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?