Monday, July 14, 2014

Gotham Club (Part 2) - The Clubhouse

Earlier this season, we became members of the SF Giants’newest venture, the Gotham Club. A members only club where individuals can enjoy exclusive access to the park and some cool perks. At the time, only two of the three venues were open, the Bullpen and the Game Room. To be honest, those two venues were okay, the Bullpen is neat because you’re actually on the field during batting practice and you’re able to enter three hours before first pitch. Plus, they if there is a stadium giveaway, they have their own stash to pass out, so there’s no need to wait in long lines … score! The Game Room located on the Oracle suite club level is unique as well. The “GR” has two bowling lanes, billiards table, dart board and two bars to wet your whistle. Unfortunately, the “GR” has no direct view of the field, so if you want to watch the game, you’ll have to rely on the two big screen TVs. Also, depending on where your game seats are, it may take a while to get up there.

Last week, we received an e-mail from the Gotham Club, that the third venue, the Clubhouse was having a special sneak preview during the weekend series versus Arizona. The Clubhouse is the signature venue for the Gotham Club. It is situated behind the out of town scoreboard in right field. The team had to build a new second floor to create this unique space. And let us tell you, this is one helluva a space. The Clubhouse floor occupies the second arch way of right field all the way down to where the Coors Light party platform is. That’s how long this space is, and it has three unique sections.

The Sections

The first section nearest the right field pole is the bar. When you enter the Bullpen space, there is a staircase that leads up to the second floor. At the top of the stair case, you’ll enter a small seating area with leather chairs and a coffee table and big screen TV. Another element to the staircase will be the inclusion of baseball bats adorned along the walls. Each bat will have a Gotham Club member’s name inscribed on it (bats are on order now).

Once you make a quick right you enter the bar area, which is huge … our estimate is that there’s 25-30 seats at the bar, another 8-10 hightops (with four stools at each hightop), and a bunch of leather lounge chairs strategically placed between the bar and the out of town scoreboard. Oh yeah, the lads that run the out of town scoreboard are in here too, and they’re updating the scores and innings of the other games while you’re in there – very cool. Another great feature of the bar area are the windows behind the bar. The large windows provide a panoramic view of McCovey Cove, and you also have a clear view of the McCovey statue. At the end of the bar section, there are two booths that overlook the Triple Alley’s party area below, and the out of town scoreboard lads are stationed nearby as they have MLB.TV on their own private screen to catch scoring updates.

The second section, which was not opened during the sneak preview, is the lounge section. The plan is to have seating available for members and guests, while they enjoy a beverage and have a view of the game from the right-center field area.

The final section is the restaurant itself. This too was not open during the preview, but the restaurant will be located underneath the Coors Light party platform area up on the arcade. Also, the Giants built an elevator so members can access the Clubhouse area from the arcade level – that’s the new construction build out you see on the arcade section.

Final Thoughts

When we first joined Gotham Club, we thought the concept was cool, but didn’t think the two venues (Bullpen and Game Room) would generate much interest for others to join. However, after seeing the Clubhouse this past weekend, this is going to change the game. Once word spreads on how big, cool, and clever the space is, we can easily see the Giants reaching their membership capacity which is targeted at 1,000. This will be the place to be for pregaming, and having a drink and a bite to eat on those cold nights at the yard … the place to see and be seen. The Giants have hit a home run with this space, let’s hope the players on the field can keep up and hit a few more too.

Gotham Club - The Clubhouse is behind the out of town scoreboard
Staircase from the Bullpen to the Clubhouse
Up the stairs to the Clubhouse
Seating area in the Clubhouse next to stairs
View from the seating area to the bar
Out of town scoreboard
Close up view from out of town scoreboard peep hole

Other end of the bar looking back to the stairs

Majestic view of McCovey Cove from the bar

Another close up view from the out of town scoreboard

Numbers and inning indicators ready to go

Bar back area

Out of town scoreboard lads' command central

Bookend booths at the far end of the bar.

View from the booth over Triple Alley's party area
Second section of the Clubhouse

Friday, July 04, 2014

Yankee Doodle Dandy

On July 4th, 1983, Dave Righetti at the age of 24, threw a no-hitter against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium, and the Yankees won 4-0. Just a year later, the Yankees would convert Rags into a closer.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Key to a World Championship in 2014 is with Brandon Belt

Who wants to win another World Championship this year? Yeah, so do we. We know that the club has to pull all the stops if they want to hoist another Commissioner's Trophy in October. We also know that pitching wins championships. Since Brandon Belt was placed on the disabled list on May 10, the team has gone 11-5; and has a five-game lead on the Dodgers to own first place in the NL West, and owns the best record in the Major Leagues. Since Belt's absence, Michael Morse has demonstrated that he's a trusty worthy first baseman and an offensive threat late in the game. Since Belt's absence, Hector Sanchez has proven he can call and catch a great game and provide some clutch hitting. Since Belt's absence, Posey has been saved from catching on a regular basis and keeping his bat in the lineup on a daily basis. Since Belt's absence, we've seen the resurrection of Tyler Colvin - a talented hitter that lost his way, but has found his stroke in San Francisco.

All of this bears to ask, can this club improve, and where should we focus that improvement. If we agree that pitching wins championships, then we need another solid arm for our pitching staff. And in order to obtain any pitcher that can help us right away, we must be prepared to trade a young known commodity. There in lies where Brandon Belt can help us win another championship if we trade him and another prospect for another solid pitcher. Wouldn't you want Jeff Samardjiza from the Cubs? Wouldn't you want David Price from the Rays? Those type of arms could help win another title in October.

Another point is that Buster Posey is not going to play catcher forever, and we need to come to terms with that now. The opportunity to win championship will not come every year, and sometimes you need to give something in order to receive something - baseball's version of quid pro quo. It will be a tough pill to swallow if Belt is traded, but if that ensures another parade down Market Street in late October, we're all in.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Gotham Club (Part 1) - The Game Room

In the next few months, we'll post pictures of the different venues that make up the new Gotham Club at AT&T Park. Gotham Club is a members only club at the park that started late last year. We're told that only 1,000 memberships are available, and they're about 40-50% sold as of now. Last week, we ventured into the Gotham Club at  AT&T Park and took photos of the famed Game Room located at the Oracle Club Suite level. To enter this floor, you just need to show your Gotham Club card and you're in.

The entrance to the club is designated by a small Gotham Club logo on the door. Once inside, a hostess scans your card and you're off to enjoy the video games, billiards table, and two bowling lanes. In addition, they have a small bar and menu where you can order drinks and food and have it charged to your master account. Cash is not accepted here, items are charged to your master account or your credit card.

Here are some photos ...

Entrance to Gotham Club

Three Video Games

Billiards Table

The Hallway Looking from the Video Game/Billiards Room to the Bowling Alley

The Hostess Stand on Your Way Out

In Between the Main Entrance and Bowling Alley

Overlooking King Street from the Bowling Alley

Two Lanes of Bowling

Plastic Gotham Club Cup

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Introducing our 2014 Sons of Johnnie LeMaster Shirt

Finally, the day has arrived. Today, we received shipment of our 2014 shirts. In years past, we created the "LeMaster" shirt, the "BOO" shirt, and an ill-fated "Sign Melky to a Contract" shirt. This year, we wanted to mix things up, and chose the legendary quote by Bruce Bochy when he informed Brandon Belt that he had made the 25-man roster in 2011. For those of you that don't remember, the scene was captured from the TV series, "The Franchise." In Bochy's office at AT&T Park, Bochy informed Belt that he made the team. Overcome with emotion, Belt started to get a bit watery-eyed and was lost for words. It was that moment, that Bochy said, "You need a beer? Grab a beer." Voila, TV gold was instantly made. So, to honor that moment, that quote is on the back of our 2014 shirts! Also new for this year is the shirt itself. In years past, we chose the Hanes 100% cotton tees, but this year we decided to support California-made tees, so we had them printed on American Apparel shirts. Slightly lighter, a bit more stylish, but still the cool Sons of Johnnie LeMaster shirt!

In accordance with our policy, NONE of our shirts are for sale. We simply give them away to deserving and like-minded diehard SF Giants fans. As usual, we have a limited supply of shirts since we flipped the bill for them, so we're gonna be picky on who gets one. Do you deserve a shirt? Tell us why? (at bare minimum, you should be following us on Twitter and Instagram)

Good Luck!

Close up of the back of the shirt

Back of the shirt

Front of the shirt

Thursday, March 06, 2014

SF Giants' Albatross - 2nd Base

Are the Giants cursed at 2nd base? Consider this, the GMen have had a different starting second baseman since 2008 (Ray Durham, Manny Burriss, Juan Uribe, Freddy Sanchez, Ryan Theriot, and Marco Scutaro). In all likelihood, we may see a different guy starting at second base too when opening day arrives.

As each day of spring training goes by, it becomes apparent the weakest link in our lineup is second base. As of date, Scutaro still has not swung the bat. And while we like Joaquin Arias, and are intrigued by Ehire Adrianza to play second, this is like putting the Gregor Blanco/Andres Torres LF platoon strategy to second base. It will simply not work to sustain success at the position.

If Scutaro's health doesn't improve in the next two weeks, the Giants must make a trade to get an everyday second baseman. Plain and simple. Now, we know what you're thinking … who can we possibly get now? This one is easy, Danny Espinosa from the Washington Nationals. The Nats are ready to move on past Danny, and quite honestly, a change of scenery could do him some good too. Espinosa will turn 27 years old next month, but he still has the skills set to excel at second base. Plus, his career batting average at AT&T Park is .304.

The Giants can't afford to have legit starting position players start the season, and if Scutaro isn't ready, the club needs to move on too.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Why the Giants Will Not Extend Brandon Belt to a Long Term Deal

Last week, the SF Giants and Brandon Belt avoided arbitration and agreed to a one-year deal worth $2.9 million. On the heels of that deal, there has been speculation the Giants might offer Belt an extended deal to buy out his remaining arbitration years before he hits the free agent market in 2018. In theory, that makes sense … however, we're pretty sure the Giants are thinking of eventually moving Buster Posey to first base. A move that the Minnesota Twins are making this year with their franchise player … Joe Mauer.

There are two factors that could possibly fast-track that possibility, the health of Posey at the catching position, and the rise of Andrew Susac being an everyday player. It's just a matter of time before those hard foul tips off of Posey's mask will take its toll and sideline him from playing everyday. Don't believe use, just reflect back on the career of Mike Matheny … a dependable catcher that had to retire early from all those hits he took off the mask. Posey is simply too valuable as a hitter to continue having him exposed at the catching position. In addition, Susac has made significant strides on becoming a dependable back stop, but more importantly, his hitting has improved as well. Those two variables could possibly mean that Belt could be the odd man out in this scenario. If anything, Belt could become a valuable trade chip for the Giants to acquire another arm or position player.

So don't be surprised if the Giants hold back on offering Belt an extended contract, but opt for a year-to-year deal. The health of Posey, and play of Susac will be the factors on Belt's future with the club.

Andrew Susac stats
Andrew Susac evaluation