"I didn't have an 'out' pitch. One way you can develop an 'out' pitch is by cheating," he said. "One of the coaches kind of suggested that to me."
- Garrett Broshuis, former #SFGiants Minor League Player
The first month-plus of this season the most runs the Giants scored in a game was six. Since May 10 the Giants have AVERAGED OVER 6 RUNS A GAME. In their latest road trip they scored 37 runs in 6 games.
Deflate-gate. Pine tar 'advantage zone.' We hear about more and more ways teams and sports figures today may be 'cheating' their sports , but none more than, perhaps, this one still 'under the radar', that may have been going on for decades - and affecting the results big time, in our opinion,to the tune of three world series victories.
Last year the San Francisco Giants went the first two months of the season with the best record in baseball. Then they went on the worst long losing streak but by then they were still well ahead of the pack thanks to the first two months and turned on the gas in the end, as needed.
Streaks may be a part of baseball but not THESE kind of streaks where nearly an entire team goes hot or cold. Too many coincidences must mean something else is going on. In 2013 the Giants began the season horribly, after winning the World Series the previous year. No team had ever shown such a disparity from one season to the start of the next. But then, the Giants, en masse , went on a tear that brought them back to , at least, normalcy.
This year, the Giants began the season with the worst record during April, only to turn that around with the best record in baseball during May - and starting it well before Hunter Pence came back and without Pablo Sandoval and only one name starting pitcher.
As for the post-seasons, which have come often in recent years for the Giants - when teams normally slow down against top competition- the Giants have managed to 'go crazy' all three years. Talk about Ruthian-like numbers, e.g. think Sandoval in 2012 and his three homers in one game against Detroit's top pitcher and six during the playoffs (after only hitting 12 all year) and near .350 average (same for 2014 after hitting only .287 against lesser pitching . Think Bumgarner last year, going from 20th best ERA in the league to 1st in the post-season. Think Cody Ross in 2012 and his sudden six homers during October after being picked up on waivers. Three World Series running the Giants, as a unit, would perform MUCH BETTER in the playoffs against top pitching than during the regular season; even players previously relegated to 'Siberia' like Barry Zito and Tim Lincecum would somehow manage to make large impacts in the playoffs.
The pattern continues year after year with the Giants, as a unit, going on not slumps but long, dramatic roller coaster rides, but somehow, managing , since 2010 , to right themselves- and three times enough so to win World Series. What's especially incredible is that the Giants player names may change but the team continues to win WHEN IT MUST - and they do it with many cast-offs or recent non-spectacular minor league players who suddenly become Ruthian-like when they arrive on the Giants big league team. Pitchers and hitters alike. This year alone, think Peavy, Vogelsong, Casilla, Panik, Duffy. In prior years think Scutaro, Huff, Burel , Torres, Cody Ross. The Giants get criticized for not coming up with many good trades or free agents but they end up winning - and with the most unlikely players. And this year is no exception. If it were but one year call it an anomaly but after five years and three World Series one must look a little closer behind the GIANTs CURTAIN.
Find #peds,,Duffy, Giants peds,, #Giants World Series, Pagan,, Panik, Peavy, San Francisco Giants,SF Giants, steroids, Vogelsong
as of May 26, 2015
In recent years, many have wondered how a team like the San Francisco Giants could win three World Series in five years with teams made up largely of cast-off older players and unproven younger ones.
We've seen time and again an unlikely group of players -in which names may change from year to year - that will perform poorly for long stretches only to suddenly come to life for long stretches in bigger games , as a unit, and somehow get to the next level against better teams. In so doing, with rare exception, players will , overall, perform better with the current team Giants than their career averages or early as well or better than even their minor league averages - all highly unusual stats (as seen in above chart). In post-season play this 'coincidence' is even greater (see below).
And so, is true for pitching, though we have yet to see the stat comparison for 2015, but note the post season comparison below when it comes to pitching in 2015 (Comparisons are comparable for 2010 and 2012).
2014 San Francisco Giants pitching stats through first nine games of playoffs
If only one or two players showed such improvements we could chalk it off to coincidence, but when virtually the entire starting lineup or team show such unlikely change - and especially late season when it counts - one has to ask questions. And, if one has followed the use of PEDs over the years, the expert in the field (none other than Balco's Victor Conte) has reminded us, among others, that a player can go on the drugs for periods as short as a day and within hours have the drugs not show up in one's lab. Yet, the performance enhancing effects of the drugs can last for days after one stops taking them; that's why players will usually go on them for periods of weeks and then come off of them with a still strong 'carry-over' affect, as we understand it.
In last year's playoffs the word 'luck' was used by many to describe how / why the Giants again snuck by teams much better, on paper, to win its third world series in five years. And, this was with a team with many new 'no name' players not on the previous World Series editions. Younger players with names like Panik, Duffy and Susac, with little or no major league experience would come up to the parent club late season to suddenly become unlikely stars and/or late-season heros.
Last year he Giants couldn't buy a second baseball for any amount of money . After going through a half dozen , including a .160 hitting journeyman appropriately named Uggla, they didn't know what to do. In desperation, they brought up a guy with no major league experience, perhaps also with an appropriate name, Joe Panik, who did anything but... The minor leaguer with virtually NO MAJOR LEAGUE EXPERIENCE would suddenly become a late season star - IN THE BIG LEAGUES against the toughest teams and pitchers, in the playoffs. And this is a capsule of the way things have gone for the Giants, who perhaps should be called the Angels.
Year after year, it's something else, as if heaven sent. While the longest termed General Manager, Brian Sabean, has been criticized for not being able to make the big, successful trades or sign free agents, he's brought in players with questionable pasts who suddenly perform when they come to the Giants. Whether the new kids on the block or the castoffs - think Scutaro in 2012, Guillen in 2010, Cody Ross 2010- and Panik last year. Meanwhile the rest of the team (often of suspect nature, too - think Huff, Burrell, etc.) also turns it up a notch or two just in time for the playoffs. When other teams start underachieving against better competition, the Giants IMPROVE. When other teams feel the August heat and late season doldrums, the Giants are , somehow, turning it up a notch. The names may change from year to year but whoever it is on the Giants seems to get the job done. Hitters' strikeouts suddenly diminish and pitchers' velocity and performance improves (e.g. last year Bumgarner went from the 30th best pitcher in the league to first-a 1,000 % improvement improvement - in the post season; much like he did in 2012. Veteran pitchers like Vogelsong and Peavy - who probably wouldn't have made the starting lineup on any other teams - suddenly became world beaters. In 2012, even 'the $150 million dollar mistake, ' Barry Zito, came to life in the playoffs.
Numbers through 2014
And this year, we see a Giants starting lineup that looks more , on paper, like a Triple A (or Double A) than major league team with Panik and Duffy, who is hitting a .300 this year as an every day player, along with Susak and Maxwell filling in regularly . Just last year Duffy wasn't even playing Triple A ball, yet has beaten out newly acquired '$4 million man' Casey McGee for the third base position. Then you have the Brandon brothers, Crawford and Belt, with near career .250 averages, who when the Giants were in a real tailspin, suddenly have stepped up their averages into the .300s WITH POWER, reminiscent of past years when the pressure was on. The story goes on and on, with example after example, going back to the first World Series year, 2010 - the first time the Giants had won a World Series in nearly 60 years.
Yes, in this era of Steroid or PED baseball, the Giants have had more than their share of KNOWN users on the team - at least one each WS year with Andres Torres and Jose Guillen (2010), Melky Cabrera, Gueillermo Mota (2012) and Michael Morse last year. In fact, these players alone may have made the difference between getting into the playoffs and World Series for the Giants.
Now with this PED history and other, mostly late season shenanigans, if you will, we revisit an interview with a Giants player that may have gone unnoticed when it first was reported in an obscure article in a Salt Lake City newspaper:
From the Salt Lake City Tribune, May 26, 2014,
By Noah Trister Ap Baseball Writer Published May 25, 2013 6:15 pm
He was 27 and still had never pitched in the big leagues. The 2009 minor league camp for the San Francisco Giants didn't offer much hope. There seemed no way to boost his flagging strikeout totals. That's when he got a bit of advice.
"I didn't have an 'out' pitch. One way you can develop an 'out' pitch is by cheating," he said. "One of the coaches kind of suggested that to me."
Broshuis tested a spitball, with eye-opening results. But, he says, he couldn't bring himself to use it in a game — the pitch is banned, after all.
Broshuis soon took up a new line of work — law school. Neither he nor his conscience ever made it to the majors.
But his time in the minors was not an entire loss. He wrote a paper on cheating in baseball while at the Saint Louis University School of Law, and it's been floating around the Internet. The paper adds to a debate about bending the rules, a practice that may be as old as the game itself. And it gives readers a chance to learn a few of the sport's darker arts.
"I would work my tail off, trying to refine, trying to work on my command — do all these little things to try to get better. And then, I can just use a little foreign substance, and all of a sudden, it could have possibly been the best pitch that I had," Broshuis said in a phone interview with The Associated Press. "When something seems too easy, it probably is too easy for a reason."
In recent years, cheating in baseball has become synonymous with performance-enhancing drug use, but Broshuis observed a broader array of ways to skirt the rules. He calls it a "culture of deception" — and is in the camp that believes a spitter here and a Vaseline pitch there wind up creating an atmosphere where some players feel it's OK to take steroids. Others don't think it's that serious.
We've asked before and we must ask again if the above episode is a one-off or an incident that has repeated itself throughout the Giants system, minor through major leagues - and now perhaps in other organizations? If there's smoke there's fire. And, if you hear of one coach or player doing something, you have to consider others on the team doing similar, especially when it comes to PEDs and the Giants history of 23 KNOWN PED USERS since Barry Bonds in the 2000s. A team like the Giants that would allow a known cheater (Bonds) - Bonds admitted to using 'clear and the cream' - to come back to coach, albeit spring training , and continue to be rewarded must be questioned; if nothing else it looks bad, but not in San Francisco it appears.
We are again asking questions. There may be no REAL 'smoking gun' -even Barry Bonds got off his charges, yet everyone KNEW - yet in today's game of baseball where PEDs DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE much moreso than in other major sports where POWER isn't as critical - we ask these questions about which others , especially in psyhophantic San Francisco, seem to turn away from ,never consider, or even notice OR CARE .
It took two brave SF Chronicle NON-SPORTS reporters to finally uncover the Bonds PED travesty in which a thirty-something, obviously bloated player was hitting homeruns at Ruthian rate . Yet even after Bonds-who had never hit over 36 homeruns until he came to the Giants- broke majestic homerun record of Ruth and passed his Godfather, Willie Mays, did anyone in San Francisco seem to question the feat until these two reporters, Lance Williams and Mark Fenaru-wada (now bounced from the Chronicle) came along.
Somehow, in baseball- and especially in more liberal media-friendly cities like San Francisco- people don't seem to care much. Have we come to the point in society where drugs and cheating is just now part of the fabric of sports and life in general? As we see marijuana becoming legal in States, are we also seeing a new generation of fans - as well as some left over from the 'flower power' days - just accepting PEDs in baseball now?
Almost two decades since coaching Tony Gwynn and others who have been implicated with San Diego Padre Ken Caminiti and PED use- Giants current manager Bruce Bochy has seen a good share of the 24 PED- indicted Giants come through his reign. Major League Baseball is as schizophrenic as ever, on one hand telling us that PEDs have been cleaned up but on another hand giving permission to 10% of players to use the PED Adderall and allowing former KNOWN users to continue playing after one and two convictions. Perhaps, in an ironic twist, PEDs have 'saved' baseball, allowing for bigger power numbers, and MLB likely hasn't wanted to bite the hand that feeds it , except in external appearances.
The Mitchell Report, though oft criticized, was actually a good thing, exposing players who used PEDs through 1987, or thereabouts, while putting others on guard. Yet, since then we've seen another whole new 'cartel' of drugs in baseball with different names and associated players - as evidenced in the 2013 Biogenesis Lab scandal - where 20 major league players were found out to have been using PEDs. Without the scandal, former commission Bud Selig could have gotten away with claiming baseball 'clean' as his own testing has only caught a handful of major leaguers in the following years. Perhaps it's high time for another Mitchell Report, but doubt that will ever happen .
Now, this year, we've seen four new PED indictments the first week of the season - and this time for an older PED that was thought to be eradicated long ago from baseball. And with the league ALLOWING 10% of players the use of ADDERALL, the drug supposedly used to help players' Attention Deficit Disorder - there would appear to be a continued 'problem' (or is it anymore?) , and most likely in San Francisco where it all began with Bonds and Balco many years ago. If you can believe Balco's own Victor Conte, 'up to 50% ' of players are still using PEDs - and who would know better?
So, the Giants, who weren't going anywhere until 2010 -56 years without winning a World Series,even with Bonds and his 'merry men' Williams, Aurilia and company- at least discovered through Bonds' presence a 'back door' to the World Series - which is now working . Perhaps other teams don't further question the Giants's success because they've become complicit themselves with PED users of their own, though probably in much smaller numbers. And, so it goes, in our opinion.
NOTE THE GIANTS STREAKS, SUDDEN POWER
Watch the Giants streaky pattern the rest of the season, how they will win as needed. Perhaps when drug tests are announced , note a drop off and, later, if they get too far behind, another sudden surge. The only thing that will explain that, well- let's put it this way... The first month-plus of the season the most runs the Giants scored in a game was six. Since May 10 the Giants have AVERAGED OVER 6 RUNS A GAME. In their latest road trip they scored 37 runs in 6 games. Incredible for a team not known for hitting that couldn't score more than six runs in a game all season! And, that's even before Hunter Pence came back they were getting hot. And, that's without Sandoval or even Casey McGee, just with what we call the 'Minor League Giants,' including three-five starting players who probably wouldn't start for any other major league teams, that is, until now - with a little help, if you will ( in our opinion).
In last night's game against Milwaukee, Brandon Belt hit a ball higher, and perhaps longer , by 25 feet, according to Giant announcer Jon Miller, than anybody's hit a ball all season. So, you've got Giants players who couldn't hit a lick for a month suddenly ALL hitting for average and power. All players in the starting lineup are hitting near or above .300 and the Brandons are suddenly hitting homeruns like they're going out of style. Crawford, not known as a homerun hitter , already has six. Even in the minor leagues he never hit more than seven in a year and already has six. All players are hitting above their career averages (excluding the 'minor league guys' who are still doing as well IN THE MAJORS as they were in the minors! We'll say the politically-incorrect thing here but it just seems like Giants players are getting some help somewhere. For them, as a group to turn it off and on at will, time and again, just seems too coincidental. Just watch the team... doubtful it will go on all season, i.e. notice a mass drop-off at some point when , perhaps, drug testing is announced (they give players warning, you know, to clear their systems) and batting averages and pitching numbers will drop back down to those of the average /minor-league numbers they SHOULD be hitting and pitching. Not that players on other teams are doing similar things as the Giants, but San Francisco is where #PED use really got boing over twenty years ago with Bonds - and thereby spread to other teams, where it hasn't stopped since. Only some of the drugs and players names have changed, in our opinion.
We miss REAL baseball, when you KNEW a homerun WAS a homerun and you didn't have to question whether a player might be getting some help. But, then again, in a society that rewards the Kim Kardashians and Bruce Jenners for artificially enhancing themselves, now we have baseball team after team that will continue to sign the Nelson Cruz's and Bartolo Calon' s of the world for more money than they ever got before they were known to have used PEDs. And now, thirty years later, you have a whole new generation that only knows baseball in it's PED state and thereby has no real comparison to question it. , Which looks as if PEDs are here to stay, sadly, in our opinion. So, the players using PEDs continue to get away with more fame and fortune in a sport where PEDs MAKE A REAL DIFFERENCE -and the legit players can't always stack up as high next to their enhanced counterparts. The latter aren't regarded or paid their fair share and some may no longer even be able to make the team , like Garrett Boshius, who didn't want to submit to using PEDs. Boshius is one of few to have come out against cheating in baseball, as well as his current crusade, to help the minor league player. of which he was one, reach salary parity with major leaguers.
Much like politics and seemingly everything else today, there are two sides-a good, honest one and a bad, dishonest one. Sadly the bad, dishonest one seems to have become pervasive and may be winning throughout society now. Say it isn't so , Joe.
BASEBALL REALLY CLEAN? 4 New PED busts opening week of baseball,
Barry Bonds expresses sympathy for ARod, hope he'll break Mays homer number
But, that was baseball then. Winning wasn't a life or death matter, though sometimes it seemed that way to this kid. There was always tomorrow or next year. No quick fixes like today, with certain teams acquiring known Performance Enhancing Drug (PED) users and suspected ones they get cheap when the going gets tough. We often wondered if the steroid problem grew , at least in part, out of the Giants' failure to win the World Series for 50 years since coming to San Francisco. With a new AT&T stadium to fill and a Bondsian payroll the pressure was on... and two decades later and with the help of 23 KNOWN PED users, the Giants finally found a 'system' to win - a system, we're afraid, that has now spread around the league, despite recent outgoing baseball commissioner Selig's claim that the game is now clean.
GREEN GRASS, THE BAY and CIGARS - I remember as a kid coming to Candlestick and the first things I'd notice as I entered the stadium doors was the sight of green grass, the beautiful Bay landscape and the smell of cigars. Funny the cigar smell didn't seem to bother me or others at the time, in fact I kind of liked it - and all the old characters smoking and drinking and yelling (I don't remember hearing any profanity back then). I'd take the smell of cigar smoke over the marijuana you smell today at AT&T - and not sure that the former is any less healthy than the latter, either, despite all the later years of being told 'cigar bad, marijuana good.' When Candlestick was enclosed for football in the Seventies, I thought it lost much of it's charm (Bay View) as did the Oakland Coliseum when 'Mt. Davis' was built.
Candlestick Park,Lon Simmons,TV GAMES,San Francisco,CIGARS,World Series,BOB NIEMAN,Russ Hodges,THE SIXTIES
Candlestick Park in the Sixies, still with the Bay View
LOTS OF CHARACTERS, NO CELL PHONES - Back then it was a real mix of people of all ages coming to games, including people who then seemed real old to me , as a kid, yet who were probably younger at the time than I am now (and I'm not that old). And, folks were INTO the game as there weren't all the distractions like cell phones, I.E.. 'Hey guys, there's a game going on.' San Francisco is prized for its heterogeneous makeup but, in fact the average person at a Giants game today is 'homegenized' TWENTY-SOMETHING, UPWARDLY-MOBILE CAUCASIAN, HISPANIC OR ASIAN. Gone are the real characters we grew up with, not hesitant to call out players, even on the home team -players who just might deserve an occasional 'cat-call.'1960s, 1962 baseball cards,Candlestick,demolition, dodgers, Lon Simmons, memories, opening day,Russ Hodges,San Francisco Giants
SMALL NUMBERS, VOCAL FANS - I remember when FANS WOULD ACTUALLY BOO THEIR OWN PLAYERS when they deserved to be booed (Remember 'We want a pitcher not a glass of water.''?)
So what if there were only 15,000 fans at the game. There wasn't the overriding concern about economics and attendance as about watching and enjoying actual games. It was as simple as winning ballgames to win the league championship (there were no playoffs) and then, hopefully, the World Series. That was every player and owner's goal. Payrolls were low and ownership could still make money with smaller crowds. Plus , we had room to roam in the stands and catch more foul balls - and even sneak up to the front seats on occasion.
From my personal baseball card collection, 1961, I had ALMOST every card except the ones you see missing, like WILLIE MAYS. Other pages to follow... Do you reemember BOB NIEMAN, who came to the Giants in 1961 from Cleveland?
COLD WEATHER? What cold weather? When the Giants were winning, nobody ever mentioned the weather. It wasn't until the late Sixties when the Giants began losing that fans used weather as a complaint. They wanted a new stadium. And, that became the mantra for years to come as the Giants continued mediocre ball.
As other teams started building new stadiums the Giants got jealous, and instead of putting top teams on the field , played the 'excuse game.' 'If we only had a new stadium we would ..' (Even with the new stadium, build in 2000) the Giants only got into one World Series (2002) even with the presence of Barry (*) Bonds until recent years.)
FAMILY - It was more like a family then - from the top down. Teams were family owned - The Omalleys of the Dodgers, The Griffiths of Washington Senators nee Minnesota Twins, Charlie Finley of Kansas City/Oakland A's. And the games weren't so dependant on TV or other corporate revenue. There were lots of day games and Games all started at the same time. And, there were double headers - two for one games where you could spend the whole day at the ball park. And, you could go to games as a FAMILY, not subjected to foul language, loud music , or other extraneous activities.
20 TV GAMES - and a lot of RADIO - In fact, there were only the three channels back then - four with the addition of KTVU Channel Two- and it was a thrill just to be able to see even one game on TV if you couldn't get to the game. We were sure to watch all 20 Giants-Dodgers games on Channel 2, KTVU. As noted elsewhere, baseball game was largely a game for the imagination back then, since we didn't get to see a lot the games, but only heard them on KSFO with Russ Hodges and Lon Simmons.
ATTENDANCE SECONDARY - When the Giants had a sellout it was a REAL sellout but it was rare back then , and nobody really cared, (though it was nice to fill up the place against the Dodgers.) 39,900 fans didn't suddenly become 41,915 just so the team could call it a sellout to keep a streak alive or whatever...
This was probably 1964-1965, a letter requesting player autographs I received back from the Giants. No, they're no real but they're something to remember. It appears to be a composite of various Giants over the years. I also had a fan club for the Minnesota Twins in 1965 and DID received an REAL SIGNED BALL with ALL THE PLAYERS AUTOGRAPHS from owner Calvin Griffith, who I corresponded with ! (Sadly, I 'sold'this ball to a fan (never did get paid )
FREE, FRIENDLY AUTOGRAPHS - I remember waiting where the players came out to their cars from the locker room after games. Players would FREEly sign autographs and we could watch guys like 'Sad' Sam Jones get into his long '59 Caddy and drive away.
INNOCENSE and MYSTERY - The element of 'mystery' was still there since we didn't have media detailing every aspect of players and owners. We often didn't even know what some players looked like, especailly young players new to the team. You didn't see owner Giants Horace Stoneham out in public, but heard some good stories about this man of mystery. Rumors were rampant and kept us guessing. Sometimes that's better than hearing the truth, especially for young, impressionable kids. Rarely would you see Stoneham in public or making media appearances to hype his team at every politically-correct opportunity like today.
PROMOTIONS were rare but when they had them they were good ones, like Bat Day, a fan favorite you don't see any more, for obvious reasons (at least two-danger and cost).
1961-1962 Giants infielders from my collection. I had them all at one time, but you know how that goes...
1962 MAGICAL, DREAM SEASON. Kennedy was still president and baseball, chevrolet and apple pie still ruled America. And the Giants could do no wrong, what with the 'M' boys, MAYS, MCCOVEY and MARICHAL - and many more with ALVIN DARK at the helm. Despite the pesky Dodgers, led by WILLS, KOUFAX and DRYSDALE, the Giants managed to go all the way to the World Series, with the help a miraculous one game playoff during which the Giants came back from being down four runs.
But losing their first World Series to the Yankees on that seventh game controversial line out by McCovey, made for a long winter for us young, impressionable kids. Time seemed to stand still back then and we went down to DeLauers Newstand in Oakland to regularly keep up with the Sporting News for any news on our heroes.
WHEN BASEBALL WAS KING
Today baseball is only popular on a local level. Teams in other cities could care less about your team - or watch it on TV unless it's playing their team. World Series -Last year's Giants-Kansas City matchup had the lowest World Series TV viewship of all time.
I remember baseball being so popular that there were top popular records (as in phonograph records) made then. I went bought 'The D-O-D-G-E-R Song' by Danny Kaye, in 1962. It was a song that asked 'Will They Really Win the Pennant ( in 1962)?' Well, that was the year the Giants first won it, making the year that much e xtra special - and I remember every word of that song to this day.
That would be the last time the Giants got over on Dodgers for years...
'D-O-D-G-E-R-S Song' by Danny Kaye became a local and national hit in 1962
Giants theme song in the early 1960s playing on announcer Russ Hodges' trademark
'Bye Bye Baby.' What was Lon Simmons eventual trademark homerun call?
Back in the early 60s there were only 20 games on TV - and those were all Giants-Dodgers on KTVU, channel 2. Otherwise you had to go to the actual game to see the Giants play. The only other option was to listen to the game on our TRANSISTOR RADIO, which every kid seemed to have - and glued to his head walking down the street, or, under his blanket at night. I certainly did.
RADIO WAS KING -As we listened intently to the dulcet tones of Giants lead broadcaster RUSS HODGES we imagined seeing the players hit homeruns or throw no-hitters. These were often players we had never seen before , due to the lack of TV and media exposure then. But, the imagination certainly took over, and was one of the great things then which is lacking today, not so necessary anymore with TV coverage of games 162 days a year. LON SIMMONS, who we just lost, was still a neophyte broadcaster honing his good humor for years to come. Hodges was the king, and the best thing going in sports on the West coast, anyway, next to the guy down south, still applying his trade to this day!
BUS RIDE TO CANDLESTICK - I remember, when my folks would start letting us go to games on our own, the bus ride to Candlestick seemed to take forever. They'd just closed to the Key System trains, so it was the 'B'bus across the Bay Bridge from Oakland, then transferring to two more busses before finally making it to Silver Avenue and Candlestick Point. But, it was worth it. It was another world, bigger than life.
CHANGE - But then things began to crumble a bit much like Candlestick is now doing. It what was the first of what would become a long list of bad Giants trades, Cepeda would be traded for a no-name pitcher named Ray Sedeki, I believe, and Dark would soon make way for Stoneham's friend, Herman Franks, who looked anything like a manager - and didn't win anything either, except a bunch of second place and below finishes, despite the fact that the Giants, at least in our opinion, still had the best players in the league.
HATED DODGERS - The Dodgers would really start picking on the Giants... Maury Wills and company would really get on my nerves. Wills would steal the Giants blind, so much so they would finally resort to watering down the infield on at least one occasion. How could these little guys keep beating our big boys? The addition of Franks as manager, didn't help, in my opinion. In fact, that was the key reason, in my opinion that the Giants didn't get into another playoff situation for years to come, finishing second to the dodgers nearly every year during the rest of the 1960s. I grew tired of 'second fiddle' and when the A's game to my town in 1968 it was definitely time to change allegiance, even with a REALLY despotic owner, one Charles Finley.
BASEBALL THEN AND NOW - But, that was baseball then. It wasn't life or death, though sometimes it seemed that way to this kid. There was always tomorrow or next year. No quick fixes like today, with certain team or teams acquiring known Performance Enchaning Drug (PED) users and suspected ones when the going got tough. I often wonder if the steroid problem grew , at least in part, out of the Giants' failure to win the World Series for 50 years since coming to San Francisco. With a new ATT stadium to fill and a Bondsian payroll the pressure was on... and two decades later and with the help of 23 KNOWN PED users, the Giants finally found a 'system' to win - a system, we're afraid, has now spread around the league, despite recent outgoing baseball commissioner Selig's claim that the game is now clean. Glad I grew up when I did. I wouldn't trade REAL ball for steroid-era baseball even if my team got 'jobbed.' Kids (and adults) today don't seem to care. I just hear a couple local sports commentators criticizing the Giants for not acquiring Nelson Cruz this year. As if the Giants need any more known PED users, having WON THEIR THREE WORLD SERIES WITH THREE KNOWN USERS IN INTRICATE PART OF THOSE TEAMS, namely, ANDRES TORRES, MELKY CABRERA and MICHAEL MORSE (not to mention other likely users who were not caught (in a still weak testing progam which has averaged about four players being caught using PEDs per year).
PROMOTIONS bring in bodies, not true fans. And that's why going to Giants game today is not like it was a Candlestick . Nothing wrong with a few promotions but doing it for every game and charging some (often unknowning tourists) $80 for the same seats others are paying $30 - they call it 'dynamic pricing' - is wrong, just as calling games ' sellouts' when you can walk up to the gate in the fifth inning and still buy a ticket. I miss the old bat days, ball days and double headers . But, mostly, I miss the good old real, honest baseball, not having to guess who's on steroids and who's not, playing on an 'even' field, as it were.
THEN AND NOW - It's true that in the 60s, owners had leverage but I think most players enjoyed staying with one team rather than bouncing around. You didn't have to dump a boatload of money to keep players - and then jack up the prices of tickets and concessions to ridiculous numbers. Even two year contracts were rare back then but today players will sign for five years - and as often as not fail to perform as expected during that time, costing teams a plenty. But, SOME of these teams, like your local heroes, SEEM DESPERATE. Other teams, like the Oakland A's - love them or hate them - don't fall for this stuff, even though they could afford to pay their players more and manage to put interesting and competitive teams on the field every year at a fraction the payroll of the Giants and some other teams. I remember when my boyhood hero, Harmon Killebrew of Minnesota Twins, signed for $40,000 one year contract in 1964 during the peak of his career; that was considered a monster contract at the time. Today, some owners don't think twice about signing an already older player for five years or more for $10 million a year. We figured relief specialist Javier Lopez of the Giants is getting $3,000 every time he makes a single pitch for the Giants based on his recent multi-million dollar contract and the low number of pitches he throws.
1950s/60s LIVE ON
We're glad we grew up in what we call the 'Golden Era,' not just of baseball but most sports and music, movies, cars and most everything. If you're old enough you remember, if you're too young we feel sorry for you but then you can always go to youtube or ebay or your folks and experience again the wonderful history with actual audio and video footage, bringing memories and history back to life. And, of course, we're lucky to still have many of our childhood heroes like Mays and McCovey still with us to help us remember those halycon days.
Unlike other major sports, major league baseball is failing more each
year on a national level. Last year’s world series TV viewership was the
lowest of all time.
How baseball could be doing so well at the local level but so
poorly at the national level is perplexing to many, and something
that is not being addressed. It’s not that difficult to figure out.
Baseball has been dealing with it’s ‘steroid era’ now for over 20
years. Whether it’s cleaned up or not – we believe it’s not – the effects
linger to this day.
Major market teams, in generally ‘liberal’ cities, have gotten
away with , yes, winning world series on the backs of steroids.
It’s doubtful that the the San Francisco Giants would not have won
three world series in five years without the help of known steroid
users like Melky Cabrera, Andres Torrez, Jose Guillen, Michael Morse
and other ‘under-the radar’ guys who may have gotten away with
their PED use (see www.WhereDidYouGoJoeDimaggio.downloadebooks.me).In
between, the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals won it all with
known PED users and suspects.
Meanwhile, fans in ‘cleaner’ cities without known PED users
on their teams are questioning the trust factor in baseball. While
they don’t always show it, there’s a latent, unexpressed lack of interest in so-called
‘America’s teams.’ We’ve even seen the one time ‘America team’New York
Yankees take on a black eye after Alex Rodriquez was found to have
used PEDs over a long period – caught not by major league baseball
testing but by the Biogenesis scandal. And, there were other Yankees
such as Petit and Clemens and other likely suspects.
While this has been happening, again, for over twenty years,
we’ve seen major league baseball do very little to rectify the
situation. Supposedly, tighter drug testing only caught two players
last year – and for only second tier drug use (HGH-25 game suspensions)
and the year before caught nobody and the year before that
only five players. While baseball commissioner, at the time, Bud Selig
will tell you nobody was caught because baseball is clean now,
the Biogenesis scandal in Florida found 20 players using PEDs .
Selig got a ‘lucky break’ ( when an insider
went against his boss and Selig paid him off to tell his story.
But, drug testing alone has caught few – and it’s a known, largely
ignored fact that PED drugs for ADD, such as Adderall, are authorized
by major league baseball and used by 10% of it’s players (as MLB
admitted in 2014 ( ) when less than three percent of the nation
uses the drugs to deal with attention deficit disorder.
PED drugs like Adderall. It was Adderall that Andres Torrez, of the
2010 Giants, admitted gave him a career season and propelled the
Giants to it’s first of three World Series in five years.
In 2012 it was Melky Cabrera who put the Giants enough games ahead for them
to coast to their second World Series, before Cabrera was caught for a
second infraction with PEDs. Other Giants, such as newcomers
Marco Scutaro, Angel Pagan,Gregor Blanco and even old timers like
Aubrey Huff would all have surprising career years to help the void left by Cabrera.
Scutaro, at age 37, would raise his average nearly 100 points after
coming to the Giants mid-season, while cutting his strikeouts in half.
Meanwhile, Pablo Sandoval, after hitting only six homers all season
managed to slam six in the post season -three in one game- and hit
well over .300 against top flight post-season pitching, something
he would continue in yet a third world series in 2014.
In 2013 the Giants took a break when Boston Rod Sox won the series
on the back of one ‘Big Poppy,’ who was having three career years
in a row -in his late thirties!. Though he wasn’t found out with anything
in liberal Boston, there were
still whispers that Poppy was getting a little help from his friends.
(Not surprising to see his buddy, ‘Panda’ Sandoval, join him in Boston this
year from the Giants.)
But, in 2014 , the Giants were back winning yet another World Series
with only one standout pitcher, Bumgarner, who would improve 1,000%
in the playoffs, going from the thirtieth best ERA during the regular
season to the best in the playoffs with a microscopic 1.00 ERA.
And, there again was Panda, along with most of the team performing
better in the post season than during the regular season. (For
the uninformed, one can use steroids, or PEDs, on a per game basis.
When the chips are down, pop or shoot some PEDs… The Giants, with
one .300 hitter and the one top caliber pitcher
would, again, beat a better team, Kansas City, as they had done in
previous years against Detroit and St. Louis.
So, you have a team in the Giants, that really shouldn’t have been there winning
not one , not two , but three world series. And, don’t forget,
they came close before with one Barry Bonds – and 23 other PED-indicted
players since him. Meanwhile a liberal San Francisco media
looks the other way. The two guys who finally exposed Bonds , after
10 years, were pretty much shunned after that, becoming persona non grate in
San Francisco, no longer working for the San Francisco Chronicle.
Without them, Bonds might still be hitting ‘splash’ homers to this day.
Last year presented a ho hum World Series with, again, a mediocre
team doing ‘it’s thing’ to a very good team. While the local
San Franciscans loved seeing their Giants doing unlikely things
never done before which they couldn’t do in the regular season,
fans around the country were, by now, catching on to the smoke and
mirrors of the Giants. Some called them lucky, but you don’t get
lucky three world series in a row. There was more to it that that,
in our opinion – and many others who didn’t even watch the lowest-rated
world series of all time. This in a baseball season that had the
BEST overall attendance of all time. Quite a dichotomy.
Most fans around the country don’t know the half of what goes on
behind the scenes – or in front of the scenes- in San Francisco .Even Bay Area fans may have forgotten – or never knew -about the 2013 rape allegation againstSandoval, that was settled out of court, or the molestation charge against new, sudden Giants star’Chad Goudin And, then many of them don’t care. Certainly, in San Francisco, it’s win at all costs -and even if they don’t win we love them.
Same type of media as on the political scene that rarely calls
out the administration, or whomever, for obvious mistakes.
Same thing for Boston. How could a team sign an overweight,
slightly immature guy with a sub .300 average for $20 million
a year, after the Giants tried and failed? Because Boston is
a lot like San Francisco. REAL fans of yesterday
are being replaced by pseudo-science fans based more on the
chemistry in the players than the science of natural hitting, pitching
So, today, one never knows if it’s REAL or is it something else.
But, if THEIR player is doing well , and THEIR team is doing well, that’s
all that matters to them. The rest of the country could care less
about possible PED-aided players on OTHER teams. It’s one big
cartoon, going back to the days of the Popeye-caricatured Bash Brothers
and Bonds. McGwire and Conseco quickly fell by the wayside, later
admitting to their mistakes.
But Bonds continued on for many years, spawning many more players
in his image – an image so artificial and pathetic that would have
been unimaginable to a Stan Musial or Willie Mays. Sure, there
were ‘greenies’ and other things to keep players awake during earlier
eras -and many, like alcohol, that did them in. Only in the last
20 years, has modern ‘technologically’ and new chemistry gotten so
out of hand as to not only change/ruin the game but to, literally,
change people, both physically and even in terms of their personality.
And, not for the better. Unless, it’s all about long, fake home runs
AS GIANTS RE-SIGN SABEAN AND BOCHY
OTHER TEAMS PERPETUATE THE PROBLEM
And, now, we learn that the longest running general manager-coach
combo has been resigned by the Giants through 2019. Unheard of
for a GM to be with the same team for 15 years. And, it’s known
that Sabean isn’t well regarded around the league. It’s not for
jealousy that he didn’t even rank in the Exec of Year voting.
Other teams will tell you Sabean doesn’t return phone calls
and, frankly, isn’t very good at what he does… Lots of bad, long-term
moves like Zito, Rowand, etc. Today , Sabean continues to re-sign
over-the-hill players like Lincecum ($20 million) perhaps because he’s
not good at acquiring other, better players – for less. He need only
look across the Bay at Billy Beane.
It’s a fact that Sabean hasn’t been able to make a successful free agent
signing in all those years – unless you consider Hunter Pence.
It’s no surprise he didn’t sign Lester or any other top
flight player this year even offering more than other teams.
Sabean’s only real success , if one can call it that, is signing
marginal players nobody else wants because of their questionable pasts.
We’ve documented elsewhere (www.WhereDidYouGoJoeDimaggio.downloadebooks.me)
the shenanigans that go on in San Francisco that one probably doesn’t hear
about across the country.
Bochy is a slightly better manager than Sabean is a GM. Coming into the three
world series in five years, Bochy had a below .500 record – even with Bonds.
Bochy is a nice guy but he’s not a great manager. The reason he’s done well
in recent years is because of the players and culture, ie PEDs, on the team.
He’s good with pitchers because they’re good at getting other teams out,
and we believe some of that is due to PEDs. We know about Mota and there
are other pitchers who have suddenly improved for no good reason
after coming to the Giants
The Giants have perpetuated the steroid problem and continue to this day,
in our opinion. In a better-disciplined sport, Sabean would have been gone
years ago after being at least partly responsible in signing 23 players
who would be indicted for PED use. True, they weren’t all his responsiblity,
but he signed many of them knowing not only the Giants reputation beginning
with Bonds and, probably not scrutinizing them better. Some, like Guillermo
Mota, Guillen and Cabrera had already been busted before coming to the
Giants and Sabean knew that.
OTHER TEAMS FORCED TO ‘PLAY THE STEROID GAME’
So, meanwhile, other teams see Sabean and the Giants getting away with
it, and, to make for an even playing field they almost have to play the same game.
The difference between the Giants and other teams is that the Giants, with
their long history of PED use, have perfected it, in our opinion.
Today, there are fewer and fewer clean available players. Known users like
Nelson Cruz and Jhonny Peralta are courted and even paid higher salaries now
after their indictments. Some of the best players available have been the
indicted players – and one isn’t sure about others.
FEWER BLACK PLAYERS, MORE LATINS – IS THIS A REAL ISSUE?
And, of course, MLB and the sociologists of America are concerned that there are
fewer blacks in baseball. They don’t address that there are more
It’s just life today that basketball and football appeal more
to blacks and baseball has become more popular with Latinos. This could
and probably will change back in years to come
but to try to start getting too concerened and making racial quotas is wrong.
Fact of the matter is, to be quite politically incorrect,
most of the PED players have been Latin, with an emphasis on Venezuelan.
If we really cleaned up the sport there would probably be fewer Latin
players, leaving more spots open for blacks and other races.
PEDs are, apparently, more accepted in Latin culture, where people struggle
harder to live and are more inclined to break rules to get ahead.
It’s understandable to some degree, but should not be tolerated.
And, this , again, is more of an MLB failure than that of players.
Players, whatever color, are allowed – and even sometimes encouraged-
Just as you have older players desperate to ‘make it’ who will try almost anything
to get ahead, you have teams like the Giants who may say one thing but act another way.
Giants president Larry Baer came out last year saying the Giants would be more careful in signing players with PED pasts only before signing Michael Morse.
FUTURE NOT LOOKING GOOD – ‘ UP TO 50% OF PLAYERS USING ‘
Perhaps the new commissioner will
finally do something but, so far, there are no signs of it.
In fact quite the opposite. He’s willing to give Pete Rose another look at the Hall of Fame – which
we agree with – but perhaps only because players have been allowed to get away with the more ingredious – ion our opinion-
crime of steroid use, which involves altering the game results.
Today, it’s easier to get away with steroids than ever. No longer are PEDs always detectable by outside appearance(extra weight, baldness, etc). We know that 10% of players are using PEDs designed for ADD.
Other Designer steroids like testosterone can be in and out of one’s system in hours. Remember the Giantsgrew up around the BALCO labs where owner Victor Conte, himself, has told us how he easy it is, undercurrent testing procedures to beat the system in which he estimates ‘ as high as 50%’ of
today’s players are using PEDs. Sure there may be more tests given now, but they’re still announced ahead of timeso players can react accordingly. And, just because we’re not seeing big homerun numbers don’t fool yourself. Playersare doing it in other ways like hitting for average, ie Giants new Sandoval replacement,Casey McGee,who has replaced homeruns with average (in fact, at age 32 he hadn’t even hit homeruns OR average -not above .230in 2010-2013 before suddenly hitting .285 for Miami last year-before the Giants acquired, yes, another suspicious player, in our opinion.)
Commissioner Manfred and most may not see the connection
between steroids and disinterest on the national level as we’ve tried to outline here.
We thought the travesty of the tainted Giants winning a third world series with known steroid players
would finally cause some concern in the commissioner’s office, but no.
Only, perhaps, if the Giants win a fourth world series this year will the microscope finally
Even with a blind-eye media and blase fans there’s enough out there realizing that something is going on at least on the local level of major league baseball teams .Yes, there are actually stil fans who still care that players – at least on the other side- are for REAL and not loaded up performance enhancing drugs.
Only nce that’s taken care of will you see REAL dynasties, not every-other-year ‘winners’ with largely new casts of very questionable talent.
REMEMBERING LON SIMMONS - TOO HONEST FOR TODAY'S BASEBALL
The loss of former Giants announcer Lon Simmons brings home above points even more. With his unpolitically correct approach to announcing, Simmons could never be a Giants announcer today. Recalling when the Giants were going bad, he called a Giant players' '3-2' count ' a rally' , something both humorous but something that wouldn't go over with Giants administration, which hires the announcers now. Perhaps because of his honesty, Simmons had two previous run-ins with management, of the Giants and San Francisco 49ers, which he also announced. Simmons left both jobs rather than toe the party line. Simmons was the antithesis of the steroid era. He was honest and forthright old school . It would have been interesting hearing him announce Giants baseball today - if in fact he would agree to the more rigid style of announcing today, which includes being a 'homer.'