Listen To Spring Training Games Without A Radio

Ladies, gentlemen, I’ve found a way to listen to Spring Training games online for those of you that can’t listen on the radio. What you’ll need to do is head on over to the link below,Image  and you’ll create an mlb.com account. Then you’ll need to head over to the second link, and find the Giants game on the scoreboard. Click the Listen icon, and you’ll be able to listen to the game. This only works for Spring games, which is good enough.

Register: https://secure.mlb.com/enterworkflow.do?flowId=registration.ajax.wizard&c_id=mlb
Scoreboard: http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/scoreboard/index.jsp

Interview with Giants Second Baseman Brock Bond

Giants Nation

December 5th, 2012

Brock Bond is a second baseman in the San Francisco Giants organization who, in 2012, hit .332 in AAA Fresno. Needless to say, those are extremely impressive numbers, and at age 27, he’s definitely due for some time in the majors. We got the chance to ask Bond some questions on Wednesday, and he’s a good guy. Follow him on Twitter: @brockbond1

GN: So you’ve played well in AAA the past 3 years, including a monster 2012 season, how excited are you that you may reach the show next year?

Bond: Yes. That is my goal. I have worked very hard and I hope that I will get a chance.

GN: I’m sure Giants fans will be happy to see you in San Francisco when that day comes.

GN: What have you enjoyed the most during your time as a Giant?

Bond: It’s been fun being around all of the great players they have, and becoming good buddies with a bunch of them, as well as getting instruction from some great coaches like Joe Amalfitano.

GN: The last Giant to have Bond in his name hit 762 career home runs, how do you expect your MLB career to turn out?

Bond: I think it will turn out good. I play hard every game. I’m a little different than Bonds, because he hits home runs and my job is to get on base. I have been consistent in my minor league career and I hope that it will carry over to the show if I get a chance

GN: Favorite teammate from any season of yours?

Bond: Thats a tough question, I wouldn’t say I have a favorite but its been fun playing this past season with my old college roomate Ryan Lollis.

GN: Ryan Lollis eh? A couple of .300 hitters are sure to be buddies, I guess it’s fair to say.

GN: What was your favorite MLB team growing up?

Bond: I grew up in St. Louis as a Cardinals fan, I used to love going down to Busch Stadium with my dad as a youngster.

GN: Who was your favorite player growing up, and what was your best memory of his?

Bond: I don’t really have a favorite player, but I was born on the day Pete Rose broke the hits record and I have always admired the way he played the game. I obviously have not watched him much but from watching highlights of him running over catchers and diving into 3rd, it really motivates me to play the game hard.

GN: What do you prefer as a fan, a pitcher’s duel or an all out slugfest?

Bond: A slugfest of course.

GN: Your walk up music in 2012 was Matisyahu’s One Day, what led you to make this choice? Did it at all inspire your .332 batting average?

Bond: Yeah I think it did. I remember talking to our clubby about finding a walk up song with some substance, and I remember my older brother Brandon who is in the Air Force,playing this song a while back, and thought it was great.

Now it’s time for 2 hand picked questions from MLB Nation followers

Alex from Fresno, CA: What was it like to play in front of Grizzlies fans?

Bond: It was great. They were super nice and supportive through the ups and downs.

Charlie from CA: How much of an inspiration was Ryan Vogelsongs rags to riches story in ’11 to you?

Bond: Well he has quite a story, and a story like that reminds you that there is hope. Getting to the big leagues is hard, and on those days when your down guys stories like his helps you keep going and reminds you to never give up.

GN: Thank you for your time Brock, best of luck in 2013.

Bond: Thanks a lot, I appreciate it

What are your thoughts on our interview with the Giants middle infielder? How will he fare in 2013? Comment below.

Angel Pagan attracting quite a bit of attention this offseason

Matt Criswell

December 1, 2012

Angel Pagan after his stolen base in Game 2 of the 2012 World Series.

Angel Pagan after his stolen base in Game 2 of the 2012 World Series.

This offseason has had teams fighting for players, and it has only just begun. OF Angel Pagan has received two four year contract offers from the Phillies and the Giants. Of course the Giants would love to bring Pagan back to San Francisco especially after the 2012 season in which he batted .288/.338/.440 with 29 steals in 36 chances, 38 doubles and a majors-leading 15 triples, but that kind of season also attracts other teams that will be fighting for a title next season. The Phillies are motivated to put a hot bat in their lineup, especially after the Braves just signed a deal with B.J. Upton.

If the Giants choose to not go with Pagan next season they have a few free agents to choose from, most notably Michael Bourn, Josh Hamilton, and Shane Victorino. The Giants will most likely not go with Hamilton because he is going to want a 4-5 year deal and they won’t want to be tied down to a player who has been injury prone. Shane Victorino is also a risk due to age, while Michael Bourn would definitely put more speed in the line up. His downside would be him not being as effective defensively or with the bat as Pagan. So overall Pagan is probably the best choice for a center fielder in the 2013 season.

The Life of Brian (Wilson)

Geoff Roberts

November 31, 2012

Twitter geeks, baseball nuts and rabid Giants fans alike were ablaze in the fires of fury and outright depression 53 minutes ago. The news of Wilson’s non-tendering spread across the vast interwebs faster than you could say “Tommy John,” with The Beard offering nothing but dead silence on his Twitter account. Not saying that a certain degree of discretion is required in the midst of contract negotiations, but Wilson hasn’t posted a single quote, wisecrack or quip since mid-October.Image

For those who haven’t been following this story, allow me to wind the clock back less than a week to the day when Wilson was faced with a (then) growing possibility of his non-tender status: Tim Brown quoted Wilson as stating that his preference would be to sign on with the Dodgers since his off-season home is in Los Angeles. His alternate choice would be the Red Sox, considering he grew up as a hardcore Boston fan.

Now allow that to settle in for a minute, perhaps go punch a pillow, grab a strong drink and breathe.

Better? Good. Now consider for a moment what the ramifications of making such a statement are considering the atmosphere between LA and San Francisco fans in the past few years. Not exactly pleasant, is it? It would be no stretch of the imagination to say that Wilson’s alarming preference for potential suitors has sent a proverbial tidal wave through the Giants’ fan base, although far too many individuals have taken up near-militaristic opinions in response. Ranging from “bye-bye, Bweezy” to “**** *** ******!!!” (expletives deleted), Giants fans have made no secret over their disdain.

Are these rabid fans correct in their assumptions? Should we consider this announcement as a monumental betrayal? The answer to both questions is a resounding “no.”

Let’s take a look at the knee-jerk reactions swimming around the web right now. Firstly (and there’s absolutely no denying this point), take into account that there are bandwagon fans coming out of both ears right now. That in itself immediately discredits at least 40 to 50% of the negative blabbering. Secondly, those SF fans who have been around longer than 2010 should understand that baseball–first and foremost–is both a corporatocracy and a business. Remember Will Clark heading to Texas after his injury-prone 1992-1993 stretch? He understands the business side of this game, and Wilson obviously does as well. I’m not saying that that fact exonerates him from some of the criticism he’s received, but searching for greener pastures in the midst of a somewhat hostile atmosphere is not only a player’s right, it’s their prerogative.

Regarding the betrayal aspect, the same fact comes into play regarding a player’s responsibilities to their fans: they have none! If a player chooses to approach a rival team, that is their decision and their decision alone. After giving their lives and often their health for the amusement of their fans, athletes hold no responsibility whatsoever to maintain a happy relationship with their fan base. They owe their fans nothing, and those fans should be ashamed at the amount of condemnation they are throwing at Wilson. The Bearded One will forever be a Giants franchise in itself, regardless of who he plays for. Enjoy the time that he was here and, should he be leaving the breezy climes of McCovey Cove, revel in the fact that we were privy to one of the most charismatic and off-the-wall players to ever grace a field. I wish him well whatever the eventual outcome may be.

Brian Wilson to LA?

By Giants Nation

November 28th, 2012

Giants closer Brian Wilson may not spend 2013 in San Francisco, Wilson, a guy with a fastball reaching 97, has said that his first choice should he become a free agent, is to sign with the Dodgers. That’s right. The face of the Giants franchise has publicly announced that his first choice would be to sign with the rival Dodgers. Here’s a picture of him in Dodger blue: Image

Hideous, isn’t it? Or at least it’s that way for Giants fans. What are your thoughts on this possible signing? Will Wilson be able to return to pitching like the dominant closer he was 2 years ago after back to back Tommy John surgeries? If you were an athlete, would you join forces with the rival? Comment below.

Marco Scutaro, the best free agent on the market?

By Giants Nation

November 24, 2012

Marco Scutaro. When fans of other teams hear the name, they think of his World Series clinching RBI single, his .500 NLCS, but most baseball fans forget that the man hit .362 during his time in San Francisco in 2012, .302 overall. So why is he not a more sought after free agent? He’s arguably the clutchest hitter out there, and with only 14 strikeouts in 268 plate appearances, we already know he doesn’t strike out much.

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Other ballclubs are licking their chops at the thought of signing slugger Josh Hamilton, but the Giants second baseman is without a doubt the better investment in my eyes. Whichever team inks him to a 2 year deal(which looks like it’ll be the Giants at this point) will surely enjoy his services.

 

Now, I’m going to make this a bit simpler to those who didn’t have the privilege of seeing him play all year. Because to those of you who haven’t, you probably think I’m insane for taking a 37 year old second baseman over a former AL MVP, but Scutaro can do a lot of things that Hammy simply can not. Scutaro hit .362 in one of the most pitcher friendly ball parks in the majors. Defensively, Scutaro is also the better option. He only made 2 errors at second base in his time with the Giants. Scutaro also can play short and third, not to mention having experience in the outfield and first base. But if you’re into missing out on that but getting some power in your lineup while spending an extra $150M in the process, be my guest.

 

So that explains why there’s not a doubt in my mind that Scutaro is the best free agent on the market, hopefully after reading this, you’ll think the same. This is my first article, so I’ll improve in time, and maybe they’ll be a bit longer. Hope you enjoyed.

Panda Power Packs Punches in Post-Season

  • By Geoff Roberts, Published October 25, 2012

    Let’s admit it already: these guys are having a blast in the post-season. Being in the drivers’ seat after being written off for so long must be undeniably gratifying to a team of what Mr. Sabean so lovingly referred to as “cockroaches”) due to their apparent inability to kick the bucket in the face of adversity). After performances like tonight, it wouldn’t be farfetched to say that a 2012 Series victory would be in the bag. After all, with the Panda belting out 3 taters against one of the best pitchers to ever step onto the mound (after an inspiring regular season total of TWELVE home runs!), who’s to say that we can’t enjoy a little preemptive celebration? Well, allow me to add a little liquid propulsion in that carnivalImage

    – The Giants currently sit pretty as holding the second-most post-season appearances of any team (#1 being held by the beloved New York Yankees). Obviously this doesn’t apply to the same people involved in said post-season appearances, but a solid record bodes well when it comes to managing the ups and downs of a World Series-bound team.

    – The Giants hold a 6-0 record in elimination games this year which, provided the series actually gets that far, bodes very well for the black & orange. These guys know how to play with their backs against the walls, and have proven their resiliency time and time again.

    – Verlander was quashed in game 1. Yeah, this might seem slightly skewed and/or biased, but considering that Detroit’s best starter held a 1.07 ERA in the 2012 post-season until he stepped on the bump by McCovey Cove, this statistic is probably the most indicative of things to come.

    – Zito and Vogelsong both coming into their own at the same time. Now there’s a statistical improbability that any Giant fan is NOT inspired by this…Vogie, who had been facing a hardcore slump in the last 2 months of the regular season, and Zito, who had a fairly typical Zito start to 2012, both pitching with fire and brimstone at the same time?! Now that takes some intervention from the Baseball Gods, if it’s not too bold to say.

    – Pandoval….er, Sandoval joined the likes of the Babe, the Reg, and the Pujols in being one of these select few to knock 3 taters out in a World Series game…but you already knew that, right?

    – I digress, though. People may argue the semantics of quality pitching or quality hitting being more integral to a post-season victory, but I tend to lean toward the offensive side of things (which this team has certainly lacked at times this year). Going into game 1, the Giants held the MLB record for the least number of home runs, and, although Pagan does hold the record for triples this season, the G’s weren’t exactly known for their offensive prowess until the All-Star Game. The Panda Triple (which, ironically, also came courtesy of Justin Verlander) seemed to rally the Giants in a way that wasn’t possible with your everyday bases-clearing blast. Teammates began picking each other up if another was having difficulties. Hits began to string together and become timelier. Purpose began to sink back into everything that the Giants did, and it showed in their gameplay and on their faces.

    – Either way, it’s late and bed is beckoning. Whatever the outcome of game 2, nobody can deny that this has been one hell of a post-season on all accounts, and there will be a ton of quality ball-play left to come. Good night, good luck, and go Giants!

Hamilton = Bonds?

By Scott Schwerdtfeger l 9/14/12 12:01 AM

I wrote a column a couple of weeks back about the Giants’ left field situation in the wake of Melky Cabrera’s suspension. As was obvious at the time, left field is still a platoon situation and will stay that way for the rest of the 2012 season. Even so, the outstanding performances of center fielder Angel Pagan and second baseman/infielder Marco Scutaro have catapulted the Giants to the top of the NL West. Both players are impending free agents and both have said that they would love to come back on new deals. Should the Giants retain both Pagan and Scutaro, the only hole in their lineup for next season would be left field.

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Josh Hamilton in a Giants uniform. Looks good, no?

What if the Giants stole Josh Hamilton from big-market teams like the Yankees and the Red Sox and put him in left field? The 2010 AL MVP is having another stellar season, leading the Majors in home runs (41) and RBI (121) with a .285/.354/.582 slash line for the AL West-leading Rangers, putting himself in the MVP discussion yet again. He is facing stiff competition from the Angels’ rookie sensation Mike Trout, the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera, and his teammate Adrian Beltre for the award, so it won’t be easy. But if Hamilton does win it this year it would be his second overall, quite an accolade to take onto the free-agent market. Another outfielder accomplished the same feat in 1992 and signed what was the most lucrative deal in baseball history.

Barry Bonds.

Could Josh Hamilton be the next Barry Bonds?

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4/12/2004: Barry Bonds after hitting career home run #660, tying his godfather Willie Mays on the all-time HR list. The fans raise their hands with him as then-SBC Park goes into a frenzy.

After his 1992 NL MVP, his second MVP award, Bonds left the Pirates via free agency as the best player in the game. He signed a then-record six-year, $43.75 million contract with the Giants, who were under new ownership after the 1992 season. The signing put both the Giants and the Pirates on completely opposite paths for the future. Bonds came to a Giants team that had lost 90 games, had the second-worst run-scoring offense in the league, and was on its way to Tampa Bay. Bonds won the 1993 NL MVP, leading the league in home runs (43) and RBI (126), and lead the Giants to a team-record 103 wins and coming within one game of the playoffs. This was the beginning of a decade of relevance for the Giants, something they hadn’t been for many years prior to their World Series appearance in 1989. The Pirates were one game away from the World Series in 1992 when they lost Game 7 of the NLCS to the Braves. Bonds tried to throw out Sid Bream at the plate in that game (he should have been playing further in) and wasn’t successful. The Pirates haven’t had a non-losing season in the 20 years since.

Hamilton, should he sign with the Giant’s, could have similar effects on the Giants. The Giants are the least powerful team in the majors in terms of home runs with 87, and that includes Melky Cabrera’s 11 home runs and current Phillie Nate Schierholtz’s 5, leaving 71 homers on the current roster. If Hamilton did sign with the Giants, they would have at least 4 players capable of 25 home runs or more (Hamilton, Pence, Posey, and Panda), even at AT&T Park, and those numbers would instantly go up, provided Hamilton stays healthy. Even though he missed 29 games in 2010, Hamilton hit .359 with 32 HRs/100 RBI. The Giants are already in a pretty good spot with their team on pace to win at least 90 games. With Hamilton, they could compete with the Dodgers and their enhanced roster for years to come.

Make no mistake, Hamilton is not Bonds aside from the hitting ability. Bonds was a far more disciplined hitter than Hamilton, striking out more than 100 times only once, in his rookie year, and he led the league in walks 12 times, over 100 walks in 14 seasons. Barry was a stellar defender in his early career, winning 8 Gold Gloves. Bonds stole 514 bases while Hamilton has stolen 43, less than the 52 Bonds stole in 1990, his first MVP season. But his presence would lengthen the lineup considerably by adding a legitimate power hitter, something the Giants have been looking for since…well…Barry Bonds retired in 2007. Hamilton, on the other hand, is a better person and personality than Bonds. Everyone on the Rangers loves him because he’s a great teammate and he’s a great community ambassador and he has great respect for the game. He would fit very well in Mike Murphy’s tight clubhouse.

Signing Hamilton is going to be very expensive, possibly Zito-esque. It is expected that he would only be able to get a 5-6 year contract but considering the lack of marquis players that will be on the market he could get as long as 10 (I doubt it). I think that, if the Giants were to sign him, a likely contract would be 5-6 years, $100-120 million dollars, at $20 million per year, though $18 million would be nicer. Just looking at next season, if they were to sign Scutaro and Pagan to $6 million contracts for next season, $13 million for Hunter Pence in arbitration, $6 million for Brian Wilson, and $3 million for Jeremy Affeldt, and a whole lot of other contracts, the payroll will probably be in excess of $140 million dollars for 2013. Whether the brain trust in the Giants front office is willing to dig into their wallets (how deep is another question) to sign Hamilton will have to wait for the offseason.

Should they dig into the so-called “rainy-day fund”, here’s what a projected lineup would be with Hamilton:

  1. CF Angel Pagan S
  2. 2B Marco Scutaro R
  3. LF Josh Hamilton L
  4. C Buster Posey R
  5. 3B Pablo Sandoval S
  6. RF Hunter Pence R
  7. 1B Brandon Belt L
  8. SS Brandon Crawford/Joaquin Arias L/R
  9. Pitcher
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Remember when McCovey Cove was this full on a regular basis?

While Hamilton is not the same caliber of player as Barry Bonds, the presence in the lineup is very similar and would make the Giants very dangerous in the National League for years to come. Plus, it’d make McCovey Cove the coolest spot in town again. Barry Bonds hit 35 into The Cove. Who knows how many Josh Hamilton could sink.

Linceconundrum

Tim Lincecum delivering a pitch during the 8-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies.

There aren’t many things to be said regarding Lincecum’s season that haven’t been said ad nauseum. Erratic control? The strike zone has been dancing for Lincecum like a cheap Vegas stripper. Velocity down? You’d better believe it. Lack of confidence? You saw the 2+ gallons of sweat dripping off of his face in Washington, didn’t you? The ace from Seattle who was once feared by any sane person behind the plate not a short 2 years ago has sprinted to the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of consistency and domination this season. As of 9/13, Lincecum holds a somewhat nail-biting 5.09 ERA and a 9 & 14 record for this season in 30 starts.

Nail-biting, that is, for anyone who has chosen to turn off the TV when Tim is pitching.

Allow me to put it this way: 6 of his 9 wins have come since July 31st. He’s won all 3 of his starts in September while walking 14 and striking out 22, and he is holding a highly respectable 3.38 ERA for the month while simultaneously cutting his overall ERA which was holding at a little over 6 until July 25th. I should note that he is also ranked 5th in the National League in terms of strikeouts with 177 K’s to his name.

The question that sits heavy on the mind of many Giants fans should be painfully obvious: where was this Timmy in the first half? Had he arrived at the start of the season throwing the kind of respectable pitches that he currently is, it would be no surprise that SF would be sitting at least 3 or more games ahead of LA at the current point. (Not to say that a 7-game lead in the NL West isn’t something to be happy about, mind you.) Lincecum has mentioned in several post-game interviews that his command has been off mainly due to some mechanical difficulties combined with the added stress of pitching in the stretch, which his current record of 82 walks for the season would certainly explain a few things.

If we take a look at his career stats, there are several things which stand out: in the past 3 years, September has been Lincecum’s fourth best month overall with a 2.92 ERA. In that same 3-year span, he sports a 2.87 ERA in 98 games started and over 2,400 batters faced. Numbers like those don’t come along every day of the week, but when mechanics begin to falter and poise begins to wane, fans begin chewing their fingernails in earnest. Boston, Cincinnati and Washington all have excellent track records against Lincecum in his career, while his best performances have come against Oakland, Houston and Minnesota.

Whatever problems may exist, it is undeniable that Lincecum is finally returning to form. Comparing his pitches from the beginning of this season to tonight, I found that his mechanics through the stretch are far more fluid and consistent than they were in the first few months. Mentally, Tim has said that his frustration has often played a negative role in his starts, but he has been trying to channel that frustration into producing outs rather than runs. This is a good sign no matter how you choose to see it, and his potential is definitely starting to blossom with a potential post-season looming only a few short weeks away. Witnessing the turnaround that Lincecum has been able to provide in the last 2 months combined with the offensive support that he has desperately sought, this very well may be a September to remember for the Giants’ former ace.

Adios, Pelota?

The team that Bruce built (or at least had a hand in creating) has been steamrolling their way to a devilishly delicious 13 wins in their last 17 games played, and 21 of their last 32 series wound up in their favor.

By Geoff Roberts l 6:30 PM

There’s no denying it: the Giants are playing some of their best baseball in the 2 agonizingly murky years since that crisp October evening in Texas.

The team that Bruce built (or at least had a hand in creating) has been steamrolling their way to a devilishly delicious 13 wins in their last 17 games played, and 21 of their last 32 series. The shoot & scoot method seems to be working its bizarre magic for the guys in orange and black, and with the remaining series in September sitting exclusively within the NL West, the Giants have responded in force to try and maintain their 4 ½ game lead over LA.

For a team that holds one of the best records for runs-scored on the road, and 3 players batting over .300 (excluding Melky Cabrera, who would make it 4 total), there’s one statistic which stands out more than a Brony at an MMA match:

The Giants are currently ranked 30th in home runs with a whopping 81 this season.

You read that right: 30th. That’s dead last in case you didn’t know.

Splash hits have become a distant memory, and the kayakers are becoming so bored, I’ve heard rumors that they’ve started a poker ring on the water. Is it the chilly Bay area moisture that robs a ball of its flight power? Is it a lack of training or conditioning? Is it the distracting scent of garlic fries wafting around AT&T? Your guess is as good as mine, but whatever the cause may be, the lack of the long ball doesn’t seem to affect the overall team’s performance. It’s common knowledge that AT&T is one of the most non-batter friendly parks around, and Levi’s Landing would certainly give Fenway’s Green Monster a run for its money. Statistically speaking, the current Giant’s lineup is not a glutton for home runs. Posey holds the lead amongst active players with 19, all of Belt’s home runs came in June and Sandoval is currently sitting on 109 at-bats without serving a tater. Yet there is something to be said about a team that can pull off wins with such little gusto in terms of the long ball. Be it team cohesiveness or just the right mix of drive and defense, the Giants are proving they can hold their own against the Brauns and Pujols of the MLB world.

With a little less than a month of regular season play, it’s becoming more and more obvious that the Giants are doing just fine without the crowd-stirring shots from Bonds, Williams, McCovey and the like. They produce when it’s needed, back up their pitchers if they’re struggling, and communicate effectively on the field (and I should note that they’re obviously having fun!). While the engine doesn’t roar very often, it’s certainly firing on all cylinders.

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