Westwood Blues

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Trivia Time

As always, please don't cheat and look up the answers.

1) Who was the last non-Giant to win the NL MVP Award?

2) Name the only three Giants to hit 50 or more HRs in one season.

3) Who holds the Giants franchise record for most saves in a single season?


Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Road From Bristol: The Final Four

The Road From Bristol has narrowed the field of 64 loathsome ESPN personalities to the Final Four most annoying ESPN talking heads. Alas, my pick of Joe Theismann was eliminated a few rounds ago.

The tournament took a bizarre turn when Dan LeBatard (yes, the real Dan LeBatard) began openly campaigning to win the whole tournament. Weird.

Anyway, here is how the Final Four stacks up:

1) National Semi-Final: Stuart Scott vs. "Stat Boy" Tony Reali

I'll probably burn in some corner of Road From Bristol hell for saying this, but I find Reali to be rather innocuous. I guess that's probably because I'm too busy lobbing small appliances at the TV every time Jay Marriotti opens his mouth to pay any attention to what Stat Boy has to say.

Stuart Scott won the matchup in a blow out and has advanced to the National Championship.

2) National Semi-Final: Screamin' A. Smith vs. Skip Bayless

I'm proud to say that I've never watched even a second of Cold Pizza (I wish I could say the same about Around the Horn), but Bayless gets my vote anyway for being a vacuous, overbearing, pompous, dim-witted, self-aggrandizing mangina.

The best part of the tourney is the absolutely hilarious stuff that readers have posted in the comments. I present, the genius that is "Cult of Basebaal":
"Oooooh, this is a tough one. No, I really mean that, and you all know what I really think about Skippy. But SaS is the other side of the same coin; heads or tails ... either way we lose.

It's just unfair. And, more importantly, totally beyond my meagre powers of deduction. So, I must surrender myself to the wisdom of the elders, to the mental prowess of the giants of Philosophy, men of towering logic and glorious reason.

As Aristotle posed (NO! Not the Belgian, the OTHER one!): Imagine you are walking along a part and suddenly you come across an oxen-cart crash SO horrible, the carts are on fire. Two men lay smouldering alongside the burning chaos. In mere moments, both will burst into flame unless you act. But what to do? There is no water nearby and no time to fetch any. Your canteen is empty. All that remains is the meagre supply of piss in your bladder, barely enough to save one man.

Who will be saved by golden stream of life?
Who will be consumed in fiery agony?

Piss or Death?
Piss or Death??
Piss or Death???

Hmmm ... let's see here ....

Screamin' A Smith?
The Prune of Evil?

Screamin' A has that little dance, the moron shuffle, a sequence with less soul and style than a drunk frat boy falling down a flight of stairs with a squirrel in his pants …
Skippy's got the glower of pure evil, like the lower half of his jaw is about to unhinge and a alien appendage would reach out plunge some huge needle-tube into you, draining from you all last vestiges of human fluids, replaced by whatever unnatural fluid "hydrates" the desiccated mask that Skippy passes for a human face …
Screamin' A got David Aldridge fired and is slowly spreading over the evening time slots, like some horrid viral outbreak …
Skippy's a guest host for Jim Rome's radio show. Which is sorta like Pol Pot asking Stalin to hang out and run things for while when he needs to take a little breather …
Screamin A never met an intelligent argument he wasn't stupid enough to mis-understand …and forget the effects of the Navy's LFA towed sonar, it's clear that our marine life is suffering because of the amounts of all frequency Screamin' A that are spilling into the ocean …
but then,
Skippy's never met an intelligent argument he couldn't reject (or argue the opposite) on the grounds of pure spite and contrarian malice ...

Ah, FUCK YOU, Aristotle, you're no FUCKING help! The truth is, I'd PISS MYSELF and let 'em BOTH burn. Hell, I'd grab graham crackers and marshmallows from my backpack and make smores.

But since I gotta choose, I gotta dance with the ghoul that brung me, Skeletor Bayless.



Monday, August 22, 2005

Trivia Monday

As always, please don't cheat and look up the answers.

1) Name the six San Francisco Giants players who have lead the National League in home runs.

2) Who hit more career home runs at Candlestick Park than any other player?


Friday, August 19, 2005

Larry Krueger was Wrong

Felipe's brain hasn't turned into cream of wheat. It's much worse than that. Felipe's brain has turned into Jimy Williams.

I generally like Felipe Alou, but every once in a while Felipe gets on my nerves. Friday night's game was one of those games. There were so many things that were just wrong, wrong, wrong...

* Why was Armando Benitez warming up if Felipe had no intention of actually using him? And why is Armando Benitez on the active roster in the first place if the Giants insist on babying him? Heaven forbid, he should have to pitch the day after he threw a whopping 10 pitches in Cincinatti. If the Giants have deemed that Mando can't handle the workload / pressure / humidity / whatever, then Benitez shouldn't have been activated yet.

* Felipe Alou: "The closer's arm, you could see all of those pitches he threw and he didn't throw one quality pitch. They got a lot of hittable pitches."

And yet, Walker was allowed to face 5 batters. Do you not see a problem with this, Felipe?

* I was going to ask the question "Why is Jason Christiansen in the game when the game is on the line?" But a better question is -- why is Jason Christiansen still on the active roster in the first place? Can we just get it over with and DFA X-tiansen already? The front office had no problems jettisoning Herges, Brower, and Woody when they didn't perform up to par, yet Christiansen and his 5 ERA lives to suck another day.

The Giants aren't going to the playoffs this year. JC isn't going to be a member of the next good Giants team. Meanwhile, Jack Taschner has pitched pretty damn well at Fresno this year. Why not bring Taschner up for more than a cup of coffee to see what he can do at the major league level?

* On a related subject, is there any particular reason why JT Snow needs to keep starting at 1B? One of the few benefits of being out of the race in mid-August is that the Giants can use this time to evaluate some of their younger players (like Lance Niekro) to get a better idea of what the kids are capable of contributing in '06 and beyond. Should the Giants get a platoon partner for Niekro for '06? I'm inclined to say yes, but I'd feel more comfortable in my decision if the Giants allowed Niekro to accumulate a larger sample size than 220 ABs this year.

* The one good thing I will say about Felipe and Sabes is that they are giving The Lindenator® a chance to play everyday at the big league level. Linden may very well be benched if he goes on an 0-for-9 stretch, but for now its nice to see him get a much-deserved chance to play everyday in The Show.


Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Truth is Out There...

Barry Bonds is injured and unable to play.

Conspiracy theorists have had a hard time accepting the previous sentence as fact and have advanced all sorts of moonbat conspiracy theories to explain the real reasons why Bonds isn't playing. Rather than simply ignoring the conspiracy theorists, I thought it would be more enjoyable to laugh at them and publicly ridicule them. Here are my favorites:

Wacko Conspiracy Theory #1: Bonds is on the DL to avoid drug testing

Marcos Breton accuses without actually accusing:
"Maybe, as they say on talk radio, Bonds really is fearing drug tests and is using his knee as an excuse."
First of all, when you preface your theory with the phrase "maybe, as they say on talk radio," 99 times out of a hundred the theory is crackpot bullshit. This is no exception. Nevermind that players on the DL are subject to drug tests and that Bonds has already been tested this year. But, hey, Skippy from Pleasanton said so on KNBR. It MUST be true.

Wacko Conspiracy Theory #2: Jordan Bonds is serving a super-duper double secret suspension for gambling failing a drug test.

There is nothing wrong with your computer. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are now controlling the transmission. We control the horizontal and the vertical. We can deluge you with a thousand channels or expand one single image to crystal clarity and beyond. We can shape your vision to anything our imagination can conceive. For the next hour we will control all that you see and hear. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the deepest inner mind to the outer limits.

Wacko Conspiracy Theory #3: Bonds will retire before breaking Hank Aaron's record because Nikolai Bonds was seen wearing a Barry Sanders jersey in Scottsdale.

Hey, doesn't everyone use their children's wardrobe to telegraph their career plans?

Wacko Conspiracy Theory #4: Bonds intentionally injured his own knee

From fellow Giants blogger Biased Giants Fanatic:
"My conspiracy theory right now is that Bonds purposefully injured his knee in spring in order to take the pressure and attention off of him. Just bang your knee against a table, hurt it a bit, tear something doing it. Little did he know that there would be complications in the recovery that threatened loss of limb. It would also explain any degradation in performance after he returned to baseball - the injury is a convenient excuse for his stats to decline greatly."
Wait, so a superstar chasing the most celebrated record in American sports history purposefully injured himself because, wait, why again? Sorry, I can't wrap my head around the notion that an elite athlete would willfully cause serious injury to himself for any reason, let alone for reasons as odd as these. To take attention away from himself? So, did he purposefully injure himself before or after his nationally televised press conference? And if he wanted to get away from attention couldn't he just hang out with Andy Kauffman for a while?

And what about the other knee? Did he intentionally injure that one too?

Wacko Conspiracy Theory #5: Bonds is healthy enough to play (at least pinch hit) this year

Wait, it gets better. The reason that Bonds isn't playing this year is that he's not a team player; all he cares about is setting the all-time Homerun record. So says Mike Celizic (Hat tip to Fire Joe Morgan):
"There no longer can be any doubt. For Bonds, it’s about the record.

If it were about the team and a shot at the playoffs this year, he’d volunteer for pinch-hitting duty. He’s not doing that."
Celizic has his tinfoil hat wrapped so tightly around his head that it cut off blood flow to his brain. If Bonds was healthy enough to play, and all he cared about was the record, then wouldn't he play right now? Do homeruns hit in 2005 not count or something?

Oh yeah, and according to the Baseball Prospectus Monte Carlo sim, the Giants have a 2.97% chance of making the playoffs (its been betwen 1 and 3% for the last couple of weeks). I'm sure a handful of pinch hit appearances by Bonds would propel the Giants into the playoffs. Sheesh.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Alex Sanchez is Back!


Alex Sanchez cleared waivers and has reported to Fresno. At least he's not on the 40-man roster.


Monday, August 15, 2005

Trivia Monday

As always, please don't cheat and look up the answers.

1) Kirk Rueter made 277 starts as a member of the Giants. How many complete games did he pitch as a Giant?

2) Of the 8 regular position players on the 1993 Giants, who is the only player to have never won a Gold Glove in his career?


Tuesday, August 09, 2005


Monday, August 08, 2005

Happy Trivia Monday

As always, please don't cheat and look up the answers.

1) There are 8 players on the Giants 40-man roster who have appeared on a voter's MVP ballot at least once in their career. How many of them can you name?

2) Barry Bonds has played in a regular season game in 37 different ballparks in his career. He has homered in 34 of them. Name the three in which he has not homered.


Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Late to the Party

Peter Gammons August 3, 2002:
"Tampa Bay isn't going to have Randy Winn in 2004, but turned down the Giants' offer of Triple-A right-hander Jerome Williams and a second prospect..."
We should've seen this coming. Randy Winn is a player the Giants have had their eye on for quite some time. Winn was on the trading block. Winn is the Sabean prototype -- he can play more than one position, he's on the wrong side of 30, and he fits the surround-Bonds-with-average / a-little-above-average-proven veterans strategy. After getting over the initial shock of the trade, the only thing I could think about was how I didn't see this predictable move coming from a mile away.

Winn is under contract for 2005 and 2006 ('06 is an option, and I'm guessing that Winn will be signed to an extension, but Winn will most likely be with the Giants in '06 one way or another), so let's break this down year-by-year:

For 2005:

Heading into the trade deadline, my biggest fear was that the Giants would sacrifice young talent to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. Well, by giving up Yorvit Torrealba and Jesse Foppert, Sabean not only rearranged the deck chairs, he took a piss on the deck chairs and then lit them on fire.

Randy Winn is a marginal upgrade over Jason Ellison, but certainly isn't enough to make any sort of meaningful difference for the remainder of the year.

For 2006:

Heading into the trade deadline, my biggest hope was that the Giants would trade for someone who help the team beyond 2005. I was hoping for a youngish starter who could step into the rotation for at least 2006.

Well, you can't always get what you want, so I'll have to settle for an upgrade in CF. The updgrade comes at a cost and could inhibit the Giants from making much needed upgrades elsewhere, but Randy Winn is absolutely an upgrade in CF over Jason Ellison. That the Giants gave up two young, inexpensive players who could potentially be of use in '06 to make said upgrade is frustrating to say the least.

But, what really bugs me about the trade is the incredible lack of creativity displayed by the Giants front office and the apparent stubborness of the Giants to stick with the same roster construction blueprint that got them into the 2005 disaster in the first place. The Winn acquisition signals a continuation of the Giants recent strategy of using the free agent market and the trade market to fill the roster with thirtysomething, mostly average/slightly above average veterans to compliment Homerun Jesus and Jason Schmidt. This strategy is contingent upon Bonds and Schmidt performing at superstar levels, and, needless to say, the strategy has backfired horribly this season with Bonds on the DL and Schmidt not performing at his 03-04 level of production.

This recent strategy wasn't always the strategy employed by the Giants. Sabean traded for Augustus Gloop during Gloop's age 24 season; Sabes fleeced the Pirates by acquiring 28 year-old Jason Schmidt for a song. Sabes acquired Jeff Kent when he was 29, he acquired an elite closer in Robb Nen when Nen was 28. These were all players who made an immediate impact and were important contributors for at least a few more years.

Yes, it might be too much to ask of your GM to acquire good and very good players and keep them for (more or less) the prime of their careers, but Sabes did just that several times prior to 2003. What happened to the pre-2003 version of Brian Sabean? Can we have him back? Please?

Every Monday...

...will be Trivia Monday at Westwood Blues. Rather than engaging in electronic self-immolation over the disaster that is the 2005 Giants, we can wow each other with our vast knowledge of Giants history. I'll post a Giants trivia question every Monday morning from here on out.