Westwood Blues

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

News, Notes, and a Bunch of Links

The Giants announced that they will erect a bronze likeness of the Dominican Dandy, Juan Marichal outside of Pac Bell Park.
"On May 21, the Giants will unveil the 9-foot-tall bronze statue featuring Marichal's trademark high leg kick at Lefty O'Doul Plaza, the SBC Park entry gate first encountered by fans walking across the bridge over McCovey Cove.

"It is an extreme honor to have the Giants organization and [team president] Peter Magowan recognize me as the second Latin American baseball player in the Major Leagues to have a statue dedicated," said Marichal in a statement released by the team, referring to the Pirates' tribute to Roberto Clemente at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.

"For me, as a Latin American and as a Dominican, I am thrilled and honored."
Bravo to the Giants organization for honoring Juan Marichal with a well deserved statue.

The Giants also announced that they will retire Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry's number 36 in a ceremony on July 23. Congrats to Mr. Perry.

Lastly, the Giants will also honor Robb Nen in a ceremony on a yet to be determined date this summer...

...In other sentimental news, the Big Cat announced his retirement from baseball today. Barring a comeback, he'll end his career with 399 HRs.

One of my all-time favorite Big Cat moments came in September 2003 during a game against the hated Dodgers. It all started innocently and plainly enough -- Galarraga singled off Dodgers reliever Paul Quantrill. As Quantrill shifted his attention to the subsequent batter, in a quick and almost surreal moment, the Big Cat began streaking for second base. The crowd at Pac Bell began to buzz the moment the Cat took off for second.

Safe! The 41 year-old Big Cat stole second base.

Good luck in retirement, Andres. You have a lot of fans in San Francisco who are sad to see you go...

...Giants farmhand and Westwood Blues favorite Scott Munter was awarded with the Harry S. Jordan Award, given to the most impressive newcomer to Giants camp.

Felipe Alou liked what he saw: "He was unhittable. He has that one pitch, the good pitch, the hard sinker. He can definitely be a late-inning pitcher."

While I don't think Munter is the next Brad Lidge or anything like that, I'm hopeful that he can develop into a solid 6th/7th inning guy for the Giants...

...Opening Day is less than a week away, but in the meantime make sure to check out all of the season previews that are popping up. Batter's Box does their usual outstanding work in their Giants season preview. Everyone's favorite left-handed blogger takes a swing at previewing the 2005 Giants for all-baseball.com. Lastly, the always entertaining and disgustingly knowledgable (I mean that in a good way, of course) Steve Treder penned a Giants preview for the Hardball Times...

...And while I'm in a linking mood, Batgirl has the definitive recap of the congressional hearings here. The steroid hearings: in Legovision!


Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Three Dotted Jottings from Scottsdale

...Each spring the Giants organization awards the most impressive newcomer to camp with the Harry S. Jordan award. Similarly, I've decided to hand out the Nathan J. Schierholtz Award for the prospect in camp who most impresses me.

This year's receipient of the Nathan J. Schierholtz Award is Scott Munter. Munter has an easy motion and a sneaky quick fastball. It just doesn't seem like he's throwing that hard, but you glance up at the board and you realize he's throwing 93-94. He humped up to blow a 95 MPH fastball by the quick bat of Adrian Gonzalez for a strikeout.

In fact, I was so impressed with Munter that I am decalring him to be the official sleeper prospect of Westwood Blues. Prediction: Munter pitches in The Show this year...

...As the crowd was thinning out at Thursday's Rangers/Giants game in Surprise, a group of college age kids snuck down to some prime seats right above the Rangers dugout. All of a sudden, Rangers pitching coach Orel Hershiser whipped around and told these evil-doers that they were not allowed to sit there.

This just goes to show that although Orel may no longer wear Dodger blue, he's still a dick...

...Pedro Feliz did not look good at the plate. With Pedro it's the same old song and dance. He can turn around a fastball as well as anyone, but he struggles with off speed stuff. Kenny Rogers and Barry Zito pitched to the scouting report and Pedro happily flailed away at curveballs and changeups out of the zone.

1) Why does anyone throw Feliz a fastball ever?
2) Why are the Giants falling all over themselves to give Pedro as many ABs as possible?

Defensively, Feliz looks about as good in the OF as he can considering the circumstances. He made a nice catch up against the wall on Thursday and he made a running catch down the line on Sunday. Honestly, I don't think there is much of a drop off defensively from Bonds to Feliz...

...The Pink Pony in Scottsdale is still the coolest baseball hangout ever...

...A glance at the calendar reveals that we're only in March, but by allowing four baserunners and two earned runs in an inning of work on Saturday, Jason Christiansen proved that he is already in mid-season form. Before the Giants break camp, JC needs to work on walking every opposing left-hander in sight, then we'll know that he's ready to put up another mediocre season for the Giants...

...This bit of news didn't get much press, but the Giants recently signed an agreement with the city of Scottsdale and the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority that will keep the Giants training in Arizona through 2025...

...Jason Ellison has put together such a strong Spring that he's practically forcing himself onto the Giants roster. Among the highlights from this past week -- an absolutely perfect bunt base hit that hugged the first base line, a base hit off Octavio Dotel, and his usual outstanding defensive play in the outfield.

Ellison will probably be used primarily as a defensive replacement/pinch runner/spot starter. Any kind of offensive production from him during the season will be a pleasant surprise...

...One of the cool things about Spring Training is that you can randomly run into players around town. I spotted Tyler Walker at a Scottsdale watering hole after the game last Friday. I wanted to go up and say hello, but I wasn't sure what to say.

"Hey, you're Tyler Walker!"

"Umm, cool slider, Tyler."

Of course, what I really wanted to say to him was: "So, Tyler can you settle a bet I have with a friend? Do you use Avon Bronzer or Neutrogena tanning lotion?"

...Anyone else make the trip to Arizona this year? Drop your scouting reports, your Spring Training stories, or your brushes with Tyler Walker into the comments...


Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Barry Done for the Year?

"Right now I'm just going to try to rehab myself back to, I don't know, hopefully next season, hopefully middle of the season. I don't know," Bonds said. "Right now I'm just gonna take things slow. I feel bad for the guys because I want to be out there for them."

When asked directly if he said he might not be back until mid-season or next season, Bonds answered, "Maybe. I told you that before I left, remember? You thought I was joking."


Update 11:20: Rotoworld chimes in: "Let's not take this too seriously. Bonds is frustrated with the way things have gone lately and probably overly pessimistic as a result."

Well, I certainly hope that's the case.

Update 12:30: The entire point of Barry's trip to Scottsdale is to rehab under the supervision of the Giants medical staff, no? Bonds also met with Stan Conte for over an hour today. So, shouldn't a story about Bonds possibly being out for the season include reaction from Stan Conte? Can someone in the media please get a quote from the Giants medical staff.

Update 2:15: Thank you, Barry Bloom.
"On Tuesday, Conte didn't back off his original assessment, saying after an examination and rehab session that Bonds was progessing nicely.

"His knee looked the way we expected," Conte said. "I suspect he'll progress as knee patients do. It looks OK. He went through the regular rehab six days out of surgery."

The Giants are scheduled to open the season in San Francisco against the Dodgers on April 5. It will be the start of Bonds' 20th Major League season and for the first time, Bonds undoubtedly won't be in the Opening Day lineup.

If everything goes according to plan on Conte's schedule, Bonds probably won't be able to play until May 1. The primary concern now is getting Bonds back on the field permanently this season, without further setbacks or interruptions."


Thursday, March 10, 2005

The 80s Strike Back

If one were to make a comprehensive list of the greatest Nintendo games from back in the day, the list would look something like this:

1. Baseball Stars
2. RBI Baseball

That's it.

Oh sure, the Final Fantasies are cool, Zelda is addictive, and who doesn't like Madden? But the discussion begins and ends with Baseball Stars and RBI Baseball, the two greatest old school Nintendo games ever.

The great thing about Baseball Stars is that you can create your own teams. Ever wonder what it would be like if Willie Mays, Gabby Hartnett, Christy Mathewson, Barry Bonds, and Rogers Hornsby were on the same team? I did, so I created an all-time Giants team.

If you have a bizarrely creative imagination you can make a team called the "Commie Pinkos" featuring the murderers row of Vladimir Lenin, Angela Davis, Pol Pot, and Jello Biafra. Take that '27 Yankees!

Hey, you think I'm weird? Some of my friends' creations included a team that was composed of nothing but insects, a team of characters from the various Star Trek TV shows, and a team made up entirely of my friend's mom's co-workers and friends.

The ability to create your own players and teams is what gives Baseball Stars the slight advantage over RBI baseball. As much fun as it is to relive the 1987 season ad nausea on RBI, playing with the same teams over and over again loses a bit of its luster after the 18,000th playing.

However, thanks to the enterprising website dee-nee.com (hat tip to Fanhome for the link) RBI Baseball fans can now download new versions of the second greatest Nintendo game ever! So, if you're looking to play RBI with, say the year 2000 Giants, just head on over to Dee-Nee and download to your heart's content. Your free time will never be the same.

On a completely and entirely unrelated note, my light posting of late can be explained by the fact that, um...um, I've been, uh... reading a really good book. Yeah, that's it.