Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Giants, World Series Champions

It's the last day of the best year in San Francisco Giants history. The twenty-ten club went all the way and won the World Series. Watched the final game again--it seemed like the perfect way to celebrate New Year's Eve. Tim Lincecum was magnificent, of course, but it took an improbable 7th-inning rally off Cliff Lee to get the margin the team needed to seal the win. Clutch hits by Cody Ross and Juan Uribe, an impressive sacrifice bunt by Aubrey Huff, and the big bomb by Edgar Renteria put a three-spot on the board and Tim and Brian Wilson did the rest. Baseball is a funny game. Buster Posey had the best-looking ABs all night long but didn't figure in the scoring! The Giants beat one of the best pitchers in baseball TWICE in the same series, and it was not just any series but the World Series. Giants pitchers shut out the Rangers twice and held them at one point to 18 consecutive scoreless innings, their longest drought of the season. No offense to Edgar Renteria, but the Series MVP could easily have gone to the entire Giants pitching staff as they held one of the best offenses in baseball to TWELVE RUNS in five games. The Rangers World Series line was .198/.259/.288! The Giants were no slouches with the bats, scoring 29 runs (11 in Game 1) and running out a .249/.306/.450 line. That .450 slugging was the result of 11 2B, 1 3B, and 7 HR, 18 XBH out of 42 total hits. What's funny is the Giants only managed 11 walks but gave out 15 free ones to the Rangers. It was a great victory for the Giants and all their fans, an impressive post-season run capped by a dominating Series win. HAPPY 2010!

Best wishes to everyone for twenty-eleven!


Thursday, December 30, 2010

A very happy Hallowe'en

It was all treats for Giants fans this past Hallowe'en. Madison Bumgarner showed no fear and the Giants wore down the American League champs to take a never-to-look-back 3-1 lead in the Series. I recommend re-watching all the games in the Giants post-season run. If you have not bought the DVD set then get them via iTunes. I was far too involved emotionally when watching the live games so it has been very enjoyable to see them again in a more relaxed and detached mode. I looked back at what I posted that evening and I'm stickin' with it. I'm surprised I was so calm and objective about being one win from a World Series title! Andres Torres was superb, rapping out three hits just like the "rejuvenated" Edgar Renteria, scoring one and driving in one. Aubrey Huff's blast was just what we were hoping the ex-DH would do in an AL park. Freddy Sanchez was a glove machine at second base, killing rallies with heads-up baseball. Buster Posey hit a monstrous home run to dead center, and absolutely nailed Josh Hamilton trying to steal a base. That rookie battery was something, eh? Here's a comparison--pitcher A vs. pitcher B:

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 12/30/2010.

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 12/30/2010.

A is MadBum and B is Lincecum. Note that MadBum is 5 years younger! It sure is nice to have young, studly pitchers, isn't it? There was a time when I thought Ed Halicki would be the next NL Cy Young winner. Ah, youth.


p.s. I've gotten pretty weary of all the HOF debates. I'm sick of PEDs and the pointless arguments about them. I became hoplessly cynical about the Hall after reading Bill James' book (Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame?) and the whole Marc Ecko asterisk-ball nonsense (here's what I wrote then). It seems obvious that there are some all-time greats who should be enshrined, like Tim Raines, Jeff Bagwell, Bert Blyleven, and (yes, Virginia) Mark McGwire. And a bunch more real good choices like Barry Larkin and Edgar Martinez. At this point, I don't really give a shit. All I care about is the Giants winning another World Series. But if YOU care, read Joe Posnanski. He puts together the HOF arguments better than anyone. It truly depresses me that the supposed "professionals" who cover the game can churn out mountains of crap about how they "feel" about this candidate and that candidate when baseball excellence (like innocence or guilt) has NOTHING TO DO WITH SOMEBODY'S FUCKING FEELINGS! Any BBWAA member who uses the "you just had to be there to know how intimidating so-and-so was or wasn't" argument should have his ballot cancelled. And don't get me started about these idiots who "suspect" someone was a PED-user without out ANY EVIDENCE and thus won't vote for them. Didn't these people go to college and learn how to construct a proper argument? Didn't they take Civics in high school? There, I've just ruined the high the Hallowe'en game put me on! Oh yeah, the Giants won the World Series.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A very cold Hot Stove

I'm looking out my window and all I see is a grey sky and swirling graupel. We are making do without the wood stove so far today, which is fine as the temperature outside is just a tick into the 30s. The cold wood stove got me thinking about the very cold Hot Stove this off-season for the World Champs. (Note: the graupel swarm has passed, now it is swirling flakes.) You knew that some of the 2010 club would not return in 2011, and that Juan Uribe, after two strong seasons in San Francisco, would likely get other offers. The fact that the charismatic hacker would be donning Dodger Blue had never entered my mind, of course, but all I can say at this point is "goodbye, and thanks for the memories." Sabes & Co. quickly plugged the hole with San Diego's Miguel Tejada, keeping the NL West's "shortstop musical chairs" alive and well. Tejada, barring injury, can certainly deliver similar value to the club. With a bounce back from Pablo Sandoval, the Giants ought to be OK on the left side of the infield. Panda may never reach his 2009 peak, but I have a feeling 2010 was his nadir, and something in between the two could be a huge asset (is an .800 OPS wishful thinking?). Hell, the kid turns 24 next August! With Aubrey Huff ensconced at first, Freddy Sanchez at second, Andres Torres in center, Cody Ross in right, and Buster Posey catching, the only question mark is left field. Assuming a healthy Mark DeRosa gets the nod, that could be an outstanding starting eight. After all, the Giants proved you could win a World Series with an average offense, and a full year of those guys would certainly be at least that, and even capable of cracking the top quartile. It ain't Philly or Cincy or Colorado, but it doesn't have to be. We all know that any shot at repeating depends on another year of outstanding pitching. I didn't think it possible that the historically awesome 2009 staff (121 ERA+, 3.85 FIP, 3.77 rpg) could do it again in 2010 (121 ERA+, 3.74 FIP, 3.60 rpg), but they did, and even better. I guess there's no reason to believe (other than injuries and cruel acts by the baseball gods) that they can't put together an equally impressive 2011. All my angst and worry over "regression to the mean" was certainly thrown back in my face, and the F.O. showed that they could shore up the weak points as the season progressed.

The Giants have a solid player at every position. They have a Starting Five to die for. They have a great closer and some serious firepower in the 'pen. They have youth. They have cagey vets. They have an entire roster of seasoned warriors who racked up innings upon innings of pennant-chase savvy and post-season seasoning. They have a youngster in the wings (Brandon Belt) who just might pull a Buster Posey next summer. What are they missing? The pessimist in me says that maybe Mike Fontenot is not enough insurance against Aged Miggy or Brittle Freddy going down. That Pat Burrell, Aaron Rowand, and Nate Schierholtz won't fill in adequately for the starting outfielders. What do you guys think? Do the Giants need some Hot Stove work? Or can they stand pat and play the hand they've got? Either way, I'm ready for some 2011 talk. Not that I won't still enjoy watching 2010 post-season games, but with the New Year being nigh I'm ready to start counting the days until pitchers and catchers report. (The snow has petered out, and some sun is peeking through the clouds).


p.s. Pablo Sandoval:
2008 41 154 24 50 3 24 4 14 .345 .357 .490 .847 118 6
2009 153 633 79 189 25 90 52 83 .330 .387 .556 .943 144 10
2010 152 616 61 151 13 63 47 81 .268 .323 .409 .732 95 26
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 12/29/2010.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Giants lose Game 3 . . . again!

Mitch Moreland had a Spezioan AB against Jonathan Sanchez in the 2nd inning in Texas, and that was the difference in the game. The Rangers actually got some good starts in the Series, and Colby Lewis' was the best of all. It would be their only win against the surging Giants, who got the best of the other match-ups. Re-watching was a relaxing Boxing Day diversion. It was nice to listen to the local guys and watch the game and enjoy the baseball without the sturm und drang. The 2010 Giants won the World Series. That's not getting old any time soon.


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Righteously Merry Christmas!

Have a Righteously Merry Christmas, everyone!


Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Texas Cainsaw Masscre!

Watched Game 2 of the World Series. Matt Cain was awesome. The entire Texas organization had a meltdown after Ian Kinsler's ball was rejected by the baseball gods. Ron Washington had a really bad game after that. It was as if he forgot there were two mounds in the bullpen and you could warm guys up at any time. Regardless, the Giants crushed the Rangers and took an insurmountable 2-0 lead in the Big Show. I'm thinking "twenty-ten" was a pretty good year.


p.s. Get yours today!

 p.p.s. Here's what I wrote the first time through.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Perfect '10

Giant! A Perfect '10 in San Francisco got me to finally set up an iTunes account. As mentioned on the Giants website, World Series games are available for download at the iTunes Store (iStore?). Only $1.99 apiece. The LDS and LCS games are there, too.

RMC is now Twitter-friendly. Never thought I'd say that. JCP has it set up as @raisingmattcain. Note the sidebar with updates from MLBTR (Trade Rumors), SFGiants, sfgiantsbeat (Chris Haft), and AmyG.

Watched Game 1 of the World Series again. Drank my delicious new World Series Stout.

The Freak made the cover of SI.

Happy Holidays!


New look

I wanted to freshen up the look of RMC before the New Year. I kept it clean and simple as you can see. Let me know what you think. The picture is from the Houston High (Germantown, TN) Mustangs website. (I hope they don't mind!) The cool fonts are from Blambot. I used Roxio PhotoSuite 10 and just about maxed out my computer skills.


UPDATE Wed 1634: I tweaked the width of the blog template. It should now show all of Matt. I made the original banner graphic to be--I thought--the same width as the blog template. Unfortunately it cut off part of Matt when I viewed the blog in Chrome or Firefox (but not in the new 64-bit IE). I went into the blog template HTML code and found a line that looked like it was the width setting and changed it from 1000px to 1100px. It looks better, don't you think?

Monday, December 20, 2010

They did it!

Kuip: I think about it every day.
Kruk: It's better than I thought it was going to be.

Last night CSN-BA aired  "Inside the Clubhouse: The Journey," a one-hour retrospective on the marvelous 2010 season. Everyone's favorite TV guys--Kruk & Kuip--chimed in those pearls above. I have to say I feel exactly as they do.

Giants signed Guillermo Mota to a minor-league deal.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Everybody needs pitching!

The Milwaukee Brewers trade a barrel o'prospects to the Kansas City Royals for Zack Greinke. That gives them an ace to complement Yovani Gallardo. With the recently-acquired Shawn Marcum, they've done their best to address the team's terrible 2010 pitching (804 RA).

The Giants won the World Series with great pitching. The Phillies certainly noticed, bringing back prodigal son Cliff Lee to strengthen an already formidable staff. The Brewers are catching on, too. Let's hope all the Giants hurlers stay healthy for the 2011 season so they can continue to show the rest of the league how it's done.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Sign me up

The Trophy Tour is on my "must-hit" list. Looks like I'll get two chances: January 10/11 in Redding/Chico, and early March in Medford, Oregon. The webpage lists the Medford date in late February, the Press Release says March. T-shirt, cap, poster, DVD, watch, lanyard, wristband, necklace, Santa hat--I'm mainlining memorabilia these days and I'm not planning to slow down anytime soon.


p.s. Orlando Hudson returns to the NL West, signing a 2-year deal with San Diego. After stops in Arizona and LA, I expect we'll pick him up in 2013 for his last hurrah.

Friday, December 17, 2010

It's a business

Edgar Renteria won't be a Giant next year. After declining his rather hefty option ($9.5 M), the club offered him a million bucks to be Miguel Tejada's backup for 2011. Renteria was apparently insulted. I actually get that--the major league minimum is around $400K, and a 15-year vet with his track record certainly expects to be paid a lot more than a rookie. I've heaped my share of abuse on Renteria on this site, and he shut me up with a tremendous performance in the post-season and the biggest hit in San Francisco Giants history. But there is no way the team can take a risk on a guy with his injury history and his age. He was very well-compensated for his 777 plate appearances and 1624-2/3 innings at shortstop. His 67 OPS+ in 2009 was his career low, as was his 72 games played in 2010.

I've learned a lot writing this blog. Criticism, while fun, often blows up in your face. Professional athletes aren't like normal people. Managers and general managers know more about baseball than I do. So I have nothing to say to Renteria, other than thanks for the big bomb off Cliff Lee. You will always be a part of Giants lore. Baseball is a business, and I have no problem with that.


p.s. I received my DVD set in the mail yesterday. I'm going to spend my holiday reveling in Giants glory. If you've been debating the purchase--don't. The set is nicely packaged and will make a great gift for your favorite Giants fan. (There are two more I'll be ordering soon!)

Giants Jacking With Edgar Renteria

Well, Edgar Renteria is, not surprisingly, upset about the Giants' $1M contract offer. You can list off all of the metrics about why or why not the Giants' offer was appropriate or not, but here is my more intangible take on this, because this guy isn't just any old everyday aging utility infielder:

- Edgar Renteria was an inspirational player on our only World Series Championship team ever. His Teammates universally adored him. His Manager & Coaches praised him.

- When healthy, Edgar Renteria has some fine baseball skills.

- Biggest issue - Edgar Renteria is someone who we should keep in the organization long-term, with Major or Minor League Coaching or overseas Scouting as logical future positions.

- Throwing in the $500,000 he received from his buyout, the Giants were prepared to pay Edgar Renteria a total of $1.5M to play in 2011.

- The Giants receive more revenue from the naming rights to 'GMC Professional Grade', or whatever the silly advertisement du jour is, than it would take to pay Edgar Renteria a reasonable salary.

I continue to believe that the appropriate reward for someone who has done a lot for this Team, & someone who many of us believe can do a lot for this Team after his retirement as an active Player, is somewhere between $2M & $3M. Subtracting the previously-committed $500,000, we should then offer him $1.5M to $2.5M.

How about $2M to bring Edgar back?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Game 6 redux

CSN-BA re-broadcast Game 6, the pennant-clincher in Philadelphia, last night at seven o'clock. I was up until 10:30 re-living the glory! I remain astonished that the Giants starter--Jonathan Sanchez--was pulled from the game in the 3rd inning after having an Andujarian meltdown and yet the Giants still won. The Giants had so many men on base that night (13 hits, 2 walks, an error and HBP) it seems impossible that they only scored three runs. It was torturous, even though I knew the outcome! If I were a Phillies fan, I'd still be in shock. The ball Werth hit in the 1st with two on looked like a 3-run HR off the bat but it died just short of the track. The double Howard roped off MadBum in the 5th should have scored Rollins from first but the carom went straight to Torres and he made a perfect scoop-and-throw to hold him at third. The strikeout of Ben Francisco in the 6th was an oddly generous call by home plate up Tom Hallion. The 8th inning hits by Shane Victorino (after being 0-2) and Raul Ibanez off Tim Lincecum were erased on a truly weird double play line-drive to Aubrey Huff. Wilson walked two in the 9th before freezing Howard with a perfect pitch. They had their chances, to be sure. It was such a tight game--the margins were so, so close all night long. The Giants prevailed, and deserved to win, getting a huge opposite-field homer from "Jazz Hands" Uribe, the kind of thing you expected from Werth, Howard, or Utley playing in their home yard. I haven't yet received my DVD set, but I can tell you I'll never get tired of watching that game.

You probably saw in the news that Bob Feller died. Check out the obit by Joe Posnanski.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Phillies take aim at Giants

Cliff Lee surprised everyone (except Ruben Amaro) by "leaving money on the table" and signing a 5-year, $100 M contract with the Phillies. This gives Philadelphia the extra ace they need to compete with San Francisco. We all watched the Giants beat the Phillies in a six game street fight to win the pennant, and we all watched the Giants hang an 0-2 on Cliff Lee in the Series. The Giants won with pitching. You want to beat the Giants you have to match them arm-for-arm. This move is about lining up a playoff rotation to beat the San Francisco Giants.

Somewhere in the Pacific Northwest a 5'-11" 170-lb., long-haired guy is pulling on a hoodie, taking his dog for a walk, and checking his text messages. I'm sure he's hearing all there is to hear about The Greatest Rotation Ever. I reckon he's shaking in his sneakers.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

How'd I miss this?

Comcast Sports Net/Bay Area is re-broadcasting playoff games--celebrating Orange October!

Game 6 this Wednesday at 7 p.m. on CSN-BA.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010


On January 6, Charles Stoneham died. From Wikipedia: Stoneham had a close business relationship with Arnold Rothstein, a notorious organized crime boss who ran numerous gambling operations. Rothstein, best known for fixing the 1919 World Series, brokered Stoneham's purchase of the New York Giants baseball team in 1919. He also co-owned a billiard parlour with Stoneham's right hand man, Giants manager John McGraw.

Ownership of the Giants passed to Stoneham's son, Horace, who would remain the team's owner for forty years.

On February 2, the first-ever selection for the Baseball Hall of Fame was made. Only Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson made the cut.

On May 3, Joe DiMaggio made his debut with the Yankees. (Spoiler alert- the Yankees will proceed to win 4 consecutive World Series.) Babe Ruth has been gone a couple years and Lou Gehrig is the undisputed superstar. Gehrig will earn the AL MVP this year.

On June 9, my father celebrated his 14th birthday. He lived in Great Neck, New York, on Long Island, about twenty miles east of the Polo Grounds, as the crow flies. He was a Giants fan. I don't know if he just followed them on the radio, or if his dad took him to games sometimes. Maybe they also went to Yankee Stadium or Ebbetts Field sometimes. I'll never know. They weren't poor, so they could have done anything they wanted to do.

On September 23 Carl Hubbell (pictured above) recorded his 16th consecutive victory. His record for the season was 26-6 and he would be the first ever unanimous choice to be NL MVP. My father didn't talk about these days nearly enough, but when he mentioned the Giants of his youth, he always said Hubbell was his favorite.

More Wiki: Hubbell recorded five consecutive 20-win seasons for the Giants (1933–37), and helped his team to three NL pennants and the 1933 World Series title. In the 1933 Series, he won two complete game victories, including an 11-inning 2–1 triumph in Game Four (the run was unearned). In six career Series starts, he was 4–2 with 32 strikeouts and a low 1.79 earned run average. Hubbell finished his career with a 253–154 record, 1678 strikeouts, 724 walks, 36 shutouts and a 2.97 ERA, in 3590 innings pitched. He won 24 consecutive games between 1936 (16) & 1937 (8), the longest such streak ever recorded in either the National league or American League. He was twice named National League MVP (1933, 1936) (1st unanimous MVP pick in 1936). He led the league in wins 3 times in 1933 (23), 1936 (26), and 1937 (22). He led the league in ERA three times in 1933 (1.66), 1934 (2.30), and 1936 (2.31). He led the league in innings pitched in 1933 (308). He led the league in strikeouts in 1937 (159). He led the league in strikeouts per 9 innings pitched in 1938 (5.23). He led the league in shutouts in 1933 (10). He led the league in saves in 1934 (eight, retroactively credited). He compiled a streak of 46 1/3 scoreless innings and four shutouts in 1933. He pitched a no-hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates (11–0, May 8, 1929). He pitched an 18-inning shutout against the St. Louis Cardinals (1–0, July 2, 1933).

The Giants won the National League Pennant in 1936 and lost the World Series to The Yankees, then did it again in 1937.

Monday, December 6, 2010


It looks as if Adrian Gonzalez will be hitting homers in Fenway rather than PetCo next season. The Padres were in the untenable position of never being able to sign their franchise player, so rather than let him go to free agency next year they swapped him for a barrel of prospects. It is a big risk on their part as they received no major-leaguers in the deal. The Red Sox were probably going to sign Gonzalez as a free agent anyway since the Yankees already have Mark Texeira (and the Phillies have Ryan Howard). They weren't going to have to outbid anyone except perhaps the the Los Angeles clubs, and Boston can bring the bucks better than anyone not from the Bronx. This just makes that inevitability happen a year sooner.

The Padres made a surprising run at the NL West this season, only succumbing to the Giants in the final month and taking it down to the final game. They were, like the Giants, a pitching-pitching-pitching team, and if they expect to compete in the next few seasons they will have to hope that Mat Latos and Clayton Richard are the second coming of Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain. Getting rid of their best player and only real offensive threat has to be a blow for 2011. I can't say I'm upset about that. Anything that makes a division opponent weaker is good for the lads in orange & black. Trading a guy like A-Gon is defensible from a long-term organizational health perspective, and it seems like they got some quality in return. In the short term, though, the Padres lose out. We'll see what they do at the Winter Meetings to plug their huge hole.


Friday, December 3, 2010

13 spots

Chris Haft suggests the Giants will carry 12 pitchers. The first 11 are easy: Lincecum, Cain, JSanchez, Bumgarner, Zito, Wilson, Ramirez, Casilla, Lopez, Affeldt, and Romo. The 12th spot is likely going to Dan Runzler since Chris Ray was non-tendered.
"We have Runzler on the cusp of doing great things," Sabean said. "We'd love to have the depth, but I can't say we want to start the season with Runzler in the Minor Leagues. That's what you have to juggle."
Haft also suggested the Giants will pursue a minor-league deal with Ray. That surprises me as I would expect some major-league interest in the former closer. There are a lot of quality relievers around, however, and it will probably be easy for any team to beef up their 'pen this off-season. The White Sox non-tendered Bobby Jenks, for example.

So who are the Lucky 13? Posey, Huff, FSanchez, Tejada, Sandoval, DeRosa, Torres, & Ross could be the starting 8 most days. Just-signed Mike Fontenot and Pat Burrell make 10, Whiteside and Rowand round out the dozen. Who is the 13th player? Someone from the playoff roster (Ishikawa? Schierholtz?) is going to be bumped. Are the Giants going after another free agent? Or will one of the youngsters (Belt, Burriss) get a higher-paying job after Spring Training? Your guess is as good as mine.


p.s. The Dodgers cut ties with Russell Martin. Not long ago he was a rising star. Fortunes change fast in this game! He'll draw some interest as he can still get on base at a .350 clip despite the dropping power numbers.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tendering is nigh

The Giants have a deadline today. Here's the relevant bit from the website:
The Giants must announce by 9 p.m. PT Thursday whether any of these players will not be tendered a contract. Non-tendered players will become free agents, though their former club remains able to sign them.
The list is a long one and it starts with Andres Torres, Cody Ross, and Jonathan Sanchez. It ends with Javier Lopez, Santiago Casilla, Ramon Ramirez, Chris Ray, and Mike Fontenot. Sabean gave his usual non-answer answer:

"I can't tell you that we'll tender all of them or arbitrate with all of them," Sabean said.
Regardless, the Giants will see a big increase in the payroll. This past season's $96,277,833 was the highest in the history of the club. Of course, the Giants won the World Series. If spending $100 M is the way to win the World Series, then I'm all for it. Of course, it ain't my money. At some point, though, you have to figure the bean-counters will be counting beans. How far is the ownership group ready to go? The Phillies spent $109 M on their 2009 crown and spent $138 M vainly attempting to defend it. The current SF roster is already over $92 M (with $32 M going to two players). Will Nuke & Co. open the wallets? Or will some staff CPA whip out a few Excel graphs and show the Big Boys some worrisome trend lines? We'll have to wait and see. Certainly the payroll will top $100 M for the first time.

The Giants have a special core of young talent that can legitimately think about winning the whole thing again within the next few years. The suits might have to spread some green around--let's hope they are up to it.