Saturday, January 31, 2009

2002 World Series Highlights

MLB Network shows highlights from various World Series. Since the Giants lost the '02 Series to the Orange County Angles of Disneyland, I have avoided all watching of highlights from that Series. I recorded all seven games, yet haven't put one on. It's just too painful to watch.

Tonight I watched the highlight show from 2002. I sucked it up and watched. Still painful. I remember watching games 6 and 7 with Mrs. Scott form Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco, a downtown park, with about 10,000 other people. They hoisted a crane up with a monster big screen TV. The train ride home was very quiet.

I'll have to write about this topic some other time...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Zito Should Sign Manny

During my kid's pee-wee tryouts, another dad, named Will, had a great idea. He thought Barry Zito should sign Manny Ramirez. With all the cries that Zito should give back some of his salary, he should put it toward Manny. It would help his own run support, and gain him more victories, which will in turn help his future contract negotiations. What a win-win situation.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Long Lost Ballpark Visits

With a new Yankee Stadium, the number of ballparks I've visited that are no longer in use has grown to nine. Those nine are: Candlestick Park, Jack Murphy Stadium, Kingdome, County Stadium, Old Comiskey Park, Yankee Stadium, Olympic Stadium, Old Busch Stadium and Mile High Stadium. Each ballpark has great memories for me, even if the park itself was terrible.

Equally in the negative, the ballparks I never made it to that are no longer in use kind of bothers me. I should have gone to some of these: Exhibition Stadium (Toronto), Memorial Stadium (Baltimore), Municipal Stadium (Cleveland), Arlington Stadium, Atlanta Fulton County Stadium, Tiger Stadium, Astrodome, Three Rivers Stadium, Riverfront Stadium, Veterans Stadium, RFK Stadium, Shea Stadium. The Metrodome will be added to this list next year unless I get a trip to Minnesota somehow. Detroit and Cleveland are the biggest bummers for me.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Pee-Wee Tryouts

Our three year old turns four next week. He's trying out for Junior Optimist pee-wee's. Today was the tryout. Pee-wee's are five and six year olds, with four year olds allowed if they can play well enough. They have to be four by a certain date to play, which is after tryouts. So at three, he's in the same grouping as some six year olds. He hit some balls (coaches pitch to their own teams in pee-wee), shagged some grounders, caught balls thrown to them, and threw balls to somebody else.

Trying to be as unbiased as possible, Mrs. Scott and I think he did as well as the average kid. He's small, so he doesn't have the strength as the older kids, as some hit the ball much farther. He had a lot of fun because he loves baseball. Some of the kids that play aren't interested much or play at the insistence of parents.

It's been raining for several days, so it was extremely muddy. Our shoes are caked with a mixture of mucky clay, pea gravel and tan bark. Everybody was about two inches taller because of the mud. It wasn't raining at the tryout, which was good. There was some great baseball conversation amongst some of the dads. We'll know next weekend how the draft went.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Jeff Kent Retires

Today, Jeff Kent announced his retirement. All the talk revolved around whether he would make the Hall of Fame on the first ballot or not. He had 17 good years in the majors, and some great ones, especially with the Giants. I got to see all of those first hand.

As a player goes, I'm on the fence as to whether he belongs in the Hall of Fame. But when compared to other second basemen, he places quite high on the list of great players. It's more than likely that he'll get in on his batting, as his glove wasn't quite Hall caliber. Either way, it was great to watch him play, and I won't argue if he makes the Hall of Fame.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Updated Resume

I've updated my baseball resume, and if you click here or at the margin at right, the resume will pop up. The big changes are that this is my 25th year as a Giants season ticket holder, despite being only 44 years old, and Yankee Stadium is a park I've attended that is no longer in use because a new one is being built.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Stupor Bowl

Okay, one of my few posts on football during the calendar year. The Superbowl teams are set, after two fairly exciting championship games. The winner gets a week off after the Superbowl, and the ProBowl essentially marks the final countdown to pitchers and catchers reporting. We're almost there.

The smashmouth brutality and punishing carnage in the trenches that made up the AFC championship game was so very welcome. I like good, physical football with relatively lower scores, where scoring points has to be earned. The high scoring games that are decided by who just happens to have the ball when the clock runs out are boring.

I will enjoy the Superbowl game, and hope the Cardinals win. I'm not a big fan of the commercials, although I do like a good one. I will become violently ill to my stomach if I watch the halftime show. This year, though, Bruce Springsteen should be a big improvement over the usual gag reflex pop star lipsinc trashing of the dictionary's definition of music, even though he can't sing very well. Maybe next decade the Raiders can climb back to the top.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Manny and Paris

Okay, I've questioned whether the Giants should sign Manny Ramirez. I've since come to the conclusion that they should. It will help the team, and the money spent isn't mine anyway. Heck, the more money the Giants spend that's not mine to win the World Series, the better.

But now that Paris Hilton is dating Barry Zito, Manny in San Francisco is a must. Who could pass up an opportunity to be on TV every day? Hilton could be the catalyst in a tag team media magnet with Manny that Bonds could never approach.

Some might object that such a woman might be a distraction to Zito. Yeah, the argument has been made about Tiger's golf game when he found a woman. But like Casey Stengel once said, "staying up all night with a woman never hurt no ballplayer; it's staying up all night looking for one that does him in." With Zito's record in his first two years of his contract, Hilton can only stand to improve upon it. We need both Paris Hilton and Manny Ramirez. We might get a Series trophy. We need one of those.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

MLB Network!

A cool new channel suddenly appeared on our TV cable. The MLB Network. Baseball 24/7. So far, pretty impressive. Shows counting down the top 9 'x' of all time. (There are 9 innings in a game and 9 players on the field.) Top 9 pitching seasons of all time, top 9 characters who have been part of the game. Also, a look back at the 1986 season, and a replay of the 2007 All-Star home run derby.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Congratulations Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice

Congratulations to Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice for being elected to the Hall of Fame. Today was a day of great personal fulfillment for me. I saw both careers in their entirety. When I was a kid, I saw Mays, Aaron and McCovey make the Hall of Fame. I knew these players were great, but I only remember the very ends of their careers. They all started playing before I was born. Then there were players like George Brett and Mike Schmidt. I was a kid when they started playing, so I was aware of their entire careers, but I couldn't appreciate the first part because I wasn't a regular fan at the ballpark to see them.

Rice came just a few years later, but I was aware enough of his whole career. I saw Rickey Henderson's entire career. I sat in the front row of the left field bleachers in Oakland behind him so many times I couldn't count. He was right in front of me. When the Red Sox came to Oakland, I sat right behind Rice. I heckled him to no avail. He was the only visiting left fielder ever to have enough respect that fans didn't heckle him. I tried, and nobody laughed. The best somebody could do was to say, "Hey, Rice, you're a Chinese side dish!" He turned and shrugged his shoulders as if to say, "How lame was that?"

I've seen Rice as an on-the-fence Hall of Famer, but Henderson was a true HOF'er anyway you look at it. One question, though. He received 511 of 539 votes. What in the flying flip were the other 28 sports writers thinking? I just don't get that. They shouldn't be allowed to vote if they get this one wrong. Thank you Rickey and Jimbo for all the great memories. You are appreciated.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

My First Ballpark Road Trip (7) - Ticket Stubs

Read entire series here.

These are the ticket stubs from my first ballpark road trip in August, 1985. Notice the "Swinging A's" logo on the Angels ticket at the right, and Mike Davis' autograph on the first ticket. The first two tickets were bought from Ticketron and Teleseat, and have no baseball design to them like the third. This played a big part in future tickets that I bought. If I could get an "official" ticket direct from the team, I always did. Heck, the first ticket looks no different than a Santana concert in Berkeley. Okay, call me a ticket stub connoisseur. I'm VERY picky about my ticket stubs.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

My First Ballpark Road Trip (6)

Read entire series here.

After the Sunday doubleheader was over, I headed back to claim my motel room and take a real shower. A friend from my summer job was going to be on vacation in San Diego with his wife. He wanted me to join them at a comedy club that night in La Jolla, just a short drive away. I showed up and they didn't. I found out later that his wife had a bad case of food poisoning. Well, hungry I left for a restaurant. I couldn't find a good one open that late. I settled for a Taco Bell. Now, a Taco Bell in La Jolla was quite an experience. The parking lot was filled with Mercedes and BMW's. I had a yellow Camaro.

The next day I toured the beaches in San Diego, the same place where I took a shower the day before, and found some great places in Mission Beach. I fell in love with San Diego. I didn't plan it originally, but I decided to drive back up to Anaheim that evening to watch the Angels and A's. Anaheim and SD are only about 85 miles apart, barely an hour and a half drive. I bought a ticket at the park. I don't remember much of the game, but I just happened sit next to two sailors (or were they marines?) that lived only a few blocks away from me back home, and who had seen me in the bleachers in Oakland. They drove up from San Diego, just like me. Small world. I found out the following year that a cousin of mine was also at that game and had seen me.

After the game, the sailors wanted to go out, so I joined them. We went to a dive bar in Anaheim, and I played video games. Yawn. They really liked baseball and were going to go to the game the next night against the Yankees, so we arranged for them to pick me up at my motel and drive to Anaheim. They never showed, but I ran into them in the bleachers restroom in Oakland the following spring. Okay, so instead of going to Anaheim, I went out on the town to a hot club I heard about from friends back home. All in all I was there two more days before returning home. My battery also died while I was there, and had to bum jumper cables, then bought some. To me, a battery was just too big an expense for a 21 year old on vacation. I spent the other two days in San Diego, checking out beaches and clubs and Mexican food joints. Box scores for Monday's game in Anaheim.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Giambi To A's?

Jason Giambi back to the A's? Okay, bring them up, let them go sign for the big bucks elsewhere, then take them back at the end of their careers. Hope this doesn't keep as a pattern.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Rickey Henderson - First Ballot Hall of Famer

Rickey Henderson is a first ballot, unanimous Hall of Famer. He better be, and any sports writer who doesn't vote for him is a numb skull or an antisocial psychopath.

When I think of a Hall of Famer, I think of somebody who is instantly recognized as one. There is no doubt. A Hall of Famer is a player who changes the way the game is played simply by setting foot on the field. He strikes fear into the other team. He causes the players on the other team to bring extra pairs of clean underwear to the park.

Here's a logical progression: getting on base, stealing, and scoring a run. Rickey Henderson was at one time the all time walks leader. He was the all time stolen base leader. He was also the all time runs scored leader. So the obvious solution to this problem so far is to under no circumstances walk Rickey. But that solution doesn't help at all when you consider that he's also the all time record holder in lead-off home runs. When the opposing pitcher wakes up in the morning, he knows the first batter he will face is Rickey Henderson. Once Rickey finally takes a seat on the bench after his at bat, there is a higher likelihood for him than the 15-20,000 other players who have ever played the game that the score will be 1-0. You wake up knowing you can't pitch to him, and you can't pitch around him. There's nothing you can do. Your only hope is the possibility that the rest of Rickey's team has such a bad day as to make up for him.

I had the distinct privilege as a fan to witness a major portion of his career from the front row of the left field bleachers in Oakland. I personally witnessed the Chicken Stanley incident, talked to him from the bleachers at Yankee Stadium, and witnessed the final play of the World Series that got him a ring. Rickey Henderson is a Hall of Famer. Period.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Manny In San Franny?

Who am I?

I play left field. Well, I stand out there anyway, and try to play left field. I'm the greatest power hitter from my side of the plate in our generation. I hit many home runs. I change the way the game is played just by stepping onto the field. My personality is greatly misunderstood by the media. I am a cancer in the clubhouse. I make the most incredible statements to the media. I am a one-man three ring circus, being the center of attention all the time. I am aging and people aren't quite sure how much I have left to give. Who am I?

There are two answers to this question. The first answer was ours for 15 years. The second answer might be ours for another four. Let's see, that would be 18 out of 19 years with this answer. Been there. Done that. Do we want to go there again? What was so bad about 2008 again?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year Means Pitchers and Catchers Report Next Month

Yes, we're just a few minutes into January, but that means pitchers and catchers report next month. That first radio broadcast does wonders for the mind, even if it is a meaningless practice between players who only play a few innings. Just the sound of the announcers makes merry. Doing wind sprints on the warning track has its place in life, just like the tiny buds on the ends of branches.