Westwood Blues

Thursday, August 28, 2003


I thought about doing a "Gleeman length" post comparing Pujols' and Bonds' MVP candidacies but I decided against it, mainly because such a comparison will be done (and already has been done) ad nausea in the final weeks of the season.

However, I have one brief pre-emptive attack on the possible Rogersesque/Mariottian argument that Pujols should win based partly on his 30 game hitting streak.

If anyone uses Pujols' 30 game hitting streak as an argument for Albert's MVP campaign, I will scream and throw furniture and you should too.

From July 12th to August 21st Albert Pujols got a hit in each game he played. However, during that same time period Barry Bonds was a better player than Pujols.

From 7/12 to 8/21*:

Pujols .389/.462/.712 OPS 1.174, 8HR
Bonds .408/.591/.895 OPS 1.486, 10 HR

Its neat that Pujols got a hit in 30 consecutive games, but Bonds also reached base in all of his games played in the same time period. In fact, the last time Bonds didn't reach base was June 25th and he's only played 4 games this year where he didn't reach base.

So who's your MVP?

*Note - these numbers may not be exactly correct because a) I'm not very good at math and b) I didn't feel like digging through the box scores for every single game so I didn't include HBPs and SFs.

Great Game, Sir

Three cheers for Sidney Ponson for pitching a great game at Coors last night. Ponson was dealing and at one point used only 22 pitches to complete three innings of work.

In his five starts with the Giants Ponson has been very good:

36 IP, 3.25 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, .231 BAA

Lets hope he can keep it up through the post season.

Around the World

I probably won't do another post until some time next week, so in the mean time check out some of our friends.

Dodger Blues has a riotously funny (and very accurate ;)) post on "Stadium Stupidity" at Dodger Stadium. This gem complaining about the "cheering sheep" at Chavez Ravine had me laughing for days - "It's a bit sad that Dodger fans need to be told when to cheer. Maybe they should be told when to pee and when to leave, too. "TIME TO TAKE A DUMP," the scoreboard can flash."

Ken Arneson of Barry Zito Forever has a post on how he helped save baseball in South Florida. Well, sort of. Check it out. (Permalink isn't working - its the entry titled "My brilliant interview...")

Lastly, check out the new (they're not necessarily new, just new to me) Giants sites. Skaldheim, arbizu.org, EK Sports, Battle by the Bay, and Mom and Apple Pie.

Have a great weekend and by the way, what's a matter with Gonzo?



Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Our Dusty is Better

Its time to give props to Dustin Hermanson for pitching well in his four starts with the Giants.

2.35 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, .212 BAA in four starts.

His success begs one important question - why the hell was he released by the Cardinals? His impressive numbers with the Giants will undoubtedly "regress toward the mean," and I don't think even the Giants thought he would be posting a 2.35 ERA in four starts. But he throws in the 90s; he's always had good stuff, so what gives?

I mean the Cardinals are trotting out guys like Jason Simontacchi (5.87 ERA, .303 BAA) and Brett Tomko (5.48 ERA, .311 BAA). And when you let Pedro Borbon, Jr. pitch for you in a pennant race, even if its only four innings (in these 4 innings he gave up 14 hits, 9ERs, posted a 4.00 WHIP and a .560 BAA), you may as well take out an ad on Monster for pitching help.

Oh well. Their loss is our gain. Now Mr. Jocketty, please place Orlando Palmeiro on waivers so the Giants can get that lefty outfielder they need. Thanks in advance.

Eyre Have You Gone, John Candeleria?

A minor complaint about Felipe Alou's bullpen usage - Scott Eyre is very good against left handers (1.07 WHIP, .214 BAA) but he isn't very good against right handers (1.96 WHIP, .318 BAA)

With those numbers, I think Eyre should be used as a LOOGY and only rarely face righties. That's not the case, as Eyre has actually faced more right handers than lefthanders this year.

Eyre in a nutshell was this sequence of events from a July Giants-Rockies game. He gave up hits to Mark Bellhorn and Chris Stynes. He then retired Todd Helton, gave up a double to Preston Wilson, and then retired Larry Walker. Very good against left handers, not so good against righties.

Again, this is a minor complaint, but if I'm watching a playoff game and Eyre is brought in in the 7th inning of a tie game to face Edmonds-Rolen-Martinez, I'll hold my breath during the Rolen AB.

Viva Les Expos

The Expos moved a tiny step closer to becoming the Portland Spotted Owls as the Oregon legislature aproved a stadium financing bill. There are still many hurdles to clear (getting an owner, or at least someone to express interest in becoming an owner is an important step) but the possibility of the Expos moving to Portland is exciting.

So what does this have to do with the Giants? Two words: road trip.

I'm rooting for the Expos to move west. I think the best location for them would be Las Vegas (fastest growing city in America, gobs of tourists, and only 3 hours and 40 minutes from west LA), but if not Vegas then Portland would be a fine choice.

Incidentally, I'll be taking a road trip this holiday weekend to see the Giants play in Arizona on Sunday and Monday.

What's a matter with Finley?



Saturday, August 23, 2003

Sad Eyes

Rest in peace Bobby Bonds.

May your strength give us strength
May your faith give us faith
May your hope give us hope
May your love give us love

May your love bring us love


Friday, August 22, 2003


I've dreamed of hopping into a DeLorean and heading back to the New York of the roaring twenties. In addition to performing my own vaudeville act entitled "idiot in moving piece of steel moving down boulevard, screaming," I want to see Babe Ruth play. Living during prohibition would be tough, but watching Babe Ruth would give me all the joy I could ever ask for.

And just for fun I'd head over to Brooklyn and watch the Dodgers get annihilated. Some things never change.

Anyway, I imagine watching Ruth would be something like this or this.

It would be cool to go back and forth between these universes on gameday. Day game at 1927 Yankee Stadium, nightcap at 2003 Pacific Bell Park. Now that is a double header.

Worlds Apart

Well Jay Leno uses his jokes at nightclubs and then again on his show, so I guess its ok for me to rehash my primer musings here. I'm doing an NL MVP watch game log - a completely unbiased look at how Albert Pujols and Barry Bonds fared on a given day. Lets take a look at the two entries from this week.

*NL MVP Watch Game log - 8/19*

Barry Bonds - posted a 1.993 OPS. Hit mammoth walk off HR. Homerun ball washed ashore in Hayward.

Albert Pujols - took six tablets of tylenol. Had chicken noodle soup for lunch. Went to bed.

*NL MVP Watch - Game Log 8/21*

Barry Bonds - Posted a 1.933 OPS. Hit walk off HR. Again. Miami Heat retired his number.

Albert Pujols - Had a cesar salad for lunch. Watched "Amazing Race 4." Went to bed.

*So who's your MVP?*

Loose Ends

I absolutely loved the two quotes from the Braves blowpen mates who got torched by Superman walk offs.

"I threw a pitch I left up to a great hitter and he, like, hit it," - Ray King

You don't say.

He, like, hit it? Kind of like...

In 1906 and 1989 the earth in San Francisco, like, moved. Gettysburg was, like, dramatic. Gone with the Wind was, like, a good movie. The Titanic, like, submerged. Barry Bonds, like, hit it.

"To be honest, I'm in shock. He's doing some amazing things, especially walk-off home runs. There's still a 70 percent chance he's going to get out, but apparently he's pretty good in that situation." - Trey Hodges

You don't say.

Apparently he's pretty good in that situation? Kind of like...

Bobby Fisher in a chess match. A member of the Kennedy family in a Massachusetts election. Wilt Chamberlain at a singles bar. Barry Bonds in the bottom of the tenth inning of a tie game.


Thursday, August 21, 2003

The Rising

Bonds. Barry Bonds.

That is all.

This never gets old. I love it.


Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Goin’ Cali

The Giants picked up Eric Young in exchange for minor leaguer Greg Bruso. Not a bad trade. In fact, its tough to find fault with any move that should limit Neifarious’ playing time.

Young will fill in for Ray Durham while Durham’s leg injury heals. Yesterday afternoon Young fled the shores of the late 70s New Jersey on his motorcycle with his playoff hopes strapped to his engines, headed out west to case the promise land. He didn’t arrive in time for last night’s game, but he should be in the lineup tonight.

Young’s stats 2003:

.260/.344/.421 15 HR 25 SB

Reason to Believe

Young’s arrival means Neifi Perez will be relegated to his appropriate spot on the team – the pine. It gives me great pleasure to lower the Neifi Alert System to level green – a Neifi start is unlikely. Lets hope it will remain at level green for the rest of the year.

The countdown to Neifinity – 277 ABs on the year, 23 to go.

Thunder Road

I wanted to hear the replay of the radio call of Bonds' walk off splash down on Tuesday night. I can't get KNBR from my apartment, nor from my car radio when my car is parked in the parking garage. However, I can get KNBR if I drive about a quarter mile from my apartment building.

So would you think I was a weirdo if I told you that I spent 10 minutes driving up and down Santa Monica Blvd. last night just so I could hear the replay of the call of Bonds'HR?

Totally worth it. After driving around and hearing the call I wanted to jump into a Springsteenian plane of existence and keep on driving to the promise land of SF and Pac Bell Park.

Well, the night's busting open, these two lanes will take us anywhere...

Just me, Jon Miller, and Barry Bonds in my Honda Accord motorcycle heading for SF and leaving LA behind.

It's a town full of losers, I'm pulling out of here to win...

Like a Pedro Feliz groundout and the stench of a New Jersey superfund site, reality set in and I decided that if I drove all the way to Pac Bell that night, I'd have a hell of a time getting to my job in LA the next morning.


Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Glory Days

Bonds. Barry Bonds.

That is all.


Monday, August 18, 2003

My City of Ruins

Would it be wrong to wish that Olympic Stadium be blown up and be reduced to a pile of cement and decaying astroturf? Oh wait...

Sunday's defeat was a pretty typical Giants-Expos game in Montreal. The Giants always struggle in Montreal and each year they try to out do themselves by finding a new way to blow a game. Get a spectacular game from your starter only to lose it on a walk-off grand slam? Nope, haven't tried that one yet.

If When the Expos leave Montreal I hope they auction off the opportunity to flip the detonator switch on the death trap known as Olympic Stadium. Then again, I'd probably be outbid by thousands of other Giants fans, not to mention thousands of players and former players.

Born to Run?

Quiz - who leads the Giants in stolen bases and how many steals does he have?

Answer. The Marquis St. Everhack with a whopping nine stolen bases.

When Alou joined the Giants and SF signed Grissom, Durham, and Cruz all we heard about was how the Giants were going to be a running team.

Well, the aforementioned Everhack has 9 steals, Ray Durham has 7 steals and Jose Cruz, Jr. has only five. So what gives?

I know Durham has been injured, but he's never had fewer than 18 steals in a season. Cruz had 32 steals a couple of years ago.

I'm not necessarily complaining, as in the grand scheme of things, whether Ray Durham has 10 steals instead of 20 won't make a difference in who wins the NL West. It just seems odd.

On a semi-related note, Barry Bonds wasn't kidding when he said that when he reached 500 steals, "you can call a limo and come get my ass, because I'm never running anymore."

Since steal #500, Bonds hasn't attempted a steal.

Barry's Place

You may have noticed a recurring theme in today's post. I saw The Boss at Dodger Stadium last night and it was awesome. Springsteen's concert was probably the most enjoyable performance at Chavez Ravine since Barry Bonds' 7 RBI game during the last weekend in 1993.

Since the concert was at Dodger Stadium, I was hoping to hear "Devil with a Blue Dress" as sort of an ode to Tommy Lasorda. Alas, that didn't happen.

But, as I was leaving Dodger Stadium I was humming "Thunder Road" to myself. I glanced back at the infield and as I muttered the lyric, "Waste your summer praying in vain for a savior to rise from these streets," I closed my eyes and for a brief moment I could almost see Shawn Green hitting a weak groundball to the second baseman.


Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Who Says Old Guys Can't Manage?

Jon Miller, among others, made a big deal about the snub of Felipe Alou in a recent USA Today story about NL Manager of the Year candidates. Here's my look at the contenders:

Jack McKeon: If the Marlins win the wild card, I think McKeon will (and should) win the manager of the year. The team was floundering before he took over and despite a pitching staff that had been Torborged, the team has played well since Trader Jack has been in charge.

Felipe Alou: My completely unbiased opinion is that Alou should win if McKeon doesn't win. Given the amount of roster turnover and injuries the Giants have had to overcome, its amazing that they have a 47 game lead (or whatever it is; I've lost count) in the NL West in mid-August.

Alou has had a couple games where he left the starter in way too long and his batting orders have been curious at times, but its hard to argue with a 47 game lead.

Bobby Cox: Ho hum. The Braves will win their 384th consecutive division title this year. Cox must've sent an assortment of dead rodents to the BBWAA or something, because he's only won the NL manager of the year award once.

Dusty Baker: No Freakin Way.

Larry Bowa: I'm not a big Bowa fan and I think he's a type-A nut. If the Phillies win it will be in spite of Bowa's antics, not because of them.

So there you have it; McKeon or Alou with appologies to Bobby Cox.

650 and 415

Another game, another milestone for Barry Bonds. Congrats, again, Superman!

In a semi-related story, The Sporting News has named San Francisco the best baseball city in America. No argument here.

The greatest player in the world. Check. The best ball park in the country. Check. Damn good fans. Check. One of the World's Great Cities. Check. Great ownership group. Check. A World Series Champ? Well, nobody's perfect...yet.

Remains of the Night

Yankees fans are crazy. I say that in a semi-affectionate manner.

I caught an Angels-Yankees game at the scene of the crime a couple weeks ago. This was slightly more enjoyable than the last Angels-Yankees game I attended, as this time it only took me one hour and 50 minutes to drive 30 miles into Anaheim.

Anyway, I was on the concourse when a group of about a dozen rabid, shirtless, drunken Yankees fans came up the aisle and marched single file into the men's room while screaming, "LET'S GO YANKEES!" They continued their chants from inside the restroom. Listening to the muffled, echoing sounds of "Let's Go Yankees" coming from a restroom in the upper deck of Edison Field is one of the more bizarre ballpark experiences I've had.

The night turned from bizarre to joyous as Roger Clemens pitched a shutout against the third place, sub .500 Anaheim Angels. As I left the upper deck and headed down the ramp, I thought I saw the remnants of the fireworks celebration at Disneyland. Well guess what? That smoke wasn't fireworks remnants. It gives me great pleasure to declare that the third place, sub .500 Anaheim Angels playoff hopes went up in a puff of gossamer smoke that pennant dreams are made of.®

"Up in a puff of gossamer smoke that pennant dreams are made of"® is a registered trademark of Bill Conlin. Used by permission.


Tuesday, August 12, 2003

The Rookie

Welcome aboard, Kevin Correia!

We haven't had a lot of baseless speculation around here for a while, so here goes. The Giants really, really like Kevin Correia. Correia hasn't received nearly as much publicity as Foppert, Ainsworth, Williams, LLP. However, the fact that the Giants, a team that traditionally babies its prospects, called Correia to the majors so soon after drafting him, speaks volumes about what they think about Correia's abilities.

If Correia can be a productive pitcher for the Giants, it will help dull the pain of losing Kurt Ainsworth.

The E-Mail of the Year

There are few things in life as enjoyable as getting hatemail from sarcasm illiterate A's fans. I'm now nearing my goal of getting hatemail from every single living A's fan.

Mixed in with the ususual a'sbot automated responses of "At least we have REAL fans" blah blah blah "cell phones" blah blah "garlic fries" blah blah "coke slide" were these gems:

"Although its true: A's fans are less politically active then Giants fans. I have yet to see a pro-hemp advocate stumping for signatures outside the Coliseum.

Second, the Giants actually ripped off Dot Racing with their lame cable car race thing."

Blah Blah Blah "garlic fries."

- Charlie

firecrackertosser@a'sfans.com (real name and e-mail address changed for privacy reasons).

Getting hatemail is one of the truly rewarding aspects of having a blog. Really. I find serious replies to sarcasm to be uproariously funny. I can always count on A's fans to give me a laugh. Thanks, and keep the hatemail coming!

Yes, it did occur to me that possibly Charlie was achieving new levels of sarcasm by replying to my sarcasm with his own sarcasm; playing along as the role of the hyperdefensive A's fan. But that would be giving A's fans way too much credit.

Good Times

I made it up to SF this weekend and caught the Giants games. Of course, I didn't actually watch any of the games. Instead, I talked on my cell phone, went down the Coke slide 59 times, and I used a funnel to consume as many garlic fries as possible.

This weekend I saw a Benito Santiago walk, a Neifi walk, and a Scott Eyre single. I will cherish these memories forever.


Thursday, August 07, 2003

A Knight to Remember

Welcome aboard Sidney Ponson! For the most part Ponson pitched well last night, and seeing him roll through the Pirates lineup in the middle innings made me feel good about supporting the trade.

However, this was just a dress rehearsal and his true test will come in the playoffs.

As I mentioned before, I caught most of Ponson's masterpiece against the Mariners earlier this year. If Ponson can pitch like that in the playoffs, Giants fans will be very, very happy.

But, if Ponson loses the deciding game of the NLCS to Russ Ortiz, Giants fans will all be in therapy for the next three years. If this does happen, I'm sending my counseling bill directly to Brian Sabean.

But did Coleman Have a Firecracker?

I've noticed an increase in traffic on this site over the last couple of weeks. So for the new readers not familiar with Westwood Blues, I'll let you know that the purpose of this site is twofold 1) To provide decidedly brilliant commentary about the Giants. 2) To make fun of other teams as often as possible.

Some days #2 is very difficult because there are only so many "the Dodgers and the Elevenandahalfbacks can't hit" jokes out there. Other days I feel like Livan Hernandez at a buffet; the teams I don't like give me something so juicy that I'm in a frenzy.

From cnn.com's story about Gary Coleman's (Yes, *that* Gary Coleman) candidacy for California governor (emphasis added by me).

"Coleman's campaign treasurer, Steve Buel, editor of the East Bay Express, told CNN that the actor's name 'resonates with the voters.'

Buel said he had no trouble getting the necessary 65 petition signatures from Independent voters in Alameda County, which he gathered at a recent Oakland A's baseball game."

The only thing more unbelievable than the assertion that there were 65 people at an A's game, is the assertion that there were 65 registered voters at an A's game. Must've been dollar Wednesday and Mensa night at the Net Ass.

I shudder at the thought of an A's fan becoming governor.

"Well, if there is no bread, let them watch dot racing!"

Waiting for Godot

We have a runaway winner for the line of the year award. This is a film critics' description of the movie "Gigli." This obviously has nothing to do with baseball, but if you replace the word "movie" with the word "Dodgers," its a fairly accurate description of the LA Dodgers of the last fifteen years or so.

"For a brief, mad, moment I had a flicker of a thought that the mundane inanity of the sordid and petty imperatives imposed on Larry and Ricki might be some Samuel Beckett-style commentary on the existential void. Then I realized that watching the movie put me closer to the existential void than they ever were, and that Godot would arrive long before this movie went anywhere."

- Nell Minow, Chicago Tribune and Yahoo.com


Monday, August 04, 2003

Neifarious R.E.D.

**NEIFI ALERT** This is a KCAL 9 News Alert. We interupt all-Kobe, all the time to bring you breaking Neifi news. Rich Aurilia had an emergency apendectomy today and is expected to miss three weeks. The Neifi Alert Status is being raised to level red - a Neifi start is imminent. This has been a KCAL 9 News Alert. We now return you to live, team coverage of Kobe Bryant's attorney's paralegal's assistant picking up his dry cleaning.

I apologize for the lack of Neifi Alerts this weekend, but I was out of town (thank god) and away from a computer. Also, judging by the increased traffic around here in recent days, we have some new readers and they are probably wondering what a Neifi Alert is. For a full explanation of the Neifi Alert System click here.

Follow the Leader

Life is good when you can go on a 2-4 road trip and actually increase your lead in the standings. Not that it matters to the divisional race or anything, but its nice to see Arizona play like the Dodgers. The 12gamesbacks get decent pitching but they can't score a run if their life depended on it.

I blame the D-Backs struggles on Mark Grace. It occurred to me that the media loves to write gushing, over the top stories like this about the "veteran presence" and "veteran leadership" of older players during a win streak, but they never blame a lack of veteran presence on a losing streak. They won't. I will.

Mark Grace's leadership has been in a slump lately. His veteran presence created above replacement level has gone down 75 points since the all-star break and he now trails Carlos Baerga for the team lead. More troubling is the fact that Grace only has one clubhouse win share during that same time period.

"Grace's infectious smile, can-do attitude, and veteran leadership have dropped off by 25% of late," commented a long time NL veteran presence scout.

Oh, and Grace's .600 OPS isn't helping matters either.

Happy Days

Fonzie is finally on a sustained hot streak and has seen his average climb above .250 for the first time this year.

Try as I might, I can't explain his early season struggles. Alfonzo is not a .230 hitter. Alfonzo must have been chanelling Jeff Cirillo or something.

Its great to see Alfonzo beginning to revert to form. Needless to say, it would be very nice if Fonzie could stay hot through the playoffs.

What Dreams May Come

My dream on Wednesday night:

Mike Flanagan: Well, we can't seem to get Ponson to agree to a contract extension so it looks like we need to trade him.
Jim Beattie: The Giants seem to be the most interested party. You know who would look great in an Orioles uniform? Pedro Feliz.
MF: Yeah! He's got 12 HRs already, a full season at 3rd and he could be a 35 HR, 100 RBI guy. But we need prospects. Do the Giants have any hitting prospects?
JB: Are you kidding? The Giants are loaded with hitting prospects! This Deivis Santos kid looks great.
MF: Hmmm...Deivis sounds Greek. Angelos will love him.
JB: The Giants are offering Kurt Ainsworth.
The Ghost of Syd Thrift: Pass.
MF: He's an injury risk. We should go with someone more proven, like Manny Aybar.
JB: Now we just need a pitching prospect and we can make a deal with Sabean.
MF: Lance Niekro.
JB: Hi Brian. This is Beatagan.

And then I woke up.


Friday, August 01, 2003

Random Thoughts on the Trade

I should ammend my earlier comments by saying that the net of Sabean's trades also includes two high draft picks or a signed Ponson. This is in addition to three months of Ponson, half a season of a mediocre Moss, and Merkin Valdez. Whatever the net of the deal was, I'd still rather have Russ Ortiz...

...Speaking of Russ Ortiz, Ponson and Ortiz's numbers for this year are eerily similar:

Ponson 14-6, 148 IP, 3.77 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, .258 BAA
R. Ortiz 15-4, 145.2IP, 3.58 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, .221 BAA

...Peter Gammons said that the Giants were trying to acquire Ponson AND Jason Johnson from the Orioles...

...From an Orioles perspective, this is a great trade. They give up someone who probably won't resign with them and they get a couple of good, young arms and Damian Moss. I really need to stop referring to Beattie and Flannagan as "Beatagan."

...Jayson Stark quotes an anonymous GM calling the trade "a steal for the Giants."

I won't go so far as to call it a steal but, for the most part, I like it.

Let's Go O's

I've decided to become a closet Orioles fan. I've always liked their ballpark and their uniforms and I enjoyed watching them sweep a four game set against the third place, sub .500 Anaheim Angels. Now one of my favorite young players is on their team.

The O's have said publicly that they're going to go after a big time free agent (Tejada? Vlad?) in the offseason.

Look for the Orioles to return to respectability next season. And here I thought it would take at least couple of generations to undo the damage of Syd Thrift and Peter Angelos.

Dr. Feelgood

There are some Giants fans who thought the Giants overpaid to get Ponson and are in a pissy mood because of it. If the trading deadline blues have got you down, I've got the remedy for you. Take two of these and call me in the morning.

"Those people who put those labels on me must be banging their heads against the wall. I made 65 appearances in 1993, and (the Dodgers) were still saying I was too small, too weak. It's still my motivation."

- Pedro Martinez

Since being traded from the Dodgers for Delino DeShields (hahahahaha) following the 1993 season, Pedro Martinez has won 149 games, struck out 2,230 batters, won an MVP Award (his name on the trophy was mispelled "Pudge") and three Cy Young Awards.