Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Awards & Accolades for the SF Giants

Phew, okay I checked the 'net and tried to compile all of the awards/accolades the Giants received in 2010. I'm sure I'm missing something, but here's the list.

  • World Series - Champions
  • National League Rookie of the Year: Buster Posey
  • National League Rookie of the Month (July): Buster Posey
  • National League Player of the Month (July): Buster Posey
  • National League Player of the Week (June 28-July 4): Buster Posey
  • National League All-Star: Tim Lincecum
  • National League All-Star: Brian Wilson
  • Players Choice Awards - Outstanding Rookie, NL: Buster Posey
  • Willie Mac Award: Andres Torres
  • USA Today - NL Rookie of the Year: Buster Posey
  • Baseball America - Major League Organization of the Year: San Francisco Giants
  • Topps All-Star Rookie Rosters: Buster Posey
  • The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tenn.) Sportsman of the Year: Matt Cain
  • Santa Cruz Sentinel - Sports Newsmaker of the Year: Pat Burrell
  • MLB Network "Greatness in BaseBall Yearly" (The Gibbys) - Rookie of the Year: Buster Posey
  • MLB Network "Greatness in BaseBall Yearly" (The Gibbys) - Postseason MVP: Tim Lincecum 
  • MLB Network "Greatness in BaseBall Yearly" (The Gibbys) - Closer of the Year: Brian Wilson 
  • MLB Network "Greatness in BaseBall Yearly" (The Gibbys) - Manager of the Year: Bruce Bochy
  • MLB Network "Greatness in BaseBall Yearly" (The Gibbys) - Executive of the Year: Brian Sabaen
  • MLB Network "2010 All-MLB Team" - Utility Player: Juan Uribe
  • MLB Network "2010 All-MLB Team" - Closer: Brian Wilson
  • ESPN The Magazine - NEXT Athlete: Buster Posey

Buster Posey cleaned up on various awards in 2010

ESPN The Magazine - NEXT Athlete: Buster Posey

Thursday, December 30, 2010

In Memoriam - Bobby Thomson

Bobby Thomson 

As the 2010 calendar year comes to a close, I wanted to take one final moment to pay homage to one of the best Giants to ever wear the orange and black. We've all seen the highlight reel about a thousand times over, the most prolific home run in the history of Major League Baseball, "the shot heard 'round the world." On an overcast day on Oct. 3, 1951, Bobby Thomson launched a three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to not only defeat arch-rival, Brooklyn Dodgers, but to help the New York Giants win a three game playoff to capture the National League pennant and to face the Yankees in the World Series.

Thomson would end up playing another nine years in the Bigs, with stops in Milwaukee, Chicago (Cubs), Boston, Baltimore, and back to the New York Giants. At the end of his 15-year career he accumulated 264 home runs, 1,026 RBI, and a .270 batting average. Even though he never played for the San Francisco Giants, fans in the Bay Area always thought of him as if he did, for the simple fact that he beat the Dodgers in one of the greatest comebacks in the history of Major League Baseball. 

With so many great memories from the 2010 San Francisco Giants, we should all reflect on all those who've come before us and the moments they've given us. Each time I see the video of Bobby's shot, I still get chills, just like when I see highlights of the 2010 Giants winning the World Series.

I don't know, call me crazy, but maybe just maybe, Bobby gave the Giants a little help during the 2010 postseason. I believe in the Baseball Gods, and on August 16, 2010, another Baseball God entered the Heavens and his name was Bobby Thomson.

The original walk off home run
Bobby Thomson

"It was a delirious, delicious moment."
Bobby Thomson

"While Bobby was so well known throughout the world as the man who hit the most famous home run in baseball history, he was also a true gentleman who showed the respect for the game and carried himself with dignity that is so important to baseball."  
Bill Neukom
General Managing Partner
World Champions - San Francisco Giants

"The shot heard 'round the world"
Bobby Thomson

Where are they now ... Lance Niekro (SF Giants: 2003-07)

Third installment in this series ...

At the end of the 2005 season, the Giants parted ways with longtime first baseman J.T. Snow, and in 2006 the duties were handed over to Lance Niekro, but it was short -lived.

Lance was drafted by the Giants in the 2000 amateur draft in the 2nd round (61st overall) after playing collegiate baseball at Florida Southern College, a Division II school of the Sunshine State Conference. After signing with the Giants, Lance quickly moved up the ranks of the minor leagues and was called up to the Bigs in 2003. The very next season, Lance remained in the minors, mostly in AAA Fresno while playing first base for the Grizzlies. In 2005, Lance was with the big club, and platooned at first base with long time Giant, J.T. Snow. After having a promising showing in the '05 season by belting 12 home runs, 46 RBI, and hitting .252., Lance was given the chance to start at first base in 2006, but he failed to recapture the lightning from '05 and struggled at the plate and was eventually sent down to Fresno. 2007 wasn't any better for Lance, and he again was called up to the Bigs, but only appeared in 11 games. After the '07 campaign, the Giants released him and granted him free agency.

In 2008, Lance signed with the Houston Astros, but nagging injuries ended his season after appearing only in 17 games for the their AAA club. At that point, Lance retired from the game, but after missing most the rest of the '08 season, Lance decided to make a comeback but as a knuckleball pitcher. The Atlanta Braves were intrigued at the prospect of having a knuckleballer and took a flyer by signing him. In 2009, Lance appeared in 14 games for the Braves rookie league team, but he failed to achieve any success as pitcher. He posted a 1-3 record, 5.61 ERA in 33.2 innings while striking out 22 and walking 17. After a disappointing comeback, Lance officially retired from professional baseball.

Where is he now? On July 15, 2010, Lance returned to his alma mater, Florida Southern College, and joined their baseball program by becoming their new assistant coach. "When I found out the job was open, it seemed like a natural fit for me, being from Lakeland and having played at Florida Southern," Niekro said.  "I want to stay involved in baseball and I’m looking forward to helping the Moccasins continue to be one of the top college baseball programs in the country." The Moccasins open the 2011 season on Feb. 4 vs. St. Thomas.

When I first saw Lance play, I thought he had a shot on becoming the heir apparent to J.T. Snow, but a series of injuries, lack of adjusting his hitting approach, and the death of his father ended up being too much for him. Hopefully, he's found his calling as a baseball coach and can develop some future Major Leaguers.

Lance Niekro

Lance handling first base duties

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Trivia: Which Division I baseball program had the most players in the Major Leagues in 2010?

Miami? LSU? USC? Texas? Florida State? WRONG!!

The Division I program that had the most Major Leaguers appear in the 2010 season was ... Long Beach State with 16 players. Shocker, right?! In recent years, the Giants have drafted a number of former Dirtbags too ... the most notable one to actually play in San Francisco was John Bowker. Others in the farm system have included Todd Jennings (C) and Brian Anderson (RHP).

Long Beach State players that appeared in the Bigs in 2010 (listed by MLB debut)
Jason Giambi - Rockies
Bobby Crosby - Pirates
Jeremy Reed - Blue Jays
Paul McAnulty - Angels
Jason Vargas - Mariners
Jered Weaver - Angels
Troy Tulowitzki - Rockies
John Bowker - Giants/Pirates
Evan Longoria - Rays
Marco Estrada - Brewers
Andrew Carpenter - Phillies
Cesar Ramos - Padres
Brad Davis - Marlins
Vance Morley - Phillies
Danny Espinosa - Nationals
Bob Cramer - A's

25-man roster

I know we have another three plus months before the 2011 season starts, but what if the season started today what would our 25-man roster look like? Well, according to's depth chart, our roster would look like this ...

Starting position players (8):
C: Buster Posey
1B: Aubrey Huff
2B: Freddy Sanchez
SS: Miguel Tejada
3B: Pablo Sandoval
LF: Mark DeRosa
CF: Andres Torres
RF: Cody Ross

Starting rotation (5):
Tim Lincecum
Matt Cain
Jonathan Sanchez
Madison Bumgarner
Barry Zito

Bench (6):
Mike Fontenot (INF)
Pat Burrell (OF)
Aaron Rowand (OF)
Nate Schierholtz (OF)
Travis Ishikawa (1B)
Eli Whiteside (C)

Bullpen (6):
Brian Wilson (R)
Jeremy Affeldt (L)
Sergio Romo (R)
Santiago Casilla (R)
Javier Lopez (L)
Ramon Ramirez (R)

So, at first glance, my initial reactions are: 1. where's Dan Runzler? 2. We have too many outfielders 3. Infield depth is lacking, even with DeRosa as an utility guy. Again, this roster is assuming if we started the season today. So having said that, I think it's clear Nate Schierholtz will not be part of this club in 2011, there is no room for him; and I assume a major shakeup is going to happen with our starting rotation because Runzler has to be on this roster - so the odd man out just might be Jonathan Sanchez. FYI, the Giants have stated that Runzler could be a possible starter. Perhaps, a Schierholtz/Sanchez trade for an infielder and prospects? What do you think?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Photo essay - baseball cards

The first baseball card I collected was back in 1978, and since then I've picked up a few cards along the way. What makes baseball cards so intriguing to me is it's simplicity to the past - capturing a brief moment to a player's career. The photo below depicts cards that I have spread randomly inside my coffee table, and as you'll note not every card depicts a San Francisco Giant, but most are, and I even have a few of the old vintage ones too.

Can you identify every card?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Tim Lincecum to the Seattle Mariners? Might happen ...

Yes, I know we have the Freak signed thru the 2011 season, and that we still have two years of arbitration left which takes us through the 2013 season. But what happens after that when he hits free agency at the conclusion of '13?

Do you think he's gonna resign with the Giants, or would he leave us to pitch for his hometown club - the Seattle Mariners?

Two recent events had us thinking of him bolting the Giants as a free agent and signing with Seattle. On Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010 during the Seahawks pregame ceremonies, Timmy was the honorary "12th Man" and helped raise the 12th Man flag at Century Link Field and seemed fairly comfortable and enthusiastic in front of his hometown crowd. Second, and a little less subtle reason, is the fact in the previous month he purchased a 2,400 square foot condo for $1.575 million in downtown Seattle on the 28th floor of the Escala complex. Yet, he only rents a property in Mill Valley during the season (6+ months) even though he actually spends more time in the Bay Area.

Okay, okay, we might be overreacting on those two things, but the thought of seeing Timmy pitch for another club would seriously piss us off. It might behoove the Giants to buyout his last two arbitration years, and a few years of his free agency as well. Yeah, I know, it's not gonna be cheap, but do you want to see him bolt to another club?

Tim Lincecum - 12th Man

Tim Lincecum

Escala Condos in Seattle

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Where are they now ... Noah Lowry (SF Giants 2003-2007)

Second installment in this series ...

Perhaps one of the biggest player disappointments for Giants fans in recent years could reside with just one player, Noah Lowry (LHP). Fans weren't disappointed with Noah himself, but on what could have been after seeing him pitch for the Giants during the 2003-07 campaigns. What could have been a great career for Noah has instead become a classic example of where a player had his career cut short because his body just broke down and simply couldn't recover.

Noah was drafted by the Giants in the 2001 amateur draft during the first round (30th overall pick) after spending his amateur career pitching for Pepperdine University. Noah quickly moved up ranks of the minor leagues for the next three years before being called up in late 2003 and appearing in six games for the Giants. In 2004, Noah got shuttled between San Francisco and Fresno, until he made his first career start on June 12 at Baltimore (no decision). Noah would have three additional starts before recording his first career win on Aug. 3 vs Cincinnati with a 11-0 win at home. What transpired after that was a San Francisco club record of winning seven straight games to start off a pitching career.

After the 2005 season where he posted a 13-13 record with an ERA of 3.78 in 33 starts over 204 innings, the Giants signed him to a four-year deal worth $9.75 million, with a club option for a fifth year.  In 2006, the first year of his new contract, his season was cut short short when he suffered an oblique strain at the beginning of the season, and elbow injury at the end of the season. The very next year would end up being his last in professional baseball. Despite having a career year by posting a 14-8 record and a 3.92 ERA, his season was cut short again with a forearm injury. Everyone thought Noah would return in 2008, but he continued to have physical setbacks and eventually had surgery on his left forearm. The 2009 was no better, he was sidelined the entire season and needless to say, the Giants declined their club option on him after the '09 campaign. That same year, after rehabbing and not having any positive results, it was shown his original diagnois was wrong and he ended up having another surgery (rib removal) to eliminate the shoulder and neck pain he was having.

After missing two seasons, 2010 was Noah's first as a free agent and he was eager to showcase his pitching to clubs during spring training. What ensued were a number of postponements to audition in front of possible suitors. In the end, he never did have his pitching audition for any clubs. The 2010 season has now come and gone, and still no word on Noah's status.

So where the hell is he? Good question. As of date, it's still unknown on whether he's working on a comeback or if he's retired. I recently sent an e-mail to Noah's representatives at All Bases Covered Sports Management inquiring on his status, but never received a response from anyone at ABCSM. Regardless, I will say one thing about him, he was definitely one of the nicest Giants to ever wear the uniform. Anyone that has met him would probably say the same thing, he was very accommodating and conducted himself with class from the very beginning.

Accolades and Highlights:
NL Player of the Week (Aug. 8, 2004)
NL Player of the Week (Aug. 27, 2006)
13 wins in 2005, ranked 19th in the NL
14 wins in 2007, ranked 12th in the NL
172 K's in 2005, ranked 15th in the NL
2 career home runs (that's one more than Duane Kuiper!)

Noah Lowry in 2007

Saturday, December 25, 2010

2011 Cal Football at AT&T Park ... not so fast my friends.

This past May the California Golden Bears inked a deal with the Giants to play their 2011 home games at AT&T Park while Memorial Stadium undergoes their renovation. At first glance, that sounded like a great idea until you took a moment to notice some possible scheduling conflicts since the college football season starts in late August. After reflecting on how cool that would be, your old time machine probably reminded you of the old Candlestick Park days when the 49ers and Giants shared the field. At which point, you probably had nasty flashbacks on that not-so-cool bleached grass look in right field from the retractable stands, right?

Fast forward to July of this past season when Sir Paul McCartney rolled into town for his outdoor tour held at AT&T Park. Remember the not-so-cool bleached grass look in center field!?! Yeah, I'm sure the Giants execs were reminded of that too, since it took almost the entire months of July and August to get the grass looking "Giants green."

Well, last week the first "scheduling conflict" was addressed. The Bears first home game of the 2011 season is slated for Saturday, Sept. 3 against Fresno State. That's also the day the Giants host the Arizona Diamondbacks that could have serious playoff implications. So, the Bears will now host their Sept. 3 gridiron game at the old lady that everyone loves to hate, ta da, Candlestick Park! Hey 'Stick, clean out those troughs in the men's rooms, cuz the Betas, Sigmas, and their pledges are coming to town!

So the question is ... will the Bears move their next home game (Saturday, Sept. 17) to Candlestick as well even though the Giants will be on the road for that weekend? As of now, only the home opener has been moved to the 'Stick, the other home games are still scheduled to be held at AT&T Park. Do the Giants want to risk a college football game to mess up their field if the Giants are in playoff contention? Do the Giants want a possible national television audience to see the pristine AT&T Park field battered and bruised from a college game?

It doesn't end there, the Bears have two home games scheduled in October (Thursday, Oct. 13 vs. USC; Saturday, Oct. 22 vs. Utah). Ummm, remember this thing called the postseason? Yeah, could be a problem once again for the reasons stated above, now it's compounded even more so.

I love the idea of hosting non-baseball events at AT&T Park, but not if it's going to interfere with the playing surface of the field during the season. Baseball should always come first. Having said that, the Giants should just inform the Bears that they need utilize the grand 'ole dame until November rolls around, then they can use AT&T Park, by then the Bears will have two homes remaining in November.

Emerald Bowl game at AT&T Park

Paul McCartney concert tear down at AT&T Park

The 'Stick

Friday, December 24, 2010

Bruce Bochy the sommelier on Christmas

I don't make this stuff up, but apparently Bruce Bochy is quite the wine aficionado. In the spirit of the season, he's also created a wine list for his Christmas dinner - seriously, no joke. So, if you're looking to pair some wine for your feast tomorrow consider what good 'ole Bochy has lined up. As you'll see he's sticking with an all-California list and if you examine the list this is a "high payroll" lineup of vino. Most of these bottles aren't cheap folks, but I'm sure his World Series share has him covered.

Cabernet Sauvignon & Petite Sirah (Syrah): Switchback Winery in Calistoga
Chardonnay: Jarvis Winery in Napa
Cabernet Sauvignon: Jordan Vineyard & Winery in Healdsburg
Cabernet Sauvignon - Napa Valley: Silver Oak Cellars in Napa
Cabernet Sauvignon:  Hourglass in St. Helena

Bruce Bochy 
World Champions - San Francisco Giants

Flashback to 1989

The 1989 campaign will always be remembered for the Bay Area Earthquake World Series versus the Oakland A's, but 1989 also had some interesting factoids ...

Record:                     92-70 (1st place NL West)
Attendance:               2,059,701
Avg. Attendance:      25,248
Payroll:                      $15,040,834 (that's the freakin' team total!)
Highest Paid Player:  Rich Reuschel at $1,175,000. Will Clark was second at $1,125,000 ... in the words of The Who, "I'd call that a bargain."

"Big Daddy"

"The Thrill"

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dave Flemming added to ESPN's Men's Basketball broadcast team fulltime

Dave Flemming has been added to ESPN's men's basketball broadcast team fulltime. Dave called a couple of games for ESPN last season. For those Giants fans that are not aware, Dave also calls Stanford's basketball and football games as well. Dave's ESPN assignment calls for him to work  WCC and WAC games on Wednesday and Thursday nights. Don't worry, he's still going to handle the radio broadcast for the Giants, but this is a nice piece of work to have during the offseason.

Dave Flemming

Where's your pre-game spot?

Yeah, slow day right before Christmas break, so I thought I would bring up a question to the Giants faithful. So, where is your pre-game spot for a game at AT&T Park?

Perhaps one of the best things of having a downtown ballpark is the number of pubs, eateries, bars, and restaurants that fans can stop by before a game for an adult beverage and/or bite to eat. Mission Bay certainly has a large portfolio of establishments, but for me, hands down ... it's Pete's Tavern on 128 King Street, right across the ballpark. Pete's certainly has a large selection of draft beers, hearty bar menu, great setup of the bar (i.e. flatscreens, chairs, stools, loft, etc) ... but the location and bar staff are what makes it great. It certainly will get crowded on gameday, but that's part of the ambience of Pete's - everyone wants to be there.

Now, every now and then, you gotta have a backup establishment, and that too is right next door at Pedro's Cantina. Pedro's opened this past summer and it's been a hit since the day it opened. I'm guessing it's at least 3x as big than Pete's, and the food is awesome ... in fact, I'll stop by Pedro's first for one of their signature burritos and then head over to Pete's! Honestly, you can do that, and they're cool with it. So much so, that you can walk between those two establishments without ever going outside.

Okay, so you read mine, where is your pre-game spot?

Pete's Tavern

Pedro's Cantina

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Baseball poem

So comes another fall ...
and my heart aches as my love departs
Each spring, my love reappears with glamour, promise, and hope ...
through all of emotions that my love provides, it is the glimmer of hope that keeps me going
Some may hate it, while others love it ...
but one thing remains the same, my heart will ache through the winter months waiting for my love to reappear
As in life, one thing is true, my love will reappear in the spring reklinding my heart and soul

Monday, December 20, 2010

Projected 2013 SF Giants Lineup

Catcher:   Buster Posey
1st Base:  Brandon Belt
2nd Base: Nick Noonan
3rd Base:  Pablo Sandoval
SS:           Brandon Crawford
LF:          Thomas Neal
CF:          Francisco Peguero
RF:          Roger Kieschnick
SP:          Tim Lincecum
SP:          Matt Cain
SP:          Madison Bumgarner
SP:          Zach Wheeler
SP:          Jonathan Sanchez
Closer:    Brian Wilson

I know we have Zito signed thru the 2013 season, but do you think he'll actually be a starter in '13? I have a hard time believing he'll have any stuff left by then to start every fifth game.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The future is now ... Brandon Belt

Okay, so by now you've probably heard of this kid named Brandon Belt that the Giants have in their farm system. A left handed hitter that plays first base that has quickly positioned himself to be in the Bigs sooner versus later. But who is this kid? He wasn't a first round pick or a Golden Spikes award winner ... how good is he, and can he really contribute to the Giants in 2011 or in the years ahead? I'll provide the data and background, and you can decide for yourself.

Brandon Kyle Belt is a 22 year old, 6'5", 195 lbs, left handed hitter and first baseman that was selected in the 5th round (147th overall) by the Giants in the 2009 amateur draft and signed with a bonus of $200,000. "BB" played for the University of Texas for two years and quickly established himself as a pure hitter. In those two years, BB had a batting average of .321, while knocking in 14 HRs, and 108 RBI. Now, I know what most people think when they see stats of a highly touted prospect from his college career ... "hey, that doesn't seem so great ... just 14 HRs in two years!?" One thing to consider about college stats, players rarely find their power stroke in college, you can pinpoint that to a number of factors: a) still learning how to hit and identifying pitch selection b) dependent on the aluminum bat and trying to over swing at every bat. Still don't believe me, check the college stats of Troy Tulowitzki and Evan Longoria ... not so great either, and comparable to BB's. As a side note, BB was also selected in the 2006 and 2007 drafts by the Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves respectively (both in the 11th round - 343rd overall), but declined both offers.

After signing with the Giants in 2009, BB started the 2010 season in high class A with the San Jose Giants. In just 77 games, he compiled 10 HRs, 62 RBI, and a .383 batting average. He was quickly promoted to AA Richmond where he continued his hot swing belting 9 HRs, 40 RBI, and batting .337 in 46 games. He received another battle field promotion to AAA Fresno and hit 4 HRs, 10 RBI, while slumping a bit to a .229 average. Now, I know fans will pinpoint his significant batting average drop in Fresno, but it should be clear by then the long season was starting to wear him down. Consider this, while playing for the Longhorns, he averaged 62 games per season, and in his first pro season he played 136 games ... yeah, you might be a bit worn out in those last 20-30 games too, it's called being a first year professional and learning the ropes of a pro baseball season.

At the conclusion of the '10 campaign and with some rest, BB was immediately sent to the Scottsdale Scorpions to play in the Arizona Fall League. In 22 games, BB regained his stroke by hitting .372 and hitting 1 HR, and driving in 16 runs. He helped lead the Scorpions to the AFL title by defeating the Peoria Javelinas in the league championship game.

So what's the future for Brandon Belt? It appears he will get every chance to win a roster spot for the Giants during spring training, that's how much they think of his kid. However, if he doesn't show that he can consistently hit during spring training look for him to start the '11 season in Fresno. There's a part of me that wants to see this kid at the AT&T Park in '11 ... think Buster Posey version 2.0. But then I quickly remember other first baseman's we had that quickly flamed out when given the chance ... you know who I'm talking about ... Lance Niekro, Dan Ortmeier, J.R. Phillips, Damon Minor, et al. All of a sudden, I kinda think maybe starting in AAA Fresno in '11 isn't such a bad idea.

2010 Accolades:
AFL Rising Stars
Baseball America Minor League All-Star
CAL Mid-Season All-Star
CAL Player of the Week

Trivia question:
The first person to get this right will receive a Sons of Johnnie LeMaster t- shirt when I get them printed for the 2011 season.

"What does Brandon Belt and Tim Lincecum have in common from their amateur baseball career?" Hint: think summer.

Brandon Belt - University of Texas

Brandon Belt - Arizona Fall League

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Where are they now ... Damon Minor (SF Giants: 2000-2004)


First installment in this series ...

The first sight of Damon Minor usually caused the same reaction, that guy is one big mother XXXXXX! At 6'7" and tipping the scales at 230 lbs, Damon was appropriately nicknamed, "Tiny" by Barry Bonds. Damon was a 12th round pick (342nd overall) for the Giants in the 1996 amateur draft. Usually guys drafted that late in the draft never get a taste of the Bigs, but Damon quickly established himself in the minors and earned a "September callup" in 2000, '01, and '04 campaigns. In fact, in 2003 when he started the season in Fresno, he got called up early and ended up playing in 83 games, hitting 10 HRs, 24 RBI, and batting a respectable .237. In the end, the Giants just couldn't get him swinging at bad pitches (inside breaking ball) and plus they had a guy by the name of JT Snow manning first base. Damon's last season with the Giants was in 2004, and by then he was 29 years old and the writing was on the wall for him - it would be last with the Giants organization. In 2005, Damon went to Japan to play for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles for just one season. Then one year later, Damon caught on with a Mexican league team called Campeche, but appeared in just 12 games before calling it quits. In 2007, Damon went back to his alma mater, University of Oklahoma to serve as an assistant coach for their baseball program. And in 2008, he co-created the Minor-Floral Baseball Academy based in Edmond, Oklahoma.

** On Jan. 14, 2011 it was announced that Damon will become the hitting instructor for the New Orleans Zephyers, the AAA team for the Florida Marlins. This is Damon's first professional coaching assignment.

Damon Minor: 2000-2004

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Equipment Room v2.0

Okay, so here's my 2nd installment of the Equipment Room. Today I'm gonna feature my Tim Lincecum road jersey from 2008. What's interesting about this jersey is that it was also Tim's rookie year. So you're probably asking how is someone going to know if it's his rookie jersey. Simple, the 50th Anniversary patch from 2008 on the right sleeve. In recent years, Tim has chosen to wear the Cool Base versions of the jersey which is a lighter, quick drying version of the standard jersey.

Notice the 50th Ann. patch on the right sleeve

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sloppy seconds ... hey Dodgers, do you want my leftover lunch too?

I'm begging to wonder if Ned Colletti keeps an eye on every former Giant available on the free market. Apparently Velez signed a minor league deal and was invited to spring training camp, so really it's not a high-risk move for the Dodgers, but it just seems odd how many former Giants Ned is going after. Like most Giants fans, this signing by the Dodgers doesn't get my blood to boil over - unlike the Uribe signing.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Equipment Room

Equipment Room
Periodically, I'll share some tidbits on my personal stash of Giants gear and souvenirs.

In this first installment, I'll spotlight one of many jerseys I have in my closet. So for a quick historical tutorial, back in 2004, I wanted a throwback Will Clark jersey. You know the one, the classic white home jersey with the Giants name arched with the large G and S. Well, after searching online I couldn't find a new or used one anywhere. It was impossible to find. After several months I decided just to get a current road jersey, and when I purchased it from a local retailer I asked where could I get this customized. Their reply was that a shop in Illinois did all of their work and advised I call them. So I did, and they said they could customize any jersey to exact team specs, even the Giants jerseys from the 80's! So that had me thinking, if I could get a hold of a blank Giants jersey from the 80's I could have them customize it and finally get my Will Clark jersey.

At that time, there were a flood of authentic Giants jerseys made from Rawlings and Russell on EBay and I proceeded to bid and purchase them. After a year on bidding on blank jerseys, I not only had my Will Clark jersey, but I soon added others to my collection: Kevin Mitchell, Barry Bonds, and Mike Krukow.

Today the sports jerseys biz has mushroomed to a huge multi-million dollar industry. Getting a Will Clark jersey is a breeze since Mitchell & Ness added some of the 80s Giants players to their inventory, but it's still not the same. Just little things like the poly fabric they use and the size of the letters are a bit off, but close enough for the casual fan.

The pic included here is of my Mike Krukow jersey. Note this jersey was blank so I had the Krukow name stitched onto a nameplate and the plate was stitched to the jersey and then the numbers were stitched too. I also had the vendor stitch the 1989 World Series patch and the Bart Giamatti memorial band to the sleeves. I had to buy the patch on eBay and then strip the wax backing before sending it off to the vendor. One thing to note about this jersey, it too is not 100% accurate. In 1989, the Giants wore jerseys made by Rawlings, this one is made by Russell Athletic. In the early 90s, Russell Athletic won the contract to supply uniforms to all Major League teams.

1989 World Series patch on the right sleeve, Russell Athletic logo embroidered on the right sleeve.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

SF Unfiltered

Photo taken from Mission Street

For those of us that grew up in the Bay Area or San Francisco before the urban revitalization, things weren't always that pretty. Finally, one of the biggest eye sores of the city is coming to an end - Transbay Terminal. This hub for public transportation had become a magnet for the homeless and no longer served it's purpose. In fact, people avoided this place. Thankfully, it will undergo a full transformation to bring it up to speed to the modern era. Demolition of the terminal started a week or two ago, and the photo was taken in front of the main entrance.

A day at AT&T Park

Picture day with the World Series trophy, here's a picture of the field with the goal posts up for the upcoming bowl game

Friday, December 10, 2010

Aerial shot of AT&T Park from Game 1 of the 2010 World Series

The photo and the filtering were all completed on my iPhone 4. I took a snapshot of the aerial shot from the World Series telecast game that I bought and downloaded from iTunes, and then used the TiltShiftGen app to apply the filtering.

Is Darren Ford going to be the next Ron LeFlore?

What, you never heard of Ron LeFlore? Ron is one of the unique stories in the history of Major League Baseball, so much that CBS made a special TV movie about him titled, "One in a Million: The Ron LeFlore story." What's unique of Ron's story was that he was a career criminal and was incarcerated in the Michigan State Prison. It was there, that he picked up baseball and that Billy Martin saw him play a prison league game that led to a tryout with the Detroit Tigers. Long story short, he played in the bigs and achieved some degree of success, but his legal troubles haunted for the rest of his life.

Fast forward to Darren Ford, by now you've probably heard of his legal troubles regarding stolen money from his off season job at a car dealership and the false police report he filed back in 2009. Well, just two weeks after celebrating a World Championship, Ford was in a New Jersey Superior Court on Nov. 15 to enter the state's pre-trial intervention (PTI) program in an attempt to avoid prosecution. The review process on that application has two stages that can take up to 39 days in total to complete. Probation officials have 25 days from that request to recommend whether he should be accepted, then the county prosecutor's office has another 14 days to respond to that recommendation. The matter then moves to the judge for a decision. If his application is not accepted, then he will most likely will appear in Superior Court on Jan. 3 for the next step in the state's robbery case against him.

This is not a good situation for a promising 25-year old baseball player. What do you think? Does he receive a slap on the hand, or will he be an all-star in the New Jersey prison league?

Darren Ford (right)

Ron LeFlore - Tiger Stadium - Sept. 30, 1979

Former Giant, Scott McClain is now a scout

Scott McClain, the modern day version of "Crash Davis" has hung up his cleats and is now a U.S. - based scout for the Hiroshima Carp of the Nippon Professional Baseball league. During his tenure with the Giants organization, Scott was a "September callup" in 2007 and 2008. In those two years, Scott had 44 at-bats, and belted two home runs and seven RBI, while batting .250. However, Scott is best known for being an absolute slugger in AAA, in 11 seasons he belted 252 home runs and drove in 869 runs, while hitting .275. In 2009, he played most of the year for the Hiroshima Carp and hit .244, 18 HR, 52 RBI.

Scott's minor league stats are in the link below.

Scott McClain aka Crash Davis

Former Giant, Ryan Garko signs with Samsung Lions

Ryan Garko who played for the Giants in 2009, just signed a one-year deal with the Samsung Lions of the Korean Baseball Organization for $300,000.  Garko arrived to the Giants via trade from the Cleveland Indians on July 27, 2009 for LHP Scott Barnes. Garko was slated to be the everyday first baseman and to provide some pop to an anemic offense, but his bat never materialized and he quickly lost playing time and was not resigned by the Giants after the '09 campaign. After his breakout season of 2008, Garko has quickly played his way out of the Major Leagues. Hopefully he'll find his swing in Korea, and will make it back to the Bigs in 2012.

The link below provides his career stats in the Bigs.

Garko pictured here from 2009 ... ironic that he played in 15 games for the Rangers in 2010 before being released

Juan Uribe's best home run as a Giant

There is no doubt that Juan had some clutch home runs for the Giants, but the one that ranks number one for me is the one off of Jonathan Broxton at Dodger Stadium on the night of Sept. 4, 2010. After Ted Lilly pitched six shutout innings, the Giants unleashed four homers, the last one Juan's two-run shot not only gave the Giants the lead and win, but also pulled the Giants two games behind the Padres in the NL West. His HR came on a 1-0 count, with one out ... the fan video linked below best represents the reaction of every Giants fan after Juan's bolt.

"Jazz hands"

SF Giants contract obligations

One of the best resources is a blog called Cot's baseball contracts ... the link below has the Giants' contract obligations thru 2014.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

KNBR Sports Auction Experience

Several years ago (2007), we were in San Francisco and stopped by the then, Acme Chophouse (now Public House), at AT&T Park for the annual KNBR Sports Auction. Determined to win a Giants related auction item, we finally had the winning bid for the "David Flemming Experience." The auction included: 4 games tickets from Dave's season seats, meet and greet before the game with Dave, a visit on the field for batting practice, dinner in the press room, and tour of the KNBR radio booth.

In 2008, with the help of Lyell Perry (promotions director at KNBR), we were able to secure a date to honor this auction item. It was in the month of July versus the Cubs. After corresponding with Dave via e-mail we finally met him the day of. Dave was gracious for the entire visit, gave us the grand tour, and even invited us to watch the game from the booth. The one thing that stand out during the "experience" was when Willie Mays came out of the dugout. After gawking for a few minutes, we had the nerve to ask him for a photo and autograph ... needless to say, Mr. Mays was totally accommodating and even spent some time chatting with us before heading out to his pregame obligations. The second event was watching the game (the last 3 innings) from the KNBR booth and listening/watching Dave and Jon Miller call the game. It was kinda of funny, during the commercial break they would chat with us and then boom, right after the last commercial they were calling the action on the field.

This was certainly a once-in-a-lifetime experience and we're glad that we were able to experience it. We hope someone out there is able to win a game experience auction and have the same memories that we had.

Here's a pic of the KNBR announcing crew on the post game wrap.

Our signed Willie Mays ball


In the days after the Giants clinched the World Series, fans throughout the country posted videos when Renteria hit the HR, and when the Giants clinched the WS. The videos below are some of my favorites:

Possible change of date for 2011 Opening Day

As John Shea from the San Francisco Chronicle reported yesterday, ESPN and MLB are considering having the Giants open up the season at home on Thursday, March 31 vs. the Dodgers. Immediately following that game, the respective team would fly down to LA for the Dodgers home opener  (4 game series). Why not make this easier and switch the series for each team, since they play home and away within 2 weeks of one another.

I'm back!

Yeah, after four years, I thought I would reinvest time into this blog vs. posting on other social networks.

So, the biggest question for the moment after Carl Crawford's massive contract with Boston is how much is Cliff Lee going to get now?