Blocking the Plate

The new rule provides that unless the catcher is in possession of the ball, the catcher cannot block the pathway of the runner as he is attempting to score. If, in the judgment of the Umpire, the catcher, without possession of the ball, blocks the pathway of the runner, the Umpire shall call or signal the runner safe.

Okay. Yesterday, the WSox catcher Flowers blocked the plate with the lower half of his left leg as he got set to receive the throw. Video and photos clearly show his knee on the IF side of the line and his foot on the foul side of the line. Then, as the throw came in, he raised that leg and moved around to apply the tag to Blanco.

So–as Blanco was ineffectually charging down the basepath, Flowers, without possession of the ball, blocked that path to the plate. That violates the rule. It’s irrelevant that madly charging Blanco was doomed to be tagged before he reached the plate.

Remember how the 2003 NLDS ended? Snow was out by a mile then too, unless he blew Pudge to pieces (which didn’t happen). Under the new rule, Flowers had the security of knowing that he should not get blown up. He should have kept his foot on the IF side of the line, too. He didn’t. Case closed.

The new rule is so different than the old it’s hard to get used to. But who wants to see any baseball player (much less, from the owners’ vp, a megamillion dollar player) get hurt at home? For christ’s sake, look what it’s done to Ray Fosse.

So almost all of us regulars from this blog have been raging all season on FB. Is there anyone who wants to reconvene here, too? Anyone who wants to join us on FB? Just asking.

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WHO DOESN’T LOVE A ROAD TRIP?

One of my favorite SF Chronicle stories appeared in September 1982, featuring a b/w photo of Jeff Leonard coming off the team plane, in street clothes, and pausing at the top of the SFO tarmac steps to look down at the crowd who’d gathered to welcome the Giants home from a very successful road trip.  Leonard thrust his fist in the air–that’s where the photo found him–and shouted:  “Sweep!  Sweep!  Sweep!”  In fact, the Giants had just swept three of three from the bums in L.A.  According to the article, as I recall it, the delighted fans chanted along with the HacMan.

Well we’re not in the middle of a September division race now.  I remember at about this point back in 2012 the Giants and the bums actually traded in-your-face sweeps.  We know how that season developed.  So these four games in L.A. aren’t make or break.  The Giants still have some moving parts to re-balance a bit before they’re a smooth running machine.  (Meanwhile, the bums have one of the most unbalanced entertainers in baseball in their lineup; but more about him some other time.)

Still a series win would be pleasant, wouldn’t it?  btw, do people still gather at the airport to welcome the team home?  How?  Another era.

For now, we are settling into our approach to LAX.  Fasten your seat belts, put your teeth-whitening strips in position until we land, and please completely touch up the grey lines in your dye jobs before exiting the plane.  Welcome to Los Angeles.

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Donald Sterling banned for life because he’s as obnoxious as most racist Americans, rich and not rich alike

Anybody else a bit uneasy to see Sterling get the shaft for comments he apparently made in private to a person he considered a confidante? The right to privacy is the right to be left alone. It’s source is the idea that each individual has a basic right of autonomy. These are abstractions–somewhat laughable abstractions these days. But still–the owners of professional sports franchises who have been banned in the past committed crimes (Eddie D, e.g.) or made very public racist pronouncements (Al Campanis, e.g.–not an owner, but close).

Don’t get me wrong. I’ll be happy to see Sterling slither out of sight. He bought into the NBA when it was (relatively) cheap and his franchise until recently was the dregs. He can sell now, make a new fortune, and vanish. Good riddance. Since when, however, can anyone punish us for having opinions and discussing them in private? Maybe the NSA can get you if your opinion involves a terrorist plot. But general garden-variety small-minded American racism? Half the white people I’ve known in my life share Sterling’s bent.

So how can the NBA justify what it’s doing? PR. Rise up righteously against racism and hope the Clippers scandal doesn’t ruin the revenue stream from this year’s playoffs. On the other hand, I admit that it’s something of a privilege to be a NBA owner. So maybe it’s ok to tell the privileged few to toe a very strict line on race, even in the privacy of their own homes. Maybe Sterling is not only getting what he deserves, but is getting it fairly. I’m not yet sure.

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Bring out the women! Children! The Dodgers (blew) are coming to town!

It’s far too early in the baseball year to start counting chickens. For all we know and expect, the eggs will break upon to reveal beautiful orange and black chickens at the end of the baseball season. What ESPN and Fox exprvy — and don’t hold them back, because this is what they utter with every breath — is Dodger Balut at the end of the season. Meanwhile, we feast on the upcoming games against our rivals, and hope that we come out as victors.

And why not? Pagan seems to live on the basepaths at least once or twice a game. If Belt can get his groove back, he will be walloping balls out of the stadium. I hold out hope that he will hit at least 150 HR this season. And both Morse and Hudson are making Sabean looking pretty good at this point. If Panda could just get his head together and Scutaro make his way back into working order, the SF Giants will look pretty spiffy. Even if it is just the start of the season, all good things have a great start and great ending, with an exciting middle.

It worked for a film like “Aliens”. It can work for SF Giants baseball, too.

Finally, to defuse the constant stream of negative news about our 49ers, GENTLEMEN I present to you our very own LaMichael James:


PLAY BALL!

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Home opener, here we come!

After a successful 5-2 road trip — and we all know that the umpiring helped with one of those L’s — the San Francisco Giants will be able to commence with their opening home stand.  First up, the Arizona D’bags. 

So far, Brandon Belt is on course to hit over 150 home runs this season.  Michael Morse, our off-season acquisition, is fitting in with the crowd of bats, contributing his own RBIs and clutch hits while Buster is looking vintage Buster.  Pence is coming around with some hits, and Panda’s weight loss has made him quicker with the glove. 

Despite the first place standing and all the accolades befitting a team that has won 2 World Series within the last three years, all the attention has been on the Los Angeles Dodgers.  ESPN has them on speed dial from their butt phone, and we can all take comfort in knowing that even if Cainer were to throw a no-hitter during Sunday’s game, the focus of all stories would be on Yasiel Puig’s precious thumb.  He needs it, of course, as prints are required at the police station for his next infraction which, as we say in Hollywood, is COMING SOON!

Otherwise, we love our San Francisco Giants.  We don’t need celebrity announcers to remember the names of our players, and we don’t need the allure of the Kardashian family to bring us to our beautiful stadium.

PLAY BALL!

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Giants v. Dodgers 4/6 Summary:

Image

 

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Tim Flannery’s (removed) thoughts on instant replay

Giants v. Dodgers 4/5 Game Summary:

Giants v. Dodgers 4/4 Game Summary:

Giants v. Diamondbacks 4/3 Game Summary:

Giants v. Diamondbacks 4/2 Game Summary:

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Since we’re all talking about the new MLB replay system, I’d like to share Tim Flannery’s late night facebook rant that has since been deleted, but I liked it so much I took a couple screenshots of it. I really respect this man and his passion for the game (and admire his lifestyle and outlook on life, as well).

Written around 11:30 pm, after the game. Excuse his grammar – his passion more than makes up for his writing but I’ll clean it up a little.

Replay in the sacred game stinks. Tonight, Boch was out on the field 4 times and doesn’t even argue, you wait around for someone in New York no one knows to make a long distance decision, who is he? Is he paid by gamblers? Then because you challenge the crew are you are wrong, the guy behind the plate screws you on not only bassl and strikes, but on the game deciding play at the plate because he knows you’re out of challenges…you lose rhythm, timing, the beauty, the human element, until the other side of the human element comes out….how about if the umpires are bad, you fire them. That’s what I deal with in my job on the field. Sorry, I am venting. Review them all or none of them, or home runs or plays at the plate only… I love Tony LaRussa, Joe Torre, and the gods of the game but when I retire, or get fired, I’m going surfing, fishing, taking my airstream up to Alaska with my lady. I’m not going to find a way to put my fingerprints on a sacred game that has worked fine for over 130 years… as Turko says – “it ain’t right”

Discuss.

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Welcome to Opening Day!

Summary of Giants v. Diamondbacks 4/1/2014:

Summary of Giants v. Diamondbacks 3/31/2014:

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Written by Xoot:

Tonight’s season opener will begin under the warm clear twilight of AZ spring. In fact, the first three games of the season will be night games, which means I will get to watch them all. Meanwhile, I would very much like to thank Selig and mlb for giving the dodgers a nationwide audience last night. (The only other game played yesterday was Houston v. Veracruz.)

The extra stress gave the bums just the encouragement they needed: to try to throw a runner out at third instead of throwing to second to keep the batter-runner from moving into scoring position (Puig) and, on the same play to grab that ill-advised throw assuming that because it came from RF it must off-line (Hanley); to give up a booming HR to a pinch hitter in a one-run game (Wilson); to boot an easy play on a bunt (Wilson) and to misplay an easy ground ball so it clanked off the mitt heel (AGon), thus putting the go ahead and insurance runs on base–both of which, of course, scored.

Ah, what a display. We may not see such baseball from the bums again until October, when they choke and lose the play-in WC game. Go Giants!

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