Tag Archives: San Francisco Giants

Woo Hoo! Hunter Pence Gets his Multi-Year Contract!

This is huge!   Breaking news for sure, and it follows the day his teammates voted him winner of this year’s Willie Mac Award.

Hunter Pence and the San Francisco Giants: Five Year, $90 Million Extension on his Contract, that’s what they’re saying.

Oops!  He's all ours now!

Oops! He’s all ours now!

I remember vividly last year when Hunter Pence signed with the Giants and flew into SFO to play in that night’s game.  However, the flight was delayed and Pence arrived about 30 minutes after the game ended.  But thanks to our loyal Comcast the cameras were on him as he arrived through the gate enroute to the clubhouse, duffel bag thrown over his shoulders, with our loyal “gonna be” fans waving and asking for autographs.

They obviously knew more about Hunter  than I did.  I mean, who was this guy?  I liked his persona  immediately as he dropped everything to sign autographs, shake hands, and basically just endear himself to the fans.   And this was late, like 11:30 PM, most of the park lights had been shut down, and you know he must have been tired.  I mean it was 2:30 AM Philly time.

Huggable, lovable Hunter with Xavier Lopez

Huggable, lovable Hunter with Xavier Lopez

So that’s my first exposure to Hunter Pence and it’s been all uphill since as we remember  his rousing speech to the troops to keep going last year.  This was the speech that got them to and through the playoffs for a chance to win the World Series, and win the World Series they did.

And 2013 has been another great year.  Well, not such a great year according to the standings, but who cares about that?   Our team has character, charisma, compatability, and the loyalty of 41,000 fans on any given day.

baseball heart imageSo welcome to five more years in San Francisco Hunter Pence!  We, the best fans in Major League Baseball “softly” love you (sorry Buster)  and open our hearts to you as you’ve opened yours to us.

“This Day in History ~ 50 Years Ago Today”

Pitching Duel of the Century

Pitching Duel of the Century

50 YEARS AGO TODAY: 42-year-old Warren Spahn of the Milwaukee Braves and 25-year-old Juan Marichal of the San Francisco Giants hooked up in a 16-inning duel ended only when Willie Mays homered leading off the last inning. Both pitchers went all the way. Jim Kaplan wrote a great book on the event: “The Greatest Game Ever Pitched.”  Courtesy of Dan Schlossberg, Facebook”

Nothing like promoting one of my favorite books to get me back in the blogosphere.  I’ve been adrift for nearly a month now and missed it terribly, but had to take a minute to comment on two of my favorite baseball heroes and one of the many special moments in baseball history. 

I was one year out of high school when I witnessed this game (via the sports section unfortunately and not in person) but I remember the stats well.   The book takes a few chapters to get into the game, dwelling on the individual pitchers, Marichal and Spahn, instead.  But Kaplan’s insight is purposeful and steady and I found myself grasping each page instead of skipping directly to the game which is what I intended to do when I cuddled up to spend the entire day recapturing the memories of the game.

My enthrallment with Juan Marichal began a few years ago when I watched an in-depth interview Bob Costas had with him.  He’s really a very humble man and the honesty he portrayed when talking about the awful incident when he lost his temper and went after an opposing player, with a bat no less, that put the fellow in the hospital was painful to listen to.  But I didn’t doubt his sincerity when he spoke about it saying it was the one regret he had during his baseball career.  And it didn’t surprise me that the two of them ended up being good friends in the end.

As usual, I won’t go into details about the book or the game since there’s huge amounts of readily available data written about both.  I just wanted to take some time to comment on the game and also to thank you for the kind notes I’ve received as I’ve been on a mini-vacation from blogging this past month. 

It’s nearly time for the All Star break when baseball starts to take shape for the rest of the season, and when, hopefully, the Giants (and others, of course) start getting their act together .  When you look at the Divisions, it’s amazing to see that the Dodgers are only 3 1/2 games behind in the NL West, but are in the cellar, with the Giants 3 games behind and only 1/2 game ahead of the Dodgers. 

So it’s going to be an interesting and fun rest of the year for all of us baseball fans.  Will there be a sequel to this greatest game?  Maybe.   I’m sure the thrill of victory and agony of defeat had its origins in baseball so why should we possibly expect anything less?

“Looking Good, Buster”

buster posey on mens health magazine cover

I never give up a chance to ooh and ahh about one of my very favorite baseball guys.  Buster’s got it all.   And he’s an honest-to-goodness family man to boot.  Go ahead Buster  ~ keep setting  an example for all those youngsters needing a real live hero to look up to.  And for us old folks too.  God knows we’re as desperate for a hero as the next guy.  Kudos to Men’s Health Magazine who hit the nail on the head with this one! 

 

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?

“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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City of San Francisco Sure Knows How to Parade!!

2010 San Francisco World Champions Parade

If you type San Francisco Parade in your search engine, you’re likely to find out a whole lot about the gay community here in the Bay Area.  Add “Giants” to your search and it’s a whole new ballgame (excuse the pun)!  San Francisco is bracing for another million plus today for the 2nd time in three years as they open the city to the World Champion San Francisco Giants fans.   Parade begins at 11:00 AM and will be televised locally.  (Check Mainstream Media for other possible showings.)

Note:  It’s 12:45 and Bruce Bochy’s beautiful gold Rolls Royce just ran out of gas.  Fans pushing it along the parade route.  Is that priceless or what??   Beautiful parade ~