Results tagged ‘ Giants ’

My Favorite MLB Teams

While I’ve always kind of known which teams I like and which I don’t–although even those have changed throughout the years–I truly have never ranked the teams 1-30 as to which I like better than others. So that’s what I’m going to do right now. (Disclaimer: This is a list of how I order the teams in the offseason of 2013-14. While most of my decision in where to put a team in the rankings is based off of the franchise itself, some of it is based on who is on the team right now, so these rankings are subject to change over time.)

1. Minnesota Twins-

My story with the Twins is that I grew up a Yankees fan being from New York, but being that I look at things from a GM’s perspective, I thought that being Brian Cashman and having a $200-million payroll would be a pretty boring job creatively since he could essentially buy any player he wanted to. In thinking this, I thought of a team who had success but doing so with a reduced payroll that required teams to build their team in an innovative way on a much smaller budget. Being as it was the mid-2000s, the Twins was a natural choice seeing as they were a constant playoff team with one of the lowest budgets in baseball. Now don’t get me wrong; there’s a different challenge in being the GM of the Yankees: you’re never allowed to take a year off having success to rebuild your core/farm system, but I was entranced by the building of a successful major league team from a solid minor league core.

2. Washington Nationals-

In going to a ton of games at Nationals Park in 2011 I fell in love with the core of players that went 80-81 as well as the people who inhabited it. Ever since then, I have been a really big fan of the players that made up the core of the teams in the next two years. And because of me falling in love with the Nationals Park environment for whatever reason as well as the people who made it such a special place, I became a fan of the franchise as a whole.

3. Tampa Bay Rays-

Much like the Twins, the Rays endeared themselves to me by being a team that built their team intelligently–allowing them to achieve repeated success on a payroll that can’t compare to that of a larger market team.

4. San Francisco Giants-

The Giants is an interesting case because it started as simply a liking of a specific player: Tim Lincecum. However, as I kept up with Lincecum more and more as he began to turn from the Washington kid who could pitch insanely fast for his size to a household name, I grew to have a liking fro the other players on the Giants as well. I think having shared a hotel with the players in Milwaukee and having a mini-conversation with a couple of them as well as having a personal memory of what Brian Wilson was like pre-beard may have contributed to this connection to the team, though.

5. Texas Rangers-

I truly have no idea how the Rangers managed to climb my list so high. I used to not really be a fan of them in their team with the two Rodriguezes, but as they turned towards a team that relied more on pitching *in addition to* the offense the Rangers always seemed to have, I really liked the teams that they constructed around 2009-10.

6. New York Yankees-

While they have fallen down my list and I hate the franchise past the team itself, they still are my childhood team that I can’t help to root for.

7. Philadelphia Phillies-

While it was not the beginning of my fandom of them, this certainly sealed it for me. They’d be higher on the list for me, but Phillies fans.

8. Toronto Blue Jays-

Part of me always sympathized with our neighbors to the north. Even when the Expos were still a team, I liked the Blue Jays a lot and always secretly as a Yankee fan hoped they would surge up and break the norm of the AL East standings for a while in the early 2000s–which was:

1. Yankees

2. Red Sox

3. Blue Jays

4. Orioles

5. Devil Rays

I just really always wanted them to have success, and this translated to a fandom of the team when they played teams that weren’t my top-of-the-line favorite teams.

9. Milwaukee Brewers-

My liking of the Brewers began in around 2008 when CC Sabathia joined the team for half a season and did amazing with being in attendance for what should have been a no-hitter, (I might write about this/do a video for a “Blast From the Baseball Past” entry) but then I just had a fandom for the Fielder and Braun teams. My fandom for the team, though, has lessened the past couple of years for obvious reasons regarding one or more of the aforementioned players.

10. Oakland Athletics-

(See Tampa Rays.)

11. Cincinnati Reds-

I think this is kind of a fusion of many of the various teams I have talked about to this point. So in part it’s like the Rays where I liked that a solid major league team was built from the pooling of major league talent, but it is also a lot like the Giants since I really like Joey Votto as a player.

12. Atlanta Braves-

I think this is Nationals-esque in that I loved Turner Field and its atmosphere. I also liked the core and became much more of a fan because of people I have met that are passionate about the Braves. And I can say that the fact that Julio Teheran plays for them doesn’t hurt them at all.

13. Arizona Diamondbacks-

This is one of the teams that I honestly don’t know why I like more than most teams. I’ve just always liked Diamondbacks teams (after the 2001 season, that is.) Yeah, I don’t know.

14. Seattle Mariners-

This has been mostly the product of running into very nice baseball people who are fans of the Mariners. I’m also a fan of how good of a pitching team they have been despite being offensively anemic the past seasons.

15. Baltimore Orioles-

Similarly to the Mariners, I just know a ton of awesome baseball people that are Orioles fans. In addition to that, their stadium is my favorite in baseball. I would say that really the only reason they’re this far down the list is that some Orioles fans became obnoxious as they began to climb out of the AL East cellar.

16. Detroit Tigers-

I know that I’m supposed to hate the Tigers as a Twins fan, but the fact that we beat them in the game 163 we played them helps and I always admired the teams that had success more than most of the teams I am supposed to dislike.

17. Pittsburgh Pirater-

I can pretty safely say that if I weren’t a ballhawk, this team would be lower on the list, but because of the big ballhawk following in Pittsburgh, I have kept up and liked the Pirates and it was incredibly fun watching them have success for the first time in over two decades last season.

18. Miami Marlins-

Ah the Marlins. Those poor souls. I always had an affinity for them especially teams with the 30+ homer infields of Uggla, Ramirez, Cantu, and Jacobs. That said, Jeffrey Loria has made this a team that I can’t root for over half of the other teams. They remain a team that I’m intrigued by and want to root for, and they would skyrocket up this list if Loria ever sold them and kept them in Miami, but right now they’re just not a team I can really get behind.

19. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim-

I don’t know about this team. I want to like them in many respects, but they lost me when they started spending a bajillion dollars on free agents, trading for Vernon Wells, and then having success with not with their big free agent acquisitions but with the farm talent they had beforehand.

20. Colorado Rockies-

The Rockies are one of those teams I have a preference towards, but still in a kind of “eh” way. I’ve never disliked them really, but I’ve never really had any passion behind my support of them.

21. San Diego Padres-

I used to like them a lot more in the Trevor Hoffman era, but they’ve dropped a bit since then  not necessarily because their lack of success but the players behind these teams. They just haven’t been groups of guys that I’d like to get behind.

22. Cleveland Indians-

Again, never disliked them but never really liked them.

23. Houston Astros-

I actually like the group of people in this team and could see myself liking a lot in the years to come. That said, they have made some pretty bad decisions in the past and it was not a shock that they were as bad of a team as they have been.

24. Kansas City Royals-

I actually like this franchise in terms of their ballpark and look, but then there are the people behind the scenes that ruin this team for me. At the ballpark, I have not heard many positive things about their ushers, and behind the franchise, I disagree on many things with the GM of the team, Dayton Moore. I think that the team could have been competing a long time ago had it not been for his guidance.

25. St. Louis Cardinals-

The main reason for them being this far down the list is the fact that their fans claim incorrectly that they are definitely the “best fans in baseball.” While I don’t think there is a no-doubt group of the best fans in baseball, if my experience with Cardinals fans in baseball has taught me anything, it is that while the Cardinals fan base may be in the top-10, they are definitely not the no-doubt best fans in baseball they claim to be.

26. Chicago White Sox-

I was a fan of the 2005 Astros and 2008 Twins. Enough said.

27. New York Mets-

They’re the Mets. I don’t know how many things I have admired about the Mets the past five years. If it’s any indication, the rendition of “Meet the Mets” that I have adopted begins:

Beat the Mets,

Beat the Mets,

Step right up and,

Sweep the Mets

28. Los Angeles Dodgers-

While I have kind of liked the players on the Dodgers for stretches, their recent acquisition by the Kasten-Johnson group and metamorphosis into baseball’s new Yankees has really turned me off to them. I have disliked them sans Vin Scully for a much longer time than just that, but that’s the most recent thing that provides a rational reason for disliking them.

29. Chicago Cubs-

I have never had any appeal to the Cubs, and I’m not particularly found of how Cubs fans overreact to prospects as well as how in-your-face Cubs fans I have interacted with have been about the most minor successes. Granted, it’s a conditioning that has come with being the fan of a team who last won a World Series when one’s great-grandparents were your age.

30. Boston Red Sox-

This is partially because I grew up a fan of the Yankees, but I also do like their stadium and the atmosphere of it. However, I can’t get over the attitude of their owner John Henry that many fans have adopted without realizing the absurdity of it of that the Yankees have a ridiculous advantage in terms of having a humongous payroll. The reason this argument infuriates me is because for the longest time, there was a gigantic gap in payroll between the Red Sox and the third largest payroll. Thus it was the rich crying poor in order to gain sympathy. The second reason is because the Steinbrenner family is actually a middle-of-the-pack ownership group in terms of wealth. The reason they invest so much money into the team is because they value winning. Therefore, if John Henry truly wanted to win, he could spend the extra money and win. The problem is that if he didn’t win with this extra money invested, he would be losing money. However, George Steinbrenner was taking the same risk when he invested his extra money; it was just that Steinbrenner’s Yankees did win every season and could thus keep spending. So what Henry did by calling out Steinbrenner and the Yankees was criticized him/them for doing what he didn’t have the guts to do with the Red Sox in order to give his fans the winning such a great fan base deserved. However, being the fans that they were, many Red Sox fans backed their owner without truly understanding what was behind these claims.

So those were my favorite teams. I am by no means “right” in any of my judgements. Picking a favorite team–or in my case *teams*–is something of complete subjectivity and can be done for any number of reasons. Also, the next entry is me making a new Observing Baseball Logo. I would actually like to make a clarification. So it’s actually not the logo itself–this:

Just Logo

But it would actually be me remaking the icon itself, which is this:

Icon 5

But besides that, keep voting for your favorite entries. I should mention that I’ll be doing various entries for Twinsfest, but you can vote for the stuff you want to see besides this on the poll below:

7/5/12 Giants at Nationals: Nationals Park

Yay for free tickets!

Boo W.B. Mason trucks:
Let me explain myself a little further. The man holding water in the first picture is friend and ballhawk, Rick Gold. Rick works for mlb.com, so he gets into games for free. Not only that, but he can get an extra ticket. Instead of paying my usual $13, Rick hooked me up with a free ticket. Like I’ve mentioned before, there is an usher in right field who lets me sit there every game, so it doesn’t really matter where my ticketed seat is, just as long as I can get in the gates. My thumbs-down to the W.B. Mason truck is because that was the giveaway. Not the actual, giant truck, but here’s the first picture once I got in the gates:
I actually got two of these since Rick’s bag was stuffed and he didn’t want carry it around with him.

I was in left field for this picture and all of pitchers batting practice, but I didn’t get anything until the third group of hitters in right field. The third group is that which contains Adam LaRoche and Bryce Harper. One ball, LaRoche hit a bit over my head and to my right. I moved right into the exact spot where the ball was going to land, but for some reason, even though it was going straight towards my glove, the ball tipped off it and I picked it off the ground. I know it may sound shallow and stupid, but I was pretty mad with myself for dropping such an easy ball. Sure I still got it, but I also realize that the ball would have probably been someone else’s had I been in New York. Here is the spot where I dropped/snagged the ball:
I then almost caught what would have been a pretty cool ball. I believe it was LaRoche again, but it might have been Harper. Anyways, one of the two lefties hit a ball I could tell was maybe going to barely make it to the seats. I went all the way down the steps, reached out as far as I could and felt the ball hit my glove. I then had my glove pressed against the wall. I couldn’t tell, but people to my side cheered like I had caught it, so I carefully lifted my glove as to not drop a ball if it was in there, but the ball had probably dropped onto the warning track since it wasn’t in my glove as I dragged it up the wall. Here is the spot I almost caught it in:
I was leaning over the raised part of the glass, so I actually would have probably caught the ball had I went over to the railing and reached over that instead.

After that, there wasn’t much action in right field. The most interesting thing that went on was I got to see Rick using his device in the Red Seats:
I don’t have a picture of it, but it’s a cup trick of sorts. Like one you would see in either Atlanta or in San Francisco.

When I say it wasn’t interesting, that doesn’t mean the players weren’t hitting home runs. It just means those home runs weren’t near me. There were a bunch going into the second and third decks in right field. Those seats were closed until 5:30. So at 5:27, I lined up here expecting a big “payday”:
There were so many balls hit up there in fact, I spent my time waiting trying to figure out how I could keep track of what order I snagged the balls in, expecting to need to use four of my backpack’s pockets. When I got up there, though, there was nothing. The ushers had cleared out all the balls they could find in the seats. That’s the only explanation I have. No one I saw found a ball and there were at least 5 hit in the second deck and two in the third deck. Of course, one in the upper deck had been hit far enough to evade the usher’s sweep of the section. The problem was, myself and the two other fans searching the section had not seen where that ball landed, so it was Rick, after batting practice who found it and kindly (read: cruelly) took a picture for me:
Let’s get back to batting practice, though, shall we? Dejected, I walked over to third base foul ground to try to get a ball from the Giants pitchers warming up:
Like the last game I went to, they didn’t even throw a ball into the crowd while I was there. I then headed over to left field to try to catch a home run from the Giants hitters. I failed at doing this, but I got a ball from Santiago Casilla by the bullpen. At least I think that’s who it was. It was a pitcher, and he’s the person that looks most like the person who tossed me the ball on the Giants roster.

I then went over to the Red Seats where I got Shane Loux to toss me ball. Here’s a diagram of it from a picture I took in right field right after I got the Loux ball:
The black arrow shows where Loux had to move to field the ball, and the orangey arrow is the path of the ball. I then asked who hadn’t gotten a ball. A kid raised his hand, but he didn’t have a glove, so I kept on searching. Usually when this happens and I say why I didn’t give him the ball, the parent(s) react negatively. In this case, though; when I said, “Well, where’s your glove?” the father said, “I told you, you need to have your glove on all the time.” After I gave the ball away to another kid, I talked to the father briefly about experiences sitting in the upper deck with a glove on at all times as a kid.

I then moved over to foul ground to try to get a ball from Barry Zito, since I wasn’t having any luck with hit baseballs:
Of course when I got there, batting practice ended with me at three balls on the game.

I started off the game in right field, where this was my view:
20120708-100045.jpgFor those wondering: yes, that is Rick’s head in front of me in that picture.

Tonight’s game was turn back the clock night. That meant both team’s would have their 1924 uniforms on. It would be the New York Giants versus the Washington Senators:
20120708-100602.jpgIt also meant the stadium’s employees dressed up like it were 1924. Take this picture from the end of batting practice. Can you spot the three different employee outfits?
20120708-100817.jpgI didn’t like my chances of getting anything in right field with Matt Cain on the mound, though. My mom grew up in the bay area, so she was raised a Giant fan. Normally she doesn’t go to games much, but with the Giants in town, she and my step-dad decided to go to the game. I used one of their tickets to move over here:
20120708-101339.jpgWhile I was there, I saw the second coolest sky I’ve ever seen at Nationals Park:
20120708-101550.jpgBy the way, did you notice the “1924″ scoreboard they had going?

Anyway, the Giants got beat by the “Senators” 5-6 in a thriller. The Giants were winning 5-1 in as late as the seventh, I believe, but once Matt Cain came out, the Nationals came back to make the score 5-4. Then they scored 2 runs in the bottom of the ninth to win the game. The game ended on a tailor-made double play ball that just got botched. After the game, I went to the umpire tunnel, and got Gary Darling to toss me a ball:
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STATS:
• 4 Balls at this Game (3 pictured because I gave 1 away)
20120708-103745.jpgNumbers 323-326 for my life:
20120708-103827.jpg• 104 Balls in 21 Games= 4.95 Balls Per Game
• 30 straight Games with at least 1Ball
• 6 straight Games with at least 2 Balls
• 5 straight Games with at least 3 Balls
• 5 straight Games with at least 3 Balls
• 83 Balls in 17 Games at Nationals Park= 4.88 Balls Per Game
• 8 straight Games at Nationals Park with at least 1 Ball
• 8 straight Games at Nationals Park with at least 2 Balls
• 6 straight Games at Nationals Park with at least 3 Balls
• 4 straight Games at Nationals Park with at least 4 Balls
• Time Spent On Game 3:24- 10:27= 7 Hours 3 Minutes

7/3/12 Giants at Nationals: Nationals Park

It was my first time back in Washington, and I experienced a first in all my games at Nationals Park. It was sold-out. So, I had to wait in line for the $5 tickets that get released right as the gates open:

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Thankfully, as you can see, I was at the front of the line, so I didn’t have to worry about not being able to get tickets, but not being able to wait AT the gate meant I would have to wait behind a line for the first time in forever at Nationals Park:

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Now, I don’t *know* that this made me miss out on any balls, but all I can say is I’ve had several times at Nationals Park where I’ve snagged baseballs right off the bat.

When I got into the stadium, I initially went to the left field seats:

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I muddled there for a few minutes before going over to the Red Seats, where I would get my first ball of the day:

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Michael Morse hit a ball straight over my head. It then settled in the netting below the seat I have pictured, where I picked it up.

While I was there, I saw a ball fly into the seats in upper right field seats. When those seats opened to fans at 5:00, I ran up and found a baseball in this spot:

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I didn’t photograph it in that spot because I was too busy trying to find other “Easter Eggs” in those seats. When I went back down to the Red Seats, I gave that ball away to a kid I had promised I would give a ball to if I got another (after I snagged the Morse home run). I could have easily pretended to have not found that ball since the kid never saw me find it, but I like to honor my promises, however minuscule they may seem.

I then headed over to foul territory to try to get a ball from the pitchers warming up, but they didn’t toss a ball to myself or any other fans while I was there. Even if they would have, I was just one of many Giants fans:

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so I gave up pretty easily and headed over to the right field seats.

There, I got my third ball of the day. Matt Cain threw a ball over his head, and I jumped for it, but came up just short. It then hit this man in the head:

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and I caught it off the bounce. I then gave the ball to him, since he did take the ball off his head, and you could see the mark the stitches made on his forehead. That would be my last ball of batting practice.

Even though my ticketed seat was in the upper deck, this was my view of the game, by the grace of an usher who lets me sit there:

20120706-135512.jpg
I gave said usher the Morse ball. (He gives away all of the balls I give to him to people in the section, mostly kids.)

I know I don’t usually do this, but here’s a picture of Tim Lincecum delivering a pitch in the first inning:

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Why? Lincecum is my favorite player in baseball. Also, I was very excited to have seen his 100th strikeout of the year:

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Unfortunately, as you can see, his ERA was in the 5s, and it went up after this game. I don’t know how many earned runs he gave up (maybe I just don’t want to remember), but it was painful to watch.

In the middle of the sixth inning, it started raining, so the tarp came on the field:

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I saw this as an opportunity to get into better seats, since the ushers wouldn’t be checking tickets due to everyone and their mother leaving the seats, so I made my way thought the extremely crowded concourse:

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and to the Nationals dugout. I also figured many people had left, so I picked up tickets in that area. Once I had tickets in that area, I figured “I might as well see if I can get over to the Giants dugout. Worst case scenario: the ushers are checking tickets, and I have to go back to the Nationals dugout..” Sure enough, the ushers still weren’t. Hacking tickets, so I wandered the seats and found tickets for most of the 1 hour 25 minute rain delay. I also sat by the Giants dugout, just in case I could convince any of them to toss me a ball out of the ball bag:

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That’s actually where I was when the grounds crew finally pulled off the tarp:

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Truthfully, I don’t know why they delayed the game so long. It was about ten minutes of downpour followed by an hour and fifteen minutes of drizzling.

Anyway, at this point, I had amassed a considerable amount of tickets, so I had fun just running around the stadium, making minute adjustments depending on the hitter and situation. I didn’t get anything, but it was fun trying.

Oh, and here are three pictures showing how empty the stadium was:

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At the end of the game, I headed over to the umpire tunnel and got Scott Barry to toss me a ball:

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It was 11:09 at that point, and the last train left the station at 11:20, so I didn’t even have time to put the ball in my backpack. Right after I snagged the ball, I took off. I literally ran the whole way to the Metro station with a ball in my glove.

When I got to the Metro Station is when I realized the ball was my 100th of the season, so I took another picture of it, in all of its triple digit glory:

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Sorry for the quality of the picture. I was going through my stats on the platform, so I took a picture right there on the platform. Here is a better picture i took at home the next day:

STATS:
• 4 Balls at this game (1 pictured because I gave 3 away)

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numbers 319-322 for my career:

20120706-145634.jpg
• 100 Balls in 20 Games= 5 Balls Per Game
• 29 straight Games with at least 1Ball
• 5 straight Games with at least 2 Balls
• 4 straight Games with at least 3 Balls
• 4 straight Games with at least 4 Balls
• 79 Balls in 16 Games at Nationals Park= 4.94 Balls Per Game
• 8 straight Games at Nationals Park with at least 1 Ball
• 8 straight Games at Nationals Park with at least 2 Balls
• 5 straight Games at Nationals Park with at least 3 Balls
• 3 straight Games at Nationals Park with at least 4 Balls
• Time Spent On Game 2:34-11:44= 9 Hours 10 Minutes

Reaction to Tim Lincecum news

So I have a gap here that I have to bridge. I’m not quite in “ballhawking mode” just yet (my first game will probably in Baltimore on April 7th), so I’ll just write more miscellaneous entries until this weekend. That can range anywhere from writing entries about games that I have attended before I made this blog to just adding my opinion to MLB news.

 

In today’s entry I’ll do the latter. Obviously the biggest news today is that Tim Lincecum is to undergo Tommy John Surgery. If you haven’t heard the news, Lincecum injured his arm during his between-starts bullpen session yesterday. Reportedly he felt no discomfort in his March 27th start:

 

Anyway, I’m shocked and disappointed by this. If you’ve read this blog semi-frequently you know that Tim Lincecum is my favorite player in MLB right now. Part of the reason is that I always held the belief that he had a fantastically efficient delivery that would actually prevent him from getting arm injuries more so than the more conventional deliveries of pitchers now adays. So first I guess is the disappointment that what I believed to be true when it comes to pitching has seen its foundation rocked and all those people that diagramed how bad Lincecum’s delivery is/was were right:

I mean that’s pretty much it. All I can say is that Chien-Ming Wang, Joe Nathan, and Julio Teheran better stay healthy this year. Oh, and I just covered the basic facts, but if you want to read the whole article on what happened to “Timmy”, here is the link.

San Francisco Giants 2012 Offseason Recap and Preview

So, Brian, what happened last year?

Grade: F

Notable Additions:

Angel Pagan, Melky Cabrera, Clay Hensley, and Ryan Theriot.

Notable Subtractions:

Carlos Beltran, Pat Burrell, Orlando Cabrera, Mark DeRosa, Bill Hall, Jeff Keppinger, Ramon Ramirez, Cody Ross, Aaron Rowand, Jonathan Sanchez, and Andres Torres.

Why?: Before I started looking at their offseason, I was one of those people who thought the Giants could seriously contend for the NL West with the Diamonbacks. Now, not so much. Sure they added a couple good people to soften the blow, but the subtraction column is just massacre. It is the combination of both an astounding quantity advantage over the additions and a substantial quality advantage over it.

Let’s go through the additions and subtractions just by what the players mean to the team, shall we? They added: two average starting outfielders, a decent reliever, and a solid infielder. They lost: an All-star outfielder, two above-average outfielders, two slightly-below-average outfielders, a decent shortstop, two power-hitting utility players, two alright relievers, and a high potential starter, who has already thrown a no-hitter. While we’re at it, you can just tack on a partridge in a pear tree.

I over-value pitching in a team more than any other person that I know, but I can’t see how the Giants will consistently win, in AT&T Park especially, with the team they have. They don’t have any ways of scoring runs repeatedly that I can see. I mean Brian Wilson should be better this season now that he is (probably) healthy, but a closer only benefits a team when they have the lead.

Predicted Record Range: 80-85 wins

Next Up: Wait, you mean I don’t have any more entries of this sort? Yipee!! I won’t be able to go to games consistently until June, so I’ll figure out some other types of entries to write, so stay “tuned”, or whatever the word is for following a blog.

Re-view of the Preview: San Francisco Giants

First of all, here, is the initial link.
I actually vlogofied this entry. The video is below.

6/24/11 Indians at Giants: AT&T Park

Like Nationals Park this was technically not my first time here but it was my first time really ballhawking as last year I came here on a Sunday and there was no batting practice:

I still managed to get a ball on an overthrow by Mike Adams but it didn’t feel like ballhawking if you know what I mean. I apologize in advance for the lack of (relevant) pictures. I brought a photographer because I thought I would get #100 who wasn’t necessarily into baseball and as a result didn’t photography…but hey here’s a picture of the Willie McCovey statue:

While waiting in line, I realized just how gargantuan it was and how many of them looked like regulars. I would have a picture for you if I was by myself but…

As soon as I got in I raced to the right field seats just as Segio Romo. I actually talked to him extensively  when we stayed in the same schmancy hotel in Milwaukee. I don’t think he recognized me but I still gave him a shout  and he nodded as if he were about to turn around and toss me his ball but he turned around and chucked his ball to the inner outfield. He then later went onto do his running:

and later went into the dugout without ever granting my request.

Without digressing too much, that gargantuan line I was talking about earlier. Yeah it turned into a gargantuan crowd pretty quickly:

I am the one in the white hat and black shirt closest to longish gate closest to the camera. I was in the bleachers themselves for a while but am not used to them and they were close to being as crowded. I probably should have left earlier but I had my photographer  listening to his iPod and I was being so stubborn in the fact that I wanted to snag a ball with the glove trick  or  a ball from right field in general. The first quickly got shot down when the first ball rolled to the wall and as I got there I was met by a combination of about ten cup/bucket/net/water bowl/food pan tricks. There was absolutely no chance I would get a ball with my glove trick as in the time it would take me to set it up at least one other trick would swoop in. The second idea then died when the Indians pitchers started throwing on the first base foul line.

I got on my horse but moved about as fast as a student driver on a stick shift as I had to keep waiting for my photographer. Eventually though, I did get around the stadium in time to get Chris Perez to toss a ball to the only Indians fan in the section (me!). One down two to go in my quest for 100. Since I am working with limited pictures let me use one picture to explain multiple things:

  1. The arrow furthest to the left-pointing to Chris Perez. The player who threw me the ball.
  2. The dotted box- the emptier part of the bleachers where I should have been standing. I thought it was too far away from the plate but realized after the fact that I usually play fruther from the plate at Citi Field.
  3. The remaining arrow- where I was standing for the first however many minutes of bp.
This picture shows my path to my next ball:
I was playing in the very thin right field of AT&T. At the moment in the picture (I am the one with the red backpack) some lefty was up but because it is such a thin section I could be behind the actual seats but walk up to the front of the wall (that’s what right field basically is at AT&T) once a ball was grounded to the outfield. So I walked up to the front and tried to get Justin Masterson to throw me a ball but right in the middle of that a ball came right to me. I mean I didn’t have to move an inch to catch it.
On two unrelated notes: there was a new Indians fan in the section I had been when Chris Perez had thrown me a ball so Perez threw about five balls from a hundred feet out until the fan finally got the ball (he didn’t bring a glove and tried to catch them with his hat) and while taking a random picture of a kayaker on the bay (as in he didn’t know about Bonds’ Navy and just thought it was interesting that there were guys in kayaks in the bay) my photographer took a picture of one ballhawk that I did know of:
The arrow would be pointing to Joe Dirt a ballhawk that, as his name suggests, stays on dry land and tries to get baseballs by throwing out a fishing line at them with a net at the end of it. He also has a glove but the wall right in front of him prevents most Home Runs from landing on the concrete.
That was it for me in terms of snagging because the Indians lefties hit maybe three Home Runs and there was constantly a crowd of people going through the five foot wide cross aisle behind the seats and thus always moving obstacles to maneuver. So Boo-Hoo no 100 today.
While righties were up I actually ran into a ballhawk from The Baseball‘s top 10 ballhawks, which (ahem!) I wrote a review for, Lee Wilson. If you want to read the section on him in the book, it is on page 285. If you don’t have the book, buy it. It is less than $10 and has something for any baseball fan. Not a baseball fan? Why are you reading a baseball blog?!
Anyway, batting practice ended and I made my way back to the group that came for the game (later on in the day of course):
  1. Andres-My step-brother and (semi)photographer for the day.
  2. Rusty- my mom’s high school soccer coach who actually got this group of four’s tickets he didn’t have a fifth so I went on Stubhub.
  3. Andy- my mom who’s actual name is Andrea but the nickname is one she would like to leave in the past so of course I have to use it. Oh and while we’re at it Andres’ family nickname is Pipe (pronounced Pee-peh).
  4. Fabio- my step-father who conveniently did not hear me at the moment as he was playing with his camera (which he did not trust Pipe with).
There were however, many great pictures that he took throughout the game. For example:
I mean they’re just regular pictures but I do know understand why professional grade cameras are so important here are my/Fabio’s best pictures of Brain Wilson side-by-side:
I mean I know it would kill my WordPress storage space but still I can see in Fabio’s picture that Wilson is holding a cutter. In my picture….I might not have been able to recognize him had it not been for the beard.
The line-ups were mostly lefty so I alternated between the standing room in right field and the group’s seats depending on the type of hitter that was up, i.e. in foul ground for Andres Torres (who actually did hit a Home Run, ugh) and in right field for Aubrey Huff. While in right field I talked with Lee Wilson on a variety of subjects not necessarily baseball. Fun. Not much Home Run action going on but Jonathan Sanchez did take a beating in the first few innings as he was out soon after hitting (and putting out for 8+ weeks) Shin-Soo Choo in the fourth inning. They eventually won on two sac flies after they had loaded the bases. They then brought in Brain Wilson to the tune of Jump Around. Not the most ominous or impending entry song as I have gone to my fair share of Yankee games but it certainly got people on their seats and… well jumping.
STATS:
  • 2 Balls at this game
Numbers 98 and 99 on the career. Number 100 will indeed be in Tampa (at least hopefully) because I am just too busy with stuff of all sorts to go to a Yankee game
  • 38 balls in 14 games= 2.71 Balls Per Game
  • 39 straight games with at least one ball
  • 2 straight at AT&T Park
  • 2 Balls*41,690 fans= 83,380 Competition Factor
  • Time at Game 4:25-10:36= 6 hours 9 minutes

San Francisco Giants Offseason Recap and Preview

Not much better than winning the World Series:

mlb_g_giants-celebration05WAR.jpg

Though like many champions, the players wanted more money.

Grade: D-

Notable Additions:

miguel_tejada.jpg

Miguel Tejada, Jeff Suppan, and Elmer Dessens (?).

Notable Subtractions:
juan-uribe-home-run.jpg

Juan Uribe, Chris Ray, Todd Wellemeyer, Edgar Renteria, Eugenio Velez, Jesus Guzman, and Jose Guillen.

Why?: Let us just say that they were a few players away from an F. They lost 3 starters from their World Series team and also overpaid for some of the players they kept. The reason they didn’t get an F was, they let the right players go.

Renteria was overpaid and is still deteriorating (which kills me as he is a fellow countryman of mine). Uribe was also a good player to let go because of his absolute lack of patience. He is underrated as a defender but it is good that the Giants are trying to rid themselves of the culture that put them last in the league in OBP in 2009 and in 19th last year.I also like the fact that they kept Aubrey Huff and Cody Ross. Even if they did overpay for them. The biggest thing all these transactions do is, enter in a new era of offense to win more championships with that outstanding staff

The Pitching will continue to improve. That’s right IMPROVE. The front three I don’t see regressing and Jonathan Sanchez can actually improve by just cutting down on balls. Barry Zito may or may not figure it out (he won’t be in the rotation but the pitcher I want to focus on is, Madison Bumgarner. Remember that last year was essentially his rookie year. The only thing I see getting in his way this year is how  much he pitched last year with the unexpected playoff run. Unless this affects them, I actually see the Giants Pitching as well as the Phillies this year.

Predicted Record Range: 89-94 wins. Pitching wins championships but I see them not moving up that much because they lost all that offense (for them it’s a lot).

Up Next: San Diego Padres

Season end review

I know I haven’t written anything in a while. I started a world series preview but this was as far as I got by the first game

I personally prefer a good pitcher’s duel to a shoot out. That’s why I love this series. Four good pitchers for the Giants, three for the Rangers, it will be amazing.

 

Giants

MVP: Matt Cain-

t1_cain_si.jpg

This may seem strange as a choice for MVP. Now, I am not saying that he will be voted MVP of the series or even that he will be the best pitcher on his team. I do not think Cain’s scorless streak will last the world series but will pitch close too that quality. I predict Tim Lincecum will pitch almost as well as Cain if not as well. However, Tim Linceucum is going against Cliff Lee two, possibly three times. I think that Lee will pitch better than Lincecum and beat him in at least one of those games. Cain on the other hand, is pitching against C.J. Wilson twice and will not have to pitch as well as Lincecum to win a game. I think the Giants will get two wins out of cain, which is pretty valueable in a best of seven series.

Cy Young: Tim Lincecum-

g_LincecumTimCyYoung200x300.jpg

“But mister, why would you have one pitcher as the most valuable player and the other as the Cy Young while they are on the same team?” Well young grasshopper, the logic behind this is that I predict Lincecum will pitch better but Cain’s preformance will be worth more because he will get more wins out of pitching to the quality that I think he will pitch to. Thus, he will be more valuable to his team than Lincecum. If Lincecum wins 2/2 or 3/3 games in this series against Cliff Lee than this all changes but I think winning 2/2 games is more valuable than 2/3.

Silver Slugger: Tim Lincecum!!! … Or maybe Buster Posey/Pat Burrell

 
195147_Giants_Cubs_Baseball.jpg

Some of the old with some of the new. Pat Burrell will get many more at-bats with the DH spot in three out of the first five games. He had the second highest slugging percentage on the Giants despite being close to the end in batting average. Buster Posey has shown only improvement under pressure and shouldn’t stop now.
 

X-FactorBrian “fear the beard” Wilson 

This article is not about that. This article is an end of the year review of my ballhawking. This one will be interesting for the fact that I only blogged about one game but here it is.

Obviously
I got somethings wrong to this point i.e. Lincecum and Lee will be
amazing. If they pitch well tonight I am partially redeemed. But I
digress.

Balls: 56

Autographs: 17

Games: 20

Avg: 2.8 balls per game

Hit: 15

Thrown: 41

Retriever: 0 (no retrievers allowed in NYC) but for those who are wondering I will use both a cup and a glove trick. For some things I have a really unimaginative mind.

July-
Balls: 1
Thrown: 1
Hit: 0

August-
Balls: 24
Thrown: 17
Hit: 7
Games: 9
Avg: 2.67

 
September-
Balls: 24
Thrown: 16
Hit: 8
Games: 7
Avg: 3.43

October:
Balls: 7
Thrown: 7
Hit: 0 ( At the end of September I went to games
in which bp was rained out and stayed in the habit of getting thrown balls into October which you can see on my mygameballs.com profile http://www.mygameballs.com/baseballdata?db=fischerm )
Games: 2
Avg: 3.5

Citi Field-
Balls: 41
Thrown: 32
Hit: 9
Games: 13
Avg: 3.15

Yankee Stadium-
Balls: 13
Thrown: 7
Hit: 6
Games: 3
Avg: 4.33 ( wow how’d I do that)

Nationals Park-
Balls: 1
Thrown: 1
Hit: 0
Games: 1
Avg: 1.00

AT&T Park-
Balls: 1
Thrown: 1
Hit: 0
Games:1
Avg: 1.00

Competition factor for the year: 1,985,159

I will blog about the off-season moves of the different teams but the volume of articles will pick up very much in the spring and summer when baseball starts up again.

Pitching Aces in the Playoffs

When has this ever happened? By my count, (whatever that’s worth) we have eleven potential aces and four of the best pitchers in baseball heading the four different teams.
Texas Rangers
1. Cliff Lee

56686053.jpg-Twenty-one strikeouts without a single walk in Rookie ball is impressive much less the playoffs.
2. Christopher John Wilson

San+Diego+Padres+v+Texas+Rangers+67JNLiPCTXdl.jpg-Now he may not be the most obvious ace but out of his thirty three 2010 starts,  TWELVE were of seven innings or more and two or fewer runs allowed, EIGHTEEN were of six innings and two runs or less.
 
New York Yankees
1. Carsten Charles Sabathia- I watched this guy throw what should have been a no-hitter two years ago in Pittsburgh.

cc-sabathia-7.jpgAs fast as he throws, is how he throws balls that move in every direction that sets him apart.
2. Andy Pettitte

AndyPettitte33.jpg -For a good part of the year, this was the best pitcher on the best team in the Majors.

Philadelphia Phillies
1. Roy Halladay

56585128.jpg-One Postseason start, One postseason no-hitter. It is scary to think what would have happened had he been with the Phillies for the last five years. His sinker, cutter scissor effect rules supreme.
2. Roy Oswalt

Phils.jpg-Is one of the most accurate fastballs in the game supported with an absolutely hittable curve (opponents are hitting just .125 off of it) makes him an ace wherever he is if not the number one pitcher.
3. Cole Hamels-Remember, he was the star of the playoffs just two years ago

cole-hamels.jpgand with the same nasty change and a rejuvenated fastball he is ready to regain that spotlight.

images.jpgSan Francisco Giants
1. Tim Lincecum- Scouts were impressed with the fact a 5’11″ kid could hit 100 mph.

t1_lincecum.jpgLincecum showed a curve that was even better. The MLB hitters couldn’t hit him, he then added a change up that could dive to either side of the plate. He won a Cy Young in his first full year in the MLB.

images2.jpgEveryone thought he couldn’t get better, he added a slider and won his second Cy Young.
2. Matt Cain- Is something like 48-0 in games where he is given four runs or more of run support. Of course, the Giant’s offense is not know for that.

sp-cain19_0498804498.jpg3. Jonathan Snachez- Like Wilson, he won’t pitch a shutout every game but who could forget he pitched a No-Hitter last year

504x_sanchez.jpgand could any day with an amazing slider.
4. Madison Bumgarner 

MadisonBumgarner.jpg-He is the reason I pick the Giants for the World Series this year. He had some difficulty in adjusting to the Majors but in his last seven starts he has an ERA of 1.78. If he stays healthy, I predict another Matt Cain waiting in the wings.

Well, I just love this because I prefer pitchers above hitters by a sizable margin. However, this is just my opinion. If anybody has started reading, first thank you, but secondly give your opinion of who is an ace or not and why.

P. S. just to preview I will most likely be going to Yankee Stadium for Game 4 of the ALCS

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