Baseball as Cultural Transcendance In Cubs Pennant Victory

by
Greek Giant

Watching the end to last night’s Game 6 of the 2016 NLCS between the Cubs and Dodgers was a fascinating experience in baseball voyeurism. So many things went through my mind as Yasiel Puig’s season-ending double play gave the Cubs their first pennant since 1945. First, How poetic that one of the most polarizing figures in Giants nation should hit into that fateful double-play snuffing out the Dodger season after a very bad start by Clayton Kershaw. Second, the ensuing celebrations made me think of the scene in San Francisco and across Giants land when Brian Wilson struck out Ryan Howard with a perfect pitch in Game 6 of the 2010 NLCS. The delicious knowledge that the Dodgers would go another year without a ring was eclipsed only by my excitement for the city of Chicago.

For Your Viewing Pleasure: “Strike 3 Called!”

Regardless of one’s allegiances, witnessing the scene of bliss across Chicagoland, so aptly captured by the Fox telecast, was memorable as it inspired a meditation on my part about the relationship between sports and culture. Yes, we probably take things too seriously as diehard fans. But what makes scenes like last night’s Cubs celebration so poignant is how they illustrate a shared belief and passion for a city or a group of fans. Last night baseball transcended itself and went beyond sports to inspire joy and pandemonium for long-suffering fans of the Second City.

Jayson Stark wrote a nice article about last night’s win. In that piece you will find a great quote from Ryan Dempster:

“This transcends baseball.ย You know how many people I saw cry tonight? People crying. People hugging each other. This is far more than a baseball game. I don’t know how to put it into words, except it’s an event in these people’s lives that they will forever remember. And to be here, to watch it all happen, was just incredible.”

As someone who is born in Montreal, and as many long-suffering San Francisco Giants fans can attest, many passions and sports allegiances are handed down over generations and are not choices. The Canadiens are for Montrealers, not a choice, not just a hockey team, but part of who we are as a people. They are part of the very fabric of French Canada and the city of Montreal.

Sports teams in places like Pittsburgh, Chicago, New York and San Francisco retain powerful relationships to a city’s and region’s identity. They are cultural signifiers that unify a town, a family or generations of people over many years and seasons of heartbreak and disappointment. When a championship does arrive, all the suffering and disappointment only add to the joy.

Let’s remember Giants fans, we have been spoiled these past seven seasons. As Matthew remarked in typically humorous Matthewonian fashion: “This is how the other 99% lives” referring to sublime agony of watching another team compete for a World Series while we sit at home disappointed and waiting for next year. Winning a World Series is arguably the most difficult task in team sports. Winning 3 in 7 is absurdly beautiful.

The Cubs haven’t won a World Series in 108 years and they have not yet won the 2016 version so all that joy in Chicago may come to a screeching halt at the hands of the Indians, another long-suffering sports town. This World Series has many fascinating narratives as we Giants fans wonder what if….

I think this is the year of the Cubs and there is no stopping them. While they are not an unbeatable or perfect team, they are confident and strong from top to bottom. To me, the most impressive accomplishment is the evolution of the thinking and culture around the team that Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon brought with them from their previous successes. The Cubs believe they are winners now. That is what makes them most dangerous. Last year’s Cubs team, like the 2014 Royals, was not yet ready to believe they were World Series Champion-worthy. This year is different and watching this theater unfold is a spectacle unto itself that reminded me of San Franciscoย in October ofย 2010.

  • AKsisterfan

    This sounds like a perfect title for an American Studies paper.

  • Matthew

    Great post, Greek. I agree with how you described this phenomenon.

    So, I wonder now about the effect of the same experience for Cleveland. Yes, there is some difference in years of drought…but for many fans, it’s still a “lifetime experience”.

    I happen to know a few more Chicagoans than I do Clevelanders, and I’m watching that familiar awe that we went through in 2010. Much like 2010, there are two cities going through pretty similar experiences…with the difference being an uncontrollable fact of heritage and calendars

    • totalfan62

      Nice post, GG. You nailed it. Couple of months ago Matthew commented on those young, Johnny-come-lately, bandwagon Cubs fans. He also pointed out that there are millions of lifetime, long suffering Cubs fans for whom baseball fans like us must have empathy.

      It’s those folks–and the ones in Cleveland just like them–that deserve to celebrate the first World Series Championship of their lives.

      • 610nm

        Yea, verily, we have to look past the johnny-come-lately’s when thinking about this.

        • 610nm

          We should note that no Cubs fan has ever seen a televised Cubs World Series game. That is long suffering.

  • crawnik

    Just another fantastic piece GG.

    Wilson striking out Howard to win the pennant was one thing. To have Wilson strike out Nelson Cruz to win our first WS in the SF era was probably equivalent to Cubs winning pennant.

  • Edward_Fortyhands

    Right, I come from a long line of Bay Area baseball fans: The Seals, the Oakland Oaks (with Casey Stengel at the helm.) When the Giants came over, the passionate attachment occurred. The games were always on, and I learned my first curse words by listening to my elders react to the games.

    Also Bay Area fans remember the 49ers.

    The 1962 World Series was uniquely heartbreaking.

    The 49ers went on to win four Super Bowls in ten years.
    The Giants went on to win three World Series in five years.

    We have been truly blessed. And I know it.

  • steve k

    nice job, as always, GG. the cubs remind me more of the bosox of ’04, than the 2010 jints. cubs sweep this series. yep, cubbies in 4..

    • dgg

      The Cubs sweep in 4? I hope not. That would be rather boring.

      • Moooooooooose

        He meant swept. He had to.

    • Anti-Lasorda

      I’ll take that bet

      • steve k

        i’ll take that bet, you’re gonna regret. i’m the best there’s ever been…

        • Anti-Lasorda

          Well if thats the nicest way anyone has ever insinuated I was an SOB….

          • steve k

            i never thought that for a second, AL, your reply just reminded me of a line in a song, nothing more ๐Ÿ™‚

  • 610nm

    Thanks for all your efforts GG, and also for putting in a picture of one of our parties instead of something from Chicago.
    I’m in the state with the Cubs AAA team, and there is much joy in Mudville, much joy at my mother’s house, and I’m cool with the Kershuigs being embarrased last night.

    • CaptBrewster

      “Kershuigs”… Nice!

  • totalfan62

    Pursuant to the previous thread, my .02 on the “rebuilding” discussion started by Eluethro: I think this offseason is a rebuild of sorts. Those six free agents who were on the team all year? They should all be replaced by younger, cheaper, team controlled players. All except one spot, which should be Melancon, Chapman or Jansen (in that order).

    • DrLefty

      This really marks the end of an era with the three bullpen guys who were all part of the three championships, Blanco and Pagan who were part of two, and even Peavy probably all moving on. Only Bumgarner, Posey, and Cain will be left from the 2010 team if none of the bullpen guys comes back.

      • 610nm

        I hope there’s still a 5th outfielder job for Gregor Blanco, when all the dust shakes out.

        • Scout Finch Baseball

          Strong possibility he comes back

          • Doughnut

            Span, Gorkys, Mac, Parker, Pence

            Gorkys seems to be a better fit to me because he is a RHH.

      • Matthew

        There has been much change.

        And, through it all, SF has remained generally somewhere between “competitive” and “World Champion”.

        So, it’s another changing of the guard, but -and I guess it’s all in how one interprets it – it never feels like these updates are remotely close to what other teams have to do in their “rebuild” efforts.

        I STILL say the Giants are polishing, not rebuilding

        • DrLefty

          Yep–it’s more like the Warriors. Who’s left from the 2015 championship team?–Steph, Klay, Dray, Iguodala, Livingston and McAdoo (barely). Turnover happens, for various reasons. No one would say the Warriors are “rebuilding.”

      • totalfan62

        Wow. Didn’t even think of that, but six years later it’s probably fitting.

        Bullpen will rightfully be the priority, but as you’ve been saying for two years: get younger in the OF. and not just by promoting MiLB players.

  • pacman68

    I’m predicting Indians in six. Their bullpen is nasty!

  • pacman68

    My friends were at the game last night and saw lots of people crying. He said it was very touching. We are spoiled here in Giants land. I still hope the Cubs lose and rot another 108 years.

    • 610nm

      Pac, don’t every change!

  • channelclemente

    Great rumination on baseball GG. Just great. I even had a tear or two of joy for the Cubs win.

  • channelclemente

    Back in the real world, Curt Schilling joins Breitbart.

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/10/curt-schilling-joins-breitbart.html

    • Matthew

      CC, what do you think about other athletes or actors joining far left outfits? It seems those who far right are seen as fools by other media, and those that go far left are seen as enlightened. I know it’s personal choice, which I’m fine with…but it seems to me those scales are tremendously out of balance, regardless of ones personal ideology.

      • What do you consider a far left outfit?

        • Matthew

          MSNBC, New York Times, Slate, Facebook, Twitter, NBC, ABC, and a few others.

          Again, this is coming from a guy who considers himself a social liberal, and a fiscal/foreign relations conservative….who isn’t voting for either Persidential candidate.

          I listen to far left, and far right. I’m less offended by either as many.

          • channelclemente

            I read NRO weekly, I suppose. American Conservative daily and Weekly Standard every now and then. Jonah Goldberg has some interesting perspectives amenable to civil discourse. Breitbart is more of a symptom of intellectual cancer, IMO, than a forum.

          • Matthew

            Agreed…thanks for an incredibly reasoned and open-thinker response….

          • channelclemente

            LOL. I got banned at NRO for winning an argument with an editor. You pay a price for not seeing Thomas Sowell as particularly heroic or insightful. ;-(

            Have you ever watched. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFeoS41xe7w

          • Alvise Contarini

            NY Times far left ???? OMG. I fell from my chair after reading it.

          • The Oracle

            Reality can be jarring.

          • Alvise Contarini

            The soundest laugh I had in decades.

          • Matthew

            Even liberals admit it is as far left as any news organization out there…a new editor wrote a fantastic piece in June after she took the job in which she took her own board to task for consistently staying on one side of all endorsements, as well as clearly tending to both present and write from a consistently liberal (“progressive”) viewpoint.

            She admitted their readership was in free fall, and though technology could be pointed to, their lack of balance was a fast growing reason most people gave.

            I know for someone living in the EU, that might sound absurd.

          • channelclemente

            It sounds a little absurd here, as well.

          • Alvise Contarini

            The concept of far left in politics is a very relative one. There are some parties in Europe that consider the NYT a Stronghold of Capitalism…

          • Matthew

            Yup. Sorry…I think it’s abundantly clear that they are.

      • channelclemente

        Well, he still has stormfront as an option. I suppose what you ‘join’ is something of a barometer of what you believe.

        • Matthew

          Oh, it is…I just notice the much different reactions on balance. I find it curious, but scary…the tolerance and discourse I naively grew up understanding is shot down with a vengeance by polarized sides. Scary. Dangerous. To both extremes, and they don’t see it.

      • The Oracle

        That’s because liberals call themselves “progressives,” which means their views always represent progress and everything that’s good in the world.

        • channelclemente

          I’m neither liberal, particularly, nor progressive on most issues. I suppose I’m more of a pragmatic moderate, truth be told. ANd contrary to common characterization, not a particular fan of snark. I have an unassociated question for you. As a police officer, do you read books or watch movies that deal with your profession, or do you look for entertainment in drama not associated with your line of work?

          • The Oracle

            I first became interested in this job from reading Joseph Wambaugh instead of paying attention in the boring law school classes I was sitting through. Now that I’ve done it for a long time, I don’t watch too many movies or TV that deal with it, at least not those that purport to be realistic, because they’re usually not. The recent exception would be “End of Watch,” which did pretty well in capturing the way cops think and interact with each other

          • channelclemente

            That’s interesting. A very close friend of mine is an attorney and she commented, when I suggested she might be interested in this new series Goliath on Amazon Prime, she remarked that she had no interest in TV shows/movies about her profession. I said it had Billy Bob Thornton in it, but no sale. Knowing your long time background, I thought I’d ask another ‘lifer’ in a profession.

          • The Oracle

            I only spent six years as an attorney, but I’ve never seen a movie that I thought came close to accurately capturing that profession.

          • channelclemente

            LOL. Not even Just Call Saul, the Breaking Bad spinoff.

          • Doughnut

            I heard The Verdict comes close. I liked that movie but am not or never been a lawyer.

          • The Oracle

            That was one of the worst offenders, in my opinion.

          • Doughnut

            Interesting.

          • You mean no reruns of Marty Milner in One Adam Twelve?

          • channelclemente

            I’ll take that as a recommendation of End of Watch, and give it a look. Thnx.

          • The Oracle

            The events are far more dramatic than reality, but there is an element of realism in there.

          • channelclemente

            Heh, lol, I can suspend disbelief with the best of them.

        • Alvise Contarini

          The essence of Everything in the Universe is Change. Conservation rhymes with Degeneration. Same thing both in Physics and in History.

      • Doughnut

        When in reality both parties are toxic to the country and have a lot of the same special interests giving them money.

  • Doughnut

    Well, the Cubs look very strong. Surely they are the more talented team…and they are very talented across the board. Easily the best team in the league top to bottom. But don’t ever underestimate a Tito Francona team. I think they will make a series out of it and could definitely see them winning this thing. I am rooting for the Tribe to win it all.

    From the NL, i think the Giants had the best chance of knocking the Cubs out and i think we win gm5 if we manage to hang on to gm4 but who knows.

  • The Oracle

    I haven’t cared about or even watched any games since the Giants lost. I’ll be following the same plan for the World Series. I’d just like it to end as quickly as possible, so that we can get on to finding out what off season moves will be made. I am hoping to enjoy some further York/Kaepernick humiliation this afternoon.

    • Matthew

      What do you give out at Halloween?

      • The Oracle

        I’ll be working, so a little bit of justice, hopefully.

        • Matthew

          I was figuring you stood at the door and gave out The Bear Bryant Guide To Discipline

          • The Oracle

            Nah. My daughters know I’m a pushover.

          • channelclemente

            You cuddle bear, you. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • I can’t wait for the re-make of Gran Torino II – staring TO – when your daughters begin dating…

    • channelclemente

      You ever notice how much the Michigan QB, Speight, looks like Harbaugh.

      http://www.mlive.com/wolverines/index.ssf/2016/10/wilton_speight_puts_together_h.html#incart_m-rpt-2

      • The Oracle

        There is a bit of a resemblance.

    • totalfan62

      Duly noted.

  • Scout Finch Baseball

    You’re one heck of a Giants blogger, Greek. Great writing.

  • Alvise Contarini

    WS forecast: Indians in 7, walk off in extra innings, preferably in 13th. Billy will rule again.

  • channelclemente

    I learned a new word this morning…logorrheic. To mean incoherent, repetitious speech. Thank you Julia Ioffe.

  • As much as people used the phrase “I hate the Dodgers” or “I hate the smirk on the faces of the Cubs” – the Cubs (1) Deserved the win, aka trip to the Large Dance (2) Kershaw did not crumble as many in the media and here have said.

    Usually those smirks have been a cover for the usual male-based-nervous energy. Before men become men, they spend several years reacting to adversity or success with nervous twitches, smirks, smiles or frowns.

    The Dodger ‘hatred’ is more generational. My SF teams with better position players were bridesmaids to LA teams with better pitching depth. Nevertheless I still marveled at Tommy and Willie Davis, Junior Gilliam, John Rosebero, Johnny Podres, Walter Alston ect.

    I receive ‘hate’ now for any fatal diseases that kids are suffering from, unless you are like the Oracle and pick petty issues to gloat over like the ones he referred to.

    Go Indians and Cubs. I would like to see a great 7 game series. Terry vs.Joe. Kipnis vs. Baez. Hope to see Jim Thome and Omar throw out a couple of ceremonial first pitches.

    • Scout Finch Baseball

      What did you think of Garvey as a player?

      • Matthew

        Big head…incredible road playa…if you know what I mean…

  • channelclemente

    The Jansen buy in for the Dodgers is rumored to be in the range of 4/65 million. That seems a bit high for a closer to me.

    • ๐Ÿ™‚ Maybe because if he ever fails as a closer, he can go back behind the plate as a catcher

    • Doughnut

      Think about what a bargain Andrew Miller was two years ago. I thought at the time it was a hell of a bargain. I believe he got 4/36 from the Yankees. Any team in the league would gladly pay that

      • channelclemente

        I think we find or make a closer, and refurbished bullpen in house, myself.

        • totalfan62

          One would think we should be able to do that, but I can’t shake all those blown saves. However, if we only have $15-20MM to upgrade our team, can’t spend $15MM of it for a closer.

          • channelclemente

            Spending big money on a closer is usually a big mistake.

          • Matthew

            Seems like lots of Giants fans want that….

            Not me, however. There are some really good closers available, all with a very high buy price. Closer’s shelf life is trending like fruit from Winco

          • Scout Finch Baseball

            May end up being a good thing if Evans gets priced out of these sweepstakes. Then he can continue with his own organic production and keep Law and Strickland as prominent 9th inning dudes, with fireman Josh Osich Miller …

          • John Myhill

            Smith Smith Smith. Check out his stats the last 6 weeks. Seriously.

          • Scout Finch Baseball

            I think was a great add. Big tough lefty was getting healthy and strong at the end of the season. Nice fastball curve slider thing he has going on. He can do things in the 9th too, I hear ya.

          • channelclemente

            To address that issue properly, you also have to understand/deal with how awful a closer he became in Milwaukee. Otherwise, IMO, choosing Smith is nothing but another pointless gamble.

          • totalfan62

            He’s a proven, healthy and effective arm, IMHO.

          • channelclemente

            For 20 or so innings. You may be right, of course, but as I said, that’s an act of faith.

    • totalfan62

      Me too. $16MM per year? I was thinking anything over $12MM is overpay. Then again, looking back at how many games our BP blew this year…

      • Moooooooooose

        Jansen had quite a few as well.

      • Scout Finch Baseball

        I feel like the deal Papelbon signed a few years ago 4/50 mil sets the floor for these three ace closers. And I feel Melancon would most likely be closest to that floor – something like 4/52 should be there for him with the Nats, Giants, 3rd and 4th teams bidding big.

        • Matthew

          You love you some Melancon….

          • Scout Finch Baseball

            Don’t you? He’s the Giants free agent darling right now. Chapman and Jansen are gonna get some extra heavy contracts.

          • Matthew

            Not really. I think, even at his rate, signing a closer from amongst these guys hamstrings the payroll to fill the other needs.

            I’m not convinced that guys like Okert, Osich or Strickland can’t be good Closer’s, whereas I know LF and CF need upgrades that aren’t on our 40 man.

          • Scout Finch Baseball

            Any outfielders you’d like to see in lieu of 13-15 million per year on a closer?

          • Matthew

            I’m distracted by bad football right now…I’ll get back to you

          • Scout Finch Baseball

            Go Express!

          • John Myhill

            I don’t know. Pickings at that price are slim. Maybe Reddick?

          • DrLefty

            I still wish we could get Fowler if he opts out. Among other things, he hits Kershaw extremely well. We face Kershaw 17 times a year, give or take.

          • Doughnut

            Would definitely be in on Fowler but he probably wants to play CF and to be honest we need some power. They would have to get rid of Span (which I would do for Fowler) but hard to see happening.

          • John Myhill

            I put Smith, Law, and Gearrin higher in terms of likelihood of being future closers. The problem is that Bochy isn’t going to take them seriously. That was the problem last year. I’m afraid that the Giants’ choice is to fire Bochy or get an elite closer.

          • Scout Finch Baseball

            Bochy may need Melancon more than the Giants need Melancon!

          • John Myhill

            This is exactly the problem. The Giants apparently need Bochy, and Bochy apparently needs Melancon.

          • Scout Finch Baseball

            All Melancon needs is some money and some good buddies in the bullpen.

          • Matthew

            I’m nowhere near in on Law as much as others. I like his energy and fire. I can align on Gearrin as an option, but Smith is an Affeldt-type I want in the 6th, 7th or 8th as necessary….

          • DrLefty

            Strickland really seems like the guy, but there’s just something not quite finished or complete about him. I’d love to see Law as the 8th inning guy.

          • channelclemente

            Law, Smith, and Strickland with a changeup would be a pretty potent 3 some.

          • DrLefty

            BOOM

          • John Myhill

            Don’t discount Gearrin. He was awesome from June on when he wasn’t injured or recovering.

          • totalfan62

            Watching Francona’s use of Miller, I’m thinking Bochy could/should use Smith in the same manner. He could pitch two innings, and could be as early as the fifth if a starter is struggling

          • John Myhill

            Another possibility for sure.

          • John Myhill

            Affeldt’s career K% was 18%. Smith’s K% the last 4 years is 33%, 30%, 35%, 29%. That’s closer-like numbers.

          • dgg

            I do too. In my opinion the Giants absolutely have to acquire a confident, competent, no-doubt closer in the offseason. Everything I’ve read indicates the Giants management agrees and Melancon is their most likely target for many reasons, including goodness of fit. I don’t think Giants management is concerned about the money.

    • Anti-Lasorda

      Its above market, but how much is a World Series worth to you? If I own a multi-billion dollar business being the best for an extra $10M spreadout over four years is chump change. Write the check Larry….

    • John Myhill

      Indeed. This is alarming.

      • Scout Finch Baseball

        200 mil for an ace starter. 60-75 million for dominant closer.

  • Refresh your browsers if you want to see the video of Wilson’s perfect pitch I added.

    • channelclemente

      When he was good, he was very good…..

    • DrLefty

      I’ve watched that pitch 100 times. It was so perfect and in such a stressful moment. I was on my feet in the living room but I was shaking so badly I finally had to sit! It was an amazing moment.

  • John Myhill

    What gets me about this last season is that Bochy has repeatedly shown such resourcefulness in terms of picking up everyday players who don’t seem to amount to much but turn out to make a great postseason contribution–Gillaspie was the one this year, and if you were paying attention to the whole process through the season, you saw how it was developing, looking through Pena, Green, Tejada, etc., and finally settling on Gillaspie, you felt like you were watching a genius at work, you weren’t even slightly surprised at how Gillaspie caught fire the last week of the season and in the Wild Card game and NLDS, because we’ve seen Bochy do this so many times before–but with regard to relief pitchers, Bochy was completely unimaginative and just looked helpless and hopelessly tied to conventional thinking. Smith and Gearrin were so great down the stretch, they should have been the relief pitching equivalent of Gillaspie, and far from looking like he was in control and setting things up, Bochy didn’t even notice them. Literally didn’t even notice them, and his whole thought process regarding relieving was so off for so long that by mid-September you weren’t even surprised that he didn’t notice them.

    • DrLefty

      Agree. His mismanagement of the bullpen was season-long and absolutely bewildering, considering his history. The brilliant counterexample is 2012, when they lost Wilson early, struggled through midseason, and pulled it together beautifully in time for the stretch run and October. I kept expecting that to happen this year, but it never did, even to the bitter end.

      • Matthew

        He has trust issues, and they showed with a vengeance…

        • DrLefty

          Yes, both overtrusting (Casilla) and undertrusting (everyone else). But he had plenty of time to figure it out. We knew the bullpen was a problem in May, if not sooner. Even when they went into the ASB with the best record, the bullpen was clearly the weak link.

          • John Myhill

            The big problem was Casilla but his trust in Strickland after he finally (sort of) ditched Casilla was also crazy. The San Diego Schimpf homer game was when the scales fell from my eyes. I had been going through contortions to try to defend Bochy but then when he finally actually put in Strickland in a save situation instead of Casilla (Sept. 11) I was on the one hand relieved that Casilla was out but on the other hand I was like oh my God, does he actually seriously think that Strickland is going to be the closer now? It was obvious that he should just go with whoever was hot and well-rested but he just glommed onto Strickland and I realized that Bochy had lost it.

          • Matthew

            Okert blew that save. Not Strickland.

          • steve k

            strick9 got the party started though, didn’t he?

          • Matthew

            …yes, and needed the chance to either win it or lose it…that game was the beginning of the pen not knowing what Bochy was up to.

          • DrLefty

            I thought it was interesting that one of the beat writers–Alex, I think–in doing the season wrap, mentioned that Okert had been extremely effective in September and that the bad pitch to Schimpf was called by Trevor Brown. Alex seemed to be implying that it was a bad call and that maybe if it had been Posey, different outcome.

            Alex also opined that Bochy erred by leaving Okert and Gearrin off the NLDS roster.

          • Matthew

            I spent all of September lamenting the terrible pitch calls that Brown made down the stretch…..

          • John Myhill

            Strickland came in in the 9th with a 3-run lead, gave up a single, another single, a third single because he forget to cover 1st, a bases-loaded walk, and then he bobbled a grounder which would have been a game-ending double play. Okert got the official blow but Strickland was a disaster.

    • channelclemente

      To evaluate what Bochy did, or didn’t do, with the relief staff you have to know Righetti’s POV and advice to Bochy.

      • Scout Finch Baseball

        Don’t leave Gardy out of this either. I assume he’s very involved.

        • channelclemente

          You get the point though.

        • Matthew

          I’m extremely concerned that all non-Flannery coaches are now Yes Men.

          • channelclemente

            To Bochy, not likely. To Evans, who knows.

          • Matthew

            My evidence is what I saw transpire out of the bullpen…what do you see?

            I’m not a Bochy basner like others. I do feel he had a very uneven year. What I saw when Flann was around is evidence of Flann’s courage to challenge. It came out pretty clear in the interviews those two conducted after the retirement.

            Now? I see way too many odd moves off rope that is either way too short or way too long. From my perch, I’m saying that’s Bruce.

          • channelclemente

            I’ve just seen Bochy asking Righetti ‘what do you think’ too many times this year in the dugout to believe it’s as simple as that. I suspect that somewhere there is a dynamic between people/players that gives a hint to the glitch, but I don’t see much that would pass my smell test yet. I was a bit surprised at how standoffish the pen was to starters, but maybe that’s just normal. But there are two starters who missed 20 game seasons because of bullpen meltdowns. But having ~30 blown saves strains anyone’s generosity of spirit among the starters, I’d suspect.

          • DrLefty

            I can only imagine how Matt Moore felt in that final game. He pitched his heart out, pitched the game of his life, and in five ugly minutes, it was all gone. They kept showing him in the dugout and he looked like he could cry.

          • channelclemente

            We were, in a funny way, the catalyst of the Cubs season. Had we taken that game, I don’t think they could have gotten by Cueto. Just an opinion, but a heartfelt one.

          • John Myhill

            The Cubs’ lineup was ice-cold (only Bryant and Baez were hitting over .188), the Giants outhit them .252 to .200 in the series and it would have been even worse than that without the Cubs’ pitchers (not Lester) and the meltdown in the 9th inning of game 4. Plus the Cubs would have blown a 2-0 lead and feeling the curse. No guarantees but it would have been surprising if the Giants hadn’t won game 5.

          • DrLefty

            Sighhhhhhhh….and then we would have out-leftyed the Dodgers…and we’d be getting ready for the World Series.

          • channelclemente

            It was a close thing.

          • John Myhill

            That wasn’t just the bullpen’s fault. That was also Bochy’s fault for pulling him.

            But the truth is that that game cemented Moore’s position as a Giant. Something like that makes an emotional attachment that will last a long time.

          • DrLefty

            That and almost throwing a no-hitter in Dodger Stadium!

          • steve k

            i’d rather be getting ready for the world series. he could have used a different game to make his emotional attachment.

          • Matthew

            Exactly…and yet either Rags is as suddenly incompetent at evaluation, or Bochy isn’t listening, or no one wants to tell the emperor his head is huge.

            There comes a point when you can’t say ” good moves, bad luck”, you have to say ” they failed to stick to any specific strategy and yanked relievers around like crazy”

            I stand by this: the rope was way, way, way too long on Casilla, and way, way, way too short on EVERY OTHER PITCHER that he “tried” as closer. He either panicked, distrusted, was teaching Evans a lesson, lost his touch at evaluating bullpen talent, or just had bad luck.

            Bochy is a Hall of Fame manager that just had his worst 3 months as a Giants manager.

          • John Myhill

            Well, they did stick to a specific strategy. The strategy was to yank pitchers around like crazy.

      • John Myhill

        Well then he got terrible advice and listened to it. Somehow something was seriously wrong.

        • channelclemente

          I don’t think anyone discounts the issue, but, like most, the answers aren’t obvious and looking for scapegoats isn’t a useful endeavor.

          • John Myhill

            I’m not trying to scapegoat, I’m saying that apparently the Giants are going to keep Bochy and apparently Bochy (or whoever he’s listening to) is not resourceful in terms of bullpen usage, so there kind of isn’t any choice but to get an elite closer.

          • DrLefty

            Except I keep thinking about Game 6 of the 2010 NLCS and Game 7 of the 2014 World Series and…I know it’s in there somewhere with Bochy. Oh, and his brilliant usage of Lincecum in the 2012 postseason and Petit in the 2014 postseason.

            I want THAT Bochy back.

          • Alvise Contarini

            Bochy keeps on growing older like everyone else on this planet. 3rd law of thermodynamics. Change is due, I’m afraid.

          • Doughnut

            What if its the same guy with the same mind making the decisions except this year the moves didn’t work. Seemed like he tried every single permutation at one point or another and it just didn’t work.

          • steve k

            some days you’re the bug, other days the windshield..

          • Doughnut

            Yup. I think bad luck was a factor. I think it’s also fair to say it wasn’t Bochy’s best year with that many blown saves. He never figured the bullpen out which probably wasn’t an easy task. Also very likely the bullpen just wasn’t good enough.

          • channelclemente

            IMO, you can’t make that case given the history of the last 7-8 years. It just doesn’t hold water. I look at 2016, and I’m dragged back to what happened pre and post AS break. That doesn’t mean Bochy isn’t culpable, but it’s not as simply as a convenient character trait to drive a comfortable narrative.

    • totalfan62

      Will Smith was a costly acquisition, but he’s a proven reliever who can retire righty and lefty hitters. Little if any doubt that he was capable of giving us a complete inning. I don’t think Bochy ever let him do so. Seriously, maybe once. Often he didn’t even allow a base runner–just the righty/lefty thing. Maddening.

      • DrLefty

        Dave Cameron of Fangraphs is a pretty evenhanded guy, and that was the article he wrote the day after the Giants were eliminated: why didn’t Bochy ever trust Will Smith? Good article, lots of analysis. You have to wonder how Bobby Evans, who gave up two valuable prospects for Smith, felt about all that.

        • John Myhill

          Cameron isn’t evenhanded, he absolutely hates the Giants. But he was right about this.

          • channelclemente

            What he came to hate was the Giants making a monkey out of his finely crafted projections of who should win.

          • Scout Finch Baseball

            An accountant’s take mind you.

          • channelclemente

            In a sense. He was trying to make the same guru move Nate Silver made with 538. The Giants cost him a lot of $$ with Fox and ESPN as the resident, go to guru of baseball. The end of his gig-seeking was when Bill James and him got into a disagreement about how poorly baseball stats deal with ground ball pitchers. He got the xFIP kicked out of his argument.

          • John Myhill

            Didn’t know that. Clearly he’s got a needle way way up his ass about the Giants.

          • channelclemente

            It was a classic shade casting by James, maybe the smartest guy in baseball. What made it doubly bad, Cameron had it happen in front of Brian Kenny, presumably his judge.

          • John Myhill

            Hee hee hee.

        • totalfan62

          We’ve given Bobby Evans a fair bit of criticism, but the three players he brought in all paid dividends, and all will have essential roles next year. Smith struggled at first, and maybe that was stuck in Bochy’s mind. Misused him big-time, IMHO.

          • DrLefty

            Other than the Span signing not working out as hoped, Evans had a fabulous year. He completely remade the rotation, got Smith for the next three years, and picked up Nunez. He extended the Brandons at reasonable prices. Some of the complementary pieces like Gillaspie and Suarez turned out to be pretty important, too.

          • Scout Finch Baseball

            I think you had a beef with Evans when things were sour. Nice to see your fair take.

          • DrLefty

            I didn’t like that he traded Duffy on my birthday. I still miss Duffy but I’ve fallen head over heels for Moore.

        • John Myhill

          I have various theories about why Bochy didn’t use Smith more, all speculation. One is that Bochy wanted him but his understanding from the beginning was that he would be the new Affeldt (lefty with no platoon splits). Another was that Bochy recognized that the bullpen had a serious problem retiring lefties and even though Smith isn’t an anti-lefty specialist at least he isn’t bad against lefties like a lot of the relievers are, so Bochy became obsessed with using Smith in matchups and never considered using him in the 9th. A third theory is that Bochy didn’t want Smith at all, he wanted an elite closer, so his response to management refusing to get him the elite closer he wanted was to refuse to use Smith in high-leverage situations.

          • DrLefty

            Lopez and Osich both had awful years, and this definitely affected how things played out. I’m hoping Okert gets first crack at the Lopez spot with Smith in the Affeldt role next year. They seem like the clear front-runners until proven otherwise.

          • GermanGiantsFan

            I saw yesterday on CSNBayarea (website) that Osich had knee surgery and he said the injury happened at the beginning of the season but it seems he never told anyone? That’s not good at all. Maybe this was the reason why he was bad all season. But it is even worse if he never told anyone.

          • DrLefty

            Yep. He said the injury happened the second week of the season. Not cool if he hid it from the team. That not only hurt the team but put his career at risk. You can screw up your mechanics pitching around a knee injury. Osich has already had serious arm problems before.

          • Alvise Contarini

            Un-professional behaviour. If it’s true he deserves to be fired.

          • John Myhill

            That’s exactly right. And yet when they got a reliever it was specifically NOT an anti-lefty specialist (at the time I was pulling for Brad Hand). There was a complete confusion of purpose.

            If it were me in charge of the pitching, I’d focus on getting a good outfield guy (Desmond?), only add an anti-lefty specialist like Hand, let Casilla and Lopez go, use Romo as an anti-righty specialist, and let Smith, Gearrin, and Law compete for the closer role.

    • steve k

      gearrin wasn’t even on the playoff roster..

      • John Myhill

        Yep, that was about as clear a sign of Bochy being out of touch with reality as could be imagined. In September Gearrin pitches 6.2 innings, 3 hits, 1 walk, 13 strikeouts (yes, 13, 2 an inning), 1 run, FIP of -0.30 (yes, a negative FIP), bullpen is a complete mess–and Bochy decides to leave him off the playoff roster. Unbelievable.

  • Scout Finch Baseball

    Matthew’s comments got me to thinking about what would the Giants do if they didn’t spend the money on Melancon. You’ll have to ask the Giants, but given a choice which player would you prefer the Giants sign this winter if both contracts were of equal value – we’ll just say 50+ over 4 years.

    Mark Melancon or Ian Desmond (for LF but with CF playability as well as super-utility)?

    This also got me thinking about the Dodgers. What if their 13 GMs got tricksy this winter and let Jansen leave so they can collect the draft pick, then they sign Melancon at a lower risk. That would be tricksy. Chapman and Melancon benefit in this market because they will have no draft pick attached.

    • DrLefty

      I’m sure Jansen will have his pick of nice offers, QO notwithstanding.

      I’m probably in the minority here, but I’d pick a good outfield bat over a pricey closer. How about some creative thinking where some cheaper option could be bought or traded for and becomes the closer? Maybe someone who’s not a closer already. They have to start somewhere, right? Not everyone comes into the league an instant stud closer.

      • Matthew

        Yes.

        • totalfan62

          What he said.

      • Scout Finch Baseball

        That sounds ideal. Finding a diamond in the rough on the cheap. Is he currently on the roster? Is he in Atlanta or Houston? Tampa? Minnesota?

        Or maybe on the market a guy like Daniel Hudson fits the bill. Rough few months in Arizona this year but he has terrific stuff. Joe Smith and Brad Ziegler offer some sidearm, Romo-like funkiness – or Sergio Romo himself.

        • DrLefty

          I always thought Ziegler was pretty nasty when he was on the Snakes.

          • DrLefty

            Maybe Ziegler AND Hudson if they could get Hudson for cheap as a buy-low guy.

          • Scout Finch Baseball

            Anybody in particular you think giants can trade for a closer or potential closer?

          • DrLefty

            Prospect-wise, the Giants seem to be dripping in outfielders and starting pitchers who are getting stopped/blocked in the upper minors. How about turning Blackburn or Stratton into someone they need more? Or Parker or Williamson, who at least have a bit of a major league track record?

            Wonder how Albert Suarez might do in a higher leverage relief role? He throws 95 but can’t really hold up as a starter. Maybe not the closer, but…

          • DrLefty

            I bet they have Strat in the AFL hoping to showcase him for a trade. He had a great second half in AAA.

          • Scout Finch Baseball

            Suarez at 95 seems like a short burst event.

            With the names you mention I suppose they could a find a big arm guy that is sort of stuck in aaa and needs to a change of scenery. Hard to imagine those names bringing back much in the way of guarantees.

          • John Myhill

            I don’t how much sense it makes to speculate about Blackburn, Stratton, or Suarez when they didn’t even take Smith or Gearrin seriously last year no matter how well they pitched. Smith was fantastic the last 6 weeks, and Gearrin as fantastic in June and September (he was injured in July and recovering in August). The problem is more in Bochy’s mind than anywhere else.

          • Scout Finch Baseball

            It’s a two way street. Players have to earn his trust. Law sure did.

          • DrLefty

            And Blach. It was a little head-spinning that he let Blach make that start against Kershaw, put him on the roster vs the Cubs and USED him in high-leverage situations.

          • John Myhill

            I would interpret starting Blach as part of Bochy’s obsession with lefty-righty switches and the Dodgers’ weakness against lefties. The truth is that by the end of the season the only thing Bochy really trusted was matchups, and he trusted them to the bitter end.

          • DrLefty

            That is fair, but it’s also true that Bochy really, REALLY likes Blach. I remember two years ago when Blach had his first spring training invite, Bochy said Blach was the young pitcher who most impressed him. When Blach made his successful big league debut, I read that Bochy was “beaming like a proud father.” And when he had that great start against Kershaw, Bochy HUGGED him in the dugout. Bochy is not a hugger, especially in-game.

            From everything I’ve heard and read, Blach is a tremendous young man, likable, bright, humble, and teachable. He’s the pitching equivalent of Duffy in Bochy’s mind–and we know Bochy loved Duffy, too.

          • channelclemente

            Bochy really, really liked many guys no longer here.

          • John Myhill

            Yes he likes Blach but it’s one thing to like him, it’s another to send him out with so little experience against Kershaw in such a game. I think that was because he was a lefty pitching against the Dodgers.

          • DrLefty

            Well, it turned out to be a great call. He started lefties in all three games and the Giants swept the series.

          • John Myhill

            I didn’t say his obsession with lefty-righty switching never worked. It did work sometimes. But by the end he abandoned all other considerations. That’s the only way to explain the 9th inning of game 4.

          • channelclemente

            It does throw a wrench into the all to convenient Bochy narrative, IMO.

          • John Myhill

            No, as I said by the end of the year, all Bochy really trusted was matchups, that’s why he starting Blach then. And in Game 3 of the NLDC there wasn’t any other choice.

          • DrLefty

            He had Lopez, Casilla, Kontos, and Samardzija in the bullpen still…and he went with Blach for TWO extra innings in an elimination game.

          • John Myhill

            Casilla was beyond the pale in terms of trustworthiness at that point. Kontos had been beyond the pale of trustworthiness all season. Lopez has never been trusted to pitch to more than a batter or two. And Samardzija completely bombed out in game 2. It wasn’t much competition.

          • John Myhill

            Smith and Gearrin did enough to earn his trust (certainly much more than Strickland or Romo). He just didn’t notice.

          • DrLefty

            We were talking about possible trade chips. If they’re traded, it doesn’t matter what Bochy thinks of them. See Duvall, Adam, and Biagini, Joe.

          • John Myhill

            Ah, I see.

        • steve k

          i know you are not serious about romo. serge is no longer capable of getting LH hitters out. i’m sure you knew that he had no chance of retiring zobrist the 9th inning of their final game. no matter where he ends up, he should only be used as a right on right specialist.

      • channelclemente

        Smart baseball.

    • John Myhill

      Desmond is definitely a very interesting possibility. LF would be his normal position, but he can play CF vs. left-handed pitchers (usually with Williamson in left, I guess), since both he and Span have big platoon splits, and give Crawford a rest at SS once in a while–a big weakness of the Giants’ probable lineup next year with Tomlinson and Gillaspie as backup infielders is that there wouldn’t be an adequate backup SS and we’ve seen repeatedly that Crawford gets tired in the second half of the season and his production deteriorates (the short stay on the disabled list with a dislocated finger did him wonders near the end of the season). The more I think about it the better it looks.

      • Scout Finch Baseball

        For these reasons, a very sound option. Be nice to add some pop

        • John Myhill

          That also.

    • The Oracle

      Greg Holland.

      • DrLefty

        Hmmmm….

      • Scout Finch Baseball

        Doughnut brought that name up a few days ago. Maybe another Joe Nathan.

        • Doughnut

          Nathan was 36 when he had Tommy John. Holland isn’t even done with arb process.

          • Scout Finch Baseball

            He sure was awesome over that 2 year stretch. Given that dominance I wonder what it takes to sign him. Perhaps a two year deal weighted on the second year. There’s a precedent out there somewhere.

            http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/h/hollagr01.shtml

          • Doughnut

            Brian Wilson is a guy that had success and was cut after injury. His injury was a 2nd Tj though i believe.

      • Doughnut

        Yes. Would absolutely give him a look. Shouldn’t take much money relatively

    • dgg

      Mark Melancon.

  • Matthew

    Glad to see the worst roster in football is living up to its proper standing

    • DrLefty

      Gotta keep that draft pick position!

      • Matthew

        Baalke has targeted a DE with two shredded ACL’s that’s flying under the radar. He goes to Presbyterian, and runs an 8.6 in the 40

        • DrLefty

          He should draft me. I have a frozen right shoulder, but no matter because I’m left-handed.

          • Matthew

            He will, and then convert you to a right handed QB.

          • DrLefty

            Exactly. 4-5 more cortisone shots, six months of PT, and another year of regular massages, and I should be just fine by 2018 or so.

          • channelclemente

            Not to mention heart. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • totalfan62

      So disappointing. Lame duck coach, ineffective GM, clueless owner, untalented players…ladies and gentlemen, our San Francisco 49ers!

      • Matthew

        When you look at the lack of reasonable talent drafted by Baalke, and couple it with the lack of signing any player of talent as a FA, and the amount if $ under tha cap…Baalke is the worst GM in all sports. He took a roster that McCloughan built into a SB team and dismantled it in record time.

        Bad lines. Bad LB’s. Bad DB’s, bad WR’s, bad everything. It’s on Baalke.

        • The Oracle

          He took a roster that Harbaugh made into a Super Bowl team. There’s a lot of talent in the NFL. There are very few elite coaches.

          • Matthew

            You know as well as I that nothing is left of that roster. Harbaugh did a great job with what he had…and Baalke has chosen to remove every piece connected to Harbaugh and McCloughan systematically

          • DrLefty

            Well, there is ONE piece left…for now.

          • Matthew

            Those two despise each other…the restructured contract let’s him leave. He will be out in a matter of seconds.

            ….and Baalke has NO backup plan. None. He is a disaster of epic proportions

          • The Oracle

            It’s not a greatly talented roster, but they’d be doing better than this with top level coaching. Harbaugh took pretty much the same talent that had been 6-10, including a QB who looked to be on his way out of the league, and turned it into 13-3. Baalke isn’t good, but it’s York that made the key decision.

          • Matthew

            I’m confused by the point you’re trying to make…. Of course, Jed chose the wrong guy…and the guy he chose is the worst GM in sports. So, I guess you want to make sure I don’t leave Jed out of my wrath?

            It’s not “Baalke isn’t good”, it’s Baalke is the worst possible roster builder in 49er history.

          • The Oracle

            My point is that great coaching makes players look talented. Did you think the 2011 team was going to be a 13-3? How many players have gone to the Patriots and suddenly become productive? How many productive Patriots have gone elsewhere and done nothing? In football, coaching is far more important than it is in the other sports. Not that it’s unimportant in the other sports, but good talent isn’t going to win too many football games without good coaching.

          • Matthew

            I miss Harbaugh, too. He went 8-8 as the roster fell apart…my gut is he may have eked a couple extra wins out of this group…but it’s not that these players aren’t good: it’s that this roster is filled with non-NFL talent.

            Ron Rivera went 3-13… Coaching as he does. The talent came. He made a Super Bowl. The list is long. Harbaugh was a great coach (still is). No coach would win with this ragtag group. That’s my belief.

            Baalke must be fired. Now.

        • RobDeer

          He’s drafted 7 players with knee injuries since 2013. Two are currently on the roster. He should be fired for that alone. Throw in AJ Jenkins, LaMichael James and Vance McDonald and we might even get an execution authorized.

  • channelclemente

    I wonder what Maddon and Epstein talk about in private?

    • Matthew

      “We’re the smartest dudes in this sport”

      • channelclemente

        There’s film of them last night hugging after beating the Dodgers (gee I like that phrase) for a couple of minutes talking up a storm.

  • The Oracle

    Interestingly, Ted Robinson and Tim Ryan have abandoned their cheerleading through rose colored glasses. It’s almost as if they’ve received some instruction that it’s time to start criticizing the players Baalke has drafted.

    • Matthew

      Who are… Or maybe even cheerleaders have a limit? This team is disgusting

  • cynic

    So what makes Epstein so special? Cubs have had a lot of high draft picks but so have a lot of other teams. Is Epstein and his crew better than others in identifying players? Or is it development?

    Will there be a book called “Curseball”?

    • channelclemente

      Epstein was among the first basically ditch common statistics, and go to
      trend analysis, contact related parameters, and basic skill metrics.
      He’s maybe the best GM in baseball, because he actually can prove his
      point in a evaluation/negotiation. It also let’s him actually know more
      about another team’s players, than they know themselves.

      • cynic

        Earlier than Beane? I guess Epstein has resources too.

        • channelclemente

          Beane was old school really..OBP, etc. IMO, he’s a make believe analyst who wrote a book in which his role is mostly make believe.

        • Matthew

          Beane always ended undone by his hubris. He over-relied on his “brilliant” application of James’ theories. Epstein used it as an early guide, not a bible

          • channelclemente

            Lot of truth in that. Epstein had Bill James for a tutor as well. Epstein started out with the Oriole organization,LOL.

      • Doughnut

        Made good trades to get Arrieta, Strop, Russell and others. Exploited the Foreign Free Agency rules to get guys like Baez, Soler, and Contreras.

        Was lucky enough to re sign Fowler just in time- not signing him initially should have bit them in the ass. He is an important part of the club that they almost let walk out the door. If other teams in the league were smarter he wouldve been gone (check their record when he plays and doesn’t)

        Maybe most importantly was landing a generational talent in Kris Bryant. They just dont come around that often…he is a game changer.

        Also the Cubs have one of the best pitching coaches in the league. Gets so much more out of the pitching staff than most would…that allowed them to bring their timeline forward without going having traditional front line pitchers. That is not a small thing. They have overachieved like crazy in pitching.

        • channelclemente

          His grandfather, I think, also co-wrote the script for Casablanca.

        • channelclemente

          I think his biggest triumph was persuading ownership to be patient and endure a 100 loss season as part of that plan.

  • Matthew

    Anquan Boldin scored the winning touchdown for Detroit.

    Yup.

    • cynic

      Crabtree has been awesome for the Raiders.

      • The more Crabtree gets the ball, the more the Raiders score. Last week vs KC he only had two receptions. Coincidence? No.

  • cynic

    I’m a 49ers fan but I hate Jed so much that watching them become this bad actually makes me happy. Unfortunately I don’t think Jed cares, or this will lead to any ownership change. So in the end it’s us the fans that keep losing.

    • Efrain

      question: when you guys lament about the 49ers, realizing what an ahole of an owner Jed York is, why do you even bother discussing “ownership change”. I feel like its a exercise in futility.

      You do realize how much money the York family makes right? How much the team is worth? How when they built the stadium it was some sort of record where it was already paid for from all the corporate sponsors right?

      So again, I pose the question, why would you even discuss “ownership change”?

      • Matthew

        I know better

      • giantc

        Eventually Cohan sold the Warriors — it can happen. I agree it is unlikely, but it only took the Warriors a few years under new ownership to improve things drastically.

        • Efrain

          I get all that, but York is young and the family has been part of the team for a long time, unlike the Cohen situation. Plus they will continue to make money unless the corporate sponsors and fanbase dries up. There is a lot of info that

          should tell you that’s not likely to happen anytime soon.

  • The Oracle

    Happily for me, but sadly for 49ers fans, York has set the team up nicely to continue to continue to fail in the years ahead. By not firing Baalke last season, he’s put himself in a tough spot. Chip Kelly has three more years left on an expensive deal. York will still be paying Tomsula for two more season after this one. Now, there’s little doubt he’s going to fire Baalke after this season, if not before.

    So what is York going to do? Most quality GM candidates would probably want to pick their own head coach, and would likely not be in tune with Kelly’s unique approach. That leaves York with the choice of paying someone else not to coach, which he’s probably too cheap to do, or creating an immediate conflict between the GM and coach. Insisting that Kelly has to stay might also inhibit his ability to even hire a GM. And then there’s also the fact, which I think was demonstrated during the last coaching search, that the treatment Harbaugh received isn’t a strong selling point for the organization.

    Or, he could double down on his investment in Kelly by hiring a GM that is Kelly-friendly, which is probably the more likely scenario. So maybe Tom Gamble gets the job. The problem with that is Kelly hasn’t done anything to prove that he’s the guy to build n organization around. Either way, I don’t think good times are just around the corner.

    • channelclemente

      Change his diaper?

    • totalfan62

      Hope that Kelly has the opportunity to go back to Oregon and takes it. Next step: hire the best NFL football executive he can find. Overpay if that’s what it takes. Then get out of the way.

      • Matthew

        Fresno State just fired DeRuyter…there’s an opening!!

  • pacman68

    Guys…I have a terrible dilemma. My 6 year old daughter gets in the car tonight and tells me that her favorite team is the Dodgers. I almost threw up on her. What do I do? I’m deeply disturbed.

    • livfreerdi

      No reason she can’t be put up for adoption. But first, treat it as a phase and let her grow out of it.

    • Matthew

      Maybe she’s not your daughter….

    • steve k

      do you have any other kids?

    • channelclemente

      Ask TO or buy her a Shirley Temple at Finnerty’s.

    • Moooooooooose

      Throw up on her.

    • The Oracle

      Put her up for adoption.

    • John Victory Faust

      As a parent of young children I presume that you probably own the Holiday Specials Classics DVD set. Could it be that their third baseman so eerily resembles the young Kris Kringle from the 1970s stop motion animation classic “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” that has your little girl so confused?

    • dgg

      It will be okay, pac. This is what happens when you live in LA and take your daughter to Giants/Dodgers games at Chavez Ravine and buy her cotton candy. My daughter went to college in LA and came back home a Dodgers fan. She’s a mom herself now. She’s still a Dodgers fan and last year for Christmas, she made a wonderful San Francisco Giants throw blanket for me. My grandson wears Dodgers and Marlins baseball caps. He wanted a Giants jacket and a Marlins rug for his birthday last year.

      • Your grandson needs to talk to a child baseball psychologist. Those allegiances are mutually exclusive. He needs some serious Giants indoctrination from his grandmother..

        • Alvise Contarini

          Better words simply DO NOT EXIST. Great !!! Hey dgg, you’d better start at once an orange & black redemption and indoctrination program for your young kid.

        • dgg

          His allegiances make perfect sense to me. His favorite Dodgers player was Dee Gordon. Then when Dee was traded, he became interested in all things Marlins. His favorite Dodgers player now is Joc Pederson. His favorite Giants player is Buster Posey. His parents took him to two baseball games this summer on vacation: one at AT&T and one at Chavez Ravine. He’s a 5-year-old switch hitter, with 3 gloves: catcher, left glove and right glove.

  • DrLefty

    It hasn’t even been 24 hours and I’m already about to barf with the Cubs coverage. Is there a team playing against them in the World Series? I haven’t heard a word about them.

    • Andres The Forever Giant

      The Indians have the Cubs right were they want them, looking right past them! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Matthew

      Yeah, watch out for those quiet underdogs.

      When I was watching the celebration last night, I kept saying to Beauty ” I get they made the World Series, but they are celebrating too much…”

      Cleveland watched, too

      • Scout Finch Baseball

        Cubs in five?

        • Matthew

          Talent gap says yes… I can’t see Cleveland’s pitching staff keeping up (Miller or not).

          If the baseball gods are watching the Cubs over-celebrate, Cleveland in 7

          • Scout Finch Baseball

            Salazar may pitch. Bauer may take the ball and not bleed out.

          • crawnik

            If Baez keeps hot-dogging it, the Baseball Gods will have a say in who wins the WS.

          • John Myhill

            Boston scored 70 more runs this year than the Cubs and they only scored 7 in three games against the Indians.

          • totalfan62

            Cleveland has hone field advantage as well.

      • totalfan62

        I thought that as well. Indians will be ready to play.

    • channelclemente

      It’s a big story. It’s Cleveland for goodness sake.

    • Moooooooooose

      Perfect!

    • Can’t watch MLB TV. Can’t watch anything with baseball coverage. The cub fest is gross. It’s all Raider football now till spring training. Well, NCAA baseball is just around the bend.

    • totalfan62

      I haven’t tuned in yet, waiting for Cubs mania to subside. I’ll be very disappointed if the MLB Network crew doesn’t give the Indians major props for winning the AL pennant. I think it’s going to be a very entertaining WS.

  • DrLefty

    Oh, gawd, we still have the psycho turkey running around Davis, and now I get an email that there’s a knife-wielding clown on the west side of campus (“call 911 if seen”). When did my bucolic college town become so damn scary?

    • John Victory Faust

      Too bad they couldn’t be both channeled into some confined space. And then put on pay-per-view. Probably be more fun than a Presidential Debate.

    • dgg

      I don’t like clowns. I’ve never liked clowns. I have never seen a “psycho turkey.” What is it?

      • Anti-Lasorda

        He’s pissed and this time he’s got the shotgun. He’s Tom the PsychoTurkey….

      • DrLefty

        There are a lot of wild turkeys running around Davis (stopping traffic, sitting on top of my car, etc.), but one in particular has been so aggressive towards humans that they’ve had to post warning signs (photo) and he was on the City Council agenda this week. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ea52ccd9ba58461e8eb91bcb71f896747c4688b7983258c08e9ebcc1face17df.jpg

        • DrLefty
          • Scout Finch Baseball

            Your ride is a lot less orange and black than I suspected. Where are the stickers on the rear side windows?

          • DrLefty

            No stickers, no lawn signs, not for politics or sports. You have to be my friend (or my virtual friend) to know what I’m about!

          • Alvise Contarini

            Therefore, given that we all, TWG bloggers, know what you are about, are we your friends?

          • DrLefty

            You would be in the “virtual friends” category. (“Pretend friends”?)

          • Alvise Contarini

            If and when you will ever come to Venice, I’ll show you that I’m not an ologram.

          • DrLefty

            Maybe around June 2018, so you behave yourself and do what the Dr says. That’s our 35th anniversary, and we’re thinking of taking one of those great European river cruises.

          • Alvise Contarini

            A Dodger Blue Car ?!?!?!?! Can’t believe it’s yours…

          • Scout Finch Baseball

            No kidding. Huh, buddy?

          • Alvise Contarini

            Buddy who?

          • Scout Finch Baseball
          • DrLefty

            I LOVE Buddy Holly.

          • Scout Finch Baseball

            how about Weezer’s Buddy Holly?

          • DrLefty

            It’s really purple, not blue. But I know you men aren’t good with colors. That’s science!

          • Alvise Contarini

            Deep Purple?

          • DrLefty

            ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Sgbssfg

            New avatar?

        • Scout Finch Baseball

          That’s awesome. You really were talking about Meleagris gallopavo.

        • Alvise Contarini

          You need DGG help: I bet she owns a Winchester Model 1873 lever action.

        • The Oracle

          Thanksgiving is coming up.

        • dgg

          This turkey sounds like the Bushy-tailed Woodrat who hid out in our pick-up engine and came back to town with us. Relentless.

    • Alvise Contarini

      You could come to Venice in order to teach at the local University of Ca’ Foscari. No scary clowns around here. See below the link to our Department of Linguistics and Comparative Cultural Studies. My home is 5 minutes walk far.

      http://www.unive.it/nqcontent.cfm?a_id=179664

      • DrLefty

        There’s just one little problem. The only Italian I know is food items and swear words.

        • Alvise Contarini

          Do not wait a minute and start learning Venetian ! By the way you could teach American English (see courses). Hence no need to know Italian.

    • The Oracle

      I don’t think there are any aggressive turkeys running around Bumgarner’s neighborhood, at least not for long.

      • Anti-Lasorda

        Aggressive Turkey = Dinner

        • Scout Finch Baseball

          probably a stringy, tough, lean, and gamey turkey. Thinking more along lines of soup kitchen.

          • Anti-Lasorda

            Cook how you want to. I’m thinking you deep fry the sum beach and he’ll taste jus’ fine.

  • Matthew

    To anyone wondering why NFL ratings are down, I give tou Seattle/Arizona in a spellbinding 6-6 overtime tie

    • Moooooooooose

      A good OT is just this simple. 5 minute periods. 3 OT TOs. Play until done.

      • 2holehitting

        When the NFL has 40 seconds snap clock a 5 minute period can be less than 8 plays. Not even 1 first down and a second set of downs. In a good ground game drives can last 8-10 minutes.

    • crawnik

      Or Giants/Rams. Or any game involving the AFC South.

    • Seattle didn’t win. That’s a plus. Ratings will go up as the Raiders keep winning. When the Raiders win, the NFL prospers.

    • cynic

      Or just watch a 49er game. I laugh but deep down I’m crying.

    • PerSpeier35

      The Seahawks kicker looked as though it was the first kick of his life. How does a pro kicker miss one that badly?

  • crawnik

    Pitchers and catchers report in *116 days. Good night all.

    • Can’t get here soon enough.

    • BALDHEADSLIKK

      Too long

      • BALDHEADSLIKK

        Get it down to 50 days and im ok

  • Scout Finch Baseball
    • steve k

      i haven’t heard this in 40 yrs..

      • The Oracle

        There’s a reason for that.

      • Scout Finch Baseball

        that timeline sounds about right. Wasn’t Desire ’75 ish? Some Nobel worthy lyrics in there, eh, buddy ol’ pal? ๐Ÿ™‚

        • steve k

          yep, ’76..i had a friend who was a huge dylan fan, and after a listening or 2, i bought the album. truth be told, i used to listen to “hurricane” over and over. yes, bobby d could turn a phrase better than most.

          • paul in p.v.

            I saw the Rolling Thunder Review around then in Waterbury CT. :o)

        • paul in p.v.

          That ethereal electric fiddle, and Emmylou backups made that record a keeper.

  • The Oracle

    49er Aaron Lynch says “we possibly have one of the best teams in the NFL, hands down.’ Possibly.

    • Anti-Lasorda

      So its the coach?

  • Alvise Contarini

    The last Super Bowl game I saw was the Super Bowl XXIV, the trashing of the Broncos by Joe Montana’s 49ers. What a team ! Ronnie Lott was my favourite player. Being hit by him was more dangerous than a hit by a Midnight Express train.

    • Sgbssfg

      That was probably a good place to stop watching.

      • Alvise Contarini

        Yup !

  • Scout Finch Baseball

    Would daylight savings please come along? This is kind of absurd. Taking care of morning chores outside and its still dark. The rumbling clouds don’t help either, but hello?

    • Matthew

      As soon as the little freaks get their candy next Monday evening, we should be good

      • Scout Finch Baseball

        Freaks come out at night ! (dance with me Matthew)

        • BALDHEADSLIKK

          WHODINI!!

      • paul in p.v.

        lolol.

  • Scout Finch Baseball

    This Jon Lester guy is no Bumgarner, but he’s been pretty darn good in the postseason… he’s no Kershaw either.

    119 IP, 2.50 ERA, 1.017 WHIP – and he’s done his best work in the World Series.

    Corey Kluber off to a nice postseason career. Sub 1 ERA in his first 18 IP. He should have plenty more opportunities to rack up postseason starts with Cleveland.

    • Matthew

      Well, there’s Bumgarner, there’s Kershaw, and there is everyone else who fall in-between

      • steve k

        kershaw is the best starting pitcher in a generation. bum is the best post season pitcher…..ever

        • HaakAway

          I would like him have a few more chances to build on that record.
          “It would kill some men to come so close to your dream…”
          WTNY
          I spent a long weekend with several Cubs fans and shared their joy at taking down the dodgers but … Go Indians!

          • Alvise Contarini

            WHOAA.

        • 2holehitting

          There are a bunch of pitchers that have excelled beyond what Bum has done. Jeremy Affelt for one might not be a starting pitcher but has a far better ERA in his years. There are pitchers with lower ERA’s as well and many with more wins. Bum has had some stellar games but by no means is he perfect. Remember his last outing gave up 3 runs in 5 innings and was done. That is not a good outing for the best post season pitcher ever.

          http://www.baseball-reference.com/postseason/Playoffs_pitching.shtml

      • Scout Finch Baseball

        Ain’t that the truth – you’ll have to do a post on your guy/hero so we know where he stands in postseason lore.

    • DrLefty

      Oakland A’s on Line 1 about Lester’s postseason exploits.

    • cynic

      I’m surprised. Didn’t he look shaky in the regular season right after the Cubs signed him? It seemed like he was going to be a bad signing there for a while.

  • Matthew

    The fire sale is on – there going to trade Staley.

    • Scout Finch Baseball

      “they’re”

      • BALDHEADSLIKK

        come on you new what he meant Scout dont start!

        • Alvise Contarini

          Che lingua รฉ?
          Cossa casso te parli?

        • Scout Finch Baseball

          messin’ with him on Peter’s behalf ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Matthew

        looser.

        • HaakAway

          Double-pun finnesse.

        • Scout Finch Baseball

          Their is no their their, Gertrude.

    • cynic

      Not if they’re asking for a 1st rounder. Keep dreaming Dork.

    • standardstarboard

      Can they trade their owner?

  • Scout Finch Baseball
    • HaakAway

      He would be a perfect Pretend Ball Player [“DH”] but it is just a few weeks too late.
      Some say that is where his future is since he is an error waiting to happen when he is in the field.

      • Scout Finch Baseball

        Ha ha. Edgar Martinez and Frank Thomas love you too! Big Papi sends regards.

        • HaakAway

          And don’t forget Pete Rieser who kept running into walls.
          As a DH he would have gotten 3,000 hits and the dodgers would have won two more pennants in the 40’s. There are more like him but that was when basball players had to, you know… play baseball not just take their turn at bat.

    • channelclemente

      You watch, that chunky monkey will end up being the difference in the WS.

  • BALDHEADSLIKK

    Chills chills and more chills watching Bwill throw strike 3 to Ry Howard! Nice start to a monday mornin.

  • Skweezplay55

    Awful stench persisting from Santa Clara.

    • BALDHEADSLIKK

      in fairfield all day long as well