Waiting for Boof
Blog devoted to the San Francisco Giants
     Thursday, January 27, 2005

Waiting for Boof has moved!

The new site is http://www.mccoveychronicles.com.

If you are not automatically redirected in five seconds, it's because I don't know how to do that.

posted by G at 11:53 PM

     Friday, January 21, 2005

Saying Goodbye to Waiting for Boof

This site has grown from around a hundred regular readers to about two hundred regular readers. I have you to thank. The second hundred, I mean. The first hundred obviously didn't promote my site enough. The first hundred can sit in the corner, and think about what they've done.

I started the site as a way to practice my writing. As it turns out, there are a good number of people who enjoy bathroom humor, throwaway pop culture, and making themselves feel better by casting value judgements on athletes they have never met. Some of those people found their way here. I hope I have delivered.

Now, however, it is time to end Waiting for Boof. The days of poor HTML, ugly formatting, and bi-weekly posts are over. Enter:

McCovey Chronicles

This is the new site. It will feature daily updates, a snazzy logo, and much more interactive features. Also, a snazzy logo. It's the exact same idea behind Waiting for Boof, with the following exceptions:

1. The name.

2. The daily post thing. Also, there will be an open thread posted for every game where we can cheer every Matheny triple and Rueter punchout in real time. Why just ignore your loved ones by watching the game on television? You can also be on the computer, discussing what you're watching on television with total strangers.

3. You will have an uncontrollable urge to click on the ads. It's okay. Run with that feeling. I'm sure (product or service offered by advertiser) will be of great use to you.

4. The format. There is a strong interactive element to the site now. The "diaries" section allows you your own ranting space. It has been described as a "blog within the blog", and that description fits. If you disagree with what I write, start a diary and title it, "This Guy is an Idiot". People can then comment on your writing. While the diaries will allow readers to share their opinions with others, the focus is still on me. Throughout the changes, let us not lose sight of what's important here1.

More content and better interactivity are key in this new venture, and I'm very excited about it all. Thanks to everyone who has read Waiting for Boof, and I look forward to seeing you on McCovey Chronicles.


posted by G at 7:31 AM

     Thursday, January 20, 2005
 Check back late tonight or early tomorrow for a very important Waiting for Boof. Perhaps as important as your wedding and D-Day rolled into one. Maybe as important as that episode where Angela and Tony finally get together, despite Mona's salacious wisecracks. Or, perhaps as important as the Chronicle moving their crossword puzzle to the classified section, though even that still managed to bunch up some drawers.

You'll just have to come back and see, won't you? Wait! Don't take my coy take-it-or-leave-it attitude seriously. Please, please come back. I get so...lonely.

posted by G at 8:12 AM

     Thursday, January 06, 2005
(Baseball America's) credibility isn't worth a damn to me," he said. "I don't know what they use for a formula to decide what's a good organization and what isn't. Detroit was their No. 1 organization for three straight years, and obviously Detroit was getting an opportunity to draft at an excellent spot. However, none of those people have helped them win any games. So how do you feel about that organization being No. 1 now?
That was a quote from the director of player development for the Giants, Jack Hiatt, in response to a Chronicle article about the Giants minor-league system. Hoo. Must feel nice to get that off your chest, Jack. One little problem, though. Detroit was never the number one organization in any of Baseball America's rankings. They were never really close, much less at the top spot for three straight years.

Here's what the amatuer sleuth in me can piece together. Jack Hiatt is the director of player development for the Giants. He has heard of this magazine which employs professional writers to gather and distill opinions about minor leaguers. He doesn't read the magazine. He hears of the content second-hand, maybe from dirty limericks etched into urinal walls at minor league ballparks. This confirms his suspicions that other people's opinions are bad, and he quietly resumes his work of not producing any hitters.

Am I warm? Because the track record of the organization is so poor, at least with respect to hitters, the list of plausible explanations is thinning. No one has perfect scouts. The Yankees can't buy perfect scouts. Paul Depodesta can't make one with his computer, a la Weird Science, though it is easy to picture him wearing a bra on his head as he looks up his stats. The Giants haven't produced a good outfielder since the movie Weird Science was released, though. The last all-star position players produced by the organization have retired.

Someone in the organization can spot pitchers, though. Jerome Williams is poised to become more than the average starter he already is, and Noah Lowry's changeup allowed him an easy transition into the majors. Matt Cain one of the best pitching prospects in baseball, behind only Felix Hernandez of the Mariners in most rankings. Merkin Valdez was a throw-in to a trade, which makes everyone pay a bit more attention to subsequent throw-ins, like Alfredo Simon.

The recent strategy of politely declining draft picks is fodder for a column of its own.

The top ten prospects, in the uninformed opinion of a man who relies heavily on just a handful of internet sources:

1. Matt Cain

Baseball America had him as the number one prospect entering the season. It was somewhat of a bold call, as Cain was a teenage pitcher coming off an injury. Bold like a fox, it turns out, as Cain had a tremendous year. He was one of very few teenagers in the California League, and he dominated. Other general managers call each other on the phone, rolling around the bed in their pajamas, twirling the phone cord around their finger, and just giggling at the mere mention of Cain.

He has poise and superlative stuff, they say. Pitches beyond his years, they say. They absolutely love him, as they are wont to do. If he were to burst on the scene in a Dontrelle Willis-type fashion, it wouldn't be a complete shock. If his elbow were to melt into melted gruyere, that also wouldn't be a complete shock. So it goes with young pitchers, but you knew that.

Quote from the future:

"I would have loved to stay in San Francisco. I just couldn't turn down a chance to pitch for the Yankees. Also, a chance to make $100,000,0000. You see that extra zero, defying all laws of standard numerical notation? The Yankees can actually do that sort of thing."

2. Nate Schierholtz

The first of several irresponsible overrankings, Schierholtz is this high for a couple of reasons. The first is my tendency to overrate players who tear up a league full of older players. The difference between the strength of a 21-year old and a 23-year old is relevant though, and that's without taking into account the experience handicap they face.

The other factor with this slotting is the only reason scouts aren't uniformly wild about him is his defense. Yeah, the bat is there, it goes. But where is he going to play? The Giants will find a place, and that shouldn't dim the star of a kid who slugs over .550 before he can buy booze. Early returns on his play indicate he will not win a gold glove, but is also not in danger of causing the apocalypse with his play in rightfield.

Quote from the future:

"I was all set to start my first game as an outfield prospect on the Giants. Man, was I excited! Then, there was a bright, blinding light. I went towards the light, and found myself in a room with pure white walls. Calvin Murray was there. Adam Hyzdu was there. Jacob Cruz and Steve Hosey were playing cribbage. It was so peaceful and beautiful. The next thing I know, I'm 33 and out of organized baseball. That's what prompted the lawsuit."

3. Merkin Valdez

Merkin is carrying a heavy load, trying to make people forget about the one-sidedness of the Russ Ortiz trade to this point. The scouts love him, but there are a couple of strikes against him. He is now 22, and has yet to have much extended success above San Jose. The fastball is there, and the slider isn't far behind, though he didn't flash it much in his limited big-league action. That magical third pitch, reportedly required to enter the VIP room at Club Legit Starter, is still a work in progress.

His fastball has some serious life to it, though. If he locates his fastball decently and junks the other pitches, he could still have a Felix Rodriguez-type career. That's nothing to be ashamed of at all, but it would be much nicer if he could make it as a starter.

Quote from the future:

"It means what in english?"

4. David Aardsma

The best relievers are made, and not born. Very few of the elite college closers drafted, with Matt Anderson being the favorite horror story told around the campfire, have fufilled their promise at the major league level. It is an interesting trend to think of in general terms, but in individual terms it probably means nothing. Aardsma had a nice year in AAA, which was impressive considering he had only 18 innings of professional experience before the season started. He has a chance to start the year in the majors. If he gives the Giants 60 innings of sub-4.00 pitching this year, his acquisition would already be a success.

Quote from the future:

"As the last first-round pick taken by the Giants until the fiasco of '18, I felt a certain responsibility to be great. As a reliever for the Giants, though, I felt another -- stronger -- responsibility to completely fall apart in the playoffs. I stand by my choice."

5. Eddy Martinez-Esteve

A 2004 draftee, Martinez-Esteve is constantly being compared with Manny Ramirez. Can't field anywhere, but can flippin' hit. Or, as the scouts truncate it, CFABCFH. Scouts are worried Schierholtz might not find a position, but they are certain Martinez-Esteve doesn't have one. Again, that is not worth worrying about at this point. Anyone who claws their way out of the masoleum known as the Giants minor-league system with their ability to hit still intact is going to be a fan favorite, even if they can't catch a weak pop-up.

He'll likely start in AA, and slowly start to suck. Hey, it's not what I hope happens, but I've been following the Giants and their hitting prospects for a while now.

Quote from the future:

"Look, the important thing isn't that I caught the ball with my ass after swallowing my glove and falling down. The important thing is that I caught the ball. And hit three doubles."

6. Pat Misch

Misch resides in that shaded area of the Venn diagram where Brian Sabean and Billy Beane meet. He has had good balance with his strikeout and walk numbers through his college and pro careers, but some high ERAs allowed him to drop to the 7th round. The left-hander has mowed through his first two pro seasons, surviving a precipitous promotion from short season-A to AA. He will likely be on the Brad Hennessey path this year, filling in and spot starting when needed, and should be a nice, cheap fourth starter for the team in the future

Quote from the future:

"What is 'The Shed', and why do people keep asking me if they can hang out there?"

7. Travis Ishikawa

Another wild overranking, sure, but Ishikawa has potential. He still has three years until the word "potential" isn't mentioned within the first minute, but it'll do for now. He either strikes out, walks, or hits the spittle out of the ball; usually going for the first option, unfortunately. Still, he finished the season very strong in San Jose. His pretty swing, combined with a willingness to take a walk, makes a personal favorite.

Quote from the future:

"When I made the majors, the veterans made me wear a dress as part of a hazing ritual. I thought that would be my lowest point in the majors, even though it was in good fun. Then I was traded for Shawn Estes...."

8. Craig Whitaker

He makes the list only because you can see the ribs of the Giants farm system. That, and he's talented enough to regularly throw the ball by kids just out of college. Young, throws hard, no control, and has about a 13% chance of ever being an above-average major leaguer. If he does make it, though, it'll be fun.

Quote from the future:

"What's a VHS tape?"

9. Fred Lewis

He had a nice season in San Jose. There is no getting around that. However, he was 23, and struck out a lot in single-A. He has tools, and added a touch of power, a category where he was previously south of Neifi. If he can do the same thing in AAA, he'll rocket up this list. This is probably as low as you'll see him ranked.

Quote from the future:

"Baseball America ranked me where? Well, that's nice and all, but my career's probably ruined after Waiting for Boof's comments. I could taste the doubt. General managers rely on him pretty heavily, so I'm getting a bunch of applications together for law school."

10. (tie) Todd Linden

Dimensional Vortex Leading to Ethereal Graveyard of Failed Giants Outfield Prospects, Todd. Todd, Dimensional Vortex Leading to Ethereal Graveyard of Failed Giants Outfield Prospects. His strikeout numbers went through the roof, though his homerun power started to show up. There is still a chance Linden can put it together in his age-25 season. It's hard to believe how well he started his minor-league career right out of college. He's ranked this low to compensate for his top ranking last year.

If you have children, please keep them away from his winter-league stats. Not that they mean anything. The stats, that is, not your children.

Quote from the future:

"It turns out the Curse of the Giants Outfield is passed on with a traditional speech. When Armando Rios gave it, it reminded me of Christopher Walken in Pulp Fiction. Fascinating stuff, really."

10. (tie) Lance Niekro

Before the 2004 season, it seemed as if ol' Lance would have to perfect his knuckler if he ever wanted more than a cup of coffee in the big leagues. Then he added power. Sweet, sweet power. He needs to ditch the Body by Drew tapes, and stay healthy for a full season. And though his walk rate has climbed each pro season or so, he still has a long way to go. This ranking is probably too generous, but his last 200 at-bats were that promising. His upside is Pedro Feliz with more contact, less power.

Quote from the future:

"Son, I had a nice career as a utility player. I regret nothing. Well, except for the time I duct taped Hoyt Wilhelm's grandson to a flagpole and emptied a fire extinguisher on him. He shouldn't have mouthed off like that, but still...."

The one major exclusion from this list is Brad Hennessey. Not that this is a terrible thing, but I can't shake the Tim Worrell comparision stuck in my head since I first watched him. As such, he didn't make the cut. Hennessey has a nice slider and a decent fastball, but he just doesn't seem like a good bet to be a successful starter. He and Kevin Correia seem interchangable at this point, though Correia has had slightly better strikeout/walk ratios. The Giants seem to like Hennessey, and they do have some credibility when it comes to the evaluation of pitchers, so hopefully this snub turns out to be a huge mistake.

If the Giants had Lowry, Williams, and Jesse Foppert still in the system, the list would be a lot more pitcher-heavy, and a lot more impressive. It would be nice if the team had some in-house replacements in the event of an injury, but there isn't much of a chance of injury with the Giants team of 2005.

2) Comment starter of the week: Your top ten prospects. Or top five. Or Steve Decker memories. Go nuts.

posted by G at 1:18 AM

     Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Clever Pun Involving Mohr/More Homophone and Urine Joke

1) In Fellini's Ghostbusters, the protagonists are given an impossible task. They were faced with a phantom who could take the physical form of their worst fears, and so were asked to not think of anything at all. We, as Giants fans, have a duty here. It is imperative, absolutely necessary, that no one think of Glenallen Hill right now. There is a time and a pl...hey! No thinking about Glenallen Hill! Seriously.

Forget what it was like to watch someone play right field like they were Joe Cocker in a golf cart. Don't think about it, and maybe it won't happen. Moises Alou was signed to a two-year deal, or will sign soon according to ESPN Deportes and the AP. Mixed feelings, mixed feelings, mixed feelings.

Alou had an excellent season last year.


He was great at home, but was no better than Michael Tucker on the road.


Yeah, but that was probably an anomaly. It isn't like Wrigley Field is a huge hitter's park anymore.


Sure, but his road stats have been pretty static over the last few years. If anything was a fluke, it was his home stats last year.

It is still more comforting to see his name in the lineup over Michael Tucker. And Tucker is back to the role which suits him best, as a super-sub.


In the lineup it looks better, sure. But what of the loss on defense? Alou has no arm and no range.


Mike Matheny and Omar Vizquel will not allow balls to drop.


But they play different positions, hundreds of feet away from Alou. How...


MIKE MATHENY AND OMAR VIZQUEL WILL NOT ALLOW BALLS TO DROP. They are the truth and light, quenching that which must be sated.


Wait a sec. You aren't a legitimate viewpoint at all, are you? You're just a brainwashed optimist.


No. Wait. Maybe. That isn't relevant. Alou will help this team.


Wrong. He will hurt the team on the field, and with payroll constraints around the trade deadline. Also, the guy urinates on his hands to toughen them up. That just ain't right.

I know a guy who drunkenly tried to urinate into the mouth of a stone gargoyle, thinking it was hollow. It was definitely solid, though, and the urine went everywhere, including all over the guy's hands. His hands didn't toughen up; not by a long shot. All it got him was a kink in his neck when he woke up in the bathtub, covered with a bathmat and his own vomit. It took quite a bit of cajoling to get my girlfriend to talk to me again. His girlfriend, I mean.

Wait, what were we talking about, again?
The heart says Alou has one more year in him, and his bat will compensate for his glove. The mind says Alou will be old, likely injured, ineffective with the bat, and terrible with the glove. Alou has been a plus hitter more often than not in his career, but he is going to be 39 next year. Worrying about a hitting decline isn't the top concern, however. That hand wringing is saved for Alou's ability to hunt down prospective triples in rightfield.

If Alou manages to be an acceptable fielder, which is somewhere past unlikely, there is still the ripple effect created by this move. Marquis Grissom will have to stay in center if no one else is acquired. That's three players with declining range in a huge outfield. That's a bold combination, in the gallon of bleach, gallon of ammonia, and sealed garden shed sense of bold.

There has to be a defensive-minded centerfielder on the way. Sabean can't spend his offseason trying to, correctly or not, rustle up vats of elixir for the Giants fielding woes, and then turn around to give a substantial contract to someone who might make us pine for the Benardian era of yore. The names of the centerfielders available are not attractive, however. Dave Roberts fetched a pretty good chunk of change in trade, and he is a good option only with some serious accounting tricks .

The Alou move makes the offense a bit more interesting. It makes the defense waaay more interesting. The money doesn't matter, really. Two years isn't a killer, and the millions weren't going to go to Carlos Beltran. The thumbs-up/down portion of this move is suspended until there is some personal observation of the guy actually playing some rightfield. Maybe he isn't Glenallen Hill.

Crap. Wasn't supposed to think of that guy....

2) Henry Schulman, intrepid Giants beatnik of the Chronicle, is one of the best in the business. Every so often, he'd poke his head in the sewing club known as alt.sports.baseball.sf-giants and shoot the breeze. The denizens of asbsf-g would harp about the importance of on-base percentage with almost every visit. Schulman would listen. He didn't run out and get Bill James' face tattooed on his inner thigh, but he listened. Slowly, he started to work on-base percentage into his daily recaps. This was before Barry Bonds made on-base percentage even a little sexy with his record-setting seasons, and well before "Moneyball".

So it comes as no surprise the way he wrote up the Dustan Mohr debacle. There is a tone of incredulity in the opening part of the article. The rest of the piece is a standard recounting of the move. The best part, however, was saved for last:
After a terrible start in 2004, Mohr finished with a .274 average. His .394 on-base percentage was third-best on the team among those with more than 200 at-bats.
What a twist of the knife. Schulman's job isn't to editorialize, but there might be some lines to read between at the end of the piece. Maybe that's reading too much into what was merely thorough reporting. It likely made Brian Sabean google the term, "on-base percentage", though. Here's hoping more came up than on-base percentage themed porn. Big in Japan, they say.

The first reaction was emotional. It's one thing to treat first-round draft picks like ridiculous luxuries; like 18-inch rims made out of caviar, or something. It's another thing to claim poverty when the team has a fat cable contract and outstanding attendance. But pretending to not be able to afford a bench player in his first year of arbitration is the kind of fraud which should lead to key conspirators being frog-marched out of 24 Willie Mays Plaza in handcuffs.

Then the interviews behind the move came out. It wasn't about the money. Sweet mercy, it wasn't about the money. It was the Giants taking a long look at a player. This player took walks. He hit for power. He threw his body all around the park, crashing into walls and diving into the stands. The fans loved him. His teammates loved him. He could play all three outfield positions. He was going to be cheap.

The Giants looked at this player, and said, no, that's just not what we're looking for. No thanks, we can do better. "E" for effort, young man, but we don't want any of those things. Maybe if you put on a fez and drove a little red car out to your position, like the rest of the Shriners we prefer to have on our team, we would have considered you. Now, scram.

After the rage subsided, there was an unwilling acceptance of what the Giants did. Tony Torcato has his faults, but it is also important to look at what he can bring to a bench. He's an extreme contact hitter who is exactly the right call off the bench with a runner on third, and less than two outs. He has experience at third and first in an emergency. As the last hitter on a bench, Torcato is a fine option, and even has a sliver of upside. Torcato is out of options, and would need to clear waivers if he didn't make the team.

Assuming the Giants are going to carry 12 pitchers again, after the eight starters there are five bench spots. Yorvit, Deivi, Marquis, and Tucker are guaranteed spots. That left a choice between Mohr and Torcato. Mohr wasn't left-handed, had no experience in the infield, and was already into his arbitration years. Those are some pretty serious strikes against him. Yet, and this is very important now, Torcato isn't especially good. If the stars were to align perfectly, we could see in our wildest dreams a Tony Torcato who hits .310/.330/.430 in the big leagues. It is more likely Torcato is going to be a poor-man's A.J. Pierzynski without the ability to catch, regardless of how well he's hitting in winter ball.

Mohr had exactly one good season under his belt since he was in AA, so there is no guarantee his last season was indicative of his talent level, but he was already one of my favorite Giants. This hurts. It is understandable where Sabean was coming from, but it doesn't get the taste out of my mouth. Grissom should have had his option declined. The team should have contemplated an 11-man pitching staff. The team should have figured out a way to keep Mohr. Something. Anything. Damn.

posted by G at 11:37 PM

     Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Headline: Madalyn Murray 0'Hair Rises From Grave, Exclaims, "I Told You So"

I direct your attention to the flaming wreck in the ditch by the side of the road. People are running around, frantic. Babies are crying. A siren moans in the distance. This is what happened the last time the Giants experimented with the all-defense, absolutely-no-offense player in Neifi Perez. In six million years, Venutian anthropologists are going to uncover cave paintings of tiny stick figures recoiling in horror from a charcoal likeness of Neifi. Brian Sabean saw as much, and released Neifi with about 20% of his contract left.

Enter Mike Matheny. He is older, and more likely to break down than Neifi ever was. He is just as bad a hitter as Neifi ever was. The Giants had a better, cheaper option to Matheny already in the system. This is the worst move of Brian Sabean's career. This is Brian Sabean drinking rubbing alcohol and hitting on his brother's wife, because this is as low as our fearless general manager can get.

The lack of rational thought behind this move is staggering. After the deal was announced, countless Giants fans were refreshing CNN.com and Google News, hoping to see if authorities had arrested Yorvit Torrealba for planting that pipe bomb under a bus filled with nuns. Slowly, the unthinkable became obvious. Torrealba, in fact, did not plant a pipe bomb under a bus filled with nuns. There was officially no reason to panic and sign Matheny. For three years. And $10.5 million dollars. Good gravy.

The chatter coming from this organization is reminiscent of The Manchurian Candidate.
"Say, what prompted you to sign Matheny?"

Ned Colleti:
"Mike Matheny is the greatest, kindest, grittiest, most gifted defensive catcher I've ever known in my life."

"Great! How about you Mr. Sabean? Give us your thoughts on Matheny."

Brian Sabean:
"Mike Matheny is the greatest, kindest, grittiest, most gifted defensive catcher I've ever known in my life."
Just wait, everyone cries! Mike Matheny can block balls in the dirt like no one else! Mike Matheny calls the best game in the major leagues! Mike Matheny can catch stealing runners just by spitting the ball out, like Snoopy does! Whatever. If he were that much better than your garden variety catcher, it would be obvious. If he were $10M more of a defender than Torrealba, who is a fine defensive catcher in his own right, it would be provable in some capacity. Instead:
2004 Cardinals team ERA: 3.75
When Matheny was catching: 3.89

2003 Cardinals team ERA: 4.60
When Matheny was catching: 4.58

2002 Cardinals team ERA: 3.70
When Matheny was catching: 3.48

2001 Cardinals team ERA: 3.93
When Matheny was catching: 4.03

2000 Cardinals team ERA: 4.38
When Matheny was catching: 4.34
There was no discernable difference when Mike Matheny was catching a game over the Cardinals backup. No discernable difference. Catcher's ERA is not a perfect stat, but you'd think if Matheny were $10M better defensively than Torrealba, it could be quantified in some respect. There really isn't much of a difference in the rate with which they throw out runners on the basepaths, either.

Sabean would never agree with the above. You can't put stats on leadership, he might say. Or calling a great game. Or working with young pitchers. Leadership, man, leadership. Here is Brian Sabean, then, as he buys a used car:
"It has 180,000 miles on it, and the transmission needs work. But,"

The salesman leans closer and whispers

"It's surrounded by magical pixies. Pixies which keep your family safe."

"I can't see any pixies."

"Oh, well they aren't the sort of thing you can see. But they are there, alright."

"Hmm. And what does this car cost?"

"Keeping in mind the pixies now, this baby can be had for only $20,000."

"I'll give you $30,000."


"Give me a pen, before you change your mind!"
If you are going to play the leadership card, you might as well admit you believe in the pixies as well. If there is a general manager who believes Matheny's aura, or intangibles, or je ne sais quoi is worth $10M over three years, he is not fit to manage a lemonade stand.

This is terrible on so many levels. The Giants are going to pay $10M to a guy who will make the team worse. That's $10M they could have given to a guy like Nomar Garciaparra, who is trying to prove himself with a one-year deal following a down year. That's $10M they could have given to a guy like Preston Wilson, who is in the final year of an overpriced contract, and available for a sack of dirty socks. That's $10M they could have given to Jerome Williams, Noah Lowry, or Jesse Foppert to buy out arbitration years in the event just one of them is worth keeping. Instead, they have made the team worse.

If we grant that Matheny is superior defensively to Torrealba, which he likely is, there is still the matter of offense. Torrealba's worst season at the plate in his young career was better than Matheny's best season. Torrealba has shown flashes of power, and definitely runs better than the average catcher. There is an upside, fer crying out loud. He might never be as good as he was in his rookie season, but there was a chance. There is nothing to hope for from Matheny. The following is an actual quote from the Oakland Tribune, describing why the Giants would prefer to have Matheny start over Torrealba:
The Giants are wary of sacrificing offense when they still haven't found an RBI man to protect Barry Bonds in the lineup.
After reading this sentence, there was a knock at my front door. A lawyer handed me papers. It seems that my brain immediately filed a restraining order against me for ingesting that sentence. I'll miss you, you pink bastard. So, someone in the front office had a panic attack, and exclaimed, gee, if we get rid of A.J., we'll be sacrificing offense! Okay, fine. But which idiot poked his head out of the opium den and said, "You're right. Get me the agent of Mike Matheny"? You can spread that kind of stupidity on a sandwich. One more quote:
"(Matheny) also drove in 50 runs last year -- that's something to be proud of." -- Brian Sabean
What kind of last-place-in-the-4th-grade-spelling-bee crap is this? Matheny was on the best offensive team in the National League. Every time he came up, the bases were crawling with runners. Does Sabean really evaluate players as if he were a first-year rotisserie player?

I've defended Sabean in the past. He deals with these players in person. He can attach personalities and scouting reports to the stats. He knows these guys. There is so much to building a baseball team that we amateurs likely can't grasp. That just doesn't apply here. Sabean used outdated thinking to obtain an anachronism of a catcher. Matheny is an aging catcher with declining defensive skills, and one who has never hit much better than the average NL pitcher. For this, the Giants will pay a healthy sum of money.

The Giants dodged a bullet when Steve Finley rejected a 3-year, $18M contract. However, while the Giants were unconsciously dodging bullets, they were intentionally descending waist-deep in fire ants to wait for the Enola Gay. When the reports came out about this signing, there was hope. "Pending a physical", the article read. It is the first time in my life I hoped for a family of beavers to be living inside the knee of another human being, trying to make a dam out of ligaments. It is not something to be proud of. But this was the worst move of Brian Sabean's career, and there was still a hope it could be saved.

Also, I was not in favor of the decision to sign Mike Matheny.

2) It's a shame that Sabean had to ass his team up right before demonstrating one of his greatest strengths as a talent evaluator. The Giants signed the following interesting bullpen arms to minor league contracts:
Armando Almanza
Matt Kinney
Jeremy Fikac
Brandon Puffer
Brandon Villafuerte

It's a long shot for any of them to contribute next year, but they are good risks to take. Brendan Donnelly is the ultimate example, but guys like Kiko Calero emerge every year on a more modest scale. Any of those five names are just as likely to do so as the minor league veterans around the league who do break out this season.

Of course, this is like getting a "I'm Sorry I Kicked Your Dog" greeting card after a guy kicks your dog. The hurt and distrust is still there, Brian.

3) Aadik, an incredibly prolific regular at Baseball Primer, has started a blog about the Giants here. Check him out. And when I say regular, I mean regular. Not in a fiber kind of way, but in a George Wendt from "Cheers" kind of way. We're all looking forward to some good stuff, Aadik.

posted by G at 10:56 PM

     Monday, December 06, 2004
The bidding starts at $800,000 for my new screenplay, entitled, "Bonds and Giambi Light Schoolchildren on Fire". Hollywood-types, take note:
The vial of clear liquid?

Flaxseed oil.

The vat of cream?

Arthritic balm

How about Exhibit H? A brown paper bag, with the word "Steroids" written in Sharpie on the front. Inside, there are steroids. Stapled to the bag is note which reads, "Dear Barry; Enjoy the 'roids. Love, Greg (Your Trainer and Childhood Friend)". Hmm?

He mispelled "Rolaids".

And what of the steroids inside the bag?

They have a lot to answer for at the Rolaids plant. I'm trying to get rid of gas, and then I get all huge? That's not right.

Are you still gassy?

A little.

When filming the scene with Bonds' edgy and impressively ignorant comments, Juror #3 should be played by Pauly Shore after consuming a liter of NyQuil. If this does not convey the right amount of rank stupidity, it might be advisable to hit Mr. Shore over the head with a canoe paddle right before his performance.
So, like, if you're so totally rich, right, why don't you buy your trainer a mansion? What kind of rich person isn't passing out mansions like Halloween Milk Duds? Give him a mansion! I want a mansion! Mansions for all! Hooray!

No way. I'm a black man, and I have to keep my money. White people have all the money. So do Asians. I've watched TV. I've seen Tom Vu. He built a real estate empire up from the ground. He's got his money, his cars, and his beautiful women. I'm keeping my money. You don't see black men build an empire like Tom Vu.

Well, now you do. Now you have. I am the black Tom Vu, and I'm intending to keep it that way.

The courtroom erupts in spontaneous applause.

My people will be in touch with your people, Pauly. Back to the courtroom:
Can you translate this: "Barry 12-2-02, T, 1 cc G - pee"? Does that correspond to you getting, you know, growth hormones or testosterone or giving a urine test or anything of those things that you can recall from Mr. Anderson?

T could mean anything. G could mean anything. Pee could mean, uh, almost anything urine-related.

How about this: "Barry 10-3-03, 6 shrts, 2 pnts, hvy. starch, TICKET #2109"?

I have an idea about this one.

Are you using, or have you ever used, the starch?

The what?

Are you starched to the gills right now? As we speak? Tell me the truth!

I don't kn....

The truth, Mr. Bonds! I can handle it! Please, ask me if I can handle it. C'mon, ask me if I can handle it! I really can, you know.

I'm not sure of the question. Starch? I, uh, had yams for dinner last night.

I'll see you in hell, starcher.

Even though privacy concerns and due process are so 2000, there might be a vocal minority who want to hear how grand jury testimony from a Federal trial was leaked. Phhppt. Whiners. In any case:
Take this. It's the entire grand jury testimony.

Cool. We'll work on the story tonight. But, if I may ask, why are you wearing a trenchcoat, and trying to hide your face?

This goes far deeper than you could ever imagine. You are not safe with this information. If you knew exactly who gave you this information, your safety would be compromised even more. My safety would be in jeopardy, as well.

But, haven't we received several illegal leaks from you before, Mr. Novitsky? It all seemed to work out fine.

Gaah! How did you know my name?

Deep Throat releases a smoke bomb, and jumps off the top of the parking garage, parachuting safely down.

DEEP THROAT (while falling):
I'll get you for this, Bonds! I mean, Reporter!

It all leads back to the courtroom drama, though. That's the meat of the story:
Do you know why BALCO would have been testing for your testosterone level?

I have no idea.

Do you know why your testosterone level would have been -- according to the report -- higher than the level, the normal range indicated for males 29 to 49 years old?

Why don't you get me a beer, and then we'll talk about it, wimp? WOOOOOOO-HOOOOARRRRGGGH!

Bonds slaps the stenographer high-five.

I, uh.... I am, uh.... What just happened? I kind of blacked out....

Unfortunately, the whole thing is a little Bonds-centric right now. Rest assured, however, there will be plenty of scenes with the rest of the cast.
So, uh...

He tries to stifle a giggle.

Where did you inject the steroids?

In my butt.

I'm sorry, but we couldn't hear that back here. Could you repeat it?

I injected the steroids in my butt.

The prosecutor is trying not to explode in laughter. He "shssh"s the lawyers behind him, who are giggling uncontrollably with their heads on the table in front of them.

I hate to do this to you, but the air conditioning is making this weird humming sound, and I couldn't hear you. I'm sorry, but one last time, where did you inject the steroids?

In my butt.

In your butt.


You did say your butt, right?


Deafening laughter fills the courtroom at this point. People are wiping tears away from the laughter, only to start up again.

No further questions. Thank you Mr. Giambi, I'm sure we will get to the bottom of this.

Oliver Stone, I believe the next move is yours.

2) If you were hoping for a more serious post about the scandal, you're in luck. Hours upon hours of work in the lab have produced this, the distillation of every steroid-related article:
What Bonds Did
by Major Reporter

Steroids and our children. National pastime. What would they think back then? Our heroes. Oh, our sweet heroes. Banned or suspension? Neither or both. Cheating equals wrong in my book.

Clean it up, Mr. Selig! Asterisk? Perhaps, but no. Game will go on. Must go on. Darker times than this. Darkest time ever? No, yes, no. Not my child. Thank you.

The Winter Meetings can not come soon enough.

3) The fine folks over at SFist took the time to ask me a few questions here. If you ever had a hankering to know my real name, or see a picture of an enormous cat being exploited, head on over.

New blog alert: Splash Landings. Go! Like the wind!

posted by G at 1:42 PM



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