Monthly Archives: October 2010

BACK IN THE SADDLE ……… RANGERS WIN GAME 3.

Texas Rangers' Mitch Moreland

I predicted once the Texas Rangers landed at home on their range  they’d be in a comfort zone that would settle them down into playing what they’re totally capable of …… championship baseball.  And so they did.   It wasn’t a spectacular game, actually I found it rather non plus, but Texas got the job done and that’s what they set out to do.  Giants appeared to show up to see what a real Texas stadium looked like and decided to stay for awhile.   Maybe today’s game will have a little more action and excitement.   Probably the most exciting part of the game for me was the Texas Ranger fans.  They showed up to support their Rangers and they did just that, especially after  Mitch Moreland slammed a 3 run homer off of Jonathon Sanchez in the 2nd.  The Rangers never gave up the lead and beat the SF Giants 4-2.   I watched the game again this morning and, all things considered, Jonathan Sanchez didn’t pitch a bad game and Colby Lewis didn’t pitch a great game, good enough to win, but not great.   Interestingly, Sanchez is scheduled to pitch the 7th game if necessary and it has all the local pundits in hysteria.  No more Sanchez, no way, can’t happen, he’s lost his stuff, 10 lashes, etc.  But the edge in this game was the home run by Moreland.  Without it, the score’s 2-2.  Buster Posey stood by that Sanchez pitch  in a postgame interview and said he called the pitch, it was the right pitch to call considering Moreland’s history, but against all odds and logic  Moreland nailed it, and that was the deciding factor in the game.   It happens.   The Texas Rangers needed to win this game and they won it.   I love watching post game commentary and interviews and in almost all of them last night, credit for the win was given to, who else?   The fans!    Don’t underestimate the value of home field advantage.   It’s chicken soup for the soul of the players and they know it.   Texas had a much

Arlington Park

better at home record this past season than the Giants, who also have a great and vocal fan base, but the Rangers also have a stadium capacity of  almost 10,000 more than the Giants.  Okay, okay, sure the players have something to do with this, but I’m just saying, the fans are the backbone of baseball.  That’s where the money comes from folks!  And it’s not just the fans that love their teams, the teams love them right back and show their appreciation by …… winning!  Just like the Texas Rangers did back home on the range and back in the saddle.  Home sweet home!

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TEXAS CAIN-SAW MASSACRE ~ GAME 2.

Geez, I know, it’s a really bad title, but it is almost Halloween.  I thought about “Giants Smoke Rangers“, but with all the San Francisco pot stories and ballot measures promoting the stuff right now, I didn’t like that one either, so here it is ~ SF Giants 9, Texas Rangers -0-.    First, let me say, this was a really close game.  Close until the 8th inning and then the bottom fell out of the saddle for the  Texas Rangers.  Up until that time it was a knuckle-grinder and anything could have happened with just one pitch and one hit.  As Aubrey Huff said after the game, the score was really  technically 2-0, and I agree.   It was a wild and crazy 8th inning.  Every game in the post season the

Matt Cain

Giants have managed to come up with a different hero, so there’s not one really spectacular player that stands out about this team.  It’s been like that all year.  This time it was  Matt Cain, record breaking, torture-ending, masterful Matt Cain.  And it was also Edgar Renteria.   Edgar Renteria?  Who’s Edgar Reneria.   See what I mean?  No one’s ever heard of the guy, just like you’ve never heard of   Cody Ross or Juan Uribe or Tim Lincecum.   (Well, maybe Lincecum since he’s a two time Cy Young Award Winner!)   I don’t want to spend a lot of time on this game because, to tell you the truth, in spite of my euphoria for the Giants, I felt bad for the Texas Rangers.  I felt especially bad for Derek Holland,  the young pitcher they brought  in in the 8th Inning, who allowed 3 runs and 3 walks before they finally took him out.  I ‘m still

Edgar Renteria

pondering why Manager Ron Washington left him in so long.  Bochy would have had him out after the first run.  The fact is they’re a much better team than what they showed last night and everyone knows it.  We’ve all been there with really bad games you just want to forget and get past and move on to the next.   But as the Rangers’ Josh Hamilton explained after the game, “Obviously they (Giants)  have the momentum right now, but it sort of felt that way even before the first game started”.   Next game will be at the Texas Rangers table with fan support behind them and I’m thinking it’s gonna be one of those low scoring, close games again.  That’s what the SF Giants are used to.   And besides, Halloween’will be here and gone soon and things can get back to normal.

(Note about Matt Cain.   After last night’s game, Andrew Baggarly, who’s a beat writer with the SJ Mercury News, said he asked Matt why he hadn’t tipped his cap to the crowd and their wild standing ovation for him, and Matt said “Can’t do it with a runner on base.  Just didn’t seem right.”   He had just issued a one out walk and there was still work to be done.  And that’s why he’s so admired and respected by his teammates and the  Giants fans.    Matt Cain, a real team player with a lot of integrity.  Does your heart good doesn’t it?  Just another example of a real class act!  GFBB)

“TEXAS CAN’T HOLD EM” ~ Game 1. Rangers and Pundits Lose!

Whodathunk it?  I had almost as much fun watching the sports pundits after the game than watching the game itself.  Well, almost.   The Giants had no chance, nada, zilch, zero, of beating Cliff Lee in game one of this World Series.  None!  I mean, after all, Cliff Lee had never lost a playoff game.  Won 10, Loss  0!  Whew, who wants to go up against those odds?   I almost believed it myself.  So after the game, when the pundits came slithering out from under the rocks, it was just a lot of fun to listen to their enlightened jibberish.   I believe it’s called “eating crow”?   As Joe buck said in his post-game commentary, “Don’t listen to us folks.  We don’t know anything!”  

The thing that puzzles me about the  Giants getting absolutely no respect before the game, and still now, even after the  game, is the  way they made it to the World Series in the first place.    This is a team of self-proclaimed misfits and oddballs, picked up from the trash heaps of other teams, a couple of rookies, and one helluva pitching staff.    In August, this team was 6 1/2 games behind in the NL West, but they scratched and clawed and fought off not only the San Diego Padres, but also a very good Colorado Rockies team to prevail.  They willed their way to the NL West Championship.    They were the underdog as they advanced to the NLDS against Atlanta, under the leadership of  Bobby Cox, destined to extend his career a few more games.   But, once again,  against the odds, the Giants won the National League Division Series against Atlanta!

So now the pundits had a ball!   I mean now the Giants had to face the Philadelphia Phillies, defending National League Champions, two years in a row, and World Series Champions only a year ago!   Their ace, Roy Halladay, as good as it gets, pitched a “no hitter” against the Cincinnati Reds,  enroute to the NLDS this year, and the Reds were no pansies.  To solidify the belief, earlier in the year Halladay had thrown a perfect game!   And it wasn’t just Halladay, they also had to face Roy Oswalt, a fastball pitcher who the Phillies acquired from Houston specifically for this reason, to dominate in the playoffs.   Again, Phillies fans lost a lot of money through their bookies over this series.   Giants beat the Philadelphia Phillies and won the National League Pennant in 6.

So what’s it going to take?  Headlines all over the country projected the Texas Rangers to win the World Series.  Everywhere except in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Even the Los Angeles papers ….. (whoops forget it, that’s Dodger country, doesn’t count!  i.e., LA Times article today by “Bill Shaikin ~ San Francisco takes advantage of a less-than-sharp effort by the highly regarded left-hander on a night when Tim Lincecum is not exactly crisp.”)  Cracks me up, but you know what?  He’s right!   And that’s baseball folks!  And you know what else?   The SF Giants may NOT win the World Series.  But if they do, it will be because they WILLED it, and not because of anything the Rangers and pundits have to say.    Baseball, don’t you just love it?

SF Giants and a wannabe Rodeo Clown ~ Going to the Ship!

 The “Ship” is short for Championship as Sergio Romo explained to us diehard fans after last night’s game.   I stayed up for hours watching the late night commentaries on all the sports channels.  Just couldn’t get enough!   Duane Kuiper, our local television and radio commentator of team Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper, coined the phrase mid-season “Giants Games   ~ Torture!” and boy did it stick!   Whew!    The statistics for their one run games pretty much explains it all.  I seriously considered not watching the bottom of the 9th last night!  Instead I chose to leave the room with my radio and headphones and sit in a corner overcome by a huge anxiety attack!  This was fun!  Fun, like getting your finger stuck in a light socket, or pulling  your toenails out one at a time.  Nothing comes easy for Giants fans.  Is that why we love these guys so much?  Endurance? 

All I can say is I’ve been a Giants fan for many, many years and I can never remember a team of players quite like this group.    Misfits?  Probably.   Oddballs?  Oh sure.  Endearing?  Absolutely!    They have so many tags this year, it’s hard to know where to start.   Black beards in the bullpen, Aubrey Huff’s red thong for good luck, Cody Ross, the wannabe Rodeo Clown, Timmy Lincecum’s long black hair flowing out from his cap, and his minor infraction this summer with the law, Barry Zito, most expensive paid cheerleader in history, sitting on the  bench through the entire playoffs with his $18,000,000 Annual Salary, supporting his teammates. 

But along with the idiosyncracies the Giants organization weaned a couple of rookies off their farm program this year and what a couple of rookies they turned out to be.  I don’t know what they’re feeding and teaching the kids down in the Fresno area, but boy does it work!  Rookies  Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner both played key roles throughout the season after being called up this Spring, but also contributed immensely in the postseason .  It gave me a huge thrill to watch the two of them, Bumgarner the Pitcher and Posey the Catcher,a couple of kids performing in postseason in the 6th Game of the NLCS against the current champion Philadelphia Phillies, doing their job like the young pro’s they are.   My guess is they’ll be around  for many years and, Lord willing, in San Francisco. Well for whatever reason, the chemistry works for both the players and the fans, and the fans aren’t going away anytime soon!   

I’ve tried not to dwell on the incredible odds the Giants were up against with the Phillies who were the hands down favorites in every aspect.  But I’d like to mention

Madison Bumgarner, Postseason Play

something here that’s been bugging me for years.  The very worst of the worst of sports announcers has to be without a doubt  Fox Sports “Buck & McCarver”.  At one point in Game 1, the Fox commentators made a comment about how “bored Halladay must be, throwing strikes and retiring players.  He probably thought he was back in the minors and what a piece of cake” or some such trivia as this,  at which point Cody Ross  blasted a home run out of the park and silenced the dribble at least momentarily.  In the next game, the same illustrious announcers announced that some had referred to this year’s Giants team as a bunch of  “idiots”.  Then went on to explain it was the same term used for the Boston Red Sox the year they won the World Series, as though that somehow justified the comment.   Another time they were busy showing pictures and

Fox Sports' Buck & McCarver

about Alcatraz while missing pitches and activity at the bases.  But you know what really bugged me?   In Game 6 the Buck & McCarver had a mindless conversation about how Buster Posey would never make it as a catcher, and probably would be more suited to “leftfield”.  (Note:  See Johnny Bench’s comments regarding Buster Posey as a catcher  http://www.mercurynews.com/giants/ci_16344094?nclick_check=1 ).   Probably the hardest part to sit through with these guys was that final out.  Whew, might as well have been teatime  ~ thank God for my  Walkman!  1These guys musta had a lot of money bet on the Phillies.   How else can you explain the complete ambivalence towards the Giants?   And, good grief,  we get to listen to them for the World Series?   (Gotta remember to get batteries for the Walkman.)  Where do they get these guys? Wherever it is, I wish they’d send them back!   We want our own announcers in the broadcast booth, doing what they do best.  Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper, true professionals, and I truly missed them during the entire playoff season!  For what it’s worth!

Cody Ross, NLCS MVP

And so, in spite of the odds, the San Francisco Giants, with beards, thongs and a wannabe Rodeo Clown are going to the  World Series to meet their worthy opponents, the formidable  Texas Rangers, under the ownership of one of  baseball’s greatest, Nolan Ryan.  Best of luck to both teams!   This is gonna be fun!  See y’all on Wednesday!

Texas Rangers ALCS Champions! No Tea Party here folks!

Texas Rangers (baseball)

Image via Wikipedia

Josh Hamilton was named MVP of the American League Championship Series as his Texas Rangers whooped the New York Yankees into submission yesterday and grabbed the AL Pennant for the first time in their long history.  When he was asked about the award you couldn’t help but be impressed.  Here’s what he had to say: 

“I love my teammates. I love them so much. Any of these guys could have gotten this award. I’m happy to have them. At the same time ,  I don’t want to talk about myself, I want to talk about them!  WE are the reason we’re here. The chemistry on the team is something like I’ve never known anywhere.  All the guys love each other and we support each other.”

Texas Rangers on winning the ALCS

Manager Ron Washington said basically the same thing, acknowledging this was the best group of players he’s ever worked with.   The Texas Rangers chemistry among each other seems to be contagious.   Most would agree that the players on any team have to get along with each other, maybe not “like” each other but for sure they have to get along.  Sometimes that promotes a winning team and sometimes not, but for sure these guys seem to really and truly “like” each other.  This  is evident in all the clubhouse interviews, on the field rapport, and articles written throughout this year.   I don’t know very much about the Texas Rangers, but I have to be honest here,  you can’t help but like these guys,  each and every one of them!  

Josh Hamilton, MVP

I decided not to write about all the great plays and statistics from this series.  They were impressive and you can read all about them in the “Related Articles” below.   But if you read my earlier blog about the Yankees and their tea party mentality, you gotta love these guys.   This is the first time in their history they’ve won a Pennant and it does my heart good to see a bunch of guys whooping and hollering and jumping around like they really, really appreciate being here.  Whatta series and what an accomplishment!   Great win for the Texas Rangers.  They deserve it!

Bobby Cox Going on a Cruise! …….. A Player’s Manager Retires.

I never knew much about Bobby Cox.  Oh sure, I heard a lot about him through the years.  After all he’s been managing the Braves since 1986 and it seems his name was always out there, usually for arguing with the umps or being ejected from a game, not necessarily what you want to be known for.  But during this last playoff series and especially during his last interview, I was struck by one comment he made.  It referred to a controversial call by an umpire at 2nd base.   The play was a head-first slide by Giants’ Buster Posey into 2nd and a safe call by the ump.   Replay shows Posey was clearly out, and it ended up being a deciding factor in the 1 run win by the Giants over Atlanta and eventually eliminated Atlanta from the series, ending Cox’s career.  Yet Bobby Cox didn’t utter a peep! Why?

On August 14, 2010, Bobby Cox broke the  MLB ejections record with 131 career ejections.   He’s a player’s manager.  Just getting ejected certainly doesn’t make one great, but when Bobby Cox got ejected he was doing it for the right reason.  He wasn’t just arguing a call to get the ump to change his mind, or to grandstand, or slow up the game.  He was always arguing in defense of his players.  Always!   He was out there every game defending his players, trying to even up the playing field making sure the other team wasn’t getting an unfair advantage.    When he felt his players had been treated unfairly by a call, he never, ever backed down.  That is his legacy. 

In an interview after this last game Cox was asked about that call at 2nd base.  He was told the replay clearly showed the runner was out and was asked why he didn’t challenge the call.  After all, his career and reputation was built on challenging umpire calls these past 32 years.  His response surprised me.   The reason he didn’t challenge the call was simple.   He was watching his 2nd baseman and outfielders and they showed no reaction.  Had any of them reacted as though they thought the runner was out, he would have been out on that field immediately in protest of the call.  Cox said it’s impossible to see what’s going on from the manager’s viewpoint so he’s always trusted his player’s reactions on how the play should have been called.  That’ s how he managed his entire career and his players loved him for it.   Of course, some players could easily have taken advantage of Bobby’s trust in them and I’m sure they did, but they always knew he had their back and that’s how loyalties are made.

I could write pages and pages about the career of this man.  It might surprise you that he only played in the major leagues for two years, as a 3rd baseman for the New York Yankees.   And did you know he ranks 4th on the Baseball All-time Managerial “Wins”  list?    It goes on and on.  Check out the  Related Articles below.  They’ll keep you reading for days.  

The team got together and gave Bobby and his wife a going away gift.  It’s a cruise and they’re leaving next April!   April?   That’s the beginning of another baseball season!   You don’t retire from baseball.   No one retires from baseball.   Welcome to Baseball Fandom Bobby Cox.   The only thing that’s changed is the players!

“Don’t Stop Believing” ……….SF Giants Version

Sorry,  I just couldn’t resist.    I guess it’s because I belong to so many Giants Blog Groups I keep finding these things, but honest, I’ll post  the really good ones about other teams as I come across them.  This is one of  those and I wanted to share it with you.   Steve Perry from Journey fame is an avid Giants fan so his handprint’s all over this video.  Thanks for indulging me one more time!    GFBB