Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Tough Lesson Was Learned for Younger SF Giants Fans Yesterday

Brian Wilson was drafted by the Giants in the 2003 amateur draft, and up until yesterday, spent his entire career with the Giants organization. He made his Big League debut in 2006, but became the closer for the club in 2008, and in his seven years with the club he amassed 171 saves - 3rd most in franchise history behind Robb Nen and Rod Beck. He was a home grown product that helped the club win it's first World Championship in San Francisco, and in that time he established cult hero status with the fans of San Francisco. However, all that changed yesterday when it was announced that he signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the wrath of fans was immense on social media.

Some fans were angry, hurt, disappointed, saddened, and others felt betrayal. In the end, the key lesson learned is don't get too attached to the players. Players are a commodity and will come and go ... the days of a players spending their entire career with one team is gone. Stay loyal to the club, and you won't be disappointed or angered when our next homegrown products signs elsewhere.

Buster Posey in a Red Sox uniform (Cape Cod League)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Absence of the African-American Player on the SF Giants Roster

Earlier this year, Major League Baseball conducted their annual amateur first-year baseball draft. Desperate teams and eager ballplayers were joined to the hip as teams made their selections. In reality, it doesn’t change year-after-year ... can’t miss prospects and diamonds in the rough players are selected, and then introduced to the world one-by-one. As the Giants made their picks, something became transparent to us while scanning the 2013 Big League club roster. It’s a club that’s predominantly made up of Caucasian players, and a good showing of Latin players, and one Asian player from Japan.

Now, we all know that in the last few decades African-American kids have been drawn to other sports, most notably basketball and football, but why has the African-American ballplayer eluded the Giants club? Consider this, according to Major League Baseball, 8.5% of the players on opening day rosters were African American, up from 8.1% last year. That made us thinking ... how many African-American players are currently on the 25-man roster for the Giants? Zero. How many African-American coaches are on the Giants roster fulltime? Zero (Shawn Dunston is only part-time).  The last African-American player on the roster was Emmanuel Burriss in 2012, and before Burriss it was Darren Ford and Fred Lewis - all had short lived stints with the club. In 2012, as spring training camp was breaking it appeared that Marc Kroon would make the club as a reliever, but he didn’t and was relegated to Fresno. Even with some bullpen issues (Wilson going down in the first week) during the season he was never called up. Could all of this be the residual effect from having Barry Bonds for so many years? We’ll never know, but it is alarming.

In addition, after further inspection it seems the lack of African-American employees could also apply to key leadership positions within the club as well. Based on our due diligence, it doesn’t appear as if any African-American or any minority holds any key leadership positions with the club. Among the most high profile African-Americans in the franchise are Renel Moon Brooks (public address announcer) and Brandon Evans (Giants clubhouse attendant). Now we know that others will highlight that the club still employs Willie Mays and Willie McCovey, but let’s be honest, their roles are just ceremonial at this point - ambassadors for the club. Oh, let’s not forget about the Hispanic and Asian communities either.

Should all of this be concerning to the fan base? Perhaps ... that’s up to each individual to decide for their own. However, for a city that is diverse as San Francisco, and for a team that has had such a rich history of African-American ballplayers wearing the black & orange uniform ... perhaps the question should be raised.

African-Americans in the Giants farm system:
  • Fresno: None
  • Richmond: One (Travious Relaford)
  • San Jose: One (Chris Lofton)
  • Augusta: One (Shawn Payne)
  • Salem-Keizer: One (Kentrell Hill)
African-Americans currently on a 25-man roster in the Majors*
San Francisco - zero
Boston - zero
Texas - zero
Seattle - zero
Arizona - zero
Baltimore - 1, Adam Jones
Minnesota - 1, Aaron Hicks
White Sox - 1, Donnie Veal
St. Louis - 1, Jon Jay
Cubs - 1, Edwin Jackson
Colorado - 1, Dexter Fowler
Toronto - 2, Darren Oliver, Rajai Davis
Cleveland - 2, Michael Bourn, Michael Brantley
Kansas City - 2, Lorenzo Cain, Jarrod Dyson
Oakland - 2, Coco Crisp, Chris Young
Angels - 2, Jerome Williams, Howie Kendrick
Atlanta - 2, Jason Heyward, Justin Upton
Miami - 2, Juan Pierre, Giancarlo Stanton
Pittsburgh - 2, Josh Harrison, Andrew McCutchen
Cincinnati - 2, Brandon Phillips, Derrick Robinson
Milwaukee - 2, Rickie Weeks, Khris Davis
Dodgers - 2, Jerry Hairston Jr., Carl Crawford
San Diego - 2, Tyson Ross, Will Venable
Tampa Bay - 3, David Price, James Loney, Desmond Jennings
Yankees - 3, CC Sabathia, Derek Jeter, Vernon Wells
Detroit - 3, Prince Fielder, Torii Hunter, Austin Jackson
Houston - 3, Wesley Wright, Chris Carter, Justin Maxwell
Washington - 3, Ian Desmond, Scott Hairston, Denard Span
Philadelphia - 3, Jimmy Rollins, John Mayberry Jr., Delmon Young
Mets - 3, LaTroy Hawkins, Marlon Byrd, Eric Young Jr.

*Data was compiled from current 25-man rosters as of July 29. Individuals currently on DL were not included.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Brandon Belt - Should the Front Office Give Up on the Baby Giraffe?

Mention Brandon Belt to any Giants fan, and you'll quickly find his most loyal supporters or staunch opponents. Of his supporters, many will quickly advocate patience and his immense upside, and of course his stellar glove work at first base. Then you'll find fans that have grown impatient with his lack of production from a position that has historically been one of the best producing offensive positions in baseball. Now add to the mix that the Giants are spiraling out of relevance in 2013, and the glaring numbers that Belt has produced is even more noticeable.

In 2012, in his first full season as a Major Leaguer, Belt had an unimpressive offensive year. His Major League offensive rankings for a first baseman only verifies that.

113 hits, ranked #22
47 runs, ranked T#27
7 home runs, ranked #38
56 RBI, ranked #25
54 walks, ranked #15
106 strikeouts, ranked #14

Fast forward to 2013 (as of July 26th) and the numbers do not fair any better.

81 hits, ranked #18
42 runs, ranked #19
10 home runs, ranked #23
39 RBI, ranked #23
33 walks, ranked #17
80 strikeouts, ranked #13
.260 average, ranked #15
.335 OBP, ranked #14
.434 SLG, ranked #19
.769 OPS, ranked #16

While it appears that Belt will break some personal records from the previous year,  the point of frustration for most fans is that he's still well below where a first baseman should be from an offensive stand point. The fear that most fans have is that he will eventually be mentioned in the same sentence as Damon Minor, JR Phillips, Travis Ishikawa, John Bowker, Lance Niekro, et al. All former Giants prospects that never made it as a regular first baseman for the club because of the same offensive attributes that Belt currently has. In fact, most opponents of Belt would argue that the club has not had a legitimate home grown first baseman since Will Clark - he broke in with the club in 1986, that's a long time ago. What makes this even more frustrating is that two of the most well known players to ever play  first base for the Giants have tried endlessly to help Belt's swing mechanics and approach - Will Clark and JT Snow. Earlier this year, when Snow was interviewed on KNBR, he even seemed frustrated on the lack of Belt's progression as a hitter, and his reluctance to change his approach.

So now the question is, when should the Giants sever this experiment as Belt being our regular first baseman? Is it time to look elsewhere?

Brandon Belt

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Gary Brown - Is the Future Now?

Gary Brown, the Giants first round draft pick from 2010 is now in his fourth season of professional baseball. Later this year, Brown will turn 25 years old, and this summer might be his most pivotal time in his career. Forecasted as a possible regular center fielder for the Giants, Brown has languished in Fresno. After a blistering start in 2011 for Class-A San Jose, Brown was moved up to Richmond in 2012 where he started off slowly, but finished strongly to quickly earn a promotion to AAA-Fresno in 2013. However, his start in Fresno is nearly identical to his start Richmond. Only this time around he's hasn't rebounded as strongly as he did last year.

What makes Brown so compelling is that other Big Leaguers that were drafted from the same class have already made an immediate impact in the Majors. Most notably Bryce Harper, Mike Harvey, Manny Machado, and Chris Sale.

At a certain point, you can no longer can be tagged as a prospect, and Brown is quickly coming to that moment. This might be his make or break summer, perhaps later this year we might see him as a September call up, and he'll have to take full advantage of that opportunity if he wishes to avoid the "4A" player moniker.

Gary Brown

Saturday, July 27, 2013

AT&T Park: A Multi-Purpose Stadium

In just a few days, AT&T Park will host another non-baseball related event during the season. On what has become annual tradition, the club has hosted various sporting and music related events at the ballpark in mid-season. What makes all of this puzzling is how the club continues to compromise what is perhaps the best baseball field in the Bigs during the season. Granted, the Giants are currently in a major funk, but still, is the club that desperate for funds that it would compromise the playing field for the defending World Champs?

2013: Juventus v. Everton soccer friendly
2012: Roger Waters concert
2011: Cal Football
2010: Paul McCartney concert
2009: Kenny Chesney concert
2008: Kenny Chesney concert

AT&T Park

Friday, July 26, 2013

SF Giants Under Contract for 2014

Players signed thru 2014 are noted below and their corresponding salary in parenthesis.

Matt Cain ($20.83M)
Angel Pagan ($10.25M)
Marco Scutaro ($6.66M)
Jeremy Affeldt ($6M)
Pablo Sandoval ($8.25M)
Santiago Casilla ($4.5M)
Buster Posey ($11.27M)
Sergio Romo ($5.5M)
Madison Bumgarner ($3.9M)

Club Options on Ryan Vogelsong and Barry Zito.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Reason Why SF Giants Won the World Series

Some folks might consider the baseball gods as fantasy land, but we believe in them - don't judge! So having said that, it should be no coincidence that three well known individuals with tremendous connections to the club passed away in 2010 and 2012. They probably helped the Giants see the promise land and hoist the Commissioner's Trophy to end the 2010 and 2012 seasons.

Bobby Thomson, 1923-2010

Alexis Busch, 1986-2012

Craig Appel aka The Rally Pumpkin, 1962-2012

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Gotham Club - SF Giants New Moneymaker

Recently, the SF Giants invited chartered seat members to a new social club (Gotham Club) that will be based in three locations within AT&T Park. The club is named after the original name of the franchise (Gothams), and is slated to be open this year.

The club will allow members game day access to three venues called The Clubhouse, The Game Room, and The Bullpen. The Clubhouse which is scheduled to open in 2014, will be based behind the out of town scoreboard and will offer views of the field and McCovey Cove and will hold a private bar and dining room. The Game Room which will open this year, is located somewhere on the club level behind the 3rd base dugout. The features of this space include a lounge, bowling lanes, and other parlor games. Finally, The Bullpen which will also open this year, will be located on the field level near the corner of the right field section and will allow individuals to watch batting practice and will hold a bar as well.

In addition to having access to these venues on game days, membership to the club will also allow individuals to participate in the following:

Club Socials (monthly events):

  • Batting Practice in the Giants' batting tunnel
  • Bowling Nights
  • Beer, Wine & Spirits Tastings
  • Movie Nights
  • Game Nights in the Game Room and throughout AT&T Park

Exclusive Events - Members will enjoy access to premiere no‑host events throughout the year that may include:

  • On-Field Dinners
  • Baseball Road Trips
  • Elite Speaker Series
  • Sporting Events
  • Concerts
  • Celebrity chef dinners
  • Bay cruises
And now for the big finish ... individual membership begins with an initiation fee of $2,500 with annual dues at $1,750 (or $1,250 on a three-year plan). Corporate membership has two levels, "Founding Five" will cost $10,000 for initiation and $5,000 for annual dues; "Founding Ten"will cost $20,000 for initiation and $10,000 for annual dues. Both levels require a three year commitment.

So there you have it ... the new Gotham Club. 

The Map of the Gotham Club Venue Locations

Artist Rendition of the Game Room (with Bowling Lanes)

Artist Rendition of the Game Room with Pool Table

Artist Rendition of The Bullpen

Artist Rendition of The Clubhouse

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Curse of Dawg?

We're trying to get a handle on what has become a dismal season for the defending World Champs, and while injuries have forced the club's hands on starting players that were never part of the master plan, something else is amiss.

We've been thinking what could it possibly be? Then the moment dawned us, the epiphany struck us like a bolt of lightning. It was after the Giants home game on May 12. You remember the moment. The Giants were up 5-0 against the Atlanta Braves, and Marco Scutaro stroked one to the left field wall and Justin Upton was trailing the flight of the ball to the wall getting ready to make an attempt to catch it. When out of nowhere a glove appeared from the stands and took a stab at the ball and interfering with the play.

It turned out the self-proclaimed mayor of left field, aka Dawg, was the individual that was involved in the play. A fixture at all Giants home games, and even some road games, the Dawg interfered with another ball and the Giants had enough. So the days immediately following the incident, he was banished from sitting in the front row, and was told he could sit in one of the higher rows for the rest of the season. He was going to have none of that, and basically said screw it, I'm done for the year.

Since then, the Giants have a record of 22-38, and have dropped out of first place to now own fourth place with little possibility on seeing the postseason. Could this be our Billy the Goat moment? Perhaps it's time to reinstate Dawg to his regular post because last night's thrashing by the Reds was enough for us.

The "Dawg"

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

World Series Hangover?

Perhaps a blog post will stir some good vibes for the Giants. After last night's extra innings lost to the Mets, we couldn't help but think about the 2011 season and the disappointment the fan base had when the team failed to play in the postseason. As you may recall, the 2011 club finished in 2nd place in the NL West with a record of 86-76, and that's with the absence of Buster Posey. So we thought it be interesting to see how the 2013 club compares to the 2011 club as of today. On July 9, 2011, the team had a 51-40 record. Compared to the club's current record (40-48), the differential in the win column is 11 games.

Is the 2013 a total loss? It's still too early to tell, but there is no doubt the team needs it's full roster healthy and injury-free.