Tag: giants

It’s Only a Game

I love sports. I watch a lot of sports, attend games, and write about sports. I take sports seriously. But I know that they are just games. They’re diversions and entertainment meant to make life a little more fun. But some people don’t see it that way. They become emotionally invested to the point where sports become destructive to them and those around them.

There have been several incidents recently involving people who took it too far. Today, a man was arrested for making threats on Twitter toward Mets players, management, and fans. If you have a Twitter account, you probably know who this is.

Brandon Jacobs, running back for the New York Giants, also received threats from a Twitter user. Not only is that rude and illegal, it’s pretty stupid. Jacobs is 6’4” and weights upwards of 270 pounds.

Four people were charged with assault and disorderly conduct stemming from a fight at the Jets game this weekend. They punched each other because they had a disagreement over whose football team was better – and in this day and age of trash talk, an argument like that can turn personal.

Down in Houston, Texans fans have been threatening their quarterback, Matt Schaub, burning his jersey in the stadium parking lot, and two people were even arrested outside his home.

A Dodgers fan was killed near AT&T Park in San Francisco, reportedly because he shouted “Giants suck” outside a nightclub. In 2011, a Giants fan was severely beaten in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium.

I’d like to think these are all isolated incidents, and that 99% of people reading this would never engage in this kind of behavior. Maybe it’s been going on forever, and with the propagation of the new media and the too-much-information age, we’re simply hearing about it more, but I am increasingly disturbed by the severity of these events.

We’re passionate sports fans. We like to discuss, debate, and argue about what the GM, manager, and ownership should do. We like to roll our eyes at the latest baserunning mistake, or throw our hands up when our QB throws an interception. There’s nothing wrong with that.

When it gets to the point that you’re threatening players, trespassing on private property, engaging in violence, or even killing someone – just because you don’t agree with them or they’re in a slump or they’re wearing another team’s colors – then it’s time to take a good, hard look at your life.

Let’s just remember that these are games. They’re supposed to be fun. Let’s keep it that way.


Deconstructing the Restructured Giants

During World Series week we discussed the complete overhaul of the San Francisco Giants starting lineup from 2010 to 2012. I suggested that theirs was a strategy of “doing it wrong quickly” and after looking more deeply into the matter, I’m standing by that theory. Further, it seems to be a strategy that the Giants have employed for a while, and it’s worth investigating the construction of their 2010 squad as well. Let’s start with the 2010-2012 turnover first, however, honing in on the World Series starters at each position.


What To Make of Giants Turnover

From Izzy in the comments section:

Check the ’10 Giants lineup. Incredible turnover. Only starter from ’10 is Posey. Also, notice how the Giants, instead of whining about their dimensions and bringing the fences in, they build a team to take full of advantage of their field. Good defense, good pitchers and hustling ballplayers. Too bad the Mets and the old worn outdated GM and his cronies can’t show a vision. Getting one big prospect every two or three years ain’t getting the team from Queens to the WS. Go Giants, I still remember you in the Polo Grounds, you are just the NEW YORK BASEBALL GIANTS WEST!

Izzy makes a good point: the current, 2012 NL Champion Giants are quite unlike the 2010 NL Champion Giants.

Look first at the Giants’ postseason lineups from then and now:


NLCS Game 7: Random Thoughts

How important is defense? How difficult is it to truly measure defensive proficiency? A great example was the contrast in how shortstop was played by the two men manning the position in this game. Brandon Crawford made all the routine plays, and made a few slightly more-than-routine plays. On the other hand, Pete Kozma was below-average in executing a few plays, and failed to make a few slightly more-than-routine plays — and his timing couldn’t be worse. The third inning went from trouble to absolute disaster because of three specific plays: 1. the broken-bat grounder with the wacky spin hit by Hunter Pence that dribbled into the outfield and cleared the bases; 2. Kozma’s decision to throw home on a grounder with the bases loaded, when Kozma was playing back; and 3. the double play that wasn’t turned on an Angel Pagan grounder, because Kozma’s toss to second base was too high to promote a quick turn by Daniel Descalso. In all fairness, none of those were terrible failures; they certainly were excusable in almost all circumstances, at any point in a 162-game season. But in a Championship series (particularly Game 7), every single play is highly magnified, and the most minor of weaknesses and vulnerabilities are exposed. Kozma is considered to be at least adequate, if not average, defensively. But this game — in fact, this one inning of snafus (none of which resulted in an error being charged, by the way) — displayed how much impact defensive execution can have on winning or losing a ballgame. It may not be quite as noticeable over the long haul, but when you add up all the plays missed (or plays made), and multiply it over 9 defensive positions (yes, the pitcher counts), you can begin to understand why something so seemingly boring and immeasurable as defense (and fundamentals) is a difference-maker for baseball teams. It’s why I want to tear my hair out when I hear people downplay Daniel Murphy‘s or Josh Thole‘s defensive limitations — because defense does matter.

Speaking of that broken-bat “double” by Pence: how the heck was that ruled a double? A really hard official scorer could have considered giving Kozma an error; though, generally speaking, if a fielder doesn’t get a glove on it, it can’t be an error. But how could the outfielder not picking up the ball on the first try not be ruled a one-base error?

Only the spastic Hunter Pence could hit a broken-bat, seeing-eye, bases-clearing double — and one in which his bat hit the ball no less than three times before propelling outward.

When a movie is made about this series, Woody Harrelson will play Hunter Pence.

Through the first six games of the NLCS, St. Louis homers Tim McCarver and Joe Buck were refreshingly non-partisan in their game calling and color commentary. Seriously, I felt they held no bias, to the point where I remarked to myself, “I nearly forgot the Cardinals were playing, these guys are broadcasting so fairly.” In this Game 7, they were mostly unbiased, but here and there you could catch a hint of bitterness and despondency, mixed in with some feigned excitement at Giants triumphs.

On the radio, it was interesting to hear Jon Miller pronounce the names “Carlos Bel-TRAHN” and “AHN-hel Pagan.”

When Kyle Lohse was pulled from the ballgame in that fateful third frame, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny called on Joe Kelly to get his team out of an impossible situation. If it were me in the dugout making the decision, and I needed a strikeout that desperately, I may have chosen Trevor Rosenthal instead. Why? Eleven strikeouts and one hit allowed in 6.2 postseason innings. In a do-or-die situation like that, you have to pull out all the stops. In games like this, where the starter gets pulled so early in an elimination contest, I always think of the time Billy Martin called on his “fireman” (that’s what closers were called back in the day) Sparky Lyle in Game 4 of the 1977 ALCS in the fourth inning with men on first and second, two out, and Yankees holding a one-run lead. Lyle got out of that inning and pitched the final five to finish, and win, the ballgame (and pitched an inning to save Game 5 the next day). I realize today’s game is played differently, but in Game 7 of the Championship Series, all bets are off, all rules go out the window, and you do whatever you have to do to survive.

No names on the back of the Giants jerseys is pretty damn cool. Shame on me for not noticing this fact for the past how many years(?). As we know, the name on the front of the jersey is more important than the one on the back — and if there’s no name on the back at all, well, that fact is self-evident.

Nine days after deeming the season over, the World Series matchup worked out as well as it could have for my selfish purposes — no Yankees and no Cardinals. I guess that means I’ll be watching the Fall Classic. Naturally, I’ll root for the Giants since they play real, actual baseball and they are one of the surrogate parents of the Mets. But in the end, I’ll be happy just to watch baseball — really good baseball — for another week or two, and won’t be crushed if the Tigers win it all.

What about you? Any comments to add in regard to Game 7? Who will you root for, if anyone, in the World Serious?


Blog Roundup: Dog Days Edition

It’s amazing how one 1-11 stretch can ruin an entire 162-game season.  The Mets had a relatively successful west coast road trip, going 6-5.  But following that 12-game stretch after the All-Star break (which included an 0-6 homestand) playing just a few games over .500 won’t cut it anymore.  At the All-Star break, they were a mere 4.5 games out.  Now, they’re 12.5 games behind the first-place Nationals.  They have also fallen 9 games out of a wildcard berth.  Just like that, a large measure of hope has been drained from the 2012 season.  And unless the Mets can get on a nice, long winning streak, the dog days of August are going to be a tougher slog than usual.

No slogs here, just Blogs:

  • Rising Apple says Josh Edgin is the lone bright spot in the Mets bullpen (I would add: for now)
  • Rich Coutinho wisely recommends that we don’t overanalyze every Matt Harvey start.  He’s a talented pitcher who’s still learning the game.
  • Metstradamus shares a similar sentiment (and reports that NASA has located a home run allowed by Steve Trachsel)
  • Kerel Cooper talks about the worst contracts in Mets history.
  • MMO has a nice interview with prospect Wilmer Flores.
  • Mets Minors has the video of Buffalo manager Wally Backman calling out the opposing manager for stealing signs.  Backman was suspended for his outburst.

Mets Today is still blogging away the moments that make up the dog days (or something), so keep checking us out.