Tag Archives: AT&T Park

Oh It’s Good To Be Back Home Again ……

Okay, I’ll say it.  I’m not ashamed to admit that one of my very favorite baseball moments of all time was the Opening Day Ceremonies on April 5, 2011, following that glorious 2010 World Series Championship win .  The game was between the San Francisco Giants and the St Louis Cardinals. So today was just the icing on the cake for me.  The same teams were playing, and the championship flag was again being hoisted above the park to remain for the entire 2013 season so that all who crossed  our threshold could see what a magical place they had entered. 

But today, instead of being at the game, I was watching from my comfortable chair, all decked out in orange and black, with a box of Kleenex and a paper bag (to dispose of the used tissues) nearby.  And I did pretty good until they introduced the Cards Manager, Mike Matheny, and the crowd broke into near hysteria in support of this fellow, another of my very favorites.  And I lost it, never to fully recover for the rest of the ceremony. 

music notesI’m not sure why I was so emotional today, but it probably had something to do with the affection the Giants fans feel for their team, and the entire organization for that matter, but also for anyone who has anything to do with the Giants!  The crowd cheered just as loud for each of the St Louis Cardinal players who were former Giants as they did for the current Giants themselves.   It’s been a long dry spell, this post, post-season, and finally today, after five months we have our kids back home ready to dance around the mound, and the plate and the field.  “It’s the sweetest thing I know of, just spending time with you” ……..as if I was singing the song to each of them individually as they walked out onto the field.   Continue reading

Baseball the Winner at World Baseball Classic!

Final Four:  Dominican Republic, Japan, Netherlands & Puerto Rico.

Final Four: Dominican Republic, Japan, Netherlands & Puerto Rico.

I was a little discouraged after the USA’s loss to Puerto Rico last night, especially after getting trounced the night before by the Dominican Republic.  I felt bad for our players who gave of themselves to the cause of honor and glory for the good old USA.   We all watched as some of their own teammates on Team Puerto Rico were bathing themselves in pride and victory, the first time their country advanced this far in the Classic.

The fact that I have tickets to the Finals in San Francisco on Tuesday didn’t help  either.  I mean who wants to spend the time and money to watch a game that your team isn’t even playing in?  Might as well watch it on television.  So I’m watching a replay of the 2012 World Series final game, where I knew I could find solace, and headed for the internet to knock off the evening before retiring. 

And that’s where I found this amazing article.  It changes my perspective on everything about baseball.   Now I can hardly wait for Sunday when the playoffs begin.  I’m going to start watching these kids very closely, trying personally to find the next all-star rookie from within the ranks of these four teams.  Good grief,  I might even find a new calling as a baseball scout ~ don’t laugh, it could happen.  Well probably not, but it gives me a whole new respect for those who are ~ scouts I mean.  

I love the concept.  I mean a true “World” Baseball Classic.  After all, isn’t that what this is supposed to be about?  In trying to promote baseball throughout the world wouldn’t it be a really great thing to have the World Series be just that, an honest-to-goodness world series?  

Take a look at this great article and see what you think.  I’m inspired.  And kudos to Matthew  Pouliot for writing it.

Repost from a Matthew Pouliot Article, HardballTalks, March 15, 2013.   

Let’s face it: the World Baseball Classic’s uphill climb as an event worth watching wouldn’t gain any momentum if Team USA ran away with it.

That’s why it has to be pretty exciting for MLB to see Puerto Rico advance past the U.S. and join the Dominican Republic, Japan and The Netherlands in the WBC semifinals. While baseball hardly needs a boost in the Dominican and Japan, it’s standing in Puerto Rico and Europe figures to get at least a modest boost thanks to this month’s tournament.

In the short term especially, it’s money more than talent than MLB is hoping to gain from Europe. But getting Puerto Rican kids more interested in baseball would be a nice boon for the league. It’s no coincidence that all of Puerto Rico’s stars on the field Thursday were over 30 years old. The only actual position prospect on the team is the Twins’ Eddie Rosario. And while I like Houston’s Xavier Cedeno as a lefty specialist, none of the pitchers would seem to have grand futures in MLB, either.

Puerto Rico just hasn’t produced much major league talent since MLB put its prospects into the draft. MLB teams can no longer set up there and develop the players themselves, as they’ve long done in the Dominican Republic. A nice run in the WBC isn’t going to undo all of the damage, but it’s a little something to try and build on.

The Dutch island of Curacao is already producing talent and even more kids there could be inspired to pick up a baseball as Andrelton Simmons, Jurickson Profar and Xander Bogaerts hopefully develop into major league stars. Throw in Baltimore’s Jonathan Schoop and The Netherlands’ infield could well rival the Dominican group come 2017.

As for the U.S. team, well, this was probably the best way for it to go down; it was competitive yet far from dominant. One imagines that the U.S. players will hear it from the Dominicans and Puerto Ricans in the clubhouse over these next several months. Whether that inspires a few more stars to suit up in 2017 remains to be seen; odds are the 2013 results will be largely forgotten a year from now. But I believe the next WBC will be viewed more favorably by the players. It’s not that we’ve gotten particularly high quality baseball from the teams, but we’ve seen a bunch of very competitive games and boisterous crowds. I think it’s the case that some of the guys who opted out — the Mike Trouts, Bryce Harpers and Prince Fielders — have watched these games and felt like they’re missing out.

 

World Baseball Classic Today ~ Game On!

world baseball classic march 2 logo

UP NEXT:  Good grief!  Look at the schedule. Well, okay then, but since I’m here on the West Coast I would have had to get up at 2:00AM to watch some of these games. Instead I used the handy-dandy technology associated with cable and recorded the darn thing.   Not quite the same, but I was anxious to see if Korea’s going to do the one-step bunny hop to resolve differences during the game if any surface (see previous blog).   I’m not sure why I’m so excited about watching the Classic this year.  Probably because the Finals are being played at AT&T Park and I have tickets!  USA a contender?  We’ll soon find out!  Stay tuned …..

SF Giants Fan Fest 2013 ~ AT&T Park

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Thousands of San Francisco Giants fans decked out in orange and black showed up for the 2013 Fan Fest this year at AT&T Park.   I’m posting my own photo’s along with a smathering of those from the San Jose Mercury News.  Maybe you’ll spot yourself in one.  A special thank you for those who so kindly allowed me to get a quick snapshot – usually because of something that really struck my fancy, like the “Kings Wear Rings” guy with the big smile  or the guy with the great “Giants Know October” shirt.  Giants fans are great and so much fun to be around, especially when it’s beautiful weather, not a cloud in the sky, and smiles everywhere!  I can’t honestly think of a  better place to be on a beautiful sunny day  than at AT&T Park.  And the Giants players gave so much of themselves with the interviews, autographs and just taking the time to stop and chat with their fans.  Whatta great bunch of guys we have here!   And that’s exactly what you’d expect from the reigning World Champions and the best fans in all of baseball.

GFBB Update:  The Giants have estimated nearly 40,000 in attendance at this year’s Fan Fest.  See more Photo’s on the MLB Blog Website.

 

“The Commercial That Mattered”

Dodge Ram gave us an academy award-winning performance with their Super Bowl ad this year.  I was wondering how I could tie this into a baseball story when I remembered  an incident at AT&T Park a few years ago.   I was sitting in the stands,  anxiously awaiting the start of a SF Giants game,when I heard some fans behind me chatting about the new pitcher, Madison Bumgarner.  It went something like this,  “Yah, he doesn’t belong here.  He belongs back on the farm.   I heard he gave his wife a cow (actually it was a prize bull calf)  for their wedding present”.  This was following by hysterical laughter and hoots and hollers from the enthusiastic, but misguided, fans.   The little incident would have probably ruined the game for me, but Bumgarner pitched a masterpiece and he spoke for himself, saving me from having to turn around and give them my two cents worth.

Madison Bumgarner

Madison Bumgarner

So I’m wondering how many other pro baseball players lives began down on the farm.  I can tell you emphatically there were a lot of them, these young kids from the midwest farms and others who grew up with that sense of hard work, physical discipline with a sense of community.  It wasn’t all about them, it was about getting a job done.  And it still is.   I remember listening to an interview with Bumgarner before he pitched his first World Series Game.  When asked if he was nervous and whether this was the most exciting thing he’d ever been through, Bum answered with that slow southern drawl, something like “Well, I dunno.  I pitched in the high school world series and I did okay there.  I was pretty nervous then and I don’t see how it can be any worse pitching here today.”  In other words, in his mind, he didn’t see any difference in pitching in high school or the World Series.  In his mind he had a job to do.  That was it.   Don’t you just love it?

I started researching on-line to see how many farmers I could come up with and immediately found Sergio Romo, the SF Giants reliever who aced this year’s World Series.   The title of the article was “In Sergio Romo’s Small Hometown, No. 1 Crop is Pro Baseball Players“, and it was written by Valerie Hamilton, California Report.   Here’s an excerpt:

“Brawley would be probably like a slightly bigger version of Mayberry, although not quite as nice,” says Rudy Seanez, who pitched in the major leagues for 17 years, ending in 2008. Like Romo, he grew up in Brawley. So did Alan Fowlkes, who pitched for the 1982 Giants. And so did Sid Monge, who pitched in the 1970s and 80s. It turns out Brawley’s sugar beets and melons have some competition for the town’s top-produced crop. The town, and the Imperial Valley around it, have sent more than 20 players to the major and minor leagues.

I didn’t spend any more time looking for baseball farmers.  I was satisfied that my instincts were justified, but it’s definitely a subject for another blog.   Don’t you just wonder what the percentage of those old-time ball players born down on the farm might be?  I imagine the numbers are staggering, huge!   

Clydesdales down on the farm

Clydesdales down on the farm

Thank you Dodge Ram for giving us the best Super Bowl advertisement we’ve seen in a long time.  It goes really well with the Budweiser  “Clydesdales”, because, after all, what could be more down on the farm than that?

“Ichiro the Pitcher in Japan”

Great story from MLB Fan Cave.   Ichiro Suzuki started his baseball career in high school as a pitcher, regularly throwing 75-85 and occasionally 90 mph.  But in his last year, playing as an outfielder with a .505 batting average and 19 home runs, it was determined he should remain in the outfield. 

I love these Japanese baseball videos.  The fans are always wild and enthusiastic, a little crazy.  They love their baseball!  Listening to the announcers is a hoot, and even though I don’t have the faintest idea what they’re saying, you can always use your imagination.   Japan has won the last two World Baseball Classics and has won their first round for the 2012 Classic.  We might be seeing them in San Francisco at the Finals in March, minus Ichiro, who’s decided to sit this one out.  

A World Classic Final between Japan and USA at AT&T Park in March, 2013.  Now that would be something to see.   It could happen ~ stay tuned!

“Comeback Kings” The San Francisco Giants

 

“Comeback Kings” The Book

I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book; it arrived Saturday and I read it in its entirety Sunday.  All of the 2010 World Series “picture books” are in my library so this was a welcome addition.  The full-page color photo’s are worth the price of the book and if you live in the Bay Area you’ve probably seen them before in the Mercury News or  Oakland Tribune.  Good stuff!  Back in 2010 Andrew Baggarly, or Baggs as he’s fondly referred to by the locals, was the lead sportswriter and his monument to the season is captured in his book “Band of Misfits”.  But Baggs is nowhere to be found in the “Comeback Kings”  since he left the organization and is now part of the Comcast group.  He’s replaced by Alex Pavlovic and  a troupe of other  sportswriters who definitely hold their own. 

“By the time the Giants were done throwing haymakers, their hands were being fitted for championship rings.”  

This is a great line by Pavlovic.  Wish I could  write like that. 

SF Chronicle “Torture to Rapture” Book

My favorite 2010 World Series pictorial was from the SF Chronicle “Torture to Rapture”.   And it’s still probably my most favorite.  I’m sure they’ll come out with another for the 2012 season, but for sure the “Comeback Kings” is a great read for those of us who can’t get enough of these kids and quite simply just don’t want the season to end! 

I mean what are you supposed to do when your main source of entertainment is put on hold?  If you’re Rogers Hornsby,  you stare out the window and wait for spring.  And that’s just about it folks.  

But don’t forget the added bonus this year ~ 2013 World Baseball Classic,  March 2 thru March 19 at AT&T Park in San Francisco, CA. 

“Comeback Kings” Bay Area News Group. Published Nov 2012, Available from Triumph Books and Major Book Retailers.

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