November 2010

Cross off Uggla from your wish list

For those Giants fans who found themselves caught up in the talk surrounding the potential acquisition of Dan Uggla — for the record, More Splash Hits was not in that group — you can start dreaming of something else.

According to several reports, Uggla, the Silver Slugger second baseman, was traded by the Florida Marlins to the Atlanta Braves for infielder Omar Infante and left-handed reliever Mike Dunn.

Most of the chatter on the web from Giants faithful regarding Uggla circulated around what a great fit he would make in the SF lineup and how he could play 3B next season for the Giants. But no one talked about what the Giants might have to give up to get Uggla — for one season.

Uggla is a potential free agent in 2012. He made $7.8 million last year and was due for a bump, likely to $9-$10 million in arbitration this offseason.

Any trade talk between the Marlins and Giants likely started with one of Giants starting pitchers — i.e. Jonathan Sanchez or Madison Bumgarner. Chances are, they ended there.
However, the deal the Marlins got from Atlanta seems a little light for player of Uggla’s ability, even if it’s just a one-year rental.

The Giants certainly could have matched half of the deal the Braves offered, as lefty Dunn and Dan Runzler are comparable. Both are young and not arbitration eligilbe until 2013.

What the Giants didn’t have was a player to match Infante.

He was an All-Star last season. He got the chance to play when injuries opened opportunities for him. He hit 8 HRs, 47 RBI, .321 in 506 plate appearances. He played 2B, SS, 3B and OF for the Braves, but figures to be the starting 2B in Florida next spring.

He’ll make $2.5 million next year in the final year of a three-year deal. Then he’s eligible for free agency in 2012.

The only thing the Giants could have offered to match that is 2B Freddy Sanchez … and $3.5 million. Sanchez will make $6 million in 2011 in the final year of a two-year extension.

The Marlins might have gone for that: Runzler, Sanchez and $3.5 million for Uggla. Oh well, what’s done is done.

Buster Posey: NL rookie of the year

Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey … and Buster Posey.

Rookies Of The Year_Mart.jpgWhat do those four Giants have in common? They all have statues of them outside of AT&T Park? Not quite. Or at least, not yet.

They were all NL rookies of the year. Oh, and we can throw Gary Matthews and John Montefusco into that group.

Buster Posey became the sixth Giants player to be named NL rookie of the year, beating out Atlanta outfielder Jason Heyward for the honor.

Posey is the fifth San Francisco Giant to be so honored and the first since 1975 when Montefusco won, following other wins by Matthews (1973), McCovey (1959), and Cepeda (1958). Mays won the honor in 1951 with the New York Giants.

Posey earned 20 of 32 first-place votes to tally 129 points. Heyward garnered 9 first-place votes and 107 points.

Three delusional voters decided to cast first-place votes for Cardinals pitcher Jaime Garcia and Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez.

Another delusional voter decided to leave Posey completely off his or her ballot. Another still did the same with Heyward. Perhaps MLB can look into revoking some voting privileges.

Trivia time: Since the rookie of the year ballot started including three players in 1980, only one other Giants rookie finished higher than fourth-place in the balloting. Who was that?

Here’s how the voting shook out (on a 5-3-1 scoring system).


Player’s name, NL team

1st

2nd

3rd

Total
Buster Posey, SF 20 9 2 129
Jason Hayward, Atl 9 20 2 107
Jaime Garcia, StL 1 1 16 24
Gaby Sanchez, Fla 2 1 5 18
Neil Walker, Pit 0 1 0 3
Starlin Castro, Chi 0 0 3 3
Ike Davis, NY 0 0 2 2
Jose Tabata, Pit 0 0 1 1
Jonny Venters, Atl 0 0 1 1

Trivia answer: Robby Thompson was second behind Todd Worrell in 1986.

Here’s a list of other Giants rookies who earned rookie-of-the-year votes since the ballot was extended in 1980:

  • P Al Holland, tied for 7th, 1980
  • OF Chili Davis, 4th, 1982
  • OF Dan Gladden, 4th, 1984
  • 3B Chris Brown, 4th, 1985
  • 1B Will Clark, 5th, 1986
  • 2B Robby Thompson, 2nd, 1986
  • P John Burkett, 4th, 1990
  • P William VanLandingham, 7th, 1994
  • P Ryan Jensen, 6th, 2002
  • P Matt Cain, tied-5th, 2006

Five More Splash Hits in 2010

How can More Splash Hits pay homage to the Championship Season of 2010 without recognizing the Splash Hits the Giants had this season.

The Giants added five more Splash Hits, putting the overall count at 55. Those five are the most Splash Hits in a season since the Giants had six in 2004.

So here they are:

The first Splash Hit of 2010 (No. 51 overall) came off the bat of Aubrey Huff, off Colorado’s Rafael Betancourt on May 1. To view it, click here.

Splash Hit No. 2 for 2010 also came off the bat of Huff, off Baltimore’s Jeremy Guthrie on June 16. To view it, click here.

Andres Torres delivered the third Splash Hit of 2010, going deep off Florida’s Jorge Sosa on July 28. To view it, click here.

Pablo Sandoval delivered the fourth Splash Hit of 2010, hitting it off the Cubs’ Randy Wells on Aug. 12. I remember watching this game live with my five-year-old son. When the Panda went deep, my son yelled: “Whoa! He hit it into the water!” Moments later, they showed a replay of the blast, and my son says “Whoa! He did it again!!!” To view, click here.

Sandoval also had the fifth Splash Hit of the season, on Sept. 30 against Arizona’s Barry Enright. To view it, click here.

If you watched all five Splash Hits, you’ll notice a common thread.

All five were hit in day games. Here’s another common thread. All five came in Giants victories.

In fact, the Giants have won their last seven games when someone has put one into the bay.

Let’s hope for more Splash Hits in 2011

Projected 25-man roster for 2011

OK, the parade is over. The champagne has dried up. A while
Moresplashhits won’t stop reliving the 2010 season – we’ll be visiting some key
moments all through the offseason – it is time to start thinking about 2011.

So we must start someplace, so we’ll start with a projected
2011 25-man roster, based on players that the Giants currently control through the 2011
season. This doesn’t mean all these players will be back with the Giants in
2011. Some players who are arbitration eligible could be non-tendered by the
Giants. The deadline to tender players under reserve in 2011 is Dec. 2.

So here is our projection of the 2011 opening-day 25-man
roster (with players’ 2011 salary; 2010 salaries are listed for reserved
players with 2011 contracts .. i.e. arbitration eligible players)

 

STARTERS

1B Pablo Sandoval ($465,000; pre-arbitration)

2B Freddy Sanchez ($6 million)

SS Emmanuel Burriss ($410,000; pre-arbitration)

3B Mark DeRosa ($6 million)

C Buster Posey ($400,000; pre-arbitration)

OF Cody Ross  ($4.45
million; arbitration eligible)

OF Aaron Rowand ($12 million)

OF Andres Torres ($426,000; arbitration eligible)

 

BENCH PLAYERS

1B Travis Ishikawa ($417,000; pre-arbitration)

IF Mike Fontenot ($1 million; arbitration eligible)

IF Ryan Rohlinger ($400,000; pre-arbitration)

OF Eugenio Velez ($416,000; pre-arbitration)

OF Nate Schierholtz ($417,000; pre-arbitration)

C Eli Whiteside ($405,000; pre-arbitration)

 

STARTING PITCHERS

SP Tim Lincecum ($13 million)

SP Matt Cain ($7 million)

SP Barry Zito ($18.5 million)

SP Jonathan Sanchez ($2.1 million; arbitration eligible)

SP Madison Bumgarner ($400,000; pre-arbitration)

 

BULLPEN

RH Brian Wilson ($6.5 million)

RH Sergio Romo ($417,000; pre-arbitration)

RH Santiago Casilla ($420,000; arbitration eligible)

LH Jeremy Affeldt ($4.5 million)

LH Javier Lopez ($775,000; arbitration eligible)

LH Dan Runzler ($401,000; pre-arbitration)

PROJECTED NON-TENDERS: RHP Chris Ray, RHP Ramon Ramirez

PROJECTED 40-MAN ROSTER MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS: LHP Alex
Hinshaw, RHP Waldis Joaquin, RHP Henry Sosa, 3B Connor Gillaspie, 1B Brent
Pill, OF Darren Ford, OF Francisco Peguero

FREE AGENTS FROM 2010 ROSTER: 1B Aubrey Huff, SS Juan Uribe,
SS Edgar Renteria, OF Jose Guillen, OF Pat Burrell

CURRENT 2011 PAYROLL (not including pay raises for
arbitration, etc.): $87.219 million

WORTH NOTING: Our projected 25-man roster includes players
who are candidates to be non-tendered. Mike Fontenot is a prime candidate.
Also, Cody Ross. The Giants may decide that the potential of a $5-$6 million
contract for Ross through arbitration may be too much. So they could non-tender
him, then attempt to re-sign him as a free agent for a lesser amount. Of
course, then they would battling other potential suitors for Ross’ services.

What this title means to me, part II

Well, now that you understand the history, you can get a better picture of
the mindset.

 

I thought I could go into Monday’s night game somewhat relaxed. I was very
confident in the Giants’ chances in a potential Game 6 in San Francisco with
Matt Cain on the mound. Getting Sunday’s win was the key one.

 

Yet, as Game 5 moved deeper and deeper with no score, I began to twist on
every pitch.

 

During the long breaks between innings, I would get up and do something -
pick up by son’s toys on the floor, fold laundry, wash the dinner dishes. My
wife asked why I was doing things that are the kids’ responsibility. But I had
to do SOMETHING.

 

When the Giants took a 3-1 lead into the ninth, I began twisting this red
pillow case that I had started to fold – way back in the second inning – but now
was just holding onto. My wife asked if it was my security blanket.

 

My daughter, 13, came back into the room after getting herself ready for
school the next day. She took one look at me and asked “Are we still winning?”

 

Before I could answer her, the game came back from commercial. She looked
at the TV and, with a bit of surprise and glee, said “Oh, we’re up 3-1 … in
the ninth! We’re going to win it!”

 

I just said “We need three more outs.”

 

I began to think a little about how I might react when the Giants won it
all. But before I could complete that thought, doubt crept back in. No, I
stopped myself. As long as Wilson keeps runners on base, the Rangers can’t hurt
us with one swing.

 

You see, after Game 1, the only way the Rangers scored off the Giants was
via the home run. So if Wilson keeps the bases clear, there’s nothing to worry
about.

When Josh Hamilton took that called third strike, the umpire’s call was so
deliberate that I jumped out of my chair and shouted “No! You’re out of there!”

 

It made my daughter jump. My wife, who had left the room for a moment,
thought something bad had happened.

 

Then Vlad Guerrero quickly grounds out and suddenly we’re one out away.

 

Wilson quickly gets ahead of Nelson Cruz 0-1. Then a ball. Then another
strike, a high fastball that Cruz was late on. 
One strike away.

 

Next pitch: Away, Ball 2. Then another one, low and away, Ball 3. Full.

 

Then came the full-count pitch. Instead of a fastball, Cruz got a high
cutter. Swing and a miss! I jumped up and yell: “YEAH!!!!”

 

It startled my daughter again, who then realized what happened. She then
raised her arms and went “wooooooooo!” I hugged her. Then my son, 5, came out
to see what happened. My daughter said “Giants win!” My son goes “woohoo!” And
I gave him a high-five and a hug.

 

Then the phone rang. It was my dad. A Pirates fans at heart, he had adopted
the Giants this postseason for my benefit and decided to partake in a little of
the torture. He said “If the Giants win this, I’ve got to give Timmy a call.”

 

And that was just the beginning. Then came texts, e-mails, posts on
facebook … from family members, friends, co-workers,  former co-workers, college friends, my former
college roommate, friends I grew up with but haven’t spoken to much in 10 or 15
years – some of them even Dodger fans – all to offer their congratulations.

 

The whole experience was a bit overwhelming.


When it happened, there was some initial exhilaration, and then some doubt
of reality. Did this really happen? After all these years?

 

I wasn’t sure what it would mean to me, until all the people in my life,
both past and present, took time out of their day to let me know they knew what
it meant to me.

 

Thank you, all, and thank you, Giants!

What this title means to one Giants fan

To understand what this
title means to me, you have to understand my journey as a San Francisco Giants
fan. So as I watch the victory parade on the TV, I’ll share my parade as a
Giants fan. It’s lengthy, so indulge me.

 

While the Giants have been
in San Francisco for more than a half century, my allegiance to the team
reaches back 37 years, to a summer day in 1973 when I attended my first
professional sporting event during Helmet Day at Candlestick.

 

stick.jpeg

I can remember sitting in
the upper deck at The Stick, eating a drumstick ice cream and watching little
people running around the field. I was five years old.

 

It was shortly after this
game that my brother, almost three years my senior, explained to me to be a
true sports fan, you had to have a favorite team. Linked to that day, to that
helmet, and to the fact that my brother rooted for the L.A. teams — Dodgers,
Rams, Lakers — the natural choice was for the San Francisco Giants.

 

A year later, my family
moved from Sacramento to Southern California, in the L.A. suburb of Simi
Valley.

 

It was not easy being a
Giants fan in the heart of Dodger Country.

 

My dad regularly took my
brother and I to Dodger Stadium. We were even made members of the Dodger Pepsi
Fan Club, which earned you six general admission tickets to games against
low-profile teams a season, as well as a cheap Dodger windbreaker (that I never
wore.)

 

Every time we went to Dodger
Stadium, someone would ask me “Who are you rooting for?” My reply
“Who are the Dodgers playing?”

 

My dad tried to get me to at
least one Dodgers-Giants game each season. I especially remember my dad taking
my brother and I out of school to attend a midweek Businessmen’s Special at The
Ravine.

 

These games rarely turned
out well for the Giants. It got so bad that I stopped wearing my Giants apparel
to the games, because I grew weary of being berated by Dodger fans in the
parking lot after the game.

 

jackclark.jpeg

And so it went. Every year,
enduring fourth-place finishes, rumors of the team being moved to Denver or
Toronto, watching All-Star games and hoping to see Jack Clark get one at-bat or
Greg Minton one inning of relief.

 

But by the early to
mid-1980s, things began to change, at least for me. The Giants were still not
competing for division titles,  but they
were at least beating the Dodgers during games I attended. By 1986, the Giants
started winning more games than they lost.

 

Finally, in 1987, it
happened. A division title. I remember listening to the clinching game in San
Diego on the radio. I had to listen to the Padres broadcast because KNBR was
drowned out by a powerful Southern California station at 690 on the radio dial.
I remember Don Robinson pitching. I remember John Kruk hitting a deep ball to
the opposite field. Jeffrey Leonard making the catch at the wall, and the
Giants were NL West champions.

 

I remember thinking anything
that happened in the NLCS vs. the Cardinals was a bonus. I was just happy the
Giants were in the postseason. But as soon as the games started, I found myself
screaming at the TV set when something went against the Giants. My dad would
bark at me from the other room that he would turn off the TV if I couldn’t keep
my volume down. It was funny because my emotional-filled passion for sports was
inherited from him.

 

But after five games, the
Giants found themselves one win from the World Series. But then they went back
to St. Louis and forgot to pack their offense. The Giants were shut out in
Games 6 and 7, and the 1987 was over.

 

In 1988, I attended my first
Opening Day game. I got two tickets for the Giants vs. Dodgers at Dodger
Stadium, but then had trouble finding someone to go with me. So I took my
sister. Dave Dravecky beat Fernando Valenzuela. Another Giants win.

 

dravecky.jpeg

In 1989, the Giants were
driving to another division title. They were six games up on the Padres with
six games to go, and opening a three-game set at Dodger Stadium. I wanted to go
to the games and watch the Giants clinch. But responsibilities at school and as
sports editor of my college newspaper kept that from happening. The Giants got
swept, and only clinched the division after the Reds beat the Padres in extra
innings after the Giants’ third loss to LA. The Giants celebrated in the
clubhouse.

 

Taking on the Cubs in the
NLCS, there was no satisfaction in simply making the playoffs. This time, the
Giants needed to get to the Series.

 

The thing I remember about
the 1989 postseason is that I could never seem to sit at home and watch any of
the games. Game 1 in Chicago I watched on a black-and-white TV in the newsroom
of my college newspaper. I watched Game 2 in the same way, interrupted by an
evening class that I had.

 

For Game 3, I was in Fresno
to attend the Fresno State-Oregon State football. My brother attended Fresno
State, and I had attended Oregon State the previous school year. I listened to
the game while sitting in the stands at Bulldog Stadium, while catching
glimpses from a portable TV being held by a fan sitting in front of me.

 

For Game 4, I had to work at
the part-time job I had at an ice cream shop. I hooked up a TV in the back, and
would run back between scooping ice cream to check on the game.

 

Game 5, I was back at
college, back at the student paper, trying to get out a sports section while
following the action. Late in the game, I headed down to the campus radio
station where they had a color TV and watched Will Clark lace a two-run single
off Mitch Williams. With that, the Giants were in the World Series.

 

thrill.jpeg

I went into the 1989 World
Series with no illusions that the Giants would beat the powerful A’s. I was
hoping they could steal some games, and maybe catch some breaks.

 

For Game 1, I was in
Portland, Ore., to cover the Cal State Northridge-Portland State football game
for my college paper. Radio reception was impossible in Civic Stadium, with its
concrete roof over the grandstands. The PA announcer would give updates from
the Series game, but the sound system at Civic was so bad it sounded as if the
updates were being given by Charlie Brown’s teacher. It wasn’t until after the
football game ended, and I left the stadium that I learned that the Giants had
lost 5-0.

 

During Game 2, I had a
flight home to Southern California to catch. As luck would have it, I had to
make a connection in San Francisco. So I walked into a bar at the airport and
watched as the Giants scored their first run of the season, and cheer went up
in the bar. Then the A’s got out of the inning, and cheer went up in the bar.
“What the…?” was my reaction, until I remember the Giants were
playing Oakland. I got on my flight to Burbank, got off the plane in time to
hear the final out, and the Giants had lost 5-1.

 

The off day between Games 2
and 3 was my birthday. But there wasn’t any celebration. I had contracted food
poisoning from something I ate on the flight home, and spent the day violently
ill. But after taking a second day off from school and feeling better, I
thought at least I would be able to sit at home and watch a Giants game for the
first time in the postseason.

 

The pre-game show started,
then suddenly cut out. I looked over to my father and asked “Did he say
‘earthquake’?” Then I looked over at the weight on the cuckoo clock in our
living and it was swaying slowly. Nearly 400 miles away, I knew that earthquake
was a big one.

 

When TV reception came back,
there were reports of pancaked freeways, a collapsed section of the Bay Bridge
and fires in the Mission district. But my thoughts were singular: “Yes,
but are they going to play the game?”

 

Of course, they didn’t. And
the Series would be tabled for more than a week. There was talk of moving the
games to Southern California (a great idea, I thought) or even cancelling it
all together (even better idea).

 

But 10 days later, the
series started again. I had to cover a high school football game for the LA
Times that night. I walked the sideline, listening to the game on a transistor
radio as things went from bad to worse for the Giants.

 

The next night, I was at Cal
State Northridge home game, again with my radio, hoping against hope that the
Giants could win one game. They didn’t.

 

In the early 1990s, I had
relocated to the Pacific Northwest and things weren’t looking good for the
Giants. There was serious talk about the team moving to St. Petersburg. But
then a group led by Peter Magowan stepped and saved the Giants for San
Francisco.

 

Then came even more big
news. Barry Bonds had just signed the biggest free-agent contract in history
… with the Giants. The Giants?!? I never saw it coming and could hardly
believe it. But for the next 15 seasons, Barry would be the face of the Giants,
for better or worse.

 

In 1993, the face looked
pretty good as the Giants were running away with the NL West. But then the San
Diego Padres traded Fred McGriff to the Braves, and Atlanta made a fierce
charge.

 

The Giants headed into the
final weekend with 101 wins, but no division title. And three games against the
Dodgers.

 

barry.jpeg

The Giants won on Friday
thanks to a pair of homers from Barry. They won Saturday thanks to another
clutch save from Rod Beck. On Sunday, the Braves won again, meaning the Giants
needed to win to force a tiebreaker game on Monday with Atlanta. With Bill
Swift set to pitch that game, I liked our chances. But first, they needed one
more win in LA.

 

But rookie Solomon Torres
wasn’t up to the task and things quickly deteriorated. Disappointment was
compounded by the glee the Dodgers displayed in ending the Giants’ season.

 

Then came the strike and
more Giants struggles. But by 1997, the Giants were back in the playoffs,
taking on the Marlins in their fifth year of existence. The Giants lost two
games in Florida on the Marlins’ final at-bat, then lost Game 3 in San
Francisco, and that was that.

 

The 2000 season brought a
new ballpark, Pacific Bell Park. The Giants lost their first game in the new
home — to the Dodgers — but rebounded to win the NL West again. Back in the
playoffs, the Giants opened with a win over the Mets.

 

In Game 2, JT Snow had a
huge 3-run home run in the ninth to push the game to extra innings, where
Edgardo Alfonso’s home run gave the Mets the win.

 

In Game 3, it was Benny
Agbayani’s home run in the 13th that beat the Giants. In Game 4, the Giants
were limited to one hit by Bobby Jones, of all people.

 

The 2001 season brought
Barry Bonds’ chase for the single-season home run record. But his 73 home runs
couldn’t get the Giants in the playoffs as they were eliminated in the final
weekend.

 

But a late-season push in
2002 got the Giants back into the playoffs as the wild-card. I remember just
hoping for two things: 1) the Giants could be the Braves so I wouldn’t have to
hear how Dusty Baker couldn’t win in the playoffs; 2) Barry hit, so I didn’t
have to hear how Bonds flops in the postseason. I got both as the Giants beat
the Braves in 5.

 

The NLCS against the
Cardinals started out well, with the Giants winning two in St. Louis. Now,
suddenly the World Series was within reach. Benito Santiago hit a huge home run
in the eighth inning of Game 4 after the Cardinals walked Bonds (again!). Then
in Game 5, there was Kenny Lofton singling home David Bell from second in the
bottom of the ninth for the pennant. I can remember yelling at the TV
“Run! David! Run!” And just like that, the Giants were back in the Series.

 

bell.jpeg

I went into the Series
thinking the Giants could beat the Angels. But my first goal was for the Giants
to win a game — one game — after watching get swept in 1989. The Giants got
that win in Game 1. But after losing in Games 2 and 3, I started to think they
wouldn’t win the Series.

 

But Kirk Rueter had a big
game in Game 4, and then Giants poured it on in Game 5. Just like that, the
Giants were one win from a World Series title.

 

On the night of Game 6, my
wife and I had a standing invitation for dinner at the house of my church’s
pastor. I wanted to cancel, but my pastor and his wife told us to come over and
we’d all watch the game together. Greaaaaaaat.

 

But things started out well
enough for the Giants. Shawon Dunston homered. Kenny Lofton doubled, stole
third and scored on a wild pitch. Barry took Angels heralded rookie Francisco
Rodriguez deep. In the seventh, Jeff Kent singled home another run and the
Giants were 5-0.

 

Russ Ortiz was sailing,
limited the Angels to a pair of singles. But in the seventh, Ortiz gave up
back-to-back one-out singles, and Dusty Baker took Ortiz out after 98 pitches.

 

Felix Rodriguez came in to
face Scott Spiezio, who kept fouling off pitch after pitch, working the count
full. Then he got pitch he could pull and dropped into the seats in right just
inside the foul pole and beyond the reach of RF Reggie Sanders. That made it
5-3 Giants.

 

In the eighth, Tim Worrell
came in and could not get anyone out. It started with a home run to Darin
Erstad. Then a single to Tim Salmon, a single to Garret Anderson on a flare to
left. And error by Barry Bonds allowed runners to move to second and third.
Robb Nen was called on to face Troy Glaus. And even though Glaus had been the
Angels biggest hitter in the series and there was an open base, the Giants
pitched to him. Glaus raked a double to left-center and the Angels led 6-5.

And there I was in my pastor’s house. I couldn’t swear (though I wanted to). I couldn’t throw something across the room (though I wanted to). I just sat and simmered, muttering “Why were we even pitching to him?”

After the game was over, I quietly got up and went to the bathroom. And sat for a couple of minutes. When I emerged, Melanie, the pastor’s wife, said “I’m impressed, Tim. If that had been the Padres, Scott (the pastor) would have been yelling and screaming.” (My pastor grew up in San Diego).

My wife said “I’m actually surprised Tim didn’t.”

I did my best to be pleasant the rest of the evening. When I got home, I took the videotape that I was using to record the game out of the VCR (yeah, 2002 was a long time ago), and threw it in the garbage. I didn’t sleep well that night.

 

The next day, Game 7 went bad quickly. The
Giants got a run in the second, but the Angels answered back with one of their
own. Then Livan Hernandez couldn’t get anyone out in the third, giving up a
single, single, hitting Tim Salmon with a pitch, then giving up a
bases-clearing double to Anderson and that was
enough. The Angels won 4-1.

I watched Game 7 at my brother’s house. You know, the Dodger fan. When it was over, I looked over at my niece, who was almost 3 at the time, and just said “Uncle Tim needs a hug.”

She obliged.

 

In the offseason, Dusty
Baker left. Jeff Kent left. But the Giants made good moves to replace them and
went on to win 100 games in 2003.

 

Again, the Giants faced the
Marlins. Jason Schmidt pitched the Giants to a Game 1 win, but the Marlins
bounced back to take Game 2. In Florida, the Giants pushed across a run in the
top of the 11th. But in the bottom of the 11th, sure-handed Jose Cruz Jr.
dropped a pop fly by Jeff Conine, setting the stage for Ivan Rodriguez’s
two-out, two-run single to win it, 3-2.

 

drop.jpeg

In Game 4, the Giants fell
behind 5-1, but scored four in the sixth to tie. But the Marlins tallied two in
the eight to take a 7-5 lead. The Giants scraped across a run in the ninth. But
then JT Snow was thrown out at the plate to end the series.

 

That was the last postseason
appearance until this season as the team plunged over the next few years. They
won 91 games in 2004, but were eliminated by the Dodgers on the final weekend.
Then the losses mounted: 87 in 2005, 85 in 2006, 91 in 2007 when Barry Bonds
completed his pursuit of the all-time home run record. Then the Giants turned
the page and began building for the future: 72-90 in 2008, and 88-74 in 2009.

 

That brings us to this
season…

 

Best celebration sound bites

World Series Giants R_Mart(3).jpgHere’s a sample of some of the best post-game comments by the Giants.

—-

Fox’s Chris Rose, handing the World Series trophy to Tim Lincecum, asked: “How does that look?”

Lincecum: “Shiny.”

—–

Buster Posey: “It’s
crazy to think with all the great baseball players who have come
through San Francisco, there hasn’t been a World Series championship The beautiful thing about the organization is, you’ve got guys like
Will Clark here. You’ve got J.T. Snow here. You’ve got Shawon Dunston
here. When we get back to San Francisco, we’ll have Willie Mays and Willie McCovey
and Gaylord Perry. The list goes on and on. It’s so humbling to have
won the first World Series in San Francisco. It’s unbelievable.”

Aaron Rowand on Edgar Renteria twice telling Andres Torres before Game 5 he would hit a home run: “He told Andres he was going to hit one and he did it. He Babe Ruth-ed it, I guess.”


Former general managing partner Peter Magowan, who saved the Giants from moving to St. Petersburg in 1992, on erasing past failures: “It
does. It erases it. I don’t think a day goes by that I
don’t think about the ’02 World Series. I still think a lot about ’62,
to say nothing about all the other near-misses. This does knock it all
away.”

J.T. Snow, former Giants 1B and current coach, express sentiment of SAN FRANCISCO Giants fans:

Someone said of the title: “It’s been a long time.”

Snow: “A long time? It’s been never!”

—-

Former Giants 1B and current special assistant to the GM Will Clark: “We’ve
had a few little skeletons in the closet because of the last few (World
Series) teams, but these guys buried them right here.”

MLB Network’s Matt Yallof asked how the brown-haired Brian Wilson could have a beard that is so dark black.

Wilson: “Day games. It’s the tan.”

And finally, Willie Mays, who watched the game with friends from his Peninsula home: “Oh,
man, I don’t get overly excited about baseball, but looking at these
kids and how excited they were, I had some tears in my eyes.”

They must be Giants!

This lineup the San Francisco Giants put out in Game 5 — and all season long — will not go down as the one of the greatest lineup in history, not even Giants history.

But this lineup was not about one guy. It was about every guy in the lineup. It was a lineup that you just waited for someone to do something, because you knew the pitching was going to keep it close.

Take a look at this lineup, where they came from:

1, ANDRES TORRES, RF: He’s 32 years old. A journeyman outfielder. Drafted by the Tigers in the fourth round in 1998; played parts of 2002-03 with the Tigers; when the Tigers sent him to the minors in April 2004, he opted for free agency; signed with White Sox, played in minors in 2004; signed with Rangers, played in minors and briefly with Rangers in 2005; played in minors for Twins, Tigers and Cubs the next three season; signed with Giants in 2009; became a full-time starter in late April of 2010.

2, FREDDY SANCHEZ, 2B:
Acquired in a trade with the Pirates in 2009; appeared to be bust when he could not stay healthy late in 2009; signed a two-year deal in offseason, but started 2010 on the DL; made his 2010 debut on May 19.

3, BUSTER POSEY, C: Came to spring training in 2010 with thoughts of making the big club; was sent to Triple-A Fresno because Giants wanted him to work on catching skills; made his 2010 debut on May 29; played first month in majors mostly at 1B; became everyday catcher when Bengie Molina was traded to Texas in early July.

4, CODY ROSS, LF: Placed on revocable waivers by Marlins in August; Giants, now heavy on OFs after recently adding Jose Guillen, put a claim on Ross, largely to keep rival Padres from claiming him; spent most of first month with SF as late-game defensive replacment; got more starts toward the end of September; started every postseason game.

5, JUAN URIBE, SS: Went into last offseason looking for multi-year deal; when he didn’t get one, re-signed with Giants for one year; expected to fill utility back-up role behind 2B Freddy Sanchez, SS Edgar Renteria, 3B Pablo Sandoval; opened season as starting 2B in place of injured Sanchez; eventually became everyday SS when Renteria was injured.

6, AUBREY HUFF, 1B: Giants went into offseason looking for left-handed power hitter to play 1B; went after Nick Johnson, who signed with Yankees; went after Adam LaRoche, who turned Giants down to sign lesser deal with Arizona; Giants sign Huff, who went on to lead team in HRs, even playing some OF when Posey got called up and played 1B.

7, PAT BURRELL, OF: Released by Tampa Bay on May 15 after 1+ unsuccessful seasons with Rays; signed to minor-league deal with Giants two weeks later; went to Fresno for a week; got called up to Giants on June 5; hit 18 HRs for Giants.

8, EDGAR RENTERIA, SS: Signed two-year deal with Giants prior to 2009. Spent two injury-filled seasons with SF; made three trips to DL during 2010 season; played only once in Giants’ final 14 games of the regular-season; started only 8 games after August 10; suffered torn biceps tendon in Game 2 of NLDS vs. Atlanta.

9, AARON ROWAND, CF: Signed five-year deal prior to 2008 season; beaned in cheek by LA’s Vicente Padilla on April 16; went on DL; hit well after initially after coming off the DL May 2, raising average to .333 on May 7; then went into tailspin; average dropped to .227 by end of May; lost starting CF job to Andres Torres; made only 12 starts after August 1, none after Sept. 16.

Compare that to the opening day lineup

1, Aaron Rowand, CF: (see above)

2, Edgar Renteria, SS: (see above)

3, Pablo Sandoval, 3B: Hit into league-high 26 DPs; hit over .300 first month of season, but didn’t have same power numbers; average began to dip by mid-May; spent most of postseason on the bench

4, Aubrey Huff, 1B: (see above)

5, Mark DeRosa, LF: Homered on opening day in Houston; average quickly dipped under .250, never rose above that; admitted in early May that surgically-repaired wrist was not right; season ended on May 8.

6, Bengie Molina, C: Re-signed with Giants in offseason after failing to get multi-year deal elsewhere; hit well out of gate; average above .300 thru mid-May; then started to dip; dropped to .250 by June 1; traded to Texas on July 1.

7, John Bowker, RF: won starting job after red-hot spring; but as in previous stints with big club, could not sustain hitting; average dropped below .200 by April 19; lost starting job; optioned to Fresno in early June shortly after team signed Pat Burrell; traded to Pirates on July 31 for Javier Lopez.

8, Juan Uribe, 2B: (See above)

Giants baseball: Rapture!!!!

World Series Giants R_Mart(2).jpg

It’s over. They’ve done it. And I’m still trying to make sure it’s real.

The San Francisco Giants are World Series champions.

Fifty-six years in the waiting for Giants fans, 52 years for San Francisco Giants, and 37 years for this Giants fan.

The only thing that would make this better is if I had put $100 on the Giants to win the Series back at the start of the season.

I don’t know what the odds were, but I’m pretty sure you could have got good odds on that happening back in March.

And if I had put another $50 on Edgar Renteria being the Series MVP, I’d be sitting on a pretty big winning pot.

But that’s the way it’s gone for this group. The only thing we can expect is the unexpected.

EDGAR THE MVP?!?!?

Edgar Renteria started the season hot and he was still hitting .320 on April 30 when he strained his groin. He rested the injury for five days before returning on May 6. Then he aggravated the injury and went on the 15-day DL.

The Giants activated him from the DL on May 22. On May 26, he strained his hamstring, and he went back on the DL.

He was activated on June 16, but struggled after returning from the DL.

On August 11, he landed back on the DL a left biceps strain.

He was activated on September 1, but only because rosters were expanded.

He started only seven games in September and none after Sept. 17 because of an inflamed elbow.

He played on Oct. 1 to show he was ready to be on the postseason roster. There was some talk about leaving him off the postseason reason. But there were no better options, so Renteria was put on the roster.

Then in Game 2 of the NLDS, Renteria came in as a pinch-hitter in the 10th and dropped down a bunt single. But the Giants couldn’t get him home. On the first ball put in play in the 11th was a groundout to short. On that play, Renteria suffered a torn biceps tendon. But he played on.

He started Games 2, 3, 4 and 6 of the NLCS. He started all five games at short in the World Series, delivering a key home run in Game 2, going 3 for 4 in Game 4 and then the huge three-run home run in Game 5.

Renteria became the fourth player to have the game-winning RBI in two Series clinching wins, joining — get this — Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Yogi Berra.

Well done, Edgar.

TWO-OUT MAGIC

And, of course, Renteria’s three-run blast came with two outs.

Just like the Giants have done all postseason. In the Series, 17 of 29 runs scored were with two outs.

FOX: YOU GUYS STINK!

Giants fans were flying high. Edgar Renteria just hit a 3-run homer, giving Tim Lincecum a three-run cushion.

It’s the bottom of the seventh. Nelson Cruz just homered to make 3-1 San Francisco. After a walk, the Rangers have a runner on first and one out. The Giants are seven outs away from the World Series title.

Then Fox went and did it. They threw up a graphic: World Series fact: The last team to come back from a deficit of three runs or more in the seventh inning or later: Game 6 of the 2002 World Series.

That graphic went up, and I actually averted my eyes for a moment.

After Lincecum struck out David Murphy, Joe Buck commented on that graphic, noting that “it’s not a graphic that Giants fans want to read.”

My wife, not the keenest baseball observer, wondered why Giants fans would be upset by that graphic, because the Giants were leading at the time the graphic went up. She didn’t catch that the Angels rallied against the Giants.

So she asked me to clarify. I simply mumbled “I don’t know.”

BOCHY AND A TOUCH OF TORTURE

I don’t want to be the guy who is second-guessing Bruce Bochy. The Giants manager has made all the right moves this postseason.

But when Brian Wilson came out in the ninth, I winced. Lincecum had only thrown 101 pitches at that point. He could have throw 120 or more. He had mystified Josh Hamilton and Vladimir Guerrero all night. They were the first two up in the ninth.

I agreed with Tim McCarver. I would have let Lincecum face those guys. If either got on, then go to Wilson.

And if Bochy was going to go to the pen, why not go with Javier Lopez to face Hamilton, then go to Wilson.

But Bochy called on Wilson, and what happened? Wilson set the Rangers down 1-2-3.

That was back-to-back 1-2-3 outings from Wilson in Texas.

Yeah, yeah, Wilson did push Nelson Cruz to a 3-2 count.

But then he reared back and blew it past Cruz.

Torture no more. Only Rapture!!!!!

Lineups are in for Game 5

The lineups are in, and Bruce Bochy must be reading More Splash Hits.

Well, sort of.

Pat’s bat is in the Game 5 lineup, but not his glove.

Pat Burrell will be the DH in Game 5, batting in the No. 7 hole.

Here’s the lineup:

RF Andres Torres

2B Freddy Sanchez

C Buster Posey

LF Cody Ross

3B Juan Uribe

1B Aubrey Huff

DH Pat Burrell

SS Edgar Renteria

CF Aaron Rowand

 

Mitch Williams on MLB Network said he was surprised by the move, saying Burrell didn’t like to DH in the AL and his production as a DH led to him being cut in Tampa Bay.

But his production as the Giants left fielder in this Series who warrant getting him cut by the Giants if it continued for several weeks.

So there’s nothing to lose putting Burrell as the DH. If he can put the bat on the ball, he could change the game with one swing. Also remember it was Burrell’s walk in the fifth of Game 1 that contributed to a big inning against Cliff Lee.

I think Bochy wanted to put his best defense in the outfield. Against the lefty Lee, that’s Ross, Rowand and Torres. So then your DH options are Burrell, Pablo Sandoval (who hit .227 with 1 HR from the right side), Travis Ishikawa (who hit .111 against LH pitching) or Nate Schierholtz (who actually hits .294 against LH pitching).

Given those options, an uncomfortable Burrell is the best bet.

QUESTIONS WITH LINEUP

Bochy and More Splash Hits were in agreement with many aspects of the Game 5 lineup: Burrell at DH, Burrell hitting deep in the lineup, Rowand hitting No. 9.

But like he did in Game 1 against Lee, he’s moving Aubrey Huff down to the No. 6 hole.

The numbers say Huff is the same hitter against RH pitcher or LH pitchers.

He hit .296 vs. LH pitching this season, .287 vs. RH pitching. His on-base percentage is .378 vs. LH, .388 vs. RH. Slugging is dead-even, .506 vs. .506.

Against Lee in Game 1, Huff was 2 for 3 with a double and RBI.

In the postseason, Huff is 3 for 8 with two RBI against LH starters.

But Bochy goes with Buster Posey No. 3 (that’s fine; that’s where he should be); Cody Ross No. 4 (team leader in postseason HRs; fine) and then Juan Uribe.

Don’t look now, but Uribe is hitting. 140 this postseason. It’s just that every hit Uribe has this postseason has counted — his home run in Game 6 of the NLCS, his 3-run homer in Game 1 of the World Series, his dunker for an RBI single in Game 2.

So if Bochy is moving Huff out of the No. 3 hole, then put him in No. 5 spot with Uribe No. 6.

But most of Bochy’s moves have worked out this postseason, so we’ll see.

OUTFIELD ALIGNMENT

The other major difference between the MSH’s lineup and Bochy’s was Rowand in CF and Torres in RF.

I put Torres in center because he’s the better center fielder. All the numbers say so.

Range Factor favors Torres over Rowand 2.66-2.54. The league average for RF is .259.

Total Zone fielding runs above average (which basically counts the number of runs saved above or below the average CF) Torres wins again +7 to +2.

Torres has kept 42.9 pct of runners from taking an extra base. Rowand 39.2 pct.

Rowand does have an advantage is catchers thrown out at home in the postseason. Rowand threw out Carlos Ruiz in Game 4 of the NLCS. Torres could not throw out Bengie Molina on a sac fly in Game 1 of the Series.

Bottom line on why Bochy went with Rowand in CF. That’s where he’s comfortable. Rowand has not play anywhere but centerfield since 2004 when he was with the White Sox.

Torres played 84 games this year in CF, 43 in RF and 37 in LF.

ON FINAL STAT

A lot has been made about how good Cliff Lee has been this postseason. But all of his preview four postseason starts have come on the road — two in Tampa Bay, one in New York, one in San Francisco.

So how has Lee pitched in Arlington?

He’s 2-2 with a 3.12 ERA in seven starts.

 

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