Friday, February 25, 2011

Baseball Is On The Radio!

It's that time of year again!  The first radio broadcast of a spring training game.  The familiar voice of the long time announcers are music to the ears.  I'm glad that this will last all the way through October.  Sonic therapy.

Cliff Lee #31

Cliff Lee is #31.  No, not his uniform number.  He is ranked as the 31st best baseball player right now according to the MLB Network's show about the 100 best players right now.  It's interesting that with all the Cliff Lee hype during the post-season and off-season that he wouldn't have been ranked in the top 10 or top 5.  The rankings were done by several panels of experts, so the list went through many hands.  I guess the consensus of people in the know is a bit different than the consensus of what the media portrays.

During all the free agent hype, I wanted to ask some of the media types if there were any rumors around that had the Giants jumping into the Lee circus to sign him as their #5 starter.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

New Yellow A's Uniforms

The Oakland A's will be adding a twist of lemon, so to speak, to their look in 2011.  One of their alternate jerseys is yellow with green piping.  Click here to view it.  This is a slightly different take on their Sunday uniforms of the early 80's with the green piping on a white jersey (the jersey I'm talking about is the second from the left on the 1981 and '82 plates and the lead uni on the '83).  I heard about the new yellow threads, but hadn't checked them out until now.  I'm actually a bit more excited about them once I saw them.  I was anticipating more of a lemony type of yellow, one that looked closer to their tops from that earlier era.  Marketing plays into this decision, I'm sure.  So, shine Athletics.  Color seems to be back a bit more in baseball lately.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Pitchers and Catchers Report

Okay, it's old news by now, but that's what I blog about when I get busy.  For the other 29 teams, pitchers and catchers reported this last week.  Not for my team.  No.  World Series Champion pitchers and catchers reported.  A huge banner reminding them of this was hung in Scottsdale, AZ.  Of course, this means beards, shoe polish, peach fuzz 'staches and pony tails.  Go Giants!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Grabbing Some Pine

Back in the late 80's, the left field bleachers at the Oakland Coliseum were old school.  Wooden benches with something resembling seat numbers stamped into them.  Bench edges and corners were worn.  Those benches were installed in the late 60's after all.  The lower half of the bleacher sections not next to the foul poles were portable and rectangular.  The bleachers formed the curve of the outfield fence, meaning that the sections could come together in a straight line across the outfield parallel to a football sideline.

The benches were for the most part made of hard wood.  No duh, but at that time, there were no alternatives like aluminum, or form-fitted plastic molded seat bottoms arranged in benches.  None of that.  Just wood.  Wood that split, wood that cracked, wood that, well, did whatever wood did.  One piece of wood out there, wood that formed our front row bleacher bench, had a knot in it.  And the wood around that knot deteriorated over time, causing a large split in the bench.  Soon, fans with pens and other objects started digging and gouging around that knot, making a small dent each homestand.  One day, the digging broke daylight through to the bottom of the bench.  And it continued over time so that not much was left holding that bench together.  Maybe the knot was the glue that kept the bench intact.

One fateful day, the Royals were in town, and we were there during batting practice.  Bo Jackson hit a big fly that eluded the faithful shaggers, and lo and behold, the ball hit that knot in the bench square...or as square as a falling fly can be square.  In the same action as the ball hitting the knot, the knot popped through and the piece of wood that was hanging by a single strand of wood fell to the bleacher floor.  It was about six inches wide by about 24 inches long.  Nevermind the Bo Jackson souvenir, I pounced upon the fragment of booty support I came to love all those years.  Yes, a hunk of wood was as good a souvenir as any ball.  The underside was kind of gross, and some kid I'm guessing was the one who stashed his wad of gum underneath it as if he were avoiding the wrath of ruler bearing school teachers.  I really need to post a photo of this hunk of history.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Foul Weather Fan

I am a self-described foul weather fan.  Not a fair weather fan, mind you, but a foul weather one.  I'm as much a fan of winning a World Series as anybody else, and I wouldn't trade this one for anything else in baseball.  But there's a big cost of being a fan of a winning team.  Take the recent trophy tour.  The Giants WS trophy was taken on a city to city tour.  Thousands of fans waited in line for hours just to get a glimpse of the trophy.  FanFest yesterday saw tens of thousands in attendance, and the line from the ballpark extended down The Embarcadero all the way to the Bay Bridge - just to get in.  I'll have to wait for the dust to settle and view the hardware sometime during next season when it's (hopefully) on display somewhere within the stadium.

When your team stinks, and attendance is almost lacking altogether, there's an ease to baseball.  Show up anytime and get a box seat close to the field.  The concession lines are very short, as are the restroom lines, if there are any at all.  You almost get your own personal vendor in the stands.  Arriving and leaving is easy, and foul balls (and fair!) rattle around in empty sections of the ballpark, ripe for picking.  Since the crowds are so small, you can yell loudly and heckle players and everybody can hear you.  I remember once sitting in the left field bleachers and yelling at a beer vendor behind the first base dugout.  He heard me and came all the way out to the bleachers to sell to me.  Autographs are easier to get, and souvenir stands never run out of anything.  The fans that are there are more likely to be knowledgeable about baseball and less likely to ask, "Who's number 48?"

Yes, winning it all in 2010 will result in paying for it in 2011 and beyond.  But it's a trade off that needs to be done.