Category Archives: A1 Baseball, General

Shortstop takes a Hit of a Different Kind ……Video

 Video courtesy of YouTube and posted by sbjones20061

Back in July, as part of a pre-game ceremony, Chicago State Shortstop, Mattingly Romanin, became an unintended consequence of a mishap on the field.   As a skydiver was making an approach to the field he landed squarely on the head/shoulders of Mattingly as he was standing near second base watching the performance.

No one was hurt in the incident, but the following day young Mattingly tweeted “I feel like I got kicked in the face yesterday …..” but I’m sure his actual feelings were more like “He tried to hit me with a forklift” which is totally understandable.  In any event, the video says it all.

Happy Mother’s Day – Pink Bats and all!

This is a copy of a BLOG I posted last year on Mother’s Day ~ it’s still relevant.  Hope you enjoy it!

‘PINK BATS A PERFORMANCE ENHANCER?  YOU DECIDE!

Occasionally I’ll find an article so unique I’m tempted to “plagiarise”!   This is one of those articles, but reprinted with permission from a really hard-working blogger who went to an amazing amount of work to produce this delightful piece for all of us!   Thanks to Mike Clair at  Old Time Family Baseball  for sharing this. 

 “There’s something wonderful about seeing a group of men finally stop the macho act and swing pink bats in honor of their mothers and to help the fight against breast cancer. (Plus, baseball players can finally realize how well pink complements their skin tones.) In lieu of a full game recap for the Mother’s Day games, I thought I would collect a master list of the players who did or did not use pink bats and finally see if ones love for their mother is a performance enhancer.A few ground rules:

  • This does not take into account players wearing pink accessories, only their bats.
  • I counted the starting nine on each team, so any pink-bat-swinging pinch-hitters or late-game substitutions have been left out.
  • I used MLB.tv footage as my guide, so if I couldn’t tell the color of a players bat, I considered it a non-pink bat. Some players like Brian Roberts appeared to have a a little bit of pink of around the handle of the bat, but because it was so pale and hard to identify, they were left out.
  • Due to a lack of a variety of things, time being among them, I have only used hits, at-bats, home runs, RBI, and runs scored as my guide. Sorry, my sabermetric brethren, maybe next year. 
  • I’m only one man, so any updates or corrections can be sent here or left in the comments.

Without further adieu:   Pink Bats: 685 AB, 193H, .285 BA, 15 HR, 85 RBI, 84 R

Non-Pink: 287 AB, 42 H,  .216 BA, 6 HR,  27 RBI, 31 R

Is this just a small sample size, do better hitters choose pink bats more often, or is there a Mother’s Day boost? That will have to wait for next year to see if the numbers are straightened out, but here are some notes:

  • Pink batters clearly did better, hitting nearly 70 points higher than their non-pink counterparts.
  • Pink batters also homered once ever 45.67 AB compared to 47.83 for people who don’t love their mothers. 
  • 187 of the 270 starters used pink bats, good for 69% of the Major League population.
  • Neither Hairston brother swung a pink bat.
  • Derek Jeter and A-Rod didn’t use pink bats. Alex Rodriguez clearly hates mothers while Derek Jeter didn’t want to detract attention from breast cancer survivors. 
  • Yorvit Torrealba used a bat with a black handle and pink barrel, the only player I noticed with such a combination.
  • Rockies starters who didn’t swing pink sticks? They went 0-17. Love your mothers, fellas.

Click here for individual team and player info.

 Final note, only players who used pink bats are listed. Consider this to be the master list of 2011 pink bat users as it will be updated if new information becomes available.”

San Francisco Giants 2013 World Series Ring Raffle!

2013 World Series Ring!

2013 World Series Ring!

HERE’S AN UPDATE TO OUR WORLD SERIES RING RAFFLE OF 2011. 

https://secure.mlb.com/sf/community/gcf/ring_raffle.jsp

World Series Ring Raffle to benefit Giants Community Fund

Tiffany & Co. has generously donated a ring to be raffled off with proceeds benefitting the Giants Community Fund. The Giants World Series Ring Raffle offers fans the chance to win a 2010 World Series Championship ring, identical to the rings given to Giants players and coaches. The ring will be personalized with the winner’s last name. Continue reading

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 Writers ~ Who Cuts the Mustard and Who Cares?

This week the Baseball Writers Association of America has been in the news.  It’s been in the news a lot.   For only the second time in its history the Association has failed to name one eligible baseball player worthy of entering the Hall of Fame.  

So I’m pondering this little ditty thinking about Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens and their alleged partaking of performance enhancing drugs, and thinking about the BBWAA.  Who are these people?  What are their credentials?  Why does it matter what they think?   When I read their membership list I’m surprised that I only recognize a couple dozen or so names.  Most of the names that would have been at the top of my favorite baseball writers list aren’t even listed as members of  this association.  

The primary purpose of the BBWAA  is to assure clubhouse and press-box access, and to elect players to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  That’s it, at least according to Wikipedia.  All writers with 10 years membership in the BBWAA are eligible to vote for the Hall of Fame.   It was founded in 1908 and as far as the baseball world is concerned, the sun rises and sets with this organization, and my question is “why”?

I compiled a list of  a few of my favorite baseball writers and tried to give a reason why, though sometimes it’s not apparent even to me.   These are good writers because what they write makes me want to read more, even after I’ve finished reading their articles.   Note that none of these have BBWAA associated with their names.  They might be a member, but it’s not known to me and honestly I could care less whether they’re a member or not.  

JON STEINER.  I discovered Jon back in April, 2011, while researching a piece I was doing on the Cleveland Indians and the lack of attendance at their beautiful ballpark.   His blog, “Waiting for Next Year” was written like I talk so it was an easy read and I was sorry when it ended.  I don’t know a thing about this guy, just that I’d buy his book if I ever found out he wrote one.   Here’s the April 5, 2011 article that made Jon the ultimate writer in my mind.  “Some Thoughts on the Indians’ Record Setting Attendance.” 

ALEX PAVLOVIC.  I’ve been following this writer for the past several years as he stood in the shadows of Andrew Baggarly at the San Jose Mercury News.  When Baggs left last year to join the ComCast News Group, Alex stepped up big-time.   I like writers who are  up-front, in your face, and don’t try to sugar coat interviews and the news.  You know, just put it out there and let me decide what my opinion is about the subject.   That’s what this guy’s about.  He writes a blog, “Giants Extra“, that I read on a regular basis and always look forward to his meanderings. 

BRYAN O’CONNOR.  My acquaintance with Bryan began when he made some astute comments on one of my blogs a few years ago, so I checked him out and my mind’s still whirling.  His blog is “Replacement Level Baseball” and I’m not sure why he doesn’t write professionally for the main stream media, but goodie for us that he doesn’t.  It gives him more time to overwhelm us with his baseball knowledge.  Warning:  He’s a Bill James sabremetrics fan and goes way over my head on occasion.   But here’s a recent analysis of his personal “Hall of Fame Ballot” vote, if he had one, that was especially entertaining.   

JONATHAN HACOHEN.  But of course Jonathan’s one of my favorite writers.  He was very generous with his review of my book “Garlic Fries and Baseball” and I’ve been reeling ever since.  But before the review I had already subscribed to “MLB Reports” that Jonathan founded in 2010.  He’s been writing baseball for over twenty years and if he had a specialty I’d have to say it was his in-depth interviews, done only as he can do them.  His website is growing leaps and bounds and I rather miss that he doesn’t personally write as often now, but I latch onto whatever he does write as soon as it’s posted to my “Inbox”.  

CRAIG CALCATERRA.   I really hate to admit that I like this guy’s writings so much because, to tell you the truth,  a lot of what he writes irritates the socks off me.   I rarely agree with anything he says.  But it’s the way in which he says it that kind of grabs you, hooks you and draws you in.   Usually when I read one of his articles I find myself running to Wikipedia or other resource material just so I can prove him wrong, which I rarely do, because most of what he writes is opinion as he’s quick to point out.  Craig writes for NBC Sports HardBall Talk  and I guess the reason he’s on my favorite baseball writers list is because, whether we agree or not,  I always look forward to reading whatever little morsel he decides to throw my way for the day.

HENRY SCHULMAN.   Hank Schulman writes “The Splash” for the San Francisco Chronicle.  He’s a full-fledged newspaperman, sports reporter and columnist, with sports jacket and everything.  When he starts off with “I just talked with Bruce Bochy “or whoever it might be that morning, it grabs my attention and I latch on to every word.  He’s that “if it’s written it’s real”  type of writer.   He’s one of those guys you’d most like to have dinner with, have a conversation with.  You know what I mean.  There’s a thousand stories in there somewhere and I’d like to hear them all.  But in the meantime I’m content with reading the morning paper with my morning coffee and telling my hubby, “Guess what Hank Schulman said today?”  My husband gets it. 

Baseball writers each have their own style of writing; some you like and some you don’t.  And that’s okay.   This year the BBWAA decided to make the Hall of Fame vote into a popularity contest and that’s okay too.  I mean if they want to tell us which players cut the mustard and which ones don’t, who the hell cares? 

Really, who cares, because baseball fans have always made up their own mind on this type of thing and, after all, in the court of public opinion, isn’t that what really matters?

UPDATE:  “Get the Media out of the Honoring Business” New York Times 1/15/13   http://bats.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/11/get-the-media-out-of-the-honoring-business/?smid=fb-share

The Annual “Congressional Baseball Game”

             “Ron Paul Stars in 1983 Congressional Baseball Game”

congressional baseball flyerTo tell you the truth, I never heard of our congressman playing an annual baseball game.  From 1909 to 1949 both teams were filled with members of the House.  Members of the Senate were not prohibited from playing, they just didn’t participate.  Separate teams are comprised of Republicans and Democrats who play against each other.   The games are played for charity and they raise more than $100,000 annually for local area charities in the District of Columbia. 

"Congressman Ron Paul" in the Line-up

“Congressman Ron Paul” in the Line-up

Rep. Ron Paul of Texas was on the Republican team in the 1980’s.  He was elected to the Roll Call Congressional Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012 and was the first player  in the history of  this series to hit an over-the-wall home run in 1979.  In the 1983 game, shown in the above video,  Paul went 2 for 3 and is considered one of the best players to have played in the annual game.  This particular game ended in a 17-17 Tie. 

Originally each team had “Republicans” or “Democrats” embroidered on their uniforms but in recent years teammates  wear uniforms of the teams from their congressional district or home state.  Games have been held historically throughout the Washington, D. C. area and in the past few years have been played at the newly built Nationals Park. 

Back in 1914 the baseball game interrupted an Appropriations bill debate on Civil War cotton damage because there wasn’t a quorum present.  It seems they were all at the baseball game.  The House eventually resumed with a quorum when rain interrupted the game, but nothing was decided as the members apparently still had their minds on the unfinished game, which brings me to the reason I decided to write this little ditty.

"Democrats Win Trophy 2011"

“Democrats Win Trophy 2011”

I wonder how much could have been accomplished if congress had decided to take the budget hearings out to the ballpark this year.  I don’t understand much about the “fiscal cliff” but it has something to do with the budget and debt reduction.   Can’t you just see Harry Reid, John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi, all decked out in their uni’s, socks pulled high, waiting for the challenge?   I know, I know ~ it’s no laughing matter, but it makes me chuckle just to think about it.   A decision was finally made three hours before the midnight EST deadline tonight, when the Senate agreed to a deal to avert the fiscal cliff.   The House will vote later.

Hopefully, they’ll be able to take to the ballpark for the final vote before April when the regular season starts.  I don’t know why, but things seem to happen on a timely basis at the ballpark ~ results oriented you know?   Who knows, it just might work!

“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!

This Day in History …… Designated Hitter 10th Man On

“December 10, 1972The American League adopts the designated hitter rule on a trial basis for three years.”  Forty years later we’re still stuck with it.   Whether you like the DH or not pretty much depends on which league your favorite team plays for. 

cartoon- scared baseballI’m a bit obsessed with this designated hitter thing.   I mean why not have a designated catcher that doesn’t have to do anything except “catch”.  Once the opponent has a runner on third, the DC can step in and take the hits for the regular catcher as the runner heads for home , thereby assuring the regular catcher’s safety.  The next inning, or maybe even the next play, the regular catcher can resume his position at the plate.

I tackled the subject earlier this year when I wrote about it based mostly on fact, but also with a tad bit of emotion:

“The official rules of Major League Baseball, Rule 1.01, states clearly:

Baseball is a game between two teams of nine players each …..”

I’ve been trying to wrap my arms around the designated hitter since it was first introduced by the American League back in 1973, but Official Rule, 1.01, that first rule of baseball, keeps getting in the way.    The Designated Hitter Rule got thrown into MLB Miscellany as an official rule which states that a hitter may be designated to bat for the starting pitcher  in any game.   This came about in 1973 and the “any game” thing meant not only the American League but also the National League.

This was news to me.  I never realized the National League had a choice in the matter.  But for some reason I can’t explain I’ve always thought the National League to be just a little superior in that they played the game with nine players as the game was originally intended to be played,  not with the ten players the AL chose  to protect their prima donna  pitchers from getting a little ruffled.”

I can’t imagine any scenario that would allow me to wholeheartedly accept this notion.  If anyone has any ideas, other than you’re trying to protect the pitcher, I’d like to hear them.   It’s rather like a sacred cow you know, and it’s one of the  reasons I find the National League just a little superior to the American League.  

zoe at the ballparkOkay then.  I got that off my chest this morning.  Wonder what’s in store for the rest of the day?

“Happy Birthday Zoe!”

It Pays to Win A World Series !! How Much Did they Make??

Reprinted from SI.COM.  

NEW YORK (AP) – A full postseason share for the World Series champion San Francisco Giants was worth a record $377,003, breaking the mark that had stood since the 2006 St. Louis Cardinals.

In the first year of the expansion of the playoffs from eight teams to 10, the players’ pool was a record $65.36 million, Major League Baseball said Monday. The previous mark of $59.1 million came in 2009.

The Giants split $23.5 million, voting 50 full shares, partial shares equivalent to another 11.1, and 12 cash awards. All-Star outfielder Melky Cabrera, suspended for the final 45 games of the regular season and the division series, automatically received a full share without his teammates having to make a decision.

Under baseball’s joint drug agreement, he was eligible for his share because his suspension ended in time for him to be on the active roster for a majority of the Giants’ postseason games, even though San Francisco decided not to use him. Under Major League Rule 45, he gets a full share because he was with the team from June 1 on.

Cabrera, the All-Star game MVP, became a free agent last week and agreed to a $16 million, two-year contract with Toronto.

San Francisco’s full share was up from $323,170 for the 2011 champion Cardinals and $317,631 on the 2010 Giants.

A full share on the AL champion Tigers was worth $284,275, up from $251,516 for last year’s Texas Rangers.

The players’ pool included 50 percent of the gate receipts from the two wild card games, and 60 percent from the first three games of each division series and the first four games of each league championship series and the World Series.

Full shares were worth $122,558 for the Cardinals, $115,065 for the New York Yankees, $37,865 for the Cincinnati Reds, $37,045 for the Washington Nationals, $34,826 for the Baltimore Orioles, $34,325 for the Oakland Athletics, $19,609 for the Atlanta Braves and $16,999 for the Rangers.

Shares are split among the 10 postseason teams. In the past, they were divided among the eight playoff teams and the four second-place teams that failed to reach the postseason.

49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was drafted by the Cubs in 2009

GFBB NOTE:  Ever since Alex Smith, QB for the 49ers appeared at a news conference wearing a SF Giants cap, and then threw out the first pitch at the 2012 NLDS game at AT&T Park, there’s been a real fondness between the SF Giants and the SF 49ers, especially since the NFL threatened to fine Smith if he kept wearing the Giants cap at NFL functions.   It made Smith sort of a hero in my mind.   The mutual admiration society continues as we learn today that yesterday’s hero, back-up QB Colin Kaepernick, was also a standout pitcher in high school and had to choose between football and baseball scholarships for college.  We might just have another Montana-Young combo in the works here folks.  It will be interesting to see how this one plays out.

“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.

Related articles