Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Best Retro Uni Night Ever

Last night, probably the best ever turn-back-the-clock night for uniforms took place. Yes, it was 70's retro uniform night at a certain game. Of course, when a baseball fan thinks of the wildest uni's of the 70's, it is immediately clear that such an event could only happen in an interleague contest. And the "best" 70's uniforms in all of baseball were worn by none other than the Oakland A's and the Pittsburgh Pirates. It was also 1970's Joe Rudi replica jersey night in Oakland.

The A's wore their California Gold double-knit polyester pajama pullovers with their gold pants and green stirrup socks, with Kelly green hats and yellow bills. Also typical of the 70's A's, the coaches and managers wore the white hats with the green bills. The official uniform colors used to be "Kelly green, California gold and wedding gown white." The "Swingin' A's" logo was also used. The Pirates wore their black pajama pullover tops, black pants, gold stirrups and those (n)ever classic "cylinder" gold top hats with the three pinstripes. It was pure disco. To compound the look, all the announcers, TV crews, stadium personnel and the like wore afros, "porn star" mustaches and/or comb-around hair-do's. They brought back total homer A's announcer Monty Moore who even brought a cow bell to ring when the A's hit a dinger. The announcers had old fashioned microphones with the giant foam ball pop protectors, and creme-gold type sport coats with wide lapels and the rounded lowercase font "csn" (Comcast Sports Net) letters, reminiscent of the 70's ABC's Wild World of Sports. Even a few turtleneck sweaters and tie-dye t-shirts were seen here and there.

The stats graphics across the TV screen mocked the old plain block yellow letters used back then before the newer computer generated ones. The fans got into the act, too, wearing all the old colors and styles. It must have been fun.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Sickening Yankees/Red Sox Media Bias

Okay, the entire world knows there is an extreme Yankees and Red Sox media bias in the world of baseball. These two teams are on every possible nationally televised time slot. And when they play each other, it is even worse. ESPN and FOX are Yanks/Sox lapdogs. You can't get any coverage without hearing many times the info on these two teams as almost all other teams combined. They're always the first scores announced. On and on.

Okay, enough about complaints from somebody who isn't a fan of either team. What I want to do is ask fans of the Yankees and Red Sox if they hate the fact that their own teams are being the target of the media bias. I have a reason for asking, by the way, and it isn't envy. I am a Giants fan and our own history with Barry Bonds gave us our own media bias. Bonds' legendary accomplishments (that kept the Giants as perennial contenders) put us on the map in a huge way. We were on the game of the week all the time, we were on ESPN all the time. Thousands of media members would flood the ballpark every day in search of some stupid, inane piece of trivia about Bonds; his shoelaces, his towel hanging in his locker, the air pressure in his tires. Usual walking routes outside the ballpark were blocked off for some media tent or something. It was never ending.

Starting times for games were constantly being changed because of dictated TV coverage start times. Tickets you bought in February now had different starting times. When the game was nationally televised, our own professional, knowledgeable announcers on our local broadcasts were replaced with ignorant network clowns who knew little more about our team than what they crammed for midterms in their hotel room the night before. They constantly got facts and ideas wrong and couldn't offer in-depth coverage due to the generic national audience. I'm sure the rest of the country hated Bonds and the Giants because of it just like we hate the Yankees and Red Sox. I know that I, and many other Giants fans I talked to, hated the media bias that was supposedly directed in our favor. It just simply wasn't to our advantage as fans.

So, how about it Yankees and Red Sox fans? Do you like the extreme bias? Do you hate it? Do you feed on it? Are you so used to the bias that you aren't even aware of it? Or are you completely clueless that there even is a bias? Do you like the 8:35pm start times on work/school nights? Do you care that the rest of the country is forced to watch you? I'd love to know.

Orange Friday

Another uniform change made this year for the 2010 Giants is that they're wearing orange tops on home Friday games. The uni style and letter font remain the same as the standard uni, but the color is orange. I'm not used to this yet, and the uni's look a bit bold as can be seen by this Giants TV commercial.  The Giants wore orange tops as part of a rotating uni (along with white and black tops) back in the '77-'82 time span.

Back in the early 2000's, the Giants wore black jerseys on Friday, both at home and on the road, but these were done away with because they weren't the traditional uni's. Bonds hit his 71st and record breaking home run in a black top. Last night's game between the Giants and Red Sox just didn't look like the Giants vs. Red Sox. The Giants wore their orange, while the Sox wore their blue tops and gray pants.

For several years now, the Giants have had Orange Friday, but it has been the fans who wore orange to the games, including some rad 70's style orange afros here and there. Now the Giants themselves have joined their own promo. The jury is still out.

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Visit To Petco Park

Our family was in San Diego last week and we took a trip to Petco Park last Saturday night to see the San Diego Padres take on the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles had just been in San Francisco the series before we left, and we "followed" them south. We sat in the bleachers, being the cheapest seats for our budget.
Petco Park has a unique bleacher arrangement. The seats are stuck to the top of a small concrete wall, and there is grass between rows. The leg room is extra long, so you can actually sit on the grass, picnic style. Just behind the center field fence there is a huge sand box in front of the bleacher seats for the kids to play in. This was perfect for a family with three small boys. Notice our baseball fanatic five year old son in the third picture standing with a foam finger right behind the fence on the left side of the photo. He enjoyed most of the game from there, one of the best seats in the house. His description of the fly ball to deep center field included himself in the story.
Over all, Petco Park is one of the best parks I have ever visited, in terms of beauty, baseball appropriateness and other relevant characteristics. Architecturally, I believe it to be superior to AT&T Park, which is widely viewed as the best of the new parks. Petco isn't on the shores of San Francisco Bay with a grand view of the bridge and East Bay hills, but it is in a beautiful city, and a good downtown. I'm glad the Padres did something different from the now-cookie cutter throwback parks. The brick warehouse building being part of the park is absolutely awesome. The Padres team store is located on the bottom floor. The corner of the building is the left field "foul pole", the foul line taking a 45 degree angle straight into that corner. A ball bouncing left is foul, while one bouncing right is fair. What could be more easy than that?
I enjoyed our time there and will enjoy going back there numerous times in the future. The black and orange Orioles beat the Padres 5-4, even after a bullpen meltdown in the 9th. That helped our black and orange Giants in the race with the Padres. I'll probably post more pictures soon.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Giants Win Projection Through June 15

June 1 through June 15, 2010:

L 27-24, 86; W 28-24, 87; W 29-24, 89; L 29-25, 87; W 30-25, 88; W 31-25, 90; W 32-25, 91; L 32-26, 89; L 32-27, 88; W 33-27, 89; W 34-27, 90; W 35-27, 91; W 36-27, 93; L 36-28, 91.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Giants Win Projection Through May 31

May 16 through May 31, 2010:

W 21-15, 95; L 21-16, 92; W 22-16, 94; L 22-17, 91; L 22-18, 89; L 22-19, 87; L 22-20, 85; L 22-21, 83; W 23-21, 85; L 23-22, 83; W 24-22, 85; W 25-22, 86; W 26-22, 88; W 27-22, 89; L 27-23, 87.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Giants Win Projection Through May 15

May 1 through May 15, 2010:

W 14-9, 99; L 14-10, 95; W 15-10, 97; W 16-10, 100; W 17-10, 102; L 17-11, 98; L 17-12, 95; W 18-12, 97; L 18-13, 94; L 18-14, 91; L 18-15, 88; W 19-15, 91; W 20-15, 93.

Giants Win Projection Through April 30

April 16 through April 30, 2010:

L 7-3, 113; W 8-3, 118; L 8-4, 108; L 8-5, 100; L 8-6, 93; L 8-7, 86; W 9-7, 91; W 10-7, 95; L 10-8, 90; W 11-8, 94; W 12-8, 97; L 12-9, 93; W 13-9, 96.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Perfect Blown Call

We've all heard about (and seen!) Armando Galarraga's perfect game and umpire Jim Joyce's blown call with two outs in the ninth inning that took it away. First, that sucks. But this raises, yet again, the debate over instant replay, and how it should be used.

Before I get to instant replay, let me just say that I'm glad that baseball has resorted in the last few years to umpires having a discussion with each other to correct calls just after they are made. This is a huge improvement over letting an obvious bad call go. For those who make a big issue about human error being part of baseball, umpires second-guessing themselves actually affirms the human factor of error, and adds the human factor of wanting to correct ourselves to make us better. So, I'm all for that. I'm not sure if the other umpires were in a position to correct Joyce on the field and on the spot, as they might not have seen the play well enough.

Now, I'm going to ask whether instant replay should be a factor at all in getting the call right. We already have a limited instant replay for home run calls, either whether the ball clears the fence or if it were fair or foul. This system isn't fool proof, as I personally witnessed the instant replay blunder in San Francisco (I was just yards away from the fence when the ball hit) that had the call reversed, creating a pinch-runner and eliminating a player from the game, and I wrote about it here. In my estimation, instant replay should only be used in limited circumstances, as its use can affect the way baseball is played as a game.

We all want to "get it right." But we all also recognize the human element in doing so. Instant replay is no guarantee to getting it right, as the NFL has proven. There are several ideas about how to use instant replay in baseball, with objections as to how it will affect the game. I'll have to write more about this in upcoming posts.