Thursday, March 09, 2006

State of Forum Address - Barry Bonds

Here's my take on Barry and the new book due out later this month.

Let me first begin by answering some questions ... "Do you like Barry?" As a ballplayer, yes, no one can question he's a great talent on the field. Any fan of any team would want Barry on their roster too. As an individual, I can't answer that because I don't know him, but he doesn't appear to be the most personable guy in the world either.

"Why can't you just admit he used steroids?" Quite frankly, I don't care ... if we are now going to scrutinize whether Barry has cheated or not ... let's throw everyone else under the bus too. Last I read, it was projected that anywhere from 30% to 50% of the ballplayers from 1998-2003 were using sometype of performance enhancing product. With that said, I can careless if Barry used or not because so many others have too.

"Do you condone cheating?" To the casual fan, here's a reality check for you ... cheating has been a part of the game since the beginning. Whether you like it or not, that's a fact. Corked bats, emery boards, sand paper - what are those? Those help a batter or a pitcher obtain an advantage too. So I don't want to hear these holier-than-though bible thumping baseball fans preach how cheating cannot be tolerated when it's been happening for years.

"Don't you think Barry's single-season HR record should be taken off the book?" No ... are we now going to examine every player that has a record and decide on whether to subtract their stats from the record books because of the notion that it wasn't on the up-and-up.

"Do you think Barry belongs in the Hall of Fame? If so, why not include Pete Rose too?"
Yes, I think Barry belongs in the HOF when he becomes eligible after his retirement. Regarding the comparison to Pete Rose - we are comparing apples and oranges - before entering every MLB locker room, there is a sign from MLB warning players that betting on games are illegal. The fact of the matter is, gambling on baseball is illegal based on MLB's by-laws that was in enacted years ago (think Chicago Black Sox). At no time, during the late 90's and early 2000's did MLB have a rule or by-law banning performance enhancing substances. And if an ethical argument is going to be made, than let's look at the character of every HOF'er. Ty Cobb was noted a racist and bigot - should he belong in the Hall? Babe Ruth, the great Bambino, the one player that saved baseball from the Black Sox scandal cheated on his wife and partied like an animal - should he be in the Hall?

In my opinion, Barry has used something - he stated that during his grand jury testimony (though, he made it known he didn't know what it was - unintentional use). However, we can go down the list of every team and find players that have used something as well (A's, Padres, Yankees, Mariners, Devil Rays and so on).

Now, what bothers me is the notion that Barry is the only player that has used something. How many players were suspended last year for testing positive for a banned substance?

In regard to the book, we are beating a dead horse, nothing new is being reported or written about. Clearly, individuals are out to make a quick buck - let's get that straight from the beginning.

Again, I'm not saying Barry didn't use something … my position is, so what? Who hasn't?

One additional point to close on … MLB was made aware (decades ago) of a steroid epidemic and did nothing about it. True, it takes two to tango, and you can place blame with Donald Fehr and the Player's Union for refusing to have testing when it was first discussed. But as the saying goes, "don't hate the player, hate the game" - I think it could apply in this case. The forces of baseball could have done something to solve this problem and they chose not to when they had the chance.

Friday, February 24, 2006

My All-Time Giants Lineup and Pitchers

Barry Bonds
  • Giants career stats: 586 HR, 1440 RBI, .312 Avg.
  • Best Giants year: 2001 - 73 HR, 137 RBI, .328 Avg.
Willie Mays
  • Giants career stats: 646 HR, 1850 RBI, .304 Avg.
  • Best Giants year: 1962 - 49 HR, 141 RBI, .304 Avg.
Mel Ott
  • Giants career stats: 511 HR, 1860 RBI, .304 Avg.
  • Best Giants year: 1934 - 35 HR, 135 RBI, .326 Avg.

Matt Williams
  • Giants career stats: 247 HR, 732 RBI, .264 Avg.
  • Best Giants year: 1990 - 33 HR, 122 RBI, .277 Avg. (* 1994 strike shorten season: 43 HR, 96 RBI, .269 Avg.)
Travis Jackson
  • Giants career stats: 135 HR, 929 RBI, .291 Avg.
  • Best Giants year: 1929 - 21 HR, 94 RBI, .294 Avg.
Jeff Kent
  • Giants career stats: 175 HR, 689 RBI, .297 Avg.
  • Best Giants year: 2000 - 33 HR, 125 RBI, .334 Avg.
Willie McCovey
  • Giants career stats: 469 HR, 1388 RBI, .274 Avg.
  • Best Giants year: 1969 - 45 HR, 126 RBI, .320 Avg.
Tom Haller
  • Giants career stats: 107 HR, 320 RBI, .248 Avg.
  • Best Giants year: 1966 - 27 HR, 67 RBI, .240 Avg.
Christy Mathewson
  • Giants career stats: 372 Wins, 2.12 ERA, 1499 K's
  • Best Giants year: 1908 - 37-11, 1.43 ERA, 259 K's
Carl Hubbell
  • Giants career stats: 253 Wins, 2.98 ERA, 1677 K's
  • Best Giants year: 1936 - 26-6, 2.31 ERA, 123 K's
Juan Marchial
  • Giants career stats: 238 Wins, 2.84 ERA, 2281 K's
  • Best Giants year: 1966 - 25-6, 2.23 ERA, 222 K's
Amos Rusie
  • Giants career stats: 134 Wins, 2.96 ERA, 1605 K's
  • Best Giants year: 1894 - 36-13, 2.78 ERA, 195 K's
Gaylord Perry
  • Giants career stats: 234 Wins, 2.89 ERA, 1835 K's
  • Best Giants year: 1970 - 23-13, 3.20 ERA, 214 K's
Robb Nen
  • Giants career stats: 206 SV, 2.43 ERA, 453 K's
  • Best Giants year: 2001 - 45 SV, 3.01 ERA, 93 K's

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Hotels Near AT&T Park

I fly up to the Bay Area to attend games, and always stay in the city while I'm there. Here are a list of hotels I've stayed at.

Palace Hotel (Starwood property) on Market Street. This is a great hotel, on the high end, but it's within walking distance to the ballpark. And, if you feel like taking the Muni train, the Montgomery train stop is just outside of the hotel, so you can basically have door-to-door service on the train ride. Rooms are nice, high ceilings and they're very clean. It's also close to Union Square if you want to get in some shopping. A bar across the street called House of Shields is a great place to get a beer after the game - a good final pitstop before heading back to the room. The hotel also a bar called Peter Piper and the drinks are good there too, but they're a bit expenesive. If you're a breakfast eater, the hotel is close to Sears Fine Food on Powell Street near Union Square, the best place for breakfast.

Hyatt Regency Embarcerdo on Market Street and Drumm Street. This is a good hotel, again within walking distance to the ballpark and if you wanted to take the Muni train, the Embarcerdo train station is just outside of the hotel as well, so it's a easy trip if you wanted to train it to AT&T. The nice thing about this property that it's close to the water and Ferry Building. They have a hugh farmer's market setup on the weekends, so it's nice to walk around and get some fruit or snacks. Plus, they have a Noah's Bagel shop and Starbucks within a pitching wedge distance to the hotel, so you can grab a quick breakfast in the morning. The best way to the ballpark is walk along the Embarcerdo, you will hit Gordon Biersch about 2/3 along the way, so it's a good pitstop before and after the game.

The Omni Hotel on Montgomery Street. The Omni is in the heart of the financial district, it's within walking distance but add another 8-10 minutes to the walk from the Palace Hotel. Rooms are nice, but nothing much around there on the weekends. It's an easy walk to Union Square if you wanted to grab a drink, breakfast or dinner. Overall, not a bad place.

The Grand Hyatt at Union Square. Another Hyatt property. To walk to the ballpark from here is a hike, definitely doable but it's a hike - plan for a 30 minute walk. Best thing to do is walk down to the Powell train station and catch the Muni train (N Judah) to the ballpark - That should cut your travel time by half. The hotel is nice, nothing spectacular, but it works. Kinda noisy since you are near Union Square and you can hear traffic and road construction. It's close to shopping, bars and restaurants.

If you're looking to book a room, I would suggest the following:

  1. Check the hotel websites, they have specials going on every once in awhile, and you have a automobile club membership, see what rates they offer to AAA members. I got the Palace Hotel for $139 for the AAA rate, the normal rate was $219. So it can make a difference.
  2. Try - I got the Omni last year for $125 a night, the normal rate was around $200, and the other hotels were packed so that was a great rate. This season, I used Priceline and I got the Park Hyatt for $129 and $130 a night for four different trips. The only thing is you don't know which hotel will accept your offer, but if you choose the high-end option, it shouldn't be a problem.
  3. Book in advance, hotels like to sell rooms far in advance ... plus the AAA rates are only available for a handful of rooms, so once those are sold you can't get the special rates.

Tickets to AT&T Park


What are the best seats and what is the best method in getting tickets? A question often asked by fans visiting from out of the area.

Quite frankly, I like any seat in the lower level, not a bad seat in the house and you're close to the action. I have never liked the upper deck at any stadium, so I'm not fond of the upper deck at AT&T Park. The upper deck is nice and views are good, BUT IT' STILL THE UPPER DECK!

The Club level (the middle section) is suppose to be great too. I haven't been to the game in the Club level before, but I have walked up the Club concourse and it's a great vantage point. Conversely, tickets are expensive for this section.

Bleachers - my personal favorite. I have season tickets in the bleachers and it's close to everything. The field, concession, express restrooms and entrance/exit gates. Plus the fans are more into the game in the bleachers, so you have some real die-hards that you see at every game.

The best way to obtain tickets is to check the Giants website ... see what's available. At this point, most of the tickets will be in the upper deck. Other places to check are eBay, Craigslist SF, Stubhub and Double Replay page on the Giants website.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

AT&T Park - Best of ...

Best entrance to the park ... CF bleacher entrance, no ramps to climb and it takes you straight into the bleachers for BP.

Best concession stand ... the garlic fries stand underneath the CF bleachers parallel to the port walk next to McCovey Cove. No lines at this stand. Plus, they have chicken tenders.

Best food item ... the ChaCha Bowl at Orlando Cepada's BBQ stand behind the CF bleachers. It tastes great and it fills you up! If you're lucky, Orlando will be there sometimes near the back. I've received his autograph twice from that location!

Best seat ... anywhere. Personally, I like the lower deck. Bleachers are great - close to concessions and the express restrooms!

Best place to catch a ball during BP ... the bleachers. It's important to know which visiting team is playing. The team that has a lot of sluggers will usually one-hop a ball into the CF bleachers (i.e. the Boston Red Sox) ... otherwise stay in the LF bleachers and wait for the rebound.

Best place to get an autograph ... in the stadium, wait near the bullpen areas (for the pitchers) or get near the dugout. Out of the stadium, the best place is at the airport, when the Giants return from a road trip. They use to arrive at an United Airlines gate, not sure if they still do. For the visiting team, wait outside near the visiting team's entrance (adjacent to the Dugout Store) - I got Jeff Bagwell's autograph last season from that spot.

Best place to go before or after the game ... 21st Amendment Brewery, Gordon Biersch and MoMo's - good drinks and plenty of Giant fans!

Best souvenir ... the Splashing Landing penny machine on the Arcade concourse. They change the visting team plate for each series. Only $0.26 cents!!

The Season is near!

Today, Barry Lamar Bonds reported to the camp. And with that, the entire team is now in camp.

How many days 'til Opening Day?