Tag Archives: Barry Zito

Game 1 Continued. “Will Bamboo Be Declared a PED?”

“Verlander Meets the Panda”

Whoa!  Sorry.  I just couldn’t resist this picture sent via Facebook by Dan Schlossberg with his caption “Wonder if bamboo will be declared a PED?”

Don’t worry though.  We know Justin Verlander is safe and sound in the Visitor’s Dugout at AT&T Park tonight.   But I thought I should post this for the benefit of tonight’s starting pitcher, Doug Fister.  You just can’t be too careful these days.

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Game 1. Paper Tigers Tamed by a Panda and a Bear (Barry Zito that is)!

So today I’m making a huge batch of caramel corn getting ready to settle in for the first game of the World Series, and still pinching myself trying to figure out how the Giants ended up in the series.   It wasn’t supposed to be this way.   I had it all figured out a few months ago that either Washington or Cincinnati would be representing the NL this week and I was fine with that.  I mean spread it around.  I’m still reveling in our 2010 World Series victory and nothing will ever take that away.

But fate intervened and the San Francisco Giants survived the regular season and so it begins.  Tim McCarver was in usual form and talked non-stop for five minutes about the miraculous powers of the unbeatable, unstoppable Justin Verlander, pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, and the additional weapons in the form of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder.  And I agreed.  I figured we’d lose the first game for sure, and probably the next two also, and then win the last four in a row.  I don’t know why, but that’s the way the Giants have been doing things in San Francisco lately.

“Barry Zito 1st Game 2012 World Series”

You all know I don’t write about the game per se, or the  scoreboard or statistics because they’re so readily available but there’s always some little thing that stands out, something that grabs my attention.  And there was a lot of that surrounding those wild and crazy Giants tonight;  Pablo Sandoval’s incredible first three at bats ending in three home runs, Barry Zito’s revival with one of the best curve balls in the game (what a performance!) and Gregor Blanco’s two incredible diving catches in right field and much more as they came together perfectly as a team.

“Verlander with pitching coach, Jeff Jones, in 3rd Inning”

But I’m still smiling when I think of Justin Verlander standing on the mound in the bottom of the 4th inning,  when Manager Jim Leyland walked out of the dugout, to the mound, and asked Verlander for the ball.  All the time Leyland was walking from the dugout towards Verlander, the cameras were on Verlander and all that time he had a smile on his face.  And it wasn’t a smirk.  It was a smile as if to say, “Wow, where the hell did these guys come from?”  because I think he was just as surprised as the rest of us were.  I’m a Giants fan and I’m sure I’m supposed to act like I knew they were going to do this, but I didn’t.  I don’t think anyone did, except maybe the Giants themselves.  I’ll bet the bookies in Vegas were sweating through the entire game because when I read the odds in the paper this morning it said “Tigers over Giants ~ Odds: -178, or something like that.  I don’t even know what that means?  Who’s ever seen odds like that anyway?  This is the same Tiger team who beat the New York Yankees in 4 straight games  in best of 7 this year to win the AL Pennant and get to this World Championship Series.

What I liked about Verlander’s attitude was his calm, cool and in-control demeanor.   Here’s a guy that’s a two-time Cy Young winner, had an incredible season and is probably used to everyone patronizing him and agreeing with everything he says and does.  But he didn’t appear angry or upset or anything, even though I’m sure he was disappointed.  He appeared to take it all in stride, like “It’s okay.  I’ll get them next time”.  And there’s a good chance he will.  And with a smile he walked to the dugout to watch the rest of the game.

I love my Giants and they played a fantastic game tonight, and I’ll watch it again, maybe twice, before I go to bed.   And tonight they beat the Detroit Tigers fair and square by a score of 8-3.   But I sure wasn’t expecting it.  It was a surprise.

And I sure hope I’m surprised three more times  just like this  in the remaining games of the  2012 World  Series.   Way to go and thank you Giants.  Whatta game it was!

Here I Go Again ……..”Oh, Those Classy Cardinals!”

“Zito handing over the ball”

This is filed under the “Just when you think you’ve seen it all” Category.  Barry Zito’s pitching was superb tonight  in Game 5 of the NLCS between the San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals.   He pitched a shut-out into the 8th Inning with 115 total pitches and the Giants won the game 5-0.  I was considering not even watching the game because I figured if the Cardinals won I’d watch the next game which would be Game 1 of the World Series and if the Giants won, I’d be able to watch them play again Sunday, in San Francisco, in front of their home crowd.  That way I could avoid watching the stressful nail-biter game I was sure it would be.   But that’s not what happened.  I mean it wasn’t a nail-biter.  

Something else happened at Busch Stadium tonight that probably happens a lot  in St. Louis but honestly I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before.  It was one of those emotional moments I live for in sports, an honor to witness, via the telly of course, and I couldn’t wait to write about it.

“St. Louis Cardinal Fans”

During the 8th Inning, Bochy decided to replace Zito for whatever reason Boche decides to do these things, and Barry Zito walked off the mound after a really spectacular pitching performance, a  shut-out.  He also contributed an RBI single to his efforts. And as he walked off the mound across the field toward the dugout, those crazy Cardinal fans did something really spectacular.  During this championship series game they stood up and gave Zito, the opposing pitcher who just zapped the spirit out of their home team, a standing ovation.  They knew tonight Zito was  the guy who put a door stop in their chance at least momentarily of winning the 2012 National League Pennant.  A win tonight for the St Louis Cardinals would have propelled them right into the World Series.   But that didn’t stop them from showing appreciation for a job well done.  These fans are from Missouri, the “Show Me State” and he showed them a job well done, and they said thank you.  

Just when you think you’ve seen it all.  I’ve always had a genuine fondness for the Cardinal fans.  I wrote about it last year on opening day “Those Classy Cardinals” and this is just another little reminder that the spirit of St Louis is alive and well and so is the spirit of baseball.   

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Capitalism Alive and Well in Baseball!

“Courtesy of Money Ball”

Last week I was perusing the San Francisco Giants website looking for tickets.  I  settled on two $46 tickets in the Premium Lower Box section, went through the hoops and hit the button only to find that the $46 tickets were now miraculously $150!   Here’s the Disclaimer that was shown on the page:

“Market pricing applies to all tickets. 
Rates can fluctuate based on factors affecting supply and demand.  Lock in your price and location today!”

What the heck is that all about?  I mean if you list something for a certain price shouldn’t that be the price you pay for it?   I’m just as much in favor of capitalism as the next guy, probably more so, and I’m not an attorney,  but shouldn’t this be considered false advertising?

I understand having different prices for different games.  For example,  a June 4th game between the Giants and the Dodgers is priced at $56 for a lower box seat but a game on August 3 between the Giants and the Padres is only $32 for the same seat.   I get it.  Nothing wrong with that.  But to buy a ticket advertised at a specific price and then find out “at checkout” that it’s three times the price you agreed to pay for it 10 seconds ago?  I don’t think so.  I wonder if other teams are doing this.  Ticket prices  should be published at the beginning of the season and remain the same throughout that season, or at least until you get a chance to click the purchase button.

“AT&T Park not the only game in town” Photo Courtesy of Gerald Carpenter

Needless to say, I cancelled the order I was working on and instead I’m flying down to San Diego in June to watch the Padres and Rangers at a price we agreed upon.  Okay, I realize with the air fare, hotel, meals, etc.,  it’s going to cost me a fortune.  But this is a protest purchase you know?  And it’s the principal of the thing.  I mean how many times do I have to keep paying for Zito’s salary?  Enough already.

One bright spot in the week.  We received an email from the Oakland A’s a few weeks ago offering $12 Field Level tickets on Mother’s Day.  And that’s exactly what they cost.  These were great front row seats, beautiful weather, friendly fans, and extremely friendly vendors and staff, and a beautiful pink rose to boot!  Needless to say, we’ll be back.

And we’re flying to Seattle and attending a Mariners game week after next.   If this is perceived as being disloyal, so be it.  I love my San Francisco Giants but I love baseball even more and I’m going to the games one way or another.

Like I said, it’s the principle of the thing.

Mad Bum & Posey……New Kids on the Block Game 4.

DISCLAIMER:  Today’s blog is absolutely 100% pro- Giants so I want you non-Giants fans to know it’s nothing personal, just something  I have to do!   Things’ll get back to normal soon…..

I wish I’d written this song.  I’m so emotional this morning I probably shouldn’t even be blogging, but couldn’t help myself.  Here are some interesting facts related to last night’s SF Giants 4-0 Win over the Texas Rangers.

  1. Texas is the first team since the 1966 Dodgers to be shut out twice in the same World Series.
  2. Bumgarner is the youngest (21) rookie to make a scoreless start of six innings or more in World Series history.
  3. Texas is the first team since the 1966 Dodgers to be shut out twice in the same World Series :))
  4. Bumgarner is just the second lefty ever to strike out Vlad Guerrero three times in a game, joining Al Leiter in 1998.

Madison Bumgarner

Whew, quite an order filled by Madison Bumgarner, this 21 year old rookie pitcher from Hickory, North Carolina, and his sidekick catcher,  another rookie, Buster Posey, age 23,  from  Leesburg, Georgia.   I mean, where do they get these guys?  I read an article this morning about last night’s DH, Aubrey Huff, you know, the rally thong guy?   Aubrey grew up  with his widowed mom, in a trailer park in Ft Worth, Texas.   Few have done as much with their lives with such humble beginnings as Aubrey has.  He relayed this story that says it all.  ”  I told my mom one day I wanted to be a professional baseball player.  I was probably 8 or 9 years old.  She bought me a batting cage on a Winn-Dixie salary.  I wouldn’t be here now if it wasn’t for her making that decision.”   I can envision this young kid setting that big batting cage up out in the drive-way in that

Huff & Bumgarner

mobile home park having the time of  his life hitting those balls day after day and happy as a clam doing it. Who

Buster Posey

knows where he’d be now if he didn’t have a mom who cared enough to want to make his dreams come true?   Being a mom who’s raised three really great boys who didn’t  always have the easiest of times growing up, this story is really emotional for me.   I’m sure every one of these Giants has a story to tell and I’d love to hear them all!   And the same goes for each of the Texas Rangers.  You’ve probably already heard the really inspiring  story about Josh Hamilton, who crawled back from the depths of drug addiction to become one of  the best baseball players in the country and has written a book about his life.   You’re probably wondering what all of this has to do with last night’s game.   I love baseball and to me most lessons in life can easily be applied to baseball.   I think last night’s game exemplifies the best in baseball, not because the Giants won, but because they won with the youngsters in the spotlight, the kids who are setting examples for the other kids.  Where do they get these guys?   They’re right in front of us, in our own homes and in our hometowns.  Usually it’s just a lot of hard work, and sometimes it’s just pure luck, but more often than not,  the kids just need a break .   The following poem was reprinted from The Baseball Almanac and says it quite simply and much better than I can:

The Reason for Rainbows
A Song to Baseballby J. Patrick Lewis
Published: Baseball Almanac
There was an Old Man of Late Summer
Met a Winter Boy out of the blue,
And he whisked him away
From the city one day
Just to show him what country boys do.
He taught him three whys of a rooster,
And he showed him two hows of a hen.
Then he’d try to bewitch him
With curveballs he’d pitch him
Again and again and again.
He taught him the reason for rainbows,
And he showed him why lightning was king,
Then he fingered the last ball—
A wicked hop fastball—
He threw to the plate on a string.
Oh, the Old Summer Man and the Young Winter Lad
Spent the light of each day—every moment they had—
In the wind and the rain, or the late summer sun,
Where he taught him to pitch and he taught him to run
In the wind and rain and the late summer sun.
But when that Old Man of Late Summer
Met the Winter Boy out of the blue,
He said to him, “Son,
You can pitch, you can run,
But to hit here is what you must do:
Just pretend that the stick on your shoulder
Is as wide as a bald eagle’s wing.
You’re a bird on a wire
And your hands are on fire—
But you’re never too eager to swing.
Stand as still as a rabbit in danger,
Watch the pitch with the eyes of a cat.
What will fly past the mound—
Unforgettable sound—
Is the ball as it cracks off the bat.”
Oh, the Old Summer Man and the Young Winter Lad
Spent the light of each day—every moment they had—
In the wind and the rain, or the late summer sun,
Where he taught him to pitch and he taught him to run
In the wind and rain and the late summer sun.
The Reason for Rainbows by J. Patrick Lewis