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.