Tag Archives: juan marichal

Baseball is dying, you guys

SF Giants Fan Fest 2013. Good Grief!

SF Giants Fan Fest 2013.
Good Grief!

A few weeks ago my grandson said this exact same thing. I took into account his passion was basketball and surmised he watched only a few baseball games each year, if he had to. Jake lives in Oregon and, granted, there’s not a lot to get excited about in Oregon except maybe Oregon Duck football and OSU Beavers during baseball season, and maybe once in a while the Trailblazers.

Juan Marichal.  Just your Basic Pitching Form

Juan Marichal. Just your Basic Pitching Form

But having grown up in a baseball family I just don’t get it. I don’t get that others don’t get the athleticism of baseball players, the finesse of a perfectly thrown ball, the artistry of a catch that was so impossible to make, even the opponents keep playing it over and over in the clubhouse the next day. Once-in-a-lifetime stuff. So when I read this comment on Hardball Talks,one of my favorite blogs, I had to ponder again what Jake said, and meant, about baseball not making it more than 5 or 10 years. And to Scott Conray who posted this little ditty, I have to tell you we have not seen baseball’s most famous player yet.

LA Dodger Yasiel Puig on  an ordinary day.

LA Dodger Yasiel Puig on an ordinary day.

One example, and there are many, is the rookies coming up from the farm teams. These kids are exciting to watch. And they’re winning games. And they’ll continue doing this. If you have any doubt about the fans love for the game read “Casey at the Bat”, again and you’ll get it. The poem was written over 100 years ago with the same passion and fervor that baseball fans still experience every time they watch a great play, a fantastic pitch, an out of the park home run or a rookie walking to the plate making the sign of the cross and blasting it out of the park. And I don’t care which sport you’re passionate about, it just doesn’t get any better than that. In my humble opinion, of course ……

HardballTalk

From RealClearPolitics’ national political reporter:

I guess if you only pop your head up once every decade or so to pay attention to baseball, it’s understandable to feel that way. Last I checked, though, there were no plans afoot to stop teams from signing good baseball players and said baseball players performing at a high level such that they may be exposed to lots of people, thereby generating fame.

I wonder if that sentiment would’ve been all over Twitter if it had existed when this aired:

[nbcsports_video src=//www.youtube.com/v/DOv1HlN_eQ4?version=3&hl=en_US&rel=0 width=620 height=465]

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“This Day in History ~ 50 Years Ago Today”

Pitching Duel of the Century

Pitching Duel of the Century

50 YEARS AGO TODAY: 42-year-old Warren Spahn of the Milwaukee Braves and 25-year-old Juan Marichal of the San Francisco Giants hooked up in a 16-inning duel ended only when Willie Mays homered leading off the last inning. Both pitchers went all the way. Jim Kaplan wrote a great book on the event: “The Greatest Game Ever Pitched.”  Courtesy of Dan Schlossberg, Facebook”

Nothing like promoting one of my favorite books to get me back in the blogosphere.  I’ve been adrift for nearly a month now and missed it terribly, but had to take a minute to comment on two of my favorite baseball heroes and one of the many special moments in baseball history. 

I was one year out of high school when I witnessed this game (via the sports section unfortunately and not in person) but I remember the stats well.   The book takes a few chapters to get into the game, dwelling on the individual pitchers, Marichal and Spahn, instead.  But Kaplan’s insight is purposeful and steady and I found myself grasping each page instead of skipping directly to the game which is what I intended to do when I cuddled up to spend the entire day recapturing the memories of the game.

My enthrallment with Juan Marichal began a few years ago when I watched an in-depth interview Bob Costas had with him.  He’s really a very humble man and the honesty he portrayed when talking about the awful incident when he lost his temper and went after an opposing player, with a bat no less, that put the fellow in the hospital was painful to listen to.  But I didn’t doubt his sincerity when he spoke about it saying it was the one regret he had during his baseball career.  And it didn’t surprise me that the two of them ended up being good friends in the end.

As usual, I won’t go into details about the book or the game since there’s huge amounts of readily available data written about both.  I just wanted to take some time to comment on the game and also to thank you for the kind notes I’ve received as I’ve been on a mini-vacation from blogging this past month. 

It’s nearly time for the All Star break when baseball starts to take shape for the rest of the season, and when, hopefully, the Giants (and others, of course) start getting their act together .  When you look at the Divisions, it’s amazing to see that the Dodgers are only 3 1/2 games behind in the NL West, but are in the cellar, with the Giants 3 games behind and only 1/2 game ahead of the Dodgers. 

So it’s going to be an interesting and fun rest of the year for all of us baseball fans.  Will there be a sequel to this greatest game?  Maybe.   I’m sure the thrill of victory and agony of defeat had its origins in baseball so why should we possibly expect anything less?

“Juan Marichal: My Journey from the Dominican Republic to Cooperstown”

Garlic Fries and Baseball’s  Book Review

Juan Marichal: My Journey from the Dominican Republic to Cooperstown  By:  Juan Marichal, Lew Freedman  October 7, 2011

I was in sync with this book from the moment I first began reading it.  It was an easy read, which is exactly what I was in the mood for at the time.  The book is about Juan Marichal, a young Pitcher from the Dominican Republic whose talents earn him a trip to the United States to try for a spot in the major leagues.

Young Juan Marichal as a SF Giant

The book offers a different perspective; each chapter begins with a professional analysis of Juan’s life during that chapter’s specific time period and ends with Juan telling  his story, in his own words, to end the chapter.  He writes as he talks.  His English is that of someone who was born and raised in the Dominican Republic but has spent many years in the United States with his fellow Latinos and also with a wide variety of friends and teammates, speaking and writing with a bit of Latino character  which I found endearing.  He was very careful not to use curse words and was able to convey his message with some laughable moments to get his point across.  But some of the stories he shared from his early days in this country  were heartbreaking.

Marichal’s Trademark “High Kick”

Marichal talks in detail about the typical black-in-a-white country problems that his Latino teammates shared with him.  He was able to overcome those civil rights issues because he could play baseball.  He could play it better than the majority of the other ball players and he overcame the prejudice and intolerance because of that.  He writes with great humor sharing stories about teammates, victories, defeats and the genuine homesickness he felt when he first left his country for the United States, his baseball career with the San Francisco Giants,  the Hall of Fame and back home again.   The one regret during his career was the fight he had with Johnny Roseboro in a Giants-Dodgers game on August 22, 1965.  He writes painstakingly about the events that lead to the altercation, the remorse he felt for years afterwards, and the friendship that developed between the two men until Roseboro’s death in 2002.

Juan Marichal Today. Photo courtesy Mikemccan.blogspot.com

There’s much more in the book of course.  The one thing Marichal is most proud of besides his baseball career is his family and we’re allowed to meet them, his beautiful wife and children, through his stories and photographs .  I find Juan Marichal to be one of the most interesting baseball players I’ve studied, maybe because of that crazy baseball duel he pitched nearly 50 years ago against  Warren Spahn.  He writes about that game with great enthusiasm, obviously one of his favorite moments in baseball.   But he’s also one of my favorite athletes, probably because he’s a true gentleman and he remains truly humble after all the honor and accolades that have been given him.  And after reading the book I came away with the feeling he deserved each and every one of them ~ the honor and accolades I mean.

I enjoyed this book very much.  I’ve heard others  asked who they’d most like to have a long conversation with.  I think I’d like to visit with Juan Marichal.  Don’t you just know he’d have some interesting and wonderful stories to tell?  And I’d like to hear each and every one of them, but for now I’ll have to settle in and wait for another book.  It’ll be worth the wait it I’m sure.

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Fast Ball, Curve Ball, Slider ……What’s the Difference and Who Cares?

This video shows  a Tim Lincecum fastball and curveball delivery correlated at the release point and superimposed to provide an overlay comparison of the two motions.   The two pitches look nearly identical to my untrained eye. This YouTube video uploaded by  on June 18, 2009.

So I’m  listening to play-by-play of  a game the other day and the announcer says instantly “that was a fastball (curveball, sinker, slider, doesn’t matter … you get the point) and I’m thinking how the hell does he know that?  I mean the ball’s traveling at 90-95 mph and he’s up in the announcer booth 200 feet away.   I know this announcer used to be a pitcher  so I’m pretty sure he knows what he’s talking about, but how is that possible ~ to call the pitch instantly in split-second timing, almost before the ball’s even thrown?

I set out to research this so I might understand the difference between the  pitches and how a pitcher  might determine which pitch to throw and when to throw it. Continue reading

Pitching 101 – Tim Lincecum Video

I’m currently on vacation so hope you like this video I downloaded a few months ago.  This might  be of interest to those of you who are pitchers, want to know about pitching or just curious as to how those guys can do all the stuff they do.  It’s educational and I hope you’ll find it as interesting as I did.

One of the more astounding statistics is that of Juan Marichal comingled in with the others.  You’ll understand what it means once you view the video.

Most Valuable Player? ….. You Decide!

I watched a TV Special recently about Juan Marichal, the former SF Giants pitcher, and I was surprised to learn that he  had never won the Cy Young Award.

Justin Verlander

And then again last week a discussion was had on whether an MVP could, or should, also be named a Cy Young winner.  This was concerning Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers who holds most of the AL pitching records this season.  The reasoning was that the MVP should be awarded to a field player who’s generally on the field every day, compared to the pitcher who pitches every four or five days on a rotation.  Supposedly that’s the reason the Cy Young Award came about ~ to be able to honor the pitchers who are not visible on a daily basis.

Juan Marichal

The Marichal program was still very much in my mind when I came across an article (referenced below) about the worst MVP “snubs” in baseball history.  I found it very interesting that so many of the most popular players were slighted as MVP’s back then.  Maybe they weren’t as popular in their day as they’ve become later on, and posterity has been kind to them.   But probably not.  The MVP selections always seem to provoke some sort of controversy each year and its understandable.  Those pesky statistics always seem to get in the way of those you and I consider to be the most valuable.  Not always of course, but sometimes.

Here’s a link to the article, submitted by Tim Handorf,  10 Worst MVP Snubs in Baseball History  published at bestonlinecolleges.com .  Take a look and see what you think!

This Day in History ….. July 10, 1932

  • Connie Mack 1887

    “1932 – To save train fare for the single-date appearance, Connie Mack takes along just two A’s pitchers to Cleveland. Lew Krausse the A’s starting pitcher, gives up four hits in the first inning and his replacement, Eddie Rommel pitches 17 innings in relief, giving up a record 29 hits, but wins 18-17.  

    I had no idea whatsoever of blogging this morning.  Need to clean house after my 8 day baseball tour left things in a bit of shambles here, but this little ditty brought up all sorts of stuff that’s been on my mind anyhow so I wanted to share some of it with you.

  • The Giants are my home team and this is particularly relevant to them, but it’s going on everywhere lately and frankly I think the fans are getting a little tired and fed up with it.  Probably the pitchers are too.  It relates to a relief pitcher coming in and throwing

    Juan Marichael

    one or two pitches and the coach pulls him out – or worse, the starting pitcher throws a bad pitch inthe 4th or 5th inning  and is pulled out only to have the relief guy come in and walk the next three.  I was listening to a great interview with Bob Costas and Juan Marichal a few weeks ago and Juan talked about pitching 15 innings with a pitch count of over 227 pitches back in the 70’s.   The game was between the SF Giants and Milwaukee Braves and both Marichal and Warren Spahn pitched scoreless innings until the 16th when Willie Mays homered to end the game 1- 0.  Just this week the Giants took along a huge arsenal of pitchers on their road trip.   And at one point in one game they’d pretty much used them all, at least all the eligible ones.  Maybe the problem is they have to pay so much for a pitcher nowadays, they can’t afford to use him more than a couple pitches a game, at least the relief pitchers.  Or maybe they’re worried they won’t be able to get the job done.  Who knows.  But c’mon coach.  Get real.  For the amount of money these guys make, if the coach puts them in a game after 4-5 days off-time and they can’t even make it through one inning, how

    Dusty Baker 2002 World Series

    valuable are they to the team anyway?   Maybe the coaches (includes managers) should have a little more faith in their pitchers, both starters and relievers.    Remember in the 2002 World Series ….. with the Giants leading 5–3 going after the bottom of the 7th inning of Game 6?   Giants Manager Dusty Baker took pitcher Russ Ortiz out of the game and brought in relief pitcher Felix  Rodriguez who almost immediately gave up a 3 run homer to Scott Spiezio  for the Angels.  A win for the Giants would have given them the lead in the Series.   Instead, Anaheim went on to win the game 6-5 and eventually the 2002 World Series.   To this day I can hardly look at Dusty Baker without feeling he was trying to throw the game.  Probably a little reactionary on my part,  but that’s how I feel.  When I read about Eddie Rommel this day in history it brings back all those gut feelings of maybe, just maybe, the managers and coaches should be trusting our pitchers a little more.  Isn’t that after all what they’re getting paid to do?   If they don’t trust them to get the job done, what are they doing there in the first place?    Just one person’s opinion after sitting through

    Scott Spiezio

    too many games watching the pitcher get yanked before he gets  a chance to finish the job he’s hired to do.   At least that’s the way I see it.   Okay, back to cleaning the house! 

    Here’s a synopsis of that infamous Game 6 Saturday, October 26, 2002 at Edison International Field of Anaheim in Anaheim, California

    Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    San Francisco 0 0 0 0 3 1 1 0 0 5 8 1
    Anaheim 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 3 X 6 10 1

    WP: Brendan Donnelly (1–0)  LP: Tim Worrell (1–1)  SV: Troy Percival (2)  
    HRs:  SF – Shawon Dunston (1), Barry Bonds (4)  ANA – Scott Spiezio (1), Darin Erstad (1)