Monday, November 24, 2014

What To Do With The Jersey When They Leave

What do you do when one of your homegrown guys leaves for another team? Truth be told, we stopped getting attached to any of our guys since February 1985, when Jack Clark was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals. We'll never forget it, Jack Clark and his then wife were being interviewed at the old Lyon's restaurant on El Camino Real in Millbrae by KRON-TV after the trade was made. We were crushed to see the only true star of the team going to St. Louis. It was a simpler time back then, we only had his baseball cards, and none of the countless number of apparel and souvenir items that exist today.

Fast forward to 2009, and this up and comer by the name of Pablo Sandoval came on the scene and became our starting third baseman. We liked what we saw in him, the guy could hit and field his position. He was Vladimir Guerrero all over again, his strike zone was from the laces to the bill of the cap, and he could square up his bat out of the zone. We remember watching him at Petco Park in San Diego at the end of the 2009 regular season and seeing him launch his 25th home run in an extra inning game to win a meaningless matchup. This is our guy, that's what we said ... he's gonna be with us for awhile and will be a cornerstone in our lineup. So we invested … we invested in an authentic road jersey with his name and number. The same one they wore in 2009, and even had the "Burns" memorial patch stitched to the sleeve too.

Through the following years, we saw him peak and fall back, but he was still our guy. After a dismal 2010 season, he regained his form and delivered in the subsequent years and was a key figure in the 2012 and 2014 World Championship clubs. And now he's gone.

His jersey sits quietly in our closet, and we won't wear it again in the foreseeable future. In all honestly, we may not wear again until we travel to Boston in 2016 to see the Giants play the Red Sox in inter league. After that, we won't wear it again until he retires and returns to San Francisco as a hero that helped us win three World Championships.

So long Pablo, we hope the baseball gods will grace you with some good luck and fortune in Bean Town.

Our Pablo Jersey

Sunday, November 16, 2014

2015 SF Giants Stadium Giveaway Ideas

So we were thinking about the stadium giveaway (SGA) items for next year, and thought the items below should be on the SGA schedule, in addition to the standard items that are always on the schedule. What do you think? What items do you want to see added to the 2015 SGA lineup?

  1. Hunter Pence right field splat catch in the NLDS bobblehead
  2. Joe Panik dive to start a double play in the World Series bobblehead
  3. Travis Ishikawa walk-off HR to win the pennant bobblehead
  4. Madison Bumgarner NLCS and World Series MVP bobblehead
  5. Inflatable World Series trophy
  6. Cow bells with World Series Champions logo
  7. T-shirt with all three championship flags on the back

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Introducing our 2014 Limited Edition World Champions Shirt

What does one ponder when your team captures their third world championship in five years? A limited edition shirt! To celebrate the third crown in San Francisco Giants history, we created a shirt that honors the three championships.

On the back of the shirt, we have MLB's digital rendition of the Commissioner's Trophy and the years of the world championships. The front of the shirt has our standard branded graphic. The one unique aspect of the shirt is that it's the first v-neck shirt we've used. The v-neck was chosen to symbolize victory, a subtle change that we hope you'll like.

As usual, none of our shirts are for sale. We give them away for free to other die-hard fans. Good luck!

Saturday, November 01, 2014

2015 SF Giants 25-man Roster Prediction

From the after-glow of a third world championship, the Giants front office face a difficult off season with plenty of questions to ask. Can they afford to resign Pablo Sandoval? What will the starting rotation look like next season? Who will be their regular left fielder? Is it time to move Buster Posey from behind the plate to first base?

The upside is that the core group of players (Posey, Hunter Pence, Madison Bumgarner, Joe Panik, Brandon Crawford) will be with the club for at least four more years. The possibility of winning at least two more world championships in the next five years is possible. So with that said, now is not the time for the Giants to stand pat. They must strike while the iron is hot, and fill some missing gaps that will ensure their return to the postseason.

First, we do not foresee the Giants resigning Pablo Sandoval. The dollars and years that the Yankees and Red Sox are ready to offer him will be simply too much for the Giants. Especially after a red hot postseason, Pablo has ensured himself of a big pay day. We expect Matt Duffy getting the nod as a temporary third base replacement.

Second, the starting pitching is a big concern. Will they resign Ryan Vogelsong? We don't see that happening. The Giants has squeezed every possible result from Vogey, and with an aging staff, they have to go younger and cheaper. Plus, Yusmeiro Petit has earned every right to become a starting pitcher for the Giants.

Third, Michael Morse is better suited to the American League as a part-time outfielder and full-time DH. We don't expect Travis Ishikawa to be on the club next season, nor do we expect Gregor Blanco being anointed the regular left fielder. Here, we see the Giants making the biggest play in the off season. Our prediction is that the Giants will trade for Yoenis Cespedes. The blockbuster trade will see Brandon Belt being shipped up to Boston and Cespedes returning to the Bay. By making this trade, the Giants solve their left field position, and have someone replace the lovable Panda.

Fourth, with Belt traded to Boston, now is the perfect time for Posey to play first base full time. The Giants simply cannot risk Posey getting injured from catching. The foul tips to the mask was too frequent in 2014, and they can't have another Matheny-like incident happening to them. Plus, the numbers prove that Posey is better hitter when playing first base. In addition, we all saw what catching a full season did to Posey in the World Series - he was a non-factor at the plate.

Starting pitchers:
Madison Bumgarner
Tim Hudson
Matt Cain
Yusmeiro Petit
Tim Lincecum

Santiago Casilla
Jeremy Affeldt
Javier Lopez
Hunter Strickland
Jean Machi
George Kontos
Erik Cordier

Joe Panik
Brandon Crawford
Matt Duffy
Buster Posey
Adam Duvall
Joaquin Arias

Andrew Susac
Hector Sanchez

Hunter Pence
Angel Pagan
Yoenis Cespedes
Gregor Blanco
Juan Perez

Monday, October 20, 2014

Our World Series Prediction & Contest for our 2015 Shirt

To us, we see a repeat of the 2012 World Series happening this year. In '12, Detroit steam-rolled the New York Yankees in a four-game sweep of the ALCS, and then got blown away in the World Series against San Francisco. We see the same thing here, Kansas City ran away with the ALCS against Baltimore and scored 18 runs in the process.

This one is an easy one to call. The Giants win, and they win convincingly. We see the Giants winning the title in four games. Kansas City is a great team, but they have no idea what they're about to experience, and they'll be overwhelmed opening this series at home. Get ready to chill the bubbly and celebrate at 3rd and King streets on Saturday night.

What's your prediction? To make this interesting, the first two individuals that correctly predicts the three questions below will receive our 2015 Sons of Johnnie LeMaster shirt in March 2015.

The Rules:
Only answers left in the "comment" section of this post will count, and submissions must be made prior to first pitch of game one. Any submission made after first pitch will disqualified. Do not tweet your answers. (include your Twitter handle)

  1. Which team will win the 2014 World Series?
  2. How games in the series will be played when they win it?
  3. Who will be the 2014 World Series MVP?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The End of the Line For Some

The next week and half could be the last time SF Giants fans see Ryan Vogelsong, Michael Morse, Sergio Romo, and Pablo Sandoval in a Giants uniform. All will be free agents once the World Series is completed.

Vogey is earning $5M this season, and all signs point that the Giants will not resign him, and quite honestly how could they possibly validate bringing him back. Aging pitchers do not get better and his year-by-year record since 2012 demonstrates that. In Morse, this was clearly a low-risk, high-reward one year signing, but he's clearly going to demand more than $6M a year and will probably seek a 3-5 year deal. The Giants won't go near that dollar amount or length of terms with him.

Romo who has become one of the more popular figures on the team will probably seek a closer role elsewhere. He earned $6.3M this year as a closer than being relegated to the setup role. He too will seek a higher per year dollar amount and probably a three-year deal … something along the lines of three years for $23-25M. Some team will probably pay him that, but it won't be San Francisco. Finally, the beloved "Panda" will probably be one of the most coveted free agents in the market, and one the Giants cannot afford. If we had to bet, we would count on the New York Yankees to land Pablo to play in the Bronx. They're in dire need of a third baseman, and with the short porch at Yankee Stadium, he could put up careers numbers in New York. Plus, they'll overpay just to land him.

This offseason, we expect the Giants to make a big trade to ensure they can make another run in October in 2015. So if you're going to any of the World Series games this week, be sure to cheer a little bit louder for the lads mentioned above because they may not be back next year.

Friday, October 17, 2014

SF Giants Lore Was Created Last Night

When all of us pass away, the night of October 16, 2014 will be discussed with future generations on what will be one of the top three moments in franchise history. Yes, winning World Series titles are huge, but you have to get there first, and last night Travis Ishikawa etched his name in Giants lore and launched the Giants to the World Series.

Baseball has a funny way on picking a hero, often its not the all star or highest paid player, but the guy earning the league minimum and getting a hit here and there. Somehow the baseball gods tapped Travis to be the hero and provide us with a moment none of us will ever forget. Oh by the way, Travis had a damned good series, batting .385 with seven RBI. Will we win the World Series next week? We don't know, but its looking good so far

Bobby Thomson - 1951

Kenny Lofton - 2002

Travis Ishikawa - 2014

Monday, October 13, 2014

Curtain Call Etiquette

So after game two of the NLCS, we thought it would be helpful to provide the St. Louis Cardinals with an outline on “curtain call” etiquette.
Rule number one, a home run in itself does not merit an automatic curtain call, especially in the middle of the game. The baseball gods do not appreciate such self-loathing and will put that in the old memory bank. Rule number two – if you’re going to take a curtain call, both your feet must be completely out of the dugout and on the field, don’t go half-ass by taking a few steps up the dugout. Rule number three – don’t be pressured by the fans to take a curtain call, be a pro.
When to take a curtain call
The curtain call in large part only happens after a dramatic or historic home run. For example, Reggie Jackson’s three home runs against the Dodgers in game six of the 1977 World Series; Brian Johnson’s walk-off home run against the Dodgers in 1997; Barry Bonds after reaching career home run milestone records; Pablo Sandoval’s three home runs in game one of the 2012 World Series; a future hall of famer’s last game as a professional Major Leaguer (i.e. Derek Jeter, Chipper Jones, Mariano Rivera, et al).

You get the picture … the curtain call is reserved only for the special and spectacular achievement. We can’t cheapen it with a solo home run in the sixth inning. This isn’t a Little League or AYSO game, this is the big leagues, and only the special moments deserve a curtain call.

Reggie Jackson - 1977 World Series

Brian Johnson - 1997 Beat LA

Pablo Sandoval - 2012 World Series

Friday, October 10, 2014

San Francisco versus St. Louis, beyond the stats

By now, you’ve read and heard every baseball pundit share why St. Louis or San Francisco will win the National League Championship Series. All have used some statistical data, whether its current or historical to support their position.
We’ve decided to look beyond the numbers on the field, and to compare the two cities and their respective attributes to determine who’s going to win the NLCS.

1.       Golden Gate Bridge v. The Arch: Both serve as iconic images for both cities … you mention San Francisco anywhere in the world and people will respond with Golden Gate Bridge, you mention St. Louis anywhere in the world and people will mention the Arch. Both are majestic and symbolize what is great about our country and people that call both cities home. To determine which one is better is like asking a parent, which kid do you love more? ADVANTAGE: PUSH

2.       Busch Stadium v. AT&T Park: Granted we have not attended a game in the new Busch Stadium, but folks we’ve talked to have raved about it. Especially The Village beyond centerfield. Downtown St. Louis has become an entertainment destination, which wasn’t the case with the old Busch Stadium. AT&T Park is a treasure – tucked away near the water, it has revitalized an area that was vacant for decades, and the cool features of the ballpark are second to none. The park symbolizes what baseball is all about. ADVANTAGE: SAN FRANCISCO

3. Toasted Ravioli v. Cioppino: Both menu items are the most associated with the respective cities. Yes, we know that each city could be associated with others, but these two items are consistently mentioned. The fried ravioli is awesome, we’re not gonna lie, it’s damn good – anything fried usually is. The cioppino is equally awesome, perfect for the cool climate of San Francisco. ADVANTAGE: ST. LOUIS

4. Forest Park v. Golden Gate Park: Forest Park is 1,293 acres and is considered one of the best public parks in the country. Golden Gate park is 1,017 acres and is home to Outside Lands and the Bay to Breakers. ADVANTAGE: ST. LOUIS.

5. Schlafly v. Anchor: Schlafly is a regional craft brewer based in St. Louis established in 1991 and offers some of the best crafted beers in the region. Unfortunately, their distribution is limited to the Midwest, so you won’t find anything out West. Anchor essentially invented craft beers and have been brewing their signature Steam beer since 1896. Even to this day, they have one of the best beers around. ADVANTAGE: SAN FRANCISCO

6. Metro St. Louis v. Muni: Public transportation is a bit rough in St. Louis, and their light rail system is a joke. It’s a car-dependent region and hardly anyone actually uses public transportation. Muni isn’t perfect, but the City is a place where you don’t need to own a car - public transportation is always readily available. ADVANTAGE: SAN FRANCISCO

7.  Stan Musial v. Willie Mays: Stan The Man is one of the all-time greats, and was beloved like no other in St. Louis. However, as Ted Williams once said, “they invented the All-Star Game for Willie Mays.” Mays is the best player to ever suit up in the Major Leagues, plain and simple. ADVANTAGE: SAN FRANCISCO

So there you have it, after tallying up a few categories for each city, San Francisco is destined to win the NLCS. It won’t be easy, but the Giants will come out on top! Enjoy the series.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Gotham Club (Part 2) - The Clubhouse

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

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

The Sections

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

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

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

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

Final Thoughts

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

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

Other end of the bar looking back to the stairs

Majestic view of McCovey Cove from the bar

Another close up view from the out of town scoreboard

Numbers and inning indicators ready to go

Bar back area

Out of town scoreboard lads' command central

Bookend booths at the far end of the bar.

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

Friday, July 04, 2014

Yankee Doodle Dandy

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

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

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

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

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

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

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Gotham Club (Part 1) - The Game Room

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

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

Here are some photos ...

Entrance to Gotham Club

Three Video Games

Billiards Table

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

The Hostess Stand on Your Way Out

In Between the Main Entrance and Bowling Alley

Overlooking King Street from the Bowling Alley

Two Lanes of Bowling

Plastic Gotham Club Cup

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Introducing our 2014 Sons of Johnnie LeMaster Shirt

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

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

Good Luck!

Close up of the back of the shirt

Back of the shirt

Front of the shirt

Thursday, March 06, 2014

SF Giants' Albatross - 2nd Base

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

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

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

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

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

Andrew Susac stats
Andrew Susac evaluation

Monday, February 24, 2014

Toughest Road Trip is in Early May

We've all heard it before, the baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint. But the Giants will face a difficult stretch of road games during their first road trip in the month of May. The road trip commences on May 2 in Atlanta, and ends on May 11 in Los Angeles, with a stop in Pittsburgh in-between Atlanta and LA. That's a 10-game roadie against three playoff teams from the 2013 season. What makes this so compelling is the fact the Giants could be in catch-up mode for the rest of the season if they have a horrible road trip. Plus they play their division rivals four times on that roadie.

Again, the baseball season is marathon, not a sprint, but the Giants will be tested with 10 consecutive games on the road against potential playoff opponents.

SF Giants May Schedule

Thursday, February 13, 2014

2014 SF Giants Season Tickets (Photos)

By now, most of the SF Giants season ticket holders have received their FedEx delivery containing their 2014 season tickets. This annual rite of passage awakens the senses of each fan that the upcoming season is just around the corner. In addition, it's also fun to see how the club has designed the ticket, and which player photos will adorn the tickets throughout the season. This year, five players were selected to be featured on the season tickets: Tim Lincecum, Hunter Pence, Madison Bumgarner, Angel Pagan, and Buster Posey. Of these players, only Posey and Bumgarner were part of the 2013 design (Sergio Romo, Matt Cain, Pablo Sandoval were the others).

2014 SF Giants Season Ticket Holder Booklet

Bay Bridge Series

Bay Bridge Series

Opening Day

Tim Linceceum

Hunter Pence

Madison Bumgarner

Angel Pagan

Buster Posey

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Major League Baseball in 2064 - 50 Years From Now

Just a few more days until pitchers and catchers report to spring training, and it got us thinking on how baseball will look in 50 years. So much has changed in the last 50 years of the game, but the future of the game for the players and fans will probably see more changes that most of us can’t even begin to imagine.

So step into the Sons of Johnnie LeMaster time machine, and let’s see what baseball will look like in the year 2064 ...

The Game
  • Active rosters have been increased to 30 players, and the league now has 36 teams world wide. Teams (Kansas City, Houston, Milwaukee, and Miami) that have historically under preformed have been relocated ... abroad. The game is international now, Major League has also added a few expansion teams in Mexico, Japan, Korea, London, New Dehli, and Cuba. The designated-hitter rule is now present in the West Federation, formerly known as the National League. The WBC no longer exists, it has been replaced with the Champions League tournament - the best performing Major League club in each participating country plays in a one-and-done survivor tournament. 
  • In addition, Major League Baseball has adopted a relegation rule. The bottom performing six clubs are replaced each year with the World League, formerly known as AAA minor league baseball, with their top six finishing teams. Most of the minor league teams have also been relocated throughout the world.

The Equipment
  • The biggest equipment development will benefit catchers ... think IronMan outfit, a full body armor protective suit that also has climate control features: a built-in air conditioning and heating unit to protect the catcher in any harsh weather elements. Also it will also have communications capabilities with the pitcher, an onboard system will allow the pitcher and catcher to communicate without any hand signs. How? A micro LED screen imbedded to the side of the catcher’s mask and pitcher’s cap will allow for two-way communication with mind-thinking technology.
  • Sponsors are now paying a premium to have their brands on Major League uniforms, but only on the back of the collar above the LED nameplate and number.
  • Uniforms are now embedded with smart technology that can alert the manager and a trainer when a player is fatigued or injured. There is no guess work, the staff will know immediately, and a player can’t talk there way out of it.
  • Gloves now have “smart technology” built into the gloves. A small LED screen displays which pitch is being thrown, and provides hitting tendencies of the batter at the plate. In addition, it allows for the manager to direct fielders on where to position them at any given time.
  • Eye black and sunglasses are no longer used. A special “eye contact lense” is being used by players that automatically deflects any direct sun rays from their vision, and can  be preset to the player’s preference.

The Fan Experience
  • Giant HD scoreboards are obsolete ... instant replays are shown on the field as a 3D hologram replicating the exact movement of the ball and player(s). Natural grass has been replaced with “Smart Turf” ... a hybrid grass and synthetic strain that features LED capabilities that allows for in-game advertising on the field, and game updates. Season ticket holders no longer have physical tickets ... instead they are provided with season ticket “smart bracelets” that contains the game day bar codes for entry, information on available concessions, wait times for rest rooms, and a loaded payment account for payment for anything at the ballpark. Each year a new bracelet is distributed to season ticket holders with new enhancements and features.
  • The concrete floors at the ballpark have now been inlayed with LED screens that provides updates on ball park amenities and team sponsors advertisements.
  • As a nod to the fan experience from the 1970s, beer vendors are back at each ballpark.
  • Seagulls are no longer a problem at AT&T Park, but individuals with mini-drones trying to watch the game from home or outside now crowd the airspace around the ballpark.

So what changes do you think we'll see in 2063?

1999 SF Giants wearing futuristic jerseys for "Turn Ahead the Clock Night"

Barry Bonds wearing the futuristic jersey 

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Prediction on Pablo Sandoval’s New Contract

Earlier today, Larry Baer hinted on KNBR that a contract could be offered to Pablo Sandoval during the annual Play Ball luncheon held in downtown San Francisco before the start of the regular season. In years past, the Giants have made similar contract announcements during the luncheon, so if an offer was made to Pablo, we could expect the Giants to announce it then.

So the question needs to be asked, what would a contract offer look for Pablo? Our prediction is that an offer of 5 years for $100 million would be in the range we would expect to see. This offer is based on what other premium third basemen are receiving, the lack of depth in the minor league system, and the potential payout the Giants would have to make to any other third basemen hitting the free agent market.

For comparison, in the 2014 season, the top paying players for third base are as follows:

  1.  David Wright (Mets) $20M
  2.  Adrian Beltre (Rangers) $17M
  3.  Aramis Ramirez (Brewers) $16M
  4.  Ryan Zimmerman (Nationals) $14M
  5.  Martin Prado* (Diamondbacks) $11M
  6.  Chase Headley (Padres) $10.25M
  8.  Evan Longoria (Rays) $7.5M
  9.  Juan Uribe* (Dodgers) $7.5M
  10.  David Freese (Angels) $5.05M
  11.  Alberto Callaspo* (A’s) $4.87M
  12.  Chris Johnson* (Braves) $4.75M
  13.  Pedro Alvarez (Pirates) $4.25M
  14.  Jeff Keppinger* (White Sox) $4M
  15.  Alex Rodriguez (Yankees) $3.86M (Final bonus payment; Salary is forfeited)
  16.  Mike Aviles* (Indians) $3.5M
  17.  Eric Chavez* (Diamondbacks) $3.5M
  18.  Trevor Plouffe* (Twins) $2.3M
  19.  Mark Reynolds (Brewers) $2M
  20.  Luis Valbuena* (Cubs) $1.7M

2015 salaries for third basemen are as follows:

  1.  Alex Rodriguez (Yankees) $22M
  2.  David Wright (Mets) $20M
  3.  Adrian Beltre (Rangers) $18M
  4.  Ryan Zimmerman (Nationals) $14M
  5.  Evan Longoria (Rays) $11M
  6.  Martin Prado* (Diamondbacks) $11M
  7.  Juan Uribe* (Dodgers) $7.5M
  8.  Jeff Keppinger* (White Sox) $4.5M
  9.  Aramis Ramirez (Brewers) $4M
  10.  Jack Hannahan (Reds) $4M
  11.  Mike Aviles* (Indians) $3.5M
*Utility player

Pablo Sandoval in Winter League 2014

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

NL West: Arizona Diamondbacks

Our prediction for the 2014 season will see the National League West as the toughest division in Major League Baseball. While everyone may view the Dodgers as the cream of the crop, the NL West will be stacked with four clubs that have a legitimate chance for postseason glory.

The two clubs that catches our attention the most are the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks. Both clubs made significant moves this offseason to significantly bolster their lineups, and if key players are able to stay off the DL this season, the NL West will be the most competitive division in baseball. For this blog post, we’ll focus on the Arizona Diamondbacks.

In Arizona, the club received a huge boost to their lineup with the acquisition of Mark Trumbo, another power-hitting right handed bat that will provide protection to NL MVP runner-up, Paul Goldschmidt. Around the horn, the D’Backs will anchor a reliable defense behind Goldschmidt, Hill, Prado, and Gregorious. However, the defense in the outfield is another story, and perhaps the only weak spot for the club. Trumbo, who is better suited playing 1B, will man RF, with A.J. Pollock taking center, and Gerado Parra
moving to right field. Only Parra has demonstrated consistent play in the outfield, and if one thing could possibly ruin the D’Backs chance for postseason, it’s their defensive play in the outfield.

As far as the starting rotation is concerned, it should be rock solid - no fancy names here, but all of these guys will eat innings and give the D’Backs a chance to win every game. Patrick Corbin, Trevor Cahill, Wade Miley and Brandon McCarthy should round out the first four spots, with Randall Delgado, Daniel Hudson and Archie Bradley fighting it out for the fifth spot. The bullpen is another bright spot for the club, they now have three potential closers that come into a game at any time. With the acquisition of Addison Reed, the club will now have Reed, J.J. Putz, and Brad Ziegler - figure this to be a huge advantage for the D’Backs in the second half of the season.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Star Wars Related Stadium Giveaway for 2014 Season

The Giants released their final promotional schedule this morning, and as expected they added a few new items that were not on the original list that was released late last year. The one new giveaway that caught our attention is the Star Wars R2D2 Beanie giveaway slated for August 31st. It's safe to say, this will be the most sought-after SGA for the entire season. The giveaway will be available for the first 20,000 fans, and yes, we expect huge lines to queue up hours before the game. Oh, by the way, the Giants are playing the Milwaukee Brewers for that Sunday afternoon game.

At this point, we still don't know what the beanie will look like or how the Giants logo will be incorporated, but we are pretty sure it will not matter to the legions of Star Wars fans out there. At best, we think the beanie will look like something pictured below. In any event, this will most likely be the most talked about giveaway item in recent memory.

This is not the exact SF Giants R2D2 beanie giveaway, but it will most likely look something like this.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Case for Juan Perez

In light of Gregor Blanco’s new contract ($2.5 million) for the 2014 season, it had us thinking that our preference is to have Juan Perez be designated as the fourth outfielder for the Giants for the upcoming season. At the age of 26, Perez made his Major League debut this past season, and during his brief stint (97 plate appearances and 34 games played) he showed us something. His ability to go with the pitch and hit to the opposite field, his great speed, his defensive prowess (see his catch at Chase Field, and his then perfect-game saving catch for Petit).

Our fear is that the Giants front office will give Blanco the fourth outfielder tag, instead of looking at who is actually the best player for the job. In his 2013 campaign, Perez batted .258 with 23 hits, 1 HR, 8 RBI, and two stolen bases. Defensively, he had a .987 fielding percentage, committed just one error, and had eight assists. What we like most about Perez is that he just looks like a better overall player than Blanco, and given the opportunity, would put up better numbers than Gregor. As always, as the season plays out, players that deserve playing time will get it. If Perez is able to continue how he ended the 2013 campaign, he’s in line for a lot of playing time.

Juan Perez making a spectacular catch at Chase Field on June 9, 2013.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Spring Training: Time to Cut it Short

Soon, Major League clubs will converge to Arizona and Florida for their annual rite of passage - the start of spring training. Each spring, all 30 clubs approach spring training with hope, optimism, and the dream of postseason glory. Originally, spring training was a platform for ballplayers to get into shape for the upcoming season. It wasn’t long ago when players had to supplement their income in the offseason by having seasonal jobs. In doing so, physical fitness and staying in shape wasn’t the highest priority for ball players. Now, being a professional Major League ball player is a full time job, and players are diligent in staying in top physical form to be ready for spring training and a 162-game schedule.

This year, pitchers and catchers will report on February 14th, and then the full squad reports four days later. On February 26th, most clubs, including the Giants will start their spring training schedule. What entails soon after are 40 games in the Cactus League, including split squad games, followed by another three games in the Bay Area for the the Bay Bridge Series against Oakland. All told, we’re looking at 43 spring training games before the season even starts. Now, we know what the club owners and front office folks are going to say to substantiate the high number of games. We want to evaluate our 40-man roster, and our minor league prospects, blah, blah. However, the real truth is, the clubs do not want to give up the extra revenue that is generated from spring training. Spring training in recent years have become a big business for everyone involved. Which includes hotels, restaurants, bars, golf courses, rental car agencies, and so on.

No one wants to kill the golden goose. But the question remains, is it necessary to have so many spring training games? Players have  never been more well equipped, and have never been in better shape. The purpose of spring training has diminished, and players and coaches themselves have even expressed that it’s just too long. With Major League Baseball on the verge of making some historical changes to the game (Buster Posey rule, instant replay), isn’t time for them to curtail the spring training schedule too?  If we had our way, the spring training schedule would cap out at 30 games - that’s more then enough games to evaluate talent and form your 25-man roster. Let’s save the players for the regular season.

Monday, January 13, 2014

A Tip to Alex Rodriguez: Be Nice to Your Friends, and Nicer to Your Partner in Crime

We just finished viewing the 60 Minutes’ interview of Anthony Bosch, founder of former South Florida anti-aging clinic Biogenesis, and the man that cooperated with Major League Baseball to bring down one of the most prolific hitters of all time. During the interview, one thought continued to resonate with us ... what type of arrangement did Barry Bonds strike with Greg Anderson. Anderson if you remember was Bonds' former trainer, who has now served more than a year in jail for refusing to testify against Bonds in the BALCO grand jury proceedings as well as three months' prison time for his role in BALCO. In essence, Major League Baseball would have loved for Anderson to fold and cooperated in indicting Bonds for using banned substances, but that never happened.

The difference between ARod and Bonds comes down to the relationships they had when it came down to their respective handlers. Bosch didn’t have any loyalty to ARod, and why would he, they didn’t grow up together and weren’t even friends before all of this. In fact, Bosch even remarked in the 60 Minutes interview that he felt he wasn’t being paid enough. Anderson, on the other hand, grew up with Bonds and his family, probably knew more about Barry than anyone else. And with that, perhaps there was an agreement already in place, you take the bullet more me and I’ll take care of you and your family. Perhaps if ARod deployed the same strategy, he wouldn’t be looking at a complete ban from competing in the 2014 season.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Secondary Ticket Market Grows

We all know how successful the Giants have been in recent years (see 2010 & 2012 trophies), and what that comes significant demand from fans to attend a game(s) at AT&T Park.  For those individuals that are not season ticket holders, typically you're at the mercy on what's available with the Giants ticket office or you scan the secondary market for better selection and/or a better deal. In previous years, online sites such as Stubhub and eBay filled that void. However, in 2014, another entity has entered the market - TicketMonster. Ever hear of it? Don't worry we haven't heard of it either. TicketMonster is a Korean-based ticket and e-commerce company that was acquired by Groupon in November, 2013. The sale was finalized earlier this month, but the question remains, how is Groupon going to leverage this acquisition in regard to game day tickets with the Giants? TicketMonster has already produced a press release regarding game dates for the Giants, we must assume they will become an open marketplace for tickets. The follow-up question, since Groupon now owns TicketMonster, will 2-for-1 deals now be the norm? How will that impact the secondary market? How will that impact season ticket holders that are paying full price?

A lot questions remain, but it's tough to answer them since the rollout of TicketMonster has not commenced.

TicketMonster Mascot