Friday, July 26, 2019

2019 SF Giants Still in the Shadows - On Dickerson, Yastrzemski, Solano

2019 Crop of Unlikely Johnny Come Latelies 

       The Giants are at it again. Seems like the All Star break is their key time to either go on a spurt or fold it in. This year-not even an ‘even’ year- the ‘Jints’ must have decided it’s finally time to give Mgr. Bruce that big send-off instead of playing like one of the worst teams in baseball for the third year in a row.   The Giants have called upon their remaining 'core' players  from their World  Series run (2010-2014) to summon up and act on their old mantra, ‘When the going gets tough, The Giants go to the Juice,’ or so it would seem based on empirical evidence over the past two decades since a guy named Barry Lamar Bonds got it all started in the town that gave us BALCO,  PEDs, Victor Conte and more KNOWN ‘users’ than any team during that time period.

Babe Ruth Redux

Following the 2019 All Star break, like magic, all of a sudden the Jints started performing back to their early 2016 pace, when they had the best record in the league (the Giants in late June and July have won an incredible 90% of their games with approximately the same people they were losing over 200 games with over the past two and a half seasons – a period during which they had given Bochy an overall losing record in his 13 years as manager (nobody talks about it but he had more losses than wins with the Giants until this latest, unlikely, crazy streak.)  
So, the team that had to resort to 'no name' outfielders (Conor Joe?) who had never played a game in the majors to open the season, have run thru a myriad of players in trying to fill those spots, until finally settling on, not a big trade name, but, as in the World Series years, players with no productive history, other than, perhaps , having a famous last name . No, it hasn’t been the core guys Posey, Crawford, Belt and Panic but, rather, mid-career outcasts named Dickerson, Donovan, and Yaztrzemski who have come on to do most of the offensive ‘damage ‘ that saw the giants win 25 of their last 30 games. (Then, there are the young pitchers suddenly pitching above their heads that we can discuss in a future update.)  Yes, once again, you go through enough bodies and you find one or two, or three, who stick to the wall. That's your San Francisco Giants , circa late July, 2019. Shades of 2010 - 2016.

Mike Yaztrzemski
Trying To Live Up To A Name

Most teams will make trades for known entities. The Giants, not known as great traders despite their bloated payroll, will pick up whomever they can – often at the expense of their own minor league prospects, thrown under the bus again and again until they finally get traded and often succeeding with another team . Not only that, the Giants will keep around a guy like ‘Panda’ Sandoval that no other team wanted but somehow thrives with the Giants, and, perhaps, plays an even bigger role in the back room shenanigans. (Sandoval was instrumental in the Giants acquiring old buddies Parra and Co. to begin the season-even though they were among the many who went through the recycle door. (Who's REALLY running this team, anyway?)  
Sandoval was and is probably the most recent main artery to the Balco heyday/Bonds era. Though he was never indicted for PED use, he’s put up some interesting numbers, like hitting three homers in one post season game against a top flight pitcher after hitting only 12 during the entire regular 162-game season; like hitting 50 points above his season average during the post season in both 2010 and 2012 -close to .350 with half as many homers as during the entire 162 game schedule. His one self-described ‘friend’ on the team, at the time, Hunter Pence , was the only other Giant to put up similar, surprising .300 + numbers. Interesting. Bonds called it 'chemistry,' an interesting choice of words. (But Sandoval or Pence didn’t even show up in baseball’s lax drug testing, for which Conte estimates up to 50% were/are users- with the highest propensity being with the Giants, who had seven KNOWN users during their three World Series years. But less than a dozen players were indicted for PEDs in the entire league during any one year. 2019 has seen only four.

Donovan Solano
One Last Shot At The Ring

Late-Twenties/Early-Thirties, Down on their Luck, Doing Whatever It Takes  
So this year, new GM Farhan Zaidi has followed closely in Sabeans footsteps - don't think Sabean is still around for nothing- bringing in anyone and everyone, finally with with Dickerson, 29, Yaztremski , 27, and Solano, 31 sticking- players perhaps on their last gasps who would do literally anything for that last chance at the gold. (Shades of aging Giant farmhand Garret Brohius (sp) at Salt Late in the early 2000s, who admitted to a reporter that a Giants coach encouraged him to seek outside remedies to help him ‘survive.’ Brohius elected not to cheat while recounting his short Giants career to Salt Lake City press following his retirement.  
Today, when many –other than perhaps Bob Nightingale in his recent column – believe or pretend that drugs are all but eliminated from the game today despite the record number of homers being hit, we find yet another Giant, top pitching prospect Logan Web indicted this past May. Only four major leaguers have been indicted for PEDs this year, and not surprising, the Giants have one of them.  
In 2014 it was Scutaro, in 2010 it was Ross, among others, coming to the Giants for that second half push while in the twilight of their careers, only to perform way over their heads. Others like Andres Torres, Aubrey Huff and Pat Burrell came earlier in the years -‘no name’ Torres had a career year in 2010- at age 36 or 37- only to go into a steroid (Adderall) crash, much like Huff did in 2012 and who would document it in his book, BASEBALL JUNKIE. Even if Adderall was technically legal its still performance enhancing drugs with some- er, many(?)- player(s) using it for the wrong reasons. We don’t need to go into ‘Milkman’ Melkie Cabrera and his short-lived, PED-infused first half of 2012 that catapulted the Giants into the 2012 series with enough wins to coast all the way- the one year the Giants made it without a wild card. That’s Cabrera, best buddy to fellow-countrymen Sandoval, Scuturo, Gregor Blanco and other Venezuelans.  
So , this year we have Dickerson suddenly hitting 100 points over his career average in a growing sample of nearly 100 at bats, with Solano and Yaztrzemski not far behind (See their STATS in these pages. And Dickerson and Yastrzemski are hitting homers at Ruthian paces despite playing in the Giants huge park that normally is said to deter power hitters from signing with the team. So, the Giants culture and pattern seems to repeat itself, though you won’t see stories like this in the local papers. Afterall, the Giants hire their radio announcers and have close ties to the local newspaper and its writers. This stuff has been going on now over 20 years with the Giants having had over 25 KNOWN PED users since Bondsby far more than any other team. And now they’re at it again- even after team President(?) Larry Baer told us in 2014 that the team would ‘shy away’ from getting an even worse reputation by hiring any more PED players. Nobody could figure the streaky Giants and why they suddenly stopped hitting midway through 2016. Now it’s 2019 and the pressure is on for the team to serve its large, cranky, season ticket-holding base to which the team refused to utter the word ‘rebuild’ despite giving mixed messages with a revolving door of players. So, it looks to us like Déjà vu all over as they pick up where they left off in 2016 midseason with still many of the World Series core players – but more importantly those intangible, ‘no name’ newcomers (wall stickers?). THE NAMES MAY CHANGE but it’s the same MODUS OPERANDI in America’s most liberal city where the fans could give a hang if players like Bonds are KNOWN cheaters. (Only in San Francisco, where Bonds, Sandoval and others could remain heroes-baggage and all).  
Stay tuned to these pages for the next chapter(s)

Friday, July 6, 2018

Save on Gas! Win FREE Gas!

Save On Gas! Find Cheap Gas Prices Near You – Win FREE Gas #gas #cheapgas #free #gasoline #fuel #FuelPriceHike #tariffs #tarriff

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Honoring the Great Bob Uecker, A Better Broadcaster and Funnyman than Baseball Player

Honoring the Great Bob Uecker, A Better Broadcaster and Funnyman than Baseball Player

On the ocassion  his 81st birthday we look backto 1993 and Bob Uecker's induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame,not as a player - he had but a .200 lifetime average- but as a broadcaster for the Milwaukee Braves.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Giants Will Pay 'Mediocre' Samardzija Half MIllion Per Start, Little Upside in Cueto Deal

Jeff Samardzija 30 year old on downside
of career
Johnny Cueto will make more than half million per start
after lackluster season


By some measures, Jeff Samardzija is a mediocre baseball player. Since he became a full-time starting pitcher, in 2012, his ERA ranks 63rd of the 90 men who have thrown at least 500 innings. Last year, as he approached free agency, he allowed more hits and runs than any pitcher in the game. His career record: 47 wins, 61 losses. This year he will make more than the best   talent in the NFL; namely, running-back Calvin Johnson, who will have collected $113 million in his first six years in the NFL, making him one of of the wealthiest non-quarterbacks in league history.  Samardzija, by virtue of the five-year contract he just signed with the San Francisco Giants, is guaranteed to have earnings of $122,725,000. The Cueto signing may be even worse, with no apparent upside, as noted below. Assuming  both stay healthy the Giants will be paying out a cool combined MILLION DOLLARS PER START for the two pitchers


In San Francisco, delighted Giants fans and pundits are asking (in a postive way) 'How did the #SFGiants pull off the deal that brought big name pitchers Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardja to the team suddenly within a week of each other when it looked like the Giants were going to go bust again in the free agent market.'

Well, it turns out that other teams didn't want to pay Smardja anything close to the big bucks for Samardija w, who is just that, a 'big name' only , living off one good  year of 2014 , but only  a 11-win 4.50 ERA pitcher last year. Nor, did other teams want to pay Cuedo  $130 million for six-years for an even worse 11 win 4.76 ERA last year - and maybe the worst part of the deal a two-year opt-out clause . It's the first time a team has ever signed two pitchers for more than $90 million each as we understand.

 At least the  A's got Smardja cheap. With Cuedo there is really no upside for the Giants: 1) If Cuedo performs well in those two years he could be gone or demand a lot more money and 2) if he does poorly, the Giants are stuck with him another four years at $20 million per year.  

How quickly the Giants forget about their decision not to go after more long-term signings after Barry Zito, who ended up sitting on the bench most of his last four years collecting his millions from a similar long-term signing. The parallels are amazing between Zito and Cueto. Both pitchers were about the same age when signed by the Giants, coming to them with  good track records but not so much   histories as they approach late-career status..  It would be very surprising if Cueto had more than two good years left in the tank. Yes, if Cueto could somehow return to form and help put the Giants in the World Series again, it wouldn't make it necessarily a good deal but could  help diminish the downside of   eventual eroding production during the last four years.  With Samardja, maybe the Giants are also on the hook for all those years; it's doubtful you'll see five good years out of the 30-year-old Samardja, who already appears in his decline. And, we haven't even discussed paying these guys through injuries - a more likely occurrence with older players. 

Giants announcer Duane Kuiper was interesting, complimenting the Giants (of course)   not on the quality of the pitchers but their 'loud' personalities that will 'energize' the mostly -quiet existing clubhouse of 'quiet' players including Posey,Crawford, Duffy, Panik, etc.

The Oakland A's - say what you will about Billy Beane and company - have been pulling off what appear to be multiple bargain deals in recent months.  So now you know how the Giants, never known for great trades, acquired Cueto and Samardja, probably far more than Beane would have ever paid. For there to be a possible  upside, Cueto would have to return to form and a major contributor to another Giants World Series or two in 2016 or 2017 and then continue to do well with the Giants , or another team, for years after, however odds-makers would find this occurrence as  very unlikely.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Giants Unlikely Transformations Exposed - Only 6 Months in Majors Duffy, Panik, Heston Lead Giants

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Unlikely Transformations updated  

Giants Don't Need Trade - Names Don't Matter - Lightning In Bottle Gets Job Done #Deals #Health

 Giants Unlikely Transformations Exposed - Only 6 Months in Majors Duffy, Panik, Heston Lead Giants  

  1)Duffy, Matt composite career and long beach state   HOW DOES A GUY WHO NEVER HIT A HOMERUN OR ABOVE .266  IN COLLEGE HIT 9 AND OVER .300 IN THE MAJORS  



Even in college, at Long Beach State, MATT DUFFY's  power numbers were low-- non-existent to be exact. Once in the Giants farm system, Duffy must have started lifting weights or used 'other means.' We don't think Duffy is a big weight lifter at 6 ' 2" and 170- and even weight lifting only does so much to help with power numbers.  We know from former Giants farmhand Garrett Brohius that at least one Giants minor league coach encouraged him to use  'other means'  , if you will, and that is the only explanation we can see for Duffy's sudden and greatly increasing power - well  over a 100% increase in homers this year based on career at- bats (as well as  with average)  as he climbs through the  Giants system where he now has a higher SLG (slugging percentage) any time in his career, including minors and college, while maintaining a batting average over his minor league average.  

A's Have More Wins But Giants Have 3 World Series




Like Duffy, 2014 was the key year JOE PANIK just as the parent San Francisco Giants would doing anything for a decent second baseman after going through six (including .166 hitting Dan Uggla).  Panik was so raw and 'unlikely' the Giants hadn't even considered him but when Uggla couldn't BUY a single hit during his short stay  the Giants, in total desperation, called up Panik, only in his first year at AAA.   As if God had called from above, 'Panik Will Hit like Duffy'  young Joe inexplicably  raised his average going from Double A (AA) to Triple A (AAA) ball - but in his case it was almost a 70 point increase (from .257 to .332) - shades of when Marco Scutaro came from Colorado to the Giants in 2012, raising his average from .262 to .350 the second half of the season.  At least with the 37-year-old Scutaro, he was going from one major league team to another. Panik was somehow able to increase his average significantly going from the low minors to the high minor leagues when, if anything, it should be the other way around;  it's normal for a player to drop somewhat in average at each successive level. But not Duffy or Panik.

PANIK VS DUFFY - Best Ever Slugging for Skinny Third Baseman, Sandoval Way Behind   It's a fact that there's been a  challenge between Panik and Duffy  to 'out-homer' each other. You'd think these guys were goofing around in the minors. But here, they are in the majors, you have these neophytes in their first full seasons, after undistinguished minor league careers , challenging  team leader Buster Posey in batting average - AND  home runs with Duffy only a few behind the team leader  and rivaling second baseman Brandon Crawford  - who also, inexplicably, is having his best homer season of his career with 11 .   Meanwhile, while Duffy is just getting used to his relatively new third base position, he's somehow managed to have his BEST -EVER SLUGGING percentage  (total bases/at bats) of .466. By comparison, Posey's slugging percentage is only 35 poings higher!

DUFFY vs. SANDOVAL Remember Pablo Sandoval, the $20 million dollar man  who Duffy replaced?  It's not even close with with Duffy slugging 100 points higher with more homerruns and hitting 50 points higher!  Three months ago if someone told you a skinny 23-year-old banjo-hitter  named Duffy would be out -hitting Sandoval in all categories you would have laughed. Not to mention the price differential. All we can do is say that there's something wrong with this picture. And we thought Sandoval was an UNREAL  hitter- at least the way hit hit the ball LEFT-handed. If you figure Duffy's power and along with batting average, he's never had a better season than he's currently having, even if you go all the way back to low minors, and of course college, where he didn't do much.   With Duffy there wasn't the dramatic one-year batting increase as with Panik.  It appears that Panik was already 'asserting his power' which will usually lead to a drop in batting average.PANIK   Then, there's one more 'miracle.' When it comes to Pitching...   TO BE CONTINUED...  


Heston, Duffy, Panik

 - From 267th Round Draft Choice to No Hitter- THE CHRIS HESTON STORY

Career stats 2015-07-29_15-55-20


Chris Heston was a 12th round pick by the Giants and 367th overall, never had a no hitter at any level until this year with the Giants. He had a 5.80 ERA in 2013 at Fresno and was put on waivers by Giants but no team claimed him. 

As with Duffy and Panik, Heston had  below-average numbers but also began a sudden and major transformation in  2014 while in minors with Fresno, which only continued to get better after he joined the major leagues Giants and  began to  pitch regularly as what came to be the No. 2 starter on the team in 2015!  Pretty good one-year make-over for a 367th round draft pick going  all the way to No 2 starter on the World Champion Giants.

      ****   Yes, other teams and their players other than the Giants have and are still likely still using PEDs - despite what the top baseball brass might tell you - but the Giants with Barry Bonds were the ones who really opened the PED flood gates and have long been leading the way (24 PED indicted players since Bonds and six in the past three World Series years).  Despite that no players have been caught for PEDs this year -other than the first week when three were caught with the same older type of PED-  Major League Baseball  drug testing still does not appear to have kept up with players and their latest designer steroids, as PED guru Victor Conte has described to us on multiple occasions. We saw 20 players caught for PEDs in 2013- thanks to the Biogenesis leak - that MLB COULD NOT  find through its own testing.  Based on this and some still unlikely power numbers , batting averages and  ERAs among certain players today, it would appear that PEDs may likely have affected participating teams and performances in recent World Series - and continue to be affecting baseball adversely today, in our opinion.

'MORE GIANT SHADOWS'  Hidden Story Behind SF Giants first World Series in 56 Years SALE TODAY New  'MIND-BLOWING' fascinating,5 STARs' ‪#‎ebook‬

The Giants have won three World Series in five years with basically two name players (Bumgarner and Posey) and three virtually different teams, except for those two and a few others. They've won by , mysteriously(?) , coming on strong every post season and not striking out and, basically, over-performing not once but three years running, regardless of the changing cast of characters - players many of which the Giants picked up on waivers and couldn't have given away who, suddenly, inexplicably, come on in late career for career seasons, ie Andres TorrezMarco Scutaro, Cody Ross, Aubrey Huff, Pat Burrell - and of course known PED guys like Melky Cabrera, Jose Guillen and Michael Morse, which didn't hurt and provided many game-winning hits during their short stays with the Giants. 

While many have turned a blind eye to PEDs- especially in places like liberal San Francisco where 'anything goes' and certain media folks have admitted they don't care - baseball has suffered  in the ratings - especially World Series TV coverage as well as overall attendance that has dropped significantly the past five years. Maybe not coincidentally, this is the period during which the Giants have been winning their unlikely World Series.  Too bad younger fans  have had to grow up knowing nothing other than the PED era where one has to guess as to which players REALLY have talent as opposed to PED help. While a lot of players, current and past, are reticent to talk about the ongoing travesty of PEDs  (now over 20 years later) - except for Jose Conseco and Ken Camaniti, who have suffered for it- many people have  turned away from baseball.  PEDs is not a problem alone to baseball with other sports such as tennis also affected, where a lack of 'policing' also exists.  Basketball, in which is not so much dependent on musculature and power, has probably taken away some of baseball's fans with highest- ever numbers.   If MLB, its teams , the media and even the fans don't 'police' the sport of baseball better, it may continue to lose following. Many have grown tired of seeing low hit games without a competitive back and forth and overdependence on power pitching and stikeouts.

How Is It the A's Have the Better Record but Giants Have Three World Series?

  2015-07-28 whats wrong with pic

Duffy, Panik, Heston - 'No Name' Giants Exposed - Detailing Unlikely Performance Increases

6 .300 hitters (almost) combined with batting lineup 7-31-15
Red_and_blue_2 FLASHING GOOD


Red_and_blue_2 FLASHING GOOD

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

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How Is It the A's Have the Better Record but Giants Have Three World Series?

  Much has been made of the San Francisco Giants and Oakland A's going in different directions of late. This after both teams made the playoffs in recent years but only the Giants have made it to the World Series - and won all three. The fact of the matter is that the A's have actually had a significantly better record during this period of the last five years, as SF Chronicle writer John Shea noted in his July 26 column; in the last three years the A's are up on the Giants 278-258, a significant 20 game disparity.  san francisco giants, San Francisco Giants #PEDs, #Giants, Matt Duffy, Joe Panik, Chris Heston, PEDs, performance enhancing drugs


 On paper, the A's have had much better pitching - even this year the A's team ERA is 0.25 lower than the Giants and the A's hitting is respectable.  The A's make trades, the Giants rarely do, relying mostly on one of the weaker minor league systems to draw from - and an occasional unlikely waiver wire claim or roster move that, inexplicably, usually turns to gold (think  Cody Ross, Jake Peavy, Marco Scutaro, Aubrey Huff, Pat Burrell  ).    Yet the Giants seem to win at will - WHEN IT COUNTS and, even  playing in a n unfriendly ballpark for hitters, yet are LEADING THE LEAGUE in batting average  this year and continue to be up   near the top of the standings,  whereas the A's have had nothing to show for their overall record the past five years - and, now are taking a major nosedive, which , by the way, began before 'Trader' Billy Beane began his 'selloff.'


  From out of nowhere comes  'Duffman' -rrom zero homers in college to 9 this year with Giants, far out-performing  the guy he replaced, Pablo Sandoval, in both average and homeruns with virtually no major league experience (and no Triple A , for that matter)   

  Few teams with, frankly, as little talent have done so much. Usually, after winning a world series other teams are gunning for you, but the Giants keep winning , when necessary.  And, it doesn't seem to matter who the names are.  After Sandoval gets traded and the new highly-paid third baseman, Casey McGhee, fails the koolaid test, they bring up a kid  named DUFFY who   hit a mere .250 in college with no homeruns and never even played AAA yet  is currently out-hitting Sandoval (Boston) by far (over .307 to .258) , with more homeruns (9 to 7), and just about everyone else on the team  .   

 When the Giants were so desperate for a second baseman they finally brought up another average minor leaguer who, like Duffy, began performing better than he did in the minors, also with more homeruns. Then there are the Brandons, career .250 - .260 hitters, Belt and Crawford, both hitting better than ever - shortstop Crawford leading the team in homeruns with more than  Giants' slugger Posey- or Belt!  Go Figure.  

  When Aoki and Pence were out, it didn't matter. Journeyman Gregor ' We look up to Melky' Blanco was also  right there hitting .300 along with half the starting lineup.  Pitching-wise, the Giants have one legitimate starter in Madison Bumgarner, who even hasn't been that spectacular (3.16 ERA) outside of the post-season, during which he always manages to become superman, last year cutting his season ERA by 1,000 percent,  from 3.00 to 0.30, not unlike previous post-seasons.  

 The Giants are a team of streaks. They barely made the playoffs in 2010 and 2012  , but when they got in there, they totally shut down all comers , even making it look silly. Last year against Kansas City, the Giants rarely struck out, driving the Royals crazy at their own game by keeping the ball in play, forcing errors, etc. This, against a superior Royals pitching staff of starters and relievers. This from , again, a Giants team with  but  ONE  lifetime .300 hitter, Posey, and one sub- 4.00 ERA pitcher (Bumgarner).  

  It wouldn't all be so surprising if the   Giants had done it  with a nucleus of players coming back year after year, but it was with largely three different teams; only Buster Posey has been a regular starter on all three teams and Madison Bumgarner a regular pitcher, and a few relievers who have performed with mixed results, except when the chips are down.

Some call the Giants 'lucky.' We think there's something else probably going on.

To win one World Series with a mediocre team,  after a 56 year winless streak , is one thing, but to win three in five years when there are many teams with better records going up against them makes one have to look at other factors beyond luck. The Giants couldn't even win a World Series with Barry Bonds (with better teams*) and his penchant for the dramatic with the Giants. But, here, with a cast of changing   characters , the Giants have three World Series for which there is no good explanation - at least not one that local baseball writers will put into print .  


   Some say the Giants win because of the new Wild Card set-up. We say 'balderdash.'  A good team is a good team is a good team. In seven game  series almost always the best team wins. Five games series could be a little less so. But, it's highly unlikely that a team that hasn't even gotten over .580 could win it all three times in five years.  Three of the Bonds' teams of the early 2000s had better records  -and probably better teams (though we may need to get out a lot of asterisks-for both then and now  ) - than any of these Giants teams and could only pull off one entry into the World Series, , in 2002, which they lost. As for the Wild Card, they were using it then, too, but only one instead of two. We believe, that the Giants now, with 20 years of Bondsian history -and 24 PED-indicted players later - KNOW HOW to win at all costs.  In a league where drug testing still hasn't caught up with the players --just look at the Biogenesis episode where  20 players were caught only because of a fluke after Commissioner Selig claimed that baseball was clean --  it appears liberal San Francisco may still remain at the epicenter of a what we see as a problem that's gone on way too long.   Of course,  others including the new generations who know no other way than PED baseball, could care less how the team wins - including some of the long-time San Francisco media folks who have admitted as much.   

  GIANTS THROUGH THE YEARS giants team record 2000-2015   Compare the above Giants record to that of the A's below and one will find the A's have a better, more consistent track record.

 Still looking for ways to explain away the Giants' recent, sudden success, many attribute it largely to manager Bruce Bochy. (   The fact of the matter is that Bochy, who appears to be a very nice man,  was a below-.500 manager until these World Series. (Just look at the chart above.)  Bochy had losing seasons much of his 20 year managerial career, including the first three in San Francisco when he took over for Dusty Baker. It's not a surprise to us Bochy has never won a 'Manager of the Year' award as a Giants manager, just as General Manager Brian Sabean has never won an 'Executive of the Year' award; baseball writers outside of San Francisco may know better, or , at least, are more realistic.

   Why Bochy's  fortunes changed, we believe, has less to do with his putting in and removing relief pitchers.  It has more to do with the culture on the team in, in our opinion , which included six KNOWN PED-indicted  players during the three World Series years  . If it were the East Coast, more would have probably come out about the Giants, and the type of 'shady' (if you will) players Sabean would go after; it took 10 years before two brave San Francisco sports writers put an end to Bonds' fun and games  ('GAME OF SHADOWS') ;  local pundits  refrain to talk about a situation that may be as bad or worse today than the Bonds days. Balco head and PED 'guru' Victor Conte, based in San Francisco himself, who probably knows as much as anyone on the subject of performance enhancing drugs, may not be so far off base when he repeats the statement time and again  that 'as many as 50% of players' are using PEDs . Other teams, no doubt, are using them , too, only the Giants seem to have been in the forefront and may with Bonds coming in from time to time to instruct, may have gotten the use of PEDs 'down to a science ', and with numbers like we're seeing now and the past five years among Giants players one has to at least wonder how the Giants keep winning with so little - and, how they get away with it.  Again, in most any other city, they probably wouldn't. Now  that Bonds is   a totally free man after 10 years of making a mockery of baseball and long-cherished homerun traditions -thanks to a recent San Francisco Ninth Circuit Court overturning his purjury indictment - it only perpetuates the problem of PEDs in baseball and opens the door to the like  Hall of Fame inclusion now  of  PED-indicted players such as Bonds while encouraging  PED use to continue unchecked in baseball, in our opinion.  We sure haven't heard much on the subject from the new commissioner nor seen any recent PED indictments (and that's not to say that baseball is 'clean').  

     MELKY BAT OVER HEAD800 with words from blanco on top

 We know that six players, for sure, playing for the Giants on those World Series teams had used PEDs, namely Andres Torres , Guerillmo Mota and Jose Guillen in 2010,  Melky Cabrera  and  Mota (2012)  and Michael Morse (2014).  Torres, who admitted to using Adderall (which is legal in baseball with permission) , had a career year  in 2010 - his only great year, helping to propel the Giants to the Series. Cabrera was hitting close to .350 in 2012, enough to put the Giants way ahead in the standings before he was suspended for PEDs (his second time) mid-season; by then , the Giants could almost coast in , though they had help from Cabrera  protege'  Blanco and Scutaro, newly acquaired from Colorado, who would tack on .70 points to his average once with the Giants . In 2014 , it was Morse, who gave the Giants a big first-half boost with many homers and game-winning hits before injuries sidelined him.    

  We've seen with the Giants, a penchant to go after marginal, even 'shady' players other teams don't want. Some would have not only PED pasts, but questionable episodes while on the team, which were quickly and quietly covered up  by the Giants. (Remember Sandoval  and the rape allegations in Santa Cruz or Chad Gaudin and the alleged molestations of a young woman on a hospital gurney? Probably not. )  Time and again, such players come to San Francisco and suddenly perform well above their career averages - and this year is no exception.  Last year team president Larry Baer proclaimed  that the Giants would be more careful in acquiring PED-indicted players due to their past reputation (24 PED-indicted players since Bonds) , yet they still acquired Morse - and now we learn that they just signed well-known PED man Everth Cabrera to a minor league contract.           Then we've even heard from former Giant  Garrett Brohius, who even admitted that he was encouraged to 'cheat' as a struggling 27-year-old Giants farm hand, but decided to quit baseball rather than take the easy way.  With that in mind, we can't but wonder about a Chris Heston, who was also a struggling 27-year-old  minor leaguer in the Giants system who has suddenly become the second best starting pitcher on the team - the first if you go by ERA (3.14 as compared to Bumgarner's 3.16). This is the same Heston who was a 12th round draft choice by the Giants and 367th overall pick with a 5.80 ERA in the minors in 2013 before the Giants   let him go, before reacquiring him.  

   Unlikely Transformations updated

  There are many other examples of players seemingly playing well above their heads, as it were. Ryan Vogelsong, to name one, has recently been pitching at velocity of 94-95 mph, which is as fast or faster than Bumgarner - this for a  38-year-old journeyman, who was pitching around 90-91 before.

   Some say PEDs don't really help or can't make a team win, but when you have enough players, on average , getting a 20-30% boost in bat speed and/or hand-eye coordination  it can't help but make a difference in a team winning more games. The hand-eye coordination also helps players make better contact with the ball and cut down on strikeouts. It also helps with fielding and pitching.  How else can you explain all these young players on the Giants suddenly coming  from nowhere, with no successful histories ,  to suddenly rank among the top players in the league?

   Designer PEDs can be in one's system and out the same day so players, who are warned well in advance of drug testing, can go on and off PEDs accordingly.

And, that may be exactly what the Giants players do.  From the many sudden surges, like recently, after the All Star break, when the Giants needed to make up ground, they certainly have, winning 12 of 13 games in spite of their 'one-man starting staff'' and other issues, this for a team that could barely win a game during the first weeks of July. And, it's not just because that Pence was back - as we said Blanco has been hitting .300.

     For one or two players to have career years is one thing, but for an entire team, again, one has to wonder... now three years and three World Series titles later...

         OAKLAND A's Through the Years RECORD 2000-2015  The A's haven't had a losing season, outside of the Bob Geren managerial era (2007-2011) until this year.  

 Getting back to the A's,  many have found the Oakland team with about half the payroll of the Giants to be the better, more exciting team, until the recent downturn and sell-off.  As we noted , the A's have had the better record as compared to the Giants for the past five years.  Other than the four year tenure of manager Bob Geren, for which A's fans revolted and finally got Beane to hire Bob Melvin, the A's have done well since 2000 - until this year  

  Not to say the A's haven't dabbled a bit  in the PED movement themselves, what with Barolo Colon in 2012 - a year only five players were caught for PEDs in baseball and three of them were among Bay Area teams(the other two with the Giants). Of course, Colon wrote it off to 'stem cell' replacement and was actually not suspended, as we recall. The A's would soon get rid of him as is their want. Otherwise, the A's have appeared to be a cleaner team than the Giants, as much as one can tell, with numbers showing a more natural curve - not the streakiness of the Giants.  

 It's too bad for A's fans that A's management seems to be going back to the 'Build Us A Ballpark Or Else' attitude and selling off its best players.  We don't quite understand how ransacking the team sets the stage for a new ball park, as per Billy Beane's explanation for what he's doing. Prove us wrong, Billy, but a team that was in the playoffs last year shouldn't be  12 games under .500.  But that's another story.    

  The A's  play in Oakland, a blue collar town where nothing comes easy. The Giants are from San Francisco , an ultra-liberal city, where 'anything goes.'  Twenty years later the Giants may have gotten the use of performance enhancers down to a science as we earlier noted, i.e.  when to go on and off them,when  not to use them too much, but when needed. We're living in a world now where marijuana is legal in several states and may as well be legal in most as people use it without recrimination. Certainly in AT&T Park during the World Series they say the smell permeated into the San Frnacisco Bay.   Likewise, maybe we're getting to the point where PEDs have become acceptable in baseball, and especially in  more 'open' cities like San Francisco. As 'old school' fans we think it severely affects the game. Sure, it may be exciting for some to see artificially-enhanced  see cartoon-like figures blast 500 foot homeruns into the Bay, ala Barry Bonds circa 1997-2007, (or nowadays even  skinny  infielders unexpectantly muscle up for more homeruns than they ever hit in the minors.)   Come playoff time and the 'koolaid' really kicks in.  And, another World Series victory.    

  BASEBALL ATTENDANCE/ TV VIEWERSHIP  DOWN   It's notable that baseball attendance and World Series TV viewing has been  down the past five years - except  in San Frnacisco.  Perhaps not so coincidentally the years that that the Giants have been in the World Series. We won't say 'pulling the wool over eyes' but after awhile people catch on.    

  Welcome to baseball San Francisco-style, circa 2015.  


Red_and_blue_2 FLASHING GOOD


Red_and_blue_2 FLASHING GOOD

How Is It the A's Have the Better Record but Giants Have Three World Series?


Thursday, June 11, 2015

'Ron Bergman Quintessential Reporter to cover Colorful Oakland A’s dynasty of the 1970s.

1973 A's honored Bergman's 'Mustache Gang' 1973 Oakland A's honored in recent reunion at the Oakland Coliseum.

'Writing with great verve and a keen wit, Ron 

Bergman was the quintessential reporter to

 cover the colorful Oakland A’s dynasty of the 

1970s.'  ...Susan Slusser, SFGate

   The thing that stood out for me, reading all the tributes to former Oakland A's beat writer Ron Bergman, who passed last week, was his honesty. And, isn't that what newspaper reporting is supposed to be about?  Unlike in this politically correct world of today - especially in San Francisco - Bergman wasn't afraid to 'ruffle feathers' or elephant snouts, as it were. Yet, Bergman remained a beloved figure in the A's clubhouse and was even close friends with some of the players; he was a championship bridge partner to A's pitcher Ken Holtzman. 

 An example of that brutal honesty, was Bergman's 2005 comment about steroids and the Hall of Fame. He is one of few local sportswriters to go against the party line, when discussing Barry Bonds possible induction into the Baseball Hall . Unlike most, who say Bonds should get in because he was All Star caliber 'before steroids' (as if they knew exactly when that was ), Bergman, even then, commented,

"I will not vote for McGwire or Bonds in the first year of their eligibility in order to make a statement of sorts. After that, it depends on what becomes of the allegations against them."

  “Bergy told it like it was,” A’s Hall of Fame reliever Rollie Fingers said. “He was always fair, he did a great job — and if we ever needed a fourth for bridge, he was there. He always had great copy, because there was plenty to write about with those teams.”   Too bad we don't have more Bergmans today instead of the new breed of sportwriter - and even the old breed that cops to the times, getting sucked into the steroid era despite knowing baseball today is not the same as it was - as even fans see now as  shown by dwindling TV ratings and attendance (outside of San Francisco).   For more on Ron Bergman, see Susan Slusser's SFGate  story