to catch it, so I took it square off the bicep and another fan several rows up snagged it.

The ball I got landed about five seats in the next section across the aisle, about three rows back. I always play for a crazy bounce or series of bounces and flying bodies. Having aisle seats makes it easy to cover about ten rows because the aisle steps are clear, just zip up or down. This ball bounced off about four people, trickled down a row, then some huge guy from my section jetted across the aisle and belly flopped over a woman's lap, she just sitting there on the opposite aisle seat. It somehow got through him and out into the aisle. A ball in the aisle is my cue. Another guy piled on the squirting ball, but butter fingered it down a row into my waiting hands.

This was my tenth foul ball in my life. Double digits now. I've updated my baseball resume to reflect this fortune.

I was at the game with Mike, and he was getting food at the time. Even though the season tickets are mine, and I sit on the aisle seat, Mike made up a rule some years ago that if I'm late to the game, he gets the aisle seat. He needled me for this. So upon his return to his seat, he found the ball in his cup holder. I got the ball even though I wasn't actually in the aisle seat. Back atchya.

This wasn't the only crazy thing that happened this night, so in another post, I'll describe the other wild things that took place. It was really just one of those nights.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Luck Statistics

Over a 162 game season, everything averages out. Right? Well, I wonder. With both an imbalanced schedule and an asymmetrical one, how is the schedule fair to all teams? Let's compare the schedules of the Marlins and Mets. Since interleague play was introduced, each team's "rival" team (the other league's intra-metro or intra-state team they play six games against) is the Rays and Yankees respectively. Aside from last year, the Marlins have had probably a built-in two game advantage in only playing the hapless Rays as opposed to a near dynasty Yankees.

But other invisible things are real, and it would be interesting to see the following statistics. Like stats that show how hot or cold each opponent is when your team plays them. Say a team is good but they've had the bad luck of playing more of the teams - even the mediocre ones - while they were hot. Or in a slump. Maybe there could be a stat for winning percentage of opponents in the previous five games (or other number) before playing them.

Or what about stats that show how each team fares in facing other teams' starting rotations? The standard series in baseball is a three-game series, with some two- and some four-game series. But the standard rotation is a five-man rotation. Each team hits or misses the ace and second man in the rotation each series. What if some teams hit slightly more aces of other teams, and some teams fewer? How could this affect the final standings? Let's say the Mets hit the Yanks' aces each interleague series, while the Fish hit the bottom of the Rays' rotation each time, and the Marlins finished a game ahead of the Mets in the standings? Maybe the Mets hit the Nationals while in a slump three times, while the Marlins hit them while hot two times?

What if a World Series winner was just an above average team that had a bunch of breaks, or a great team hit a bunch of brick walls? Bill James, you out there?

Friday, July 31, 2009

Giants Loss Projection Through July 31

July 17 through July 31:

49-40, 73; 49-41, 74; 50-41, 73; 50-42, 74; 50-43, 75; 50-44, 76; 51-44, 75; 52-44, 74; 52-45, 75; 52-46, 76; 53-46, 75; 54-46, 75; 55-46, 74; 56-46, 73; 56-47, 74.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

If The Season Ended Today

If the regular season ended today, here would be the playoff teams:

AL East: New York Yankees
AL Central: Detroit
AL West: LA Angels of Anaheim
AL Wildcard: Boston

NL East: Philadelphia
NL Central: St. Louis
NL West: Los Angeles Dodgers
NL Wildcard: San Francisco

The first round of playoffs would be: Anaheim vs. Boston, New York Yankees vs. Detroit, Philadelphia vs. San Francisco and Los Angeles vs. St. Louis.

League championship series could very well be the two greatest rivalries in baseball history: Yankees/Red Sox and Dodgers/Giants.

Now, that's what I'm thinking about. How about Giants over Yankees in the Series?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Cooperstown, Steroids and Bill James

Baseball stats entrepreneur Bill James, famous for his invention of new statistics and his ability to judge player ability based on those stats, has at long last commented on how steroids in baseball relates to the Hall of Fame. Read the four page .pdf file here. He believes that as we progress into the future, steroids will become a non-issue with respect to the Hall of Fame. He makes five basic arguments, in essence:

  1. Steroids essentially keep us young. Many people outside of sports are taking these, and most people in the future will be doing so as well as life-lengthening drugs evolve. With society using them, they will look back on our time and wonder what the fuss was all about. The steroids users of today will be looked at as pioneers of a better life.
  2. Some players who used steroids will make the Hall. Once these are discovered, an argument will arise to let the others in as well who were shunned.
  3. History is forgiving, and statistics endure. He uses arguments from other players' faults and how they are viewed over time.
  4. Old players play a large part in the Hall of Fame debate. They will not likely divide their ex-teammates into "users" and "non-users."
  5. For the longest time there were no baseball rules against steroids, if there were they weren't enforced, and with a majority of players using them, was it really "cheating"? How then could players be kept out? And a great quote: "With the passage of time, more people will come to understand that the commissioner’s periodic spasms of self-righteousness do not constitute baseball law."
I agree with his assessment and have held many of these sentiments for a while now. James doesn't say all of these things by moral conviction, necessarily, but by how the future will shape the argument as time passes.

In addition to what James contends about baseball's Hall of Fame, I think the same thing will occur with respect to the use of these types of drugs, whether by athletes or not, and the decriminalization of drugs will follow.

Another thing I think should be debated. If a majority of players were taking steroids, who had any advantage over who? Who had the advantage when Bonds went to bat against Clemens? If pitchers were using steroids to be better pitchers, why did offensive statistics increase during the "steroids era?" Could the statistical change be due to other factors? With the Manny Ramirez issue, it is clear that performance enhancing drugs are still widespread, especially the ones undetectable by currently enforced urine tests.

Give the article a read. I think James has enough influence on baseball that the debate will change as a result.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Rickey Number Thirty Nine?

With the Rickey Henderson Hall of Fame induction coming up this weekend, there's a great number of stories and amount of footage of his career. With Rickey going in as an A, the question had earlier been raised as to which uniform number he would wear. His first stint with the A's had him wear number 35. After returning from New York, he wanted number 24, his Yankee number, but Ron Hassey had it, so Rickey wore number 22. Hassey later gave up his number to Rickey. It has been concluded that Rickey would wear 24.

But this week I saw a video of Rickey's first major league at bat. He wore number 39. I never knew this. I also heard of another game where a laundry or uniform mixup led to his wearing a generic numbered uni (no name on the back) for one game. What that number would have been, I have no idea. So, Rickey has worn at least four numbers with the A's alone.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Baseball Cards - Poses vs. Action Shots

Long lost in the art of baseball card photos is the pose. As players got richer due to free agency back in the late 70's and 80's, the tendency to go along with scheduled photo shoots for baseball cards diminished. What once was a rarity and often given special attention in a card set - the action shot - became the norm. After all, what could be better than a shot of your favorite player taken while in action?

Well, I prefer the still photo, the pose. Some of the classic shots in baseball card history were because of the pose. I still remember this shot of Bob Oliver, first baseman for the Royals, from my childhood.

Recently, our four year old went with a friend to a Giants game. He bought a Topps Giants card set at the Dugout Store. While looking through the team set, I discovered Randy Johnson's 2009 card. His was the only one in the set that was a pose shot. It wasn't an action shot. I am truly glad to see this card. It will be valuable for me for a long time to come.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Micro Brewers

The Giants single A team in San Jose is called the Giants, after the parent club. The team is known as the "Little Giants." Well, if you apply this logic to the Brewers team, and Mrs. Scott did, a Brewers minor league team can be known as the "Micro Brewers." Good thinking, Mrs. Scott!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Giants Loss Projection Through July 15

July 1 through July 12 (All-Star break):

42-35, 74; 42-36, 75; 43-36, 74; 44-36, 73; 44-37, 74; 45-37, 73; 46-37, 72; 46-38, 73; 47-38, 72; 48-38, 72; 49-38, 71; 49-39, 72.

All-Star Break.

At the break, the Giants are on a pace to win 90 games. They just missed a 50-win first half. Not bad for a bunch of guys who can't hit.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bonds Available

I follow Barry Bonds' attorney on Twitter. He just tweeted an announcement that Barry is ready and will be available for tomorrow's All-Star Game.

Friday, July 10, 2009

No-Hitter Update

No sooner than I finish my last post about tonight's no-hitter, I turn around and watch the post-game show. Part of the TV coverage shows commentators talking about the game, and one of those interviewed is tonight's official scorekeeper. He is none other than an old bleacher bum friend of mine, David Feldman.

Congratulations David, on your scorekeeping!

No No-No, No-No, What Next?

Johnathan Sanchez throws a no-hitter! Well, it wasn't supposed to be tonight. It was supposed to be last night when Tim Lincecum pitched. Actually, I'm glad Lincecum didn't throw one last night, because I had a ticket but couldn't go. When I saw the no-hitter into the seventh, I was bummed. And, we have tickets for tomorrow when Matt Cain pitches.

Congratulations to Johnathan Sanchez and for his dad who saw his first game his kid started. Now, maybe Matt Cain can pitch one tomorrow night! The Giants really good pitching this year from a good rotation aside, the Padres look pretty anemic right now. Maybe their bats will stay quiet for one more day.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Bochy On Interleague DH Advantage

In a pre-game interview before a recent interleague game, Giants manager Bruce Bochy was asked which league's team had the advantage with the DH rule. To my surprise, he said that the AL team had the advantage, because they use a very good designated hitter that was signed for exactly that purpose and who is in the lineup every day. The NL team has to fit a bench player into the lineup.

I agree with him, and wrote about this a few years ago. I'm wondering if the conventional wisdom is either changing or has changed in baseball. I haven't heard an argument about the DH in quite a while and certainly haven't heard the "AL is penalized in the NL park by having a bat taken away, while the NL team gets to add a bat in the AL park" line of reasoning either. I hope the view of this is changing for the better.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Saturday Night Baseball

As long as I've watched baseball, a tradition existed that saw only three teams in baseball play more day games than night games. Those teams were the Cubs, Giants and A's. The Cubs were obvious because Wrigley Field had no lights for decades, then when they were installed, Friday night was the only usual night game scheduling.

The A's and Giants always played more day games because their traditions included exclusively day baseball on Saturday and day baseball on mid-week getaway games, usually Wednesday. Extra day games were usually sprinkled throughout the schedule on holidays or extra weekday games for whatever reason, including Opening Day for the Giants. Day baseball on Bay Area Saturdays is not too difficult to figure out. The weather is very cool at night, and beautiful during the day. Fridays have beer and the "it's the weekend, night-out" atmosphere to keep the crowd warm.

But the last couple of years, the A's and Giants have adopted Saturday night baseball as the norm with only a few day games. The main reason is because of the exclusive rights given to Fox for the game of the week slot. Now, the Giants are Bondsless and have sucked for four years, and the A's have sucked, too. Day games on Saturday are prohibited from being televised. They now need Saturday night telecasts for revenue. When the Giants were good and everybody wanted to watch Bonds, they were on Fox every Saturday afternoon.

I've attended a few Saturday night games and it is truly strange in several ways. First, the day. Saturday has always been a Bay Area staple of baseball. You wake up and go to the ballpark, and Saturday night is left for eating out, watching a movie, what have you. Now, the crowds at Saturday night games seem odd. It's like they don't know what to do. Their routine has been interrupted and are trying to figure out whether they are supposed to be like a rowdy Friday night crowd, or like a leisurely Saturday afternoon crowd trying to substitute something - anything - for the golden sunshine. I miss Saturday day games and wish they would make a comeback somehow.

Giants Loss Projection Through June 30

June 16 through June 30:

34-30, 76; 34-31, 77; 35-31, 76; 36-31, 75; 37-31, 74; 37-32, 75; 38-32, 74; 39-32, 73; 39-33, 74; 39-34, 75; 40-34, 74; 41-34, 73; 42-34, 72.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Cerveceros vs. Gigantes

It was Hispanic heritage night in Milwaukee tonight. The Brewers celebrated in part by translating "Brewers" on their uniforms into Spanish. "Cerveceros" was the result. The Giants joined them by wearing their "Gigantes" uni's. I've never seen the Gigantes on the road threads. I guess the usual "San Francisco" wasn't Spanish enough. Either way, it makes for an interesting marketing scheme for jersey collectors. I wonder what the Padres would wear on Hispanic heritage night.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Saltalamacchia: Longest Name Ever

Friday night's Giants game vs. the Texas Rangers I saw Rangers catcher Jerrod Saltalamacchia play. He has the distinction of having the longest last name in baseball history at 14 letters. The name on the back of his jersey starts at mid back on the left and curls all the way around his shoulders and ends at mid back on the right. It looks very strange indeed. The old record of 13 was shared by a number of players, namely Todd Hollandsworth and William Van Landingham, two players I saw play for several years.

Apparently there is a kid in the minors at AAA who originally had a 13 letter name (from his father), but upon his parents' divorce he took his mother's 16 letter name as his own. If he's called up and he plays, he'll have the new record. I just love baseball trivia.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Barry Zito Is The New Matt Cain

Okay, so Barry Zito got lit up last night. But he's had a dramatic improvement this year. Especially earlier in the season, he had some very good outings. His record doesn't show his improvement, though. As of his last start, thanks to the Giants anemic offense, he has the worst run support of any starting pitcher in baseball. Wow, that's exactly what happened to Matt Cain the last several years.

And Matt Cain? A dramatic improvement in offense while Cain is on the bump, he's one of the front runners for the Cy Young award. And like Pitt and Jolie, the new term in town for the starting two is "Lincecain."

Monday, June 15, 2009

Giants Loss Projection Through June 15

June 2 through June 15:

25-25, 81; 26-25, 79; 27-25, 78; 28-25, 76; 28-26, 78; 29-26, 77; 29-27, 78; 30-27, 77; 31-27, 75; 31-28, 77; 32-28, 76; 33-28, 74; 34-28, 73; 34-29, 75.

Wow, .500 or above for an entire half month!

Playoff Bound?

Okay, it's only mid-June, but if the season ended today, the Giants would make the playoffs! Yes, it's early and the Giants have had their share of struggling, but they've also had some great pitching that has helped greatly with some important win streaks.

Still, though, the Giants need a couple of big bats. Will Sabean work a deal before the trade deadline? Will it help them? I know that they'll probably have some more offense-inflicted losing streaks this year. Maybe it will come down to which team has winning streaks at the right time. I just hope it's the Giants.

There's still hope of a World Series victory this year. I'm not holding my breath, but if happens, I'll take it.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Cast and Crew: Dan's Family

There's a very colorful family that has season tickets in the row behind us at the Giants games. We've known them for ten years now, and they are great people to have sitting close by at a game. Dan and his wife, Monique, with their two kids Jeremiah and Madison. When we first met them, Madison and Jeremiah were just on the threshold of their teens. Now they're grown up and out of the house, living their own lives.

They are very receptive of our small children when they're with us at the game. They joke all the time and are all outgoing. Dan has a tradition of wadding up a hot dog wrapper or paper bag and tossing it across the aisle and down a few rows, trying to make it into somebody's cup hanging in the cup holder for two points. And although Dan is a few years older than me, with his glove and the aisle seat he's twice the ball hound I am. Any fly ball down the line and he's off to the third row waiting for the hop. He's a salesman and he never misses finding a strange group of people to buy their tickets if they can't go. Half the fun when they're not there is trying to figure out the story of how they got the tickets.

Monique is hilarious and will talk about anything whatsoever. She wears her opinion on her sleeve, but even if it's offensive in some way, it's guaranteed to be funny. Jeremiah is very vocal and into the game. Then when his parents aren't there, it's really a scream. He follows the Giants fiercely and posts their follies on Facebook. Recently he took the road trip to see them in Seattle. Madison has been away at school the past few years, so we haven't seen her as much, but the school stories about her friends are always entertaining.

Dan's family. Funny. Sarcastic. Giants fans.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Rain, Rain, Rain

The Giants had a total of 9 hours, 22 minutes worth of rain delays in a five game period this road trip. Washington and Miami were storm prone. It must be difficult for the announcers to come back on air every ten minutes to say it's still raining. And the crowd sizes have been puny. The total attendance in two series must have been less than either stadium holds if sold out.

But, I love small crowd games kept away by threat of rain. Not the rain itself.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Congratulations Randy Johnson

He did it. 300 wins. This is a great achievement, not likely to occur again any time soon. I got to watch part of it on TV and hear the rest of it on the radio. Nail biter when Wilson tried to get out of the 8th inning jam.

Now go out and win another World Series, Randy!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Rainout = Double Header

Tonight the Giants were rained out in Washington so Randy Johnson will try for his 300th career victory as part of a double header tomorrow. I love how baseball takes raining on the parade and turns it into something beautiful. Let's see football play two.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Those Timid Cardinals Fans

Mrs. Scott and I went to Saturday night's Giants/Cardinals game at AT&T Park. There were many Cards fans in attendance, and as usual, they dress in red. They are one of the NL teams that draw larger numbers of visiting fans (the Dodgers, Mets, Cardinals and Cubs lead the pack, with the Braves lagging behind a bit. The Red Sox, Yankees and A's lead the AL with honorable mention to the Tigers fans). With the red color, they are quite simply the most visible of the bunch.

Yet, they are the most timid in rooting for their team. They know their baseball like no other fans, yet don't really offer cheers, but applause when their team does well. The several instances where a group started with a "Let's go Cardinals" chant quickly resulted in protective Giants fans drowning out their chants with editing of their own. This not merely masked the cheers, but stopped them cold. Mets or Dodger fans wouldn't have let the Giants fans interfere.

In talking with the people behind us, we decided that if all those Cards fans were Mets fans with their typical bravado we would have known it an hour before the game even started. I'm not sure if it is the Midwestern demeanor, but they are an interesting breed. I'd like to watch the Giants play in St. Louis to see how many Giants fans would show and how they behaved themselves.

Giants Loss Projection Through May 31

May 16 through May 31:

18-18, 81; 19-18, 79; 19-19, 81; 19-20, 83; 19-21, 85; 19-22, 87; 20-22, 85; 20-23, 87; 21-23, 85; 22-23, 83; 23-23, 81; 24-23, 79; 24-24, 81; 25-24, 79.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Another Double Header the Hard Way

I enjoyed another "double header the hard way" yesterday, two games in one day, but in two different parks. The A's lost to Seattle 6-1 in a day game in Oakland, while the Giants beat Atlanta 6-3 in the night cap in San Francisco. A whole lotta baseball for one day.

In Oakland it was book reading club day, so 20,000 kids were there making quite a bit of noise. And I went to the game to take a break from mine! Ichiro got three hits and an intentional walk. It was dollar dog day (Wednesdays), a good value even though they are small. Ten dog limit.

In San Francisco, Randy Johnson struck Chipper Jones out three times, while the Giants showed what little bit of offense they've been able to muster this year.

Dressing appropriately without carrying a huge bag wasn't quite possible, so I was a bit warm for game one, and froze during game two.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Five Run Extremes

Last week the Giants had a streak of not scoring. Between the Padres series and the first two Mariner games, they scored five runs. Five runs in almost a week. Then in the late innings of the second Mariner game, they scored five runs in two batters. If you don't score, you don't win.

The Padres series was especially depressing. The Giants pitching staff, over four games, let up only five runs in 39 innings. The starters pitched 1) a shutout, 2) a two-hitter, 3) Lincecum's mowing down of the Padres with 11 strikeouts, 4) Johnson allowing no runs in his start. Their ERA fell off a cliff. Yet they were swept by the Pads and lost the first Mariner game.

This Giants offense is pathetic. Not quite like 1985, when in August they were on a pace to become the worst offense in baseball history, but pretty bad.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Missed Ballparks

Since attending my first other ballpark in 1985, I've missed a number of them who have been torn down. Here's a list: [update: I was so tired when I wrote this, I missed a few. There are twelve in total.]

Exhibition Stadium, Toronto; Memorial Stadium, Baltimore; Municipal Stadium, Cleveland; Arlington Stadium, Texas; Fulton County Stadium, Atlanta; Tiger Stadium, Detroit; Astrodome, Houston; Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Riverfront Stadium, Cincinnati; Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia; RFK Stadium, Washington D.C.; Shea Stadium, New York. Unless I go to Minneapolis this year, I will add the Metrodome to the list to make thirteen.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Giants Loss Projection Through May 15

May 1 through May 15:

11-10, 77; 11-11, 81; 12-11, 77; 12-12, 81; 13-12, 78; 13-13, 81; 14-13, 78; 15-13, 75; 15-14, 78; 16-14, 76; 17-14, 73; 18-14, 71; 18-15, 74; 18-16, 76; 18-17, 79.

The Giants climbed up to four games above .500, which would project out to a 91-71 record, possibly enough to make the playoffs, but fell off again. A .500 season this year would be a major improvement and would give me hope for a contending team within the next few years if they play their cards right.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Birds

Alfred Hitchcock's eerie movie The Birds comes to mind at the end of Giants games. As soon as the crowd leaves at the end of the game, thousands of seagulls invade the stands for leftover food. Especially in the bleachers. Tonight Mrs. Scott went to the game vs. Washington, but the crowd was so small that the gulls came in early to engage in a holding pattern. So many birds crossed the path of the center field camera it was hard to tell what was happening to the video. Nora remarked that they were happy that Randy Johnson was already out of the game.

Friday, May 8, 2009


Everything the Dodgers have done since last August is now TAINTED!

Their playoff run, and victory over the Cubs; TAINTED!
Their signing of Manny this year; TAINTED!
Their all time winning record at home this year; TAINTED!
Their position in first place; TAINTED!

All their victories this year should be forfeited and they should be in last place. The Giants are in LA starting tonight. I can't be there, but I wish I were. I hope thousands of Giants fans show up and torch the place with chanting, heckling and making a scene. Slam it in their faces. We remember the Bonds era, so the Dodger fans should be forced to remember the Manny era.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Manny's Stick Turns Dodger Blue

Manny had a test. The stick turned blue. Dodger blue.

You know what would be an interesting suspension? Allowing the Giants to pick which 50 games Manny gets to sit out.

After all the Bonds hoopla, let's see how many Dodger fans treat Manny the same way.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

World Series Winners Since Giants

Over the 54 years since the Giants last won a World Series, 19 different teams have won it. Fifteen of those 19 teams have won multiple Series, which includes 6 expansion teams. Here are the totals:

Yankees (10)
Dodgers (6)
Cardinals (4)
A's (4)
Pirates (3)
Orioles (3)
Reds (3)
Braves (2)
Tigers (2)
Mets (2)
Phillies (2)
Twins (2)
Marlins (2)
Blue Jays (2)
Red Sox (2)
Royals (1)
Diamondbacks (1)
Angels (1)
White Sox (1)

Get that? Even the LOWLY Pittsburgh Pirates have won three Series since the Giants last did. The expansion Marlins and Blue Jays have even won two. Arrrrrrgh!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Giants Loss Projection Through April 30

April 16 through April 29:

2-7, 126; 3-7, 113; 3-8, 118; 4-8, 108; 5-8, 100; 6-8, 93; 7-8, 86; 8-8, 81; 8-9, 86; 9-9, 81; 9-10, 85; 10-10, 81.

Note: The Giants actually reached .500 late in April. I'm still going to call this a loss projection until they have a winning season.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Wet Win

Last night, Mrs. Scott and I had a date night at the Giants game. We had our usual box seats, but got free passes to the club level. So we ate there, getting a greater selection of food and condiments. It rained, and there were only a few thousand at most for the start of the game. Our train coming in has less than a dozen people on it as opposed to the usual hundreds. The seats were wet, but it was not a very cold rain. More misty in nature. The kind where you can feel the water evaporate and the extra humidity takes the chill off, strangely enough.

The Big Unit struck out the first five batters of the game, and took a no-hitter into the fourth inning. There were so few people, except in our row, that we decided to move back a couple of rows and spread out. The bullpen struggled to hold a win for Johnson, and Wilson had to pitch a two inning save, basically. Enough of that! The Rockies bullpen took their share of verbal abuse from the Friday night crowd, the Giants won, and the train ride home was peaceful.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Giants Smack Bums

In a cold and windy night game, the Giants smacked the Dodgers around. Tim Lincecum pitched a good game and the Giants bats came alive. Plenty of vocal interaction between the fans of the two teams occurred. Fights in the bleachers. We also heckled the Dodger bullpen mercilessly. Just another night at the ballyard between these two rivals. A Friday night game would have made it more fierce.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Rivalry Continues

After splitting the first two, the Giants and Dodgers take up the rubber match Wednesday night, and I have a ticket. Heckling the Dodger pitchers will be a priority. It's my first game with Mike this year. It is especially fun to have tickets behind the bullpen when the Bums are here.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Roof Was Open!

For one of the few times since the Phoenix ballpark was built did I see a game on TV with the roof open. I saw the Giants on the field in the sunshine. I forgot momentarily that they were playing the Diamondbacks. It wasn't 115 degrees, I guess. We saw one game there in 2001 against the Giants. After the game, they didn't open the roof, which is as I understand is a fan favorite in Arizona. Yep, sit after the game and watch it open. With the roof closed so often, I wonder how they get the grass to grow.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Year 55

On Facebook, one can become a fan of a favorite sports team and read the comments of other fans. Last week while the Giants were in the toilet, fans were ripping the team for their inept play and inferior players. One young fan, too young to appreciate the long suffering of hard core fans, protested the early season pessimism by replying, "Hey, it's only week two!"

I couldn't resist. I replied, "No, it's year 55."

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Zito Lays Goose Egg

Bary Zito tosses a shutout? Okay, he didn't pitch all 10 innings, but he did give up no runs. Yes, the Padres were the opponents, but does it matter? Zeets is back! Another Cy Young award this year?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sweltering San Francisco Day

Yesterday was a hot day for a ballgame in San Francisco. Randy Johnson's one-hitter. Just last week we were dealing with several days of high winds, with rain, hail, sleet and snow mixed in. Then to have a day in the upper 80's thrust into the mix in mid-April is a rarity here that made the day more unseasonably hot. Today was in the upper 90's.

Our seats were blistering in the sun as we sat down. Neither me nor my son could sit. I had to sit on my glove to avoid being scorched, as the seat cooled down. We switched seats and did it over again. A San Francisco baseball sun inversion took place. Usually, it's cold and windy here, so the crowd is marked by the shadow line. People are in the sun, and the shade seats are empty. Sunday was the reverse. Families with babies were retreating into the shade under the Coke bottle for relief. Okay, time to pray for summer fog.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Yet Again Another Non-No-Hitter

Today, I took our oldest son to the Giants game vs. Arizona. Randy Johnson was pitching for the G-men. The Big Unit took a no-hitter into the 7th inning before giving up a hit, the D-Backs' only of the game. I think I doomed myself to failure, as I called Mrs. Scott after the top of the sixth to make sure she had the TV on. I've never seen a no-hitter, but have come close on a number of occasions. Johnson is one of those pitchers where you know that he's able to do it if he's on.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

42 Nobodies

Yesterday was the anniversary of Jackie Robinson's breaking into the major leagues. To honor this achievement, every player in the major leagues wore Robinson's uniform number 42. But the Giants and Dodgers played each other, so it was difficult for the fan watching. These two teams are among only a small handful of teams (Giants, Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox - did I miss any?) that don't have players' names on the back of their jerseys.

Every player on both teams was 42 with no name. "Scorecards! Get your scorecards. You can't tell the players without a scorecard!"

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Giants Loss Projection Through April 15

I'm doing a Giants loss projection like I did last year since the Giants are a losing team. For each game played in this half of the month, I will list their record in white, followed by the projected loss total over 162 games in orange. Same format will follow the rest of the year.

1-0, 0; 1-1, 81; 2-1, 54; 2-2, 81; 2-3, 97; 2-4, 108; 2-5, 116; 2-6, 122.

The Giants are off to a woeful start, and with 122 losses projected, they are on a pace to be the worst team in all of baseball history.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Still The Same?

A week into the season, and the Giants are 2-5 having lost four games in a row. Only four teams - Milwaukee, Houston, Cleveland and Washington - have worse records. Uhhm, I know it's very early in the season, but if I could point out that this is kind of where the Giants left off the last four years. Yea.

On the other hand, several teams that shouldn't be are off to a great start. San Diego, Florida, Seattle, Kansas City, Baltimore and Toronto are at the tops of their divisions.

Remembering Mark Fydrich

Two in one day. What a bummer. I remember Mark Fydrich on TV when I was a boy. His crazy antics won a nation of fans. I wish he could have pitched longer in his career.

Remembering Harry Kalas

I was saddened about mid-day today at the hearing of Harry Kalas's passing. He was a true voice, not only of the Phillies, but of baseball's history. I loved his deep baritone voice, the long drawn out way he would call the game - even it's exciting points - as a reflection of yesteryear's leisurely, pastoral pace of the game.

Philly fans will surely miss him.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Fan Participation Day

My childhood dream of playing in the majors ended in my late teens. One thing was sure. I would be a fan for life. But missing out on playing I was dedicated to still being an active part of the game. I committed myself to the game action by being an ardent taunter and heckler of the opposing teams. My 29th consecutive year of heckling action is starting this month.

During all these years, I've maintained a fortunate position of having seats in either the first, seventh or ninth row from the field. Twenty nine years of being within easy earshot of opposing players, whether directly behind the left fielder in the front row of the bleachers, whether seven rows behind home plate to heckle the batter or on deck hitter (dare I add umpire?), or nine rows behind the visitor's bullpen mound, have been a great joy.

I'm especially looking forward to the first Dodger series later this month when I'll be there with my long time friend Mike where we'll be able to heckle those hated rival Dodger pitchers. With me, every game is Fan Participation Day and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Remembering Nick Adenhart

I don't remember the Angels' Nick Adenhart apart from watching him pitch to maybe a batter or so the other night. I had the A's/Angels game on the TV in one room, then I heard about his death early the next morning. What a tragedy. I recall my own wife and oldest son being t-boned in an intersection by somebody who ran a red light. This occurred about four or five years ago. They were far more fortunate.

I hope the Angels are able to make it through this tough time. I'm sure the fans who attended that game are pretty freaked out, too. Sympathy to his family.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

All Alone In First Place

After one game, the Giants are all alone in first place with a record of 1-0. The Rockies are in 2nd with a 2-1 record. Wire to wire? Last time that happened, the 2003 Giants failed miserably in the playoffs against the Florida Marlins.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Baseball Is Back!

Opening Day is here! Except it's raining. Only 32 rainouts in SF Giants history so far. Will today be another? More later...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Opening Day Is Next Week!

This off-season is flying by at a fast clip. Not only have I not been able to keep up with all the spring training happenings, I just realized that Opening Day is next week! Exhibition games start this week, as the Bay Area teams travel home from Arizona's Cactus League play. Man, time flies.

I'm sure the Giants won't go 162-0 this year, so I'm hoping for 161-0 with a rainout maybe. Of course, that won't mean anything unless they win the World Series. I don't care if they win the West playing under .500, just as long as they win the World Series.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

World Baseball Classic

There was much discussion on radio about team USA's loss to Japan in the WBC. Our fans don't take this tournament seriously, and all the other countries do. Many people wonder why and give strange ideas for why we don't. Well, there's a very simple reason why our country doesn't take things like this seriously.

All the other countries have something to prove. If Japan or Cuba or Korea or the Dominican Republic win, they can boast of something great. If the USA wins, great, but it still won't matter. It's because we don't have anything to prove. We already have the greatest baseball spectacle the world has ever known. We have Major League Baseball, none of the other countries do (apologies to Toronto). From spring training through the World Series for more than 100 years, nothing else compares.

Combine every other baseball league, tournament, you name it, and our MLB season and history outshadow them. Where do all the best players around the world want to play, many Cubans included? Our majors. Where do all the best American players want to play? Our own majors. The World Baseball Classic will never produce entire careers of Babe Ruth, Willie Mays and Joe DiMaggio.

Our baseball history is our nation's history. Which is greater: Ty Cobb sliding into second, Ruth hitting a towering blast, the Black Sox scandal, Jackie Robinson, The Shot Heard Round The World, Willie Mickey and the Duke, Bob Gibson, the mustachioed A's, Reggie, the Rocket, Barry, Wrigley & Fenway? -OR- some no-name players winning a two week elimination tournament? The answer is obvious.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Greatest Game Ever Pitched?

On July 2, 1963, what was probably the greatest game ever pitched took place at San Francisco's Candlestick Park. Future Hall of Famers Warren Spahn and Juan Marichal dueled to a 1-0, 16 inning decision, each pitcher going the distance. The game's lone run came in the bottom of the 16th, when future Hall of Famer Willie Mays homered off Spahn to end it.

Just to add some more future Hall of Famers to the mix, the Braves slugging teammates Hank Aaron and Eddie Matthews opposed the Giants Mays, Willie McCovey and Orlando Cepeda. This game is surely in my top ten woulda-coulda wishlist. See the box score here.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tickets Have Arrived

I received my season tickets today from the FedEX driver. Bless you. It's always exciting to open the box and find out what they look like this year. Maybe I'll post a scan soon.

The Giants have their season tickets printed in book format, with sheets of tickets. Each sheet has usually five or six tickets, perforated between them, and perforated at the book binding. Tearing each ticket out and dividing them up between all the buyers is a very time consuming task. The sheets must be bent at the book binding, back and forth to weaken the perforation before tearing. Then each sheet must be folded up like a road map, first in one direction, then in the other, again to weaken the perforation. If you don't, the tickets will tear. One year I let a buyer do all the ticket logistical work, making a distribution spreadsheet, tearing out, passing around, etc. He swore never to do that again. I'll be sitting down to separate tickets here soon.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

2009 Giants Loss Projection?

Last season, I posted regular projections (I settled into twice monthly, posted on the 15th and 30th of each month) of how many losses the Giants would total for 2008. I simply took their winning percentage each day of the season and multiplied by 162. Some people might think this is one of those "you've got waaaaay too much time on your hands" type of thing. Not so. It took about 30 seconds to create a simple formula using MS Excel.

I'm not as concerned about the Giants losing 100 games this year as I was last year. I'm not expecting them to win their division, but a .500 season would be a massive improvement. A .500 season isn't completely out of the question, and in this division, that might just win it. Just between you and me, I'd love to do a Giants Win Projection series, but I'll keep to a loss projection until the season after they break .500 again.

Just off the top of my head, I think the Giants will go 77-85 this year, a .475 winning percentage. I don't think that will win the World Series. Winning the World Series is something the Giants desperately need to do, and within the next three years. We're looooong past patience.