The “Supposed” Agony of Defeat

Let’s face it.  How many of us really believed the Giants were going to make it to the 2016 Playoffs?  You’d have to be the eternal optimist to even suspect there might be a chance after the disastrous play the last half of the season.  I mean, really, the team went 0 for 60 in games where they were behind in the 8th inning. That must be an all-time record.   Sure, there were some bright spots and there’s always hope in baseball, but really?

bochy-citifieldWe know how to win.  And this was our time, being an even year and all.  The year started out with a bang and we had the rest of the baseball world believing it too, with our best record in major league baseball at the All Star Break.   So when the bottom fell out in the 5th game of the NLDS we were in shock and disbelief and we were angry.  My anger was directed toward our dear quiet, unassuming Manager, Bruce Bochy.  The team played their hearts out that last game.  Matt Moore’s pitching was incredible throughout, but was pulled at the top of the 9th to make way for our not so incredible bullpen, at which time I left the room and started cleaning up the kitchen.  I knew it was over.  We all knew it was over.  What was he thinking?

In retrospect, in my heart I  don’t think the 3 time World Champion San Francisco Giants really deserved to be there. And I don’t think they thought so either.  Okay.  I said it.  But that’s how I felt.  When you compare it to the Chicago Cubs season, the Cubs belonged there.  They deserved to win. And they did win, fair and square.  Did Moore have another 10-12 pitches left in him?   Probably.  But we’ll never know and it doesn’t really matter.  It pains me to say it, but the best team DID win and good for them.

I love my Giants.  Always have.  Always will.  Ann Killion wrote this in her SF Chronicle post today:  “Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard said on social media: ‘Baseball has a way of ripping your heart out, stabbing it, putting it back in your chest and then healing itself just in time for spring training.”

epic-fail-baseball-failMy point is this.  The Giants had a real weakness in the bullpen this year.  It was apparent in 60 of 60 games.  It won’t happen again.  They have an amazing staff that will build on this and they’ll be back.  Not all of them, of course, but enough that another world champion team will emerge again.

And when it does, and if we lose then, we’ll really know the true agony of defeat. Because in this defeat, we should have felt honored just to be sitting at the table. Personally, I can hardly wait for the NLCS to begin tomorrow with the Chicago Cubs against ….. wait for it …….a worthy opponent, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

My bet is on the Chicago Cubs who have the best record in Major League Baseball this year.  But like Syndergaaard said ……baseball has a way of ripping your heart out ……..

Good luck to the Cubs and Dodgers.  It’s gonna be a great series!




SF Giants – A New Hero Emerges

bum-and-synergaardHow can you explain Madison Bumgarner and his band of buddies marching to the tune of their own drum after such a pitiful showing following the All Star Break?  We knew they were in it because, after all, it is post season and they’ve done it before and in such spectacular fashion.  But how many of us truly expected a shut-out against the Citi-Field warriors Wednesday?  Not me, that’s for sure.

Looking back on this band of misfits in prior years almost every game and every series had a new hero. Most memorable for me was Sandoval’s three home runs in one game against the unhittable Justin Verlander in a World Series Game 1.   And the entire Giants team when they forced the vocal Rangers pitcher, Cliff Lee, to the bench and out of the game before the 4th inning in World Series play, back in 2010.

conor-gillaspieLast night a most unlikely hero found his way to the spotlight with a 3 run homer in the top of the 9th.  Without that hit who knows how long that game would have gone on?  Remember the 18 innings against the Nats in the 2014 NLDS?  We could have seen that last night.  Not likely, but possible.  Syndergaard had already taken the bench and Bum was headed there, but ’twas not to be.   Conor  Gillaspie, tied at $507,500, for the lowest paid man on the roster, became a hero in postseason play, alongside the legend of legends Madison Bumgarnerwhen he smacked his home run out of the park for the only score of the game.

Rough road ahead you say?  But of course.  How could it be anything else?  Chicago Cubs on the horizon?  Who cares?  This is post season and it’s the Giants and it’s an “even” year.

bochy-citifieldHow can you help but love this Giants team?  Best team in MLB the first half of the season and close to the worst the 2nd half.

It’s the stuff baseball’s made of and no one embraces it better than the San Francisco Giants.  Let the torture begin!




Ryan Braun Speaking at a Press Conference after his Appeal was upheld.

Ryan Braun Speaking at a Press Conference after his Appeal was upheld.

It’s not that he did the Peds …. it’s that he lied about it so very eloquently. He lied so well he should have been awarded the outstanding Thespian award of the decade.

I was totally taken in after that “poor little old me” speech ~ brought tears to my eyes.  How could they possibly say those awful things about him? Must be a conspiracy.  Poor dear.  See my proud post here.  The Brewers’ Braun and Those Whinging Critics” published May 1, 2012

So much for blind faith huh?

After he admitted he lied, I wondered then and will always wonder, what the hell else does he lie about?  Who is this guy? We have a great group of guys in the Giants organization who support each other and stick together.  We don’t need a Ryan Braun.  It’s a lot about trust, you know? And we’ve done fine with our home grown talent. Let’s stick with them and let the chips fall where they may.

Hang in there Hunter Pence.  Were waiting for you!

In Defense of the Hitting Pitcher ~

Getting a ‘Bum’ Rap

June 6, 2016 by ·                                                                                           Reprinted with permission of ““.

Madison Bumgarner

Madison Bumgarner

In 2014, Madison Bumgarner piqued the interest of baseball fans when he told reporters he wanted to participate in the Home Run Derby. In baseball’s greatest spectacle of power, the idea of letting a pitcher participate may seem like a novelty. But Bumgarner has compiled a legitimately impressive power resume, and if the time has ever come to allow a pitcher to mash against baseball’s greatest sluggers, Mad-Bum is as good a candidate as any.

He is massive at 6’5” and 250 lbs. For scale, that’s two inches and 30 lbs. heavier than Bryce Harper, arguably the game’s most feared power hitter. He’s a career .180 hitter, a run-of-the-mill average even for a pitcher, but he has 13 career home runs. According to, that’s a 162 game average of 10 home runs, a total that would put him above a number of light-hitting middle infielders or speedy defensive-specialist outfielders.

Through June 4th, Mad-Bum has as many homers as Jacoby Ellsbury, who once hit 32 in a season, as well as Jason Heyward, Mark Reynolds, or J.J. Hardy, all of whom have had good power records in their own right. He has a HR/AB ratio of 16.0, a mark better than Josh Donaldson, Kris Bryant, Mike Trout, and Miguel Cabrera (via ESPN Stat Cast). He, along with fellow Goliath Noah Syndergaard, is one of only two pitchers to hit multiple home runs this season and has as many dingers as teammates Matt Duffy, Angel Pagan, and Denard Span despite having only 32 at bats. That places him seventh on the Giants.

The new head-to-head format implemented last year sparked life into the Derby, as it allows players to compete in a more one-on-one format, making each round more exciting and meaningful and eliminating the lull-inducing marathon that tended to occur with the old format. So some may argue that putting a pitcher in the Derby and running the risk of an embarrassing performance outweighs the potential for some wild celebrations if he were to actually hit one.

But Mad-Bum has more than established himself as a hitter who can rake, and the notion of Bumgarner doing well in the Derby would not surprise vigilant baseball fans. As the twitter account MLB Stat of the Day (@MLBStatoftheDay) pointed out after Bumgarner’s last homer on June 2nd, Mike Trout has 11 dingers in his last 190 plate appearances, Bryce Harper has 11 dingers in his last 190 plate appearances, and Bumgarner has 11 dingers in his last 190 plate appearances. If that’s not enough to declare Bumgarner the ideal candidate to be the first pitcher to participate in the Home Run Derby, I don’t know what is. Mad-Bum for the Derby 2016.

(All stats via ESPN Stat Cast unless otherwise noted).




Memorial Day ~ Remembering our Heroes.

Memorial Day Image

The Drama and Excitement of “Opening Day”!


fanatic fan imageIt’s finally here ~  Opening Day!  I’ve always advocated it should be declared a National Holiday.  Close the schools and free hot dogs for everyone.  A few years ago at Christmas, my son gave me game tickets for Opening Day.  It was just really a wonderful gesture and I appreciated it very much, even though I knew I wouldn’t be going to the game.  I’ve been in one of those godawful professions that prohibit anything fun, or any kind of life really,  for so long I can’t remember.  I’ve never been able to go to Spring Training or  Opening Day but today I finally put my foot down.  I closed the office, shut the blinds, turned on the TV and pulled up the easy chair.  I’m a tax preparer.  And a Giants fan.

So today when Madison Bumgarner took the mound bottom of the 1st inning against the Braves in Milwaukee I was stoked.  But the feeling of euphoria didn’t last long.  It had already been announced that Bum had a really bad case of the flu and had been flown by private jet, not with the rest of the team, so he could get some extra sleep along with his dose of flu meds and other gunk that might help him get his wits about him before game time.  Poor guy,  I was thinking as I watched him sweat it out, and wondered how an athlete in another sport might handle it.  In baseball, every pitch is a close-up, magnifying the sweat on his face the twitch in his eyes, and those pesky snot rockets, with no place to hide.   And almost immediately, the Giants were behind 1-0.

And then the phone rang ~ my sister.  She’s a Mariners fan from Seattle so didn’t understand the urgency of this drama I was going through. We finally hung up and I backed up the recording so I could start over again. The phone again ~this time  Jake, my grandson, who I knew wanted to talk  politics and that great Warriors/Trailblazer game over the oblivion

About an hour later I looked up at the score and it was something like 8-3 Giants. Glad I recorded the darn thing.  I excitedly told Jake about the Giants going ahead and he said that’s what he was calling about – the game was already over (I know for sure Pat and I hadn’t talked THAT long) and Giants won 12-3.   So I unplugged the phone and started the recording all over again.  But I’m telling you it really takes something out of the drama of the game when you already know the ending.

Next year I’m going to the  game, I don’t care where it’s being played, and I’m turning off that pesky phone.  And then I’m petitioning Manfred and Congress to declare Opening Day henceforth to be April 16th, a National Holiday.





Nothing New about the “New Slide Rule”.

The basic premise of this rule has always been in effect.  They just didn’t use it.  It was always up to the umpires, but rather than getting out of their comfort zone, they chose to ignore it.  Really, just the name “Takeout Slides” defines the action.   It doesn’t always have to do with Chinese food or pizza.   Takeout in this context meaning;  “To cause to die; kill or destroy”.

umpire im thinking cartoon image

“I’m Thinking, I’m Thinking”

I don’t know.  I’m just saying the umpire is supposed to have total charge of the game.  In the Buster Posey-Darrell Cousins home plate slide, the umpire, who was standing directly over the play at the time it happened, even had the gall to rule the runner safe (which he was not).  Replay photos showed that Cousins plowed out of the baseline directly at Posey, who was standing out of the baseline and not on home plate, attempting to dislodge the ball from Posey, who never had the ball in the first place.  Posey was injured and out for the rest of the season, and this game was in April so it was a big deal!

This happened a lot.  Sure would be nice if some of these umpires would have stepped up to the plate (no pun intended) and said something like “No More! This ain’t gonna happen on my watch,” like the NFL did when they made it illegal to spear with their helmets, with no intentional blows to the head.

And now they’re calling it the Chase Utley Rule.  Yah – let’s keep Utley’s name alive and well for the glorious honor of breaking a guy’s leg with an illegal play. How about naming it the  “Ruben Tejada Rule, Marco Scutaro, Buster Posey, Ray Fosse  or the Willie Randolph Rule for the injured player instead of naming it for the guy who intentionally and maliciously attacked and injured a fellow ballplayer who was just trying to do his job?

The rule’s always been there.  The only thing that’s changed is the  instant replay part and a penalty that the runner and hitter are both out.  Here’s an idea!  Let’s leave the penalty in and add another …. like, automatically throwing the perpetrator out of the game.  Twice, and he’s out for the rest of the season.

scales of justiceBack in 2006, the Supreme Court of California ruled that baseball players in California  assume the risk of being hit by baseballs, even if the balls were intentionally thrown so as to cause injury.  The powers-that-be over at Major League Baseball must not have heard about this one, or we’d have to wait for another broken leg or two to get some action.

While writing this, I borrowed some excerpts from my post back  in February, 2014, “Revisiting the Posey Play – OR – Getting the Umpire out of his Comfort Zone.”