Monday, April 27, 2015

Candlestick Park - I Went To Say Goodbye To An Old Friend

I wondered if the sun was shining so brightly at the new shiny downtown  stadium they rave about so much, where the  Giants announcers always proclaim   a 'beautiful day' or 'beautiful night' even if the temperature is 58. It gets cold at the new place, too.  

Candlestick Crumbles view from cracked parking lot
Not -so -Welcome to Candlestick anymore, as demolition is in progress 4-20-15.  Gates are  closed for good, now, as guards make sure nobody gets in for one final closeup. But, perhaps, getting too close might hurt more. Can probably see all we want from afar

Candlestick Park - I Went To Say Goodbye To An Old Friend

I went to visit an old friend the other day.  It had been more than  10 years since I'd seen him, yet he was looking  as good I remembered him, except for a few parts missing. No signs of any cancer, yet his days are numbered. 

They say my friend had a 'cold heart' unlike the 'new kid' uptown where
the sun shines all the time, or so they say...

49ers sign and stadium back small
Road to Ruin - Where 49ers last played, Candlestick parking lot reminder of good times for 49ers and Giants fans.

Something called to me from within to go visit my friend this day, telling me
there wouldn't be many more. I took a crowded freeway Monday, 
April 20  , suddenly deciding to get off busy #280  at the old Silver Ave exit  in
an effort to not only save time while recreating the old bus route I took as a kid  .
At least I would catch the tail end of that bus route. It looked like nothing had changed on the last leg to Candlestick... the  bumpy roads amidst  blocks of small, multi-colored matchbox homes abutting one  another.

Then, suddenly, there it was, right before my eyes. An empty but still inviting ballpark
with the SUN BEAMING DOWN ON IT, surprisingly(?). It was a vision to behold, nothing like all the bad stuff you hear about in the media. This is the park they're 
getting rid of in favor of the  shiny, new  one downtown, now already
in its fourteenth year. 

While the security guard wouldn't let me get too close the park, as the large ORANGE cranes
took GIANT bites out of my friend, I was still able to go all the way around the stadium
to see all that was   being done to my friend.  I don't know if it was better to see him go bit by bit, as sanctioned by the neighbors rather than one big explosion which would upset a lot. But, who could be upset more, as it was to slowly lose a friend. Maybe fast would have been better.

 And there was Paul McCartney
looking down from a large billboard left over from last August when he celebrated the 50th year
since the Beatles' last concert at Candlestick Park .

candlestick crumbles from center field  parking lot view
Candlestick becoming a distant memory

In the bright sunlight my friend looked very good, from the various vantage points
I visited around the park .Perhaps it was a good thing they would't let me get any closer
to see the actual blood and guts.  Why destroy a beautiful last image/memory any further.

As I gazed out at my friend he didn't look quite as big as he did as when I was a kid.
Seeing my old friend again, for the first time in years.began to trigger old memories like
seeing the players leaving the clubhouse after the game, going to their cars. There was
'Sad' Sam Jones, relief pitcher extroadinaire - at least for a year or two - getting into his
'59 Caddy El Dorado  with the big fins. So what if he didn't sign his autograph. It was Sam Jones! Then, it was the second game of the 1962 World Series - the first and only the Giants would appear in
during their first decades in San Francisco. My neighbor was nice enough to make this little kid (me) to that game, which I'll never forget and some of the events of that day. There were many
other games I attended at Candlestick,,most of which have become a blur.  I don't remember the cold
weather everyone complained about. The Giants were winners in the early 1960s. I did collect every Giants baseball card that year except Willie Mays (see sample below).

Remembering a simpler time, the 'black and white days' of the early 1960s. Can you name these Giants greats?

Remembering a great team of stars no cold weather could interfere with. I can remember
the names like yesterday without looking it up. Mays, McCovey, Marichal, Cepeda, the
Alou brothers Felipe and Matty, Hiller, Haller, Davenport, Miller, Pierce, Sanford, Bailey.
I think Perry came a little later. For a minute I forgot what day it was as a day dream
was taking over me. But it wasn't a dream.More like a reverie. There was Candlestick Park
once more. I would have probably stayed a Giants fan for life if the team hadn't run into
hard times in the late Sixties and Seventies, hiring less than stellar managers and players
as the Dodgers were beating our butts. After Alvin Dark, who managed Giants to the world series was fired, ten years of Herman Franks as manager was enough for
me. I switched allegiance to the new team across the Bay in Oakland. 1968. Of course
I lived in Oakland so I couldn't be  called a traitor.

As I came out of my day dream I became sad. Thinking in modern, marketing terms - as we all
seem to do these days - I wondered if Candlestick had been built right on the water where
the parking lot was and the parking switched to where the stadium was would the Giants
have attracted bigger crowds back then? Would that have even made a difference
or were attendance numbers such a big thing in the Sixties?  Maybe it was yet people
weren't so hung up on attendance as I recall. An owner could still make money with a half
empty stadium when costs were much less. Stadiums cost perhaps one-twentieth of what they do today. And ticket prices were rediculous. $1 for a bleacher seat, $3 for a good first deck 'box seat'
in the early 1960s, as I recall.

candlestick crumbles from top stands (50s era stremlined curved backing

Up in smoke, once distinguished, 50s-stylish curved upper deck now in ruin

I wondered if the sun was shining so brightly at the new shiny downtown  park they rave about so much, where the  Giants announcers always proclaim   a 'beautiful day' or 'beautiful night'
even if the temp is 58  - and it can get cold at the new park, too. 

It was time to leave my old friend, now, and get back to work and reality, but I thought
that, yes, it would be interesting to go by the new stadium, which was just off the freeway
on my way home. I do remember going to my first game at AT&T , then called Pac Bell Park,
in the early 2000s. It was the coldest night I can ever remember going to a game, and that
included Candlestick. Maybe it was because I was no longer really into the Giants, but, no,
it was plenty cold that night. My friend Tom will vouch for that... and I remember the weather
more than I do the game, which wasn't the case at Candlestick for me.

Candlestick still looking good from this angle, parts intact - Copy
Still looking good from this angel, er, angle

Looking out from Candlestick's warm climes on this day, it looked like the rest of San Francisco was overcast and cold. Driving back 101 I passed by King Street   the not-so-new Kid in town and saw not a drop of sun.The temperature on building read '58,' which had to be a half dozen degrees lower than over at Candlestick. I began to get mad. Why are they hurting my friend. Why are they getting rid of him. This is a con job, I told myself. On this day it certainly was much warmer and more beautiful looking out at Candlestick than AT &T.  Was it just a coincidence that on this day things were colder  and gloomier downdown? I'll have to try this again another day soon, and see if the downtown location is really that much warmer and less windy. I'm going to do my own
little investigation. 

In the Eighties and Nineties the Forty-Niners were football winners at Candlestick. Nobody complained about the cold weather then. Maybe the winters in San Francisco ARE warmer than the summers , as Mark Twain once reminded us, but how much could that be? If the Giants stop winning you can bet they'll come up with some excuse  . The Giants have no KNOWN PED players currently on the team, which may explain part of their drop off this year, 2015. If they continue to lose, there will be some excuse. Can't build another  ballpark already. We'll see.

     from car view
One last gate remains open for demolition trucks to come and go - but not for fans anymore.

I am going to say one thing that a lot of today's younger fans and some older ones
 might not like. There wasn't the  political correctness on the Giants and any second guessing  
 about players back then. You saw what you got. A homerun was a homerun - and the M and M boys hit a lot of them, as did the rest of the Giants. No second guessing whether a player was 'legit' or 'enhanced.'  Players drank more booze back then, were more overweight and even took some greenies to stay 'up' during long road trips. But, even the greenies didn't affect the outcomes of ball games.

We weren't overrun with media and political correctness back then,either. Players we rarely saw on TV were brought to life through the 'color' radio   of Lon Simmons and Russ Hodges.   Our imaginations took the place of  'in your face' social media.   Maybe a little mystery was better than reading 140 character word-bites. The focus was more on the games, themselves. Besides, there  were no 'designer' anabolic steroids  or PEDs to speak of back then. It was a simple, more honest world that didn't call for drug testing. With long-term,multi-million dollar contracts today brought on by stronger players unions, the pressure is on players to produce. Now, it seems that players are even being rewarded for taking enhancements as we see PED indictments being overturned (Bonds) and players making more money the second drug offence around (Cruz, Peralta, etc). The Giants won there first three world series in sixty years  with KNOWN PED users and key players (Torrez, Cabrera and Morse in 2010,2012, and 2014 respectively) and have seen 23 indicted players come through town since Bonds opened the flood gates in 1997. Today we're living in an era where a player like Bonds , basically, can control a team as we saw his presense directly or indirectly force out key NON-PLAYING members of the Giants family,e.g. Bill Newcomb, Stan Conte, Dusty Baker, Hank Greenwald and even some players like Brian Wilson. Interesting that with Bonds, the Giants still didn't win a world series. Only when 'team CHEMISTRY' got real good, if you will, did the Giants start winning.

Ironic orange monsters destroying old orange and black's stadium
Ironic orange 'monsters' destroying the old orange and black stadium, home of the OLD orange and black of another era, when the Giants played like GIANTS without aid of any special enhancements. Cold weather didn't matter. In fact, when they were winning nobody seemed to notice cold weather.

Sure, some players could be surly and avoid signing autographs back then. But, they certainly never charged money for them as they sometimes do today. Today, players are paid extra so that they will interact with fans, do interviews, etc.  Wasn't the case back then. Players got  one year contracts back then and that was it. And it wasn't a lot of money, where most players had to work during the off season.

Take down the lights, the parties over
Take down the lights, the party's over

It's a different world today where fans  will come religiously out to the ballpark  - with 
smart phones in hand. It make take take half price Goldstar tickets or nightly promotions 
or roided or suspect players  to draw them -and they may be staring at those phones rather than watching the game. But, they're there and part of the, in Giants case, hundreds of straight 'sellouts.'  Meanwhile Giants management does all the  politically correct things,
from holding ring ceremonies to inviting back the former players  . Meanwhile, good old Candlestick Park (before ballparks had corporate names)  where REAL, honest baseball ruled, is quickly becoming a forgotten friend from a  time when players were loyal
to their teams and teams were loyal to their players (and not just with multi-million dollar contracts).

 A year from today  Candlestick will be no more. If you grew up in THE era, you, too, may want to to say goodbye to a good, old friend, the likes of which you'll never see again , nor what's took place inside.

Thanks for coming

Yes, thank you for having us , Candlestick. You did the Giants and 49ers proud and most fans loved you, at least when their teams were winning.


In the immortal words of Russ Hodges 'Bye Bye Baby'to Candlestick Prk

or as Lon Simmons might say, 'Tell It Good Bye.'

Candlestick Park - I Went To Say Goodbye To An Old Friend

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

4 New PED Suspensions First Week, Bonds Promotes ARod Passing Mays

BASEBALL REALLY CLEAN? 4 New PED busts opening week of baseball more than all of last year  

4 New PED Suspensions First Week,

 Bonds Promotes ARod Passing Mays

From Mike Oz, Big League Stew...
#Giants PEDs, #PEDs, #steroids, Alex Rodriguez, Arod, Barry Bonds, Mays, peds, steroids
Alex Rodriguez is five homers away from tying the great Willie Mays for fourth on the all-time list with 660. Just what happens after that ball flies over the fence might be one of the season's best dramas. The New York Yankees are acting like the milestone doesn't exist — partially because it will help avoid paying A-Rod's $6 million "milestone" bonus.
If he's at home, Yankees fans will probably cheer A-Rod, since they've given him warm receptions thus far. If he's on the road, you can expect a chorus of boos. We'll wait and see what sort of media coverage it gets, whether folks act like it's as real as spring-training stats or they give it "milestone" coverage.

Despite all that, you know who will be happy for A-Rod? Another shamed slugger — Barry Bonds, who is a particularly interesting person in this matter because Mays is his godfather, A-Rod is a recent pupil of his and, like Rodriguez, he knows what it's like to chase a milestone without the public's support.
Bonds spoke to USA Today's Bob Nightengale about the chase for 660 and his comments were certainly polarizing. Bonds says everybody — you, me, the Yankees, etc. — should be happy for A-Rod. Something tells us not every baseball fan is going to heed Bonds' word.
"My godfather means the world to me. I love him to a T,'' Bonds told USA TODAY Sports in an hour-long telephone interview, "but when Alex hits No. 660, I'll be happy for him. Willie will be happy for him. Everybody should be happy for him.
"Any time anybody in the game does something that's a great accomplishment, the game of baseball should celebrate that. No matter what. Baseball is benefiting from that person's hard work, so baseball should at least celebrate."
But it won't. And neither will the Yankees.
"Why the hate?" Bonds said. "Why hate on something you're paying to see? I don't understand it. He's entertaining us. I wish life wasn't like that."


Bonds and A-Rod, circa 2007. (AP)

Bonds and A-Rod, circa 2007. (AP)
Why the hate? Barry, you know why the hate. You've been dealing with that question yourself since 2007. While Bonds is talking about A-Rod here, you have to figure he's talking about himself too. Hefurther told USA Today:
"This guy is not running for president of the United States," Bonds said. "He's not running for commissioner. We're not running for political office. We're just ballplayers. We're not God. We're imperfect people. We're human beings."
So are fans. They'll react from their heart, for better or worse. Some people will call A-Rod's spot on all-time list hollow (as is their right) and others will talk about how great of a talent he is, PED issues aside (also their right).
But as Bonds knows well, there will be no shortage of opinions.




Monday, September 8, 2014


2001 Seattle Mariners led by Ichiro was the last team to win 100 games with  a MLB record 116-46
No team since has managed to win 100 games    Greatest Teams, steroids in baseball, drug use in baseball, #Giants PEDs, #PEDs, Banned substances in baseball, baseball drug testing, baseball players on drugs, cheating in baseball,The History of Baseball, Best Baseball Teams


Top 100-Game Winning Teams:

1928 New York Yankees 101-53          (154 game seasons)
1929 Philadelphia Athletics 104-46
1927 New York Yankees 110-44
1932 New York Yankees 107-47
1939 New York Yankees 106-45
1941 New York Yankees 101-53
1954 Cleveland Indians 111-43
1942 St. Louis Cardinals 106-48

-teams only played 154 games prior to 1960-

1961 New York Yankees 109-53           (162 game seasons)
1968 Detroit Tigers 103-59
1969 New York Mets 100-62
1967 St. Louis Cardinals 101-60
1970 Baltimore Orioles 108-54
1975 Cincinnati Reds 108-74
1976 Cincinnati Reds 102-60
1984 Detroit Tigers 104-58
1995 Cleveland  indians 100-44
2001 Seattle Mariners 116-46

(above courtesy of Bleacher Report's 50 Greatest Teams)

Bleacher Report has ranked the top 50 teams including ones winning less than
100 games. Not surprising they don't include either of the 2010 or 2012 Giants
teams but they do include some, like the 1989 Oakland Athletics, for, which we would NOT include or give a PED-aided askerisk  

1927 New York Yankees, backed by the Sultan of Swat won 110 games - in only  154 games. (Teams prior to 1961 only played 154 games.)

Interesting to note the dearth of great teams today. Sure, it's great to have competitive  races but this is ridiculous. Only one team, the Los Angeles Angels currently has a record
over .600 on a pace  to win 100 games - and that could change in a flash, just as have teams' records this year. If it does, it would be the first team since 2009 to win 100 games.  What's even more shocking is that teams play more games now (162 per year) vs. 154 prior to the mid- 1960s.  This makes all the pre-1960s 100-game teams that much more amazing. In the prior 4 decades before 2009 (1969-2009) 45 teams have won 100 games but in the last five years NONE have won 100 games

Since 2009, no teams have won 100 games, yet prior to that 45 teams had 100 wins in the four decades prior - that's over 10 teams per decade.    There have been no dominant teams since then, only sporadically effective ones during seasonal streaks. Even those that have won over 100 were usually by one or two games. Why such a drop-off in quality teams, despite 
the advantages of free agency and no salary cap?  


 If anything , one would think there would be more disparity among teams since free agency. When wealthier teams today CAN PAY - as we have seen most recently in the Los Angeles Dodgers and its $220 million payroll faring less well than, say, the Oakland Athletics with a payroll in the low $100 millions.

In recent years we've never seen such mediocrity,or , shall we say, ups and downs, in baseball,
where teams will have great streaks only to suddenly drop off to bad losing streaks, ending up
with so-so records - no longer any 100 game winners. This is especially surprising that even
since free agency in 1975 the richer teams and lack of salary cap are not necessarily performing better. Richer teams are not necessarily faring better than than lower salaried teams. 
One might expect just the opposite, that there would be a much greater discrepancy than pre-free agency baseball. 

So, again, why no great baseball teams in over a decade?

The only theory we can come up with    focuses on   the steroid or PED  era.
Since the 1990s - or even the late '80s - estimates of up to 50% of major leagues players have
been using performance enhancing drugs. (We saw 20 players CAUGHT through the Biogenesis leak last year, without 
benefit of effective MLB drug testing - no major leaguers have been caught in years to our knowledge, not due to a lack of tainted players.)  Players must go off and on the drugs around
testing times, resulting in spikes of lower performance  . With slightly more frequent testing and stronger penalties today, players must be more careful and when they temporarily go off the drugs, the performance drops. The drug tests are - for whatever reasons - usUally announced ahead, and this is likely why we may see mass drop-offs by teams weeks before and after testing. It may take some time for a player to get back to his 'enhancement' , thus, the prolonged drop-offs of sometimes 2-4 weeks or even months - as we saw with the Giants.

With new baseball rules, testing is required a minimum of two times during a baseball
season (to our knowledge) - it used to be only required in spring training. So, once
tests are given , say, for example early and mid-season,  players can go back on
the juice knowing they probably won't be tested again and, if they are they'll usually
be given advanced notice, anyway.  This is how we see the Giants go on their late season
surges with even the weakest players hitting 30-80 points above their non-enhanced
(prior) averages.

The trend has  never been more apparent this year than with the San Francisco Giants. People actually thought the Giants had the NL West wrapped up after the first two months of 2014
with a better than .650 record and eight games ahead of the second place Los Angeles Dodgers.
But as quick as they could do no wrong, the team could do no write, finishing with
the worst losing streak in baseball over most of June and July. Once again,
the Giants turned this around with one of the best records during late August and
early September as they closed the gap to two games behind the Dogers as of September 7.
The Giants have done similarly  in recent years they won the World Series, 2010 and 2012
finishing with majors' best win loss records in September both years. 
Other streaky teams have included the Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, BalTimore Orioles,and Washington  -depending upon what you call a streak.The San Francisco Giants have had the longest overall streaks  of any team as described above.

What happened to consistency by teams? A good team should stay generally 'good'
through the season without drastic ups and downs. Even a blockbuster trade or
acquisition shouldn't make that much difference in baseball where you have teams
of 25 players including strong backups. Nor should injuries make that much difference - all
teams have injuries - and with good backup players it shouldn't be a problem. And, we see similar trends happen year after year as described elsewhere.

Now with numbers of KNOWN PED users allowed back in the game after their 50 (now 80) game suspensions, we've seen  most of  teams with 'PED' players making the playoffs, perhaps thanks to at one or two of those players.    It's not to say they're all still 'using,' but one doesn't have to be blind or 'dumb or dumber' (to quote Balco's Victor Conte) 
to see some of these players continue to hit well above their career averages - and getting
away with it, propelling their teams often to playoffs and World Series victories.  So, PEDs not only make for an uneven playing field , they pose a threat to player health and now, also seem to be bringing mediocrity to the game.(Perhaps the powers that be and others like the more even distribution we're now seeing but baseball without great teams - or real weak ones, for that matter - is NOT baseball.  It's ARTIFICIAL baseball - in more ways than one, in our opinion. 

GOLDEN YEARS OF BASEBALL - Which were the truly greatest teams

Giants' Juan Marichal with Willie McCovey, 1962 World Series runner-ups, Runners-up best team



Wednesday, July 23, 2014

20 Reasons #SFGiants Won World Series with #PEDs





No one thing alone spells #PEDs but when you add them all up plus previous, well it’s pretty convincing stuff

1) #Foxgun RT @dmill885: @hankschulman: According to FanGraphs, Vogelsong’s fastball in 2012 averaged 90.8 mph. During playoffs and world series He was 92-94 Ryan Vogelsong’s 1.09 ERA in 24.2 IP this #Postseason is lowest since Orel Hersheiser had 1.05 in 42.2 IP in 1988 (min. 24 IP).  #PEDS

2) Two teams have won 6 straight elimination games. Both – the 1985 Royals and 2012 Giants   – got win #6 with a shutout of the Cards in Game    7

3.) Detroit had not lost a game at home in the last month and now the Giants SHUT THEM OUT  2 GAMES IN A ROW

4) The Tigers were only shut out twice ALL SEASON. Now they are shut out TWO GAMES IN A ROW by the #Giants

5) Lincecum FB suddenly up to 93 mph

6) Are Detroit fans on to it – booing Sandoval?

7) Only 10 pitchers have ever posted a lower ERA in a single #Postseason (min. 13 IP) than Tim Lincecum’s 0.69.

8) After Sandoval’s 3-HR Game 1, no HRs at all in 2 straight #WorldSeries games for 1st time since 1996 Games 5 & 6. Not so supprising last two games without homers in tough, cold park but SAYS ALOT ABOUT SANDOVAL’S  3 HOMERS in game 1

9)  Two consecutive shutouts in #WorldSeries for 1st time since 1966 (Orioles shut out Dodgers in Games 2, 3 & 4). RT

10) The @SFGiants have now won 6 straight #Postseason games for 1st time in franchise history. #WorldSeries RT

11) The @SFGiants have not trailed for 54 straight innings, 6 full #Postseason games since NLCS Game 4 loss. This against some excellent competition that blew by Yankees and A’s, Cincinatti and Atlanta

12) The @SFGiants have not trailed for 50 consecutive innings, since losing Game 4 of NLCS.RT

13) RT If @SFGiants go 7 innings tonight w/out trailing, will be longest streak in #Postseason history (at 54 now, ’04 Red Sox went 60).

14) Buster Posey was the only Giants player NOT to defend Melky Cabrera and his rather extreme violation of the drug test and his subsequent attempted coverup. Posey may be the only Giant , himself, not using PEDs

15) MARCO SCUTARO and his otherworldly numbers since joing GIANTS: .362 in over 200 at bats since August 1 which is leading the league, only 15 strikeouts as compared to batting .271 the first half season at Colorado where he struck out twice as often in the same amount of at bats.

Even though Scutaro has (purposedly?) cooled in the Series – actually striking out twice – it could be to make things look a little more respectable after his rather unbelievable prior  three months to now.

16) PABLO SANDOVAL : What can you say about this guy who only hit 12 homers all season  and now near-recordbreaking 6 in the postseason and  3 in one game against the best pitcher in baseball. Announcers also commented that Sandoval’s batting practice clouts in Detroit were Ruthian,hit further than perhaps anyone else.

17) PITCHERS SUDDEN SUCCESS in PLAYOFFS  - Giant pitching .089 ERA in post season. After opening two blowouts    to Cincinatti, the Giants have unnaturally ratched it up and dominated with eveyone pitching otherworldly, with higher radar readings and all.
I mean there hasn’t been one pitcher NOT doing well.
The guys who weren’t doing well in September, eg BumGardener, Vogelsong and even Zito are outperforming ace Matt Cain, perhaps one of two Giants most likely  not using.

18) HITTERS who hadn’t been doing well are suddenly becoming the big guns. While Posey is holding his own, Sandoval, Pence and Blanco are suddenly getting the key hits, very reminiscent of
2010 when the Giants brought in Ross, who suddenly and inexplicably hit 5 homers in the playoffs.

   Scutaro had been doing spectacularly until Detroit and the rest of the time since coming to Giants.

19) SAME PATTERN for GIANTS in 2010 repeated in 2012: Sabean brings in a couple of journeymen, cheap, other teams don’t want who are suddenly transformed into stars, ie Jose Guillen (until drug suspension)  and Cody Ross in 2010 and this year Scutaro (.362 since coming to Giants after hitting only .271  at Colorado)) and now Pence hitting big  in World Series. Meanwhile, team suddenly performs like world beaters late season – in 2010 they were .500 before August and this year they’ve become unstoppable in September-october with mostly same players who couldn’t hit a lick in June.
Would have probably won Series in 2011 , too, if it werent for losses of Posey and Wilson (not  that Wilson, or Cabrera for that matter have hurt them. they just go out and get another body to use, if you know what we mean…I.E.:




20 New Reasons Giants Used PEDs To win World Series

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Why #SFGiants Big Drop Off - Past Catching Up?

"To me, personally, I think you should be out of the game if you get caught...It takes away from the guys that are working hard every day and doing it all-natural."
  -MIKE TROUT, Los Angeles Angels interviewed on Boomer Esiason's ESPN radio show

Why #SFGiants Big Drop Off - Past Catching Up? 

How does one explain the #SFGiants nearly unprecedented drop (from 10 games ahead in first place to one game behind in the West in a 22 day period).   We need to look at current symptoms as well as review the past few years to see what led up to where the Giants currently stand.  #Giants PEDs, #Michael Morse, #PEDs, #steroids, .  Tim Lincecum, Balco, baseball PEDs, baseball steroids, baseball without drugs, Bruce Bochy, Jose Guillen, MARCOS SCUTARO, san francisco giants, steroids, 


First, before we look back,  It's unusual to see so many current back injuries including serious ones to Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro, which have kept them out of the lineup for long spells, and lesser back problems for Michael Morse, a previously indicted #PED user. Others on the team, like Sandoval and Vogelsong, have been out of the lineup often, too, with nagging injuries.  Certain back problems have been tied to steroid use, where the kidneys are affected, leading to lower back pain. Other nagging injuries are also often the result of PED use.  PED use could be a factor in the sudden Giants drop off, in our opinion, especially when on looks at the history of, i.e.San Francisco Giants and its large number of indicted PED players. 

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2) LARGE NUMBER OF PED USERS ON GIANTS - Their Game Winning Hits Alone  Enough to Have Put Giants into both World Series

Perhaps the Giants' luck has run out.  Despite lack of a deep farm system, the Giants were able to skate  to two world series victories in 2010 and 2012 with marginal players and two great months at seasons' ends both in 2010 and 2012. .  While other teams were feeling the summer heat, the Giants were playing with extra bounce in their collective step August through October with almost two complete different teams 2010 and 2012. The Giants benefitted  enough to put them ahead with  players of PED pasts, such as Melky Cabrera in 2012 and Jose Guillen and Guilllermo Moto in 2010 plus likely other users not yet caught  . How else does one explain the Giants' sudden surges in August - October, both years, with newly acquired players like Cody Ross and Marcos Scutaro, in 2010 and 2012 , respectively,  who would see their numbers skyrocket once with the Giants? Remember Ross' astonishing eight homeruns in October, 2010 while Sandoval did it in 2012, hitting three in one game against Detroit after only hitting six the entire season and Scutaro raising his average 100 points to .350 after leaving colorado mid-season for the Giants?


Even the regular lineup may have joined in the Giants drug culture
for the late season heroics including the playoffs and World Series.
Even the older players on the Giants, such as Sandoval,as noted, got hot late season and in the playoffs, interestingly after Jose Guillen (2010) and Melky Cabrera and Scutaro (2012) joined the team.  As with any culture where there's smoke there's fire and there were too many mediocre players suddenly getting hot at season's end - both years with largely two different teams - to call it a coincidence, what with the Giants history. 

You had pitchers past their primes like Vogelsong and Lincecum suddenly making a joke out of  top hitters on Detroit and Saint Louis in the World Series. Much like Huff and Burrell, Even the estranged  Barry Zito - left off the World Series Giants in 2010 -  somehow got off the deck and suddenly went from the Giants doghouse with a 6.00 ERA to   World Beater for a few short weeks in the 2012 playoffs and Series, only to go back to his old self the following year, before being released. 

"Some people  are just trying to find that extra edge," Trout told Esiason. "It's tough as a guy that goes out there and plays hard every day and puts [in] 110 percent effort ... to wake up, see there's a list of guys that are on the list (of  indicted PED users)."

4)    MLB TESTING HAS NOT KEPT UP WITH LATEST PEDS, Making it Easy To Get Away and Succeed with Performance Enhancers - Giants Have Had Most PED players since Bonds

MLB has still not implemented the available test that can detect the new 'designer' testosterone PEDs players are using. Players can simply inject the steroids into their bodies the day of a game and the drug can be out of their systems hours later. Under latest testing rules, MLB only has to do as little as one test during the season and usually lets players know in advance of testing. So, as Victor Conte of Balco fame said , players have to be 'dumb or dumber' to get caught.  It's become somewhat of a tradition since steroids came into baseball in the 1980s but became especially popularized with Barry Bonds for players to go to steroids late in their careers to give them one final boost and help with nagging injuries. The sad part is that the steroids, themselves, often result in more nagging injuries down the line. Remember first baseman Ken Camaniti, one of the early (admitted) steroid users who lost his life, in part, to PEDs.

Note: Different Steroids affect players in different way with different results. For example, 'Cream'and 'Clear' Testosterone , as used by Barry Bonds, could put bulk and greatly enlarge some party parts and shrink others - and contribute to baldness and impotency while giving a hitter more power , ie homeruns. Barry Bonds took a great variety of other drugs, in combination, that may have exagerated to his extreme change.  Newer 'designer' Testosterones appear to do the opposite, helping one stay in shape and not putting on bulk or affecting homeruns so much as helping to improve bat speed and batting average. 


The Giants had made a  habit of getting quick fixes for holes on their rosters with known and suspected PED players - largely Venezuelans - and in 2010 and 2012 it worked for them. It's amazing how GM Brian Sabean was able to know so much about the underground PED use because seemingly every 'no name'player he acquired went on to have at least temporary success with the Giants - enough to help their cause. Kansas City was like the Giants' 'minor league' source for such players , from where they aquired pitchers like Mijares, Machi, Gutierrez and Petit (Machi , Gutierrez and  Petit all have had that sudden success once with the Giants and continue to this day). Other players like Torrez, Huff and Burrell would come  to the Giants at advanced ages and have 'carreer seasons' only to suddenly drop off the radar only  after helping lead the Giants, in this case to a 2010 World Series.


Today, after over a decade of playing the PED game,the Giants may finally be slowing down. Due to the lack of REAL testing and Giants' lead, other teams have finally said 'If you can't beat them, join them ' and are now going after the tainted players only the Giants once pursued.  (Note, every team in Final Four last year had indicted PED user(s) on their team.)    President of the Giants Larry Baer  , while not saying the team would stop going after PED players, did express a note of caution (SFGate)  because of the team's reputation for having had so many players on PEDs.   

Now would be about the time of year the Giants would normally start going to their bag of tricks following their June swoons but, so far, we haven't seen it; it still may be early. Knowing Sabean, never a great trader  but one to go for the occasional big name and overpay his current  better performing players , if the Giants continue to crumble he will once again resort to  the easy way out - that of finding low-cost, tainted players other teams may not want - IF THEY ARE AVAILABLE. Like with any trend that catches on, perhaps Sabean now has competition for PED players and has LOST HIS EDGE - for now,anyway. But don't give up on him. Knowing the Giants, they'll find a way back, illegal or otherwise in their liberal town - and nobody will seem to notice or care.. So, the Giants are down now  but they're not out.   They've just got NEW competition.

How long Sabean and company can get away with what  they've been doing for over a decade is anyone's guess. As Esiason noted, many fans don't seem to care anymore. Yet, as he also noted, Cooperstown still does, fortunately , as do some baseball writers  who may not say so publicly. But, with time and  more and more kids brought up on the PED culture, this may fully change in time with steroids and PEDs  becoming a totally acceptable part of baseball and all sports, perhaps like the legalizaition of marijuana in more and more states . 

A good number of the players that Sabean has brought in have been using PEDs and that's why Bochy has often looked like a magician with the pitching staff and lineup. But, take away the drugs or lose these players to injury and Giants and Bochy become mortal. In fact, if you look at Bochy's overall managerial career he is exactly at .500 as a manager, .490 at San Diego and .510 at San Francisco.  



SF Giants Players Linked to Steroids and Human Growth Hormone (HGH) Admitted Steroid and HGH Users  and Implicated Players and
MLB Positive Tests/Suspensions: (Mitchell Report, and other sources)

Matt Williams 1986-1997
*Barry Bonds 1993-2007
Rich Aurillia 1995-2005 and 2007-2009
Marvin Bernard 1995-2003
Glenallen Hill 1995-1997
FP Santangelo 1999
Wilson Alverez 1997
Bobby Estalella 2000-2001
Armando Rios  2001
David Bell 2002
Benito Santiago 2001-2003
Matt Herges 2003-2005
Alex Sanchez 2005
Abraham Núñez  2006
Yamid Haad 2006 
Matt Kinney 2010
Eliezer Alfonzo 2006-2008
Jose Guillen 2010
Guillermo Mota 2010-2012
Miguel Tejada    2011
Melky Cabrera 2012
Mike Morse 2014

*Affect of steroids -example: Barry Bonds had never hit more than 34 homeruns and batted over .300 only twice in his seven years at Pittsburg  (1986-1993). After coming to San Francisco he only hit LESS than 34 homeruns once and only batted UNDER .300 twice in his thirteen years except for his last three years when he was injured

Not Implicated but Very Possibly on PEDs with Giants
JEFF KENT 1997-2002- - Power numbers suddenly soared when coming to Giants in 1997, peaking     in 2002 World           Series year with 37 homers and .313 average (career year) 
ANDRES TORRES 2010  - Had career years in 2009 and 2010 once coming to Giants at age 30
MARCO SCUTARO   - Most surprising increased numbers, this for a 37 year old player     playing in the difficult San Francisco  hitter’s park. Batting average up an otherworldly 90 points in a full half season since coming to Giants from Colorado, again hitting in an unfriendly hitters park. But even perhaps more amazing is Scutaro’s strikeout ration, indicative of possible PED use with increased vision and hand-eye coordination ala Bonds; he cut strikeouts down less than half with only 14 strikeouts since coming to San Frnacisco in July – that’s only one strikeout per 37 at bats!
 ANGEL PAGAN power numbers up since coming to SF with Melky Cabrera – from 24 to 38 doubles and from four to 15 triples this year with homers about the same (8    vs. 7).
 GREGOR BLANCO who was red hot, ala Torres (2010)  in 2012 for first half of season,  hit more homers this year(5)  than in all previous seasons combined
 SANTIAGO  CASILLA  suddenly halved his ERA after coming to Giants in ‘magic’ year, 2010 – from 5.96  in 2009 at Oakland to 1.95 his first year , 2010 with the Giants – and it’s remained there ever since.
PABLO SANDOVAL - Unlikely huge spikes in performance late seasons 2010 and 2012 and World   Series and   since.  
 JOSE MIJARES 2012 - Relief numbers up dramatically after joining Giants
 CHAD GOUDIN  2013 -  Near all-star pitching numbers after joining Giants
 JEAN MACHI - Sudden success with Giants
 YASMEIRO PETIT  - Cut his ERA in half and raised strikeouts, one per inning after joing SF from Arizona 

References: Mitchell Report, and other sources
(Opinion column) 

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Sunday, July 6, 2014

#San Fran Giants - Interesting look back at Bruce Bochy Era - Bochy Over-rated?


San Francisco Giants - Interesting look back at  Bruce Bochy Era - Bochy Over-rated?

  Boche padres jpg

  Caminititi cropped

Ken Camanitti, Padres

How  Did Bruce Bochy Become Giants Manager? Bochy Overated?

Tony Gwynn's recent passing brought to light some interesting connections
between the Giants and Gwynn's long-time San Diego Padre team.Bruce Bochy SanFrancisco Giants, Pablo Sandoval, med peds, san fran giants

Giant manager Bruce Bochy was San Diego Padre's and Gwynn's manager from 1995 to 2001, when Gwynn retired. It was also during those years that  Gwynn, then   in his late thirties, had   three of his five best years, hitting over .350 at an age  most players are retired. Ken Camaniti, an admitted steroid user who lost his life at 35 due in part to performance enhancing drugs, had among his best years, certainly his best power numbers  with as many as 40 as a Padre when he had never hit as many as 20 before; he received MVP and propelled the Padres to the World Series in 1998.  Caminitti took advantage of the emerging drug culture in the San Diego clubhouse, then largely a steroid   called creatine that would become popular with Oakland A's player and San Diego native Mark McGwire.  The trend would escalate especially to the San Francisco giants, though the drug s of choice would change.   Barry Bonds and at least seven other (later indicted) Giants would favor a testosterone-based steroid known as the 'clear' and the 'creme' 
the Mitchell reports).

Bochy ,  as manager, would witness  cartoon-like numbers in Camaniti and Gwynn and later Bonds when Bochy came to the Giants in 2007.   Bochy  likely knew he was coming to a team featuring another cartoon-like character, both in changed appearance and statistics in Bonds, who was having his best seasons and breaking homerun and other records and doing things never done before , again, at an age when most players were either retired or nearing it.
(Note: We don't believe Gwynn used PEDs most of his  career but became caught up in the team culture with Caminiti and perhpas others in his later years when he could most benefit , much like his friend, Barry Bonds on the Giants

It's possible at the time  Bochy wasn't aware of a drug culture while Caminitti was still with San Diego, but he would  find out  a few years later while still managing San Diego when Camaniti came out with his own book in 2002 about his admitted steroid use in San Diego that would , in part, end up killing him  . 

When the Giants tabbed Bochy to replace Dusty Baker as manager in 2007 he certainly knew , post facto , if not before , what had happened around him during his San Diego days, yet  Bochy would accept the managerial position with the Giants knowing of the controversary surrounding Bonds'  astonishing late -career numbers .  If anyone should have drawn connections between his own now-deceased  ex-player, Camaniti, and Bonds ,  it was Bochy.  No doubt the Giants knew something when they hired him, i.e. as a sympathetic figure who would put up  with Bonds - and even let the Giant's star player control the clubhouse, including what trainers could come in to work with him. The Giants own team trainer, Stan Conte - no relation to Victor-would later leave the team for the hated Dodgers, just to get out of   a toxic situation. 

In a much forgotten or overlooked interview in 2002 , Bonds promised to share his 'secrets' with teamates.  That he did , we would later find out,  with seven  Giants indicted for illegal drug use (Mitchell Report). Other players that may NOT have joined Bonds, such as Jeff Kent, would  have nothing to do with Bonds.

When Bonds propelled the Giants   into the World Series in 2002 with his 'bag of secrets'  , Giants management no doubt would overlook  negative  Bondsian antics so much they rather lose a popular manager in Dusty Baker than a .370 power hitter (2002) who seemed to keep getting better  with age!

No doubt  Baker  had had enough of a dysfunctional clubhouse, and the Giants of him - and Baker was sent packing. Thant's when, in 2007,  Bruce Boche came on the scene.  Recently fired as manager of a  dysfunctional San Diego Padres team,  no doubt with similar problems as the Giants,  in  Bochy no doubt the Giants figured there was a match. On one hand one would think Boche would run the other way fromthe Giants, but, heck, it was   a job - and managerial positions in major league baseball don't come up often.

In  Bochy,   the Giants management found a tolerant manager who didn't mind playing second fiddle to Bonds;  one who would look the other way when the Bonds' entourage appeared. trainer and drug guru Greg Anderson in tow.  A  couple of brave and astute San Francisco baseball writers writers would eventually expose what was lurking in those shadows of AT&T Park and finally put an end to a decade of Giants   and Bonds living a lie, Bonds    walking away with a bunch of MVPs  and the Giants nearly pulling off a World Series in 2002.  Pressure mounted and the Giants begrudgingly  said goodbye to the man for whom AT&T was built - or who built AT&T-  Bonds, then 41 and still capable of hitting more homers than anyone half his age.  But the fun down by McCovey Cove  was far from over...

The loss of Bonds proved a mere blip on the radar as the Sabean and the Giants would take what knowledge  they had gleaned from Bonds and -without much of  a farm system and nary a World Series victory in 50 years - parlay that into a couple of unlikely World Series victories  in 2010 and 2012.  This time they didn't rely on one man alone, but a cast of characters... Melky 'Milk Man' Cabrera, Jose Guillen, Guillermo Moto and many more... and , with ownership , fans  and  a Commissioner  willing to look the other way, the Giants haven't stopped since . Despite the problems and expense he may have cost, Bonds may bave been the Giants best deal ever,for those  concerned most about the profit movtive.


Bochy  .500 manager


Bruce Bochy seems   a very likeable guy and certainly a 'player's manager'  but is he truly one of the premier managers of baseball?
He has been given credit especially for his handling of the pitchers and bullpen. But, when one looks at  his record he is a .500, (.501 to be exact as of 7/5)  manager with as many losses as wins over his 20 year managerial career.


Even with the Giants,who have been helped out with both natural and unnatural talent, he is only .514 , with a winning record only  the two world series  years of 2010 and 2012 plus 2011 of  his seven years in San Francisco prior to this one.
And, again, those winning years were certainly aided by  at three known PED users    (People may have already forgotten or don't care that  the Giants have had, since  Bonds,  a notorious reputation for having PED players, morseo than any other team.) In 2010, indicted PED users Jose Guillen and Guillermo Moto gave the Giants probably 5-10 wins between them, enough to propel them into the series that year.In 2012 it was Melky Cabrera leading the way, giving the Giants more
winning hits than any other player during his half season before getting suspended - again, enough to propel the Giants to thte World Series.

Where there's smoke there's fire:

Teams not hesitant to take aboard PED players are likely to perpetuate the trend - now having gone on so long it's hardly a trend anymore.
 It's likely, in our opinion, that there were others, too, like Marco Scutaro,
who came to the Giants from Colorado  about the time Cabrera was suspended; he raised  his average nearly 100 points,. from .267 to about .350 where it remained the rest of the season.  As in 2010, the Giants had unlikely late season surges with players like new acquistioni Cody Ross
and Pablo Sandoval each  hitting 8 homeruns in their respective years of 2010 and 2012 - more than they'd hit the entire year. Sandoval  hit three home runs in one playoff game against Detroit after only hitting three homeruns the entire year.


“It helps late in the season,” says Rangers designated hitter Mickey Tettleton, in Pete Williams’s 1997 USA TODAY story titled “Lifting the game: Creatine is baseball’s new gunpowder" (thanks to FanGraphs recent reprint  he does not bother with nutrition supplements.
 “When you feel sluggish, it makes you feel like you have a little left in your gas tank.”

  So, we're saying, we believe that manager Bochy got some significant help to his managerial career .514  record with the Giants and even with San Diego where he was . 494 when he had Camininiti and Gwynn and others.(As reported before, we don't believe Gwynn used PEDs his entire career but became caught up in the culture when he could most benefit in his later years, much like his friend, Barry Bonds on the Giants.)

Interesting to note that the Giants-despite team President Larry Baer's comment that the team doesn't like to go after PED players for the very reputation the team already has- continue to sign known PED users such as Michael Morse this year. This strategy may be catching
up with them as we note in a coming article.


Way back in 1997, Sabean in his second  year as GM with the Giants already was virtually sanctioning the use of PEDs, believing that players were going to use anything that would give them that edge.  Ever since then we've seen Sabean and the Giants resort to the 'if you can't beat them join them' philosophy and has accepted that so-called inevitability of steroid use by signing many a known and suspected player.

From Pete Williams’s 1997 USA TODAY story titled “Lifting the game: Creatine is baseball’s new gunpowder" we have this key quote, reprised in Fan Graphs (

In my mind, the most important quote comes near the end from Brian Sabean, then in his second year as Giants general manager (notable in itself):

Steroid use “wouldn’t surprise me,” says Giants general manager Brian Sabean. “If it gives somebody an edge, guys are going to use it. Look how it’s affected other sports. We’d really have our head in the sand if we thought it wasn’t here in baseball.”

Again, that was back in 1997. Nowhere has Sabean said the team would not bring in players with a PED history and he's been doing it ever since.

 The list of Giants who have used PEDs since then is longer than that of any other team. Rather than working against such an acceptance, Sabean and the Giants have lead in the open-door policy for drugs which has, in our opinion, severely tarnished , if not ruined baseball. Now, PEDs are commonplacein baseball. If not 50% of players are using, per the late user, Ken Caminitti, himself, or Balco's Victor Conte in more recent times, a good percentage are
due to MLB''s continued weak or ineffective drug testing program, which has not caught a single player in the past two seasons, to our knowledge -
and not because the sport is clean. All or at least four of last years division winners had indicted PED users on their teams. We could name names but we won't get into that;
hopefully that will come to light sooner than later by authorities higher than ourselves.  And, the PED beat goes on...



performance enhancing drugs in baseball, doping in sports, peds,#peds, Giants peds, #SFGiants, #peds in baseball, playoffs, #playoffs

 San Fran Giants - Interesting look back at Bruce Bochy Era - Bochy Over-rated?
Bruce Bochy, SanFrancisco Giants, Pablo Sandoval, med peds, san fran giants, doping in sports