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I do think that for some teams or players that are coming off a championship season, they can be slow to get into focus the following spring.  But a major reason why the Giants were able to stagger into the playoffs last season was due to their extremely fast start through April and May.  If the Giants stumble out of the gate this year, the season could get very long, very shortly.

3 weeks, 4 days ago on Conversation @


I'm not sure I would call that optimistic - more like Blind Faith.  My guess is that they get Creamed this year.

3 weeks, 4 days ago on Conversation @


So he dropped the "jock straps and cups must be worn on the outside" proposal?

1 month, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @


@RDyer @paulfromturlock @maxwell623 

Boy howdy, hard to know where to begin: the weather in Turlock this winter, the definition of accidental, the phrase “winning the World Series", the 2004 – 2014 seasons.Choices, choices.But since I can tell how much you appreciate unsubstantiated, anecdotal generalizations, let’s begin there.

Baseball lore in the post season conjures up names like Bobby Thomson, Bucky Dent, Bob Gibson, Reggie Jackson, Sandy Koufax, Bill Buckner, David Eckstein, David Freese, Clayton Kershaw, and even the likes of Barry Zito, Edgar Renteria, Pablo Sandoval and Madison Bumgarner.For me, it is no more accidental when Bucky Dent or Edgar Renteria hits a dramatic home run than it is when Reggie hits three.For me, they are all unexpected.That is the beauty of baseball in general, and the post season in particular.Over the course of a season or a career, the highs and lows average out, but in a short series the highs and lows themselves often stand out as the difference makers.When that happens for the benefit of the team that I am rooting for, that is cause for celebration, rather than apology.

My gut told me that the Giants’ World Series win of 2014 was not an anomaly, and that’s what prompted my last contribution.But rather than relying on my gut, I took your advice and looked up the statistics for the years you cited.To my pleasant surprise, they substantiated my foggy recollections.Eleven years, 22 teams in the World Series, 11 winners.In every single one of those seasons, the bulk of the heavy lifting in the World Series was done by three players.Most of those series were won by offensive players.In 8 of those series, three players on the winning team drove in more than half of the team’s total runs.In the other three series, a fourth player was involved (e.g, in 2014, the Giants scored 30 runs, Pence drove in 5 and Sandoval, Morse and Crawford each drove in 4.)A few series had dominant pitching efforts, Bumgarner in 2014, Lester for the Red Sox in 2013, andCain, Bumgarner and Lincecum in 2010.A few examples over the past 11 years:Philadelphia 2008 – 24 total runs, Howard 6 RBI, Utley 4, Werth and Ruiz 3 each; Howard, Ruiz and Werth OPS > 1.000.White Sox 2005:20 total runs, 13 driven in by Konerko, Dye, Pierzynski and Crede; Crede and Dye OPS > 1.000.Yankees 2009:32 total runs, Matsui 8 RBI, A Rod 6, and Posada 5.Matsui OPS > 2.000.In every WS from 2004 - 2014, a few dominant players did most of the heavy lifting, with some contributions from other players here and there, as I had previously written.

In terms of overall team performance over the course of the season, of the 22 teams in those 11 World Series, 7 were Wild Card teams, and 3 of those Wild Card teams were eventual champions (Boston in 2004, St. Louis in 2011 and the Giants in 2014.St. Louis also gets special recognition for winning in 2006 with 83 total regular season wins to win their division.Of the 22 teams in the World Series, 8 had the most wins in their league, and 14 teams did not.Of the 11 World Series winners, 5 had the best record in their league, 2 had the second best record, one had the third best record and 3 had the 4th or worse record in their league during the regular season.

In researching these past 11 seasons, what stood out to me as much as anything was how much the Giants’ three championship seasons seemed to fit within the overall fabric of past winners during this past decade.Another statistic that stood out was with respect to St. Louis, a team which I think we both regard as possibly the best franchise in the National League.St. Louis won two championships with teams that won 83 games and 90 games during those regular seasons, representing the 5th and then 4th best records in the NL for those seasons.They lost the WS in 2013 to Boston, and in that season they had 97 wins, best in the NL.

So if the Giants’ championships are accidental, the statistics would seem to indicate that there are a whole lot of accidents going on in MLB, and I think I now believe that is the case.Merriam Webster’s definition of accidental is as follows:1.Arising from extrinsic causes (I’m thinking Steve Bartman and the Marlins); 2.Occurring unexpectedly or by chance.

I never expected the Giants to win it all this year.Never expected Renteria to hit that homer in 2010, or Eckstein to be World Series MVP or Matsui to post a World Series OPS over 2.000 or St. Louis to be champs in 2006 or Sandoval to hit home runs in his first three at bats against Detroit, or Ishikawa to send us to the World Series, or Dent to hit his homer, or Bumgarner to place his name alongside Gibson and Koufax in WS lore, or . . . .

As a next to last note, my prior comment, as well as the bulk of this one, were primarily focused on the World Series specifically, with a slightly broader focus on the post season, but in both cases, a small portion of time where a relatively small core of players can carry a team.I do not believe that a small core can carry a team over the course of a season.

Lastly, temperatures in Turlock this winter have been as follows:60/47, 65/48, 58/48, 58/43, 54/39, 54/32 and a forecast for 45/37 today.


3 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @


@RDyer @maxwell623 

My only disagreement is with the "accidentally winning the World Series".  To me, the Giants' recent successes in the post season are no more accidental than many other past winners.  Dominance by Lincecum, Cain and Wilson in 2010, Scutaro, Sandoval and again the pitching staff in 2012, Bumgarner, Affeldt, Sandoval and Pence in 2014.  This is exactly how many world championships are won - a small core of great athletes at the top of their game do most of the heavy lifting, with some nice contributions along the way from several other players here and there.  I also think that Bochy has done a great job of squeezing the maximum out of his team and generally being a step ahead of the opposing manager in many of the games.  That, too, is not an accident.

Otherwise I agree with you.  The biggest disappointment with the Giants for me this past season was how incredibly thin they were in terms of a 25 man major league roster and farm system.  Pretty disgraceful really, given this organization's image of itself and the marketing campaign they continue to trumpet.  Other than ownership greed or perhaps interest in other investment opportunities, there is absolutely no reason why they couldn't shake a few more nickels out of their vault and fill their scouting system, their farm system and their 40 man roster with major league depth and exciting new talent.

3 months, 4 weeks ago on Conversation @


"factor in the team’s ongoing commitment to an inexpensive, low-performing bench" - well said.  I, too, would like to see them sign Sandoval, but I suspect that the chances of that happening are closer to "none" than "slim".

And why would the Giants ownership think that they need a new starting left fielder when they can have Blanco on next year's roster and continue to deposit large sums of revenue into their vault.  Blanco's performance last night was so perfect.  Even when he surprises you by batting about 40 points higher than you expected, say around .265, he can still find a way to screw the team with his terrible decision-making on the basepaths, his lack of instincts, his terrible arm and deceptively poor speed.  Had he only batted .220 this year he would have been the complete 5-tool tool.

But I'm sure he'll do better next year, especially at that really good price.

A part of me, the Pollyana part, still wants to believe that if enough fans complain loudly and stick to the facts, rather than the marketing or diatribe, the Giants ownership could be cajoled into investing a larger, more legitimate portion of their enormous money-making machine into their core product - the 40 man roster, and a high-end 25 man squad.

6 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @


Just to add to my prior comments, now that I have jumped into the pool, what has me upset is not that we have had such a dismal 50 game stretch.That happens.That can happen to teams that are trying their damndest to win. My frustration with the Giants corporate management is that I no longer believe that they care as much about winning baseball games as I do.

Rightly or wrongly, I believed that Peter Magowan, and then Bill Newcomb, wanted a World Championship as much as I did.I don’t feel that way about the current group, headed by Larry Baer. I get the sense that they are now fat and happy to cash in on recent success and are not driven to keep this team, the baseball product on the field, at the top.

The result of this attitude is that they have taken their eye off the ball, so to speak. They have neglected their core product, the baseball team, and if this continues they will alienate their core customer base, the San Francisco Giants baseball fans.

Rotten to the core is a bad business model. You would think (hope) that even Larry understands that.

8 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @


@West Coast Ram @paulfromturlock 

You kind of answered for me, already.  I was delighted when they were up by 9.5 games, pleasantly surprised by Morse (and that's probably an understatement), a little nervous about Romo as closer, and generally uncomfortable that their success was so dependent upon about 3/5 of their 25 man roster, with very little to back that up, and 100 games remaining.

8 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @


@RDyer @paulfromturlock 

I don't have a problem with management wanting to expand the demographic.  However, I believe it is a flawed model, a false choice and bad business judgment if management believes that they don't have to invest continually and wisely in the core product, on the field and just as importantly on the farm, while at the same time catering to the non-baseball entertainment for the more casual fans and others who are there just to have a good time regardless of the game.

While AT&T and SBC and PacBell have always had high attendance, I don't think it is a coincidence that the consecutive game sellout streak began in 2010 and continued through 2012 to the present.

It is more fun for everyone when the Giants are winning and if management does not understand that, and instead thinks that they can forever mask the smell of a team like this, their 40 man roster and the farm system with buckets of perfume, I predict that they will be in for an unpleasant surprise.


Responding primarily to Robert here, and without any hard evidence, but while I do blame Baer and Sabean for this current mess, I 'm not sure that Bochy has bought into it in the same way.  I think he may find himself confronted with it and trying publicly to make the best that he can of it.

So while Larry sits in his den at night counting his past rings and current coins, looking back over his shoulder to make sure he is alone, cackling with glee, I picture Bruce laying in bed at night, albeit a very fine bed, wondering just where this baseball train is headed.

8 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @


Gotta say that my immediate reaction to the trade was "Oy! The news just keeps getting worse."  But that could just be part of the hangover from being at the game last night with my son.  Two field club tickets - $262.  Two Cokes - $11.  And what did we get to see?  Blanco, Uggla, Sanchez, Crawford batting .236, then Arias, Duvall, Colvin and Panik competing with Gordon, Puig, Gonzalez, Ramirez, Kemp, Crawford and Uribe.  If you can call that competing.  At least we had the thrill of watching one solid major league team showing how the game is supposed to be played at that level.

I also have to say that I am sick and tired of the Giants trying to distract their fans with gardens and kiss cams and dance-offs and t-shirt shooting cannons.  How about trying to attract us with a major league baseball game between two major league teams that are supposed to be competing to win their division?  It truly felt like a minor league sideshow last night, except for the fact that it cost me almost $275 bucks.  If you're going to give us a minor league experience, how about charging us minor league prices????

But then again, there was that one really good team that came to play last night and entertained the crowd.  Or at least some of it.  In the 9th inning, my son looked around AT&T and commented to me that he had never before seen the place so empty.

I hope Larry Baer starts thinking about that.  I fear that Giants management is completely misreading the room in terms of why a lot of fans are there.  And if Sabean is so truly flummoxed by the predicament and cannot figure out what to do, maybe it's time to find a GM who can figure it out.

8 months, 4 weeks ago on Conversation @


If I never see Blanco pop out weakly on the second pitch of his at bat again, from the lead-off spot, it will be too soon.  And just to be clear, I don't blame Blanco.  That's who he is.  That's who he has been.  That's who he will be.

However, for a team so dependent upon Pagan and Morse in the outfield this year, with their history of injuries, I think Giants' management should have anticipated the potential need for another outfielder who could either bat lead-off, or hit with power, just in case.

Similarly with second and third base. The Giants were poorly positioned for the possibility of Scutaro or Sandoval landing on the DL.  Hasn't happened with Sandoval this year but it did with Belt.  

A team that is 7 or 8 deep in its lineup and 7 or 8 deep in its pitching has potential to do great over the short stretch, but not over 162 games.  Over the course of 162 games, the difference between a 25 man major league roster and a 16 man major league roster probably costs a team at least 12 - 15 games, if you ask me.  That's not the players fault.  It's the law of averages. 

There are plenty of other teams out there with complete 25 man rosters, and they will be the teams that tend to win those extra 12 games.

9 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @


@Robert Haymond  

My only disagreement is with your assessment of the 2010 and 2012 teams.   With Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner, Wilson, Romo, Affeldt, Lopez, and maybe even Sanchz and Zito, the 2010 team had the best pitching staff in the playoffs, they had some batters get hot (Sanchez, Ross, Posey, Huff, Renteria) and a manager who managed the pants off his opponent.
The 2012 team also had a very strong pitching staff, and some batters get hot (Scutaro and Sandoval, in particular.)  That's the same formula for World Series championships that has been used by other teams for decades. 

1 year ago on Giant Fans Down to Two Choices: Swallow the Kool-Aid or Hit the Panic Button


Not to distract from the Mobius discussion, which I find quite interesting, just wanted to add that this blog reminded me of another type of line-up that I have seen used by mangers of softball teams where the #1 power hitter bats 4th, and the #2 power hitter bats 8th, with the three top on-base batters batting 1, 2, 3, and the last three guys (not counting pitcher) batting 5, 6, 7.

1 year, 3 months ago on Major League Baseball Line-up Revolution: The Mobius Theory


Sabean fiddles while . . . 

As long as people fill the ballpark, buy beer, hotdogs and panda hats, the ownership will continue to feel the love no matter how far behind the Giants fall in the standings.  Ownership needs to start feeling the wrath.  I do not expect us to win the world series every year, but I do expect us to have a legitimate left fielder, a solid bench, a deeper bullpen and a starting rotation that is not made up of three #5 starters.  Their attempts to solve last year's problems would be considered a bad joke in many other markets.  All we need now is the addition of a 37 year old has-been left fielder who will bat 7th in the order and we should be set to challenge the Rockies.

1 year, 4 months ago on Giants Make Wrong Statement With Vogelsong Signing


Enjoying the conversation.

On a tangential, though related topic, regarding the notion that the Giants ownership can continue to back up the Brink's truck to AT&T and shovel in the cash as long as they simply own a ballclub, I believe that will not last forever.  The glow from 2010 - 2012 will undoubtedly carry the team through 2013.  But by May of 2014, if the team is still scoring one run on 10 hits while giving up 3 runs on 8 hits, fan frustration will finally explode.  The consecutive sellout streak will not last until the Allstar break, and at least one out of the trio of Baer, Sabean and Bochy may not survive the 2014 season if it turns out to be a repeat of 2013.  Ownership may still be operating in the black, but they will not be feeling the love.  Whether or not that matters remains to be seen.

1 year, 8 months ago on Giants Choose Mediocrity to Appease Fanbase at Trade Deadline


Not sure you can blame Sabean.  I think it may be Baer.  While the powers that be obviously won't admit it as long as they still have fans willing to pay top dollar for bottom product, they have clearly written off this year.  They are taking a calculated gamble that they have enough fans enamored with the uniform, two shiny trophies and Kruk and Kuip and Murph and Mac, that they have a year to play with.  The real test will be when they free up the Lincecum and Zito money, and then we can see whether they are willing to dig a little deeper into their pockets and do what it takes to put a major league team of 25 - 30 truly professional players back on the field in 2014.

1 year, 9 months ago on Dodgers Get Nolasco, Take Brian Sabean’s Lunch Money, As They Continue to Ascend in the NL West


good one; my phrase was "Giants Baseball - Unwatchable", but as I recall I think I felt the same way around this time in 2010 when we seemed to lead the universe in grounding into double plays, leaving guys stranded on the bases, etc.  But they did have three legitimate starting pitchers and a great bullpen in 2010; the thing that perhaps worries me most is that I expect that most Giants fans see us only three games out with all of the troubles we are having and are sitting back thinking that this thing will eventually turn itself around on its own.  Hopefully Baer and Sabean are not pickling in that barrel.

1 year, 10 months ago on Giants Unveil New Ad Catchphrase: "Together We've Hit the Bottom of the Barrel"