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.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ticket Draft

This last weekend, our friends and we had our ticket draft for my Giants season tickets. There are a number of players involved overall, and things are complicated, but we get together for a few hours and draft games from the schedule, over snacks and beers/sodas. We draft in order/reverse order fashion and try to accommodate those with special needs. I've developed a color coded spreadsheet for tracking every game and everybody's tickets. Great fun. Now it's time for the season to start. Tickets will be delivered next week. It's always fun to tear out all the tickets and divide them up. Well, actually that's a lot of hard work, and not for the feeble minded.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Manny Ends With Fizzle

The Giants blew an opportunity to help themselves out in the NL West in failing to do what they could to get Manny Ramirez. The Dodgers even withdrew their final offer. I became a "get Manny" fan a while back. I'm just not sure what the reorganized ownership group is up to these days.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Pee Wee Backstop

Our four year old had his first practice game with the pee wee Red Sox team. Minutes before taking the field, the coach announced that he would be playing catcher. "Oh, boy! Catcher!" He has a strong fondness for catchers, even at four years old, so putting the gear on was a true joy for him. He played well for half the game. Because he's so small, the gear was huge on him. The shin guards came up to mid-thigh, and the chest protector came down to his knees. No problem, though.

The coaches pitch to their own team in pee wee league. What I didn't notice until after a while was that he was putting his fingers down between his thighs and giving signals to the pitcher. Amazing.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Fan Fest Absentee Photos

As in most years of my life, I missed Giants Fan Fest this year, too. But vicariously, and unbeknownst to her, I will link to my friend Shelly's blog so you can see pictures of what I missed. See them here. Good pix, Shelly!