Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Sign of Life - Romo Returns!

Apparently, acquiring Justin Maxwell & re-signing Travis Ishikawa weren't the only moves that the Giants had up their sleeves this off-season.  Sergio Romo is coming back, & I am:

- Mighty happy about the concept.

- Mighty amazed about how much money they are paying him, although, given how much various other non-Closers are getting this year, I suppose that I shouldn't be.

I think that Romo has a lot left to offer & will continue to adapt his pitching style to his shifting physical skills ... for example, what would be more goofy than the goofiest guy on the Team starting to throw a knuckle-curve?

I was worried, when LA cut The Beard loose & were supposedly shopping Brandon League, that that dreaded Romo to LA signing was imminent, but no.  Now, we need to decide whether having Wilson pitch for us, while getting overpaid by LA is something that we should interested in.  Sounds worth a shot, doesn't it?  He's another guy who is young enough to learn a new pitch & become awesome again.

I welcome the return of Romo & look forward to some more wheeling & dealing (within reason) to fill in our other needs.

Sergio is back ... more ice cream endorsements ahoy!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Money, Money, Money

In case you were wondering about how baseball teams can spend $150-200M on one player, here's a graph:

Source: Forbes

Baseball teams are loaded with money. This article by Maury Brown at Forbes gives a breakdown of the details (h/t Baseball Musings). Even poor teams are rich. Mr. Brown points out that revenues have grown over 300% since 1995. Screw blue chips, I want a piece of that pie in my mutual funds.

The moral of the story, for me, is to stop giving a shit how much players cost. They cost what they cost and the money is there and the owners could spend a lot more and still be richer than God.

--M.C.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Duffy's Dash

I really hoped that sprint home with the tying run in Game Two of the NLCS would have resulted in a win and would have become part of Giants lore. Since they lost the game, the moment will fade and come to its resting place in the dustbin of history. But I won't forget! I'm high on Duffy and hope he gets to be the third baseman soon.

Every year I sponsor (on behalf of RMC) a page on Baseball-Reference. I use the site all the time, it's my baseball Wikipedia. Back when Matt Cain was a nobody his page was cheap. Now they want $220. Last year I got Brandon Crawford for, I don't know, $60 or so. This year it is $160! Yikes, too rich for my blood.

So, Matt Duffy it is. Only forty bucks! Makes me feel good to be a part of B-R and it is nice to have the RMC name out there. I hope the price goes up soon as that will mean the former Dirtbag will be climbing the ladder to stardom.

--M.C.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Catching, Buster, and Longevity

The only comp I can think of for Buster Posey is Joe Mauer. Every time I see Buster take another blow to the head I think "how long can that go on?" The Giants supposedly have no plans to move Buster to another position, but you have to think that will inevitably happen. After all, he is signed through 2021 at $20+M/yr. Head injuries, thankfully, are finally getting the attention they merit. This is near and dear to me as I suffered a concussion from a fall off my mountain bike in September of 2010. I was fortunate that I had no long-term effects, no cognitive issues, or anything other than a long, slow recovery. I was tired a lot, but regained my health in due time. There are still a few hours of my life that I cannot remember yet I was, according to reliable witnesses, walking and talking during that "blackout" phase. Scary, man. I don't want to whack my head ever again.

Here is a graph of Joe Mauer's "games caught" vs. "season." You can see the Twins finally stopped having him put on the gear. They have the DH option, of course. What do you guys think? Should the Giants have a plan for Posey? It seems like the obvious solution is to teach Brandon Belt to play left field! What would you do if you were Boch & Sabes?






--M.C.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Offseason Discussion II

We need a new thread.

Ishikawa? Yea/Nay.

Speak, and thus be heard.

--M.C.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Offseason Discussion I

OK, that's over.



(photo from espn.go.com)

Regardless of what may happen and what may have driven this decision, the Giants need a third baseman and a left fielder, to fill at least 2 positions in the rotation, and probably some relief.  Discuss





Sunday, November 23, 2014

Huddy in 2014




This is a graph I put together of Tim Hudson's 2014 season.  The horizontal axis is each start during the regular season.  On the vertical axis, I have shown the innings pitched, in red, and the bases Huddy surrendered (from hits, walks and hit-by-pitches) per innings pitched.  I thought this might give a better, although still incomplete picture than merely hits/BB/hbp or earned runs.

As you can see, as the season progressed, his innings pitched per game went down, slightly, and his bases per inning pitched tended upward slightly, even leaving out the terrible 1 inning game against LA on September 13.  But Tim Hudson also pitched in the playoffs and World Series (won by the Giants!!!).   Everyone remembers his start in game 7 (won by the Giants!!!).  It didn't go well.  He threw 1 and 2/3 innings, gave 3 hits, walked 1 and gave up 2 runs.

On October 4, Huddy gave us 7 1/4 innings of work, giving up 1 run on 7 hits.  He walked no one and struck out 8.  That was the 18 inning game against Washington, the Giants winning 2-1.  He pitched again October 14, against St. Louis, in game 3 of the NLCS at ATT Park, giving up 4 runs on 7 hits in 6 1/3 innings.  The Giants won that game, 5-4 in the 10th.  Then, he pitched game 3 of the World Series at ATT on October 24 before the October 29 game 7.  In game 3, he picked up the loss, going 5 2/3 innings and giving up 3 runs to Kansas City.

So here is my conclusion: Tim Hudson had a hell of a season for the Giants.  He was an ace at the beginning of the year, although he ran out of some steam towards the end.  Once he got some rest (he had not pitched since September 24 before the Washington game), he pitched pretty damn well.  He is, by his own admission, an old man.  But recall that he pitched so well during the early part of the season that he was rewarded with a trip to the All Star game.  We would not have been in the playoffs without his contribution.  I fully expect him to be rested and sharp for the 2015 season.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Yes! Yes! Yes!


I think this photo (my birthday present, thanks Nance) is from this game.

Can't stop thinking about that incredible post-season.

It's a great time to be a Giants fan.

--M.C.





p.s. RIP Ray Sadecki. He was a good pitcher who had the misfortune of being on the wrong side of the Cepeda trade. I think the Giants, as Sabes said after 2010, have buried those bones. The lefty was from KC and also pitched for the Royals in the mid-70s after leaving SF.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Monday, November 3, 2014

Across America with the Giants

The 2014 World Series was a unique experience as my wife and I were traveling and we enjoyed the entire event while on the road. We watched Game One in Santa Clarita which is, surprisingly, the third-largest city in Los Angeles County. It was only recently incorporated (1987) and is composed of several former separate communities like Newhall, Saugus, and Valencia. At 1200 feet elevation it sits on the southern edge of the Transverse Ranges before the descent into the San Fernando Valley. It is probably best-known for Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park. We had planned to avoid the downtown LA traffic by crossing the city later in the evening and hoped to stop somewhere along I-5 to watch the game. If you have ever driven to Southern California along that route you know there's not much to choose from. I had identified a likely spot, a sports bar called the Tilted Kilt, which turned out to be in one of those boulevard lined mega-shopping complexes that are no more attractive than the box store strip malls that blight our country's mid-sized towns. The restaurant itself was big and clean and horribly modern with over two dozen televisions. The food was the usual fare but decent overall and the beer selection was passable. It's a "guy" place with scantily clad cute waitresses in tartan halter tops and mini-skirts. Madison Bumgarner and the Giants kicked ass so it was really quite pleasant despite the characterless setting. And we missed the infamous LA rush hour and made it to our South Bay destination in good time. We noticed one or two other Giants fans in the place who actually left before the end. No Dodgers fans seemed to be present--at least none were sporting their blue, and no one else seemed particularly passionate about the event.

Game Two we spent in the home of our dear friend BRZ in Lomita and that was good as the Giants got a whipping by the Royals. It's always nice to have true fans around to commiserate with. We endured Fox and Joe Buck as best we could and had a splendid visit before our train trip. Taking walks around the area we of course wore our caps but LA fans had already forgotten their season and had turned their thoughts to the myriad of other distractions that abound down there. Game Three happened while we were on the Southwest Chief heading to Chicago and we had to depend on text updates from JCP and various bits of info from other passengers. We didn't encounter any real baseball fans although one of the dining car attendants made a point of lamenting the tough loss with us the next morning. I was not prepared to fully follow the action but I was relaxed and philosophical about the disconnect as that is very much part of my travel outlook. Spontaneity and serendipity are really what journeys are all about. We pulled in to Kansas City the morning of Game Four and I saw a few Royals caps on people in the station but once again did not encounter any baseball fans on the train. That evening after we were settled in our hotel in Chicago we took a walk around the neighborhood and discovered Kitty O'Shea's Pub and Restaurant in the ground floor of the Hilton just across the street. We ate dinner and drank to excess and had a grand time watching the epic come-from-behind Giants victory. We spent the first half of the game talking with a lively gentleman whose mother was a devoted Royals fan. He was an intelligent student of the game and knew quite a bit about the Giants and their players. He left before the onslaught but the bartender, who was from Dublin, had a rooting interest for KC. It seems he won a bet from his "bruddah" on the Super Bowl and rather than a payoff had doubled down on the Series. I love the Irish version of the "th" sound in English--you get everything from "t" to "d" and lots in between. Let's just say if an Irishman calls you "tick" it's not a compliment.

Game Five we watched in our room after a long day of walks exploring the city. Madison Bumgarner was sensational of course, and we got to enjoy it in comfort. We wore our Giants gear around town but there was a Blackhawks game happening that evening and the sports fans around seemed focused on the young hockey season. We did talk to a couple in Grant Park earlier in the day who saw our colors and knew we were tourists and gave us some pointers about where to go and what to see. We were on the train for Game Six and had to rely on text updates once again. No one had any interest as far as we could tell which was fine as that contest was decided early as the Giants were trounced. We made it to Philadelphia for Game Seven after an exhausting journey and once again watched it in the comfort of our room. The Giants were brilliant (that Bumgarner fellow was pretty good again) and we celebrated quietly together before collapsing from our extended travel ordeal.

Philadelphia, we found out, is a real baseball town. Strangers would see our SF garb and say "congratulations" or "you guys must be pumped" and whatnot. It was fun. Lots of people wanted to talk about Madison Bumgarner, Panda, Hunter Pence, and even rookie Joe Panik. There was still a buzz about the Series even though the long season was over and there was little or no rooting interest in either team. At NoirCon (the crime writing conference we were there for) we met one of my literary heroes, Eddie Muller, who is from San Francisco. He saw our caps and came over to gush about the championship. We enjoyed several fun and fruitful conversations with Eddie over the next few days. He was charming and approachable as well as a passionate and intelligent fan. Several of the conference attendees were also baseball types and we would chat in the elevator in the hotel or at breaks in the proceedings. Drinking beers (and eating pirogies) with the British writer Richard Godwin and his wife after the conference ended was great as he was very interested in Raising Matt Cain and wanted to know what I attributed the team's spectacular run to. For an Englishman he had a fair interest in our national pastime and knew more than I expected. I told him about the great job the team had done drafting amateur talent, the wisdom of picking Bruce Bochy to be the field manager, and the club culture of valuing players and their contributions. It was a thumbnail sketch and off-the-cuff but I think I hit the key points. Obviously it has been a lot of fun to bask in the glory of the orange-and-black.

I remember telling many of the folks we discussed the season with that I pinch myself every morning about the recent dynastic success of our beloved ballclub. It's an amazing time to be a Giants fan and a great payoff for decades of loyalty. It's particularly rewarding because I started this blog near the end of the 2007 season and the team's ascendancy coincided perfectly with us hitting our stride as bloggers. I hope I have thanked all of you who have been reading along with us enough over the years for being a part of RMC. It's nice to know people are reading when you write something and the discussions and arguments and everything have been great. Some of you out there in comment land are my friends and we've shared the ups and downs over the years. Some of you I only know virtually from our internet encounters but I feel we've been through a lot together and I hope some day to buy you a beer and shake your hand if we ever meet in the real world!

We are just at the start of our cross-country train journey back home to California. And there's wifi! What's up with that? Where was this connection when I needed it?

I'm sure we'll have much to talk about in the off-season, like always, but I'm going to take it nice and slow and put some energy into my other projects over the next few months. I hope my fellow authors will chime in and post up their opinions on the things the team needs for 2015 and beyond.

GO GIANTS!


--M.C.