17th, acknowledgement, Amsterdam, baruch, c., century, colonialism, Dekker, Douwes, dutch, Edouard, enlightenment, Era, Francisco, Frans, giants, golden, Hals, Karthik, m.t., master, masters, mtk, Multatuli, painters, painting, philosophy, post, post-colonialism, racism, Rembrandt, rijks, Rijksmuseum, San, sf, slavery, spinoza
I am writing something and these are my initial thoughts
It was like walking into a university show in Soho in the ’90’s – Kusama, Warhol, Haring, Basquiat, Koons and Hirst – then suddenly it was like street stuff from the aughts: banksy, Stik, Invader.
Then Hayden Kays and KAWS and Takashi Murakami and Abloh is how it morphed into stuff I had only seen over the last five years because Google throws it up on my projector on heavy rotation ad nauseum thousands of miles from here – like Dream. (to old heads, I say big ups to Oaktown DREAM, rest in power). Then there was a Hirst and a Koons and a Warhol and a sweet roomful of Yayoi Kusama.
Moco Amsterdam is housed in the Villa Alsberg, a townhouse overlooking Museumplein in the heart of Amsterdam (between the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum). The building was designed in 1904 by Eduard Cuypers, nephew of Pierre Cuypers, designer of Amsterdam Central Station and the Rijksmuseum.
It is a good collection of very specifically well-known contemporary art, linked only by their pop. They don’t hide it, Moco calls itself a “boutique museum.” They have a second location in Barcelona. I heard the immersive digital art installation by Studio Irma was the same there.
What is this show exactly? I found out about it from posters slapped around town:
Wait – what? I was standing there in the street thinking that looks like clickbait for a museum exhibition produced by the marketing department. Here’s 4k video of my visit to Moco Amsterdam … check it:
Moco’s building was a privately-owned residence and one of the first family homes built along Museumplein. It was inhabited until 1939. Then, the house was let to priests who taught at the Saint Nicolas School in Amsterdam. Later it was converted into an office for a law firm.
Moco took over the Villa Alsberg and opened the museum in 2016, a traditional Amsterdam townhome on the museumplein, converted into a walk-through collection. But it is densely packed with the art and difficult to navigate when crowded. I was here on a rainy Thursday and it was claustrophobic. They should show less and allow for more space before the art.
Some artists received better purchase, weirdly (read: banksy). The one Warhol inclusion was pretty cool – diamond dust. Kusama is boss. Banksy’s tenner is great. The sculptures in the garden by Marcel Wander were precious. Studio Irma’s digital immersive art was low-tech, high-concept and cool. But it’s a densely installed collection. It was difficult to appreciate a large canvas by Hayden Kays, mounted in a small room. The Harings were also installed in a small square room, jammed with people. It was awkward.
Koons and Hirst were kind of just stuck in the hallways. Rooms were grouped loosely by era, but not distinctly so. They had these vague categories – Modern Masters, Contemporary Masters. It may have been an attempt to contrast-gain through equanimity but the install just felt crammed and poorly considered.
Prints were indicated to have been authenticated by the artists. The provenance for the Invader piece was credited to Jared Leto. Things that were new to me that I enjoyed were the playful works of Marcel Wander, the digital immersive stuff by Studio Irma and the large canvases (panels?) by The Kid.
The Kid, a contemporary painter using oils to create large photocollage-style paintings, had exquisite technique, though the work was conceptually immature. I wondered if there were painters in this land that spawned Rembrandt, Hals and Hooch and Vermeer and Van Gogh – and if so, what were they into? As a young artist, The Kid is into deeply personal concerns at the moment, but he will be good to watch evolve as a painter. I admired his use of pseudonym and rejection of nation-state in the establishment of his identity. Smart kid.
Ultimately, though, the artists were equalized in the hyper-capitalized gift shop that was tragically post-ironic: Campbell Soup Can skate decks beside decks that had banksy’s girl and balloon – where’s that dough going? Basquiat crowns as lapel pins. Is the Basquiat Estate or somebody who owns some weird rights making money here? on hundreds of euros worth of cheap, chinese-made kitschy derivative chunks of plastic? Is this a non-fungible token (NFT) emerging into totally fungible bullshit (TFB) in the museum culture?
Sure enough, the exibit includes NFT: The New Future, which they claim is, “Europe’s first dedicated exhibition space to the NFT phenomenon.” Beeple. It feels half baked. Exhibition spaces for non-fungible things.
Your ticket comes with a free gift from the museum and a discount for the gift shop. The shop was cringe. There were totes and hats and pins and cards and posters, lots of pink and the generalized motto of the museum: In Art We Trust. I mean. Look, it was a decent show or a weird collection of highly successful names in art since like 1990, in a house, but … what is this?
The curatorial sense here seems to be: throw as many recognizable names up as possible to herd in the stoned masses visiting the museumplein. Oh, and cater to the ever-increasing LGBTQ+ tourism euro, by featuring gay cultural icons and the color pink. This show wasn’t so much curated as listicled. Superficial.
By my observation, the corporate partners of high-profile museums in city centers of the colonial era are amidst a reformation, post-George Floyd – a Black Lives Matter effect is international. Woke culture expects more. Millennials are uninterested in the old narratives. Moco seems to seek to fill a void in perspective over traditional museums – that of street art and free expression. But superficial listicle curation for tourist-culture, and capitalist reduction of profound cultural expression, is gauche.
Moco resides somewhere between traditional museum culture and the modern art marketplace. It’s like a brick and mortar pop magazine on the museumplein.
from Amsterdam, I’m
I covered a lot of elections during the dawn of this century. Then I stopped and unplugged from it all, and, instead of journalism, I turned to ten years of helping raise my child, making art, writing poetry and prosaic thoughts and, finally, helping my father transition from this world.
I used only WordPress blogs and Youtube channels and Twitter – but not Facebook, nor by extension Instagram, because from the beginning I despised Mark Zuckerberg and his bullshit machine and saw it for what it was – a Fuckerberg. It’s why you won’t see me in the metaverse.
For reference, back in ’20, I described myself in that context.
January 17, 2020
The machines subtly took control of time from humanity and almost no one noticed.
This base-ten cult of decades, centuries and millennia seized all of culture in the space of five score years and became the first salvo of the machines, culminating in the agreement among them known as 2000.
I was born into a continuous and ancient culture, untethered to such limitations, which soared to intellectual, philosophical, cultural and artistic heights. We invented chess and a concept of zero and many other philosophies that spread from the bosom of our land outward across the continents in your (retroactively named) first millennium.
Until we were brutally interrupted by the Europeans in their savage centuries – of using ships to travel everywhere and subjugate everyone else in the name of a ‘civilization’ we found and still find invasive, crass, physical, brutish, short-sighted, arrogant and ignorant.
They learned what they wanted to learn, what profited them, quickly though … and were great at taking credit for others’ thoughts and ideas by dehumanizing them (for, among other things, the unwillingness to debase oneself to damaging another for one’s own gain).
So yeah, suddenly, in the exact middle of their second millennium, for five centuries, they administered this vicious, dehumanizing, racist projection upon the world, culminating in continental-sized land grabs that attempted to genocide hundreds of nations of millions of people, whom they mistakenly called Indians and Blacks.
We watched all this from the other side of the world where we too were forced to absorb the Europeans’ assault, – mostly the British. We, too, then experienced the God-complex and scheming manipulations they used to elevate themselves and bend us into submission.
Thus, just as their second millennium came to a close, and a so-called Post-Colonial Era was granted by their philosophy, we are also among the hundreds of millions that shook off the yoke of their subjugation.
My existence straddles millennia.
And I don’t know when you’re living, but we now awake daily to contemplate the possibility of our complete and total eradication, not necessarily at the hands of the violent, but perhaps as a result of what the Europeans’ half-millennium has wrought, for better or worse. They build, protect and insure their clubhouse built of racist social truths for the 1%.
Their defensiveness and insecurity in the slow realization of their failings, cripples us, as we try to do the slow, age-old work … of pacifying, indeed tranquilizing the bellicose nature so quick to emerge in the grunts.
It awakens flash anger and violent explosions that have devastating effects upon hundreds of thousands of families and innocents.
It maintains white-supremacy and racial dominance. It continues and worsens insidiously by promoting loudly and at huge international volume, those who continuously relate their narrative, culminating in the ugly raw capitalist burp that is Trump – a P.T. Barnum in the White House who thinks he’s God.
It quietly silences those telling parallel history – by eliminating them from the formal base-ten digital record in the Internet amongst the saved data. And makes them unpopular by drowning them out and by any other means necessary. Facebook is the perfect machine for this.
This means, in some cases, making the truth unpopular by any means necessary and substituting a social truth for the real truth by any means necessary.
They have not yet fully seen how what they have done was wrong nor apologized nor shown remorse nor asked genuine forgiveness nor sought to restore what was.
Instead they have created their own history that labels these millennia, establishes the calendar and when the day begins and ends and uses globalist terms for engagements that are ferociously capitalist, in which money is the almighty and war for resources is perpetual. They declare themselves the victors of these continental land grabs and centuries of slave-ownership.
On the clock we live under at the dawn of their third millennium, they drive the engine of our world madly forward at an increasingly unsustainable pace.
My name is Karthik and I am a human born in Tamil Nadu, India, and raised in the United States of America for the past 50 years. I am well-educated and read daily a large amount of contemporaneous information and data about our times. I am unemployed and divorced from all ideology.
I am not selling anything and I am not looking for a job.
I am merely trying to communicate how sickened and embarrassed I am by the USA. And to beg you to Stop. Unplug. Slow down. Get back to who you really are. You are lost and running at a breakneck pace.
When you’re lost, don’t run at a breakneck pace.
Collect data and evaluate the current situation, what is actually in front of you.
Organize and Re-order your priorities to the immediate.
Immediately, a quarter of a million and rising to a third of a million Americans are dying, actively, of an unprecedented viral pandemic because we, as towns, cities, states and a nation have failed so completely to organize consistent, universal policy to control spread.
Think about what YOU are doing. Each day. To prevent spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus and monkeypox.
In the Spring of that fateful year, 2020, my father died, at 90, of natural causes. He was a devoted American, whose contributions to the U.S. were immense, yet in some ways, immeasurable. He passed on a Monday and the global Covid-19 pandemic struck that actual week. Protocols meant I could have no public funeral service. Only five were allowed to attend: the brahmin, myself and three of dad’s former students. Six weeks later, George Floyd was choked to death, by police in Minneapolis Minnesota. Thousands marched, pandemic be damned.
George Perry Floyd Jr. was an African-American man who was openly and publicly murdered by a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, during an arrest after a store clerk suspected Floyd may have used a counterfeit twenty-dollar bill.
He was lying inert and unarmed on the ground, and Derek Chauvin, one of four police officers who arrived on the scene, knelt on Floyd’s neck and back for 9 minutes and 29 seconds and choked him to death. It was filmed, and witnessed by many. The reaction to the video of George Floyd’s choking impacted the world.
Five months later Trump lost. His followers attempted a violent coup of the peaceful transfer of power to Biden. They attempted nothing short of a violent revolution against democracy in our country. Seven people died attempting to protect the Capitol and formal structures of our government from an amped-up, violent horde, whipped into a frenzy by the former President, who fomented them and the nation with utterly false accusations of election and voter fraud in the 2020 election. They continue to do this. There is a film called 2000 mules that is complete and total horseshit.
It would be like the last gasp of a terrible, ugly, racist monster swinging wildly as it goes down, except it still swings – now less publicly, without the perceived protection from a white supremacist in the White House. Ted Cruz and Ron DeSantis and Marjorie Taylor-Greene and others seek to fill the Trump-sized void, to keep the drumbeat of their racism and hate going. Their intention is nothing short of a fascist, White, Christian State.
There is significant concern that the monster has gone underground and even now plots a very real and significant coup, possibly even a civil war. Rest assured, the ugly beast – born from genocide and slavery, and cemented by white supremacy and abject racism – has dominated this nation for three hundred years. It will not go quietly.
We are and have been overdue to address it. Having calculated the impending minoritization of the so-called ‘White’ American for decades, the writing has been on the wall. The racist beast amongst them feels cornered, misunderstood and plans to retaliate against truth, justice and humanity.
These are White Americans who believe that:
- This is the greatest country in the world, and became so only because whites left Europe and founded a place where they could place themselves in control; where they could create their own white-supremacist thing, murdering and enslaving those they deemed heathens without recrimination. They consider Whites to be a race that ‘authored’ the USA, with greater rights than all other Americans.
- Black Americans are receiving far more protection and opportunity than they should because they make up only a small percentage of the population compared to whites. White Americans I know personally have said this to me over decades. It is a complete disconnect with the facts of Black American life.
- Minorities and new immigrants do not deserve protection of any kind. Those who come here should completely embrace their lower place in a hierarchy. If they expect to climb, they have to play by rules which praise White-American culture, and that which it ordains, above all else. It doesn’t matter if the rules contradict the immigrants’ own culture and values, as they do commonly – as happened to me my whole life.
- All Americans must play along, accept social truths over real truths, and be of value to the ruling class, which must remain White dominated.
I do not accept any of this. I consider it inhumane, unjust, racist and fundamentally against the founding principles of the nation’s forefathers – who, in any case, were only creating protections for themselves.
The nation has come to its inevitable crossroads once again. We reappear here at this intersection over and over through the centuries because we do not address the problem as a whole. Rather, we attempt constant fixes that pluralize over time – in the hope that we move toward a more just, fair and honest society.
We are far from it.
Truth is, we have never had one at all.
To begin, White Americans must be vetted in the context of what we consider right today. Let us root out those that harbor racist, violent thoughts against others. Let us root out the homegrown terrorists. And disarm them.
Since the coup attempt, many are hiding and plotting – by definition, treasonous acts. They don’t hide very well, since they explode with it all over social media. We should have begun there a long time ago. To those of you, particularly young people, who are into cancel culture: you don’t have to cancel them, you can identify and keep the light on them. Vet and Dox these people. Keep a record.
Whites have ‘vetted’ everyone else, brutally, for centuries. That should end now, with an appropriate vetting of them, in the context of our nation as it stands today.
Let’s discern who, exactly, attempts to author the USA on racist terms, and on religious terms – when the First Amendment clearly states we shall not. Let us establish and publicly name who works for the ends of Whites above others, exclusively, and how. Who seeks to establish a religion for our nation and oppress other spiritualities? Who seeks to hold down alternative culture?
Let us vet all of those in power for racial and social inequities. Expose through vetting what their actual opinions are and make them known. Start with the Whites.
Whites Must Be Vetted
— M.T. Karthik
October, 2020 – January 2022
audio, birth, book, computers, contact, copyright, dawn, electronic, essay, first, games, gaming, internet, interviews, Karthik, longform, m.t., media, mtk, nascent, plug, Project, technology, television, unplug, web
Between 2005 and 2011, I collected interviews with people about their first experiences with a computer (The First Contact Project) and
wrote a book about our intersection with technology and how I grew up with it and how it became a part of policy and society (Plug/Unplug)
Here I mix them together for a final expression.
I haven’t got much to say about the twin issues that suddenly struck the Giants out of the blue – the sudden death of Brandon Crawford’s sister-in-law and the dirt bike accident that put Madison Bumgarner on the DL for the first time in his career. But I thought I’d use this space to take a second to reflect on how baseball is a family.
You all are my family.
“My Giants Family,” is what I call you when I feel I need to be specific talking to strangers. We are intensely together in spirit every year for at least eight months as our brothers play baseball and fight for another World Series championship.
The long season from April to October, the 162 – 175 games, the multiple games a week – all of this binds us. It takes place daily, weekly, all summer, yearly, as we all live our lives and go about our business, and we are intimately attached to one another through it all.
We all know when someone on the team has something as minor as a hangnail! or a busted clavicle (get better soon JP).
We know if one of the players is getting married (Congrats Hunter and Lexi) or are having a baby (Congrats Hunter and Shelley).
Heck, we know if someone farts in the clubhouse (miss you, Jean).
It’s all pretty intimate.
When Brandon and Jalynne lost her sister last week, I didn’t want anything more than to be there for them. I didn’t care about wins, losses or the standings. It is an incredibly sad stroke of ill luck for a wonderful family within our family. I just wanted to help out.
By the same token, Madison’s dirt bike accident is a family matter, too. I am not as concerned it happened as I am that he’s all right.
I was proud of him for standing erect before a phalanx of reporters and owning up to it not being the most prudent move, but honestly, I know the guy likes to ranch and ride and slay snakes to save jackrabbits. I know he’s a man’s man. I don’t begrudge him a hobby like dirt bike riding, ’cause he’s my brother and I assume it’s the kinda thing he’d do on an off day.
The beginning of this season has been filled with weird misfortunes among which the death of our sister-in-law is the most significant and important. It exceeds the petty concerns of win-loss and standings.
Of course I want to #BeatLA, but as Brandon and Jalynne grieve, and Madison mends and rehabs, I wish and pray most for the health and happiness of our entire family, irrespective of the record.
My best to you all.
And so it comes to this.
The best first half in the majors and the second-worst second half in the majors sums to the most important home stand of the year with twenty games to play.
Seven games: three against the Padres and four against the Cardinals who are outside looking in and trying, with the Mets, to pry us from atop the National League Wild Card standings.
The difference between eking out the Wild Card and seizing the division from the nemesis lies in these next seven games. We have to take five.
We were happy in June. This team looked built to make the run. The pieces all made sense and our record was the result of beautiful play. We were happy because we won without Pence, Panik, Duffy and Romo. If anything we were enthused because we knew we’d have them all back healthy for the stretch run. The pain of last year when all the injuries hit in August was fresh in our minds. (To be honest we’ve been pretty lucky in that regard).
Johnny Cueto tore it up and started the All-Star Game. We voted Belt into the summer classic with vigor. Cain and Peavy were mostly bad, but it didn’t seem to matter. Until he went down Romo was a great set-up man for Casilla who collected the majority of his 31 saves and looked like he could be the closer. (That team still exists).
Then this epic collapse of hitting and failures in the bullpen in the second half necessitated re-engineering the rotation, forced us to deal beloved Duffy.
I for one fully support what I think was swift and bold decision-making by Bobby Evans, Brian Sabean, Larry Baer, Bruce Bochy and staff. We had to do something quick and if we didn’t pick up Matt Moore, I am not sure we would even have a chance right now. Add to that the success Eduardo Núñez has had at third and at the plate, and I’m more than pleased we made the deal.
If we have to play the Mets or Nats in the play-in game I am confident we can send out MadBum and have a great chance to win. But thanks to the trade, I now also feel, with Cueto starting against the Cubs, then Samardzija/Moore and back to Bumgarner, we actually have a shot to beat the league leaders, to win the NLCS.
and today, David Schoenfeld, the SweetSpot Blogger on ESPN says,
- The Giants are due to play better. Maybe they weren’t actually the best team in baseball when they ended the first half with a better record than the Chicago Cubs, but clearly they’re not the second-worst team in baseball.
- Baseball teams are streaky. While the Giants’ extreme splits are abnormal, a bad stretch doesn’t necessarily predict more losing. They’re just as likely to go on a nice winning streak now. That’s baseball.
- The Dodgers play 13 of their remaining 20 games on the road, and they’re 47-27 at home and just 33-35 on the road.
- The teams have six games remaining against each other, including the season-ending series in San Francisco.
- Hunter Pence is hot, with eight hits in the Arizona series. Buster Posey is due to get hot as well, right?
- Strickland, if he does win the closer’s role on a regular basis, will be fine. He has a 2.41 ERA in his major league career and has held opponents to a .202 average (.213 this season). He has been the Giants’ best reliever over the past two seasons. So why has Bruce Bochy been so hesitant to name him the closer? It probably goes back to the 2014 postseason, when Strickland, with just seven innings of big league time, allowed six home runs in eight appearances. It’s tough to trust a guy in close games after seeing that, but Strickland is a solid reliever and has earned the opportunity. (As a bonus, rookie Derek Law, with a 1.94 ERA and excellent peripherals, is due to come off the DL this week.)”
Which brings us to the biggest home stand of the year.
Our biggest concern is a big one: the bullpen is a mess. Our second biggest concern is an ongoing lack of timely hitting, a situational slump at the plate particularly with runners in scoring position that has made #RISPsigh a thing now.
But on the positive side we got what we asked for, all the pieces we need and we are healthy. Hunter Pence just decided to turn it up several notches. Brandon Crawford and Buster Posey know the stretch.
Panik has to follow Núñez who has also been making it happen. Span and Pagan gotta get hot at the same time and Belt … I need you Brandon, I need some power from you. More aggressiveness at the plate. I love the walks and the on-base percentage, but take a chance and rock that thing.
The sharpness is returning to the starters. I like that. And the bullpen? Well I know this, they can’t do it without our support. I can’t be there, but the yard better be rocking.
Let’s Go Giants! Take ’em one day at a time and win ’em all.
25 Guys One Common Goal
September is a funny time for baseball fans whose teams are in the running. My nails are all chewed down to the cuticle. My hair gets a little greyer each year in September. There is agony and joy wrapped up in this beautiful game that confounds and delights us.
I can remember my son’s first SF Giants game like it was yesterday. It was a September 17th game against the division-leading Rockies. This was 2009 and my kid was seven years old. It was Randy Johnson Poster night and he still has his orange My First Ballgame certificate from the Giants and his poster celebrating The Big Unit’s 300th Win, which came that year with Johnson in a Giants uniform.
The Giants trailed the Rox by just two games and Matt Cain was on the mound facing Jorge de la Rosa. We had watched and listened to the Giants all summer and I bought tickets to that game because I figured it might be the one that either got us into a playoff chase or ended our run at the Rockies.
In the ninth, down 4-3, the Giants had runners on 2nd and 3rd with two outs, and we were standing and yelling our guts out when Edgar Renteria grounded out to end the game. The Rockies took a three-game lead with them out of town and we never got closer to the playoffs that year.
The following September of course was our epic run-down of the Snakes that culminated in us stealing the division on the last day and eventually the 2010 World Series Championship And since then, like clockwork, we’ve had a good September every other year and taken it all the way to the World Series, winning twice more. Amazing.
Our runs and collapses in perfect order these last six years have added a powerful, albeit false, pressure to this year.
We ought to be realistic about the incredible run we have just made and see it as unprecedented in quality. We ought to acknowledge we may be fading now not because we cannot do it, not because we don’t have the talent, but rather because we may just finally be out of steam from what has been an exceptional amount of success.
Changes to the team are at the heart of this: the loss of pitchers Petit, Vogelsong and Hudson and the fading of Lincecum and Cain have weakened our formidable staff. Even Javier Lopez doesn’t look as dominant as he has these past few years (not to mention he can’t be spelled by Affeldt anymore either).
Our attempts to just plug in Cueto and Samardzija and Matt Moore and a slew of relievers cannot be expected to align with our every-other-year success. It’s a different team.
In terms of hitting, we lost Pablo and I know how much you all love Matt Duffy (I do, too), but the Panda was a special part of our Championship years. We’ve had four third basemen since Sandoval left … just two years ago. We squeezed out much of the last talent from other hitters: Pat Burrell, Aubrey Huff (THE BUNT ON NOVEMBER 1ST!), Cody Ross, Marco Scutaro, Ryan Theriot, a doping Melky Cabrera. And despite Posey, Pence, Panik, Pagan and Crawford hitting well, hitting remains a problem whether we win or not, which is why winning the World Series the way we have has been even more amazing.
Point is, I don’t want to get all wound up and agonized if we don’t manage to find success all the way to the World Series again. I think the expectation we should is inflated, unrealistic and for some solely predicated on the fact it’s an even year – which is meaningless.
This September may be the end of an amazing dream. If so, I would rather celebrate how successful these last six years have been and lose with the grace of a winner.
I am not giving up. I am in this fight daily and rooting for our boys to do it again. It would be unreal if they did it again. I mean, what a dream – a dream that just keeps not ending? Wow. I want it. I believe we can do it … because we have.
But to expect it isn’t cool.
So let’s turn that even year expectation down a bit, yeah?
I was all excited to start the 13th Reader with a link to David Laurila’s excellent interview with Dave Righetti for Fan Graphs – a rare opportunity to hear Rags speak about pitching. It’s fascinating – particularly the comments concerning speed control and its importance to command.
I read it right when it came out and it was just so cool. I learned so much from just those few questions and answers. I was going to write about it, but then found Brisbee had already gushed, and since we agree materially that you should immediately go check it out, I didn’t.
Anyway I was all excited to get up and put it into this issue of the reader … but then this morning I had to endure Ken Rosenthal on Rich Eisen’s show talking about the gritty team in Los Angeles and how tough Chase Utley and Justin Turner and – “even the young guys”- Corey Seager are … gimme a break …
Then I had to watch them score 18 runs in Cincy in the day game that puts them a full game ahead of the Giants as we head into this week’s three game series down at Chavez Ravine – and now this reader is headed toward what’s wrong with us.
I am convinced we are the better, more stable and more experienced team. We’ve been on a streaky collapse, a downtrending rollercoaster, but it isn’t from injuries or bad play as much as difficulty getting things to gel.
We’ve been inconsistent in many aspects of the game at different times and we have a hard time getting it all to come together at once. But when it does, anyone can see we’re built to win.
We’re struggling to get long missing pieces to fit back together. Panik returned and took a while to warm up, and right when Pence got back he got a black eye. Here’s Brisbee on Hunter Pence‘s struggles since returning from the DL.
We’re working to bring on new guys – Eduardo Nunez and Matty Moore and Will Smith and others – Joe Nathan, possibly. Some of these are having moments of brilliance, but it isn’t easy to make it all work together right out of the box and there has been disarray. Here’s Baggs on the Newest Giants and their struggles.
Make no mistake, we are going down there this week to Beat LA and seize back the division for good for the rest of the season. However, since we’ve fallen so mightily, there’s no shortage of “What’s Wrong With The Giants?” pieces.
John Shea did a genuine and honest inside-the-clubhouse piece about what the Giants themselves think is wrong with the energy or vibe of the team.
Around the Foghorn’s Laith Agha focuses on the hitting woes of the G-men and intends to address pitching as well, next.
Somebody called Mike Schwarz writing for something called isportsweb led with “The San Francisco Giants have been the worst team since the All-Star break.” – in this analysis of our woes.
On a lighter note, Speaking of Hunter Pence, ESPN Sr. Writer Eddie Matz did a nice little Burning Questions segment with the lanky, right fielder – such a personable and likable guy.
And Gregor Blanco’s White Shark Blog this week is a really heart-warming post about the guys on the bench – Conor Gillaspie, Ehire Adrianza, Trevor Brown and himself.
It was a well fought game that almost was a no-no for Samardzija: CSNBA posted the AP piece on Yespedes busting up Samardzija’s no-hitter.
Phil Rogers of MLB.com says the nemesis is better than us and will win the division.
But I believe in our team. Man, I hope we go down there and sweep the nemesis.
We have endured the East Coast and LA bias from national networks for so long they’re irrelevant to us. In fact sometimes it feels better to ride the role of underdog, knowing we have the most experienced, smartest and most tightly knit coaching staff in all the majors.
The mainstream sports media and the hulking brutes of NYC and Chicago always count us out. They have no comprehension of the nuances of the game or teamwork.
They counted us out when we were chasing the D-Backs in ’10 and again vs. the then-Champion Phillies and again in the World Series – even after seeing what MadBum, Timmy and the Beard could do. Not to mention the quietly peerless Buster Posey.
They counted us out when Melky went down for PED use, and we all agreed WE wouldn’t allow him back for the playoffs – though we could have – but rather try to soldier on. This one is always my favorite of the three, because of Pablo’s 3HR, with two off Verlander (him saying “wow,” watching the second one go out – best bad ball hitter ever: Pablo Sandoval). How Romo dismissed Cabrera is maybe my favorite SFGiants WS moment ever.
Then in 2014, they counted us out as a wild card has-been! and we just Madbummed the shit out of them. They counted us out against the Darlings of the Nation and we sent MadBum out to finish them off in their house.
So we are USED to being the ones counted OUT.
But what we know is different. We know we have Rags, Skip, Bam-Bam and Wotus in place. We know that losing Flan for the more conservative Kelly is really just an adjustment, not a loss. We have a Hall of Fame manager who has been through it all.
We know these guys know how to win with their backs against the wall. We know if we just get in to the playoffs, we have as a good a chance as any and a better chance than most because we have CHAMPIONS BLOOD.
I for one, believe that the moves we made are good moves. It hurts so much to have lost Vogey and Petit and Duffy. It hurts a LOT.
But I understand what Evans and Sabean are trying to do and I approve. These are aggressive and expensive moves – Samardzija and Cueto were $90million! We’ve never paid that kinda money for two players before. Duffy was just awesome in Panda’s place for a critical WS series year and more. But I get the trade. Getting the right puzzle pieces is hella expensive.
Here’s what I know: they can’t win if we don’t believe.
and I do.
I believe in this team of managers, coaches and players. I think the new guys need to tune in to a culture of winning and realize that petty losses should be dumped immediately. This is a tightrope walk, not whack-a-mole.
I know Posey, Pence, Bcraw, Belt, Panik, Pagan, D-Span, Nunez and our pitchers that rake can get out of this slump and start producing like the machine they were earlier in the season. It’s all about getting hot at the right time and we have the machine that can do that.
We dispensed with injuries to Pence and Panik and Pagan early so they are ready and playing well.
We dealt for better – read more experienced – pitching help for the bullpen and starters. We’re doing all the right things.
(EXCEPT I STILL REALLY THINK WE OUGHTA BAT THE SP IN THE 8 SPOT AND LET PAGAN AND D-SPAN BECOME BACK-TO-BACK LEADOFF HITTERS).
Anyway, all that is left is:
for us to believe and
for the guys to never quit.
so, guys? …. Never Quit.
3B, baseball, baseman, best, Bochy, Bruce, cain, Casey, coach, coaching, Cody, deadline, duffy, Francisco, giants, Hudson, hunter, Jake, marco, matt, McGehee, mlb, Moore, Pabl, Peavy, pence, pitchers, Romo, Ross, Ryan, San, Sandoval, scutaro, Sergio, sf, smith, staff, theriot, third, Tim, trade, Will
A lot of fans were emotional yesterday upon hearing the news the SF Giants had traded Matt Duffy, but I was surprised long-time fan Grant Brisbee was among them – he practically wept. I figured old guys like us were used to the business of baseball and would leap to the evaluation of the statistics of the swap – which he did of course, through his tears.
Me, I found the trade an excellent use of a system we’ve developed with great effort and the right balance of stats and human evaluation in the near-decade since Barry Lamar stalked off into the sunset of post-Giants life.
Sure, I’ll miss Matt Duffy, but he only played for us for two years. It was an intense and impressive couple of years because he had to step into Pablo Sandoval’s big shoes, but I don’t grow that attached to players that fast no matter who they are. It takes me a while to want to make someone “untouchable,” as Posey and Bumgarner are.
Actually, I can remember when fans – terrified about the absence of Panda and failure of McGehee – wanted to trade Matt Duffy for a “real third baseman,” in his rookie year.
And speaking of Panda – a home grown third baseman who was with us through three World Series wins and instrumental in at least one – I do and will miss the Pablo we all loved: an incredible Giant, with huge personality, beloved for his simple, crazy humanity.
Besides, I know Matt Duffy has a long career ahead of him and will excel wherever he plays. I will be watching this guy for a few years to come and heck, he could end up back with us with the way the business of baseball works.
We have done what we set out to do. We have grown our talent at home and added missing pieces to create championship teams, not once, but thrice in the last six years. It has been a stunning achievement, and I think a lot of fans have taken the subtle moves for granted.
It was inevitable that at least one or two or even some of all this home grown talent would have to be used as chips to gain the missing pieces needed. In this case we gave up a lot to get the specific missing elements of our pitching staff, and I for one, am glad we had the guts and aggressiveness to go all-in.
I do not know if Matt Moore and Will Smith are the answer, but I DO know that once they get in Buster Posey’s capable hands for the month of August they’re likely to be much better prepared for a championship run than they have ever been in their lives.
What the Giants have done these last six years is almost unheard of in the modern era. We have kept our coaching staff intact, core players aboard in Posey, Bumgarner, Cain, Lopez and Romo. Turned homegrown talent such as The Brandons, Crawford and Belt, into All-Stars and snagged and locked-up Hunter Pence.
We managed Angel Pagan and Gregor Blanco in balance with rotating OFs. We squeezed the last bits of greatness from Cody Ross, Marco Scutaro, Ryan Theriot, Jake Peavy and Tim Hudson.
We’ve had great coaching at farm club levels resulting in consistently good play from rookies and newcomers to the team. Bruce Bochy is a first-ballot Hall of Fame Manager at this point, and his staff, again mostly intact (MISS YOU, FLAN!) are an amazing group.
If we had rested on our laurels and not made a trade for the essential relief and starting pitching support we needed, I’m not sure we could beat this year’s Cubs. Now I feel we have a legitimate shot not only to achieve that in Bochy vs. Maddon I, but go on to win it all.
Matt, you were a great Giant and that is what made you valuable and in-demand. We will miss you and I wish you all the best in Tampa. I am confident you will excel. I hear you are returning to SS and it must be cool to be with your Dirtbag mentor, Evan Longoria. Enjoy yourself and knock ’em dead.
Meanwhile, turning back to August …
Welcome aboard Matt Moore and Will Smith. Get your gear from Murph, perk up and pay attention. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND LISTENING TO BUSTER POSEY.
Let’s all pull it together and go out there and Even-Year-the-Shit-Outta-This-Thing.
I hate Inter-League.
I’ve NEVER liked it.
have been forced to tolerate it by idiots who spend absurd amounts of their energy trying to destroy the beautiful chess match that is the National League game. These loud, brutish and impatient fans are incapable of enjoying the game of baseball at its own pace.
So they’ve shoved Inter-League down our throats, as they do with the incessant and obnoxious demands we add Designated Hitters and limit the number of pitchers we can use.
I hate you people. Why can’t you just leave us alone?
You go watch AL ball and leave us alone to happily watch NL ball. I honestly think it would be way better for the game to go back to NO Inter-League games in the regular season and have the AL and NL meet only twice: in the ASG and the WS.
The AL fans can make all the changes they want to the game and they can let us real fans of baseball have our chess match. You go watch your blunt instrument version of the game and we will enjoy our defensive battles and five-tool play.
We’re not going to see the Yankees again for a while, since they aren’t in smelling distance of a wild card. It was fun to wax nostalgic about 1921 and 1962 and all the years between, but I really could not care less about these games.
I guess I’m not really too mad we went 1-7 and had such horrible outings offensively. We were playing three rookies every game. And in fact, we got some great plays out of them. It was good to give them experience. I am proud that our record is so strong we can withstand six losses and still lead the NL West and have the second best record in the majors.
Well, whatever … so glad we’re back home.
Let’s Go Giants, CRUSH the Reds.
The New York Metropolitans play in Flushing Meadows, which is kinda … Queens, a borough of New York. There are 5 boroughs. So our history is related to all this:
OK. so. Shea stadium was in Flushing. It neighbored Citi Field.
The Giants played at the Polo Grounds, which was in upper Manhattan – which is what made them NEW YORK.
Brooklyn, which is just south of Queens, is where the Dodgers played.
BOTH teams, the Giants and the Dodgers moved to the West Coast in the same year.
In 1958, the Giants moved from Manhattan to San Francisco, and the Dodgers moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles.
… which is why we believe we have a 132-year rivalry.
Now, the Mets, the Metropolitans, are a new New Queens, I mean Flushing, entity … which is another borough than Manhattan … so …
any baseball Giant fan, like Jaromir Jagr, who wishes the Giants still play in New York when we visit the Mets, when they play in Queens … is kind of a false-nostalgia person.
This is the whole point of the Manhattan being in SF and the Brooklyn being in LA.
Cubs fans, I like your team and your young talent Kris Bryant. I’ve admired your new manager for many years. In fact, I’m excited for your run. But there’s one award you guys don’t get this season, and that’s National League Rookie of the Year.
Before we even begin discussing statistics, I want to be clear why Matt Duffy is the NL ROY.
Simply put, he is the Rookie of the Year because among all rookies Matt Duffy has the most command of baseball’s five tools:
1) Hitting for Power
2) Hitting for Average
3) Fielding Ability
4) Throwing Ability
Hitting for power among national league rookies belongs to Kris Bryant. It’s undeniable.
And if you can’t think deeper than that one aspect of the game, I can see why you might think Bryant should be the ROY. Bryant has more HRs, more RUNS, RBI and a better OPS, SLG (slugging percentage) and fWAR.
But back on August 20th, Sports Illustrated’s Chris Corcoran in a piece called Awards Watch had more to say about measuring the two players with adjusted stats.
“Based on the raw stats … you might think Duffy should rank behind Kris Bryant … but Duffy’s stats are depressed because he plays in an extreme pitchers’ park.
“Looking at park-adjusted OPS+, the two are in a virtual tie in terms of production (Duffy is at 125 to Bryant’s 128, with 100 being league average).
After power-hitting, it looks considerably less convincing for Kris Bryant as a candidate for NL rookie of the year.
Hitting for average belongs to Matt Duffy. He has more doubles, more triples, more hits, and a better average by almost 40 points than Bryant. But it’s Duffy’s average with RISP that should surprise and enlighten Cubs fans.
Avg. with RISP Matt Duffy .378
Avg. with RISP Kris Bryant .311
It shows Duffy to have been as clutch as Bryant. In fact, despite lagging in RBI, perhaps more so.
In terms of base running, Duffy has shown an awareness rarely seen by rookies. Recently scoring from first with heads-up alertness on a deep single, The Duffman consistently shows a keen knowledge of base running and how to use his speed. Duffy has never been caught stealing.
To his credit Kris Bryant has stolen four more bases, but he has been caught stealing four times and, like all power hitters, is much more susceptible to striking out.
Duffy’s better efficiency at the plate is clear in a comparison of the two young men’s walk-to-strikeout ratio.
While displaying massive power and great clutch-hitting skills, Kris Bryant is not performing defensively like Duffy, and what the Duffman has done is what puts him over the top.
Bryant has played outfield in 26 games, preventing him from having to play position defense. But as a result Bryant and Duffy have each played 123 games in the infield allowing a fair comparison … and statistics are clear.
When playing 3rd base, Bryant has committed 17 errors – seven more than Duffy at that position, and five more than Duffy overall. Bryant’s fielding percentage is 20 points lower than Duffy’s. Duffy’s dWAR exceeds Bryant’s significantly.
Corcoran agreed, back on August 20th:
“Beyond that, Duffy is a better fielder at the same position and has arguably contributed more with his legs (he has taken the extra base 12 times to Bryant’s nine, reached on an error eight times to Bryant’s four and is five-for-five in stolen base attempts, while Bryant is 12-for-15).”
Both these young men have been great rookies this year. Their clutch performances, poise and consistency over the course of the season have been a blast to watch and root for.
But since a decision has to be made, and towering home runs aren’t a single reason to award the Rookie of the Year in the National League, it should be awarded to Matt Duffy for his fullness as a player and for his impressive command of the five tools of baseball.
… and with our current seven-game slide, looks like there won’t be one now.
I am quite proud of our biennial success. 2010, ’12 and ’14 represent, at least in the absence of back-to-back championships, a kind of a dynasty. I call it the Bruce Bochy Era and it has been a blast! an incredible ride!
I’m not giving up on us yet, but being swept in LA after losing two to the Cardinals at home put us in need of desperation wins. Every game counts and the loss to the Rockies last night just about puts us away.
It has been another roller coaster season, horrible opening, followed by the best team in baseball in May, then an epic June swoon that turned right into an excellent July.
Injuries claimed our month of August.
HEY, MLB: STOP THROWING AT AOKI-SAN!
The absence of Pence and Panik and Pagan and Aoki at the critical juncture of our season killed us. But the bright spots were brilliant – starting with the National League Rookie of the Year performance put in by Matt Duffy. The Duffman was fantastic.
Joe Panik had an incredible year and Brandon Crawford had his best year yet in every statistical category. Kelby Tomlinson and Josh Osich, rookies who debuted and performed exceptionally well under pressure, were another bright spot.
Cain’s problems, Huddy’s age, and Lincecum’s hip were a bummer, but Chris Heston threw the first no-hitter by a San Francisco Giant rookie in over a century!
Posey was excellent and our hitting was the best in the league for long stretches, with almost five guys hitting over .300!
It isn’t over, but I thought I would wax philosophical about the road to now.
Go Giants, do the impossible – win back-to-back for the first time in the 21st century!
In a way we can say we’ve been playing these guys, in this League, for 131 years.
Last night’s was a trench battle.
Games like that reveal what kind of fans we are and today, as we all wake up – some of us to read what happened, others to bemoan having stayed up – it’s also a gut-check.
My first reaction is often lunging for reasons we lost that are our own responsibility and I landed upon Bruce Bochy – who let Jake Peavy stay in after Jimmy Rollins singled to lead off the bottom of the sixth.
I have pent-up frustrations from years of having a shorter leash than Bochy, and it makes me, ultimately, irrational, sometimes. So I contain myself and stare at the situation I questioned for minutes after a loss.
Waking up this morning it remains the problem. Leaving Peavy in to allow the homer that tied it 3-3 was frustrating … but then still leaving him in to face the hottest-hitting player in the League? That was just enraging. Too much trust, man.
When Ethier homered to give them the lead, this game felt doomed.
Berman defends Bochy of course; in ways not even Marty Lurie would.
Me? I realize Bochy’s the guy in the chair. Skip has won us three world series, not me or Marty or Grant Brisbee, but I still have so many issues with his crazy decision-making.
So I disagree with him, but what do I know? There have to be hundreds of more reasons than I can possibly fathom for putting in Broadway instead of Petit last night.
But a second point sticks with me about that fateful bottom of the sixth: blatantly and in extreme close-up and high-definition, Jake Peavy shook off Buster Posey on the pitch he delivered to Ethier. What did Posey call? What did Peavy throw?
(Jenkins informs me later: “It was a curve, and not a good one.”)
If Bochy left him in because he still had enough in the tank, did he also approve him blowing off whatever Buster Posey put up against the hottest-hitting batter in the league?
Bruce Jenkins, Alex Pavlovic, anyone ask that? Probably not much time or desire for such a question after a gut-wrenching loss.
Imagine asking the guys that. It would be hard to do. It takes being a kind of a dick as a reporter. But it ought to be done. In New York they do it.
But we’re nicer guys than that. So much so, the guys kicked Baggs out for asking too many such questions. Which in my opinion was bad-form, whether we won the World Series or not. I do not like the way Comcast has us going – toward rah-rah coverage and TV-series spoof videos.
I’m the kind of fan who misses the days of reporters being in charge and being able to ask tough questions. I despair over the bimbo cheerleaders on TV asking catch-phrase rhetoricals. I honestly don’t think CSN Bay Area is good for the SF Giants.
Comcast turns coverage of local teams into collegial homerism. I find it clownish, actually, and the focus of the sportstainment-driven Comcast is way too far off-the-field. I rarely say any of this, of course, because it’s bad social-media form. When I do mention it, I immediately lose followers, so, enough of my media criticism.
We fought back after what I consider Bochy’s managerial mistake. I am proud of this. I love our never-say-die attitude. Bochy himself has it and he admires his guys for it. We don’t quit. It’s team-wide and seems infectious … every new guy gets on board.
In this regard, Marlon Byrd has stepped right in for Hunter Pence. It has taken exceptional effort by this crafty, very professional veteran to keep us in this race. I really love his hustle, heart, smarts – just the way he plays the game. Thank you, Marlon, you are a good Giant.
When my new favorite Giant, Josh Osich – the big lefty rookie – came in last night, he looked shaky, so it was George Kontos’ turn in a tough situation at Chavez Ravine. Yikes.
I have been harsh on Kontos in the past and also tried to praise him when he does well. He muted me a few weeks ago for being critical. I don’t feel bad about being critical. I do think the guys ought to take it.
In Los Angeles late yesterday George Kontos was excellent in relief in a place where he must have been haunted a bit. He dealt with it and hopefully even put it behind him with his performance. Forced to enter because Affeldt was unavailable, Kontos rose to the challenge. Way to Go, George!
One issue however was at the plate, where Kontos, like Adrianza earlier, botched a bunt to advance runners, dropping three straight fouls wide of the first base line and showing little control.
“So the inability of Kontos to bunt took all the pressure off the Dodgers. Here they come, bottom of the 13th, four to four!” -Vin Scully, midway through the 13th last night.
Kontos, Adrianza, and, I surmise, half the team should be practicing bunts every single day until the end of the season. Do they not know about Aubrey Huff’s critical bunt – the only bunt ever in the month of November – that helped us win our first World Series? and Bochy telling him to take bunt practice in September? uh, Hello?
Still, it was a great game. Both defenses were crisp, base running was excellent. Pitchers were good just up until the moment they weren’t, which means it was taut.
Duffy continues to impress to the point that he should be gaining ground in the race toward his ROY award for the National League.
The Dodgers let us hoist ourselves on our own petard – which in this case was injury-depletion – and they closed it out.
It hurts to lose one of those like a kick in the gut, but to be frank, I love baseball and that was a gritty 14-innings.
Waking up today, perspective is important. We’re the champs and still mathematically in this. But if we go down, let us do so with grace.
I believe we can do it: win back-to-back, especially since we have those four games against the nemesis at home to end the season and our schedule in September is much better than August was and we are finally getting back Joe Panik …
I still believe.
Specs just hit the walkoff and the .gif of the guys jumping around and him pushing his glasses up is on an endless loop in all our minds.
The kid from Chickasha, Oklahoma via Texas Tech whom the Giants drafted in the 12th round in 2011, debuted as a Giant on August 3rd with a clutch pinch-hit single, resulting in Kelby scoring a go-ahead run in the 12th inning on the road, at Turner Field in Atlanta.
That’s how this crazy ride began.
The next day, Kelby proceeded to get RBI hits in his first two at-bats. He was batting 1.000 til late in his second game as a major-leaguer – in which he went 2 for 4 and drove in three runs in support of Madison Bumgarner and the Giants won.
Kelby Tomlinson has since systematically shredded the month of August in his major league debut.
In 55 plate appearances in 20 games this August, Specs is batting a cool .346, has a .519 slugging percentage and an OPS of .901.
Tomlinson has two doubles, two triples and his first home run, a grand slam, gave him his tenth of 11 RBI.
The eleventh? last night’s walk-off game winning single at AT&T.
The August of Kelby Tomlinson has been a thing of great joy, replete with new hashtags and nicknames #ClarkKelby #Specs
and, no matter what happens this season, it has been a thrilling major league debut for this exceptional 25-year old.
Sigh. At this moment we’ve lost three of four games in Chicago and are down 2-0 in the last.
Last night, Brian Murphy, typically, doomsaid in the towel;
but our pitching is a hot mess from starters to the ‘pen and losing Joe Panik has sent our batting order round the bend. It’s an odd year and we look cooked. So Brian took to roasting the team.
This was the day after George Kontos muted me on twitter for sending a tweet saying the ‘pen has to tighten up … I suggested maybe we should all go out and throw darts together.
Yo, George! I meant it seriously! as a stimulant, let’s go to a bar and throw some darts in a few friendly competitive rounds of “cricket” to get the juices flowing – a little less oversensitivity and a little more performance appreciated, kid. It isn’t just sixteen-year-old girls who like your hair out here. It’s also long-time Giants fans who have seen a LOT of relievers come and go. I like you, man. You’ve improved a lot. But don’t get your panties in a wad when I beg you and your pals to focus and play better.
Anyway, let’s put all that aside. Because this bad mojo and weird vibage needs to fall away.
I say we’ve been here before and we can defeat The Odd Year Curse because we have the talent and we have the experience and our management knows what they’re doing.
We’re only missing the timing.
and I think that’s starting to come together even as we make mistakes. Roberto Kelly at 3rd has been a learning experience, but I think he has climbed that steep curve swiftly. Same can be said for Cain. Everybody keeps dogging the big horse, but I see a work-in-recovery-in-progress. He knows the game. He is still hitting 92 occasionally. He can peak in September for all we know.
Jake Peavy, already looking better generally, may come through like he did last year at this time. He is way better than we expected when he came off the DL.
In 2010, we went through this game in August against the Reds and it was a seriously low point for the team. REALLY READ the entire blog entry of that game. I wrote it in one fell swoop after the game happened and I think you’ll feel it. At that moment we were severely sunk. And what we did from that game on, was epic.
I am pretty sure the Sabean/Bochy private meeting with the guys that Brian Murphy refers to in his post happened immediately after that particular game. I am trying to get you someplace we have been before but with DEPTH.
Now in the 2012 season we faced the departure of Melky Cabrera. We were at the game almost exactly three years ago when it was announced Melky had tested positive and would be gone. Woah, what a weird vibe. Lincecum vs. Strasburg at AT&T. There were Milkmen and Milkmaids at the game … dressed! They were selling hats!
But again, everybody said after Melky was gone we couldn’t do it. And we swept the Tigers in epic style, with Panda’s three including two off Verlander and Cain outdueling Scherzer and my favorite closeout ever: Sergio Romo’s fastball – NOT SLIDER – getting Miguel Cabrera looking … ohhhhhhhhh, god … that is nice.
2014 came with it’s own challenges, but we were full strength and with Panda and Madbum and Posey and Cain and the whole machine working. Out here in the Bay, we knew what nobody in the country knew – that these guys have #ChampionshipBlood.
Ishikawa had to go yard. Panik had to draw that 9th inning walk so we could go nine more innings and finally win off the Belt homer in the top of the 18th. It all had to happen. For the rest of the country it was hard to chew and swallow. But we knew we’re the best.
We are the best TEAM around. We play as a team and we pick each other up. Every other night another hero. #25GuysOneCommonGoal
So there we were without home field advantage and we had to be the bad guys by beating the darlings of the nation in their house. We sent Madbum out there to handle it. He mowed ’em down in epic fashion.
(btw, Peavy’s still in and it’s still 2-0 Cubs in the 4th)
It would be easy to give up to the odd-year phenomenon. I say, don’t.
The National League is intensely competitive this year and the Mets, Nationals, Dodgers, Cardinals, Cubs, Pirates and others beat each other up as much as they beat us up; so anything can still happen. We gotta play smart, stay healthy, and win the right ones.
I think Bochy and upper management are staring intensely at the health and well-being of guys and trying to get ahead of that process. The absence of Joe Panik in Chicago this week speaks to that. (I even got to a point where I thought, maybe Boch doesn’t want Maddon to even see Panik – we do have to face them again this month after all).
So because of all this intense competition, we can win the division. I will repeat that: We can win the division. I’ve been using the hashtag #SeizeTheDivision because once we grab it we cannot let go.
I think if we field Aoki, Panik, Duffy, Posey, Pence, Belt, Crawford, Blanco and Maxwell.
And if we have Bumgarner, Heston, Peavy and Cain as starters and Kontos, Affeldt, Lopez, Osich, Vogey, Romo, Strickland and Lincecum as relievers
by August 20th.
And if those guys, are supported by Pagan and Hudson, Susac and Sanchez … we can spend the last six weeks of the season actually winning this thing.
I believe in that group of guys for the last six weeks, but the math has it that we play the Cubs again, and the Pirates, the Nationals, the Cardinals TWICE (who are due for some losses) and the Astros this next few weeks. So it may not happen right off.
This is the worst stretch of our schedule. All we have to do is what Rich Aurilia said and go .500 during this stretch to stay in the mix.
I think this year the NL is going to come down to the wire like in 2011 when the Cardinals went crazy and the Red Sox tanked and we all watched four TVs on the last night of the season.
and I think if we are smart we can take advantage of that. We can time Bumgarner right because we have lots of starters. We can sneak wins in when they matter most in the last few weeks of the season by juggling our talent.
We can do this.
Let’s Go Giants!
Let’s win Back-to-Back and be a true #SFDynasty Tighten up, play the game right and with 25 Guys sharing One Common Goal, let’s Win Today!
It is the 7th inning in today’s final game at Wrigley and we are still down 2-0, so while I was writing this it sounds like Jake Peavy after giving up the initial coupla runs settled down and Arrieta is rolling along. I don’t know. I do know we can prey on a bullpen with only a two-run deficit and I do know that I love our community and I hope you all read this and believe we can do this. We can win back-to-back. We can turn all this around on a dime and take over.
BECAUSE WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS, MY FRIEND.
AND WE’LL KEEP ON FIGHTING TILL THE END.
Let’s go Giants!
Bruce Bochy, I’d like to shake your hand.
I want to thank you, congratulate you and apologize for doubting you from time to time. What you have done with a number of different players over the last five years is testimony to your brilliance and inspiration.
You finally brought a championship to San Francisco, and not just one, now, but three – and you did it with an ever-changing array of players, overcoming injuries and incredible odds.
Your staff – Righetti, Meulens, Wotus, Kelly, Flannery and the others take their lead from you and have all been superb. Your team and staff management is a thing of greatness. In my opinion, sir, you have earned a place in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Yet you always give it up to the guys and wow, what a group of guys. Without Matt Cain and without Angel Pagan and without Michael Morse in the regular lineup for much of it; without Buster hitting the way he usually does – likely from sheer exhaustion – they fought and never quit.
The grittiness, stick-to-it-iveness, toughness, persistence and grind-it-out effort were a thing of beauty. The 18 inning game was one of the most impressive efforts I have ever seen made by men in Giants uniforms.
Guys, I am so very proud of you all and our team spirit. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for another world championship. I feel truly blessed.
in Giants Baseball Corner
Jake Peavy joined the Giants and went 6-4 with a 2.17 ERA in 12 starts.
He only gave up three home runs. He threw 58 strikeouts and 17 walks, for a 3.41 strikeout-to-walks ratio.
He gave up 65 hits and 24 runs, 19 of them earned.
Jake was particularly good in August when other starters were struggling. In his 13th season, Peavy is returning to play for the manager whom he entered the league under, Bruce Bochy, who managed the Padres when Jake debuted.
At the age of 33, he is the only player on either team in this year’s World Series who is a current World Series Champion, having won with Boston last year. In that way he reminds me of Ryan Theriot who won with the Giants in 2012 after having won with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011. “The Riot” scored the winning run that completed our sweep of the Detroit Tigers and he remains a part of SF Giants lore.
But, Peavy got no decision in his only World Series appearance with the Red Sox and he took the loss in Game Two of this Series. In fact, in the post season he has more often than not, suffered defeat.
He made three postseason starts in 2013 and the Red Sox lost two of them. So despite good numbers in the regular season, against the stiff competition of the playoffs, Peavy has not induced confidence. In eight postseason starts, including this year, Peavy’s ERA is more than seven.
Two of those starts were “flaming disasters.” Tim Brown has written about that and more today here.
There is no doubt Peavy wants to win and is a competitor. But the atmosphere in Kansas City tonight is going to be intense. The Royals, with their backs against the wall, against their own walls, are sure to be a formidable team. There are going to be no easy outs in this one. It’s the American League park, so a DH adds to the certainty of that.
Jake Peavy ended the 2014 season smoking hot. He was rolling along so well, I pushed hard for the Giants to use him rather than Madison Bumgarner in the Play-In Game against the Pirates. A lot of people teased me for my massive spamming in favor of starting Peavy. I was concerned we wouldn’t have Bumgarner available twice against the Nationals.
But Bochy, the Master, brushed off any such suggestion, started Bumgarner and we won it to advance, leaving Peavy to start Game One of the NLDS against Washington’s Nationals.
And he had one of his best Post Season starts ever.
Peavy didn’t allow a hit until the fifth inning and exited with three walks and three strikeouts in that one, an unqualified success. He was pulled after a two-out walk to Jayson Werth in the sixth, but kept the Nationals scoreless on only two hits.
The AL is a different animal and you have to stay crisp, sharp and on top of it against these hustling Royals. Their speed is crazy and they can hit. They haven’t been hitting, but they can hit. Which makes ’em even more dangerous. Backs against the wall and due. Here’s hoping Jake can #GetPeaved and the Giants can make this happen.
Giants in SIX.
(all photos: me)
The last few days have been good for serious reflection on what the San Francisco Giants and their fans have experienced over the last five years, which has been historic and secures this period of SF Giants history as belonging to one man more than any other, Manager Bruce Bochy.
The Barry Bonds Era of SF Giants baseball ended in 2007.
When you think about it, it must have been an incredible burden for first-year Giant coach Bruce Bochy to have to steward the team through the amazing individual accomplishment of Barry Lamar.
Imagine walking into the managing job with that level of pressure on the team, on Bonds. Not to mention Bonds’ attitude as a player in the clubhouse – famously self-contained. Bochy had to quietly endure all that attention – much of which was incredibly negative – and yet try to manage the team … as a team.
Then Barry Lamar was done and we were left with a very young staff of home grown talent, no real MVP’s except maybe a Freak with crazy delivery. But within two seasons, the Giants were back in the hunt.
I was at the game in Mid-September back in 2009 when we were just starting to smell the playoffs for the first time under Boch. We had scrapped and fought our way into second place in the division and had beat the Rockies twice in a three game series to pull within two games back of Division-leading Colorado.
It was my son’s first MLB game, his first Giant game. Randy Johnson was in the ‘pen.
Note the absent WS pennants in LF, seems weird now!
Matt Cain was on the mound. Though we didn’t call it this back then, Matt got #Cained that night as we lost 4-3; couldn’t drive home the winning runs waiting at second and third base with two outs. It was as close as we would get to the playoffs that season (remember this is when Wild Cards didn’t exist), another season in San Francisco in the books without satisfaction. But already the Bruce Bochy effect was evident. We were fighting hard … as a team.
2009 to the present is The Bruce Bochy Era of SF Giants baseball.
In the five years since, this team has played some of the grittiest, gutsiest, most intensely-focused, never-say-die baseball I’ve ever seen.
We’ve won our first two World Series Championships in San Francisco and three of the last five National League Pennants.
We’ve seen talent squeezed out of Cody Ross and Aubrey Huff and Pat Burrell and Marco Scutaro at the end of their careers. I’ll never forget the post World Series interview with Bochy when asked about Aubrey Huff’s bunt in the only World Series game ever played in November. He told Krukow he’d asked Huff to start practicing bunting two months earlier! Huff hadn’t dropped and wouldn’t drop a bunt all season long, but Boch was concerned he would need it in a given circumstance and so he was ready in the last game of the World Series.
Under Bochy we’ve witnessed a perfect game, a near-perfect game, three no-hitters, an inside-the-park-walkoff, Scutaro in the rain, Pablo’s three homers in a WS game (and off Verlander saying “Wow”), Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Ryan Vogelsong and even, finally Barry Zito dominance for redemption. What Bruce Bochy has done in this time period has been nothing short of brilliant.
Bruce Bochy, I have criticized and cajoled and even mocked moves you’ve made. I have been upset by things you do, patterns that seem exclusive to you and outside of my own reasoning about how games ought to be managed mid-season. Yet you’ve consistently proven me wrong and over the course of a season, of several seasons, have shown how much more you know about what to do with this group of guys.
For all our complaining, the man responsible for hiring Bruce Bochy deserves credit. Really early in the morning before the 2012 World Series parade, I was passing by Brian Sabean who was talking to a couple of people while waiting to get into the convertible he would ride in the festivities. I waited til there was a pause in their conversation and then called out, “Mr. Sabean!” He looked over at me and I held up my camera and raised my eyebrows implying I would like a shot. He acknowledged me, paused, looked down, spat, then slowly raised his hand and signaled as he looked directly at my lens:
I only wish that damn trunk had been closed. But the point is, even then, Mr. Sabean was being clear we weren’t finished, that this team wasn’t finished. Look at him – that’s a face that says, “We aren’t done yet.”
Sabean feels and, I think we have all felt it, that there is something historically special about this group of guys … and it starts with coaching.
Rags, Wotus, Bam-Bam, Flan, Will the Thrill and even Barry Lamar have been important figures in this staff, critical cogs in the system. Bochy has allowed them all not just to thrive but to excel.
Skip, you’re a “Master” of team management. There is no doubt in my mind now that you belong in the Hall of Fame – you’ve earned it.
Because of an illness in my family, I’ve been away from SF and haven’t had a lot of time to blog lately and don’t even have much today, so I will end it here.
I would like to offer my sincerest gratitude to all of you on the eve of the World Series – to the Giants, to our staff and management and to all the rest of you fans and journalists, for what has been an amazing ride during what I encourage all of us to name The Bruce Bochy Era of SF Giants Baseball, for the one man more responsible than anyone else for the amazing success.
M.T. in Giants Baseball Corner
As we actually contemplate the possibility of elimination from the postseason, here’s a sober, long entry, with criticisms, boosterisms and serious motivation for our Giants to say:
Victory Can Be Ours. Victory Should Be Ours. and finally, Victory Shall be Ours.
Defending the Dynasty With Attitude
Many of the champions of this team which won the first two world series titles for the City of San Francisco, are, for better or worse due to injuries and age, still with our team. What that means is that we are a Championship Unit.
Whether Matt Cain plays or not, he needs to be an essential part of what it will take to win because he has “playoff experience.” The same applies to Marco Scutaro and, to some extent, Tim Lincecum and Javy and Jeremy. Some of you guys may not be playing up to par or at all, but you are an essential part of our attitude in the dugout and bullpen these next few weeks. It can’t just be “The Preacher” – Hunter needs others to step up and motivate – Gregor, Pablo, you guys, too.
You have to maintain a Champion’s attitude, a Championship mentality. This means an acuteness of focus, concentration and desire. This is not a time for the loosey-goosey attitude that has sometimes taken us to victory in the past. We cannot be looking for lucky breaks like Hunter’s triple-kiss or Brooks Conrad’s brain farts.
If we want our World Series wins to be considered legitimate dominance, we have to show a fierce willingness right now to fight; to compete all the way to the end and to make this happen this year through concentration and will.
Attitude is what that’s about and older players like Scutaro, Cain and Lincecum can and must help everybody on this staff to tighten up their game. It takes 25 guys with one common goal: WIN TODAY. everyday from here on out.
The La Russa/Cardinals Precedent
In 2011, the year we ought to have had Buster and won our second WS, HoF Manager Tony La Russa faced a seriously uphill climb to the playoffs that ended in one of the most exciting last days in baseball in decades. From Wikipedia:
“At the beginning of [August] the Cardinals were 21⁄2 games behind the Brewers in the standings. However, they lost two of three to Milwaukee on the road Aug. 1–3, then did the same at home on Aug. 9–11, giving the Brewers a four-game lead in the NL Central. The team continued to stumble as the Brewers continued to win. Newly acquired shortstop Furcal hit only .240 for the month. The Cardinals went 2–4 on a six-game road trip to Pittsburgh and Chicago, then came home and were swept in three games by a bad Dodger team. After close of business on August 24, the day the Dodgers completed their sweep, St. Louis had fallen ten games behind Milwaukee in the NL Central standings and 101⁄2 games behind the Atlanta Braves (and in third place) in the NL Wild Card standings. Manager Tony La Russa said on the struggles: “I guarantee that the team you have seen the past few weeks is not the team we have, and I believe you will start to see our team tomorrow.” Chris Carpenter and other veterans called for a closed, player-only team meeting, which was held the day after the Dodgers series ended. St. Louis’ odds of making the playoffs stood at 1.3%.
We all know what happened next – one of the most epic collapses by Boston coinciding with a stunning final few weeks for the Cardinals and one of the greatest last days of a season anyone had ever experienced. I was watching four TVs that night, gripped – and the Giants weren’t even in it.
If we want to have that feeling over the next few weeks it’s time for a serious attitude adjustment.
So, I call on Hunter Pence, Matt Cain and Tim Hudson to call for a closed, player-only team meeting. It is time to charge this team up and get them to play with purpose, drive and meaning. We have to fight for the title. Nobody is just going to hand it to us, and it won’t happen at all if we maintain a lackadaisical attitude.
The Mistakes – admit them and fix them
It’s easy to say and hard to do and I wouldn’t be saying it if we hadn’t come out of the gate this season playing so well. We are wholly capable of great defense and turning double-plays consistently. We are designed as a shut down bullpen that follows starting pitching with command. We can do it. We just haven’t been doing it.
Fielding: There have been serious lapses in concentration in the field – Brandon Crawford, I’m talking to you and Panik and Duvall and the rest of the infield here. You have got to meditate, breathe, concentrate, organize yourselves. Realize we are in a fight from here on out. Tighten up guys. You have to cut down the mistakes and get back that easy flow that had you turning doubles.
Pitching/Catching: wild pitches galore! our once mighty bullpen looking like the wheels have fallen off. Again, the time has come to pause briefly, organize ourselves, take a deep breath and throw everything we’ve got at it. There is no time left for tweaking and experimentation. You have got to focus when the pressure is on.
Deny these batters. Shut these games down again. Buster, Andrew and Hector – we need you to take command of these games. George Kontos – this could be your redemption year. (Jeremy don’t worry about that last outing in Washington, blow it off – you had been having a great year and you are a great left handed reliever. Make. It. Happen.)
Hitting – Michael Morse, Buster Posey, Angel Pagan and Pablo Sandoval – you guys should be doing the heavy lifting at the plate. It needs to happen now. You have got to get back the mojo and do it quick. We need hits, runs, RBIs and homers. Come on guys, focus, take your time. Know your opponent. Study, research and own these opposing pitchers and get us some wins.
B-Craw, I just don’t understand what is happening with you at the plate. Sudden mad success against lefties and a bizarre collapse against righties? Seems like that’s a mental issue, not a physical one. I know you can concentrate, take some hitting practice with Wotus or Bam-Bam and get back your rhythm. We need you now, buddy.
Managing – Boch, your legacy is on the line here for better or worse. Many of us had/have issues with you leaving starters in so long and risking games with experimental lineups during the season. Then you won us two World Series and the second you achieved with masterful use of a bullpen by committee.
It is very important to note that Tony La Russa, in that 2011 season, became the first manager in the history of baseball to win a post-season playoff series in which the bullpen pitched more innings than the starters (50/49). This is significant because it represents how the game is changing and requires greater flexibility and a willingness to predict when a guy might fall apart. Can’t be leaving these guys in there to give up runs. It’s way past time of the season to start trusting the ‘pen and shuffling them more as necessary. Lincecum should be a great help in this. I know you can do it.
IMO, Boch, if you want finally to be considered a Hall of Fame manager, winning this year would seal the deal. But you are going to have to be even more flexible, even more adroit and hyper-attenuated to fading skills in our staff or players. It is going to require “GENIUS” level management to pull this off. Make it happen, Skip.
The same applies to you, Rags and Wotus. We have all been together for a long, long time and the good times have been really, really sweet. This has been an incredible ride and it is so rare to keep a staff that is so good together for so long. What a blessing you have all been to us.
But right now, with this team still together, with all we have spent and given up to keep so many of these guys here, we need you to coach/manage your asses off. You have got to assess more harshly, be quicker with the rope if necessary, criticize, push, motivate like you have never done before. Tighten that shit up, guys. Get these hitters hitting, get these pitchers focused. Study the opposition down to the minutiae. Make. It. Happen.
This may be our last time together as a unit to challenge for the World Series and I really don’t want to go down like punks. I know you guys can do it – I’ve seen you do it! Focus, concentration, drive, motivation, a willingness to give it all for the team. Clean up the mistakes. Study the opponents. Get a hold of the greatness in us and let’s win this thing.
SF Giants World Series Champions 2010, 2012 and 2014.
Victory Can Be Ours. Victory Should Be Ours. and finally, Victory Shall be Ours.
First off, before doing an assessment of the G-men at the break, I want to chime in and agree with Alex Pavlovic’s view, made most clear by Grant Brisbee, that all, repeat every single replay review at AT&T Park should be broadcast live to the crowd over and over and from every angle and in highest def slo-mo, while the challenge is ensuing.
This is silicon valley. We should have the best possible view of every single play and all of these should be made available immediately, live to the fans. YES, “ON THE BIG BOARD!”
To which I would add two comments:
1. I love Brisbee’s thought. There should be, superimposed upon the screen as the fans watch the play in question, a “Review Porcupine” – an animated character that replaces the cursor for example, so it can be manipulated by an operator – I’d nominate Grant Brisbee – live, during the game at the park.
The porcupine would clearly point out to fans, to those watching at home and to the secret cabal in the star chamber in New York that decides the fate of games now, what exactly has taken place on the field of play in our park.
2. If you aren’t going to do that, at least just use the time to show everyone that cool footage of pre-quake Market Street, San Francisco in 1905 that was dug up, like we did during the Turn-Back-the-Century Game:
AT THE ALL STAR BREAK, IT’S A ROLLER COASTER RIDE
At the All-Star Break the San Francisco Giants’ season feels like we spent six weeks climbing this long, sweetly-delicious first hill of a roller-coaster, rising higher and higher until we were the best in baseball for more than ten days … only to then go flying down the first drop of this ride in the last three weeks of June.
And now we ricket-along clickety-click through the last of the first half, through the guts of this giant ride, bumping along.
We got smoked by the current best team in baseball a few times – who happen to be our brothers and cross-Bay rivals in Oakland. So for me, there’s hurt pride by those losses, but not as much as anger that we now play so many damn Inter-League games that everybody is telling us the DH in the NL is inevitable. (I reiterate – why doesn’t the AL drop the DH and let’s try that for a season and see how much fun we have?)
But I digress.
I’d say the health of team is good: Belt and Casilla were major losses for those six weeks in which we fell so hard and fast.
Michael Morse is not a first baseman. He isn’t comfortable there and after valiant – but often cockamamie – effort, the difficulties affected his batting. He was a BEAST during the front end of the season; doing everything we asked and more at the plate … and what did we do? Well, Bochy experimented again and shattered his rhythm.
Mind you, the injury to Belt forced his hand, and Bochy has a grasp of the helm and knows how long the season is. If he felt he wanted Morse to get the innings in, in case it’s necessary later in the year, I buy it. I didn’t four years ago as much, but nowadays I, like everybody else, just shrug and say, “Well, you know he has won us two championships in the last four years.”
But with the imminent induction of Tony La Russa into the Hall of Fame, it’s a good time to stare at Bochy during times like that.(reminds me of that insane attempt to put Cody Ross in left in August of ’10)
Morse was a mess at first, folks. Love this guy. Love Michael Morse. But his tall, gangly form and lack of experience at the position cost us numerous times. It was a relief to see basic plays completed to satisfaction. Let’s let him get comfortable again back out in left. He was immediately pretty comfortable out there, and now we’ve gone and messed with that rhythm, too. I feel his bat is most important for our team.
This line is here just to say, “Way to go El Tiburon Blanco!” Gregor’s work in substitution is reliable. He’s earning that fourth OF spot covering for Pagan and Morse. The Morse/Blanco platoon in left is the combination we have been looking for. It’s the platoon Torres/Blanco or Melky/Blanco could never have been.
Anyway, Belt is back. And so is Casilla. And Affeldt looks great. I like how when Sergio Romo started to falter we addressed it by using Relief by Committee on the fly.
Pablo is slowly getting back his numbers and has been his usual, exceptional self at third. The errant throws stopped as soon as he began hitting. It has been really nice to see.
Brandon Crawford is a puzzle. Excellent in the field, suddenly hitting well against lefties, now he struggles against righties and remains inconsistent at the plate.
After a great opening in substitution for Scutaro, Brandon Hicks’ numbers did drop off as expected from a rookie. The recent rest helps him, but obviously also costs us. The other role players, Colvin, Perez, Adrianza and Duvall have all had moments of brilliance, but simply don’t have the talent to keep the team afloat during a stretch like we had in June without the pop of the bat of Brandon Belt.
Yes, I said, the pop of the bat of Brandon Belt.
The pitchers deserve credit. It’s hitting that’s been the problem during the slump. Put Morse back in left and let him get his groove back. Move Belt up the lineup.
Finally, the biggest single individual upon whom success of the Giants can be associated is Angel Pagan; our leadoff man, center fielder and energizer. The loss of Pagan during the slump cannot be underestimated.
If we have Morse, Pagan and Pence in the outfield, Sandoval, Crawford, Scutaro/Hicks and Belt/Posey infield and Buster and Hector behind the plate, there should be at least three or four runs a game, minimum. Guys gotta start hitting.
We need to win games with our bats like we were doing in the beginning of the year.
That is what has to happen after the break. I like our chances. It’s just us and the Dodgers out West and if we keep up with them we could have a decent shot at one of the Wild Cards.
But I gotta say, it’s like being halfway through the ride on a roller coaster and my stomach still hasn’t settled from that first drop.