We Are GIANTS

imageThere’s an old saying–no it’s not a platitude, it’s just a saying–it goes like this: some days you’re the tiger and some days you’re the lunch. The GIANTS spent the first 2 weeks of the 2015 Regular Season being served up as the local MLB Blue Plate Special. But these last few games? They proved they’re not on anybody’s menu. They’re not tigers either. They are GIANTS–they sweep Tigers. And Dodgers–they sweep Dodgers too. They did this week anyway.

It sure is good to see our boys in orange and black start acting like their World Series Championship selves. Matt Duffy continues to prove himself as one of our best prospects, and Justin Maxwell is as advertised–a great addition to our team.

imageLet’s face it–these last few weeks have been trying for loyal GIANTS fans–we will not tolerate cheap, vicious, or unrelenting criticism of our guys–nor should we. Faithful GIANTS fans have been through rough patches before. But we remain resolute, faithful, and unwavering. We believebecause the GIANTS have always–sooner or later–given us good reason to believe. Sure we’ve had bad patches–we’ve suffered through June Swoons and July Droops–but we remain ever hopeful, ever positive. It’s why we get caught up in the platitudes I talked about the other day. But I’ve vowed to drop those–like a bad drug habit, they’re just a crutch. Platitudes? We don’t need no stinking platitudes.

imageThe GIANTS came into this 3-game series against the Dodgers on an 8-game skid and the Dodgers rode in on a 7-game high. You know the old saying “the higher they are, the harder they fall”? This one’s gonna leave a mark. Lincecum pitched a helluva game that included 5 strike-outs, the offense manufactured 6 runs from 13 hits and 2 walks, but the GIANTS’ defense won the game–the infield turned double plays like they were Vanna White standing in front of a Wheel of Fortune puzzle. One DP stood way out among the crowd.  See all of them  for yourself, and see why Kuip called the last one “one of the finest double plays you’re ever gonna see”:

In the top of the 8th, Maxwell caught a fly ball in deep right foul territory after a long run that was so impressive, even Puig–who hit the ball–applauded. When he went into the slide to catch the ball, he jammed his knee so hard into the cement wall, they called for an injury delay. Maxwell’s turn to bat at the bottom of the inning left me to wonder if he would be able to run the bases should he get a hit. I needn’t have worried–oh, he got a hit alright–he hit a homerun.

imageThe final score was: GIANTS 6, LA 2

“OK, we won a game yesterday. If we win today it’s called “two in a row”. And if we win again tomorrow, it’s called a “winning streak”…It has happened before!” Lou Brown, Indians Manager, Major League II.

Wednesday’s game was billed as the Battle of the MVPs. The NL MVP vs the WS MVP. It was as much an anticipated game as Game 1 of the Fall Classic. And everyone had an opinion. Naturally, they concluded this game would go to Kershaw because in their opinion, during the regular season, he’s the best in the biz. Those who bet on Kershaw came away disappointed. Problem is the ones who bet on Bumgarner were disappointed too. The pitching matchup ended up a draw. If you want to split hairs–and I don’t, because it causes split ends and a bad case of the frizz–Kershaw gets a slight edge because he gave up fewer hits: Kershaw gave up 3, while Bumgarner gave up 6; and more strike outs: Kershaw whiffed 9 batters, Bumgarner 6. They each gave up 2 earned runs. My hair is frizzing up already. Doesn’t matter though–that’s personal stats and Madison is all about the team.

imageThe game wasn’t without controversy–the GIANTS played in the lead through 6, the Dodgers tied it up in the 7th–and in the bottom of the 9th, the GIANTS loaded the bases. Gregor Blanco reached 3rd, despite Mattingly’s efforts to have him called out for interference after Blanco ran into Roberto Kelly, our 3rd base coach. The safe call held, and Maxwell hit a sac fly to bring Blanco home for the walk-off win.

The final score: GIANTS 3, LA 2

imageThe GIANTS spent two-thirds of the 3rd and final game of the series playing from behind. Vogelsong pitched a solid 6–giving up 2 runs–both 2-out solo HRs. The Dodgers kept a 2-0 lead until the 6th when Brandon Belt hit an RBI single scoring Panik, narrowing the game to a 1 run lead. Casey McGehee, on a 3-1 count, hit a single in the 9th and Duffy was brought in to pinch run. Crawford came up and hit one of his famous triples, plating Duffy, tying the game and sending us into extra innings. Angel Pagan was the 1st hitter in the GIANTS half of the 10th, he got a base hit and with Brandon Belt at the plate, Pagan stole 2nd. Belt drew an intentional walk, Maxwell followed with a base hit–scoring Pagan for back-to-back walk-off wins, and the sweep.

The final score: GIANTS 3, LA 2

If the GIANTS keep it up, we’re gonna need a bigger broom.

Changes in Platitudes, Changes in Attitudes

Our Ace--Madison Bumgarner

Madison Bumgarner was given a Champion’s welcome when he received his WS Ring.

I have empathy for the GIANTS because I too, have been struggling for a couple of weeks. No–I’m not suggesting that my struggles are as important as the GIANTS. I don’t have teammates who are relying on me to do my part, nor does my inability to get the job done effect the appreciation, loyalty or enthusiasm of millions, thousands, or even hundreds of fans. Not even close. When I can’t write my blog it effects me, and maybe a handful of others who are kind enough to read what I write. But I understand. When you have a job to do–whether for pay or not, whether for employment or enjoyment–it’s very frustrating when you can’t get it done.

Now, that's what I call The San Francisco Treat!

This is a real San Francisco Treat!

For a few weeks now I’ve struggled. I’ve stared at my screen and keyboard and tried to write. I’ve tried to be informative,  interesting and funny. And I’ve come up with some pretty good ideas, but when it comes to stringing the words together, I fall flat on my face–I sound wooden, dull, and, sadly, about as funny as an outbreak of venereal disease in a convent. After watching the ring ceremony and the way the guys played in Saturday night’s game, I figured it out–the GIANTS were inspired.  I’ve been trying to come up with ways to say “don’t worry, it’s still early, everything’s gonna be alright”–by using platitudes like “plenty of baseball left” or “it’s a marathon, not a sprint” or “it’s only the first couple of weeks”–they’re not doing me, or anyone else for that matter, one damn bit of good.

Exactly what is a platitude anyway? Dictionary.com defines a platitude as: “a flat, dull, or trite remark, especially one uttered as if it were fresh or profound.” Strictly going by definition alone, a platitude doesn’t sound good at all, nor does it sound especially helpful.

Some serious WS Bling!

Serious World Series bling. Beautiful.

Then it hit me. I realized I was getting inspired–so why not write about it?–by thinking about the ways the GIANTS could be inspired. New ways. Ways  that, given a chance, might even work. Saturday night’s game is the perfect example. The G-Men took the field and played like the champions we all know and love. So the question we have to ask ourselves is this: how was Saturday’s game different from the 8 games that came before it? Just before the game Larry Baer handed out the World Series Bling–and that made all the difference. They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but to the GIANTS on Saturday night they were a secret weapon. They put those rings on and–like a superhero donning his cape, mask, or leotard and tights–they were transformed. They turned into the World Series Champion GIANTS and they were unstoppable, they were unbeatable–NO–they were inspired.

Hunter leads the crowd in YES! YES! YES!

Hunter leads the crowd in YES! YES! YES!

Hunter Pence has played a huge role in inspiring the GIANTS since he came to town. Remember the 2012 postseason when every game was an elimination game and Hunter Pence launched what I like to call the “One More Day Campaign”? He inspired his teammates, and together they turned the GIANTS from “The Eliminatable” into “The Eliminators”. In 2014 he led the GIANTS in the “YES! YES! YES!” Campaign that switched the GIANTS track from 2nd place in the NL West to the Little GIANTS Engine that could–and did win it all.

"One More Day" It's never too late, or too early for that cheer!

“One More Day” It’s never too late, or too early for that cheer!

Inspiration–that’s what the GIANTS need. First, they need to get back to basics. Re-discover the joy. They need to find a neighborhood ballpark and play with the kids–hook up with a bunch of Little Leaguers who are playing simply for the love of the game. Remind themselves of the wonder and amazement they felt the first time they caught a high fly ball or smacked a line drive–finally connecting the bat with the ball and running helter-skelter to 1st base like their hair was on fire. They need to recall the excitement they felt when they rounded third and ran home with such reckless abandon they almost forget to touch the base.

Little League--Baseball's purest form.

Little League–It’s spelled F-U-N!

They should think back to the days when they played baseball in it’s purest form–when most of them wore old sneakers, uniforms that didn’t match–or if they had jerseys that matched, the front said “The Pistons” and the back said “Smitty’s Auto Service”. They need to find a ballpark that has a concession stand so they can buy a hot dog, peanuts, and Cracker Jack. And a green sno-cone for Hunter.

Kids make baseball fun.

My friend Debby–with 4 kids and a husband that coached while she kept score–lived at our local Little League ballpark. She always made the kids eat green sno-cones after their hot dog, claiming it took the place of the green vegetable serving at dinner. Even dinner at the ballpark is all about the fun. That’s what our guys need–they need to be inspired and they need to have some fun.

To get inspired, they could try something that’s already been done and that we know for sure works–have a ring ceremony. Ok, settle down–I’m not talking about a big To Do on the field before a game. I’m not even

Gregor 's look is pure joy.

talking about using their actual rings–I’m talking about a private, clubhouse style gathering, and if they want they can use a token–a replica ring, a bobblehead, a batting glove, anything GIANTS–before each game, and just before they take the field, gather together, each player takes a turn–1 player per game–to talk about a GIANTS inspiration. I’ll give you an example: last year, during Game 5 of the World Series, Juan Perez found out one of his best friends–Oscar Taveras, a top prospect for the St. Louis Cardinals–died that day in a car accident. Juan was inconsolable, but when he entered the game, he vowed to get a hit and dedicate it to Oscar. And that’s just what he did. He scorched a 2 run double off the center field wall, helping the GIANTS win the game, putting the GIANTS ahead of Kansas City in the series, 3 games to 2. That’s what I call inspiration.

Will it work? I have no idea. But I do know this–it can’t hurt. And I know for sure that platitudes don’t work. So the GIANTS have been on a losing skid–so what? “This, too, shall pass.” Do you see how unhelpful that is?

#letsgoGIANTS !!!   #letsgetODD !!!

Oscar Taveras 1992-2014 RIP

Oscar Taveras
1992-2014
RIP

“Hey, rookie! You were good.”

Shoeless Joe Jackson in Field of Dreams

Chris Heston: Doing Fine on Cloud 9

Chris Heston pitches his 1st major league win

Chris Heston pitches his 1st major league win

The Good News? Someone gave Chris Heston the line-up card as a memento of his 1st major league victory. The Bad News? It was in his pocket when he took his “beer shower”–given to him courtesy of teammates Sergio Romo and Jake Peavy. After the game, Heston told reporters “I’m on Cloud 9 right now, I’m ecstatic.” Remember the old Rolling Stones tune “Get Off Of My Cloud”? The chorus keeps running through my head because I’m up on that cloud too–who isn’t? We’re all excited about his 1st big league win. I’m just afraid he’s going to kick me off, after all, it’s his cloud.

Righetti helping Heston in the dugout

Righetti helping Heston in the dugout

Heston pitched a great game last night–after he shook off some rookie jitters. He started the 1st inning by giving away a free 90 feet when he hit the 1st batter he faced, then  gave the same player 180 more feet when he overthrew 1st in the pick-off attempt. I’ll be honest–I got kinda nervous. I needn’t have worried though, he settled in after that and pitched a great game. Besides that, our unwitting leader Mike Krukow sees this guy on the mound for at least the next 6 years, maybe more. I hope so–we need all the home growns we can get.

Chris Heston expected to kick off this season by pitching the AAA opener in Sacramento–but another catchy tune by the Rolling Stones tells us “you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, well you might find, you get what you need.” He didn’t actually need that win, but it sure comes in handy. And the line-up card? The beer stains just give it character.

Vogey slides to score a run Tuesday night

Vogey slides to score a run Tuesday night

ICYMI–SF GIANTS v. Arizona:

Game 1–4/6/15: MadBum was MadBum through 7, McGehee and Aoki showed us their stuff, Pagan and Panik doubled.  FINAL SCORE: GIANTS 5, DBacks 4

Game 2–4/7/15: Not our night–we lost Belt to a groin strain–but Crawford and Posey hit home runs, and Vogey went into a slide at the plate to score a run, so despite a valiant effort the G-Men lost. FINAL SCORE: GIANTS 6, DBacks 7

Casey McGehee and Angel Pagan

Casey McGehee and Angel Pagan

Game 3–4/8/15: Chris Heston came through, McGehee hit a 2-run home run–making it a 3-run game–giving the GIANTS solid insurance. FINAL SCORE: GIANTS 5, DBacks 2

Here At Last

Arizona staff prepping the field for tonight's game

Arizona staff prepping the field for tonight’s game

It may be somewhat irreverent, but all week long long I’ve been thinking–and paraphrasing the late, great Dr. King–“Opening Day, here at last, thank God Almighty, it’s here at last.” The winter seemed so much longer to me this year. But tonight’s the night.

GIANTS take 2 out of 3 in their last ST games against the A's

GIANTS take 2 out of 3 in their last ST games against the A’s

It’s been a helluva week. The GIANTS finished Spring Training on a high note–taking down our X-Bay rivals–the Oakland A’s–in 2 out of 3 exhibition games at AT&T and O.Co whipping all of us fans–especially the Lunatic Fringe–into a whirling dervish of excitement that had all the fever pitch of an Opening Day at home. The 1st game of the match-up went to the A’s, but the GIANTS picked up the other 2. It just doesn’t get any better than that, does it?

The GIANTS Championship Building duo

The GIANTS Championship Building duo

More good news from the front office: Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy had their contracts extended through 2019. Sabean has been promoted to executive vice president of baseball operations, and Bobby Evans has been promoted to general manager–freeing up Sabean to travel, scouting prospective free agents or trade possibles because Evans will be there to handle day-to-day operations.

Lon Simmons

Lon Simmons

Unfortunately, the high note didn’t last long. The GIANTS lost long-time announcer Lon Simmons–he passed away yesterday at age 91. A very sad day for the entire GIANTS family. Lon Simmons was the voice of the GIANTS and other Bay Area sports teams. He was famous for his trademark home run call “tell it good-bye”  *mic drop*

The baseball media big-shots–you know the ones I’m talking about–have come up with their predictions for the 2015 season. They’re not picking the GIANTS. Good–we don’t need or want their stinking predictions.There is a bit of a disagreement, though, about who will take the NL West. Some say the Dodgers–apparently this group thinks he who has the most toys wins, and some say the Padres because of their off season trades–which, by the way, lasted right up to the last day. Yesterday the Padres picked up former Braves closer Craig Kimbrel–reputed to be the best closer in baseball. Not one expert said a word about the Rockies or DBacks–not even in passing. Here’s what I’m hoping–the GIANTS take the NL West, naturally, and we have a 4-way tie for 2nd.

#letsgetODD  GO GIANTS!

#letsgetODD GO GIANTS!

The GIANTS roster has been set, and it looks pretty good from here. They kept Duffy–his bat should come in handy, and they even cleared a spot for both Kontos and Machi. We’re going into the season with 13 pitchers–nothing wrong with that. Wednesday night’s starter is iffy–Matt Cain is undergoing an MRI for stiffness in his right forearm. Tomorrow night’s starter is living proof you can never have too many pitchers. Peavy was the scheduled starter–but the front office is going to let him rest so he can kick-off the 2015 season at Petco–the pitcher-friendly park where he learned the biz.  Vogey–who is in the bullpen for long relief–will take his place tomorrow night. I’m glad. Vogelsong had a fabulous spring, and who knows? Maybe he’ll reclaim a spot in the starting rotation. Wouldn’t it be great to have too many starting pitchers?

Enough clickety-clack. I gotta run–it’s Opening Day and our game is about to start.

#letsgetodd

The Kids Are Alright

Actually, the kids are more than alright–the kids are good, damn good. Say it out loud–like you’re saying Bond, James Bond. It sounds way cooler when you do that. Really, really, cool if you sound like Sean Connery when you do it.

The Duffman decals on Duffy"s bat

The Duffman decals on Duffy”s bat

The other day I published a blog post about the GIANTS performance  during  this year’s Spring Training, and I cautioned everyone to take heart because–well frankly because we’re the GIANTS–and what more could WE possibly need? More importantly, though, I think we should take heart because this spring we have been given the opportunity to gaze into the future of our GIANTS, and that future? It’s looking bright–very bright, indeed. There are a few reasons for our shiny outlook, but right now I want to talk about 2 very specific reasons: Matt Duffy and Justin Maxwell. I’ll tell you why.

maxwell.AB.ST

Maxwell is working on his at bats this spring

I call them kids–because to me that’s exactly what they are–kids. Hells bells, I have shoes older than these guys–shoes that are practically still in style. Baseball is a young man’s game and while Justin Maxwell–aka The Silver Hammer–may be a kid to me, at 31,  when it comes to baseball, he’s kind of a middle-aged guy. Justin is from Maryland–where his dad was the White House dentist for a couple of famous First Smiles–Clinton’s and Dubbya’s. Justin lettered in baseball and basketball in high school, and was drafted by the Orioles in 2001. He opted for college–bypassed Harvard and went to the University of Maryland where he majored in Animal Sciences and played baseball. “He was the cornerstone” of the team in centerfield–and that was after he took a medical redshirt his junior year when he broke his arm. He was drafted again in 2004–by Texas, then ended up signing with the Nationals after they picked him in the 4th round of the 2005 draft. He landed with the GIANTS after a few detours and sidetracks along the way.

Maxwell.SB

Maxwell can hit AND steal

Maxwell hasn’t had an easy time in the bigs–but he’s starting to turn things around.  Word on the street is he and Bam Bam have been working on getting him some consistency in his at-bats. Maxwell and Meulens–sounds like a law firm, doesn’t it?–have been studying Maxwell’s big-league plate appearances and developed a routine they hope will improve his chances against any pitcher. Looks to me like it’s working. Becoming a GIANT is a dream come true for Maxwell. He grew up a GIANTS fan because his dad is a GIANTS fan–his favorite baseball player is–or was–Willie Mays.

Duffy is giving the front office a lot to think about

Duffy is giving the front office a lot to think about

This is Matt Duffy’s 1st major league ST camp. I know It’s hard to believe–given how well he’s doing and the fact that he’s already earned a World Series ring. I wonder how many players can say that!? Duffy is a California kid. He grew up in Southern California–a huge Angels fan. He was  nicknamed “The Duffman” after a cartoon character from The Simpsons by a sportswriter when he was in high school. He went to Long Beach State and was drafted by the GIANTS in the 18th round of the 2012 draft. Duffy, who is 24, won the Barney Nugent Award–presented to the best GIANTS player in his first big-league camp. He’s one of the best hitters in the Cactus League, and he’s tied with another shortstop for most hits by a shortstop in either camp.

Belt, the seasoned veteran, having a great spring
Belt is having a great spring

And if that isn’t enough to impress you their numbers from Spring Training–I’ve spared all the details–rank both players among the games’ elite. When you look at the players stats–Hits, RBI, BA, OBP–Maxwell and Duffy’s numbers are close to or on the same level as players like Mike Trout, Matt Kemp, Albert Puljos,  Joc Pederson and Giancarlo Stanton. I’m adding Brandon Belt to this list because he’s had a tremendous spring. Big Hitters. Big names. Big numbers.

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants

GIANTS teammates after a ST win over the Dodgers

It gets interesting–perhaps a little dicey–when you look at these two guys as they stack up against the rest of the GIANTS. Their numbers place them–along with Brandon Belt–at the top of the heap in hitting stats. But it’s the end of ST and it’s time to decide who’ll make the team. Maxwell has already carved out a spot on the GIANTS roster for Opening Day–we need an outfielder. What they plan to do with Duffy remains to be seen–we don’t need another infielder.  Ehire Adrianza is out of options. I don’t understand exactly how that works–I do know it involves the 40 man roster, shuttling a player back and forth between the majors & the minors, and the finite number of times that can happen.  What it boils down to is this: they can’t send Adrianza back to the minors without running the risk of another team taking him, but they can send Duffy because Duffy isn’t out of options. My opinion–and it doesn’t count for squat–Duffy stays. So what if another team gets a shot at picking up Adrianza? Let them–it’s time to fish or cut bait with Adrianza–who’s got a knife?

duffy.4.2

Duffy made a big contribution to the GIANTS 2014 Championship season

You gotta admire Duffy though–he set out for ST with a goal. His goal wasn’t to do everything he could to make the team, his goal was to do everything he could to make the decision to send him down a difficult one. He did exactly that. faced with the tough decision about what to do with Duffy–the bottom line is this: whatever Brian Sabean ultimately decides will the best decision for the GIANTS. Sabean has a magic touch, and an uncanny knack for getting it right. You can bet your World Series replica ring on it.

Take Heart

The Skipper sporting a new look this spring.

The Skipper sporting a new look this spring.

Relax, calm down, take a chill pill–or, as we used to say back in the ’70’s–eat a red, man. I know everyone is already tired of the oft-used “it’s still early” or the equally tiresome “it’s just spring training”–but there may be something to those well-worn cliches. Let me explain.

Belt's having a great spring--and so is his bat!

Belt’s having a great spring–and so is his bat!

Baseball is a game for numbers junkies. We count everything. Everything. You want to know how many times a batter hit the ball? or drew a walk? There’s a stat for that. How about how many runs a pitcher gives up during a game? An inning? They count those too. How about how many times a team lost a game after it was called for rain, protested the decision, won on appeal and went on to win the game?  You can bet your ass there’s a baseball nut looking for that answer right now. Our question right now, though, is this: in determining a team’s regular season performance, how relevant is the team’s standing when they break camp? Which leads me to my point: if we word the question differently will the answer change?

Vogey is showing good stuff from the mound--and at the plate with an RBI single in the game against the Dodgers.

Vogey is showing good stuff from the mound–and at the plate with an RBI single in the game against the Dodgers.

It reminds me of the old adage “figures don’t lie, but liars can figure.” That’s the crux of the stats game–change the parameters and you might change the outcome. I looked at the standings for the past 10 years–both for spring training and regular season–and here’s what I found:

The GIANTS left ST in last place one other time–in 2008. In the 2008 regular season, they came in 4th in the NL West, beating out the Padres. In the rest of the NL, 2 other teams fared worse: the Nationals and the Pirates. In the AL, 2 teams finished with a lower win %: the Orioles and the Mariners–and all those teams left ST in better shape than the GIANTS. From 2009 through 2014, the GIANTS finished ST in the top 3 in the NL–in 2010 and 2011, they came in 1st in the NL after Spring Training. Not the answer I was looking for, so I changed the question.

Duffy--the kid can hit!!!

Duffy–the kid can hit!!!

The GIANTS are currently in last place in Spring Training, starting with their 1st game on March 3rd. But what if Spring Traing started last week? 10 days ago? 2 weeks ago? Let’s face it–they’re playing much better now than they were at the beginning of camp. So here’s the answer:

Keeping our fingers x'd--hoping for a healthy, pain-free season for Pagan.

Keeping our fingers x’d–hoping for a healthy, pain-free season for Pagan.

The GIANTS wouldn’t be in last place if Spring Training had begun 2 weeks ago, but they would still be pretty close. There’s 1 team in the NL that would have a lower win %: the Phillies. But this is what else I found–the GIANTS have won more games in the last week than they did in the first two weeks of Spring Training. In fact, if we had a couple more weeks and the GIANTS kept up the pace, we might be singing a completely different tune. Nah, that’s not true–we’d still be singing “We Are the Champions” because that’s what the GIANTS are–the Champions.

Maybe next stop Cy Young?

Next stop–Cy Young?

My point is take heart. Sure, we’ve left ST in better shape, but I like the way things are looking right now. So, relax, take it easy. And when someone says, “don’t worry, it’s still early” or it’s just Spring Training”–nod in agreement, because they may have a point–and we are still, after all, GIANTS.

Creme Brûlée v. Vanilla Pudding

Ok, so my last blog post featured a controversial statement by Pablo Sandoval that brewed up quite a sh**storm–and generated almost more views of that one blog post than I had last year for all my posts combined. It was like being served creme brûlée for dessert instead of vanilla pudding.

bttj.sanchezThe lesson learned? If I want more readers, I gotta start a fight. More controversary=more readers. Nah–not gonna happen. I’m not sure how to get people riled up on purpose. I do it accidentally all the time. I guess I’ll have be happy with sedate blog posts and fewer readers. That’s ok, you guys–my regular readers are loyal, bright, interesting and fun. Not only that–you’re great GIANTS fans.

Back to the plain stuff–game recaps. The GIANTS have played every day since I last wrote, the games haven’t been much to write about, but it’s Spring Training and I’m not worried. Not mad either. How can anyone get mad at a bunch of guys who play with such heart?

bbeltThe G-Men took on the Rangers–GIANTS 12, Rangers 3–with Matt Duffy and Gary Brown each going yard. Then they played the Padres–GIANTS 6, Padres 7. Next they went up against Arizona with split squads and lost both games–GIANTS 2, DBacks 12 and GIANTS 5, DBacks 10–with Quiroz contributing a HR. On Monday, the GIANTS played the team we love to hate–the dreaded Dodgers, and while the GIANTS played with a mix of new kids and veterans,  LA trotted out the players that will probably make their opening day squad. It didn’t do them any good–the final score was: GIANTS 5, LA 5. Yesterday the GIANTS met up with the Padres, again–GIANTS 5, Padres 10–with Panik slugging in a HR; and today they took on the Brewers–Brandon Belt hit a HR–but the G-Men chalked up another loss. The final score was: GIANTS 3, Milwaukee 6.

hpenceThe good news? Everyone’s favorite player–including Pablo Sandoval’s fave, apparently–Hunter Pence, is reportedly in good spirits and looking forward to healing–crazy hair and all. Honestly? I can’t wait for him to get better myself–as far as I’m concerned the hair is fine–have you seen mine lately?

I’m fresh out of creme brûlée. Enjoy the vanilla pudding.

Hell Hath No Fury

WARNING: this post may contain strong, offensive language, including liberal use of F-bombs because the latest news from Pablo Sandoval about his departure from SF feels an awful lot like scorn to me. Reader discretion advised.

pabloEnough already. It’s probably sacrilege to say this, but when it comes to why Pablo Sandoval made the move to Boston–I’m over it. So, so over it. As for the reason Pablo left San Francisco, maybe now’s the time for him to display a tiny shred of dignity–if he has any–and just let it go. He apparently has another idea–throw as many excuses as he can think of at us and see which one sticks. Honestly? None of them work for me.

sfgpandaThe latest excuse? The one that has Pablo leaving San Francisco because he wasn’t getting the love? Horsesh*t ! Oh sure, he blames Sabean, not the fans–in fact, he doesn’t even mention the fans at all. Not even a “fu*k you very much!” He didn’t acknowledge the the thousands of fans who bought Panda hats, he didn’t even mention the die-hards that wore those huge Panda masks. The San Francisco fans were loyal to Sandoval through thick and thin–literally–when he gained weight, when he lost weight, when he got hurt, and yes, even when he was accused of rape. We stood behind him, we rooted for him, and quite frankly, we showed him plenty of love–even unconditional love.

sfgpanda2So you can imagine how angry I was–scorned, actually–when Sandoval told Scott Miller of The Bleacher Report that leaving San Francisco was “not hard at all.” He said the only guys he would miss are Bochy and Hunter Pence. I understand leaving them had to be the toughest part about the move, but what about the other guys? Guys like MadBum, Buster, the Brandons, Sergio, Javy–I could go on–apparently he’s not going to miss any of them. And what about all those fans?–not one word for the Panda People.  These aren’t your ordinary, run-of-the-mill baseball fans–we’re talking special–dedicated and loyal. Pablo’s remarks were beyond insulting and a real big slap in the face. They–we–deserved better. Shame on you Pablo. Oh, and fu*k you too.

Told you Flannery would be a much bigger loss.

Say It Ain’t So, Hunter

bochyThe GIANTS lost their first two spring training games to their X-Bay rivals, the Oakland A’s. I’m not upset, though. Of course, I’m not thrilled and I’m certainly not jumping up and down for joy–but I can live with it. Put it in perspective: it’s Spring Training, it’s early, and the guys are working out the kinks. Like MadBum said after his 1st outing Tuesday since taking the GIANTS to the finish line–and winning–in October: “it’s about getting ready.” Let’s face it–when the GIANTS are ready, they’re unstoppable. I’m looking forward to seeing what the guys can do when they get some of the kinks worked out. The final scores were:

Tuesday–GIANTS 4, A’s 9    Wednesday–GIANTS 2, A’s 9

hunterToday the GIANTS faced the Cubs and after 5 innings the G-Men were trailing 5-0. The GIANTS were able to put together a rally–scoring 1 run in the 6th, 2 in the 7th, and, after a walk & 5 hits–they scored 5 more runs in the 8th. But the unthinkable happened–the game cost us Hunter Pence.  I wish I could–say it ain’t so–but after retiring the 1st GIANTS hitter in the 6th, Aoki, and walking the next two hitters, Hicks and Belt,  the Cubs’ pitcher, Corey Black, nailed Hunter in the forearm. Sure the GIANTS got their 1st Cactus League win, but the victory was bittersweet because Hunter suffered a non-displaced fracture of his left ulna and is expected to miss 6 to 8 weeks. Let’s all wish Hunter a speedy and complete recovery.

brett.bochy Here’s a small piece of good news from today’s game, besides the win: the Skipper’s kid–Brett Bochy–pitched a 1, 2, 3 shut-down inning, distinguishing himself as the only GIANTS pitcher who did NOT give up a hit today. Papa Bochy has got to be proud–I am, and I’ve never even met the kid. The final score was:

GIANTS 8, Cubs 6

The answer is Black and Orange

For those of you who have been living on another planet, here’s the question: what color is #thedress, really? And the answer is–just like the answer to every important color question–it’s Black and Orange. Why? Because those are the GIANTS colors, and they are the only colors that matter, the only colors that count.

#blackandorange   #sfgiants

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