Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Another one bites the dust

Well that's it. We can put 2014 in the rearview mirror. There's no turning back. It happened.

As a San Francisco Giants fan, writer, talker, dude, this was a great year. It just can't be overstated how cool 3 titles in 5 yeas has been. I'm 35 years old and never thought I'd see one. Now 3? Pfft, It's all gravy. But I've probably said these things before.

I'm hoping that 2015 is the year in which both the Giants and I have a smooth year at the same time. Enough of just winning in even years. Let's see back-to-back titles for once! I kid because hey, they're the champs right now.

I've got a couple of year end posts up on TortureCast right now. Here are links.

Top 14 SF Giants moments from 2014 Part 1

Top 14 SF Giants moments from 2014 Part 2

I just submitted my IBWAA Hall of Fame ballot. I'll have the full ballot along with my thinking sometime later this week.

Until then, thanks so much for reading, listening, helping, and all the good things from 2014. Happy New Year to everyone and I hope we all have a great 2015.

-Eric Nathanson

Monday, December 22, 2014

Quick SF Giants offseason notes & thoughts

©2013-2014 alierturk

After what felt like 100 different moves by every other team in baseball the San Francisco Giants finally had something for the transactions column. I'm not complaining. They made the effort to sign Pablo and Lester. Maybe they didn't and it was really all smoke. Who knows. It felt like they wanted it, I'm good with that.

The more I've thought about it I wonder why Giants fans are screaming for that big flashy move. It made sense to give money to Sandoval. He didn't take it. Lester would have been a great addition to the rotation. But he chose elsewhere. Other than those guys there isn't a huge "must have" among free agents.

So the Giants are doing what they seemingly always do. Quietly put together parts that fit to surround the leadership that is already in place. If it ain't broke don't fix it. I can't blame them. When I think back in my head to the last big signing all I can think of is Barry Zito. I can't think of another free agent contract since then that has broken the bank of the Giants.

That's excluding any free agents that re-signed with Giants.

The point is they don't throw money at every guy that's the most talented, they give it to guys that fit in to the machine.

I like all 3 of the MLB level moves the Giants have made this hot stove season.

Jake Peavy only spent 3 months with Bruce Bochy and Dave Righetti. Having two full seasons to work together may turn him in to something better than we expect.

Sergio Romo is also on board for 2 more years. He grew up a Giant, wanted to stay loyal to the organization. I like continuity in a bullpen. I also like Santiago Casilla as the closer. Sergio is a good late inning guy and as a Giants fan I appreciate that he sees the possibility for more success.

The Casey McGehee trade can go boom or bust. I think it's going to go boom. He will be surrounded by better hitters who play by a "keep the line moving" mentality. The 177 hits and 67 walks he had last season was good production from a corner infielder.

I see the 4 home runs and the 31 double plays he started. I don't think any of us knows if this will stay a trend or not.

I agree with Duane Kuiper. There will be more to come as Winter rolls along.

The news about Marco Scutaro sucks. For now I'll just say thank you for 2012 and I hope he gets healthy. For his sake.

Here's my take on the Padres. They are tired of fans like you or me taking over their ballpark. They are jealous. Don't take the flurry of moves they have made any other way. The Giants are the king for the 3rd time in 5 years and AT&T South has existed during this time. It will be interesting to see if Padres fans respond to the all-in attitude of management.

I don't have much else right now. I'm settling in to my new office and plan on writing a lot more going forward. This was a chance to catch up and remind people I exist somewhere out here in the interwebs. Some of that writing will be over on some of it will be here. Either way I'll be writing and making lists and all that fun stuff that goes on while we wait for baseball to return.



Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Scuffed Memories

It's amazing to me how certain things become great memories. Those moments that just pop up in your head without warning and make you smile. Because of the baseball you see above, I just had one of those moments.

You remember all the way back in March when a 3rd title for the Giants in 5 years was just a pipe dream? I do, and I'll remember it forever. It was back then that I took the trip to Scottsdale, Arizona for the first time to see the Giants at Spring Training.

It was a great trip that I hope to take again and again.

Before a game one day I managed to grab an Angel Pagan batting practice ball that he bounced over the fence. It was actually the first time I had gotten my hands on a baseball at a game of any kind. I've never caught a foul ball, never had a player toss me a ball, and until then I had never grabbed a BP ball.

But that's not what makes this ball special today. Sure, it's cool that I have a souvenir and all that, but you see the scuff mark on that ball? That's the memory.

The day after I secured the baseball my good friend Chris and I were playing catch in the parking lot of Scottsdale Stadium. We stretched it out a little bit and let it fly. Chris let one go that short hopped in to me and created the scuff. Truth be told, I was kinda pissed the moment it happened. First ball I've gotten and all that jazz.

Now I look at that scuff and all I can think of are great memories. It reminds me of that trip to Spring Training with friends, and being a small part of the 2014 San Francisco Giants.

It's funny how a baseball can do just that, bring up great memories. Sometimes its just a scuff, other times its a memory and a smile that will last forever.

@2outhits on Twitter

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Goodbye to some, hello to others

The last few weeks have been a roller coaster. I'm glad to be back here writing some thoughts about the San Francisco Giants.

First, I have to talk about the 2 guys that just left the Giants organization. The reality is that Pablo Sandoval could always choose another team. Then he actually did. It wasn't a shock.

It was the news that Tim Flannery would no longer be the 3rd base coach that really surprised me. So many people have their reasons for falling in love with Flannery over the years. For some its the tremendous work he's done in support of Bryan Stow. For others it's the exuberance he brings to the 3rd base coaching position. For me it's a little bit of everything.

In August of 2013 I obtained my first press pass for an MLB game down here in Florida when the Giants took on the Tampa Bay Rays. It was "my cup of coffee".

I felt so out of place and was freaked out by the whole thing. After Joe Maddon and Bruce Bochy wrapped their pregame interviews guys were just milling around the dugout. I ended up just standing there listening to Shawon Dunston talk. I had no idea what to do with myself.

That's when I spotted Flan leaning against the dugout rail. I mustered my courage and introduced myself. I mentioned his music and our conversation took off running. Over the next few minutes we talked about Jackie Greene, Bob Weir, the Lunatic Fringe and others. Then the Rays got off the field and he had to go hit fungoes.

The conversation totally disarmed me and made the rest of my night easier. Some talk about music is what made me comfortable at a baseball game. Who knew? For the rest of the night I felt like I belonged.

That's why I'm gonna miss seeing Tim Flannery down the 3rd base line. Whether he knew it or not he had a big hand in my confidence that day.  Of course I'll also miss the arm swinging and knees pumping as he sent a runner home. I'm glad he decided to go one more round with Bochy. Those 3 titles were a lot of fun.

Now the rest of what's been going on in Giants land.

  • Am I heartbroken about Pablo Sandoval? Not really. I feel a bit betrayed but that's the little kid inside me. I'm glad he grew up in a Giants uniform and wish him nothing but the best. 

  • Wouldn't Jon Lester look good in a Giants uniform? I think so too. I don't know what the Giants offered him but I hope he takes it over going to LA. The Kershaw-Lester-Greinke combo is daunting for any team to face. 

  • Today Henry Schulman found out the Giants are talking to Chase Headley to fill the 3rd base position. We also learned that means left field is not a focus this offseason. That's probably why Travis Ishikawa was inked to a one-year $1.1 million contract.

  • That probably means goodbye to Michael Morse. He's suited for a DH role and many AL teams would be willing to give multiple years. He was a good Giant and a big part of the team in 2014. Love that guy's energy.

  • Come on back Melky Cabrera. If it wasn't for second chances most of us would be somewhere else in life. If the guys in the clubhouse are good with it, that's good enough for me.

If you've been keeping up with my non baseball life I've got good news. We're moving next week to a safer area of town. The expenses are still building so any help or sharing of our GoFundMe campaign is appreciated. Thank you very much. Here's the link: Our Modern Family.

Plenty more baseball to come during the winter, thanks for sticking around!

@2outhits on Twitter