Category Archives: A4 Uncategorized

In Defense of the Hitting Pitcher ~

Getting a ‘Bum’ Rap

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

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 baseball-reference.com, 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).

 

 

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 week-end.phone 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.

 

 

 

 

Baseball Stats ….. Traditional vs Sabermetrics.

Getting ansy for baseball and it’s only February. I was browsing through some of my old posts and this was one of the more popular ones, and one of my favorites, probably because it’s still relevant. “Moneyball” came out two months after this post. I kind of thought I inspired the movie until I found out it was a book before it was a movie.

Garlicfriesandbaseball's Blog

A few months ago I signed up for the Annual SABR conference in Long Beach.  I wanted to learn about Sabermetrics,  the science of analyzing baseball  in unorthodox ways,  at least when compared with traditional “see ball, hit ball, run” stats. The term is derived from  SABR, which stands for the Society for American Baseball Research.

After reading everything I could get my hands on about the subject, I found this great  Sully video (what would we do without him?) and discovered everything I need to know about Sabermetrics, which is, I don’t need to know anything.

A few days ago a fellow BBA Blogger, Bryan O’Connor, wrote a post that relates to this very subject.  I had to save and read later, because I couldn’t understand it.  Here, see how you do with it ~ Bumgarnering Around …..

Wow!  How confusing is this stuff?  I jotted down a few…

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Loving Baseball … And No, Not Just Because it’s Valentine’s Day.

Report from 2012 ~ always relevant!

Garlicfriesandbaseball's Blog

It’s Valentine’s Day and I found the perfect little ditty to share with you.  I found it in all places in a teen magazine called,  “Teen Ink”.  Here’s an excerpt from the article:

For the Love of Baseball”  by Joyce, Monterey Park, CA.

We don’t just love baseball, don’t just watch baseball, don’t just talk about baseball – we live baseball and our team’s every season, every game, every inning, and every pitch. We cheer on the rookies and bow down to the retiring heroes. We drive home anxiously from work or school to catch the first pitch and stay up late to savor the closing of a great game. We feel the agony of errors, wild pitches, and blown saves. We argue balls, strikes, and close plays.

We understand and can distinguish between double plays such as the 6-4-3 and the 5-4-3. We appreciate a sacrifice bunt/hit to…

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“BACK TO BASEBALL!”

BACK TO BASEBALL SPRIG EDITION

Here’s something new from our Sounds of Baseball partner.  It was  contributed by Alan Babbitt.  Just in time for spring training, the song evokes the sublime feelings of the sights, sounds and feelings of childhood baseball memories. And, like Alan says, “Kinda gets you hankering for a good hot dog”.

 

To whet your appetite, here’s what he says about the original “Back to Baseball”:

“This song tells the true story of a boy growing up in Brooklyn in the 1950’s. It’s about the joy of 1st love and the heartbreak of losing it. And it’s about reflection, renewal and redemption. It’s even got a humorous, surprise ending!

Oh, yeah, it’s also about Baseball.”

Want more?  Go to Alan’s website:  https://alanbabbittmusic.bandcamp.com/track/back-to-baseball

WHAT’S THAT YOU SAY?

A Bluefoot Entertainment Production, www.bluefoot.tv

I found this as a text document, thinking Dustin Pedroia actually wrote it.  But a little research found it’s a New Balance commercial published in 2011, and I thought you might enjoy it.  Inspirational huh?  For everyone, but especially for the little guys, the kids.  And aren’t they really what it’s all about?

Here’s the text from the “Sounds of Baseball” Twitter page:

  • Tell me I’m five foot nothing.
  • Tell me I’ll be nothing.
  • Tell me I’m just a nice story.
  • Tell me my first year was a fluke.
  • My second year was a fluke.
  • Pedroia with Boston
  • That I’m a sentimental All-Star.  Three Times.
  • Tell me that someone is better.
  • That someone else works harder.
  • That baseball players aren’t warriors.
  • Tell me an athlete can’t make a difference.
  • How precious my time is.
  • Tell us what we can’t do.
  • Tell us who we can’t be.

        One of us is gonna be right.

 

 

 

 

 

FALLING DOWN ON THE JOB …

Those Classy Cards

Opening Day at AT&T Park

Not literally.  I’ve been on sort of a hiatus these past few months and now itching for spring training, opening day, first pitch, the crack of the bat and baseball season in general.  But to be perfectly honest I feel like I’ve been cheating a little here.

I live in the Bay Area and right now there’s something going on that’s taken hold of me and thousands of other non-assuming, “never-wanted-to-be fans-in-the-first-place” fans who’ve been taken off guard, no pun intended.  It’s called Warrior Mania and it’s not just about the phenom Steph Curry.  Never in a hundred years would I have thought I could sit through an entire pro basketball game.  High school, yes, because I was a mom and I had to. But the Pro’s?  Forget it.  Run up court, shoot, make it.  Run down court, shoot make it, and on and on.  Boring.

But my grandson Jake, who recently completed his tour of duty in the USMC, is a huge Trailblazer fan.  Our commonality has always been sports, mostly college football, some baseball, but sports in general.  We took a 10 day baseball trip with Diamond Baseball Tours back in 2004.  What a fantastic experience.  I’d recommend it to anyone.  But I digress.

A few months ago I was surfing channels, looking for the Trailblazer game on the telly so I could carry on a decent conversation with Jake.  Didn’t find it, but instead happened upon the last 3 minutes of a Golden State Warrior game.  The Warriors were behind by 12 or so, but this short little pip squeak (that’s what he looked like compared to all the big guys) scored two 3 pointers and a few more and they ended up winning the game…….it was shocking this huge rush of adrenaline I experienced!  It was exciting and all of a sudden I understood what steph curry 1basketball fans have always known.  There’s life after baseball.  Not exactly the same.  But I’ll tell you this.  Friday night when Steph Curry took that 50 foot shot from half-court with 1 second left on the clock before halftime and the ball didn’t even touch the top of the net but instead swished through that little piece of net on the bottom, I was baptized into the world of professional basketball.  Hallelujah!

38. Dog with teethI let out a spontaneous holler that scared the hell out of my little dog.  I’ve only had him for five months so I may have to put him on Benadryl when baseball season starts.  Or put a sock in my mouth.

So I’m back.  I’ve missed writing.  I’ve been reading a lot about the National League DH issue and can’t wait to get my hands dirty again!