Friday, August 30, 2013

Candlestick Park Memories with Steve Wilson and Jose Rijo

It's the summer of 1990, and Giants are a year removed from their World Series appearance with the Oakland A's. We're home for the summer after another year of higher education, and like most kids home for the summer, we attended a few games at the 'Stick. Back then, we opted for the cheap general admission seats beyond the left field wall. This is before they added the portable aluminum bleachers. It was the place where the visiting bullpen was located. If you got there early and grabbed a front row seat, you were within a few feet from the bullpen bench where the players sat.

So two memorable things happened that summer that involved Steve Wilson, then with the Cubs, and Jose Rijo, then with the Reds. During that time we would indulge in a little smokeless tobacco, aka dip,  and so did Wilson and Rijo. During one Giants v. Cubs game, while seated in the front row, we asked to bum a dip from Wilson. He obliged and handed us a tin of Hawken. Hawken was unlike Skoal or Copenhagen, the dip itself was like little nuggets not the fine cut stuff that Skoal or Cope made, and it had a sweet tang taste to it too. In any event, after bumming a dip, we asked Wilson if we could keep the tin since ballplayers back in the day had an endless supply of chew/dip. To our surprise, Wilson said sure and let us keep the tin. Our second encounter involved Rijo who was then a starting pitcher for the Reds. During the Reds batting practice, Rijo was running from foul pole to foul pole on the warning track, and as he approached the left field pole, we asked if we could bum a dip from him too! He reached in his back pocket and tossed us a tin of Hawken. After taking a dip, we were prepared to toss it back to him but he said, "keep it."

Needless to say, this would NEVER happen today. First, tobacco companies no longer supply chew/dip openly to players for free. The teams have to purchase it on their own and keep it out of sight in the dugout (i.e. don't show it on TV). Second, players would probably be scared to hand a tin to someone still in their teens. As Candlestick Park enters it's last season, this is one of the memories we will remember of the old 'Stick.

Jose Rijo - Reds

Steve Wilson - Cubs

Thursday, August 29, 2013

36th Anniversary of Duane Kuiper's Home Run

On August 29, 1977, Duane Kuiper belted his only career home run against the Chicago White Sox at the old Municipal Stadium in Cleveland. In fact, years later, Duane obtained the seat in which his home run ball hit when it went into the stands.

Duane Kuiper

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Newest SF Giants Fan Collectible: The Beer Cup

During a recent afternoon Saturday game, we couldn't help but notice that several fans had a "sleeve" of beer cups upon leaving the ballpark. Perhaps, spending $9.75 makes most of us feel that we need to take the cup home with us at the end of the game. Others might say that its useful to have some disposable cups for the summer barbecues or beach outings. Still, even others might even use them day-to-day at home or at work. In any event, we aren't the only ones to bring a beer cup home. At one point, we had over 50+ cups, but we've dwindled our haul to the ones pictured below. Do you have any beer cups from years past?

2012 World Series

2010 World Series

2002 World Series

2007 All Star Game

2008 50th Anniversary

2007 Barry Bonds 756th Home Run 

2006 Barry Bonds 715th Home Run

Monday, August 26, 2013

Time to Eliminate the Ball Dude Program

Some things are just meant to be phased out at AT&T Park. Take Rusty the mechanical man near the right field pole that lasted less than a season. Take the Build-a-Bear shack behind center field, it got the boot this past season. Take the concession kiosks that were near the line of sight to the field on the promenade level - doneski! Take the seats on the field level on the 1st base line that's been converted to the Corona Beach party area.

Now is the time to get rid of the Ball Dude program. We all know that these individuals have a hard fielding a soft grounder let alone a one-hop seed off the bat of Buster Posey. It's become a liability for the fans and players they are to suppose to help and protect. Case in point, just last week one of the Ball "Girls" tried catching a foul ball when three Giants were charging into foul territory to catch it! Thankfully, Joaquin Arias snatched it before we had a Steve Bartman moment at AT&T Park. We can understand why the club instituted the program at the 'Stick ... the foul territory was immense and the Ball Dudes pretty much stayed out of the way. But at AT&T Park where the foul territory is smaller we need individuals that can actually field and stay out of the way. In most other stadiums, they just have an extra set of bat boys deployed down the line or they recruit the local college softball players to do the same. Why can't the Giants move the program to have younger and capable individuals serve as Ball Dudes/Girls? It's just a matter of time before a major incident happens before the Giants are forced to alter the program - why wait for something like to happen?

An Accident Waiting to Happen

Ball Girl Going for Stephen Drew's Pop Up

Friday, August 23, 2013

SF Giants Attendance Records

As last night's game against Pittsburgh was wrapping up, we couldn't help but notice the number of empty seats at AT&T Park towards the later innings. It's understandable for fans to leave once the Bucs had a seven-run inning, but it had us thinking. How is this year's overall home attendance going to rank against other years at AT&T Park? As of date, AT&T Park has seen 2,665,441 fans enter the ballpark - in reality, it's tickets sold versus actual turnstile numbers. At that rate, the club will have way short on breaking the season record set in 2011. At best the club might see the overall attendance reach around the 3.3 million mark.

Ranked attendance records

  1. 2011: 3,387,703 (avg: 41,823)
  2. 2012: 3,377,371 (avg: 41,695) WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON
  3. 2000: 3,318,800 (avg: 40,973)
  4. 2001: 3,311,958 (avg: 40,888)
  5. 2003: 3,264,898 (avg: 40,307) DIVISIONAL SERIES APPEARANCE
  6. 2004: 3,256,854 (avg: 40,208)
  7. 2002: 3,253,203 (avg: 40,163) WORLD SERIES APPEARANCE
  8. 2007: 3,223,215 (avg: 39,793)
  9. 2005: 3,181,023 (avg: 39,272)
  10. 2006: 3,130,023 (avg: 38,646)
  11. 2010: 3,037,443 (avg: 37,499) WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON
  12. 2008: 2,863,837 (avg: 35,356)
  13. 2009: 2,862,100 (avg: 35,335)
AT&T Park

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Candlestick Park Memories

Couldn't help but think how close the end is near with the 'Stick considering that the Niners will commence the 2013 season in a little over two weeks. This had us thinking, what are some of the things we're going to miss about the 'Stick. One of the things we'll remember fondly was how the gates to the Giants games would open hours before first pitch - this was back in the 80s. We remember going to games three to four hours early just to watch the Giants take batting practice, followed by the visiting team batting practice. Of course, none of the concessions were open that early, but the fact you could get there early and watch BP, often with just a handful of other people was kinda cool. The one endearing moment was swinging the doors on the lower level that led to the stairs going to the lower reserve and lower box seats and seeing the playing the field.

The 'Stick

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Ron Wotus a Major League Manager?

The upcoming offseason should see a number of managerial changes, we know of one definitely happening and that's with the Washington Nationals. By our estimate, we figure that at least four other clubs will also make changes to the managerial role. In years past, Ron Wotus was also mentioned as a guy that would or should be interviewed for a possible manager job. The question is will he? In recent years, it appears clubs have hired proven managers (Terry Francona, Dusty Baker, Fredi Gonzalez, Clint Hurdle) that have a track record or have gone after the former Major League player that had a storied career - think Robin Ventura, Don Mattingly, Kirk Gibson, Mike Matheny. So where does that leave Ron Wotus? He's not getting any younger and quite frankly time is running out for him to be a viable candidate to be a Major League skipper.

Teams that will probably look for a new manager:
Washington Nationals (Davey Johnson retiring)
Toronto Blue Jays
Miami Marlins
Houston Astros
Philadelphia Phillies (Ryne Sandberg is the interim manager now)

Ron Wotus - 1991 Cal League All-Stars Manager

Monday, August 19, 2013

Playing Spoilers

Well, we have just six remaining on the schedule and while the Giants will not repeat as NL Division champs, with a chance to defend their World Championship, they still have a chance to play spoilers. Here's hoping that the Dodgers will stumble on the home stretch and one of the guys on the club can have his "Joe Morgan" moment. It's a long shot we know, but baseball can be a funny game, and the baseball gods can even funnier if they choose.

7 games vs. Dodgers
5 games vs. Diamondbacks

Joe Morgan's home run versus Dodgers

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Contest #3: Sons of Johnnie LeMaster ladies tee "BOO"

This is for a Sons of Johnnie LeMaster "BOO" ladies slim fit tee. These tees are super slim, so a small tee would fit a young Giants fan. You pick a size (small, large, X-large).

Here we go ... which college did Mike Krukow, Duane Kuiper, Dave Flemming, and Jon Miller attend?

"BOO" ladies tee

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Contest #2: Sons of Johnnie LeMaster "BOO" Men's Shirt (Medium)

Here's our second contest for a "BOO" shirt in men's medium.

Trivia question (this is a two-parter) What did Johnnie LeMaster do in his last Major League at-bat, and against which pitcher?

Remember the rules:

  1. All answers must be made below in the "comments" sections. Replies made on Twitter will not count.
  2. Leave your Twitter account name in your reply so we can contact you if you win.
  3. Do not complain. We don't like complainers of any kind.
  4. All decisions are final, if there is a tie we will make up some rule to determine the winner.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Contest #1 ... Sons of Johnnie LeMaster Ladies "LeMaster" Tee

Drum roll please ... our first contest for the Sons of Johnnie LeMaster retro gear giveaway extravaganza. The prize is a ladies Sons of Johnnie LeMaster shirt in a size large.

First the ground rules ...

  1. All answers must be made below in the "comments" sections. Replies made on Twitter will not count.
  2. Leave your Twitter account name in your reply so we can contact you if you win.
  3. Do not complain. We don't like complainers of any kind.
  4. All decisions are final, if there is a tie we will make up some rule to determine the winner.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Contest! Sons of Johnnie LeMaster Gear!

Okay, so we went to our "warehouse" and located a few Sons of Johnnie LeMaster gear left over from previous years. The quantity amount for each item is LIMITED, and sizes listed are the only ones that we have. Therefore, DON'T ASK IF WE HAVE AN ITEM IN ANOTHER SIZE! Individuals that ask will be permanently banned from obtaining an item in the future.

Our contest will kick off tomorrow, and we'll have one item up for grabs each day. Good Luck!

2012 "BOO" sweatshirt in size XL (only one available)

2012 "BOO" shirt in size medium (only two available)

2010 "Giants Baseball ... Torture" in slim fit size x-large (only one available)
2011 "LeMaster" ladies tee (available only in large)

2012 "BOO" ladies tee in slim fit (available in small, large, x-large)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Time to Bring Back the SF Giants Black Jerseys!

We were going through some photos from the 2002 season, and noticed several in which the Giants wore their alternate black home jerseys on Friday home games. In 2003 or 2004, the Giants discontinued the black jerseys and went back to wearing their French vanilla cream jerseys, then in 2010 they introduced the orange alternate jerseys to coincide with the Orange Friday promotion.

We're not sure how most of you feel about the orange jerseys, but we actually prefer the black jerseys and the matching black "SF" hats. What to do you think? Time to bring back the black jerseys?

Barry Bonds in his home black alternate jersey.

The back of the black home jersey

The black alternate caps

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

2013 Willie Mac Award Contenders

This might a moot topic for an already dismal season, but the annual Willie Mac Award will again be awarded at season's end. The award is presented to the player that exudes the spirit and leadership that Stretch provided during his career more so than any statistical data.  The award started in 1980 with Jack Clark being the first recipient, and last year's winner was Buster Posey. Since 1980, only three players have won the award twice, Mike Krukow (1985-86), J.T. Snow (1997, 2004), Bengie Molina (2007-08). This year, it appears the award has four legit candidates in the running. Our guess is that Hunter Pence, Sergio Romo, Buster Posey, and Madison Bumgarner are in the fore front. Ultimately, our gut instinct says that Pence will get the nod - he'll have the benefit of sparking the club during the postseason last year, and he's been steady this year as well.

Willie McCovey

Monday, August 12, 2013

Career Highs and Lows

The 2013 season is slowly marching towards the stretch end, so we thought it would be a good time to see how some of the regulars will stack up against their previous seasons. As you can imagine, most are having career lows, that's to be expected for a club that has underperformed. However, a few have the ability to set some new career highs.

Hunter Pence: on pace to have his worst offensive (HR, RBI) season his rookie season from 2008. His line then was 17 HR, 69 RBI, .322 BA

Pablo Sandoval: on pace to have his worst offensive season in his Major League career. His previous low was in 2010, where he batted .268 with 13 HR, 63 RBI.

Marco Scutaro: on pace on having his worst offensive season in his careers. His previous low was in 2006 where he produced 5 HR, 41 RBI.

Matt Cain: Currently stuck with 7 wins, Cain's last season with single digit wins was in 2008. On pace on having the highest ERA in his career, and has not posted a complete game thus far - that will also be a first.

Tim Lincecum: With only 6 wins thus far, the last time he finished in single-digit victories was in 2007, his rookie year. On pace on setting the 2nd highest ERA in his career.

Barry Zito: Currently inline to set the second highest ERA in his career, and on pace for posting single-digit victories for the third time in his San Francisco career.

Buster Posey: on pace to have his second best season as a Major Leaguer. Only his MVP 2012 season was better.

Brandon Belt: has already set single season career-high for HR, and on pace to set a RBI record as well.

Brandon Crawford: on pace on having his best offensive season in his third year. Has already set a career high with 7 HR, and on pace on matching/breaking his previous career high of 45 RBI. Batting average is also a career high at .275.

Madison Bumgarner: on pace on having his 2nd best season as a Big Leaguer, will most likely set a career best low ERA for a season, and most strikeouts in a season.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Where's Bill Neukom?

After the 2008 season, the SF Giants made their first significant leadership in the front office since the original core group purchased the club from Bob Lurie. They named one of their minority owners, William "Bill" Neukom as the club's managing general partner, taking over for Peter Magowan. Magowan was the driving force in saving the club from moving to Tampa and organizing an ownership group to purchase it and to build AT&T Park in the Mission Bay district.

In Neukom's inaugural season at the helm, the Giants captured their first World Championship in San Francisco. In his first season, Neukom instituted "The Giants' Way" handbook to set the footprint on how the organization would conduct themselves going forward, however, that was lost on the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee is the group of Giants owners that have a stake in the club. It's been well known that they prefer to limit the purse strings of the general managing partner and the general manager (Brian Sabean). When Neukom increased the payroll after the 2010 World Series win, the Executive Committee was unhappy that the windfall of revenue was being diverted to player payroll and essentially shoved Neukom out of his role and his share of ownership with the club. They soon named Larry Baer to take over as the managing general partner since they knew they could have more control with Baer than Neukom.

Since his departure from the club, Neukom has been working diligently with his foundation, World Justice Project, and has served as a Lecturer at Stanford Law School. He was previously a partner with AmLaw 100 law firm, K&L Gates, but he is no longer listed in the attorney directory. When fans reflect on the recent World Championship wins with the club, they should look first at Bill Neukom and the footprint he established to bring success to the club.

William "Bill" Neukom
SF Giants Managing General Partner (2008-2011)

William "Bill" Neukom Autographed Baseball

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Dave Dravecky's Comeback Game Anniversary - August 10th, 1989

Today marks 24th anniversary of Dave Dravecky's comeback game from cancer surgery. We will remember the day fondly since we were there on a sunny Thursday afternoon. The Giants played the Cincinnati Reds who were managed by Pete Rose. Rose was eventually ejected from the game and it would be the last time he would be at Candlestick Park after being banned from Major League Baseball.

What we remember of that the game was the quiet anticipation of seeing Dravecky pitch again, it was a good size crowd (34,810) for a weekday day game, and we ended up getting our ticket the day before - just $10 for a lower box seat! The Giants ended up winning the game (4-3) and Dravecky was the winning pitcher. He pitched eight innings, giving up three runs on just four hits, and had five strikeouts. Matt Williams had a two-run home run, and compiled 3 RBI on the day, while Terry Kennedy plated the other run. Steve Bedrosian was credited with the save.

Unfortunately, in his very next start in Montreal, Dravecky snapped his pitching arm while making a pitch, and that ended his career. Dravecky spent the bulk of his career with the San Diego Padres, but he will always will be remembered as a San Francisco Giant for the way he fought and worked his way back to the Bigs, and the manner in which he conducted himself after his career.

Dave Dravecky

Our Game Ticket and Photos from August 10th, 1989

Friday, August 09, 2013

Tim Lincecum Pictorial: Past and Present

Watching Tim Lincecum throw a one-hitter yesterday versus Milwaukee took us back. It took us back when Timmy was the envy of every ball club in the Bigs, took us back when he would just baffle Major League hitters all day long. Timmy has certainly had his ups during his career with the Giants, but in the last few years, it seems like some of the fear he once had on batters was gone, along with some of his stuff. Hey, that happens, no one stays the same forever, you have to evolve and reinvent yourself every now and then. Perhaps this year is the year that Timmy has done exactly that, reinvent himself. At the end, he's our guy ...  he was drafted by the Giants out of the University of Washington, and flew through the minor leagues to join the club mid-season in 2007. Here's hoping that Timmy wears a Giants uniform for some more years.

University of Washington (2004-2006): Career 2.82 ERA, 30-13 record, 491 K's

Cape Cod League - Harwich Mariners (2005): 0.69 ERA, 2-2 record, 7 saves, 68 K's

Salem-Keizer (2006): 2 games, 0.00 ERA, 10 K's

San Jose Giants (2006): 1.95 ERA, 2-0 record, 48 K's

Fresno Grizzlies (2007): 0.29 ERA, 4-0 record, 46 K's

Giants 2007: 4.00 ERA, 7-5 record, 150 K's

Giants 2008: 2.62 ERA, 18-5 record, 265 K's, ALL-STAR, NL CY YOUNG

Giants 2009: 2.48 ERA, 15-7 record, 261 K's, ALL-STAR, NL CY YOUNG

Timmy with His Cy Youngs (trophies and French Bulldog)

Giants 2010: 3.43 ERA, 16-10 record, 231 K's, ALL-STAR

Giants 2011: 2.74 ERA, 13-14 record, 220 K's, ALL-STAR

Giants 2012: 5.18 ERA, 10-15 record, 190 K's

Giants 2013: 4.18 ERA, 6-11 record, 150 K's (as of 8/9/13)

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Can Bruce Bochy Make it to the Baseball Hall of Fame?

There are currently 19 former Big League managers in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Recently, during the Giants visit to the White House, Larry Baer introduced Bruce Bochy as a future Hall of Fame manager. That had us thinking, does he have the credentials to receive the call from Cooperstown?

Here are some of the stats from the current Hall of Famers for the managers category, we've broken it down by "early baseball" and "modern era."

Early Baseball:

  • Ned Hanlon: 3 pennants, 2 league titles
  • Connie Mack: 7 pennants, 5 World Championships, 3,776 wins
  • Joe McCarthy: 9 pennants, 4 World Series Championships, 2,126 wins
  • Miller Huggins: 6 pennants, 2 World Championships
  • Al Lopez: 2 pennants
  • John McGraw: 10 pennants, 2 World Championships
  • Bill McKechnie: 4 pennants, 2 World Championships
  • Frank Seles: 5 pennants
  • Billy Southworth: 3 pennants, 2 World Championships

Modern Era:

  • Walter Alston: 7 pennants, 2 World Series Championships, 2,040 wins
  • Spary Anderson: 5 pennants, 3 World Series Championships, 2,194 wins
  • Whitey Herzog: 3 pennants, 2 World Series Championships, 1,281 wins
  • Tommy Lasorda: 4 pennants, 2 World Series Championships, 1,599 wins
  • Casey Stengel: 10 pennants, 7 World Series Championships, 1,905 wins
  • Earl Weaver: 4 pennants, 1 World Series Championship, 1,480 wins
  • Dick Williams: 4 pennants, 2 World Series Championships, 1,571 wins

Based on Bochy's current numbers it appears he will indeed make it to the Hall of Fame if you compare it to the members currently enshrined. Winning additional pennants and World Series will only cement his future enshrinement. In addition, it appears we are on the verge to see a surge of other managers that will also make it to Cooperstown. Here's our list ...

  • Bobby Cox: 4 pennants, 1 World Series Championship, 2,149 wins
  • Dusty Baker: 1 pennant, 1,644 wins (as of 8/8/13) *still active
  • Joe Torre: 6 pennants, 4 World Series Championships, 2,326 wins
  • Tony LaRussa: 6 pennants, 3 World Series Championships, 2,728 wins
  • Jim Leyland: 3 pennants, 1 World Championship, 1,743 wins (as of 8/8/13) *still active
  • Terry Francona: 2 pennants, 2 World Championships, 1,091 wins (as of 8/8/13) *still active
  • Tom Kelly: 2 pennants, 2 World Championships, 1,140 wins
  • Cito Gaston: 2 pennants, 2 World Championships, 894 wins
Bruce Bochy

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Who Are the Nicest SF Giants You've Ever Met?

We asked a question a few weeks ago on Twitter and received a number of responses, but we felt we should expand on our initial inquiry. Who are the nicest Giants you've met in person while they were playing for San Francisco, either at the yard or elsewhere?

Here's our list, what is yours?

  • Tom O'Malley - our 1st autograph ever!
  • Jeff Brantley - asked him to sign one card, he noticed we had a stack of his cards, and then proceeded to sign all of them.
  • Brett Butler - always made time for fans, broke our hearts when he signed with LA.
  • Trevor Wilson - always signed for fans, and was very cordial and humble.
  • Robby Thompson - same as Trevor, a guy that truly appreciated being a Major Leaguer.
  • Kevin Mitchell - even after winning the MVP, Kevin was a cool cat and signed for fans, and was really good with little kids.
  • John Burkett - John has a great sense of humor, we attended his first Major League start vs. the Dodgers, and had him sign the ticket a few months later. He signed the ticket, and then asked "why is it so wrinkled, how come it's not framed?" (w/ a smile).
  • Ellis Burks - better known for his days with Boston, but Ellis was a class act, always signed with fans even when he was hitting well.
  • Robb Nen - always signed for fans, and was always humble.
  • Noah Lowry - just a class act, he was always nice to fans.
  • Rich Aurilia - during the early 2000s, Rich was one of the most approachable players on the team, and was always cordial and accommodating when others were not.

Robby Thompson

Robby Thompson - Big Topps Card

Rich Aurilia - Big Topps Card

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Who Will Play LF for the SF Giants in 2014?

Perhaps this will be the most asked question asked of the club as the current season winds down - who's playing LF for the Giants next year. At the moment, it's clear that the Blanco - Torres tandem is clearly not working and is not a viable solution for our LF woes. In the first week, Kieschnick looks like a viable possibility, but to tag him as our regular LF for 2014 might be asking for too much. Clearly, the club doesn't have anyone else in the minors to turn to.

At the moment, the club has over $84M committed to players for 2014, that includes the $7M buyout for Zito. Then add possible one year deal offers to Pence, Lincecum, and Lopez, and that number can clear over $120M quite easily. Will the club open up the war chest to go after any of the free agent outfielders that will hit the market. Most notably, Jacoby Ellsbury (earned $9M in 2013) or Shin-Soo Choo (earned $7.4M in 2013). Ellsbury and Choo will look both look for offers that will probably earn at least $15M a year - is the club willing to make that type of offer on a multi-year deal?

Shin-Soo Choo

Jacoby Ellsbury