January 2013

#SFGiants 2013 Promotions Announced

Go to the Giants site here to check out the full list of promos and giveaways that will happen this year. The Giants also do cultural heritage nights and gatherings for other causes, and I imagine those will be announced at a later time. Until then, we’re left to discuss what is out there, so here are my highlights for each month of the regular season:

April

Sunday, the 21st: World Champions Banner — cover the back of your car with this banner so you can’t see out of your rear-view mirror as you rub it in to all your other friends that 1) you went to the game and got the banner and 2) this banner means you’re the biggest Giants fan of ‘em all.

May

Sunday, the 26th: Barry Zito Bobblehead — The Giants have a good problem to worry about constructing it to honor his NLCS Game 5 start, or his World Series Game 1 start. Or they’ll show him playing a guitar made of money, or him cooking a cash omelette.

June

Saturday, the 22nd: Ryan Vogelsong Bobblehead — You will start to crave enchiladas and you won’t want to talk to anyone for the 24 hour period before your next game/presentation after you look into its eyes.

July

Saturday, the 6th: Drawstring Backpacks — You need to take up the space in your house with this item you’ll use on the day of the game only.

August

Saturday, the 25th: Tim Lincecum Gnome — Add more to your gnome collection with this Giant who might or might not see his last year in a Giants uniform!

September

Saturday, the 7th: Orange Sombrero — Make sure you’re in the first row of your section for this game.

October*

Every playoff home game: Orange Rally Towel — Season ticket holders stoked that they get to keep using eBay.

* — assumes Giants make playoffs, which they might not.

Missing Promotions

  • Giveaway Panda Hats
  • Giveaway Giraffe Hats
  • Giveaway Horse Hats
  • Giveaway White Shark Hats
  • Giveaway Praying Mantis Hats
  • Jeremy Affeldt Cooking Set
  • Matt Cain Putter for Kids
  • Beard-Shaving Kits
  • Replica of the 2012 World Series Trophy

Got a feeling the Giants are going to sell out every game this season again. Bold prediction, I know.

Two Prospect Rankings in Two Days

The future of the game and the future of the teams baseball fans have loved for years rest in the bats, gloves, and arms of a lot of these kids that are occupying the Minors and some even have knocked down the door into the national spotlight. People love rankings, so when it comes to ranking the future, it’s easy to see how people can get excited, as well as downright stupid, when these rankings come out. MLB.com released their rankings last night for the Top 100 prospects in baseball, and Baseball America came out with their rankings for the San Francisco Giants farm system this morning, so it’s given us some time to consider what the Giants farm has to offer. Since both these sites are free to access, I’ll post the pictures that give Giants fans what they’re looking for right here:

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If you can’t read it because the font’s too darn small, that’s Kyle Crick at 86th, and Gary Brown at number 100. Not a huge surprise to a lot of people, given the hype of Crick we’ve been hearing throughout the year, and even validated by Fangraphs and SBNation rankings from December, and November, respectively. Gary Brown did not have a stellar first half to the year in Double-A Richmond and reports on him soured during that time.

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This is Baseball America’s ranking, and here’s a another spot where Crick comes before Brown, but this one has Joe Panik and Chris Stratton before Brown! The Giants farm system is fascinating to me because it seems to be that Crick is the consensus #1 and then from there it’s a lot of cross-checking on strengths and weaknesses on the different guys within the system, which can understandably jumble up the list. Another cool point about this list:

Top picks for the Giants of 2009 (Brown), 2011 (Panik), and 2012 (Stratton) are all within the Top 5, so while none of them may be gracing the Top 10 of any league-wide national rankings, they are all projected for the moment to be of some use to the parent club, which is a credit to the scouts and decision makers within the organization. However, things don’t always go the way we expect them to, much like the front office may have when they decided to keep Brown and trade Zack Wheeler for old friend Carlos Beltran.

It’s a good idea not to get too overly invested in prospect rankings to the point where you are getting angry over something like Panik being #3 instead of #2 unless you are a prospect evaluator that has plenty of sources to double-check reports. Now, if you do want to become invested in this, take the reports in, ask questions to people in the industry, go to San Jose to catch some games, talk to some scouts to get some info, make some phone calls, and you’ll be on your way to making your own ranking, which is exactly why I don’t make my own rankings on prospects.

As for what’s next in prospect rankings, I’ll be waiting on Baseball Prospectus, as well as MLB.com to release their rankings of the Giants system like Baseball America did today so I have a better idea of some of the kids I might get to see over the course of Spring Training.

If I had my own walk-up music

I will never make it to the big leagues, pretty certain about that. I will probably also never play at a level competitive or awesome enough to where a stadium announces my name and plays walk-up music for me, but that can’t stop me from living a dream and imagining I’ll have some walk up music of my own. I’ve given myself four options for walk-up tunes, all options that I’d say the majority of the public is probably either tired of, or hates, but my taste in classic music is up to me, why should I let other people tell me what I walk up to? So here are four songs I enjoy for different reasons, that would relax me for my at bats and get me to just have a good time out on the field.

1. This all-timer:

Some of you may be thinking “so he’s going to dance to the batter’s box?” No, in fact I’d be doing the dance of the guy in the elevator in the batter’s box. Favorite part.

2. This overlooked shortie:

Not sure how you can’t love this, but I’ve loved this since it came out. I actually use the tune to make incomprehensible sentences about my cats.

3. I think pop radio plays this a lot:

It’s really only for the eyyyyaAAAYYYaaAYY part, that’s all I hear when I listen to the song, and probably all I’ve listened to.

4. Oldie, but a goodie:

This one has value only because my wife, when it first came out, said she really didn’t like this song. So you know how when someone says that or tells you not to do something you do the opposite? That’s the story behind this gem.

Just as people sent me requests to read their HoF ballots, I would love to see people’s walk-up music, because discovering (or rediscovering) good music is always a good time. Dale. Sorry, too much Pitbull.

$280MM/Year for Dodgers, and Why I Can’t Sneak Away

The big (but somewhat expected) news that came before anybody on the West Coast was awake was that a new Regional Sports Network is to be had, and it will have shades of Dodger Blue in it. This deal between Time Warner and the Dodgers will be huge at $7B or $280MM/year for twenty-five years beginning in 2014. As the article notes, the 2013 season will stay on Prime Ticket where you can continue to listen to the superb analysis of guys like MLB The Show 13 voice contributor Steve Lyons (seriously there was nobody else?). Getting back to money, the Dodgers have $220MM committed to this year alone, and $172MM in 2014, per Baseball Prospectus and Cots. Unless they have big plans to build another Dodger Stadium somewhere else, this TV money is going to bring in plenty more stars to LA.

Baseball Prospectus also released their Top 10 Dodgers prospects today, so there’s that to look at as well.

Lastly, if you’re new to the blog, I’m living down in Dodger/Angels territory so I don’t get to sneak away to AT&T, or a minor league ballpark all that much. This year, I was hoping I might be able to get some access to some Major League pressbox to get some more professional writing experience on days that might be a little more poorly attended by fans and writers alike. Those days, I figured, would be those get-away weekday afternoon games. They could also be games against cellar-dweller teams, but my wife really really likes spending time together at home, so if I go to 12:45PM game, I’m still home well in time to enjoy her company. The bad news of the matter is that between the Dodgers and Angels, there are only three such games (Dodgers 1, Angels 2). Maybe that’s just the market, so I checked out other schedules to see if that was the case — Yankees 5, Padres 5, DBacks 6, Giants 11, Tigers 12, Cubs 19 (although the Cubbies games are at 1:20PM). This may be something that is not unusual for the LA markets, and very much could be me just catching on to the trend of the teams deciding they would rather have their games at night so the people of the region can come home to a game. Still, three games seems a little too few for me, so maybe I’ll have to sneak out to play on other nights.

Dave Sappelt (@SappySappelt6), the poor @Cubs OF that Twitter is harassing

It’s a pretty slow day in the baseball off-season, but every now and then someone says something and doesn’t realize what they say. It involves Cubs OF Dave Sappelt and his comments about women which weren’t really supposed to be about women.

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Yea, this is a pretty dangerous statement to make on a social media site that reaches out to millions upon millions of people, especially a pretty good chunk of people that care about the perceptions of different populations of human beings.

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This certainly is not helping things, further providing evidence for people thinking he has a set view towards women and what “they do.”

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This is just an epic tweet because he doesn’t know which “they’re” to use, and how to spell “sexist,” but instead uses favorite adjective of mine in “sexiest.” In his defense, I’m sure his mentions have been blowing up of late.

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People are better off not trying to advocate for the image of other people! Long live the stereotypes!

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He would provide some context to his “woman driver” tweet that he was making a reference to his girlfriend, although never apologized, or wrote about any regrets to the wording of his tweet.

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It’s an excellent question asked by Matt Lindner. Dave Sappelt must realize he’s done something wrong, hopefully it’s just a matter of time before he apologizes.

Sappelt has blocked those critical of him, so if you plan on presenting your opinion to him, get it all in one tweet. Until then, we wait on the Chicago Cubs or his agency to let Mr. Sappelt know he will be required to issue a statement of apology or something along those lines, even if his views on what he said never change.

MLB Releases Game Times for Regular Season

Now you can start planning which days of work you’ll miss, which days of school you’ll avoid, and which days you’ll plan your big group outing to! Just so you know I’m not lying:

 

Only the Padres right now have times TBD, which is OK because how many people (outside of Padres fans) are really dying to go to a game that features the Padres? Regular season tickets for some teams like the White Sox, and Orioles, have already hit the tubes. Shouldn’t be long until every team makes them available. I’m going to guess sometime between now and the start of the season.

The Long Nightmare is Finally Over: Justin Upton Traded to Atlanta

Wednesday afternoon reports surfaced that GM Frank Wren of the Braves had sent an offer to the Arizona Diamondbacks for 25-year old OF Justin Upton. Thursday morning, reports have come out that GM Kevin Towers has accepted that offer. Finally, after months of speculation that Justin Upton be traded, he does. There was some speculation that the DBacks would try to trade Jason Kubel to the Baltimore Orioles but now that Justin has been traded, that possibility seems pretty much done.

The Braves get:

OF Justin Upton (Already 108 HR, but a change of scenery could do wonders)

3B Chris Johnson (traded from Houston to AZ last season, 15 HR, defense not his calling card)

The Diamondbacks get:

UT Martin Prado (plays all over the place, in my opinion a little underrated, fans should like him but doesn’t have Upton power)

SP Randall Delgado (92.2 IP in MLB in ’12, will enter age 23 season)

SP Zeke Spruill (Double-A in ’12)

SS Nick Ahmed (High-A in ’12)

CI Brandon Drury (Single-A in ’12)

There was speculation yesterday that Braves top prospect Julio Teheran would be in the deal, but apparently he was swapped out and Prado and Delgado were brought in. Looking at the deal, I can’t say I hate it too much for either side, and I assumed the Braves would “win” this deal on paper. There are some people like me that didn’t feel trading Upton was appropriate, but getting Prado and Delgado back isn’t bad of a return at all. Atlanta now has a platoon partner for Juan Francisco, a pair of Uptons in the outfield to join another young star in Jason Heyward, it’s hard not to love this trade for the Braves. The Diamondbacks get a great player in Prado, another guy that they could ease into the rotation in Delgado who can be around until the latter part of the decade, and they get three guys that were all Baseball America Top 30 prospects (Spruill being the only Top 10 at #9; Ahmed #11, Drury #27, per JJ Cooper), this isn’t the worst thing in the world done by Kevin Towers. Really! I mean, the Trevor Bauer trade was easily much worse than this trade if you’re looking for an axe to grind.

If you clicked on the links to MLBDepthCharts on the team names, you’ll notice at how the rosters might take shape. Funny how the Diamondbacks used to have guys like Chris Young (now with the A’s), Justin Upton (traded today), Trevor Bauer (now with the Indians), and could’ve stayed content with Jarrod Parker (also now with the A’s). Their replacements are Cody Ross, Jason Kubel, Adam Eaton (all this combined is a downgrade because Upton is a pretty good player), and Trevor Cahill, Randall Delgado (could we call this a “push” for the pitching in the short-term?).

Both teams after this trade are left in pretty good shape, sending a message to their fans that they want to compete in 2013, but after the offseason the Diamondbacks have had, I’m not sure if I can say they are in better shape than what they ended 2012 with.

MLB 13 The Show Cover Vote: Canada Version

Just as the U.S. had their vote for MLB 13 The Show Cover Vote and elected Pittsburgh Pirate Andrew McCutchen, so too do the people of Canada to vote for their favorite cover, and just as you’d expect, the choices might be a little Canada/Blue Jays-centered:

So your choices are Jose Bautista in white, grey, or red! That’s it. I’m not saying this isn’t fair, and certainly not saying Joey Bats isn’t worthy of being on the cover of a video game, because he definitely is. However, after a week-long vote for the American side of The Show, shouldn’t Canadian baseball fans be given the same opportunity to choose between a number of players? You could go with the Canadian-native route with guys like Joey Votto, Justin Morneau, or Brett Lawrie, or perhaps you could go with the Toronto Blue Jays version with guys like R.A. Dickey, Edwin Encarnacion, or Brett Lawrie.

Sidenote: That statement makes it seem like I’m a big Lawrie supporter, but I’m indifferent towards the guy in all honesty, because my only image of him is really an ejection, so yea.

But whatever, it’s your game, MLB The Show. I’m sure you’ll do better next year in letting the fans decide, because I thought it was kind of cool with how they did it with the other voting system. Rooting for either the home or the red uni for the cover. Don’t let me down, Canada.

There is no “We” in “Your Team”

This is a difficult concept to tackle since there are a lot of people that enjoy sports. Of these people, there are quite a number of them that have a close allegiance to one of the many teams ouf there that they support in particular, be it a baseball, football, basketball, hockey team, or even an individual athlete on an amateur or professional circuit. Unless you are a stockholder, an employee (this includes the competitors on the field and in the front offices), or a very close relative or friend in constant contact with the athlete that competes, much to the heartbreak of few that will come across this article, they are not “your team.” Instead, they are more “the team you support,” and no doubt there is a difference to those two ideas. Questions might be had by some wondering if they can still say “we” or “our” in statements or questions like:

“We did it! We won the World Series!” Your effect on the outcome was likely minuscule to zero. You did not help, but you were a witness to a great happening, and the parade will be awesome.

“What are our needs to fill going into the offseason?” What are the needs of you and whomever you are addressing? I don’t know, man.

“Your guys suck, mine are better.” You two/however many in this discussion don’t employ any of these guys. This statement would pass if it were between two fantasy sports owners. 

Other questions that don’t involve “we” or “our” are excellent ones. For example:

“But at Giants games they say Your San Francisco Giants.”

They do, that is indisputable, and I hate to sound like some sort of novice conspiracy theorist or a Debbie-Downer, but this is ultimately a marketing ploy to make you more invested into the game, and the team it$elf. Which leads me to the next thought:

“Both at and away from the games I spend so much money on gear, so my dedication proves I’m part of the team.”

Your dedication proves you’re dedicated to the team, not a part of them. Even if you go on those team-sponsored vacations, you may be getting closer to “we” status, be it at the pace of a Bengie Molina-snail, but you are still not there yet. You may be “donating” $200/game to the organization to help it turn the wheels of its business, but they’re not standing at the gates, concession stands, gift shops, and near your seats telling you that your contributions as a fan are making a difference each and every day to provide them with the money to keep Buster Posey/franchise player around until the day he retires. That money is sitting in the owner’s boxes. Even if you’re a season ticket holder, the money you pay at the games alone wouldn’t be enough to pay off a major league contract. I’m not knowledgable enough to speak to how it would pay for any other contract, but I’m guessing they wouldn’t as well.

“You’re just jealous [so-and-so] has retweeted me/responded to me/follows me on Twitter.”

You know, I don’t know what I’d get out of an athlete following me, or responding to me (but that’s what someone who’s jealous would say!). Would I get more followers? Would that enable to me to any “behind the scenes” perks? If it does, especially the behind the scenes stuff, yea I’d show a little envy, but getting a locker room tour still wouldn’t solidify “we” status.

Of course, all this is just an opinion of mine that’s formed over time. It took me a while to go from “we” to “them,” and it’s not even said maliciously, but respectfully to acknowledge the hard work of the people within whatever organization is being discussed. This wasn’t a post to tell you to not love your team — I have tons of Giants gear… so much so my wife says I have “too much,” but she’s just bitter — rather, a post for you to reconsider the relationship between you and the team you support.

The Best Individual Seasons of 2012: 1st through 20th

Idea: Rank the best individual seasons of the 2012 MLB regular season (Spring Training, Minor Leagues, and Postseason are not included), while considering offensive and defensive facets of the game.

Consider: Using the individual metrics to measure individual performance; full avoidance of projecting results for shortened seasons, and past years performance to justify or dictate standings.

This is not: “Most Valuable” anything. Rather, this is “best,” like Baseball America does, so there is no confusion as to what I am ranking. It is also not a “this is a ranking of who I want in 2013, or wanted in any other year.”

This is: My opinion, and will be disagreed with by many.

Intro

81-100

61-80

41-60

21-40

—————————

20. R.A. Dickey (233.2 IP, 8.86 K/9, 3.39 tERA, 4.6 fWAR, 5.6 rWAR) – Had I considered age in this ranking, maybe Dickey would have been higher, but I’ll let someone else do that ranking. I think it’s still cool that we could have some more years to experience his dominance over hitters though.

19. David Price (211.0 IP, 8.74 K/9, 3.23 tERA, 5.1 fWAR, 6.4 rWAR) – Really had trouble ranking 19-21 with the three pitchers, but in the end, I just liked Price’s numbers the best

18. Aaron Hill (26 HR, 14 SB, .375 wOBA, 6.2 fWAR, 4.6 rWAR) – What a change of scenery can do for you, Aaron Hill looks like he’s found his comfort zone in Phoenix after being traded from Toronto.

17. Cliff Lee (211.0 IP, 1.19 BB/9, 3.21 tERA, 4.9 fWAR, 4.2 rWAR) – Poor Clifton didn’t get a lot of love because of the W-L record he sported, but it’s not his fault his team didn’t score runs for him, even if he was on for most of the season.

16. Michael Bourn (26 2B, 42 SB, .326 wOBA, 6.4 fWAR, 6.0 rWAR) – The speedy center fielder does his job tearing up the basepaths and covering his part out in CF. Jim Bowman suggested the Giants could be a fit, I think not. ($)

15. Felix Hernandez (232.0 IP, 8.65 K/9, 3.21 tERA, 6.1 fWAR, 4.6 rWAR) – The King may be the only true royalty in Seattle now, but he should have an army of arms coming to help out soon.

14. Aramis Ramirez (27 HR, 50 2B, .384 wOBA, 6.5 fWAR, 5.4 rWAR) – May be the most underappreciated season of the guys listed in this top percentage, but the BBWAA recognized it, and he finished 9th in NL MVP voting.

13. Yadier Molina (22 HR, 12 SB, .375 wOBA, 6.5 fWAR, 6.7 rWAR) – I know what you’re thinking: A Molina that steals bases, not just prevents SB? Yea, he does that, too.

12. Adrian Beltre (36 HR, 33 2B, .388 wOBA, 6.5 fWAR, 6.7 rWAR) – I felt Heyward edged the 3B of Texas in the way he manned his position, and in the way he contributed on the bases, but still a great year for the guy that loves the headrubs.

11. Jason Heyward (27 HR, 21 SB, .351 wOBA, 6.6 fWAR, 5.5 rWAR) – Should Heyward be able to step up his game to another level in his age 23 season, he could get real scary.

10. Clayton Kershaw (227.2 IP, 9.05 K/9, 2.95 tERA, 5.5 fWAR, 6.2 rWAR) – I also struggled between JV vs. CK, but in the end, felt other peripherals not listed evened things out, giving the edge to Justin over Clayton with IP being the tiebreaker.

9. Justin Verlander (238.1 IP, 9.03 K/9, 3.43 tERA, 6.8 fWAR, 7.5 rWAR) – I really struggled where to start to include the pitchers, but here seemed like a good spot. Verlander is still good.

8. Chase Headley (31 HR, 17 SB, .378 wOBA, 7.5 fWAR, 6.0 rWAR) – If this were a “best second half of 2012” post, Headley might be #1.

7. David Wright (21 HR, 15 SB, .376 wOBA, 7.8 fWAR, 6.7 rWAR) – If this were a “best first half of 2012” post, Wright might be #1.

6. Miguel Cabrera (44 HR, 40 2B, .417 wOBA, 7.1 fWAR, 6.9 rWAR) – The dude’s just oozing power, and while the change of positions is a great story, the playing of the position itself must be considered in this ranking.

5. Andrew McCutchen (31 HR, 20 SB, .403 wOBA, 7.4 fWAR, 7.0 rWAR) – Worthy of being on the cover of a video game, I’m just glad Pittsburgh has had someone to cheer about.

4. Robinson Cano (33 HR, 48 2B, .394 wOBA, 7.8 fWAR, 8.2 rWAR) – Aren’t the Yankees glad the Rangers took Joaquin Arias instead of this kid.

3. Ryan Braun (41 HR, 30 SB, .413 wOBA, 7.9 fWAR, 6.8 rWAR) – Probably got a lot of flack for the PED-related stuff at the end of the season in 2011, but a 40-30 season will never stop being impressive.

2. Buster Posey (24 HR, .406 wOBA, 8.0 fWAR, 7.2 rWAR) – It’s no secret that the catcher position is an incredibly important one, and when your backstop is producing at the levels Posey is, well that warrants some respect. Bias possible.

1. Mike Trout (30 HR, 49 SB,  .409 wOBA, 10.0 fWAR, 10.7 rWAR) – If 21 year olds are just getting started, in the Majors, it’s difficult to fathom where he goes from here.

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