Saturday, July 31, 2010

Giants Win Projection Through July 31

July 15 through July 31, 2010:

W 48-41, 87; W 49-41, 88; W 50-41, 89; L 50-42, 88; W 51-42, 89; W 52-42, 90; L 52-43, 89; W 53-43, 89; W 54-43, 90; W 55-43, 91; W 56-43, 92; L 56-44, 91; W 57-44, 91; W 58-44, 92; L 58-45, 91; W 59-45, 92; W 60-45, 93.

Friday, July 30, 2010

1974 Topps Set - My New Baseball Card Blog

I have a new blog I just started, 1974 Topps Set.  This blog is chronicling my collection of 1974 Topps cards.  Although I started collecting in 1971, the '74 set is the first I went wild on, when I was just ten.  I'm scanning each card in my set, and I have nearly all of them.  If you enjoy baseball cards, take a look.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Giants Win Projection Through July 14

July 15 is the start of the second half after the All-Star break, so I'll backup to play through Sunday, July 11.

July 1 through July 11, 2010:

L 40-38, 83; L 40-39, 82; W 41-39, 83; L 41-40, 82; W 42-40, 83; W 43-40, 84; W 44-40, 85; W 45-40, 86; L 45-41, 85; W 46-41, 86; W 47-41, 87.

At the All-Star break, the Giants are in 4th place, 4 games behind San Diego.

Catching Up

Okay, I haven't been able to catch up with what I've wanted to write. Long time Yankee PA announcer Bob Sheppard died just before the All-Star break. (I believe it's his voice announcing Roger Maris as number nine that is immortalized on the Beatles White Album) George Steinbrenner died just before the All-Star game. The National League won the game. The first half of the season was wrapped up. I was at Tim Lincecum's complete game shutout vs. the Mets. All of this I missed writing about. I still haven't dealt completely with Jason's question about instant replay in light of the perfect game blunder. Oh, and I still need to do the Giants win projection post for July 15. I better get writing.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Classic Rivalry Game, or, Don Mattingly for Manager of the Year

Last night's game between the Giants and Dodgers at Dodger Stadium was a classic rivalry game. It had all the marks of those games you don't see anywhere else with any other opponent. A promising pitching matchup between Lincecum and Kershaw turned into a beanball war, ejections and a bizarre rulebook application that led to the game winning hit in the 9th inning.

The Dodgers had a commanding 5-1 lead, but the Giants chipped away. A previous beanball war from April was resurrected, and three Dodgers were ejected. The bench coach, then Kershaw and Torre (the manager gets ejected after warnings are issued), leaving hitting coach Don Mattingly at the acting manager. Then in the 9th after the Giants got runners on 2nd and 3rd and Johnathan Broxton intentionally walking the bases loaded to set up a double play (the Giants were down by one), Mattingly paid a visit to the mound. As he left, James Loney asked him a question, prompting Mattingly to turn back around to the mound. But, as the rules state, once a manager leaves the dirt circle, that concludes his trip to the mound. Brucy Bochy alertly caught this, and called it to the attention of the umpires. The umps ruled that Mattingly turning around and stepping back on the mound was his second trip. Broxton was removed from the game, and since there was nobody warming up in the Dodger bullpen, a reliever had to enter the game without any warmups! Andres Torres followed up with a double off the wall, and the Giants took the lead and held on. See the video of Mattingly's rookie blunder here.

What a game. I just love it when the Dodgers melt down in such a huge matchup. I wish I were there in LA to see it, full Giants gear, letting the Dodger Stadium faithful know who screwed up.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Brian Wilson's 4-34-1 Approach to Getting A Save

Giants closer Brian Wilson has what I call a 4-34-1 approach to pitching. The numbers I mentioned have to do with the 9th inning breakdown of pitches. There are three distinct divisions in his closing inning. Each number is how many pitches he throws in the respective division. The first division is the first four pitches he throws. In sequence they are: out, out, strike, strike. This leaves him with two out and two strikes, just one pitch from a save.

The next 34 pitches are an assortment of walks, hits and runs that cut the Giants' lead to just one run, loads the bases, and takes the count full, with the winning run on second.

The last pitch is strike three to secure a Giants victory.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

How To Heckle Jason Bay and Others Who Wear #44

I sat in the front row of the left field bleachers a few nights ago at the Giants game vs. the Mets. The Mets left fielder was Jason Bay, and he was wearing that special uniform number, 44. Forty four is a special number because of the hall of fame sluggers that have worn it in the past. Hank Aaron wore it and was a great young player. Willie McCovey, being from the same hometown of Mobile, Alabama, wore it when he broke in with the Giants because Aaron was his idol. McCovey was a rookie in 1959, five years after Aaron. Later, in the 70's, Reggie Jackson adopted the number when he signed with the Yankees. He kept it with the Angels and during his last year back with the A's.

Forty four is one of those hallowed numbers that players respect. Players know who has worn it in the past. So when a player takes 44, he's treading on ground that demands something from him. He needs to turn out to be a superstar.

So, the heckling line is this: "Hey, 44, who do you think you are? There's Hank Aaron, Willie McCovey, Reggie Jackson, and you?"

Jason Bay heard it from a #44 apologist.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Busy Week Fer Sure

This was such a busy week I didn't have time to post about Bob Sheppard passing away, or about George Steinbrenner passing away, or about the home run derby, or about the All-Star game... or about the Giants win projection through July 15. Things happen so fast in the blog world that Sunday is passe. Maybe I'll give it a shot this week.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Tradition, The Human Element and Instant Replay (1)

The blown call on the last out of a perfect game that took a perfect game away from a pitcher has given new fuel to the instant replay debate. The call took a perfect game away from the pitcher because the perfect game was already completed when the call was made. The ball beat the runner to first base. The runner was out, but the ump called him safe after the play was made.

The big part of the debate is over the human element of the game. I'm glad that baseball has taken the "get it right" attitude on the field where other umpires can meet to review their own take on a play rather than let the offending umpire stew forever in his mistake. This allowance for an umpire conference upholds the human element - a traditional element at that - of the game. Baseball realizes that it is possible for human error, and also recognized that human error can be corrected on the spot. I wonder whether the other three umps could have overruled the erring ump to preserve the perfecto? Also, could the scorekeeper have, judging that the throw actually beat the runner, ruled the play an error on either the pitcher or first baseman to at least preserve a no-hitter? Would this not be included in the human element of the game?

But one thing baseball also recognizes is that some games or moments are more important than others. Not every play during every season has the same importance. For example, extra umpires are added down the foul lines for post-season and All-Star games, and extras are at the park just in case. Regular season games allow for ill or injured umpires to leave the game and go with three. I'll bring this difference of importance into another post coming soon.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Giants Win Projection Through June 30

June 16 through June 30, 2010:

W 37-28, 92; L 37-29, 91; L 37-30, 89; W 38-30, 91; W 39-30, 92; L 39-31, 90; L 39-32, 89; W 40-32, 90; L 40-33, 89; L 40-34, 88; L 40-35, 86; L 40-36, 85; L 40-37, 84.