BLEEDING BLACK & ORANGE

Obsessions of a true San Francisco Giants fanatic.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Don't Call It A Comeback.


SABBATICAL:   (1) In a school, college, university, etc; a year of release from normal teaching duties granted to a professor, as for study or travel (2) Chiefly Biblical, a yearlong period observed by Jews once every seven years, during which the fields were to be left untilled and all agricultural labors were to be suspended.

No longer am I a school teacher and I certainly am not biblical yet still I took sabbatical.



I wish I could say during my sabbatical I dabbled in psychotropic substances while traveling the world practicing yoga, finally returning home refreshed and rejuvenated. 

Instead I spent the 2012 baseball season much like I spent the 2011 season, the 2010 championship season and all seasons in recent memory; drinking (lots of) beer behind home plate watching the pitch-by-pitch. 


Anyway, after a season-long hiatus I'm back online.


History has a tendency to repeat itself and you better believe I'll be in Scottsdale Arizona for San Francisco Giants Spring Training.

As in years past I'll probably write about it.  Stay in touch.

Oh, and don't call it a comeback.




Monday, April 2, 2012

June 22 2012 - Save the Date!!
(It's embarrassing, really - Part 1 of 2)

Living a hybrid life is a flirtatious affair between your separate but equal selves. Trailing your gaze on a sleek Aston Martin (with an appropriately matched driver) causes a shimmer deep in your eyes, not unlike the sun reflecting on glassy sea.  Or maybe your vision isn't focused on the car.  Maybe your sight slightly dulls as a daydream takes you back to a place you've been before, that one place you've been with hammocks and coconuts and rum, and...and suddenly you're interrupted by a speeding black smear in the street.  You're anxiously reminded of excess, clearly seeing that you already have too much.

Confusingly, you're not aligned with one or the other.  You're always deciding between extravagance and economy, while seemingly since birth deeply drawn to the yin AND yang.  You wonder if you can't have both.

Life is ripe with these cultural collisions, which can be unbearably uncomfortable if they unfold unintended and without purpose.  With the years of experience we expect comfort to come easier.  We realize at times that we are so lucky and we learn more about ourselves by sharing our luck with others.  In our more uncomfortable times we are supremely grateful for the richness others choose to share with us.

Especially in our younger years we approach timidly, if at all, this idea of philanthropy.  It seems best left to those with the big Bay Area bucks.  The silicon valley types, those other ones over in the financial district, maybe an ex-politico or an actor and definitely that one guy Bill Gates.  I heard Bill Gates gives away lots of money.

Founded out of a deep love for the Bay Area is an organization of early career adults that seek to bridge that generational philanthropic gap.  To accomplish this, Generation SF announced their inaugural fundraising event "PARTY LIKE YOUR PARENTS, An American Cancer Society Event" held on June 22, 2012 at AT&T Park.  That's right. The home of our very own San Francisco Giants is the hosting venue for this very special evening.

www.generationsf.org

Generation SF's "PARTY LIKE YOUR PARENTS" is a one-of-a-kind event.  This is the first time in history the American Cancer Society has partnered with a 3rd party organization for this type of fundraiser.

This is what you can expect on June 22, 2012 at AT&T Park in return for your support of the American Cancer Society:
  • A night with the #1 80’s cover band in the country, Bay Area legends Tainted Love!
  • Hosted cocktails, appetizers, and lots of San Francisco style fun.
  • Live and silent auctions, including opportunities to win destination vacations, sports memorabilia, art, ocean cruises and countless else.
  • OF COURSE, no trip would be complete if you didn't take your picture with the San Francisco Giants 2010 World Series CHAMPIONSHIP TROPHY!  Lou Seal also plans to cruise the crowd, trolling for autographs and available for snapshots.
100% of the proceeds from this event go to the American Cancer Society.  Your participation will directly ensure this invaluable organization will continue to make a difference saving lives.

Please visit the website, http://www.generationsf.org/, for more information and to purchase tickets to this sure-to-be-fabulous event.  I will also post event details on this website as they become available.

BE SURE YOU SAVE THE DATE!!


Party Like Your Parents!!
An American Cancer Society Event
AT&T Park, San Francisco
7pm-11pm

 And stay tuned for the highly anticipated part two of this embarrassing spring series, "There's Something About Scottsdale."

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lots of Looking Forward to Do

My 5AM wake up was complimented with a cup of coffee and this article. Thanks Andrew Baggarly for sharing a number of things we should be super excited about. Below are quotes from the article that really got me, well, a little wet with anticipation...there are, of course, only 25 days until San Francisco Giants pitchers and catchers report to Scottsdale.

  • "We like what we see," Groeschner said. [Talking about Brian Wilson, who is already in Scottsdale and has began a throwing program.]
  • Second baseman Freddy Sanchez also has made steady progress with his surgically-repaired right shoulder.
  • According to sources, club officials have expressed confidence they can sign Cain to a deal similar to the five-year, $85 million pact that Jered Weaver made with the Angels -- a contract widely viewed as team-friendly throughout the industry.
  • The Giants will introduce an alternate road jersey for Sunday games that are inspired by the club's "Will Clark era," vice president Mario Alioto said. The gray jerseys will feature the "SF" logo on the left chest with black piping down the center and the Giants logo on the sleeve. They will be worn with the orange-brimmed caps.  Alioto pushed for the change because he felt fans would be interested in tweaking a road look that "has pretty much remained consistent for a long, long time. ... It's going to bring back a lot of good memories for all of us."
Read the entire article here.


I also heard this morning Cody Ross signed with the Red Sox, and ***BREAKING NEWS*** this afternoon Timmy Lincecum signed a 2 year deal with the Giants. Sad to break these two guys up.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

2012 SF Giants Spring Training

Pitchers/Catchers    First Workout    Position Players    First full workout
Feb. 18                        Feb. 19                Feb. 23                    Feb. 24

35 days until pitchers & catchers report to Scottsdale for Spring Training.

We've locked in dates for the 2nd Annual Scottsdale Spectacular. Details to follow.

March 22 - 25 2012.  

Feeling sentimental?  Revisit last years wild and crazy Spring Shenanigans in Scottsdale.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Here I Am!


My sister called me from New York last night.
 "Hey, I'm watching the game online.  I think I just saw you.  Where are you sitting?"
"Yeah, I'm here.  I'm 8 rows back behind the dish."
"See the two guys in Hawaiian shirts?  Go sit next to them.  Throw up a peace sign."
I showed the two fingers and and then threw up a W.   And she snapped the shot.

Thanks sister!

AND there was OFFENSE!!


I'll be at the yard again today, hoping for more offense and a shout out from Kruk & Kuip.


And of course, per usual, orange & black out represented the local blue & grey. I <3 AT&T South.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Endless Bummer

'Dog Days' (Latin: diēs caniculāmrēs) are the hottest, most sultry days of summer in late August.  Dog Days can also define a time period or event that is very hot or stagnant, or marked by dull lack of progress. The name comes from the ancient belief that Sirius, also called the Dog Star, in close proximity to the sun was responsible for the hot weather.
Source: Wikipedia

The ongoing earthly evolution around the sun is finally bringing to an end the dreaded dog days of summer; what this year has been a fantastically long endless bummer for the San Francisco Giants and all their frenetic followers.  

The situation was perceived so dismally by Mike Krukow (eternal optimist), that in his August 17th postgame wrap he said that while watching the game he "almost puked."

"I know there are other fans out there that just wanted to puke too."
--Mike Krukow, disappointed by Giants baseball


Listen to Kruk, Kuip and Flemming discuss the flu, food poisoning, and giants baseball via the audio link below.  The clip is properly cued for you're auditory pleasure.


Certainly it hasn't been easy for the defending 2010 World Series Champion San Fransisco Giants.  Especially not during these dog days.  Today's injury update reads like a laundry list of disastrous accidents and crushing truths.




Shock and disappointment predominated earlier in the season when SF Giants players initiated an insane magnetic attraction to the disabled list
(I wrote about it back in June).  After Posey, Zito, Casilla, Torres, Ross, DeRosa, Sandoval, Belt, Ford and Fontenot all took their respective time on "the list," nobody imagined it would get worse.  And if someone did think about that, they didn't most certainly didn't mention it.

And then things got worse.  A lot worse.

Just look at today's depth chart.




But there must be SOMETHING positive that comes from this (I, like Kruk, am an eternal optimist).

And you know what?
- Mahatma Gandhi

I'VE HEARD ENOUGH of this I'm giving up-it's too late-we've already lost crap.  I'm sick of the disappointment.  I'm pissed that I feel like I'm going to puke.

I've been hoarding these fun awesome inspiring interesting clips for a time of dire need.  That time is now.

I'm doing my part to be that change.

Let the awesomeness ensue. Quick, before you vomit.


Click here for further instructions on "bearding" yourself.

Kelley James improvises a killer freestyle for living legend Brian Wilson at the
W Hotel in Scottsdale, AZ.
<
"IT'S ALRIGHT, I DON'T MEAN TO BE MEAN. 
BUT BITCH IF YOU DON'T FEAR HIM, FEAR THE MACHINE"




A few of our most favorite teammates "interacting" with hockey fans in DC.
Click here for the story.


Yes, that is Aubrey Huff protecting his cocktail from thirsty poachers.

Friday, July 22, 2011

8th Inning Exodus

I've said it before.  I'll say it again.  And I hope it never changes, at least not while I'm in San Diego.

Giants fanatics take over Petco Park.  

"Folks, this place is going off.  Sounds like they're back at AT&T in San Francisco."


So what if we exude confidence in our team even on the road? 
Demonstrated by the loud cheers after Huff hit one out of Petco on Thursday. 

San Diego's broadcasters are talking about it.  
"As far as Giants fans are concerned," said Padres broadcaster Jerry Coleman, (formerly a batboy for the San Francisco Seals) "they're very knowledgeable and they're very ardent fans. They're the type of people who take nothing except for winning as an answer. Basically, they're great fans."
Padres bloggers are writing about it.
"You won't see more black and orange on Halloween than what appeared at Petco Park the last four games."
 Of course Padres fans are bitching about it.


In Jesse's defense, he is one of the very few serious die-hard Pads fans I know in San Diego.  But, you know what, Jesse?  


I have no remorse that Giant's fans are taking over stadiums across the US, especially not here in San Diego.  Guess why. 

It is because of a spectacle known as the "8TH INNING EXODUS."

This phenomenon occurs sporadically in almost every ballpark, yet it happens at Petco Park with such routine that even the most suspensful of games is celebrated by clearing the stadium.  This is precisely what went down on Sunday, July 17th (and nearly every other game I've attended in San Diego).  

Andres Torres, having knocked in the tying run in the 7th inning, was in the hole at the top of the 9th.  Heath "The Beast" Bell had taken the mound and was gunning for Whiteside at the plate.  Chris Stewart watched from the on deck circle.  In the pen was Wilson readying himself to execute the potential save.

Sounds exciting, right?  

You'd be a fool to leave now.  After enduring this white-knuckle nail biter, don't you want to **spoiler alert** see how it ends?

Apparently not if you're a Padres fan.

I guess they're sick of this.


Just imagine visiting fans going crazy over their away win in your home stadium.


Can't fathom?

That's because I'm pretty certain hell would freeze over the day opposing fans outnumber Giants fans in AT&T park.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Determining Worth.

If I only write once a month, mentioning even just the highlights (let alone every significant play, hit or pitch) would read like one unending game story punctuated with season ending injuries and stellar yet unpredictable pitching.

Doubtful that would make for an entertaining read.

While I began this website as an exorcism for my fanaticism, admittedly I have gained some amount of personal validation through increasing readership. And of the thousands of pageviews I have received, 20% are coming from returning visitors. Thank you for reading.

A few weeks ago, this website (www.bleeding-black-and-orange.com) was extended membership to the Baseball Bloggers Alliance. The BBA boasts an intimidating membership list of baseball related blogs, some of which are updated every...single...day.  As time lapses between my own posts, I question the value of this website. If the articles aren't timely or recent, is the website still relevant? Is my perspective worth sharing?

Is anybody reading anything I write?

Am I'm worthy of holding BBA membership among these elite authors, baseball enthusiasts and fellow fanatics?

Yes.  The answer to these questions are emphatically YES.

My voice is unequivocally unique and there are simply not enough women with above average writing skills blogging about baseball.

So, in celebration of this revelation, I have chosen to forgo my usual rant, and instead I'm sharing with you the details of an event so amazing, so extraordinary, you're going to wonder why you haven't heard about it already.  Or, maybe you have...

It all started with our EPIC, now annual, spring training trip to Scottsdale...


...and spilled into San Francisco 4 months later. 


This unparalleled evening was imagined and hosted by Sean Breuner, the mastermind behind many of our Scottsdale shenanigans.  The invitation read:

Ladies and Gentleman -

In commemoration of the 1st Annual Scottsdale Championship weekend, I would like to cordially invite everyone for an evening of food, catered by Kellan's Kitchen (kellanskitchen.blogspot.com) and of course drinks, poured by yours truly. Kellan will be preparing a menu to be approved by the directors of the board.

Board Members:

Sean      Accommodations Chair
Kellan     Co-Caterer Chair
Keith      Co-Caterer Chair
Wagner  Alcohol/3 Wags Chair
Caitlin    Flip Flop Chair
Colvin     Ring Chair
Shea      Overnight Chair
Kuhn      Airport Lounge Chair
Alana     Chateau/Athlete Chair
Zoe        Giants Blog Chair
P-Hu      Southwest.com Chair
Meghan  Rollie Pollie Chair
Chris      Vino Chair

With this collection of talent and energy, the Giants will unquestionably springboard into the 2nd half of the year on their way to another championship and yet another Scottsdale extravaganza.

*** 

It was on Thursday June 30th (who's idea was it to RAGE on a Thursday?) that we invaded Breuner's 7th floor Chateau-inspired North Beach flat.  Panoramic views of the bridges & bay, a rooftop garden oasis and beautiful weather made this an event only executable in our fine city by the bay.  Who said San Diego is America's Finest City, anyway?


Accompanying the decoratively set table were our Giants-inspired menus, printed courtesy of Kellan's Kitchen.


Noted by player number, each dish was inspired by a member of the Giants roster.  Chef Kellan was kind enough to dish his thoughts behind the food... 

13 - bacon jam. just creamed Cody Ross
 
55 - "The Freak" - because of the unorthodox cooking method of wrapping salmon in ham then roasting atop corn husks.
 
38 - orzo salad, inspired by Brian Wilson's 
"Most Interesting Closer In The Game" ads... On the Marlins.
 
12 - napa cabbage slaw. named for Nate because hes a local boy 
(napa cabbage, green apples, cilantro)
 
17 - berries & angel food cake. cause aubry huff wore a thong.. ? 
it was a stretch.

If you are in the SF Bay or Lake Tahoe areas and are need of a private chef or catered event,
Kellan's Kitchen should be your first choice.

Our elaborate meal (with equally elaborate orange-themed drinks, including blood-orange mimosas) was complimented with party favors from our favorite Giant's front office slave.


And while everyone took home a special treat, the absolute highlight of everyone's evening was wearing the 2010 San Francisco Giants World Championship Ring.

On my "I Do" finger for a reason...
It's BIG.  HEAVY.  And REALLY EXPENSIVE.

Is it safe to say that not one of us has ever worn a ring on our finger with so much value?

I think so.  We all know the value of this ring lies not just in the glitter and gold, but instead in what it means to the entire club, players, fans and the city of San Francisco.  The Giants didn't win the series alone.  We are ALL world champions.


And as every person in the room was eternally grateful to Kasey for sharing something so special, she just kept saying "you are all truly real fans, you deserve this just as much as I do."

Master Chef Kellan Hori also writes a blog.  His is mostly food (and sometimes Giants) related.
So that's why I've shared this story.  Because even though your chances of wearing this ring of champions is slim to none, you still deserve it.  We all do.
 
www.kellanhori.com OR www.kellanskitchen.blogspot.com

Cheers to fabulous friends, phenomenal food, and the 2010 World Champion San Francisco Giants.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Fodder for "The Franchise"

My intention for the theme of this post was to be something like "It's A Good Day To Be A Giants Fan."  I was officially ready to say "Welcome Back Boys" and even tell them "You've Been Missed."  I had expected to comment on our three recent sweeps and mention how nice it is to be at the top of the NL West.  Even with Pablo out, the boys played better than .500 ball.

It was as if they had popped some corn in the clubhouse and sat together watching films about the basics of playing ball (see below).



Then tornadoes ravaged the Midwest and I was swamped with other facets of my life and ultimately when the shit had settled 7 of the Giants 25 roster players were on the DL.

Zito and Casilla were out due to a mid foot sprain and an inflamed right elbow, respectively.   [Casilla was activated from the 15-day disabled list before the May 28th loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.]

Then utlilty man Mark DeRosa reinjured his left wrist just one week after returning from a trip to the 15-day DL.  This wrist was the object of two surgeries in less than two years.  It was his ECU tendon this time that was partially torn.




How this injury will affect the remainder of DeRosa's major league career is unknown (he was scheduled to visit a specialist at the end of May). Disappointment from camp DeRosa is expected, as the injury came soon after Bochy promised him regular playing time at third base to replace the already DL'd Pablo Sandoval (fractured hamate bone).  DeRosa had been in a serious slump prior to his most recent injury, batting 0-23.  Regarding the injury and his unproductive at bats, DeRosaa told Hank Schulman, "Part of me is in shock, but part of me thought, 'I'm glad something was wrong, because I'm not that bad.' " (Read Hank's article here).

Since that interview, DeRosa has asked everyone to "Hold the Obituary Please" on a blog titled "The Veteran and the Rook" that he co-writes with Brandon Belt. Mark, good luck and we wish you a speedy recovery.



I was drunk and disorderly at a Giants vs. A's game in Scottsdale during spring training when I first took notice of Darren Ford's excessive speed on the base path. I did the one-eyed-squint and scribbled a note on a napkin as a reminder to myself to mention it in my next blog.

I never mentioned Darren Ford in that subsequent blog.  I definitely do not recall what became of that napkin.  But I do remember writing "FORD IS FAST." 

"If I get a hit, you better score" was the message from Burris to Ford after the call up in May.  Finally they found the opportunity on May 22nd in the bottom of the11th inning against Bay Area rivals the Oakland A's.  Burris hit a walk off single, allowing Ford to score from second. This was the seventh time this season the Giants won on a walk off hit.



We didn't learn until later that D-Run The Bullet sustained a lateral strain of his left ankle during the slide into home plate.  On Wednesday, May 26th Ford was placed on the 15-day DL.

For a FRESH-FROM-THE-MINORS-BASE-STEALING-SPEED-DEMON one of the scariest injuries imaginable is anything having to do with the foot. Or the ankle. Or really, in my opinion, anything below the belt.  All reports suggest, however, that Ford will be back on the field thieving those bases soon.

We expected this to be the last stop on the bad luck injury train, BUT...
"If you have no expectations, you will never be disappointed." 
-- Zawesome (ME)     

It was against the HOT Florida Marlins on Wednesday May 25th when Mike Fontenot (Our Littlest Giant) strained his groin while trying to beat the ground out at first.


Everyone please welcome Mr. Fontenot to "The Club" (AKA the 15-day DL).

Mr. Fontenot, we urge you to keep your visit short.  We'd hate for you to wear out your welcome. 



And of course there is the moment that will live in SF Giants, and perhaps MLB infamy.

Buster Posey was steamrolled at the plate by Scott Cousins.



Gut-wrenching is the only way to describe watching him claw the dirt in agony. 

Everyone has an opinion.  This one is mine.  With bullet points to make my point clearly and simply.
  • Buster suffered a terrible, season ending injury because of this play.  
  • Cousins did not intend to injure Posey.  (The consensus is that Scott Cousins is a good guy, a player with heart and a person who would not purposefully injure another player).
  • Buster Posey did leave a path to the plate, as shown in the video replay.
  • This path may or may not have been visible to the Cousins.
  • Taking lumps is a risk taken by all professional athletes playing any professional sport. 
You have to agree. 

Premiering on Wednesday, July 13th is Showtime's "The Franchise: A Season with the San Francisco Giants"

Anyone who thought this show was going to be boring just got bitch slapped.

All this drama is just fodder for The Franchise.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Our Littlest Giant

A neighbor asked me yesterday how many games I've watched [or listened to] this season.  While I haven't kept a tally, I certainly can count the number of games I've missed on one hand.  And yes, like most humans, my hand consists of only 5 fingers.  Did you know that each human hand comprises 27 bones and more than 30 muscles?  I'm sure Pablo is now well aware...

Pablo tweeted this picture of himself on the operating table.
Follow @pandoval48 on Twitter
 





This may sound strange, but as part of my regular yoga practice I have been studying my own anatomy with special interest in hands and feet.  It was my own good fortune that when Pablo cracked his Hamate bone I was able to to simply reach over and grab The Atlas of Human Anatomy illustrated by Frank Netter.  After a few minutes of comparing the illustration in the book with my actual hand I was able to visualize where the Hamate bone was, why it's important and how painful it must be to break.  I recommend you take a look here if you're at all unsure. 

Purchase this shirt
So Miggy (I don't want to talk about Miggy) moved to the corner and Mike Fontenot is starting at short.

Descriptors like "inability" and "insurance policy" and "struggling" were used to describe the performance of Fontenot prior to his 2010 trade.  Even Fontenot admitted he didn't adjust well in Chicago.  Andrew Baggerly of San Jose Mercury News (whom you really ought to follow on twitter) wrote this nice article about Fontenot's trade from the windy city to the city by the bay.

It seemed that everyone had a comment on Baggs' post, including some character named Julian Levine  who wrote, "I don’t like this deal. He [Fontenot] has limited pop, speed, and he doesn’t hit rightys any better than leftys. Burriss and Uribe should be starting middle INF at this point."
  
I hope Julian's friends follow baseball more intently than he does.

A comment from Matt reminded Julian, "Really? Here’s his career platoon split:
vs. RHP: .274/.346/.429
vs. LHP: .235/.286/.348.

Well played, Matt.

Purchase this bat on Ebay

And of course this week SJ Mercury News gave Little Babe Ruth the distinction of "The Spark in the Giants Lineup."  He's being called the "unlikely hero."  He hit a bottom 9 walk off sac fly to beat the Rockies.  He's making incredible grabs and getting in some belly slides for serious style points.  His slugging percentage this season is .518, second on the squad to Pablo Sandoval AND he's a league leader, tied in 5th place in the NL, for triples


It's time we showed "The Littlest Giant" some BIG love.  He's earned it.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Happy 80th Willie.

You are THE greatest.


You've made the world a better place.

Thank you to The City Graphics for the amazing art.  

The inspiration behind this image:
"I always wanted to design “The Catch” which was made in Game 1 of the Giants vs Indians World Series in 1954.  It is one of the greatest moments in baseball history along with the likes of “The Shot Heard Around the World”, Bill Mazeroski’s Home Run and Lou Gerhig’s speech. I was very picky about this design and wanted to make it perfect. I ended up making an initial design a few months ago and let it sit until I felt I could perfect this design as of last week.  

People always talk about “The Catch” which was made at arguably 460 ft into center field, but people seem to forget about “The Throw” which Mays quickly spun around to make a throw to prevent the runner on 2nd, Larry Dolby, from tagging to 3rd. I made sure I added a couple pictures of “The Throw” since many “The Catch” pieces seem to leave it out. For influence I looked at a lot of 1950′s designs to get the look and feel of that era. No doubt the greatest catch ever in baseball…better than the Steve Bartman catch (sorry Cubs fans)."

Friday, April 8, 2011

R-E-S-P-E-C-T & What it Means To Be.

Yesterday afternoon I took pleasure in my first live regular season game of 2011.  Timmy led the charge against the Padres at Petco Park and, nail biting ninth inning notwithstanding, Giants won 8-4.  "Everybody kind of relaxed and went back to playing ball the right way, with a positive mentality" said Mr. Lincecum after the game.  And solid they looked from my free seats, courtesy of the Moorads, 8 rows behind first base.

You've probably never wondered what it's like to attend a Giants game at Petco, but you should be curious.  Looking back at this post from February titled "The San Diego Giants" you'll be given an idea of how it feels being a San Francisco Giant's fan living in Padres country.  It's interesting.  You'll love it.

AT&T Park South.  Our home away from home.

While I am of the opinion that the Padres local fan base could do more to defend their territory, I failed to admit in my previous post that I have a hearty admiration for those boys in midnight blue.

OH MY GOSH.  HOW COULD YOU SAY THAT?

Friar faithfuls were disenchanted with the Padres front office after rumors swirled about the Adrian Gonzalez trade.  It was as if the world revolving around the Padres was ending and the team would disappear behind a cloud of smoke and mirrors, most certainly never to return.  Media declared 2011 would be a wasted season for the Friars and it was no secret that many true Padres fans felt betrayed by ownership.

In fact, while I was devout in my belief  that the Giants would win last year's NL West, I realized we weren't giving this SoCal club the credit they earned.  They gave us a run for our money.  And I absolutely believe, even without Adrian, the Giants will be challenged by their club this year. 

Why?

Not unlike our boys by the bay, the Padres are a scraggly gaggle of average-to-above-average players without any one superstar.  They have that special chemistry, obvious not only on the field but also outside the park.  Living in the small urban center that is San Diego, it's often you catch the guys out to dinner together after a game or on an off day, continuing to fortify the comradery that will take them deep into this season.  

It's good for morale when you actually want to hang out with the folks you work with.

Just ask anyone who spends time in the Marina district of San Francisco if they've seen Pat Burrell out raging.  Is he alone?  Of course not.  He's with his teammates.

The City of San Diego has experienced the requisite mourning for Adrian and the ball club will go on.  Using the Pad's strong start in 2011 as an indication, I'm guessing more and more fans will eventually ask, "Adrian who?"

The San Diego Padres are our rivals, but not our enemies.

ENEMY TERRITORY is a scary place where bad things happen.  An area full of of antagonists.  A nation of hostility.

This IS NOT an accurate description of Petco Park.

This IS an accurate description of Dodger Stadium.

What has been described as "dependable as a cold one and a bag of peanuts in the bleachers," the longstanding Giants-Dodgers feud dates back to the beginning of baseball.  But as this historic clash enters a new era, the consequences have become a cause for concern.

By now you would have heard of Brian Stow, the 42-year old Santa Cruz paramedic who last week was critically beaten in the parking lot at Dodger Stadium.  He remains in a medically induced coma with suspected brain injury.


I can't find the words to describe how truly wrong this is.

No matter from which end of the state you hail, regardless of the boys you choose to cheer, whether you wear black & orange or blue & white, WE MUST AMASS AGAINST THIS HATEFUL BEHAVIOR.

Substantial rewards have been offered to those who come forward with information regarding the tragedy.  Contributors to the fund include the Los Angeles City Council, LA Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, American Medical Response as well as private donations from many, including LA Supervisor Mike Antovich and Radio Host Tom Leykis.

Collections have been set up to help support the Stow family in their time of desperate need. Every quarter counts.  You can donate online here using the following information:
       Financial Institution - SF Police Credit Union
      Account Name - Bryan Stow Fund
      Member ID Account - 1377733

You can also donate HERE:

     http://support4stow.blogspot.com/

Checks can be mailed to:
      The Bryan Stow Fund
     San Francisco Police Credit Union
     c/o San Mateo Branch
     1495 S. El Camino Real
     San Mateo, CA 94402.

Tomorrow is our home opener and should be a cause for celebration. 

Please keep the rage on the field.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Scottsdale Schenanigans

It has been decided that most of what happened in Scottsdale will stay in that "desert version of Miami's South Beach."  Now that OPENING DAY is imminent it seems silly to backtrack to the debauchery that ensued this spring.  It is imperative we keep our focus in the present moment with little thought to what did happen and what will become.

But before I myself am able to leave this past behind, I must find relief in reliving that weekend one last time.

It was after midnight when we checked into the sweet Smoke Tree Resort & Bungalows.  Hoping to spend the last few minutes of the evening on the town, the taxi company convinced us otherwise by denying us the convenience of a pick up.  Instead we tuned into ESPN where there was argument about the (unfortunate) trial of Barry Bonds.  Sleep found me quickly as I drifted off to thoughts of performance enhancing drugs...

Waking up the next morning stoked from a full night of sleep (the only one for the entire trip), we hit Scottsdale Stadium early in search of seats from which to watch LAD vs. SF.  Much thanks to the 75th street box office attendants for finding us the LAST TWO seats together in the ENTIRE stadium.  And they happened to be 5 rows behind the Giants Dugout.  And they were only $41 each.



REASON #1 I LOVE SPRING TRAINING
Fantastic seats are available & affordable on game days.

With a few hours to kill until game time we walked over to Salty Senorita. The food was disappointing but the place was PACKED with men in orange and black.

REASON #2 I LOVE SPRING TRAINING
Men arrive in abundance and are all Giants fans.

Who knew it was so hot in heaven?

Finishing an espresso backed tequila shot, we paid the check and headed back to the yard in time for the National Anthem.

POST GAME WRAP: Since this is old news by now, I'll keep it brief.

Giants Lost. Check the box scores.  
 
REASON #3 I LOVE SPRING TRAINING
Win-loss records aren't important.

Amongst the angst, there were many MEMORABLE MOMENTS.

MEMORY:  Sitting in spitting distance of the Giants dugout and watching the kids go crazy as Will Clark threw candy into the stands.



MEMORY:  Singing to Giants Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda while our picture was being taken:

"Orlando Cepeda is at bat with the bases jammed.
Orlando Cepeda – with a wham, bam, he hit a grand slam
"



MEMORY:  Drinking beers.  Countless beers.  All day.  Awesome.

REASON #4 I LOVE SPRING TRAINING
The bathroom line is much, much shorter.

OH SHIT.  I forgot about our double header.

REASON # 5 I LOVE SPRING TRAINING
There is more to Scottsdale than baseball.

Rushing back to the hotel we cleaned up before we were picked up in the stretch Hummer courtesy of Destiny Limo, on our way to the Warriors game in Phoenix.  There isn't much about the evening I can recount after walking into US Airways Center and up to our special VIP section.  I do remember the area was complete with not just a private bar, a fantastic view of the court but also Freddy Sanchez.

Wandering over to the bar where Freddy was chatting with my married friend, I patiently I waited to, well, say something.  Anything.  And eventually I did.

Whatever it was I said to Freddy was so unmemorable that even I can't recall.  I do, however, distinctly remember the look of definite disinterest (BOREDOM) on his face as I spoke.


Somehow between the first and fifteenth drink I lost my art of conversation.  I should have told him he has the coolest cleats on the field.  Lesson learned.

Matt Wagner also had an awkward yet more memorable moment with Freddy shortly after my botched attempt.  He crossed in front of Freddy in the restroom, stopped him, and said "Thank You."  Freddy smiled.  Matt insisted, staring at Freddy directly in the eyes, "No, REALLY, thank you."

The basketball game ended after what seemed like 5 minutes and after a crappy dinner at some shitty Italian restaurant we arrived at Axis Radius where we continued to get schmammered.  Schmammred is like hammered times infinity.  It means you're RAGING.

The night ended at 5AM in a hotel room with 4 of the most fantastic men in Scottsdale and pizza delivery. 

ALL THAT IN JUST ONE DAY.

Saturday was spent with pitchers of Mai Tais poolside at the W hotel.


Aching to redeem myself from the night prior, I practiced my improved conversation skills with Marcus Vick.  Pointless.

We followed 8 hours of heavy boozing with a chef's' select sushimi dinner at Sushi Roku that was marred by utter dysfunction.  One at a time each man left the table to vomit in the bathroom, so I sat myself at the bar and closed out the evening on a first name basis with the bartender.  Typical.

Despite a night of hot flashes and cold sweats, I made it to the park early Sunday to procure tickets for A's vs. Giants.  First pitch and the vibe in the stadium was different.  People were quiet.  Tired.  Hungover.

POST GAME WRAP:  The split squad lost. Again.  Here's the box.

The game was given away to the A's in part (in my opinion) due to 1st base umpire #68 Chris Guccione who FAILED that day with his head lost in the clouds.  So terribly obvious were his blown calls that even the second base umpire was caught laughing.  On the upside?  Cody Ross hustled harder than anyone on the field that day (except perhaps Freddy) and pinch hitter Darren Ford ran like his life, or perhaps his career, depended on it.

REASON #6 I LOVE SPRING TRAINING
Scottsdale is kind of like Las Vegas.

In Scottsdale, just as in Las Vegas, BIGGER is better.  Those with the means will park their Lambos and Benzos and Beemers in front of the club, hotel or restaurant.  Those lacking the affluence stand next to the impressive machines while their friend snaps a photo. 

Abruptly, though, the dillusions of grandeur end, the mass exodus begins and Scottsdale resembles the quiet boring golf retirement community that it really is all but 2 months of the year.

Opening day is here.  So is Brandon Belt.


BOOM.