First Innings of First Game of 2021 Spring Training

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Spring Training Opening Day

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GBC is Back! San Francisco Giants Fanfest 2021

Screeeeee! – Thunk-Thunk-Thunk- whoooohooohooo – THIS THING ON?

We listened to KNBR Fanfest 2021 today

2:29​ MTK intro

7:47​ Marty Lurie and Kerry Crowley with SF Giants GM Sam Harris

28:31​ SF Giants President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi

48:06​ Greg Papa/John Lund continue w SFG President of Operations Farhan Zaidi

1:10:06​ Papa and Lund with Evan Longoria

1:21:50​ MTK pre-Buster interview, introducing Giants Baseball Corner

1:27:15​ Gerald Dempsey “Buster” Posey

1:44:30​ MTK on Joey Bart, winter acquisitions, Irregular Season (2020)

1:49:28​ Brian Murphy and Paulie Mac “Murph&Mac” with Mike Yastrzemski

2:01:01​ MTK on Yaz, Dick and (2:02:35​) arbitration with Donnie Barrels and MTK’s interpretation of Farhan Zaidi’s thinking and moves

2:06:00​ MTK with more on utility men and Curt Casali injury update (2:06:28​)

2:08:12​ Murph&Mac with Alex Dickerson

2:24:49​ MTK discusses current squad, declares SFG an 85-win tem

2:28:43​ Murph&Mac with Tommy LaStella

It’s spring and cactus league is on and Giants Baseball Corner is back! More soon!

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Letter to the President of Baseball Operations, GM and Managers of the San Francisco Giants in Advance of Last Game of the Irregular Season, PLUS Final Starting Lineup

Dear Farhan Zaidi, Sam Harris, Gabe Kapler and Giants Staff:

Whew! If that incredible, short, sharp blast of games was a vision of what can be expected in the years to come, I am very excited for what we are embarking on, which for organizational purposes I call The Farhan Zaidi Era.

For me as a fan, it’s simple because the 21st century for the San Francisco Giants has been neatly divided into two eras thus far:

The Barry Bonds Era and The Bruce Bochy Era.

Each came with apex accolades in which we thrilled and sad nadirs we suffered together, as fans of the Orange and Black.

I am very proud to be a Giants fan, always have been, always will. We have history and cherished Hall-of-Famers and Freaks and Boch and Barry Lamar and magic wandoo and torture to bind us – sometimes against the world. And the best park in baseball.

The Farhan Zaidi Era began with a concentration of power into Mr. Zaidi’s office, President of Baseball Operations, that allowed him to clean house of recent unfortunate mistakes and begin the process of SABRmetric-driven decision-making: moneyball. It is also the period when we are most cash-operable, having paid off the stadium.

To his credit, Mr. Zaidi didn’t rush into rapid-fire changes. He was slow and measured about selecting a manager, interviewing at least a half-dozen candidates – including in-house guys like Ron Wotus – before deciding on a young and eager Mr. Kapler.

Mr. Zaidi was even slower about hiring a GM, leaving the general manager position vacant his first season in San Francisco. He announced former Chicago Cubs assistant, Mr. Harris, had been hired as the 10th general manager in franchise history only after November 1st, 2019 – less than a year ago.

The first year, Mr. Zaidi was easy-going about the rabid Bochy Era fans who literally yelled at him in public to keep Bumgarner. He brought back and then eased out the Panda and Hunter Pence to allow them and the fans a chance to have a last goodbye. He was exceptionally sensitive to us and measured with an emotional fan base.

But he has also been ruthless, swift and cultured in making aggressive moves. He has pushed for and asserted the agenda of the Kapler management approach – lotsa moves, sometimes just in one game – that takes SABRmetrics heavily into account. This caused a whiplash-like effect for many fans since it’s a drastic change from Skip’s style of the Bruce Bochy Era.

But I realized something about this group that I appreciate so much that I added it to this blog’s motto:

It’s not personal, it’s personnel.

The whiplash was exacerbated by the crazy, 60-game, Covid-shortened season. The season was supposed to be a long, slow rebuilding year and we expected to be in the cellar again. My lawyer called us “a quadruple-A team” when we started.

Then Covid-19 struck. The season was tossed out. New parameters were set. But new parameters and flexibility on the fly are what the new Giants are built for, and wow! did we perform!

I want to begin by thanking each and every one of you for your efforts to allow us not only to field a team this year, but to allow them to travel and play elsewhere free of illness, properly quarantined. Well done.

San Francisco has led in being a smart, public-health conscious city. Mayor Breed and the council have done an incredible job. You all represent our city and you did it very well. I was worried.

It was a shame that the false positive harshly interrupted our rhythm, but it was testimony to our good public health decision-making that we erred on the side of caution and shut it down for two days to test again and contact trace.

I was very proud we not only overcame what turned out to be a false positive test with extreme caution, but that we were able to host another team, the Seattle Mariners, when conditions in their area were too unhealthy in which to compete.

This was an exceptional job under extreme, unprecedented circumstances and I am proud of how you handled it.

However, seeing employees of the SF Giants circling the park and honking their horns during games in August and September and interviewing a few of them on the streets, I was quite distressed. I get that it’s Covid-19 wreaking havoc on everybody’s budgets, but it was sad to hear how many serious labor-management issues exist. We have to take care of our people who take care of our players and fans, guys. I hope you remedy that situation first this offseason.

The irregular season of 2020 started with an absurd number of errors and clunky games, but it wasn’t like I expected much. I was just so happy to have baseball back. What a horrible year it had been and how relaxing and soothing the normalcy of baseball was – even this crazy-rules, rock-n-roll version!

But then members of our team, managed by Mr. Kapler and company, began to have shining moments.

Donovan Solano was first, Mike Yastrzemski next, two guys who have been working hard, hanging around baseball a long time having it click and making it happen. Then the young guys, Flores and Dubon. Then Longo and Belt got into the act and all of a sudden we had turned the thing around. Then it was new dad Alex Dickerson’s turn.

What a year batting we had! Talk about whiplash! Giants batting was a 180-degree change from The Bochy Era. What we learned about closing off the alleways and the park’s new dimensions is that our guys could go off!

We went on that incredible tear, climbed back up to .500 and we genuinely looked like a playoff team before the double-whammy of the false-positive Covid-19 test and the fire-stained skies that made air unbreathable and play impossible in Seattle.

Whatever happens today and tomorrow, whether we make the playoffs or not, this year has to be called an unequivocal success for the San Francisco Giants.

Amidst all the madness of the year – illness, fire, smoke and ash – the Giants gave us an exciting, fun team to watch with thrilling moments and even a playoff race chase. Thank you.

I have a feeling your management team will prove to be a very successful one for us and I wanted to have a token, a totem of when it all started, this goofy cardboard cutout will do nicely.

If we make the playoffs, I will continue writing here, but if not, this will be my last Giants Baseball Corner entry for 2020. Concluding with our last lineup of the year.

The San Francisco Giants will take on the San Diego Padres at Oracle Park in a couple of hours for the last game of the irregular season of 2020. Left handed pitcher Adrian Morejon (2-2, 4.86) will be on the mound for the Friars.

Gabe Kapler and the Giants counter with Drew Smyly on the mound, who will be supported on defense by this batting lineup:

Austin Slater (DH)

Mike Yastrzemski (RF)

Darin Ruf (LF)

Wilmer Flores (2B)

Brandon Belt (1B)

Evan Longoria (3B)

Mauricio Dubon (CF)

Brandon Crawford (ss)

Joey Bart (c)

Let’s Go Giants! Beat the Pads! Let’s get the win, mathemagically get into the playoffs, go down to Chavez Ravine and #BeatLA!

I want to go get the Bums! Make it happen.

I’m the author and editor-in-chief, Karthik Rajan, saying

Let’s Go Giants! Vamanos Gigantes! Yes! Yes! Yes!

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Giants Can Clinch Postseason Tonight with: Win Over Padres, Brewers Loss to Cards, and Phillies loss to Rays

It could happen tonight with Jhonny Cueto on the mound and Tyler Heineman – called back up to take over for the injured Chadwick Tromp – behind the plate. I am glad it won’t be the rook. It isn’t fair to Joey and a veteran presence is the right tool for the job.

But it won’t be easy as the Padres are starting righty Zach Davies who is 7 – 4 with a 2.85 ERA and 60 strikeouts. In response here’s Kapler’s lineup:

Mike Yastrzemski (RF)

Alex Dickerson (LF)

Donovan Solano (2B)

Brandon Belt (1B)

Wilmer Flores (DH)

Evan Longoria (3B)

Brandon Crawford (SS)

Mauricio Dubon (CF)

Tyler Heineman (C)

Let’s Go Giants! Beat the Padres! Fry the Friars!

Make the playoffs so we can #BeatLA

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Only Man Who Refused to Kneel for #BLM on Opening Day Has Not Had a Good Year – Coonrod Allows Padres to Walk-Off in OUR Yard **UPDATE: Coonrod Moved to IR for Year**

Ed. Note – after posting this, Sam Coonrod was placed on the injured reserve list to end the season, I wish him the best of luck with his strained shoulder and a good offseason

Last year, Sam Coonrod was a promising talent on a very bad San Francisco Giants team. This year, he is an emotionally and mentally unstable element of a struggling bullpen, who loses control of his volatile fastball and command exactly when it’s needed most.

In-between, Covid-19 struck and racial unrest over police brutality nationwide reached an explosive tipping point after the death of unarmed, supine George Floyd, suffocated by the knee of police on his neck in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Athletes, in particular – and across all sports, all over the world – were “woke” by this outrage, which unified them to join together in protest in a myriad of ways.

If you don’t know, Sam Coonrod is a home-grown Giant: we drafted him in the fifth round of the 2014 MLB draft, when he debuted in Cactus League. We raised him in our system – he’s played for the San Jose Giants, The Richmond Flying Squirrels and the Sac Rivercats. We paid for his Tommy John surgery and rehabilitation in 2018; and we brought him up to the show for the first time last year.

And in 2019, it looked like all that investment in Sam Coonrod had paid off. As per wiki:

“On May 26, 2019, he was called up to the major leagues for the first time and made his debut that day in the eighth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He retired the side in order, getting a flyout to left field, a groundout to first base, and a strikeout.

“On July 23, 2019, Coonrod earned the first win of his major league career by pitching the 13th and final inning of a 5-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs. It was Coonrod’s fifth career appearance and his fifth inning pitched.

“With the Giants in 2019 he was 5-1 with a 3.58 ERA in 33 relief appearances in which he pitched 27.2 innings”

Years of investment and effort by Sam Coonrod and the San Francisco Giants looked to be blooming into a quality reliever with starter potential. He vultured wins with hard-throwing dominance.

And that is how we came to this crazy season of rock-and-roll-rules baseball amidst Covid and cities exploding into protest with Sam Coonrod in our ‘pen. With Major League Baseball agreeing that Black Lives Matter and that players and the league should be encouraged to express that opinion. #BLM

On Opening Day of the shortened, 60-game season, the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers were to be featured in prime time. There were two games played on Opening Day: The Nationals played the Yankees and the Giants went down to Chavez Ravine to play the Bums.

MLB gave the teams a long black ribbon players on both sides jointly held as they kneeled, uniting all the players in an expression of support for the Black Lives Matter Movement. Every player and coach on the Nationals and Yankees knelt and held the ribbon before the game in a moment of respect and protest.

It was amazing and truly wove baseball into American society at that moment. Even if MLB hadn’t participated before in social projects against police brutality, the optics were Jackie-Robinsonian in stature. It was a promise to be more aware.

In the later game, Sam Coonrod was the only person to stand during the protest, and thus the only player in all of baseball not to partake in this totally unprecedented expression of social protest on behalf of Black lives lost unjustly at the hands of police. After the game, Coonrod told reporters:

“I’m a Christian so I just believe that I can’t kneel before something besides God.” (guess he’s never weeded a garden or knelt to pick up a child) and added, “I just can’t get on board with a couple things I’ve read about Black Lives Matter, how they lean towards Marxism, and … they said some negative things about the nuclear family. I just can’t get on board with that.”

sigh.

Kapler and the Giants, in the true spirit of freedom of expression and the soul of San Francisco supported his desire to stand. “The one thing that we said is we were going to let people express themselves,” Kapler said. “We were going to give them the choice on whether they were going to stand, kneel or do something else. That was a personal decision for Sam.”

Now, I am well known among what few friends I have left (most of whom were lost because of my stubborn unwillingness to change) as a person who believes profoundly in standing up for what you believe in. I am exceptionally clear in understanding Coonrod’s decision.

But, I am 53 years old, and have been around the world seven times and have been watching baseball since 15 years before Sam Coonrod was born.

His was a poorly-informed decision.

It is arguably unrelated, in fact that’s probably what most would say. But I believe in circular energy. And sadly, Sam Coonrod has had a wildly inconsistent 2020 season.

He beaned a Mariner in the head with a 99mph fastball, has numerous blown innings, most recently in the last two Giants losses, directly the result of Coonrod blowing the save.

It all culminated in last night’s debacle, in which he entered the bottom of the seventh and final inning with a 5 – 3 lead, only to let two on and give up a walkoff three-run homer to Trent Grisham. at Oracle. In a critical game in the stretch run.

This morning, we are all waking up to the dull ache of what happened last night in the ongoing story of Sam Coonrod in 2020.

In their role as suicide prevention, KNBR has put up this piece:

Why The Giants Stuck With Sam Coonrod

which explains in clear terms the decision-making, which is HEAVILY informed by the facts:

* this was game number 58 out of 60!

* of a crazy season with few planned breaks and a couple of unplanned ones

* was the tail of a double-header in which the much-used ‘pen nearly blew the first game

* which btw, we hadn’t even won ONE 7-inning game yet

* It was a choice between Coonrod and Wandy Peralta, and Kapler made the call

sigh.

Sam Coonrod seems to have been caught in a public expression that has affected him profoundly without any plan, based on a reaction to a plan, that was at-best a half-baked attempt to catch up to the moment by baseball. And it seems to be affecting his work, which requires coolness under intense pressure.

Many thoughts run through my mind thinking about Sam Coonrod this morning.

But when I calm down and look at it as a mature person, I wish only good will toward Sam. I think I understand him. I hope he knows he can always walk back any public stance on the voyage. It won’t reflect badly on him as a Christian or an athlete or an American.

But more importantly, he isn’t judged by the fans who are hoping we make the playoffs and #BeatLA as anything … except as a relief pitcher. For us, the San Francisco Giants.

Dear Sam:

We helped you get to this point and hope we can help you get your focus back on pitching, more than we care about where you fit socially amongst our squad. You are a Giant. You are here because you belong. You can bounce back and we will support you.

You know what, kid? If we get in and we go down to face the Bums in the Ravine and you deliver a moment that defines a win? … you watch how fast this crowd will forget last night.

It was a bummer.

But go pray to Christ and ask his advice.

My guess is he’ll tell you to focus on what you do best.

Good luck.

Let’s Go Giants!

Beat the Pads!

Get in the playoffs so we can beat the Bums!

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Gausman Great, Coonrod Blows 7th, Costs Giants Series Win Vs. Colorado; G-men Face Padres in Doubleheader of 7 Inning Games Today

Kevin Gausman was great, giving up only a couple of runs while peppering eight hits across six innings and leaving with a 3-2 lead yesterday. But the Rockies scored two runs in the seventh off Sam Coonrod to leave Gausman with a no-decision. I am just about DONE with Sam Coonrod.

Despite only splitting those four games with Colorado, by record the Giants are in the 8th spot and would face the Bums in the first three-game series at Chavez Ravine, but we have the Padres between us and staying in that position.

A doubleheader of seven innings games starts at Oracle at 4:10. It will be hard-throwing righty Chris Paddack (4-4, 4.23) on the mound for the Padres in the first game. He will face lefty Tyler Anderson (3-3, 4.53), who had an excellent outing last time up.

Behind Anderson will be Mike Yastrzemski! (Welcome back, Yaz!) Who will be playing right field and leading off, followed by:

Alex Dickerson (LF)

Donovan Solano (2B)

Brandon Belt (1B)

Wilmer Flores (DH)

Evan Longoria (3B)

Brandon Crawford (SS)

Mauricio Dubon (CF)

Joey Bart (C)

Hopefully Solano is rested after a night off, Dickerson stays hot and Longo, Dubey and Yaz all chip in. The Padres don’t have a reason to win as their position as the No. 2 in the NL West cannot change this weekend.

Will being hungrier make the difference?

I sure hope so! We gotta take three of these games to have a chance.

Let’s Go Giants!

Beat the Pads!

Let’s get that playoff spot!

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Gabe Kapler Uses “The Opener” Brilliantly to Set Up the Struggling 23-Year-Old Logan Webb; Longo and the Kids Knock ’em in. Big Win!

The opener. Executed to perfection.

That’s what Gabe Kapler did yesterday. What was apparent – a kid was struggling with the pressure of the big-league environment as a starter – directed the logic. The reliever with the best win/loss record was given the start with the intention of only using him for two innings. Then the change was made, despite it being unorthodox, and the move was a huge success.

Logan Webb, a 23-year-old rookie who has struggled mightily this year – so much so I said he shouldn’t be a Giant next year – was due to pitch in this very important game against the Rockies.

Kapler started Caleb Baragar, a win-vulture (5 – 1) among the middle inning relievers, just for two innings. When Webb got to the mound in the third, he was much cooler and at ease. Settled in, handled it.

I have never seen the strategy of “the opener” used before. That was a clinic.

Giants won 7 – 2. Longo went yard, Dubey went yard and Belt, Crawford and Duggar all had RBIs.

It will be Kevin Gausman on the mound for the G-men. He will be facing Chi Chi Gonzalez (0 – 2, 7.53), a righty. Donovan Solano gets a well-earned rest. Wilmer Flores will take his spot in Kapler’s lineup, which is the only change from yesterday:

Austin Slater (DH)

Alex Dickerson (LF)

Wilmer Flores (2B)

Brandon Belt (1B)

Brandon Crawford (SS)

Evan Longoria (3B)

Mauricio Dubon (C)

Joey Bart (C)

Steven Duggar (RF)

Kapler said we might see a bench appearance by Yaz as soon as today! Hopefully he’s not necessary, but that would be awesome to see him back out there again.

Let’s Go Giants! Let’s Make that Playoff Push!!!! I want to play the Bums!

Pound the Rocks! Pulverize the Rocks! Crush em!

Let’s Gooooooooooooooooooo!

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One Down, Six to Go – Giants Support Smyly, Return to .500, Tied With Reds and Brewers for 8th Playoff Spot

Austin Slater hit his first leadoff homer, new dad Alex Dickerson pinch-hit the go-ahead home run and Brandon Belt pinch-doubled in two more. The bats coupled with another fine start by Drew Smyly and the Giants beat the Rockies to level the series and return to .500.

The Rockies will send righty Ryan Castellani (1-3, 5.59) to face the Giants at Oracle tonight. He will be facing lefty Caleb Baragar, who has a 5 – 1 record by vulturing wins while pitching relief. It will be his first start. I wonder if Kapler is using an “opener” – a strategy of sending out a guy just for the first couple of innings and using someone else or several others in relief.

The guys backing up Baragar and the batting lineup:

Austin Slater (DH)

Alex Dickerson (LF)

Donovan Solano (2B)

Brandon Belt (1B)

Brandon Crawford (SS)

Evan Longoria (3B)

Mairicio Dubon (CF)

Joey Bart (C)

Steven Duggar (RF)

Let’s Go Giants!!!

Pound the Rocks!

Crush the Rocks!

Pulverize the Rocks!

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Rookie Bart Catches Cueto Because Tromp Had “Potential” Injury – Cueto/Bart Give Up Seven Runs, Giants Lose Critical Game in Playoff Push Reminding Us Bochy Always Carried THREE Catchers

According to Giants beat reporter Maria Guardado, Chadwick Tromp appeared to jam his shoulder sliding back into first base during Sunday’s matchup against the A’s. Apparently, the shoulder was tweaked enough to still hurt in the afternoon on Monday and Tromp was scratched.

As per Guardado, Cueto’s “personal catcher, Chadwick Tromp, was a late scratch after tweaking his right shoulder on a dive back to first base on Sunday. The Giants instead started Joey Bart, who struggled to get on the same page with Cueto when they were paired for the first time on Aug. 25.”

I cannot second-guess Kapler because I have no idea how bad the “potential’ was, but Giants beat writer John Shea had, only last week, written a short feature on the unique relationship shared by Cueto and Tromp: Chad even called a shimmy! Potential injury?

Cueto and Bart had trouble communicating last night from the outset and it was apparent to all. The question wasn’t “will this result in Rockies runs?” but rather when? and how many? The answers may have ended the Giants’ hopes for playoff action.

To add insult to injury, there was Tromp, catching the ‘pen in the 8th, hoping to help with his bat in the 9th. Once it was clear Cueto and Bart weren’t in sync, couldn’t we have tried going to Tromp earlier, then? Like in the 2nd? It was like watching a slow train wreck.

I immediately thought of our greatest Manager, future-Hall-of-Famer Bruce Bochy, a catcher, who famously – and often against criticism – always kept three catchers on staff. Often the third was a veteran, a stabilizing presence. If we had that last night – even Tyler Heineman might have done – we wouldn’t have had to turn to a struggling rookie.

We always had a Steven Vogt or Guillermo Quiroz or Eli Whiteside or Bengie Molina for exactly the situation we faced last night: first game of the final and most important homestand of the season.

Can you feel the sting of an absence? Can an absence, sting? Because as my heart sank into my stomach, I felt a sting in my head and realized it was because of the absence of Bruce Bochy at the helm.

And of Gerald Dempsey Posey behind the plate. Because if he were here we’d have three catchers and Bart would have a teacher.

Earlier on this blog I bragged that as a Tamil, I could handle the crazy swing from Boch to Zaidi/Kapler. That sting in my head was the exact measure of how difficult it was last night. It was painful.

The constant shifting and changing of players in-and-out, and experimenting with guys for just six ABs does sometimes culminate in a collision of cultures against the measured commitment of players’ manager Bochy, who shuffled along making Bochy noises, stuck with his plan and adjusted when necessary.

Things get much tougher for the Giants now. We simply have to take all the rest from Colorado.

It’ll be the recently-excellent Drew Smyly tonight against Kyle Freeland, a very good lefty. The Giants’ lefty-facing lineup needs to perform. Hopefully Slater can rip one. We need Yaz back, badly. Talk about a Win Above Replacement leader, they should count his absences double.

Absences. Absent Yasztremski, Absent Tromp, Absent Posey, Absent a third veteran catcher, the Giants were hamstrung.

Absent Bochy? sigh. It’s going to be a long while til we feel that again. Maybe never. Gotta get used to the new thing.

We Miss and Love You, Skip

Bonne chance en France

Au france? aux? je ne sais pas.

Let’s Go Giants!

Pound the Rocks!

Get it back!

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