Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It's Almost February

February means pitchers and catchers reporting.  It's a short winter when you win the World Series.  So I'm not itching to get the 2011 season going.  I'm fine to remember over and over what the Giants did last year.  The title of "reigning world champs" can be allowed to hold still for a longer period of time for all I'm concerned.  Still, time will march on.  Before we know it, it will be 20 years from now and I will look back on now as something grand.

Twenty years ago I used to wonder what it would be like 20 years from then.  Now I know, but, what will it be like 20 years from now knowing the Giants won 20 years ago?  I hope there are many more trophies between now and then.  A dynasty would be most welcome.  It's about time for one.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Welcome To The New From the Bleachers Site

Welcome to the new From the Bleachers blog.  I have created a new site with a new address.  Actually, it's the same old blog, with the same old posts and comments and categories, but at a new address.  The old address is  A blogspot address I always wanted - fromthebleachers - which mirrored the title of this blog, had been taken for years, but has recently become available.  So I snatched it and updated the format of the blog to bring it up to current technology.  The new address is

I can now do more things and have more power over how I organize and how I link to things.  I hope you enjoy the new format with the photo background.  The background is a photo I had personally taken at a Giants game at AT&T Park.  The blog design editor allows me to "tile" the photo.  I cropped it in such a way as to minimize the obviousness of the tile seams, so it looks kind of like one huge, infinitely extending crowd shot.  I'm not done with the design of the blog page, and hope to add a small number of visual upgrades as time goes on.

I look forward to posting at this new address and hope you enjoy reading it.  Feel free to comment any time.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

All 30 Major League Teams Totally Stink

All thirty teams in baseball are completely lame.  Why do I say that?  Well, when I take the opinions of the fans of those teams into account, that is simply an easy conclusion.  Starting with the obvious cases, the Pirates were going to the World Series, and one pitch to a nobody named Francisco Cabrera took the Series away from them, Barry Bonds became a free agent, and the team plunged immediately into a record 18 consecutive losing season streak.  The Nationals suck, too.

Now, there are some other teams that are obvious, but then there are the teams that actually had some promise.  The Mariners come to mind.  Division contenders flailed, losing over 100 games.  The Tigers had the greatest team to do nothing at all.  The Mets have the worst payroll-to-performance ratio in baseball.  The Brew Crew were supposed to make the playoffs.  Supposed to.  The Angels vaporized.  The mighty Red Sox limped to a third place finish.  The Padres, arguably the best team in baseball for 137 games, lost ten in a row and collapsed under the feet of the team they owned all year long.  They even took two of three in the last series and still lost to the Giants.

Even the playoff teams were lousy.  The Twinks folded under pressure of a Bronx curse.  The Reds' bats never left Louisville.  The Yankees had the greatest lineup in history, but their pitching was a lead balloon.  CC and Mariano were awesome bookends to a lousy pitching library, and they got spanked by Ranger bats.  During the NLCS I surfed many a Phillie Phan blog.  It was amazing to learn just how awful the Phillies were.  Jimmy Rollins was AWOL, Utley was a mere shadow of his former MVP self.  Howard had a hole in his bat, and the offense was anemic.  How such a pathetic group of clowns managed to compile the best record in baseball on their way to what was hoped to be their third consecutive World Series is hard to imagine.  And dammit, why did they not sign Cliff Lee again earlier?

Then there's the Giants, stuck in their wet paper bag.  No offense whatsoever, and what little there was was led by the slowest catcher in history.  The richest pitcher in history was not even on the playoff roster, and the five slot in the rotation was a question all year.  They couldn't hit against anybody, and their 56 year drought was going to be 57 real quick.  The GM's of each of these teams are morons and idiots.  So are their field managers.  It was amazing to see any of these teams win anything at all.  They were all lame according to their own fans.  But what a year they gave us.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Top Fan Moments in History

I enjoy the MLB Network.  One of their "top" lists is a show about the top fan moments in history.  I love baseball fans and how they fit into the fabric of a game and into the mosaic of history.  When I'm at a game, I pay special attention to fans.  I'm a people watcher.

As a participatory fan, I love to see how other fans and fans in general contribute to baseball.  One of the things I think is most lacking about how baseball is viewed throughout history is the lack of attention paid to fans.  We always hear about great players and the Hall of Fame.  We hear about great managers, great ballparks, great seasons and pennant races, great personal achievements.  And yes, we hear about fans, but only sometimes.  We hear about how nasty Yankees fans can be and about how early Dodger fans can leave a game.  How knowledgeable Cardinals or Red Sox fans are, or how few Expos fans there are.  Or were.  But overall, there is relatively little said about fans as compared with other aspects of baseball.

And this is why I really enjoyed a MLB Network countdown on the top fan moments in baseball history.  There were some really great ones.  Tiger fans pelting Ducky Medwick with fruit, vegetables and bottles in game 7 of the 1934 World Series after Medwick slid hard into 3rd base.  Steve Bartman and Jeffrey Maier were also featured.  Chris Chambliss' pennant winning home run through the mob on the field.  Nickel beer night in Cleveland where the drunken fans went wild, storming the field and causing a near riot, forfeiting the game for the Tribe.  A female fan goes nuts after Ichiro reached into the stands for a ball and touched her.  Reading her lips, it was easy to tell that she called her mom from her cell phone to tell her all about it.  Or the fan in Houston that ducked out of the way of a foul ball at the last second, only to have the ball clock his girlfriend.  And of course, the two guys that ran out on the field to congratulate Hank Aaron on his 715th home run during his home run trot.  There was a great video clip of a ten year old kid who made a spectacular catch of a foul ball, only to catch a second one a few pitches later in the same at bat.

But the fan moment that took the cake as the most memorable of all time was the Bill Veeck stunt gone bad: Disco Demolition night in Chicago's Comiskey Park.  Fans got in for a discount if they brought a disco record to be blown up between the games of a double header.  Chicago rock radio DJ Steve Dahl was there to officiate the destruction.  A box of the records was exploded, and rock music fans went wild, storming the field and completely destroying it.  You could see fans from the upper deck slide down the foul poles to the field.  The White Sox had to forfeit the second game of the double header.  Yeah, gotta love the fans.

Monday, January 3, 2011

2010 Season In Review

Wow, what a year.  For me, it started out not being able to buy season tickets for the first time in 26 years due to the economy.  So, I picked the Giants to win the World Series since I wouldn't be there to see it.  And it happened.

Spring training started with the realization that the Giants had little prospect for improving upon their 2009 total of 88 wins.  Although 88 wins could be figured as overachieving, they finished in 3rd place behind a surging Rockies team, and were the only team of the 8 holding a playoff position at the All-Star break not to hold on.  One thing was clear, though.  The Giants had one of the best pitching staffs in all of baseball, and the 88 wins without any semblance of an offense proved it.

They started off very strong in the first couple of weeks, as did the A's.  But they faded as time went on, and it was clear that the Padres were a team to be reckoned with, especially with the way they were pitching.  Slowly, the Giants added bats.  First, Buster Posey was brought up from the minors.  Bengie Molina was their cleanup hitter, and Posey took that spot after Molina's trade to their eventual World Series opponent Rangers.  Pat Burrell and Cody Ross were instrumental additions in the team's stretch run.  The pitching staff caught fire in August - racking up numbers not seen in baseball since the 1965 Dodgers.  I was convinced they easily had the pitching staff to win it all, but I was not convinced at all that the Giants would win anything.  The Giants never won anything, and it was not in their nature to ever do so.

The pennant race with the Padres was simply an amazing thing to watch.  "Torture" as we would come to know it was already coursing through our veins, we just didn't have a word for it.  Of course, that last 3-game series had the Giants dropping the first two - and losing a great number of games during the year to San Diego - and winning the West in game 162 was Torture at it's that point.

Of the 32 post-season games played in 2010 between all 8 playoff teams, seven were one-run games.  The Giants played every single one of those seven games, and were 6-1.  Now that's Torture.  All four Braves games, three of the six Phillies games, and not one of the Ranger games.  The Giants simply dominated the post-season, going 11-4.  Brian Wilson was on the mound for all four clincher games - game 162 vs. the Padres, game 4 vs. the Braves, game 6 vs. the Phillies and game 5 vs. the Rangers.  Three of those series ended in strikeouts.  Ryan Howard standing motionless trying to argue with the umpire whilst the Giants dogpiled in the center of the diamond is an image of contrasts I'll never forget.  Swing, Ryan, swing!  Tim Lincecum won game 1's of the NLDS, NLCS, WS and the WS clincher.  Matt Cain had a 0.00 ERA in 3 starts, and Brian Wilson was lights out.  The Texas Rangers, who had the best offense in baseball, were shutout once at home all year.  The Giants shut them out twice, and came one pitch from doing it a third time.  The Rangers totalled one run and six hits in the last two games, and only one Texas player even as much as touched third base.  AL MVP Josh Hamilton was a deer in the headlights and Vladimir Guererro swung not like a madman, but like a little leaguer.  Nelson Cruz whiffed and Cliff Lee was spanked.

Madison Bumgarner, Johnathan Sanchez, Juan Uribe, Buster Posey, Edgar Renteria, Javier Lopez, Aubrey Huff.  Kruk, Kuip, Miller and Flem.  Dave Flemming's cracked voice.  Enough names to remember forever.  I hope I didn't forget anybody.  Bruce Bochy, and the million man march down Market Street.  "Swing and a miss.  And that's it!"  What a season.  The replays are great and will be forever.

Sunday, January 2, 2011